Monday, April 19, 2010

Do Antidepressants Work - Or Don't They?

The following is the beginning of an article in Psychiatric Times, commenting on the Newsweek article of 8 February 2010:

Imagine, as a psychiatrist, hearing this story from a beloved friend or relative:

“I’ve been terribly depressed for the last month—can’t focus, can’t get out of bed, and I’m barely eating. Nothing really gives me pleasure anymore. I haven’t showered in 2 weeks. Sometimes I think I’d be better off dead. I asked my family doctor if an antidepressant might help. She said I’d do just as well taking a sugar pill, and it’s a lot cheaper!”

I hope you would be both alarmed and outraged by this doctor’s dismissive attitude. Yet if the doctor—or your loved one—had read the article on antidepressants in the February 8 Newsweek (The Depressing News About Antidepressants), she might well have concluded that antidepressants are largely worthless....

And here is Psych Central's rejoinder.

EDITORIAL NOTE: This may be dismissed as anecdotal, but I have seen how antidepressants have been life-savers for many people, and many failures can be attributed to lack of faith in the doctor or treatment, inadequate dosages, rapid changes in prescriptions (making it impossible to determine what effect a medication has on a person), or bipolar disorder (the antidepressant can trigger a manic attack).

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