Antidepressants: Good Only for the Severely Depressed

Warning: I’m not a doctor, just sharing useful documents and links.

Recently, they were arguing about antidepressants on TheRedPill subreddit. Some said SSRIs are bad and you should eat well&exercise instead, others saying you need drugs to lift depression. Well, here’s the information I’ve discovered in my Introductory Psychology textbook , and I think both sides have some merit.

1. Here, Zoloft was not much better than a placebo when it comes to helping depressed kids and adolescents:
http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=197920 , http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=197174 .
Both groups showed notable decreases in self-reported depression. Placebo patients showed 85% as much improvement as those who received sertraline.

2. Reanalysis of the data from several major clinical trials revealed that antidepressant drug effects exceeded placebo effects only for the most severely depressed 13% of the patients:
http://lefnet.hu/resources/userfiles/file/tudomany/KeriSzabolcsCikkGyujtemeny/Fournier%20JAMA2010.pdf
The benefit of medication for severely depressed people is substantial.

3. Recovery rates for psychotherapy and the combined drugs & psychotherapy treatments did not differ for less severely depressed people. However, combination of drugs & psychotherapy yielded the best recovery rates in more severe cases of depression: http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=497959 .

This makes me think that unless your depression is severe, you might well cure it by eating well, exercising, eating vitamins, sacrificing a goat, or doing whatever else you truly believe in. You will also probably cure it by getting some psychotherapy. But if your depression is severe, you’d probably need drugs as well.

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20 Responses to Antidepressants: Good Only for the Severely Depressed

  1. Liz says:

    They hand out antidepressants far too often, for little reason. Most psych drugs can effect the heart (SSRI can cause arrhythmias).

    Medications have side effects, and no medication should be prescribed unless it’s very warranted. As you said, feelings of saddness are not the same as severe depression. Sadness is not a disease, it is a normal part of life, just as joy is. And having control over one’s emotions is largely a skill that develops over time…just like “paying attention” is a skill.

    A flight doctor once told me that something like nine out of ten active duty officer’s wives (at or over the O4 level) are either on antidepressants or divorced. I believe it. People need better internal coping mechanisms. That’s not to say it isn’t a hard life for a spouse, it very much is (I know a woman, mother of two, who went out to the car and blew her brains out while the movers were in the house…we hear about military suicides but they don’t say much about military spouse suicides…I don’t know how common it is, but I suspect it’s much higher than average).

    Every move one is obliged to fill out a medical form at the new location. I learned very early on to never check the box that says ‘yes’ next to the question “Do you feel stressed or depressed?” They’ll call you right away and try to give you happy pills. Now, have a real medical condition and you might not be able to get an appointment for weeks or months but tell them you’re stressed and depressed at a time when it would be abnormal not to be stressed and a little depressed (moves suck, especially with young children, especially when the move is to some armpit of America…only automatons would do that with a spring in their step).

    • Eric says:

      Liz:
      The whole War on Drugs was fought in the United States so that Big Pharma could have a monopoly on dope-pushing. They were unable to control marijuana, so now they ‘legalize’ it; and Big Pharma is moving in on that.

      Most of the dope they push in schools, the military, and every other venue they can find is actually worse and more dangerous than Coke, Hash, and many other illegal drugs.

    • I heard that antidepressants are overprescribed, because it’s cheap compared to talking therapy (which would help better, and more permanently). If your insurance company won’t pay for a 18-session therapy, they’ll at least pay for the drugs.

  2. Also: cyclothymia (3% of population affected), SAD (up to 14% affected) and bipolar (1% affected) are not actually treatable with medication. Antidepressants can make the symptoms worse. Hormonal therapy can cause thin blood, anemia, vomiting, weightloss and headaches. Herbal remedies can cause nausea, anemia and dizziness. Pretty much the only things that help are evening primrose oil and omega 3 oils. All of the other things are prescribed first, though. It’s agony and it’s pointless and all because doctors are reluctant to diagnose you with one of the disorders that, collectively, 18% of the Western World has. /rant

  3. bo jangles says:

    Check out how the thyroid hormone t3 does against antidepressants and youll wonder why they even prescribe antidepressants.

  4. bo jangles says:

    Of course you can also read about how niacin beats the shit out of any other cholesterol lowering drug yet they prescibe the other stuff like 10-1. Or like how synthetic t4 replaced dessicated thyroid even though there is no study that exists showing its superiority(and several showing the reverse) and at one point it was the number one drug in america. Could it be that drug companies(and to a certain extent doctors) really dont want healthy people as much as they want gobs of money(gasp!).

  5. Eric says:

    Emma:
    The current trends in the US remind me of Huxley’s novel, ‘Brave New World’ it which the totalitarian state decreed that sadness was a sign of mental illness. In any given American city, the chances are that (at least) 1 out of every 5 people you encounter is wired on some chemical substance.

    And just like in Brave New World, a nation of drug addicts is easy to control. They’ll believe anything and do anything to keep their addictions fed.

    • Emma the Emo says:

      Why does this idea often crop up in dystopian novels? The situation where society/government decides that negative feelings are a sign of madness or evil. Seen it more than once, and in fact wrote a comic about it myself when I was 14 (never read the Brave New World). Sadness or anger are not seen as crazy/evil in all societies, but in some, it’s definitely a tendency.

      • Eric says:

        Because totalitarian regimes don’t want negative feelings directed at themselves. The American Government/Media/Academia Complex pushes dope and welfare on the masses to keep them contented; then tell people if they’re unhappy it’s all the fault of domestic or foreign scapegoat. Anybody who doesn’t fall for any of that gets labeled a ‘conspiracy theorist’ or a ‘religious nut’ or some other type of crazy or bigot.

      • Ah, the squeecky wheel gets all the oil, or in this case, all the blame.

  6. Antidepressants are harmful and don’t do anything to help most depressed people. Also I agree with Eric:

    >The whole War on Drugs was fought in the United States so that Big Pharma could have a monopoly on dope-pushing.

  7. infowarrior1 says:

    Fish oil has been shown to be effective with depression.

  8. Liz says:

    High cortisol levels are linked to depression, so anything that lowers cortisol levels can help, too. Even ‘power poses’ (good posture, and so forth) are known to lower cortisol levels within minutes.

  9. Pingback: Antidepressants: Good Only for the Severely Dep...

  10. Matthew Chiglinsky says:

    Psychotherapy costs money.

    It’s funny how people don’t care if you’re homeless and unemployed, but then they freak out if you even mention suicide.

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