Meta-analysis Shows Antidepressants Offer Little to No Benefit to Well-Being of Depressed Children and Adolescents


Seeking to rectify the fact that “no meta-analysis has included measures of quality of life, global mental health, self-esteem, or autonomy” (or self-reports of depressive symptoms) in studies of depressed youth, a study in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics finds that when these parameters are included “antidepressants offer little to no benefit in improving overall well-being among depressed children and adolescents.”

Spielmans, G., Gerwig, K.; The Efficacy of Antidepressants on Overall Well-Being and Self-Reported Depression Symptom Severity in Youth: A Meta-Analysis. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. 2014; 83:158-164. DOI:10.1159/000356191

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. Well, they offer no benefit to anyone, that was shown already based on the meta-analysis of the FDA submitted clinical studies. It’s a scandal that they’re allowed to remain on the market in spite of that.

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