Antidepressants Not a ‘One Size Fits All’ Solution, Researchers Find


The largest ever study of the thoughts and reactions of antidepressant users reveals that many people have vastly different understandings and experiences of the drugs. It is also evident from the study that many antidepressant users’ experiences are influenced by “chemical imbalance” and “serotonin deficiency” theories, despite these theories being roundly disproven in the scientific literature. The researchers, including MIA contributor John Read, are now seeking participants for a new survey on both antipsychotics and antidepressants, which can be accessed at

Open Access

“This research also suggests that a large number of people may be to some extent dissatisfied with their antidepressant use. The number of participants who reported some degree of negative experience constitutes a significant proportion (44 %) of the overall sample. Some experienced little benefit from antidepressants while the side effects, particularly more subtle psychological effects such as feeling numb or ‘not like themselves,’ seemed a significant issue, which was also found to affect many participants in the analysis of the general survey data. The research also raised concerns that, in some cases, managing the side effects of antidepressants might take priority over managing the depression or circumstances that helped to produce it. Participants were also concerned about the medication undermining the legitimacy of their suffering and undermining their sense of control.”




GIBSON, K., CARTWRIGHT, C., READ, J. (2016). ‘In my life antidepressants have been….’:  A qualitative analysis of users’ diverse experiences of antidepressants. BMC Psychiatry, 16, 135. doi: 10.1186/s12888-016-0844-3 (Full Text)

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Justin Karter
MIA Research News Editor: Justin M. Karter is the lead research news editor for Mad in America. He completed his doctorate in Counseling Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He also holds graduate degrees in both Journalism and Community Psychology from Point Park University. He brings a particular interest in examining and decoding cultural narratives of mental health and reimagining the institutions built on these assumptions.


    • Hi BPD,

      It is funny – but a lot of people are actually not aware of SSRI “unsuitability” , and a lot of doctors also are not aware….

      ….and the “Antipsychotics” are usually used for Anxiety conditions – that would respond perfectly well to the Talking Treatments. I know this from my own personal experience.

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      • The academic mind will probably presume them all to be unreliable and say nasty things about the drugs just to spite those who committed them. At least that’s what the sachems of psychiatry would tell you if asked.

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        • My experience was that psychiatrists assume everything every patient, not just in-patients, state is “irrelevant to reality,” thus false; at least according to my psychiatrist’s medical records. So I still think it’s discrimination.

          But I agree it’s absurd that the common sense that, “It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has,” is wisdom completely lost on today’s psychiatric community. Who believe what’s of paramount importance is “getting the right diagnosis,” at the expense of getting to know the patient.

          Of course, antidepressants are “not a ‘one size fits all’ solution,” how absurd and inane for anyone to ever assume such a thing. Truly, I’m still amazed that an entire industry of people would throw away all historic established medical wisdom, due to their love of money. And it’s even sadder that the majority of the mainstream medical community has followed suit.

          It’s like a stupidity fest has taken over all the “professionals” in this country, seemingly, just as had happened in Nazi Germany, pre-WWII. The only difference seems to be that today the psychiatrists claim child abuse victims are “mentally ill,” as opposed to the Nazi psychiatrists claiming Jews are “mentally ill.” And today’s psychiatrists are defaming, torturing, and murdering their “patients” with pills, rather than taking them to concentration camps with gas chambers, at least we haven’t sunk that low yet.

          “…the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped. ”
          ~Last Speech of Hubert H. Humphrey, It sure strikes me that any government today that advocates belief in psycho/pharmaceutical theologies (industries which are intentionally attacking the children, elderly, poor, distressed, and handicapped) does NOT pass the moral test of government.

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