A Study of Adolescent Depression That Doesn’t Make Sense


In this blog post for Quick Thoughts, James Coyne debunks a recent study in Lancet Psychiatry claiming that teens accessing mental health services experience a greater decrease in depressive symptoms than those who did not receive mental health services. Coyne demonstrates that the sample size of teens receiving mental health services was too small to draw conclusions about the cause of this reduction in symptoms.


  1. In all fairness I felt a little better when I was locked up in a “hospital for troubled children” at age 15. I was only there for 16 days. Not much drugging back then either.

    Actually that says less about the “treatment” I received and more about how desperate I was to escape the constant bullying at school!

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    • A change of venue can be an excellent “treatment,”especially when the old environment has assholes in it who are committed to making you miserable. But none of that counts in psychiatry. You’re supposed to be happy and effective regardless of whatever abuse you may be experiencing, and if you’re not, it’s your brain that needs fixing, not the bully. Idiocy, but that’s “modern” psychiatry for you.

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      • Eventually I left that school permanently for a very small private school. I felt better once I escaped the bullies!

        Unfortunately 2 years of sexual harassment and bullying had left their mark. At age 18, as a college freshman, I went on Stellazine. It helped numb my overwhelming anxiety in most social situations. At age 20 I went on Anafranil. Got higher than a kite, was labeled schizophrenic/schizoaffective and massively doped up so I had daily seizures. Got kicked out of college because my dorm mom knew about my diagnosis. Been a prisoner of the Mental Illness Factory for the last 23 years.

        Coming off the drugs, but feeling worse than ever physically. Often sleep 12 hours a day. Emotionally though, I’m no longer depressed or suicidal. Better off than I have been in decades. Getting away from day treatment and an abusive therapist and shrink helped.

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