Essays by a diverse group of writers, in the United States and abroad, engaged in rethinking psychiatry. (The directory of personal stories can be found here, and initiatives here).

Dr.s Leo & Lacasse Respond to Dr. Pies’ Response

In October of 2015, Jeffrey Lacasse and Jonathan Leo published an article in The Behavior Therapist about the Chemical Imbalance Theory of Depression. In the article we criticized Dr. Pies’ characterization of the theory.  Dr. Pies was upset and immediately had Mad in America post a letter about our paper. The Behavioral Therapist recently published his letter, and Lacasse and Leo’s reply.

A Reply to Peter Kramer: Do Serotonin Imbalances Cause Depression?

A recent article on the website i09 titled, ‘The Most popular Antidepressants are Based on an Outdated Theory” has again raised the issue of Chemical Imbalances.  It is interesting that the author of the  i09 piece cites Dr. Peter Kramer and states, “Some psychiatrists vehemently disagree with the way journalists and other psychiatrists have pushed back against the chemical imbalance theory….” In both cases he cited what he considered the best evidence in support of the theory, but he did not discuss the research in any depth. Back in 2008, we took an in-depth look at the evidence that Dr. Kramer used to support the chemical imbalance theory. When one takes a closer look at that research we do not think it supports the theory. For this reason, we are reposting our 2008 essay about this.

Overtreatment, Bereavement, and Antidepressants

A recent paper argues that prescribing antidepressants shortly after the death of a loved one is problematic . . . and a few days later, a Harvard academic publicly suggests prescribing antidepressants FOR bereavement. Wait, what?

Bogus Journal Articles Distract From the Real Problem in Academic Medicine

The buzz in academic publishing right now is the story about how several hundred open access journals accepted a fake research paper. Of much more concern is that there are top-tier medical journals which have published clinical trials, that were read by thousands of people, that influenced clinical decisions, that we now know were bogus, but have never been retracted.

Preventing Depression: SSRIs for At-Risk Populations?

An issue that we think deserves more media attention than it is currently receiving is the idea of Preventive Intervention in Psychiatry. The goal of Preventive Intervention is to reduce the rate of psychiatric diagnoses in an at-risk group of people by pretreating all the group members with a medication. For instance, could the rate of PTSD in the military be reduced by pretreating everybody in the military with an SSRI?

The SSRIs and Ten Years of Misleading Advertising: Who is Responsible?

In the BMJ this week there is a debate about the antidepressants. On the “Yes, The antidepressants are overprescribed” side is Des Spence. This is hardly a new debate and Des Spence makes a good case for the overuse of the antidepressants, but what caught our eye was the response by Adrian Preda, and his discussion about the findings of Irving Kirsch.

Jonah Lehrer was also Wrong About Antipsychotics

We spend a lot of time writing about knowledge dissemination in mental health, and over time, have increasingly recognized the important role of science...

Ghostwriting: Time for a Name Change

There is a fascinating process playing out in academic medicine right now. The general public is understandably concerned that much of the medical literature...

The George Costanza Excuse for Medical Ghostwriting

Several months ago, two professors at the University of Pennsylvania were accused of ghostwriting. The university has now announced the results of their investigation, which is partially based on work by the great moral philosopher, George Constanza...

A Pharmaceutical Company That Agrees With Irving Kirsch? Wellbutrin Advertised as 10% More Effective...

Irving Kirsch (the psychologist who has argued that antidepressants offer a marginal advantage over placebos) has agreement from an unlikely source- advertisements from a pharmaceutical company, which agree completely...

The American Psychiatric Association’s Response to 60 Minutes: Where is the Science?

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has posted a response to the 60 minutes segment on Irving Kirsch and the placebo effect in antidepressant research. But is their response based on scientific data?

60 Minutes, The SSRIs, and The Dirty Little Secret

Last night, 60 Minutes presented the work of Irving Kirsch, who has been researching the placebo effect in antidepressants for many years. We discuss.

Should Jilted Lovers Be Treated with Antidepressants?

It is refreshing that The New York Times in the space of four days has published two articles which take a critical view of...

Revising the History of the Serotonin Theory of Depression?

Did scientists recently discover that the Serotonin Theory of Depression is false? Or has this been known for decades? We investigate.

Psychiatry’s Grand Confession

The psychiatric profession has finally come clean and confessed on a national media outlet that there is no evidence to support the Serotonin Theory...

Antipsychotics and the Scientific Method

In a recent article in the New Yorker, titled, The Truth Wears Off, science writer Jonah Lehrer discusses an intriguing problem in science. The...

Keeping Tabs on the Serotonin Theory of Depression

In 2008, Philip Cowen published an essay in Trends in Pharmacological Sciences. His essay leads off with the provocative question, “Serotonin and Depression: Pathological...

Introducing Our Blog

Consider these findings: The antidepressant drugs, used to treat depression and many other mental disorders have limited effectiveness, they have significant side effects, and...