Thursday, February 9, 2023

Effects of Exercise on Depression Underestimated, Review Finds

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A new meta-analysis finds that the large antidepressant effects of exercise may have been underestimated in previous reviews. This latest report, published this month...

Are Drug Side Effects Driving Depression Rates?

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A new study finds that more than a third of Americans are taking prescription drugs that can cause depressive symptoms as a side-effect.

The Temptation of Certainty: David Foster Wallace, Suicide and Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal

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While increasing numbers of Americans are being prescribed antidepressants, the Centers for Disease Control reports that suicide rates increased 28% from 1999 to 2010. Trained professionals remain unable to predict who is at risk. Their guess is as good as chance.

Largest Meta-Analysis of Antidepressants Finds Doubled Risk of Suicide in Youth

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The largest-ever meta-analysis of antidepressant trials appeared yesterday in the British Medical Journal. Researchers from the Cochrane Collaboration reviewed 70 trials (involving 18,526 subjects), to find that - counter to the initially-reported findings - antidepressants doubled the risk of suicide and aggression in subjects under 18. This risk had been misrepresented in the original study reports, the authors say, and suggest that the risks to adults may be similarly under-reported.

Fear and Belief in “Chemical Imbalance” Prevent People from Coming Off Antidepressants

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Researchers interviewed people who were given medical advice to discontinue antidepressants.

Reanalysis of STAR*D Study Suggests Overestimation of Antidepressant Efficacy

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Reanalysis of the original primary outcome measure in the STAR*D study suggests STAR*D findings inflate improvement on antidepressant medication and exclusion criteria in conventional clinical trials results in overestimation of antidepressant efficacy.

New Findings Suggest Masculinity is a Risk Factor for Suicidal Thinking

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Men who report being self-reliant may be at greater risk of suicidal thinking.

Systematic Review Finds Antidepressant Withdrawal Common and Potentially Long-lasting

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Prominent researchers conduct a review of antidepressant withdrawal incidence, duration, and severity. Results lead to call for new clinical guidelines.

Depression: It’s Not Your Serotonin

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What if I told you that, in 6 decades of research, the serotonin (or norepinephrine, or dopamine) theory of depression and anxiety - the claim that “Depression is a serious medical condition that may be due to a chemical imbalance, and Zoloft works to correct this imbalance” - has not achieved scientific credibility? You’d want some supporting arguments for this shocking claim. So, here you go:

After the Black-Box: Majority of Children Starting SSRIs Still Receiving Too High of Dose

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In 2004, the FDA added a black-box warning to SSRI antidepressants on the increased risk of suicide among children taking these drugs. A new study suggests that this warning has increased the proportion of children who begin an antidepressant on a low dose, but the majority are still receiving higher than recommended doses.

Researchers Challenge Interpretation of Antidepressant Meta-analysis

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Researchers question the overstated results of a large antidepressant meta-analysis and point to cultural pressures to turn to these drugs for a quick fix.

Adolescent Suicide and The Black Box Warning: STAT Gets It All Wrong

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STAT recently published an opinion piece arguing that the black box warning on antidepressants has led to an increase in adolescent suicide. It is easily debunked, and reveals once again how our society is regularly misled about research findings related to psychiatric drugs. STAT has lent its good name to a false story that, unfortunately, will resonate loudly with the public.

Researchers Set the Record Straight on Controversial Zoloft Study

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An issue of Lancet Psychiatry is devoted to clarifying the lack of efficacy for Zoloft (sertraline).

Experiences of Depression Connected to Declining Sense of Purpose

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In-depth interviews find that those who screened positive for depression did not explain their experience in terms of diagnostic symptoms.

Study of Online Antidepressant Forums Reveals Long Lasting Withdrawal Effects

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Effects of discontinuing SSRIs and SNRIs reported on an online forum indicate significant and long-lasting withdrawal symptoms.

How Antidepressants Shape Young Women’s Sense of Self

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Young women’s narratives indicate ways antidepressants have shaped their sense of self.

What’s the Harm in Taking an Antidepressant?

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We know that all drugs have side effects. That’s just part of the deal right? But is it really possible that an antidepressant can cause a sane person to act like a cold-blooded criminal?

New Review Highlights Dangers of Electroconvulsive Therapy

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Data shows that over a third of users experience permanent memory loss and that approximately half report not receiving adequate information about the risks from their doctors.

Researchers Push Back Against Recommendation to Combine Antidepressants for Suicide Prevention

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Researchers challenge the recommendation of starting two antidepressants simultaneously to increase preventative effects against suicide.

Violence Caused by Antidepressants: An Update after Munich  

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The media is now reporting details about the 18-year-old who shot and killed nine and wounded many others before killing himself on July 22 in Munich. My clinical and forensic experience leads to a distinction among people who murder under the influence of psychiatric drugs. Those who kill only one or two people, or close family members, often have little or no history of mental disturbance and violent tendencies. The drug itself seems like the sole cause of the violent outburst. On the other hand, most of those who commit mass violence while taking psychiatric drugs often have a long history of mental disturbance and sometimes violence. For these people, the mental health system seems to have provoked increasing violence without recognizing the danger.
risk versus reward

Randomized Controlled Trials of Psychiatric Drugs Tell of Harm Done

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The most important data in an RCT is not whether the drug provides a statistically significant benefit over placebo. The most important data is the “number needed to treat” calculation (NNT). For the person considering taking an antidepressant or an antipsychotic, the NNT data provides the “math” needed to weigh the potential benefit of taking the drug against the potential harm of doing so.
overmedication postpartum depression

The Answers in the Attic: A Mother-Daughter Story of Overmedication and Recovery

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In 1959, my mother suffered what people referred to as a nervous breakdown after my sister’s birth. I puzzled over why Mom never recovered, until I found Dad’s collection of medical records in my sister’s attic. How could anyone give a nursing mother with three small children so many drugs in such a short period of time?

Researcher Critiques Misleading Media Coverage of Lancet Antidepressant Meta-Analysis

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The BMJ’s clinical editor takes issue with uncritical media coverage of antidepressant network meta-analysis, outlining reporting missteps.

Making the Case Against Antidepressants in Parliament

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On Wednesday, May 11, there will be an inquiry by a work group in the U.K.’s Parliament into whether increases in the prescribing of antidepressants are fueling a marked increase in disability due to anxiety and depression in the U.K. I wrote about a similar rise in disability in the United States in Anatomy of an Epidemic, and the All Party Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence, which is the Parliamentary group that organized the debate, asked me to present the case against antidepressants.

New Data on the Adverse Effects of Meditation and Mindfulness

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Study reports on the less-examined findings of difficult and painful meditation-related experiences.