Depression: It’s Not Your Serotonin

68
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:

Researchers: “Antidepressants Should Not be Used for Adults with Major Depressive Disorder”

7
A new review, published in BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, concludes that antidepressants should not be used as the risks outweigh evidence for benefits.

Stopping SSRI Antidepressants Can Cause Long, Intense Withdrawal Problems

78
In the first systematic review of withdrawal problems that patients experience when trying to get off SSRI antidepressant medications, researchers found that withdrawing from SSRIs was comparable to trying to quit addictive benzodiazepines.

SSRI Exposure in Pregnancy Alters Fetal Neurodevelopment

2
Alterations in gray matter and white matter development found in infants of mothers taking SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy.

The Reckoning in Psychiatry Over Protracted Antidepressant Withdrawal

19
Medically-induced harm—affecting tens of millions of people worldwide—has taken the field decades to take seriously.
integrative mental health

8 Years of Mental Health Research Distilled to 4 Infographics

71
Pictures are worth a thousand words. So I’ve chosen pictures to distill the mountain of mental health research I’ve examined over the last eight years. Three infographics summarize research on psychiatric drugs, and one asserts why I think Integrative Mental Health is the best path available for mental health recovery.

New Data Show Lack of Efficacy for Antidepressants

12
An article published this month in the journal BMC Psychiatry suggests that there is a lack of efficacy for SSRIs and that they significantly increase the risk of serious side effects.

Rigorous Study Finds Antidepressants Worsen Long-Term Outcomes

37
A new study conducted by Jeffrey Vittengl at Truman University has found that taking antidepressant medications resulted in more severe depression symptoms after nine years.

Disability and Mood Disorders in the Age of Prozac

127
When I was researching Anatomy of an Epidemic and sought to track the number of people receiving a disability payment between 1987 and 2007 due to “mental illness,” I was frustrated by the lack of diagnostic clarity in the data. The Social Security Administration would list, in its annual reports on the Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) programs, the number of people receiving payment for “mental disorders,” which in turn was broken down into just two subcategories: “retardation,” and “other mental disorders.” Unfortunately, the “other mental disorders,” which was the category for those with psychiatric disorders, was not broken down into its diagnostic parts.

Antidepressants Increase Risk of Death, Study Finds

2
Antidepressants are commonly considered safe and effective treatments. However, research has questioned their efficacy, and now, their safety.

The FDA Is Hiding Reports Linking Psych Drugs to Homicides

55
In my wildest dreams, I could never have imagined being drawn into a story of intrigue involving my own government’s efforts to hide, from the public, reports of psychiatric drugs associated with cases of murder, including homicides committed by youth on the drugs. But that is precisely the intrigue I now find myself enmeshed in.

Zoloft Does Not Improve Depression, Even in Severe Cases, Study Finds

10
Despite their finding, the researchers suggest that SSRIs be given to people who do not meet criteria for depression or anxiety.

New Data Supports Acupuncture as a Treatment for Depression

2
Researchers found acupuncture effective in the treatment of chronic pain and depression

Systematic Review Finds Antidepressant Withdrawal Common and Potentially Long-lasting

27
Prominent researchers conduct a review of antidepressant withdrawal incidence, duration, and severity. Results lead to call for new clinical guidelines.
clinical trials

Rewarding the Companies That Cheated the Most in Antidepressant Trials

21
When I first saw this Lancet 2018 network meta-analysis of antidepressant trials, my thought was that the authors had rewarded those companies that had cheated the most with their trials. My suspicion was strengthened when I looked at the results in their abstract and the three drugs they claimed were more effective and better tolerated.

The Media Scolds Marianne Williamson (And Gets It Wrong)

104
Journalists have called Marianne Williams’ comments on depression dangerous and irresponsible. A closer look reveals that her “opinions” on mental health treatment are more in line with the science, and that the know-it-all assertions by Cooper and colleagues are belied by it.

Antidepressants Not Superior to Psychotherapy for Severe Depression

12
On Wednesday, JAMA Psychiatry released a meta-analysis comparing the results of cognitive-behavioral therapy and antidepressant medication in severely depressed populations. Currently, many practice guidelines suggest that antidepressants be used over psychotherapy for major depressive disorder. The analysis, however, found that “patients with more severe depression were no more likely to require medications to improve than patients with less severe depression.”

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

19
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.

Study of Online Antidepressant Forums Reveals Long Lasting Withdrawal Effects

22
Effects of discontinuing SSRIs and SNRIs reported on an online forum indicate significant and long-lasting withdrawal symptoms.

Part II: Michelle Starts Prozac and Sees the Devil

35
By 2011, anyone who read the scientific literature would have known that children cannot tolerate SSRIs and should not be given them. Neither Conrad nor Michelle seemed to have been warned about the common adverse effects (such as nightmares and compulsive suicidality) of the SSRI antidepressants they were on.

Infants Exposed to Psychotropic Drugs During Pregnancy At Risk

15
New research published in the July issue of The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that the use of mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, antidepressants, and hypnotics during pregnancy is associated with increased health risks to the infant.

Researchers: Antidepressant Withdrawal, Not “Discontinuation Syndrome”

20
Researchers suggest that the pharmaceutical industry had a vested interest in using the term “discontinuation” in order to hide the severity of physical dependence and withdrawal reactions many people experience from antidepressants.

Drug Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder Not Supported By Evidence

23
New research published in the August issue of Psychiatric Annals evaluates the results of randomized control trials on the use of various psychotropic drugs for patients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Despite the “American Psychiatric Association’s practice guidelines endorsement of SSRIs as first-line therapies for BPD,” the results of the meta-analysis reveal that pharmacotherapy in BPD is “not supported by the current literature,” and “should be avoided whenever possible.”

Playing the Odds, Revisited

42
It is hard to believe that a year has gone past since I posted Playing the Odds: Antidepressant Withdrawal and the Problem of Informed Consent. The feedback I received underscored the more controversial aspects of SSRI toxicity.  Common themes concerned the abrupt onset of new symptoms 3 to 12 months after stopping the drug, reinstatement of the drug failing to help withdrawal related symptoms, the possibility that withdrawal-related symptoms can persist indefinitely and concerns about using benzodiazepines to help with tardive akathisia.

Over 1,000 Antidepressant Users Describe how Their Personal Life has Been Affected

14
Survey examines adverse personal and interpersonal effects of antidepressants and the impact of polypharmacy