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Very interesting paper. Thanks for the heads up.
Thanks to those of you who provided comments, and thanks as well to whoever posted a link on Facebook. For many readers of MIA, I’m sure this piece is like ‘preaching to the choir’. I originally wrote this piece for the Huffington Post, who invited me to write something about antidepressants after my colleagues and I had published an article on this in the open-access, on-line journal Frontiers in Psychology:
However, on the eve of publication, the Huffington Post changed their mind and decided not to post it–ostensibly because it was too long. I later had some communication with a senior editor at the Huffington Post, who assured me that the piece would be published regardless of how long it was. That was the last communication I had from the Huffington Post. They never published the piece, and they never answered my subsequent email queries about it.
This was irritating because they had invited me to write the piece, and the only time we heard something about a word limit was on the eve of publication when they declined to post it. Moreover, my collaborators Lyndsey Gott and Andy Thomson worked very hard to help me put together what I think is an excellent, well documented piece for them. (We also got a very helpful assist from Andy’s wife, Christine, who is a medical malpractice attorney. She helped me ensure the accuracy of the legal aspects of the piece.)
Anyway, I’m very glad Bob Whitaker was interested in the piece and gave it a home. If you think it is a good overview of the effects of antidepressants, please pass it around. That’s why we wrote it.
Incidentally, one of the most powerful reasons to believe that antidepressants do more harm than good is the evidence (reviewed above) that antidepressant use is associated with an increased risk of death. One can quibble that our list of benefits and harms is incomplete, but mortality data naturally synthesize all the costs and benefits, even those that have not yet been identified. It is difficult to argue that a drug is really helping people when it increases their risk of death. And all five of the studies that we are aware of show an increased risk of death in older people with depression who take antidepressants. That’s a pretty consistent and troubling pattern.