Can Probiotics be Used for the Treatment of Mental Health Problems?
Probiotics have certainly become quite the rage across the world for the treatment of all kinds of ailments from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to infectious diarrhoea to stress to low mood. Some might say that the enthusiasm has been rather slow to develop. Recently, the popular press has propagated the idea that probiotics are the next antidepressants.
Study 329: The Timelines
In addition to hosting the Panorama programs and The Famous Grouse history of Study 329, Study329.org has a comprehensive timeline on the origins of concerns about the SSRIs and the risk of suicide, initially with Prozac and subsequently with Paxil/Seroxat. The hope is to provide a comprehensive repository for anyone who wants to study SSRIs, RCTs, and Study 329 in particular.
Shooting the Odds, Part III
My prior MIA blog posts have largely addressed the problems that can occur when people try to stop taking serotonin-related antidepressants, particularly after taking them for a long period of time. I wanted to share a few updated thoughts that I have on the problem.
Seniors More Likely to Get Psych Meds, Less Likely to See...
Seniors are twice as likely to receive psychotropic prescriptions than younger adults but are much less likely to receive mental health care from psychiatrists or to receive psychotherapy, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. "Our findings suggest that psychotropic medication use is widespread among older adults in outpatient care, at a far higher rate than among younger patients," the study’s lead author Dr. Maust said in a press release. “In many cases, especially for milder depression and anxiety, the safer treatment for older adults who are already taking multiple medications for other conditions might be more therapy-oriented, but very few older adults receive this sort of care."
“10 Things I’d Tell My Former (Medicated) Self”
On The New York Times Opinionator Blog, Diana Spechler has written a series entitled “Going Off,” relating her experience transitioning to a life without...
Chemicals Have Consequences: Antidepressants, Pregnancy, and the New York Times
Depressed pregnant women need good care. They should not be made to feel guilty for the choices they make concerning their depression or lectured to by those who don’t understand the area or lack compassion for them. In that sense, Andrew Solomon does the public a service by turning his attention and writing talents to the topic of depression and pregnancy this week in the New York Times. However, a crucial part of providing good care to depressed pregnant women is to give them accurate information on the topic. In this sense, Andrew Solomon falls short.
Psych Meds Put 49 Million Americans at Risk for Cancer
With 1 in 5 Americans taking a psychiatric medication, most of whom, long term, we should probably start to learn a bit more about them. In fact, it would have been in the service of true informed consent to have investigated long-term risks before the deluge of these meds seized our population over the past thirty years.
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.
Largest Survey of Antidepressants Finds High Rates of Adverse Emotional and...
I thought I would make a small contribution to the discussion about how coverage of the recent airline tragedy focuses so much on the supposed ‘mental illness’ of the pilot and not so much on the possible role of antidepressants. Of course we will never know the answer to these questions but it is important, I think, to combat the simplistic nonsense wheeled out after most such tragedies, the nonsense that says the person had an illness that made them do awful things. So, just to confirm what many recipients of antidepressants, clinicians and researchers have been saying for a long time, here are some findings from our recent New Zealand survey of over 1,800 people taking anti-depressants, which we think is the largest survey to date.
Pilots Crashing on Antidepressants: A (Not So) Brief History
With the current focus on the possible contribution of psychoactive drugs to the crash of GermanWings flight A320 on Tuesday, March 24, it is useful to identify potential links between the effect of the antidepressants and the events. In all 47 cases listed on SSRIstories, the pilots were taking antidepressant medications, mostly SSRIs, often in combination with other medications and sometimes with alcohol.
Winging it: Antidepressants and Plane Crashes
The crash last week of the Germanwings plane has shocked many. In view of the apparent mental health record of the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, questions have been asked about the screening policies of airlines. The focus has generally been on the conditions pilots may have or the arguments they might be having with partners or other situational factors that might make them unstable. Even when the issue of the medication a pilot may be taking is raised, it is in the context of policies that permit pilots to continue on drugs like antidepressants to ensure any underlying conditions are effectively treated. But fewer treatments in medicine are effective in this sense than people might think and even when effective they come with effects that need to be balanced against the likely effects of the underlying condition.
Former Duke Psychiatry Chair Calls for BMJ to Retract Article about...
A former Duke University psychiatry chair is calling for a retraction of a study suggesting that the FDA's black-box warnings about increased suicidality in youth taking SSRIs led to increases in adolescent suicide attempts.
Here’s the Real Data: No Increase in Suicide Attempts Following Black...
A British Medical Journal study led by Harvard Medical School's Christine Lu suggested that black box warnings about increased suicidality in youth who take antidepressants actually led to increases in adolescent suicide attempts. However, the latest in a stream of critics of that conclusion are the authors of one of the key studies cited by Lu in support of her team's analysis.
Upon Further Review: Did the Black Box Warning on SSRIs Lead...
A study that appeared online in the British Medical Journal suggests that the FDA’s warning in 2003 that antidepressants increase the risk of suicidal ideation in youth paradoxically led to an increase in suicide attempts in this age group. Media reports on the study tell of how the black-box warning “backfired.” But is this conclusion warranted by the study? Or is the study flawed? And how did the media report on this story?
SSRIs in The Atlantic: Forget the Science Bring on the Anecdotes
The Atlantic web site has just published a strange piece on the efficacy of the antidepressants. When getting into a discussion with about antidepressants with a...