People diagnosed with severe depression show the same changes in brain scans when they respond to a placebo as they do when they take an actual antidepressant, according to a new study. Researchers also found that those whose symptoms were decreased by a placebo were more likely to report relief from antidepressant drugs.
While publication bias has been known to overestimate the efficacy of antidepressant treatments, a new study suggests that research on the use of psychotherapy in depression suffers from a similar bias.
Hundreds of people have been given remote control deep brain stimulation implants for psychiatric disorders such as depression, OCD and Tourette’s. Yet DBS specialists still have no clue about its mechanisms of action and research suggests its hefty health and safety risks far outweigh benefits.
This past Saturday, I was on my way back from Europe to Boston, and while on a stop in Iceland, I checked my email and was directed to a new blog by Ronald Pies in Psychiatric Times, in which he once again revisited the question of whether American psychiatry, and the American Psychiatric Association (APA), ever promoted the idea that chemical imbalances caused mental disorders. And just like when I read his 2011 writings on this subject, I found myself wondering what to make of his post. Why was he so intent on maintaining psychiatry’s “innocence?” And why did it matter?
A new study out of the University of Missouri examines the relationship between forgiveness and depression. Medical Daily reports, “while your therapist might tell you to forgive yourself when times get tough, it’s not always just self-forgiveness that decreases depression. Rather, forgiving others seems to have the most positive impact.”
In this week’s NY Times Modern Love blog Hannah Louise Poston tells the story of living with her severely depressed boyfriend, Joe, and how her decision to buy a kitten improved their relationship. “The next morning when we woke up, the first words out of Joe’s mouth were, ‘Where’s the kitten?’ And the kitten’s first act, when she heard his voice, was to ice-pick her way up the quilt and jump on his face. That same summer, Joe mustered the energy to make major changes in his life…”
Australian trade minister, Andrew Robb, spoke about inadequate government funding for mental health at a summit of mental health experts on Monday. Canberra related his own personal experience of struggling to seek treatment for depression and counseled that “stigma has been such a massive deterrent” both for individuals in need of help and for government funding of mental health programs.
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.
Regaining power over our own health was the goal of Ivan Illich’s 1976 book Medical Nemesis, which detailed an epidemic of physician-caused death and illness. This epidemic continues, and so does an epidemic of physician-caused anger, despair and crazy-appearing behaviors. In 2013, the Journal of Patient Safety reported that the “true number of premature deaths associated with preventable harm to patients is estimated at more than 400,000 per year,” making it the third leading cause of death in the United States It is especially drug use errors, communication failures and diagnostic errors that result in another medical nemesis: They can make us appear—and sometimes feel—like we’re “crazy.”
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.
It is time for a new understanding of suicidal feelings and actions. Perhaps a more open dialogue, without fear of sirens and police and involuntary hospitalizations, would have made a difference for one young man here in Asheville last month. Perhaps more public local conversation would have saved some of the 45 lives we lost here in Buncombe County in 2010. Perhaps a more public and safe national conversation would have saved some of the 22 veterans who died from suicide every day in 2010.
When people ask me how I began working on my last book, Crazy Like Us, I tell them about meeting Dr. Laurence Kirmayer at McGill University back in 2005. He took time one afternoon to tell me a remarkable story about a personal encounter he had with the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline and the remarkable resources that the company employed over the last decade to make their antidepressant pill Paxil a best seller in Japan.
I was recently talking with a young man about his anxiety, which he experiences as extreme. When I asked him what the anxiety was...
Whether it’s the Nurtured Heart Approach, or any other method that’s truly up to the task, we need these effective strategies and ways of thinking to be more widespread so we can lessen the pitfalls of the medical model’s limited prospective which has no idea of how to turn intense into immensely great.
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...
It is refreshing that The New York Times in the space of four days has published two articles which take a critical view of...
Did scientists recently discover that the Serotonin Theory of Depression is false? Or has this been known for decades? We investigate.