13 thoughts on “The Antidepressant Controversy: What Does it Mean For You?

  • July 12, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Robert Whitaker has written a persuasive (to me, anyway) rebuttal to Peter Kramer’s recent New York Times piece:


    See also Whitaker’s book, Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America:


    Whitaker cites Kirsch’s work on the ineffectiveness of antidepressants, but Anatomy of an Epidemic also examines the disturbing possibility that psychotropic drugs may actually worsen the course of mental illness in patients who take those drugs.

  • July 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    This controversy won’t go away soon, but the data are piling up somewhat in favor of Whitaker’s position I think.

  • July 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    @Alex: Thanks for the reference. The data seem to be slowly piling up in the direction of Whitaker’s (and others) positions.

  • July 12, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I get upset when people talk about “psychotherapy” — as though that were well-defined. But “psychotherapy” can mean many things, and the reason that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t is that what goes on in one therapy is not the same as what goes on in another. One has to pay attention to the details, because they matter.

  • July 13, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    @David: Somehow my reply to you earlier didn’t post. Thanks for your comment. I actually thought about discussing the issue that psychotherapy should be one of those that’s been supported by research such as cognitive therapy or interpersonal therapy, but chose not to. In retrospect, it would have been a good idea. I’m glad you brought it up!

  • July 13, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Why are people being so idiotic about this topic?

    Obviously people who don’t need the drugs are getting them. Surprise, the drugs are no better than placebos with that group.

    Meanwhile those of us who would literally die without our drugs wonder how the psych drug efficacy can even be in question.

    The whole debate is truly idiotic.

  • July 15, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    All I know is that when I used to try to stop taking my little dose of zoloft I would inevitably end up depressed and sometimes even hospitalized. Now I just take it every day and I’ve made it through 3 winters without any problems. Yes, it’s lack of sleep and other things that can trigger a problem but on the medication i can maintain without deep lows. Love my drug.

  • July 20, 2011 at 4:08 am

    Karin, as an FYI, many people in similar situations to yours, are suffering withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop the medication that are only relieved when reinstating it. As a result, they feel this proves they need the medication when perhaps, a slow taper (10% of current dose every 4 to 6 weeks) might have prevented the problem.

    Of course, I can’t say that is what is going on in your situation. But if you change your mind and decide at some point to come off the drug, you might want to consider a slow taper.

    http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/index is a great site for support. It is supported by donations and is not linked to any group. Commercial links are not allowed.

  • August 26, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    Placebo or not, from the combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, SSRI med, and my faith, I feel like I have new lease on life. I’m no longer preoccupying myself with how others may think about or judge me, or how I’m performing, and pounding hear rate. Instead, I have been able to dedicate my energy to making new connections, and not sweating the small stuff. Thank you, Zoloft! I feel like the Hulk in reverse! 🙂

  • January 12, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    I never expected anything from the pills I was put on – I didn’t think they would do anything – but the difference was incredible and people said I was like a different person. I saw nature differently and I couldn’t have imagined it because I’d never been happy before. Admittedly the strength of the effect wore off – I’ve been on them a very long time now – but I’m still better ON them than I’ve ever been when NOT on them.

  • February 2, 2012 at 9:50 am

    I’ve suffered mental illness all my life, I was born worried. I managed for the most part but it’s a painful struggle. Things went really bad 12 years ago when I suffered a complete breakdown and had to add PTSD and agoraphobia to my already existing depression and panic disorder. Now I am trapped in my house and haven’t left alone in 6 years. I tried to desensitize but the panic never goes away.
    This is where the revolving door of the mental health system in Canada started. Doctors have tried several different drug therapies with the same result. I get every side effect and absolutely no positive results. In fact I get the “biggie” the one side effect that all the commercials warn about. I don’t like to even post the word on here because people get all freaked out. The big S word. I can control this thought most of the time but if I’m on anti depressants it removes all the inhibitions to act on it. So what are folks like me to do. I can’t find any help unless I want to pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars for a Psychologist but I can’t work because of my agoraphobia. Catch 22. I’m considering EMDR…any thoughts?

    • February 2, 2012 at 10:55 am

      @SG: Sorry to hear about your difficulties. Unfortunately, I can’t really advise you via the Internet. EMDR appears to work reasonably well, but no better than prolonged exposure therapies and/or cognitive reprocessing approaches (it likely works pretty much on the same principles as exposure). If you have an affordable way to get it, you might want to try it. You could also look for a good self help book on anxiety. We wrote one, but there’s also a very good one by Bourne called the Anxiety and Phobia workbook. I wouldn’t recommend them for doing everything for you, but they could get you started. Good luck.

  • February 2, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Thank you for responding so soon, and your advise. If there was more folks like you out there it would be a kinder world.
    I will definitely explore these options.I think I will try EMDR for the couple of big traumas and maybe the workbooks for the smaller ones.
    I have even gone so far as to get an Associates Degree in Psychology, online of course, and think sometimes that’s the only thing that keeps me moving forward. At least I now know why I feel the way I do. I just can’t do anything about it. 🙂
    Thanks again. Good luck to everyone out there who suffers.


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