Individual Counseling, Couples Counseling and Sex Therapy

What Your Psychiatrist Doesn’t Want You to Know About Depression

According to a recent article in Psychotherapy Networker (January/February 2012) by Andrew Weil, there really isn’t any evidence that SSRIs are depression, depression counseling, depression therapyeffective, and furthermore, doctors really don’t understand how they work.  Why is this?  The answer, as is true with many things in life, is “follow the money”.  Drug companies make huge profits everyday by prescribing these types of drugs to people.  Therefore, those in the medical field do not have an incentive to research or focus on data that indicates SSRIs may not be effective.

According to Weil, the most recent analysis published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) rates the effects of SSRIs as “nonexistent to negligible”.  In fact, much of the perceived effectiveness has to do with the placebo effect- the idea that if you’re doing something, anything to help your depression you will feel better, so your depression will lift.  The truth is that the medical community does not really understand the role that seratonin plays in depression.  They know it does, but they don’t understand the mechanism of how it works.  Scary, right?

Yet there are doctors everyday, including general practitioners (even scarier!) prescribing these pills to people  Now, I’m not saying that they don’t have any value…I’m just suggesting that caution should be in order; buyer beware because the medical doctors generally won’t.  You need to be your own best advocate in your health care!

What DOES work for depression?  Many studies show that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is effective.  Altering your thoughts and perceptions will eventually make you feel better.  Now, for a person with depression that is a very difficult thing to do.  And, if you’re really depressed, perhaps SSRIs can actually be helpful.  But make sure you go to a qualified doctor, preferably a psychiatrist who keeps up with all of the latest research.  And, if you’re going to go on meds, combine it with talk therapy.  There is research suggesting that meds combined with talk therapy is more effective than just meds alone.  So find a good therapist, too. The good news?  Depression is one of the most treatable mental illnesses!

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