Presented by the U.S. Bureau of Miscellany.
Stanford Professor Robert Sapolsky, posits that depression is the most damaging disease that you can experience. Right now it is the number four cause of disability in the US and it is becoming more common. Sapolsky states that depression is as real of a biological disease as is diabetes.
I’ve decided that the single worst thing about this illness is its terrible authority. I mean the way it thunders at you, “This is the reality. This is how it is and how it’s going to be. Any memories of fun or wellness are flukes, delusions. And will never come again. Now you have 20/20 vision and see life for the dreadful mess it really is.”
The New York Times [bypass NYT article limit with NYClean]:
In terms of perception, these are hard times for antidepressants. A number of articles have suggested that the drugs are no more effective than placebos.
Last month brought an especially high-profile debunking. In an essay in The New York Review of Books, Marcia Angell, former editor in chief of The New England Journal of Medicine, favorably entertained the premise that “psychoactive drugs are useless.” Earlier, a USA Today piece about a study done by the psychologist Robert DeRubeis had the headline, “Antidepressant lift may be all in your head,” and shortly after, a Newsweek cover piece discussed research by the psychologist Irving Kirsch arguing that the drugs were no more effective than a placebo.
Could this be true? Could drugs that are ingested by one in 10 Americans each year, drugs that have changed the way that mental illness is treated, really be a hoax, a mistake or a concept gone wrong?
The New York Review of Books; see also part two, “The Illusions of Psychiatry.”
The books by Irving Kirsch, Robert Whitaker, and Daniel Carlat are powerful indictments of the way psychiatry is now practiced. They document the “frenzy” of diagnosis, the overuse of drugs with sometimes devastating side effects, and widespread conflicts of interest. Critics of these books might argue, as Nancy Andreasen implied in her paper on the loss of brain tissue with long-term antipsychotic treatment, that the side effects are the price that must be paid to relieve the suffering caused by mental illness. If we knew that the benefits of psychoactive drugs outweighed their harms, that would be a strong argument, since there is no doubt that many people suffer grievously from mental illness. But as Kirsch, Whitaker, and Carlat argue convincingly, that expectation may be wrong.