Antidepressant drug statistics turn out to be depressing

June 6, 2009

My views on antidepressants are that they be necessary for some people, at some time, but that natural methods and therapy work just as well. Now it seems, I have support from Stephen Wisniewski, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, who set up a study of data compiled in a massive, government-funded review of more than 40 psychiatric facilities. Known as the ‘Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression’, it’s catchy title reveals that antidepressants are only effective in a small percentage of patients and then only within a very narrow spectrum of conditions.However, most patients have multiple issues and it appears the majority (around 60 percent) are not benefiting from being given antidepressants. What is as troubling is the fact that the ‘great results’ given out by the pharmaceutical companies have been carefully selected so that patients in their particular drug’s trial are only those within the spectrum that the drug can help – in other words it seems they exclude the multiple issue patients. When Wisniewski did a comparison of patients in drug trials, against those whose data was in the Sequenced Treatment research it appeared that only 22 percent of the people he studied would have been eligible for the drug trial. Hardly a representative sample of the general population who suffer from depression.

Depression can be debilitating and destructive and I am all in favour of doing what works, but a preliminary step of seeking help from counselling, hypnotherapy, cognitive behaviour and herbs such as Rhodiola and St John’s Wort would seem like a good first step.


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