home
RSS
Are antidepressants glorified placebos?
June 16th, 2011
04:41 PM ET

Are antidepressants glorified placebos?

Which came first, the mental illness or the drug? While in other areas of medicine this is a no-brainer (no pun intended), some argue that certain psychiatric conditions are created and classified because of the effects particular drugs have on the body, and not the other way around.

Three new books, reviewed in Dr. Marcia Angell's article "The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why?" in The New York Review of Books, raise startling possibilities about the truth behind the explosion of prescriptions of pharmaceutical treatments for mental illness. (Dr. Angell, by the way, was the first woman to ever be editor-in-chief of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine).

All of the authors of the new books agree on two thought-provoking viewpoints:

1. Our understanding of categories of mental illness and their treatments has been influenced by drug companies, through both legal and illegal marketing.
2. Mental illness is not caused by chemical imbalances in the brain.

These views, however controversial, are documented well, Angell says.

For instance, even though the goal of psychoactive drugs is to alter levels of neurotransmitters - brain chemicals - which affect mood, scientists have not found good evidence that it's the chemicals themselves that cause the mental illness. Before treatment, neurotransmitter function seems to be normal, they say.

"By this same logic one could argue that the cause of all pain conditions is a deficiency of opiates, since narcotic pain medications activate opiate receptors in the brain," writes Daniel Carlat, author of "Unhinged: The Trouble With Psychiatry - A Doctor’s Revelations About a Profession in Crisis."

So if drugs don't treat the cause of mental illness, what are they doing? Irving Kirsch argues in "The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth" that antidepressants work merely because patients believe they work, and the pills' side effects reinforce that belief.

As I wrote earlier this month, the placebo effect is the idea that a sham medical treatment, with no inherent healing properties, can sometimes operate as if it were an actual drug in alleviating pain and changing blood pressure, digestion and other involuntary functions. The more complex and involved the fake treatment, the more effective it's likely to be.

So keep that in mind when you consider that, according to Kirsch's research on Food and Drug Administration reviews of clinical trials of antidepressants, placebos were about 82% as effective as the drugs. And non-antidepressant treatments such as sedatives and opiates were just as effective. In fact, he found that "nearly any pill with side effects was slightly more effective in treating depression than an inert placebo," Angell writes. Kirsch speculates that, in fact, the side effects themselves are what convince patients that their antidepressants are working, and lead to them saying they feel less depressed.

Our CNNHealth.com mental health expert - Dr. Charles Raison, a psychiatrist at Emory University School of Medicine - says there is some truth to the idea that antidepressants work at least in part by the placebo effect, and science has borne that out. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, as physicians can harness this effect - for instance, in terms of the doctor-patient relationship itself being therapeutic - he says. But in patients with more severe depression, the placebo effect diminishes, so the drug must be doing something. You could even look at it like this: antidepressants may potentiate the placebo effect.

"Antidepressants are not perfect, but they definitely have saved many people’s lives," he says.

And if the myth of the chemical imbalance suggests that depressed people simply need more or less of certain brain chemicals, that's right, Raison says: "It’s pretty clear that depression is not like you’re running out of gas." But, of course, all emotions and thoughts are generated by physical interactions in the brain and the body, so at its core, depression is indeed a biologically based disorder. The brain is obviously quite complex, and antidepressants seem to help reset and recalibrate systems in the brain to help you feel better.

Angell will address the "wonder drug" popularity of mental illness treatments in the second part of her series.


soundoff (273 Responses)
  1. Rob

    Where do we let CNN know that we object to stupidity like this article being posted in the guise of "news"....idiots might believe this crap because they saw it on "cnn.com" and thought it was real....the onion wouldn't even post something THIS absurd!

    June 17, 2011 at 07:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Programmr

      This article is garbage. There is no mention of an actual scientific study, just books. In otherwords, it's belief. Save the belief for the religous column CNN!

      June 17, 2011 at 07:58 | Report abuse |
    • Johnnyred

      Marcia Angell, M.D. is an American physician, author, and the first woman to serve as editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. She currently is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School

      Seems highly unlikely that your opinion holds much weight ...

      July 10, 2011 at 11:03 | Report abuse |
  2. Zoloft Cymbalta Prozac Garcia

    Antidepressants are good for you and like skittles they come in many fruity colors. When I am down I take an orange one, when I am up I take a purple one when I am in the middle I take a green one. Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies. When I pee pee my pee pee contains cymbalta, when I poo poo my poo poo contains prozac. Get real get antidepressed.

    June 17, 2011 at 07:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jo

      Sure, said by people who have never had to deal with anything sever. It's easy to talk high handed when you have control. Some people are not that lucky, and NO, it's not just a choice we have to make.

      June 17, 2011 at 11:21 | Report abuse |
  3. Frank

    About time, great article. A great reading would be the myth of mental illness by Dr. Thomasz Szasz. Not that mental illness doesn't exist, it does and can be proven by modern technology (PET scans, MRI, etc) when trauma to the brain occurs. However there is currently NO BIOLOGICAL TEST to determine when someone has low levels of seratonin, dopamine etc in the brain. It is all hypothesized. If you read medical literature you will find keywords such as "linked, possible, theoreticall" etc. The long term effects of these drugs that alters brain chemistry has yet to be discovered. Please think of that next time they try and medicate your child because he's hyper.

    June 17, 2011 at 07:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rob

      a machine would indicate you have some brain activity even if your posts contradict that....

      June 17, 2011 at 07:34 | Report abuse |
    • glory

      rob-
      at least frank is citing a source for his opinion. next time you critique something, have a little mustard behind your words. also, i suppose that you believe everything that cnn tells you– or else, you wouldn't be so offended that this was published.

      i would recommend to anyone questioning the truth of any story– read, read, read and then find more sources to read. the truth, you will find somewhere in the middle.

      peace.

      June 17, 2011 at 08:05 | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      I think I will go with they many sources I encountered getting my degrees, one of which is a Masters in psychology. the problem with citing sources is that anyone can cite another source that says the opposite. Also, if people don't bother to do the research themselves, they tend to be more skeptical about the facts presented. In this case, Frank's source might as well be the bible since it's just as much BS....

      June 17, 2011 at 08:09 | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      I have done a lot of research which would indicate that all psychotropic drugs are of questionable efficacy and that psychiatrists are big pharma puppets. I also don't know why so many people are getting mad at an article that is stating facts?

      June 17, 2011 at 08:42 | Report abuse |
    • noone

      Rob,

      My sister is a PhD level Psych professor...I mentioned your post and she laughed stating a Masters in psychology is pretty useless except as a stepping stone for PhD. She also mentioned that a psychologist, depending on their focus, may have no right to offer anything but an opinion on psychotropic drugs. Which is why they're not allowed to prescribe them.

      People who open with their pedigree really irk me. I hope you're not one of the many educated beyond their intelligence. I hope you're paying for your 'many degrees' with your own dime and not using federal resources as a professional student...those people really annoy me. I also have many degrees, typically about 97.6 of them, Fahrenheit.

      June 17, 2011 at 10:07 | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      Well I may only be in undergraduate school but I know a few things. One, that antidepressants are not an exact science. There is much that doctors don't know about them, and most doctors are willing to admit that. Two, that some forms of mental illness do resolve regardless of treatment, whether that be medication, therapy, or no treatment at all. And three, that for some people the medications have saved their lives. Yes, I agree we should not jump so quickly to medicate. But if someone is in pain, no one says we shouldn't give them pain relievers. Whether or not the cause of mental illness is related to seratonin is irrelevant.

      June 17, 2011 at 17:52 | Report abuse |
  4. Don

    I've used antidepressants for years and they have been an absolute life saver for me; without them, it is difficult for me to function. I suffer from severe anxiety attacks, and my antidepressant really keeps me going.

    June 17, 2011 at 07:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Buck

      I bet you're also taking a drug like Xanax as well. If you have severe anxietyattacks like I do, odds on the Xanax or Klonipin is what gets you through the day and not the anti-depressant. Still not sure why they insist on prescribing both at the same time....

      June 17, 2011 at 07:48 | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      synergy....complementary effects...some drugs do nothing but augment the effects of another drug and are only given to those that really need it to avoid unnecessary risks at more severe side effects

      June 17, 2011 at 08:15 | Report abuse |
    • Winston5

      Don if theywork for you, I'm happy for you. I was on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds and always wondered 'why am I so anxious if I'm NOT depressed?!' I kicked all meds last year througha doctor's supervision and it was sheer hell on earth, but I'm functional and feeling everything now. It's nice to have a clear head. Plus I vaporize medical pot almost daily. Best of luck to you. And ROB, you sound educated but you're also quite the jerk, so which medical school in the Bahamas gave you your "masters degree?" (I pray you not practicing...)

      June 17, 2011 at 08:38 | Report abuse |
    • mam

      Winston – "antidepressant" is a misnomer, unfortunately, just like ADHD. (Have experienced both w/family members or self). And unfortunately, there's a social stigma with everything related.

      Anyway, while a placebo effect is probable, it's not always true. Cognitive behavioral therapy should accompany the medicine treatment, as necessary.

      June 17, 2011 at 09:02 | Report abuse |
    • mam

      I meant "possible," not probable. I think what this article is actually addressing is the self-fulfilling prophecy.

      June 17, 2011 at 09:07 | Report abuse |
  5. Andrew D

    NUT's

    June 17, 2011 at 07:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Rob

    The reality of it is simple: In the US, we have processes in place to make sure drugs that go on the market have passed extensive research standards including double-blind tests to rule out the placebo effect. The foundation of this article is just plain false and there are DECADES of research to refute the claims in this article.

    June 17, 2011 at 07:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • glory

      rob, they sure do have you fooled.

      June 17, 2011 at 08:02 | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      paranoid much? you seem to be a sheep following stupid conspiracy theories....I am personally involved with the process....I know more about it than people who become fearful because they read an article...

      June 17, 2011 at 08:11 | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      oh, glory, BTW....if you're gonna be a troll, you should really find someone that isn't an expert in the field to go after....there are few things as embarrassing as making a fool of yourself....

      June 17, 2011 at 08:21 | Report abuse |
    • Dead Red

      We're never gonna get anywhere if we keep assuming everyone who disagrees with us is either an idiot or a conspiracy nut. That said, why is it that even the mention of the word "conspiracy" brings contempt and scorn? Have there never been any conspiracies in history? Once more we fall victim to buzzwords. Thanks, media.

      June 17, 2011 at 12:23 | Report abuse |
    • AGuest9

      Have 3 friends who work in IT. All three depressed. All three put on anti-depressants and turned into zombies. All three lost their jobs.

      Might they have lost their jobs because of their condition? Perhaps.
      Did some big pharma rep make money off their misery beforehand? Yes.
      Were they screw-offs? No, all three have found new jobs, new doctors and new ways of coping.

      The drugs are a joke.

      June 18, 2011 at 11:07 | Report abuse |
  7. Brian H

    So Tom Cruise was right–these drugs are a sham!. I'm going to go to the living room right this instant and start jumping on the couch.

    June 17, 2011 at 07:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rob

      don't forget to lock your wife and child away for years...

      June 17, 2011 at 07:52 | Report abuse |
    • Barry

      make sure you wear your aluminum foil hat to help channel the alien ghosts

      June 17, 2011 at 10:13 | Report abuse |
  8. Rob

    you NEED to be on meds.....you're obviously insane!

    June 17, 2011 at 07:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Mandible Fowl

    Eat turkey!

    June 17, 2011 at 08:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Old 333

      That seems like a reasonable response to almost any situation.

      June 19, 2011 at 00:15 | Report abuse |
  10. Pradeep Srivastava

    I see some contradictory statements being made in this article. For example, it states:

    "All of the authors of the new books agree on two thought-provoking viewpoints:

    1. Our understanding of categories of mental illness and their treatments has been influenced by drug companies, through both legal and illegal marketing.
    2. Mental illness is not caused by chemical imbalances in the brain."

    But it also states, "But, of course, all emotions and thoughts are generated by physical interactions in the brain and the body, so at its core, depression is indeed a biologically based disorder. The brain is obviously quite complex, and antidepressants seem to help reset and recalibrate systems in the brain to help you feel better."

    If mental illness is not caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, then how can antidepressants help reset and recalibrate the systems in the brain to help you feel better? Also, I disagree with the statement, " all emotions and thoughts are generated by physical interactions in the brain and the body" I think it's the other way around; emotions and thoughts cause physical changes in the brain. The more I think about the issue the more I am convinced that antidpressants work mostly because of the "placebo effect"

    June 17, 2011 at 08:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joan

      If you don't think that biological functions (adrenals, neurotransmitters, etc) control thoughts and behaviors, then ask your closest female family member what she thinks. Because anyone who has gone through menstruation and menopause knows that chemistry is everything!

      June 17, 2011 at 10:15 | Report abuse |
    • Leslie

      If you "think about this" and come up with whether or not anti-depressants work or don't work, you don't know what you're talking about. Try *experiencing* long-term chronic depression and then give us a report. Some of the drugs work and some of them don't. Not all of them are going to work for everyone, and not all stand the test of time. That doesn't mean they are no better than placebos.

      June 17, 2011 at 11:28 | Report abuse |
  11. Miss L

    Just stop thinking the thoughts that make you sad? Seriously? Depression is NOT something you can turn on or off with a switch. Depression is a disease. We can't control whether or not we have it, but we can control our symptoms with drugs and therapy.

    June 17, 2011 at 08:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Ms P

    Having battled depression for most of my adult life I can say that antidepressants have not been placebos for me. I have tried approximately 80% of the medication on the market and after a trial period of 12 weeks my doctor and I were able to tell if a medication was having an effect or not and if not we would move on to another medication hoping for something which would work. I now take a combination of 4 different drugs and am actively working to get off them. My goal is to be drug free but so far I have not been successful. Fluctuations in my medicinal regimen are noticable in my mood. I may notice it, or at times others do. I come from a family with a significant history of severe depression, addiction and suicide. My opinion is that while some people may get a placebo effect from antidepressants others do not.

    June 17, 2011 at 09:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nature's cure

      If your goal is to be drug free, try a magnesium supplement like "Natural Calm" which is magnesium citrate and a vitamin d3 supplement. Read the book "The Magnesium Miracle" to learn how magnesium helps with depression and anxiety naturally. It truly helped my sister with her depression.

      June 17, 2011 at 09:56 | Report abuse |
  13. mam

    I just barfed a little...

    June 17, 2011 at 09:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Man

      You sound like me – You poor thing!!! I get them quite fetqurnely as well. My doctor perscribed to me a blood thinner to me, it helps regulate the blood flow to my head. I don't remember the real name by the generic is Inderol... I think that is how you spell it. I have also tried ginsing, the herbal and that has helped me tremedously.Good Luck, and feel better

      February 1, 2012 at 00:06 | Report abuse |
    • ibhmzf

      7GPyqO rlvcqozbxbgv

      February 3, 2012 at 12:56 | Report abuse |
    • nislcfmacb

      r4q994 pflkiqonanwk

      February 6, 2012 at 03:09 | Report abuse |
  14. Don

    The truth is... they don't even have a placebo effect. One researcher likened antidepressants to a "chemical lobotomy," and that's probably the best analogy there is. But they are actually worse than that. One of the very small early clinical study for a popular antidepressant had to be shut down when about half the otherwise healthy trial subjects became suicidal, and in fact one of the volunteers, a young female intern, hung herself in the laboratory closet. Note that ALL these volunteers were not depressed and were healthy physically, mentally and emotionally. One volunteer, not necessarily in the same study, described a scene where she suddenly felt an overpowering urge to walk out her front door and directly into traffic, for the sole purpose of killing herself. The phone rang at the last moment that she was leaving, which snapped her out of it. Unfortunately, the company that conducted the study in which the woman hung herself did more studies and eventually got their drug approved. But it is a shame that the not uncommon phenomena of having the sudden and overpowering harm oneself or others while on these drugs has not been investigated to much depth. I would suspect that those people in favor of the drugs know very little about any of this, and they probably don't even know that it's been reported that attempting to gouge out one's eyes is a rather common side effect of one of the antidepressants. In other stories, a young man with a very happy life suddenly cuts his own throat while driving on a highway, crashes, and is killed. An English woman dies when she attempts to cut off her own head with her husband's machine in the basement of their home. A cop snaps out of it and discovers that he's in the middle of raping a woman in her vehicle in the middle of the day. A teenager is shot to death after suddenly going on a bizarre tirade. A woman decides to kill her entire family in the middle of the night, and carries it out. Another woman falls asleep on the couch and wakes up to find her baby next to her, dead, and doesn't know how he died. She is convicted of murder. Are you aware that that many of the national and emotionally charged school mass killings are connected with antidepressants? These are just a few of those who have unknowingly died as a result of their participation in the worlds biggest fraud, ever. Go to ssristories.com and follow the blue button at the bottom of the page to get to the index of more tragedies that demonstrate the truth about antidepressants. There is nothing better at protecting us from ourselves, than ourselves with a little knowledge.

    June 17, 2011 at 09:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Benjamin Pierce

    All I got from this article is someone wants me to buy their new book.

    June 17, 2011 at 10:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Barry

    I tried an antidepressant when people were saying that I was depressed. That stuff made me high as a kite. I felt happy because I was wasted. It was like pot and cocaine...placebos no......they make you high, so there goes the depression, they may not actually cure you, so when you stop, you will still be depressed.

    June 17, 2011 at 10:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Joan

    The best shrink I ever had told me when he prescribed the medications that ended up saving my life: "we have no idea how these things work. It is all trial and error. But at least there is hope that it might alleviate your symptoms." And he was right. It is now 8 years later and I have been anxiety free since then. Finished the Ph.D. and became a professor. Before that time, I was house-bound. How can I argue with these results?

    June 17, 2011 at 10:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sadness Addicted

      You would have been just as accomplished without it had you taken a placebo, focused more time with your psychiatrist at building self confidence or as actually happened your gained confidence from the placebo effect of teh antidepressants you were prescribed.

      You would have accomplished as much with sugar pills if you believed in them. Remember dumbos magic feather.

      June 17, 2011 at 13:29 | Report abuse |
  18. Alyson

    Maybe instead of arguing we could look at this seriously. I was on anti depressants for 10 years not because I was depressed for 10 years only the first year; it took me the other 9 to get off of them. There is something wrong with a med that is supposed to make you feel better but when you try to stop it makes you feel crazy and sick. I am finally off them and I have never felt better.

    June 17, 2011 at 10:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sadness Addicted

      That is the testimonial of an Effexor (venlafaxine) patient

      June 17, 2011 at 13:30 | Report abuse |
  19. Ms P

    Well the SSRIs don't work for me. Before I took the meds I couldn't get out of bed and I was suicidal. Now I can function but but I am definitely not high. Life is okay but not great. Everything is just kind of grey and bland but I am getting by and that is important. I have always coupled my medical treatment with therapy, diet and exercise. I believe in a holistic method of treatment and hope to find the solution.

    June 17, 2011 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Chrisa Hickey

    So – schizophrenia....which is NOT a mood disorder but is a very serious mental illness....not helped by meds? I beg to differ. Your point #2, the basis for the article, is dangerous: "mental illness are not chemical imbalances in the brain" – when it comes to psychosis, the jury is still out.

    June 17, 2011 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. billybsea

    This sounds like another Church of Scientology plot, albeit Tom Cruise on Oprah. I KNOW that I began feeling better after I started taking an SSRI... But, when two brothers and then my father later were diagnosed with mild to moderate depression/anxiety disorders and began the same SSRI – and reported felling better – it seemed obvious that there was a familial (i.e. genetic) predisposition to depression in our family. And I think it's BS to conclude that it is a genetic predisposition toword susceptibility to the placebo effect. One of the difficulties in treating mental illness is that it's impossible to ascertain serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine levels at the neurosynptic junction without entering the skull, and thus, much of the treatment modalities are based upon hypotheses. And while there is a degree of placebo effect when trialing medications, I personally think many of the hypotheses regarding depression are borne out as accurate based upon the large numbers of people helped.

    And those not believing in biological reasons for mental illness can continue waiting on L. Ron Hubbard's spaceship.

    June 17, 2011 at 11:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Little Star

    As an antidepressant guinea pig for 10 years (starting when I was around 15), all I can say is that antidepressants are generally overused in our population. I lost the majority of my teenage and young adult years to drug induced stupors, medications that changed my personality, and medications that made me completely forget a few years of my life. As it turned out, I was not depressed, did not have any severe mental conditions that required sedation or psychotropic drugs, I simply have a slight anxiety disorder (which is not uncommon given that I spent my childhood in constant fear of death because I was born with severe asthma).

    The most important information I ever received was from my family doctor I currently have. "I can give you a medication that will help you mentally feel like climbing out of the hole you feel like you're in, but if you don't go through therapy and counseling to get to the root of the problem and make lifestyle changes that are going to help you function, when you stop taking the drug, you'll be right back where you started." I took the medication and did intense therapy and counseling for a year, found my triggers, found my subconscious fears and learned to control them instead of letting them control me.

    After coming off of the antidepressant it was evident after a few weeks that I needed a small dose of anxiety medication taken daily to keep me on a level ground and Klonipin for when I have an attack. Most people expect that taking a pill is going to fix it all, but when dealing with mental issues, no pill is going to fix the problem unless you do the legwork to instill positive thought and life processes AND find the root of the problem and begin the struggling journey of learning to cope with your personal "demons".

    As for the placebo affect, I've seen it too often in people (especially my older sister), who have a slight problem and once the doctor gives them a pill they expect that it will work and suddenly are better, but you take them off of the medication and nothing has changed. Mental medications do not fix anything (every commercial and write up for every mental drug contains the statement "it is believed this medication works by..." bottom line, they don't know how they work), but for most people they give you enough of a boost that will help you weed out your traumas and problems enough that you can function properly without theses medications.

    The greater problem in over medication lies in the fact that we live in a society where instant gratification is the number one rule for most people regarding their emotional state and don't want to work through a few years of counseling to help themselves solve their own problems of the past, present and future. As long as the pill makes them happy, that's all they care about. That is a placebo for those people. Something that they expect to work without any trying on their part. Truth is, in the end, they're just medicated for life on a drug they really do not need without knowing the long term effects of taking the drug.

    (Side note- This is only the case for people who have been misdiagnosed or have a simple low grade depression, NOT people who have severe mental problems that were properly diagnosed and are being properly treated. Every medication has it's place, but it's your own personal job, not that of your doctor, to challenge yourself to ensure proper treatment for your personal condition.)

    June 17, 2011 at 12:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Dead Red

    If you take antidepressants to stop having negative thoughts (a big part of depression), then you have unresolved issues. Where else could those thoughts come from? The pills don't take care of the problem, they take care of the symptoms. That is just not good enough.

    June 17, 2011 at 12:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • uofoo

      I agree.

      Ideally the meds get you in the right frame of mind to deal with your problems. The research shows the combination of meds and therapy is more effective than either alone.

      June 17, 2011 at 13:13 | Report abuse |
  24. uofoo

    This article is garbage. SSRIs are some of the most researched drugs on the planet. So lets abandon science for conjecture?

    June 17, 2011 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Sy2502

    Articles like this junk are as irresponsible as the "vaccines cause autism" crap! Shame on CNN! There have been so many studies showing the link between neurotransmitters and mood disorders, and genetic factors in mental illness, all you have to do is do a search in reputable scientific journals. But of course those aren't "newsworthy" enough, so publish some quack's fairy tale instead, so that the simpletons can fall for just one more idiocy.
    Mental illnesses are deadly diseases, just ask the families of people who have committed suicide, and let's see if mental illness is a fairy tale, and treatment is placebo effect.
    Shame on CNN! You are playing with people's lives! If any of your reader comes off medications because of your article, and then commits suicide, their blood is on your hands.

    June 17, 2011 at 13:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. tiffany

    I told my psycho dr that prozac does nothing for me. I told her vicodin takes my depression way. She says tell your dr. To get u extended release vicodin. Wth I dumped her pathetic selfr

    June 17, 2011 at 15:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Ian

    Yet another blog written by someone completely ignorant of medicine. Journalists, unless you have studied medicine or psychiatry, don't try to "stir up the pot". You're likely to get someone hurt or killed with an article like this.

    June 17, 2011 at 16:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. EFGRHG

    Prozac saved my life and turned me into a sane person. I'm very grateful for that. Period.

    June 19, 2011 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Karen

    I almost died when a doctor took me off of Celexa. Certainly, there are some who do not benefit from drug therapy...but I am living proof that some people do need antidepressants. Like any other medical condition, depression should not be treated as a "one size fits all" situation.

    June 25, 2011 at 20:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. LeahFaith

    I read this book review and decided to pick up, "Anatomy of an Epidemic" by Robert Whitaker. I've been following articles like this for years because of my horrible experience with anti-depressants as a teenager. It's a good book and follows the same line of reasoning I've seen in other articles or the same topic; There's really no real scientific evidence that depression is caused by low serotonin. Anti-depressants work just as well as placebo's with side effects. Mental illness is over diagnosed. While I don't feel anyone out there is tryng to trick us in any way, I think that the science of medicine is still very new and mistakes will be made (and covered up if money is involved).

    June 27, 2011 at 11:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. john

    lol Idk have you ever tried a xanax. oh and I didnt read the article.

    July 13, 2011 at 02:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Franklin

    No these medicines obviously work for most people. It's knowing that happy medium and working well with your doctor, so you can live a normal life, that is needed.http://www.citalopramwithdrawal.com/

    November 11, 2011 at 20:35 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.