Zantac Lawsuit

Researching drug company and regulatory malfeasance for over 16 years
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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Guest Post: I’m Depressed about Antidepressants

The following is a guest post from James Moore, creator of the popular Facebook forum, "Let's Talk Withdrawal" and host of Mad In America's successful podcast series.

James, like many, has been perplexed by recent news. James, like many, has many questions and thoughts.

Here are some of those thoughts.

I’m Depressed about Antidepressants

In the early hours of the morning of Thursday 22nd February, I did what we should never do and idly checked my phone. My heart sank as I read the headlines. The media were falling over themselves to report the results of a study published in the Lancet comparing the efficacy and tolerability of 21 antidepressant drugs. On that day, the word ‘antidepressants’ had its highest ever number of Google web searches in the UK.

The hashtag #MedsWorkedForMe started trending, followed a little while later by #MedsDidntWorkForMe as claims of stigma were hurled back and forth. It descended from a discussion of the results of a scientific paper that, at best, had very modest conclusions, to a polemic rant. Unfortunately, much of what was reported was #FakeScience.

There has been a lack of critical analysis of the headlines and of the study itself. I implore you to read the study, it is not a long piece, if nothing else, read the discussion where you will see for yourself that the authors write: "It should also be noted that some of the adverse effects of antidepressants occur over a prolonged period, meaning that positive results need to be taken with great caution, because the trials in this network meta-analysis were of short duration."

The headlines have increased stigma for all, whether you take and benefit from a drug or whether, as in my case, you have been harmed by them. Divisions have been deepened and we have encouraged so many people to accept the drugs without really considering if they are right for them.

I am not anti-psychotropic drugs, what I am against is the lack of informed consent and the perpetuation of the chemical imbalance as a justification for medicating so many. I don’t want to try and convince you, I just beg you to read the science. If there are any practicing psychiatrists, doctors, therapists or counselors out there who are still promoting this mistruth, for the good of your patients please contact the Royal College of Psychiatrists, who will themselves confirm they do not support the idea of a chemical imbalance. (Fig 1) Better still, if the Royal College could issue a position statement and publicise it as widely as the Lancet study, that would help us all.

Fig 1

The truth is, we just don't know if there is a purely biological explanation for depression and why some cope and some don’t, but we seem afraid to admit that to each other.

Admitting that the chemical imbalance is a myth does not denigrate the beneficial effects of chemical substances, alcohol temporarily lifts many moods on a Saturday night, but not because people are suffering from alcohol deficiency syndrome.

I do not and would not criticise anyone who needed some distance from traumatic or stressful experiences, and if tablets work for that, bravo. However, we are treating anxiety and depression as chronic illnesses, to be viewed as diabetes is. If broke my leg, I would want a cast while my fractured bones healed, but once healed, if I continued to rely on my cast and crutch for the rest of my life, I would be unable to function without them.

On Thursday, February 22nd, I felt depressed but it was not because my chemicals were imbalanced, it is because we so readily accepted spin as truth. For those advising that I should be taking an antidepressant to deal with this period of low mood, I am and it hasn’t helped one bit. If you feel yours is helping, I am genuinely happy for you.

James Moore

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