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JodyR

Antidepressant Drugs No Better Than Placebos?

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So, my sister is married to a chiropractor, and while I'm all-for chiropractic care (and I use one myself), her husband seems to have been brainwashed in school to think that chiropractic can cure everything and I mean EVERYTHING! So, anyway, they have become all "depression is in your head" and "you just have to will yourself to feel better" and "give yourself over to God and everything will be better". Now, I can handle my sister in small doses (obviously), but she recently posted this article:

http://healthimpactn...-than-placebos/

on facebook. I was so engraged. Now, don't get me wrong, I know this might be true for SOME people. But for the vast majority of people, it's not all in their head and (as this article implies) won't be cured by taking a sugar pill after being convinced it's going to help.

So, I basically told her where to stick it and her "yes" men friends proceeded to post that natural supplements work very well, and that diet and exercise can cure depression too. Well, I was pregnant last year and the type of antidepressant I was on wasn't good for pregnancy, so I went off it. I tried natural supplements, diet, exercise, the whole bit. I was under the care of a naturopath. I was spending a small fortune each month. Needless to say, I nearly had a nervous breakdown. On Valentines Day last month I cried all day. That Friday I finally started a new medication so I didn't **** myself. Okay, so my sister doesn't know any of this and I don't want to tell her because of her judgmental bullsh*t.

Keep in mind, when (if) you read this article, that it's on a website with a very prima donna attitude. Some of the linked content to the article is so pretentious that it makes me want to gag. It also has anti-vax links. But, as horrifying as that is, I thought I would share it for the community.

Responses?

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Sorry but I don't think I am going to read that article as I think it will probably make me extremely angry. There is so much dangerous information and opinion on the Internet it is really sad.

I am sorry to hear you have had such a hard time of it and that you weren't getting the help you need. I hope you are feeling more supported and well these days.

It just makes me so angry when people dismiss mental illness. It compounds the pain and suffering of truly vulnerable people. Grrrrr!

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Actually that article is about a serious and respected, though controversial, author named Irving Kirsch. If you want to see a review of the same book from a more reputable source, you could take a look at:

http://www.nybooks.c...agination=false

Though it's clear that anti-depressants help many people - I'm on them myself - it's also possible that in many cases, people would do just as well on a placebo, or with therapy alone.

Also, just because placebos are effective, doesn't mean depression is just in the head - it means that the power of belief is a major healing force. That's true with physical and mental illnesses.

Edited by americandownunder

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Sigh. A hint of fact hyped up and exaggerated to try and support their position. It's true that in some double-blind trials that a small percentage of subjects given sugar pills but told they're antidepressants do show signs of improvement. But that doesn't mean 'it's all in your head', the placebo effect is well-documented and can have just as much effect on 'purely physical' illnesses. If anything, all it proves is just how much power the mind has over the body. And I am so sick of the attitude that depression or other mental issues are some sort of personal moral failure, it's pure nonsense believed by people who are lucky enough never to have suffered from them and think this somehow makes them superior.

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It's amazing to me that some people truly believe ADs are no better than placebos. I'll admit that, for a while, I thought there might be some truth to that idea. But that was before I struggled with severe depression & anxiety myself.

I was always Little Miss Optimist, able to put a positive spin on everything, able to hurdle even horrifying life events with a smile on my face. Then I suffered through two years of the worst, most confusing misery I've ever experienced. I didn't feel like "me", and I couldn't find a way out of that awful sense that I was at the bottom of a well with no rope. I was angry, I was scared, I was confused - and I was convinced I could "get through it" on my own. I used cardio, yoga, strength training, "getting out of the house", diet changes, supplements - you name it. I WILLED myself to believe it would work, and that I didn't need any help from anyone. Close friends gently suggested that maybe medication would help me hurdle this obstacle I couldn't seem to move. I rejected them - with anger. How dare they say such a thing?

Long story short, my plan didn't work.

I ended up in my doctor's office, crying uncontrollably, and hating myself for doing it. But I gave it TWO YEARS, and nothing changed. I still felt hopeless, worthless, and like a complete waste of skin.

That was 6 weeks ago.

I did not, honestly, believe that taking an AD would help. I was of the "it's probably all in my head" mindset. But with no will left to carry on, I agreed to let my doctor put me on 50mg of Zoloft. Couldn't hurt, I figured.

What it did was help. Immensely.

Though the first few weeks were awful side-effect-wise, by week 4 I started waking up with the will to live again. I found myself smiling and laughing and enjoying simple, silly things. I even found myself wondering, "Wow, why am I so happy today?" Then I realized I felt like myself - like the person I used to be, for 25 years, before depression railroaded me. (If I sound like a sappy commercial, I'm sorry. It's the honest-to-God truth.)

I really didn't believe it would help. I only took it because I had no other options left.

Had my Zoloft only been a bottle of sugar pills, I'm 100% sure I'd still be prostrate in bed, devoid of positive emotion. So, basically, I rambled my story just to say: anyone who assumes depression is "all in your head", without having experienced it for themselves, can stuff it.

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When the doctors were debating about giving my son adderall, my sister said he wouldn't be allowed in her house if he took it and then sent my husband a horrible propaganda video showing kids beating up on kids, or ******* them and how we are all medicated.

My extended family does tend to believe that it is better to not take medication and that you should take "natural" supplements. The thing is, not everything that is natural is good for you. I know when they talk about meds, they know I'm on a few. I've told them if I wasn't I most certainly would not be here.

Does your sister and brother in law realize that some people don't believe that Chiropractors are "real" doctors? My mom was a nurse who worked in orthopedics and she always thought it was bad that my sister went to a chiropractor. The thing is, she didn't dwell on it. She let my sister know what she thought and that was it. My sister, yes same one as above, continued to go to one.

I fully expected my sister to be negative earlier this year when I contacted her about needing to be hospitalized. She has never experienced depression. But she was actually supportive about it. She doesn't mention anything about my meds anymore.

Maybe you should just tell her that her ranting about the meds is not making you feel any better. That you are sorry she doesn't understand it, but you no longer can discuss it with her.

I still feel guilty taking meds but I've gone off them, because of that guilt, with disastrous consequences. I'm glad you are taking care of yourself despite the negativity you are getting.

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