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Essay About Depression Medication

Effectiveness of Antidepressant Drugs Essay example

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Effectiveness of Antidepressant Drugs

In Issue 13 of Taking Sides, the controversial question Have Antidepressant Drugs Proven to be Effective is analyzed. Psychiatrist Peter D. Kramer argues in this issue that antidepressant drugs "can transform depressed patients into happy people with almost no side effects" (p.212). On the contrary, professors of psychology Seymour Fisher and Roger P. Greenburg "claim that the studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of antidepressants are seriously flawed" (p.212). Kramer's agreement with the statement above is due mostly to the testing he did with his patient Tess and antidepressant drugs. However Fisher and Greenberg disagree with the statement mainly because of the bias drug studies that…show more content…

In Tess taking the drug Kramer found out very quickly what remarkable changes it had on her. Kramer learned that the drug had a "quickly alteration in ordinary intractable problem of personality and social functioning" (p.218). Kramer also learned that Prozac enabled a person to understand what was important to them and who they were and wanted to be. Although Kramer saw the effects Prozac had on Tess, Tess also taught him to look at the border picture. Tess made Kramer think what if this "redefinition of self led to a culture in which this biologically driven sort of self understanding becomes widespread" (p.222). Kramer found it unbelievable what the drug Prozac could do to a patient, something that psychiatrists have always hoped to accomplish. The main thing though that Tess taught Kramer and what the drug itself taught him was that the effects of the drug would have to re examined and our sense of what is constant in the self to be revised. As earlier stated, Fisher and Greenberg disagree with the effectiveness of antidepressant drugs which is mainly due to the bias studies. As Fisher and Greenberg state, "no one actually knows how effective antidepressants are. Confident declarations about their potency go well beyond the existing evidence" (p.223). One of the main biases on antidepressant drugs is that "patients learn to discriminate between drug and placebo largely from body sensations and symptoms" (p.225). Another point Fisher and

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Nov. 7, 2005 -- Do the most widely prescribed antidepressants work by correcting a chemical imbalance in the brain? That's being challenged in a newly published essay.

The essay's authors say the assertion that depression results from an imbalance in the brain chemical serotonin and related chemicals is not supported by the scientific evidence.

They write that there is "a growing body of medical literature casting doubt" on the so-called "serotonin hypothesis." But a widely known antidepressant researcher who spoke to WebMD disagrees.

Brown University psychiatry professor Peter D. Kramer, MD, is the author of Listening to Prozac and Against Depression.

"The connection between what these drugs do and what seems to be useful in the treatment of mood disorders is just as strong or stronger today as it was 13 years ago when I wrote Listening to Prozac," he says.

Kramer acknowledges that there is still much to be learned about the impact of brain chemistry on depression and other mental illnesses. He says it is unlikely that serotonin imbalance alone explains depression, but he adds that Prozac and other antidepressants that target serotonin clearly help many people.

Are Ads Misleading?

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), include the drugs Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro, and Celexa. The drugs increase the availability of serotonin, which acts as a chemical messenger in the brain among other areas.

Millions of Americans take SSRIs for depression and other mood disorders, and in the U.S. alone sales of the drugs top $10 billion a year.

In a newly published essay, anatomy professor Jonathan Leo, PhD, along with colleague Jeffrey Lacasse, say that SSRI ads aimed at the public are often misleading.

Leo teaches neuroanatomy at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Bradenton, Fla.

"The advertising is not portraying the science in a true light," Leo tells WebMD.

He says the ads typically claim that SSRIs restore the serotonin balance of the brain but adds that there is "no such thing as a scientifically established correct balance of serotonin."

Leo cites a 2002 review which found that SSRIs were only slightly more effective than placebo for treating depression. He adds that efforts to use brain imaging to document chemical imbalances linked to mental illness have proven disappointing.

He also points to studies suggesting that nondrug treatments, including psychotherapy and exercise, may be as effective as drugs for treating certain mental illnesses.

"As long as people are told about all these things I have no problem with using these drugs," he says. "Without a doubt, they help some people. Our point is that the explanation for why they work is simplistic and potentially misleading."