12 Comments
May 2Liked by Maryanne Demasi, PhD

Thanks for covering this, and I hope you cover alternative ways of treating depression, given its increasing prevalence and serious consequences. The "Speaking of Psychology" podcast recently had a good episode on TMS for treating depression (link below). There needs to be more research in this area, but since it can't be patented, very little money. Also, current protocols require trying other treatments first (i.e., drugs), and it's not always covered by insurance, and practitioners are scarce. It also takes a commitment of time on the part of the individual (as does counseling), and some people would prefer the magic bullet of a pill, at least if they're unaware of how ineffective and potentially risky they are.

https://www.apa.org/news/podcasts/speaking-of-psychology

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May 2Liked by Maryanne Demasi, PhD

What you describe is typical for the drug industry and doctors. Better for them if all these people just stay on their pills.

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May 2Liked by Maryanne Demasi, PhD

This is an important study! Thanks for this information as to how people should taper off SSRIs.

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May 3Liked by Maryanne Demasi, PhD

You are absolutely right that this problem has been ignored for year's and the false serotonin hypothesis has influenced peoples perception of the nature of depression. Of course this misunderstanding has been in the interests of big pharma. It's great that you push back. However what about the idea of withdrawing those addicted to SSRIs using a "long acting" compound like Fluoxetine. When I practiced some years ago I found this a successful strategy. People withdrew OK by continually halving the dose.

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May 2Liked by Maryanne Demasi, PhD

My reading (sorry cannot find source) is that anti-depressants have some anxiolytic effect, which may explain their initial assistance to patients. Finding ways to ease and manage any return of anxiety in a person withdrawing from anti-depressants whilst not being prescribing addictive anxiolytics remans a challenge. I would like to see more definite research on the use of nutritional psychiatry measures to manage depression in people and maybe to alleviate some of the withdrawal of anti-depressants - problems with what the manufacturers and clinicians seem to call 'discontinuation syndrome'.

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I agree, although these may not be enough for all depressed persons. As somebody who has treated depression in others, it's often a challenge to get people motivated to do what may be helpful for them, especially exercise, given that depression itself impairs motivation. (Even though I'm not impressed by the risk/benefit ratios of various neurotransmitter-changing drugs, I do think there's good evidence that a dopamine deficiency may be involved, which leads to anhedonia and overall reduced motivation - link below). I think it's critical we find more ways to get the brain to a state where it can more effectively engage in counseling and exercise. As for diet, the research in general is mostly epidemiological and of very poor quality, but everybody knows we need to eat less processed food. Again, motivation is a huge obstacle given that such foods are addictive. If only we could find a magical motivation pill! :)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5716179/

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