“Have a nice day” works just as well as Prozac?
The vast majority of patients get little or no good from prescribed anti-depressants, according to researchers.
Almost 50 clinical trials were reviewed by psychologists from the University of Hull who found that new-generation anti-depressants worked no better than a placebo – a dummy pill – for mildly depressed patients.
Even the trials that suggested some clinical benefit for the most severely depressed patients did not produce convincing evidence. Professor Irving Kirsch from the university’s pyschology department said: “The difference in improvement between patients taking placebos and patients taking anti-depressants is not very great.
“This means that depressed people can improve without chemical treatments. Given these results, there seems little reason to prescribe anti-depressant medication to any but the most severely depressed patients.”
Speaking up in defense of anti-depressants was Dr Gary Bell, consultant psychiatrist at Capio Nightingale Hospitals, the provider of private psychiatry treatment, who contested the conclusions of the Hull research.
“Anti-depressants are one of the great breakthroughs in the treatment of depression in last 20 to 30 years,” he said.
“They do not always suit everybody but the results are often life-saving. People who do studies do not have the hands-on experience of using these medicines.”
While we’re not sure about the effectiveness of anti-depressants, we do know one thing.
Most studies depress us.