Could drugs that are ingested by one in 10 Americans each year, drugs that have changed the way that mental illness is treated, really be a hoax, a mistake or a concept gone wrong?  According to Peter D. Kramer, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Brown University, this supposition is worrisome.

 “Antidepressants work — ordinarily well, on a par with other medications doctors prescribe,” wrote Kramer, in an opinion piece that appeared in The New York Times. “Yes, certain researchers have questioned their efficacy in particular areas — sometimes, I believe, on the basis of shaky data. And yet, the notion that they aren’t effective in general is influencing treatment.

“Critics raise various concerns, but in my view the serious dispute about antidepressant efficacy has a limited focus,” Kramer adds. “Do they work for the core symptoms (such as despair, low energy and feelings of worthlessness) of isolated episodes of mild or moderate depression? The claim that antidepressants do nothing for this common condition — that they are merely placebos with side effects — is based on studies that have probably received more ink than they deserve.

“My own beliefs aside, it is dangerous for the press to hammer away at the theme that antidepressants are placebos. They’re not. To give the impression that they are is to cause needless suffering.”

The complete article can be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/opinion/sunday/10antidepressants.html?pagewanted-1

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