The Weiler Psi

Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics

The Brutal Facts About Your Antidepressants and Western Medicine

Depression is a common problem among psychic people and many are given antidepressants to help combat this.  So when I ran into some medical information about this class of drugs I felt it was necessary to pass the word along.  They’re no good.

Personally, I have always gone through depression drug free.  I have never really trusted drug companies and never liked the idea of taking prescription drugs unless it was something totally obvious, like antibiotics for an infection or pain medication.

Part of this occurred when I discovered that drugs are entirely independently tested.  The FDA allows drug companies to hire the “independent” labs to do the work and gives them a large degree of control over what gets published.  This creates what is known as the file drawer problem.  Not publishing all the studies can skew the results.  Of course that’s exactly what is intended.  The reason I’m bringing this up now is that new information has come forward.

Marcia Angell, MD, the former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine said it plainly and directly: “Trials can be rigged in a dozen ways, and it happens all the time” (Angell, 2004, 95).  (Link to article)

It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine. As reprehensible as many industry practices are, I believe the behavior of much of the medical profession is even more culpable.

Mark Hyman in an article titled:  Why Antidepressants Don’t Work for Treating Depression has this to say:

Women have a 10 to 25 percent risk and men a five to 12 percent risk of developing severe major depression in their lifetime. (2) One in ten Americans takes an antidepressant. The use of these drugs has tripled in the last decade, according to a report by the federal government. In 2006, spending on antidepressants soared by 130 percent.

But just because antidepressants are popular doesn’t mean they’re helpful. Unfortunately, as we now see from this report in The New England Journal of Medicine, they don’t work and have significant side effects. Most patients taking antidepressants either don’t respond or have only partial response. In fact, success is considered just a 50 percent improvement in half of depressive symptoms. And this minimal result is achieved in less than half the patients taking antidepressants. (…)

How We have Been Deceived by the Antidepressant Hoax

Drug companies are not forced to publish all the results of their studies. They only publish those they want to. The team of researchers that reported their findings in The New England Journal of Medicine took a critical look at all the studies done on antidepressants, both published and unpublished. They dug up some serious dirt …

The unpublished studies were not easy to find. The researchers had to search the FDA databases, call researchers, and hunt down hidden data under the Freedom of Information Act. What they found was stunning.

After looking at 74 studies involving 12 drugs and over 12,000 people, they discovered that 37 of 38 trials with positive results were published, while only 14 of 36 negative studies were published. Those that showed negative results were, in the words of the researchers, “published in a way that conveyed a positive outcome.”

That means the results were twisted to imply the drugs worked when they didn’t.

This isn’t just a problem with antidepressants. It’s a problem with scientific research. Some drug companies even pay or threaten scientists to not publish negative results on their drugs. So much for “evidence-based” medicine! I recently had dinner with a step-uncle who runs a company that designs research for drug companies. He designs the study, hires the researcher from an esteemed institution, directs the study, writes up the study and the scientist just signs his or her name after reviewing it.

While antidepressants were the focus of the study, they underscored a much larger problem.  Namely, this doesn’t just happen with this class of drugs, this happens with almost all of them.  We have no way of knowing which drugs are any good.  We do know that nearly all of them are bad due to their side effects, not to mention the possible additional effects that come from mixing them which never gets tested at all.

When we look closely at modern medicine, what we see is actually a far cry from the scientific gold standard it’s made out to be:  Dr. Larry Dossey proves this tidbit about surgery:

We all marvel at the technological advances in materials and techniques that allow doctors to perform quadruple bypass surgeries and angioplasties without marveling that recent studies indicate that coronary bypass surgery will extend life expectancy in only about three percent of cases. For angioplasty that figure sinks to zero percent. Those numbers might be close to what you could expect from a witch doctor, one difference being that witch doctors don’t submit bills in the tens of thousands of dollars.

This brings up an important question.  How much is modern medicine relying on the placebo effect to do the work? It turns out that this number is staggeringly high: 64% of the time!  Dr. Larry Dossey explains from the same article:

For those who have been paying attention, this is not news. Back in the late 70’s the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment determined that a mere 10 to 20 percent of the practices and treatment used by physicians are scientifically validated. It’s sobering to compare this number to the chances that a patient will receive benefit due to the placebo effect, which is between 30 percent and 50 percent, according to various studies.(…)

The British Medical Journal recently undertook an general analysis of common medical treatments to determine which are supported by sufficient reliable evidence. They evaluated around 2,500 treatments, and the results were as follows:

  • 13 percent were found to be beneficial
  • 23 percent were likely to be beneficial
  • Eight percent were as likely to be harmful as beneficial
  • Six percent were unlikely to be beneficial
  • Four percent were likely to be harmful or ineffective.

This left the largest category, 46 percent, as unknown in their effectiveness. In other words, when you take your sick child to the hospital or clinic, there is only a 36 percent chance that he will receive a treatment that has been scientifically demonstrated to be either beneficial or likely to be beneficial. This is remarkably similar to the results Dr. Brian Berman found in his analysis of completed Cochrane reviews of conventional medical practices. There, 38 percent of treatments were positive and 62 percent were negative or showed “no evidence of effect.”

So something like 64% of modern medicine relies on the placebo effect? Given the enormous cost of modern medicine, this doesn’t seem like much bang for your buck.

The obvious question of course, is why are insurance companies paying for this crap?  They’ll cough up for questionable drugs and ineffective operations which often come with barely acceptable risks and bad side effects to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, but practically nothing for alternative health care.  I don’t understand their point of view.  Alternative medicine could probably be better than this and much cheaper too.  This is so screwed up.

So there you are.  Depression can’t be alleviated with a pill.  There are other, better ways to deal with it.  And while you’re at it, think twice before you enter a hospital.

3 comments on “The Brutal Facts About Your Antidepressants and Western Medicine

  1. crystal
    April 25, 2011

    I have had depression and treated for it, I found it was a vitamin D def. start getting out in the sun, and taking a supplement and see how u feel.

    • craigweiler
      April 25, 2011

      I get enough sun myself. I hope this helps you.

  2. Emma
    May 4, 2010

    When did we get to the point as a society that emotions need to placated to make us more comfortable rather than allowing them to help us grow stronger? And why are doctors always trying to find medications that are stronger than the “placebo effect” and rarely seeing just how far the placebo effect can be taken?

    It says a lot about our society that these questions can be asked at all.

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