Depression

depressed person sitting on the floorTHE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION states that depression is the leading cause of disability, affecting more than 120 million people worldwide. Antidepressants are now the most popular class of drugs in the U.S., and their use has been growing rapidly over the past two decades. From 1990 to 2000, prescriptions for SSRIs (the leading class of antidepressant drugs) rose by a staggering 1300%. In the last year alone, 30 million patients in the U.S. spent over $12 billion on antidepressants.

However, despite their aggressive promotion and widespread use, recent evidence suggests that antidepressants are not as effective as we have been led to believe. Other studies have raised concerns about the long-term safety of antidepressant drugs, including a potential increase in suicidal behavior in both children and adults.

In this series of articles we’ll examine the nature and causes of depression, challenging the notion that depression is caused by a deficiency of serotonin in the brain. We’ll talk about how depression is perceived and treated in traditional cultures, and what we can hope to learn from that. We’ll review the scientific evidence of the efficacy of antidepressants, and the serious side effects and risks associated with their use. Finally, I’ll present natural treatments for depression that are proven to be as effective or more effective than antidepressants for most people – with a fraction of the side effects.

Healthy Skeptic articles

selected offsite articles

  • Efficacy of Antidepressants in Adults
  • The Emperor’s New Drugs: An Analysis of Antidepressant Medication Data Submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • Initial Severity and Antidepressant Benefits: A Meta-Analysis of Data Submitted to the Food and Drug Administration
  • Antidepressants: A Triumph of Marketing Over Science?
  • Antidepressants and Placebos: Secrets, Revelations, and Unanswered Questions
  • Do Antidepressants Cure or Create Abnormal Brain States?
  • The Antidepressant Debate
  • Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between the Advertisements and the Scientiļ¬c Literature

Books: serotonin hypothesis & antidepressants

  • America Fooled: The Truth About Antidepressants, Antipsychotics And How We’ve Been Deceived, by Timothy Scott Ph.D
  • Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs: A Guide for Informed Consent, by Grace Jackson M.D.
  • The Myth of the Chemical Cure: A Critique of Psychiatric Drug Treatmentby Joanna Moncrieff, M.D.
  • Your Drug May Be Your Problem: How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Drugs, by Peter Breggin M.D.
  • Brain Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry: Drugs, Electroshock, and the Psychopharmaceutical Complex, by Peter Breggin M.D.
  • Blaming the Brain: The Truth About Drugs and Mental Health, by Elliot Valenstein Ph.D

Books: holistic treatment of depression

  • Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression, by James S. Gordon M.D.
  • The Depression Book: Depression as an Opportunity for Spiritual Growth, by Cheri Huber
  • The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness, by Mark Williams, Zindel Segal, John Teasdale, Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • Spiritual Emergency (New Consciousness Reader), by Stanislav Grof M.D.
  • Turning Suffering Inside Out, by Darlene Cohen
  • When Things Fall Apart, by Pema Chodron

tapes & cds

  • Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
  • “Mini-Moves” (great for daytime relaxation & improving sleep)
  • Unconditional Self-Acceptance

nutrition

  • Principles of Healthy Diets

handouts

Designed by Evan Haas & Soy Pak