What Does the ‘Best Evidence’ Say About Antidepressants? by Dr. Joseph Mercola for Mercola
According to the latest statistics,1 17.3 million American adults (7.1 percent of the adult U.S. population) and 3.2 million adolescents (13.3 percent of U.S. population aged 12 to 17) suffered at least one major depressive episode in 2017.
Depression can interfere with personal and work relationships, reduce work or academic performance and affect physical health by impairing your ability to properly care for yourself and make good health decisions, including decisions about nutrition and sleep. Imbalances in nutrition, weight fluctuations and poor sleep habits may in turn compromise your immune function.2
The condition can also be lethal, as depression is a contributing factor in up to 70 percent of all suicides.3 In 2016, 44,965 Americans committed suicide.4 Depression can also lead to self-harming behaviors such as drug or alcohol abuse,5 and 90 percent of people who struggle with suicidal thoughts experience a combination of depression and substance abuse.6
Unfortunately, antidepressant drugs — the most widely used therapy for depression — are also among the least effective. In fact, statistics suggest that far from being helpful, psychiatric drugs are making the situation worse.
According to research7,8 published in February 2017, 16.7 percent of the 242 million U.S. adults (aged 18 to 85) included in the survey reported filling at least one prescription for a psychiatric drug in 2013.
Twelve percent reported using an antidepressant; 8.3 percent used anxiolytics, sedatives and hypnotics; and 1.6 percent used antipsychotics. With nearly 17 percent of the adult population in the U.S. taking psychiatric drugs, it would be prudent to evaluate the larger ramifications of these types of medications.
Sadly, statistics overwhelmingly fail to support their use, yet they continue to be the leading form of treatment.
Medication Madness — A Psychiatrist Speaks Out
In a recent segment of Full Measure (above), award-winning investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson interviewed psychiatrist and director of the International Center for Patient-Oriented Psychiatry, Dr. Peter Breggin. He is known to many as “the conscience of psychiatry,” as he was instrumental in preventing the return of lobotomy as a psychiatric treatment in the early 1970s.
Breggin is also the author of “Medication Madness,” in which he details the many hazards of psychiatric drugs. In his 50 years of practice, he has never placed a patient on drugs. In fact, he specializes in getting people off them, and wrote a book on psychiatric drug withdrawal, “Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal: A Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients and Their Families.”9