Psychopharmacology - Medication
General Disclaimer: We take no responsibility with respect to what you do as the result of reading the information contained herein. No guarentees are expressed or implied with respect to accuracy or usability for any purpose whatsoever. As such the information contained herein must be considered as purley the opinion of the author and nothing more. You are obliged to do your own due diligence and we advise you to consult with a number of medical experts before you make any decisions or carry out any actions.
That said, the following may be of interest to you if are are considering using or are already using prescription medication for Depression, Anxiety or other psychological or emotional issues.
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If one visits a Medical Doctor complaining of an emotional or life upset, one is most likely to be prescribed medication without a valid clinical diagnosis. According to modern medical theory, for example, feelings of depression and anxiety are the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, which they believe can be rebalanced by consuming prescribed medicines. However, these prescriptions are given without medical testing. No tests are done to verify chemical imbalances or the type of imbalances. Medication is prescribed speculatively purely based on the known effects of the prescribed medication, regardless of causation or side effects. Much akin to what people who self-medicate do.
However, it is worse than the self-medication of drug addicts. Medical Doctors occupy a position of trust that they abuse when they prescribe without tests, a blatant disregard for causation and with the sole goal of masking the effects of the issue. This practice can only be described as medical malpractice. The following ridiculous example is akin to what is common when prescribing medication for psychological issues:
Imagine that you accidently stabed yourself in the leg and therefore, go to Accident and Emergency with the knife sticking out of your leg, in great pain and loosing blood. The doctor quickly recognises the symptoms of blood loss and pain and therefore, puts you on intravenous blood drip and pain killers. Satisfied with a job well done, the doctor sends you home with enough blood and pain killers for the next month and tells you to come back in one month.
Would you accept this situation? Would you allow a doctor to put a cast on a leg injury without first X-Raying it? But this is exactly what people accept when they take medication for psychological issues without any form of valid medical testing. If a Medical Doctor did this under any other circumstance it would be called malpractice. But malpractice seems to be the norm for psychological and emotional issues!!!
Example: SEROTONIN is the most well-known and notorious neurotransmitter that most medical professionals blame for DEPRESSION and its imbalance is allegedly responsible for the alleged 'Chemical Imbalance in the Brain' that they so often speak about. Furthermore, Serotonin is also the target for the most common group of ANTIDEPRESSANTS that are prescribed today, SSRI, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors.
However, did you know that 90% of all Serotonin is produced within the digestive tract, therefore, if a patient is alleged to be low in Serotonin, surely it would be better for a medical profession to encourage a change or improvement in diet and exercise, (exercise improves gut function), before prescribing Antidepressants which have significant side effects. Effects that include nausea, weight gain, (most likely a negative effect on gut function), constipation, anxiety, agitation and sexual issues including erectile disfunction... All of which may result in more, not less depression. Surley, empowering the parient to help themselves rather than rely on often ineffective and dangerous medication would be a better approach.
We are not against Antidepressants, however, like all medication, they should be used sparingly, with a definite treatment plan and under the conditions of a proper and full diagnosis following appropriate testing relating to the claimed effects of the medication. Knowing that someone is depressed is just not good enough. One must know causation before prescribing medication and creating treatment plans.... Or you can take the pills because your general medical doctor told you to do so and they always know best. It is up to you and your responsibility to choose.
2008 Depression - Antidepressants
Antidepressents are one of the most commonly prescribed and thereby overprescribed medications available today.
February 2008: A study is published concerning the efficacy of Antidepressants
Antidepressants are a huge drain on health care budgets for no significant gain!
A study by Professor Irving Kirsch at the University of Hull and other USA and Canada based academics and practitioners published a significant report demonstrating that that new generation Antidepressants, e.g. Fluoxetine, Venlafaxine, Nefazodone, Paroxetine, etc. mostly fall, ‘below the recommended criteria for clinical significance’. Simply put, most modern drugs prescribed for most cases of depression generally do not work.
This is a significant finding that all G.P.s and Psychological therapists should be aware of and responding to with respect to how the treat depression.
Given the side effects of such drugs and the problems associated from withdrawing from them, one must ask; ‘Why are they continuing to be prescribed by G.P.s and Psychiatrists, especially in cases of depression linked with common life events like bereavement, unemployment, work related issues, etc?’
Also; ‘Why have large pharmaceutical companies been permitted to operate without adequate regulation?’
Download the file: (this will open in a new tab in your browser):
2018 Depression - Antidepressants
Antidepressants are one of the most commonly prescribed and thereby overprescribed medications available today.
February 2018: A new meta study was published allegedly asserting that Antidepressants are effective.
The article can be found in The Lancet: The Lancet Antidepressants 2018 article
Despite Antidepressants and other such medication being a huge drain on resources and more often than not ineffective, the industry continues to make unfounded claims!
In 2018, amidst huge media attention a new study was published. The study, is a META study which is a study that collates the data from a number of smaller studies to create a larger study that hopefully is more accurate and meaningful that the original studies. In this study the ‘included 522 trials comprising of 116477 participants‘. Such a large number of participants in a single study is significant therefore this study should be worth examining.<
Before we examine the conclusions and the study itself I would like to quote from the study:
‘because of inadequate resources, antidepressants are used more frequently than psychological interventions.‘
The authors of the study made the following bold assertion:
‘All antidepressants [examined within the study] were more efficacious than placebo in adults with major depressive disorder. Smaller differences between active drugs were found when placebo-controlled trials were included in the analysis, whereas there was more variability in efficacy and acceptability in head-to-head trials.‘.
However, the following confounding factors must be taken into account before anyone accepts such a bold claim (all taken from the study):
1) ‘46 (9%) of 522 trials were rated as high risk of bias, 380 (73%) trials as moderate, and 96 (18%) as low.‘
This means that 83% of the data used within the meta analysis had either a high risk or moderate risk of bias. Biased data gives Biased results and therefore the validity of the whole study must be brought into question and any results must be considered inaccurate.
2) The Placebo Effect. The placebo effect is merely the effect that hope, psychology, and environment will have within a study beyond the effect of the medication being tested. Therefore, the reason behind doing a trial that compares the placebo effect against medical effect in the sample group is to remove the placebo effect and arrive at the absolute medical effect that you are trying to measure. Simply, if you subtract the placebo effect from the measured medical effect you arrive at the actual medical effect.
However, the placebo effect can be artificially lowered and thereby the overall effect of tested medication increased. While the studies were 'blind' studies, the participants were aware that there was a 50% chance of them receiving placebo. While this is normal because ethically, the participants have to consent to the 50% chance that they will not receive medication. This method plainly reduces the efficacy of placebo. Placebo is based in hope and belief, therefore, and if one believes that there is a 50% chance that one will get no medication and thereby no beneficial effect, then hope will be lowered and thereby the placebo effect will be lowered. The result is that the efficacy of tested medication against placebo is overrated because placebo has been lowered.<
To combat this issue ad generate accurate results, medication should be tested as is, against placebo, but also, head to head against other medications, and any discrepancy between the placebo test and the head to head test should be added to the placebo effect and subsequently removed from the test results of the medicines.
3) ‘Estimated differences between drugs were smaller in placebo-controlled trials than in head-to-head studies. There are several potential explanations, as many factors have been associated with higher placebo response rates, such as randomisation ratio and the expectation of receiving an active treatment, the therapeutic setting, or the frequency of study visits. In our dataset, we found that response to the same antidepressant was on average smaller and dropouts more likely to occur in placebo controlled trials than in head-to-head studies‘
This statement just goes to prove 2) above as the placebo effect is higher when the participants have the confidence and hope that the medication the are definitely receiving will work. Furthermore, the chance that one is receiving a placebo will cause people to lose hope and drop out.
4) ‘We also observed that drugs tended to show a better efficacy profile when they were novel and used as experimental treatments than when they had become old. This novelty effect might arise where a novel agent is perceived to be more effective and better tolerated; alternatively, selective analyses and outcome reporting bias might be more rominent when a treatment is first launched.‘
Once again the tested efficasy of medication is being increased because of placebo without is being accounted for in the results. The belief of participants that an new medication will be more effective than an old medication, is by definition, the placebo effect and needs to be accounted for and removed from the results. Merely stating that it is there withot removing it, is not good enough!
The overall and plainly unaccounted effects of bias and placebo on the results of this meta study, should bring into question the validity of any conclusion that has been presented. Publishing statistical results and a conclusion which may be widely published to validate the increased use of antidepressants and then stating in the text that the results may be dubious seems somewhat disengenious and less than scientific.
Read the 2018 study from The Lancet: (this will open in a new tab in your browser)
Conclusion - Antidepressants
In our opinion, Antidepressants continue to be over prescribed and much less effective than the medical profession and pharmaceutical companies, who make huge profits from selling them, would have you believe. Before anyone takes antidepressants, and subjects themselves to unpredictable side effects, they should explore other options including counselling and psychotherapy, improving their diet, exercise routine and self-care and make changes to their circumstances including relationships, career and work that may precipitate an increase in the quality of their lives.
Furthermore, we believe that the Placebo effect is being hugely underrated in order to increase the test efficacy of medication. When testing concludes that a medication is only 30% or 50% or some such number, better than placebo, they are merely stating that the tested medication is a percentage better than Hope and Belief alone. However, although in blind tests the placebo effect is a constant, that does not exclude the fact that it is statistically lower than it actually is and therefore the effect of medication as a multiple of it, is being overrated. The placebo effect is an unconscious effect that is lower when the subject is aware of its presence. The medical profession should establish an accurate baseline for the placebo effect across all medication types and all demographics. This is especially important with respect to psychological issues which are heavily affected by both conscious and unconscious psychological factors. If this was done, we believe that the alleged efficacy of antidepressants would plummet and so would the profits of the pharmaceutical companies.
Anxiety - Anti-Anxiety Medication
Allongside Antidepressents, Anti-Anxiety medication are also excessivly prescribed medications.
Under Construction May 2019!!