New Report on Depression and Serotonin

New Report on Depression and Serotonin

According to an April 21st article on time.com by Alexandra Sifferlin, 1 in 10 Americans are on anti-depressants or SSRIs, even though there is little understanding in the medical community about how these medications actually work.

A new paper in the BMJ published by Bangor University professor of psychiatry David Healy suggests that there is little proof regarding the connection between depression and serotonin, a key point that is often used in marketing SSRIs.

While many members of the psychiatric community continue to support SSRIs for treatment of depression, others like Dr. Victor I. Reus, professor of psychiatry at the University of California-San Francisco, agree with Healy. “He’s preaching to the choir at this point,” says Reus.

Reus goes on to explain that it is not necessarily the efficacy of these medications that is the issue.  Rather, it is their overblown marketing and the fact that industry leaders do not understand how and why these drugs work that causes concern.

Additionally, Reus goes on to explain that the drugs have been over-prescribed, especially to people with mild depression.

“You wonder what the real risk benefit ratio is in that population,” he says. “They’ve been oversold.”

Dr. Steven Lipsky

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