From the Editor
Antidepressants don’t work. Medications fail to address the real cause of depression. ECT is basically a placebo.
These statements are controversial, but they are mentioned often – including by some of our patients. But what does the literature say about depression management? This week, we look at the debate over antidepressants and ECT, drawing on two recent papers from Psychological Medicine.
In the first selection, John Read (of the University of East London) and Dr. Joanna Moncrieff (of University College) argue that our approach to depression is flawed. In a longer paper that draws on more than 120 references, they challenge basic assumptions about mental health care, arguing against antidepressants and ECT. They advocate for an alternative: “Understanding depression and anxiety as emotional reactions to life circumstances, rather than the manifestations of supposed brain pathology, demands a combination of political action and common sense.”
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In the other selection, Dr. Carmine M. Pariante (of the King’s College London) agrees to disagree. In a Psychological Medicine paper, he responds. “I have written a piece that tries to put together their point of view with the available evidence, while acknowledging the complexity of the debate.”