The Debate on Antidepressants and the Origins of Major Depression
Are antidepressants treating the origins of Major Depression?
A shocking article was recently published in the New York Times on the April 19th discussing the evolution and effectiveness of current antidepressants as treatment for Major Depression. According to the article, there is a fear developing that antidepressants are no longer producing the depression relieving miracles as they have been thought to produce in the past and that the cause for this may be related to the drugs not resolving the true causes of Clinical Depression and other Major Depressive Disorders. It has been long thought by researchers that the causes of depression come from the weak transmission of signals between the neurons in the brain. It was noted that when these signals were strengthened in depressed patients that the patient started showing major signs of improvement to their psychological health. Ever since this discovery, pharmaceutical companies, such as those that make Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft, have been creating medications for major depression that enhance the levels of serotonin, dopamine, and/or norepinephrine in the communication centers between the neurons of the brain. However, some scientists are questioning whether we have jumped the gun by making the conclusion that the sole cause of Clinical Depression and other Major Depressive Disorders is solely the result of chemical imbalances in the brain.
The Two Interpretations of Depression Medicine
Displayed in the article are some very surprising findings, some of which refer to how many of the clinical trials of current antidepressants have produced results that do not show them to be significantly more helpful in treating Major Depression than a placebo (sugar pill). What this article has brought about is a two-sided debate about how scientists should conduct future research for Depressive Disorders so that we are sure to be treating for the real cause of Major Depression rather than some linked factors. Furthermore, it questions the use of current antidepressants for treatment and whether or not they should be administered.
One of the central figures who has brought up this issue is the Professor Irving Kirsch from the Harvard Medical School at Harvard University. Much of his research has been spent in running trials to compare the results between the effectiveness of medications versus placebo pills. It is his belief that taking many of the antidepressants that we see on the market today are only marginally better than taking sugar pills to treat one’s Depression. Therefore, the argument that he puts forward is whether or not the research of pharmaceutical companies is currently combating the true cause of Major Depression and other Depression Disorders, rather than one element that is liked with this condition. If not, then it affirms that our previous convictions about the origins of Clinical Depression have been false and need to get more at the heart of the reason why millions and millions of individuals are suffering from depressive psychological illnesses.
However, scientists on the other side of this argument state that current antidepressants, though not out-performing the placebos by much, aid a large enough percentage of the population that they are sufficient proof that current antidepressants effective for treating the majority of people with depression. Moreover, they argue that the benefits of antidepressant medication consist of an even larger percentage over a placebo in patients with severe depressive disorders, and additionally, that patients who are taking antidepressants rather than placebo pills are less likely to relapse into their depressive disorder. Therefore, if we are currently on the right track with our current depression medications to treating the origin of this mental illness, we will develop more and more effective medicines until the antidepressants significantly outperform the sugar pills, even for mild cases of depression. If not, our previous theories of Major Depressive Disorders will serve as great lessons to a new road of research and the importance of chemical balance in the brain, since the chemical levels in the brain are a likely factor.
To boil the two sides down to their key arguments, one side, the side of Dr. Kirsch, argues that there isn’t much of a difference in the results of treatment of Clinical Depression, and that the current treatments that we have for Major Depression could be achieved by almost the same amount by the patient only taking a placebo pill. The other side, however, argues that the differences in the study results between placebo and antidepressants are significant enough to continue administering our current antidepressant medications, and are even more significant in the instances of patients with severe levels of Depression and to avoid relapse. Therefore, the road to determining whether or not we are currently administering the proper medications for Major Depressive Disorders is up in the air for the future. Will this debate take on more strength or will it pass, as pharmaceutical companies follow the same path as before?
For more information on major depression or to sign up for a clinical trial, please contact Precise Research Centers at 601-420-5810 or visit www.precise-reasearch.com