Why have you published incorrect data re SSRI antidepressants and `Chemical Imbalances' in the brain?

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You talk about how antidepressants correct a `chemical imbalance' in the brain. Current studies indicate that this supposition is not valid. There is NO evidence for any kind of `imbalance' associated with ANY psychological/psychiatricl condition. There is also little support for the viability of the SSRI antidepressants in all but a very few, very serious depressions. The placebo response is at least 50% in a large number of independent, (i.e. non pharmaceutical companies' ) studies over many years. In fact, there have never been any scientific studies where a `chemical balance' has been found, thus rendering an `imbalance' theory, a scientific nonsense. It is simply not possible to measure levels of ANY of the 100 + neurotransmitters in the living brain.I t is widely held that the theory, which has been used vigorously from its beginnings approximately 30 years ago, as perhaps one of the greatest marketing ploys in medical, at least, history. Billions of dollars have been, and are, being made by these companies as they perpetuate the myth. I would like to think that you could do a bit of research yourself before you set up as an authority on the treatment of people's misery which is based on lazy medicine and false beliefs. You should also check current data on the efficacy of the SSRI drugs in question. People have the right to know what is going on, and you, as a public forum and therefore assumed experts, have the responsibility to present up to date information.

Deirdre Oliver May 1, 2013

(What is going on with the layout in the `preview'?)

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  • Posted

    Hi deee,

    I have forwarded this on to our authoring team for comment.



    Emis Moderator

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  • Posted

    Hi Deee,

    The authoring team have responded saying the PIL here https://patient.info/health/ssri-antidepressants was changed 6 months ago to remove reference to chemical imbalances. Could you please clarify where/what information you think is incorrect please? Post links in any reply if required, the post will go for moderation but I will see it.



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  • Posted

    I'm glad that's sorted out. There are still some issues I have about the treatment of depression. It is, as you

    probably know, the most expensive of all emotional disturbances because of its commonality and debilitatingconsequences. There are huge numbers of people who are forced to live on welfare because they cannot work, whose social lives are significantly diminished, whose families are disrupted and whose physical

    health is poor,whether from poverty and personal neglect.

    Sadly, the major groups of antidepressants are not very effective in more than 75% of cases. These are the

    old tricyclic antidepressants and the now most commonly used, newer, ( but not really new), SSRI's. More

    and more independent, (non Drug Companies) studies being done are finding that mild to moderate

    depression does not do well with these drugs. Only in the most serious depressions is the active drug more effective than `placebo', (sugar pills). These are likely to be people who are hospitalised. The bulk of sufferers live lives of quiet despair, unnoticed, in the suburbs. And they are taking drugs, with side effects and

    unknown long term physical consequences, that will, at best, have only a placebo effect on their depression.

    I'm not knocking that either, but don't poison them, cost the government a fortune for something that they don't need. These are the people who present to a General Practitioner, over loaded with patients from

    everywhere, who doesn't have time to read the literature, (! they should make time, it's their job(, and give the

    patient what he/she wants to just get on with it. It is sites like yours that could take up the slack. Tell people

    what's going on in scientific circles, in layman's language. It may even be possible for you to inform and empower the common man to take it to the government (s) that the way to cut spending on drugs to allow the people to get help from social manipulation, from `talking' therapies, from professionally supported self- help

    movements. There are lots of things we can all do to help those in the terrible grip of depression. To care and

    show it. They will probably cost less than drugs ($42billion sales per year). We live in hope. Yes, I have

    suffered some terrible times with depression, and at the same time worked as a psychiatric nurse. I know that drugs or, God forbid, ECT, (another time), don't cure anything, but being with caring professionals and each other, DOES.


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  • Posted

    Hi Deee,

    It was a breath of fresh air reading your posts on this subject. You're right. There is no evidence to support the claim that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance. Drugs companies have mislead patients and doctors by withholding negative trial data about antidepressants, regarding their effectiveness and unwanted effects. People ought to consider buying the books "Bad Science" and "Bad Pharma", by Dr Ben Goldacre, to find out more.

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  • Posted

    From Deee,

    I don't know what happened to the formatting of my last post, but here goes. Since I last wrote I have been

    taking an overview of psychiatry in general. In my twenties, though I did quite well as a professional actress, I had 3 separate depressive episodes; all were related to events in my life that I couldn't deal with. With 2 of

    them I had no treatment and eventually got it together and went on with my life. The 3rd was treated with

    imipramine in a clinic following a very serious suicide attempt. I was having difficulties with my marriage, was a 2nd year student nurse, and had to have some serious, and very painful surgery. I was in the clinic for 2

    weeks and went straight back to work. During the rest of my training and for the years after that I was

    considered one of the best nurses at the hospital where I worked. My point is that I didn't have a psychiatrist

    for the next 30 years and lived a very productive, happy(ish) life, raised my 2 boys, was a successful actor,

    sculptor and writer. (2 books, a movie series, aTV sitcom, several screenplays - solo and group exhibitions

    for my sculpture and more. I have also won awards for my short stories and plays.

    Early in 2000 I was very stressed and a friend suggested I go to a psychiatrist and try one of the new anti-

    depressant drugs. I had a sudden catastrophic reaction to the drug. The doctor admitted me immediately to

    a psych clinic and gave me ECT, (66) in twenty months. My memory for most of this time is extinct but I do

    remember saying `no' rather often. Others have told me this also. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

    Apparently, if an artist gets sick it is almost certainly due to bipolar. The long and short of it was that I actually have PTSD caused by the dreadful experience of having ECT against my will.(another time). A thought,

    Lithium does not help PTSD.

    For 13 years, plus the ten before that that I can't remember, I have been at the mercy of psychiatrists. Meds,

    ECT, Meds. I fired my doctor last Monday. She still believes the `chemical imbalance' nonsense. She didn't

    get it when I told her that neurologists have been trying for at least 20 years to find a `balance' of chemicals in the brain. Without this you cannot know what an `imbalance' might be. Common sense, logic, clear thinking, what do you think. The only `imbalance' that might exist is that caused by drugs that have no foundation in

    science at all.

    My reason for going on with all this is because I have been trying to find scientific studies that are well

    designed, honest and repeatable to support or not, the value of the various treatment modes for mental

    `illness'. After all I was very involved in psychiatry and supported the medical model. BUT, what I have found

    is very disturbing. There is hardly any `good' science out there. Findings that do not support the status quo

    are rarely/never published in `reputable' magazines such as the American Journal of Psychiatry, which is

    printed on the back of drug company ads. The few exponents of, at least caution, are labelled ratbags and

    rebels. The comeback by the establishment is that the rebels are going to cause people to die because they won't have the medications or the electrical head injury that will save them.

    After a few days, just on the web, I have seen ads for ECT machines, (70% off, limited offer, if you're looking

    for one at home.) The information from these is terrifying. The language, sci-babble, (my word) description is

    almost exactly the same as that used to promote the icepick through the eye socket lobotomy. (I checked it

    out). Terrifyingly the use of ECT in Melbourne Australia is increasing exponentially as I sit here. Worse,

    lobotomy is also on the rise, with new names of course. As for the drugs, the atypical anti-psychotics,

    Quetiapine, Zyprexa, Risperodone et al, are being doled out on an almost universal range of `disorders'.

    I have stood in line in a very highly thought of facility here in Melbourne where almost everyone seems to be on one of these. There is a row of young people, all obese, queueing for their diabetes 2 blood tests. They

    are not outraged or resistant, because of the drugs' `calming effect', they are just apathetic as they line up for their ECT. In all my visits I see the same faces over and over. Nobody gets better, or not for long.

    Psychiatry is out of control. The dangers of these treatments is being ignored. `We don't have anything else'

    my doctor said, `I just gave a young woman her life back with ECT,' she says proudly. How long will it be

    before she has to do it again, and again, and again? What do you tell a young woman of 22 when she

    discovers she can't remember her nursing training, when she becomes a psychiatric patient for the rest of her life? `Mental illness' should not be a life sentence. But it can very quickly become one. People are afraid.

    They're afraid that if the doctor doesn't help them, who will? These people, me, are among the most

    vulnerable people in any society. They, we, don't have much of a voice. Complaints are dismissed, they're

    sick, that's why they're complaining; they don't understand. `We're the doctors, we know. We're here to help

    you.' That's what the Gestapo told the people as they herded them to the gas chambers. I am going to try to

    work out some kind of program whereby some of these issues are presented to:

    1. The general public, who should be afraid. None of us is immune.

    2. The ground level general practitioners who might have second thoughts about sending their patients to be abused via a lobotomy, or ECT.

    3. The government (taxpayers are footing the bill for most of these inappropriate, unnecessary and often

    dangerous drugs and physical treatments.

    I became outraged and genuinely frightened when I saw, on a medical advice web site, like this one, where a doctor answered a query on the safety of ECT stating that it caused no harm whatsoever. (?) Organic Brain Syndromes are produced by ECT every time. Repetitive injury can be catastrophic. (See football players and

    boxers) The magical thinking by psychiatrists and others who should know better have the magical belief that doing this to people is therapy! However this doctor continued by announcing that he was going to post the

    symptoms of mental illness that might be found in their 2 year old children, in order to treat them early.

    DANGEROUS! I think so.

    The organisation I would like to set up must be seriously and rigorously scientific. Extremes, outrageous

    claims of `fascist psychiatrists' and so on won't cut it, that would be brushed off, and rightly so, as the merely

    the` lunatic fringe' and won't serve the cause well. If anyone reads this, I would love to get feedback,

    suggestions. Of course we will need money to set up the studies, so ideas for that would also be welcome.

    We must try to find the `good' doctors out there to support this because their voices will be heard.


    Why is the formatting in the preview so bad?

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