The Depressing News About Antidepressants

Newsweek magazine, in the February 8, 2010 issue, has an interesting cover story about antidepressant drugs by Sharon Begley [] with the tag line, “Studies suggest that the popular drugs are no more effective than a placebo, in fact, they may be worse.”

Here are a few choice quotes from the article:

“[The benefit of antidepressants] is hardly more than what patients get when they, unknowingly and as part of a study, take a dummy pill — a placebo. As more and more scientists who study depression and the drugs that treat it are concluding, that suggests that antidepressants are basically expensive Tic Tacs.”

Dr. Irving Kirsch, author of a new book, The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth, is quoted as saying, “The belief that antidepressants can cure depression chemically is simply wrong.”

“Unfortunately, the serotonin-deficit theory of depression is built on a foundation of tissue paper. … Direct evidence doesn’t exist.”


“Maybe it is time to pull back the curtain and see the wizard for what he is. As for Kirsch, he insists that it is important to know that much of the benefit of antidepressants is a placebo effect. If placebos can make people better, then depression can be treated without drugs that come with serious side effects, not to mention costs. Wider recognition that antidepressants are a pharmaceutical version of the emperor’s new clothes, he says, might spur patients to try other treatments.”

If you are taking these drugs, do not stop taking them based on what you read here. You could suffer serious withdrawal symptoms. You should seek the advice and help of a competent medical doctor or practitioner before trying to come off any psychiatric drug.

Prescribed for everything from learning and behavioral problems, bedwetting, juvenile delinquency, aggression, criminality, drug addiction and smoking, to handling the fears and problems of our elderly, antidepressants are among the most widely prescribed drugs on Earth, with fifty-four million worldwide currently on them.

But for many, taking antidepressants comes at a severe cost. For more information about the side effects of psychiatric drugs, go to Needless to say, allowing yourself to be treated with psychiatric drugs is very risky, since there is very little science to back it up.

According to top experts, the majority of people having mental problems are actually suffering from nonpsychiatric disease that is causing emotional stress. For more information about medical causes of psychiatric symptoms, go to

Short Takes

A central figure behind the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) claims disputing the link between vaccines and autism and other neurological disorders has disappeared after officials discovered massive fraud involving the theft of millions in taxpayer dollars. Danish police are investigating psychiatrist Dr. Poul Thorsen, who has vanished along with almost $2 million. Thorsen was a leading member of a Danish research group that wrote studies supporting CDC’s claims that mercury-laden vaccines were safe for children. His study has long been criticized as fraudulent. []

Approximately 1.5 million people in the United Kingdom are addicted to prescription or over-the-counter drugs, many of which were legally acquired. In July, the Department of Health launched a review of the problem, after the House of Commons All-Party Group on Drug Misuse called for greater awareness, better doctor training and more treatment options. Although medical guidelines discourage doctors from prescribing benzodiazepine tranquilizers such as Valium for more than four weeks at a time, many patients still become addicted. []

The study data from the National Institute of Mental Health’s Sequence Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression, or STAR*D trial, did not report a “real-world” number for remission rate of depressed patients given several different prescriptions trying to find one that “worked.” It’s a number that tells of a “theoretical” remission rate, and it hides the fact that many remitted patients then quickly relapse. []

GlaxoSmithKline has paid out close to $1 billion to resolve lawsuits involving Paxil since the drug came on the market in 1992, according to a December 14, 2009 Bloomberg report. But the billion dollars does not cover the more than 600 Paxil birth defect cases currently pending in multi-litigation in Pennsylvania.

Click here to read the whole article.

Corey Haim – Addicted to Valium?

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported an obituary March 11 (page A21 in the print edition) for actor Corey Haim, who died March 10 in Los Angeles at the age of 38, apparently from pulmonary congestion.

The article quoted a 2004 interview with Mr. Haim, “After a period in rehab … Mr. Haim was put on prescription drugs. ‘I started on the downers … but one led to two, two led to four, four led to eight, until at the end it was about 85 a day … and that was just the Valium.'”

Other news reports speculate that Mr. Hain’s death may have involved a drug overdose; police reported recovering four prescription drugs in his room. One can also speculate about the damage done by Mr. Haim’s previous use, or abuse, of Valium.

Valium (diazepam) is a psychiatric antianxiety drug, also called a minor tranquilizer, benzodiazepine, or sedative hypnotic.

Daily use of therapeutic doses of benzodiazepines is associated with physical and psychological dependence, and abrupt cessation can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms, including suicide. Withdrawal from drugs like Valium is more prolonged and often more difficult than withdrawal from heroin.

The benzodiazepine’s exact mechanism of action is unknown. Clinically, all benzodiazepines cause a dose-related central nervous system depressant activity varying from mild impairment of task performance to hypnosis.

Unlike medical drugs, which commonly may prevent or cure disease or improve health, psychiatric drugs are only designed to suppress symptoms that return once the drug wears off.

Like illicit drugs, psychiatric drugs provide no more than a temporary escape from problems, unwanted behavior or unpleasant emotions.

Psychiatrists keep on prescribing these drugs in spite of the known problems of addiction and harmful side effects. Today, at least 20 million people worldwide are prescribed these “minor tranquilizers.” Meanwhile, we are facing epidemic levels of citizens hooked on these drugs. In fact, an estimated 60% of people taking antianxiety drugs become addicted and suffer adverse reactions to the drugs, such as extreme anger and hostile behavior.

There is no question that people do experience problems and upsets in life that may result in mental troubles, sometimes very serious. But to say that these can only be treated with dangerous drugs is dishonest, harmful and often deadly. What psychiatric drugs do instead is mask the real cause of problems, often denying one the opportunity to search for workable, effective solutions. While Mr. Haim may have abused prescription drugs, he was also abused by those prescribing those drugs to him.

Everyone is encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

For more information about psychotropic drugging, watch the Making A Killing video. For more information about psychiatric drug side effects, go to For more information about alternatives to psychiatric drugs, go to