Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Antidepressants And The Placebo Effect

Antidepressants And The
Placebo Effect
Did you see the recent program on CBS 60 Minutes that aired on 2/19/12 regarding depression? The title of this show segment was Treating Depression - Is There A Placebo Effect? Irving Kirsch, associate director of the Placebo Studies Program at Harvard Medical School states without hesitation that there is most definitely a placebo effect.

Placebo effect is when a simulated treatment is given in place of an actual medication, medical surgery or procedure. For instance, instead of giving someone a drug or medication to fight some condition they have, a sugar pill may be given. From the research that has been done by Irving Kirsch and others, it is found that placebos have the same effect as many medical interventions.

Shortly after the paralysis from the conversion disorder I went through, my psychiatrist wanted to put me on antidepressants, but I refused. I hard heard in my family that if you took those, they would mess up your mind and brainwash you. While that wasn't the sole factor in my refusal, I was one that just hated to take medication of any type and I still do. In this case though, once I got out of the hospital, things changed. I still remember sitting in my apartment, listening to people come to the next door neighbor's sidewalk sale and freaking out. I had every curtain and drape closed and was shaking uncontrollably with fear while hearing the voices. It was my first anxiety attack that I recall. As a result I started on antidepressants, of which I can not fully remember the name.

About a month after I started on them, I remember a visit to my psychiatrist, afraid of how I was feeling. In my mind there was something wrong with me, but when I described my mood, he saw that I was experiencing a mood of being happy. It was such a strange and foreign mood to me, that I thought something was wrong with me and the psychiatrist had to convince me that this was normal. I don't recall how long I was on antidepressants but I know I was severely depressed.

Time went on and I had went without any counseling as I tried to just forget about all the bad memories I had been through. I did not revisit these memories until a nightmare came front and center with an image that brought out a great deal of anger in me. I remember almost putting my fist through my front door as a result and my hand hurt for days. After that, I grew so depressed and I looked for ways daily to kill myself. I tried walking out in front of cars, hoping that one of them would hit me. Every time I tried though, the cars would either slow down or stop. So I started back on antidepressants and in many ways, they helped keep me from killing myself. At a minimum, they gave me a chance to continue to live while I brought my brain back from the depths of despair.

At the time, I was told I would always be on antidepressants or would end up on them from time to time, throughout most of my life. I did not want to believe it. All I knew is that they seemed to help save my life and because of the side effects, they slowed down my excursions to bad sex establishments.

Now, I have learned through some deep healing involving the re-regulation of my nervous system and rewiring my brain, that there is another way. I no longer have to use medications to treat myself, because I am able to tap into the healing power of my own mind. My life has been completely different as a result.

Medications have harmful side effects and they harm the body in serious ways. These medications can alter our biology and sometimes make it difficult to really find our true self. While I know that this is a billion dollar industry, I am glad that someone is doing research and talking about the placebo effect.

Just as Irving Kirsch said in the video when asked if antidepressants work, "yes, they do"! However, just as he stated, they don't work in the way we think they do. It is more of a result of the placebo effect rather than any ingredient in the drug.

If you are on medication, I'm not going to state that you should stop taking it because I have no medical authority to do this. However, I will state without a doubt, that there are other ways to treat and heal yourself. Don't settle for a pill, when you can make changes in your life and truly find the freedom and peace you so deserve. If we close a blind eye to it, it doesn't make it the truth. If we open our eyes to the possibilities, the limits are infinite.

If you want to read more about how the placebo effect was used on my grandfather in place of pain pills after a car accident, click this link.

To view the CBS, 60 Minutes special, click this link.

Blog Post And Images (c) 3/29/12 Don Shetterly - use and reprint by permission only http://www.donshetterly.com You are welcomed to share the link to this blog post, but ask for for permission before reprinting this article. Thanks!

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