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Is anti depressants healing ability solely down to your faith in it and the doctor?

Is this why doctors and drug companies like to put forward that it is a FACT instead of a THEORY that depression is a chemical imbalance – it gives a hook for peoples brains to dwell on so they’ll improve a bit
Christina – could you have been worse when you came off antidepressants because these were the withdrawal effects of the drugs rather than the return of the depression?

7 Comments

  • No – if you really do have moderate to severe clinical depression, then there IS an imbalance in the chemicals in the brain, and in that case, the majority will respond to some kind of antidepressant medication, whether or not they believe in them.

    Those people who have reactive depression (ie. they are depressed because of something shit going on in their lives), or who have mild depression do not have a chemical imbalance and should not be prescribed antidepressants in the first place.

    I was treated with escitalopram which did nothing, then fluoxetine which did nothing. After 18 months I was started on venlafaxine. After two failed attempts I didn’t think the venlafaxine would work at all, but it really did.

    Yes, there are always going to be some people who would get better if you gave them a sugar pill, because they have mild depression in the first place, but your theory for moderate to severe clinical depression is completely wrong.

  • God no. Damned little to do with faith in fact.

    Everyone likes to focus on the chemical imbalance theory. That’s really not how it’s looked at in the medial and pharma fields at all. The chemical imbalance idea is basically a marketing tool to try to explain a ridiculously complex idea involving brain function, metabolism and growth. It was quite controversial until the FDA put its foot down and said that it was permissible to use to terminology to explain the above to the significant portion of the American public that read at no greater than a sixth grade level. The actual letter they sent out is quite a good read, you can dig it up somewhere.

    Because frankly, the primary effect of depression (and other mood disorders) is a severe dysfunction in the monoamine neurotransmitters. The theory that this dysfunction was the primary cause of depression was dealt a savage blow when the mechanisms of the first reuptake inhibitors were derived – the lag between reuptake inhibition starting and depression remission measures as great as six weeks, implying that monoamine dysfunction is not the root cause in and of itself, but merely a part of the problem.

    In the last twenty or so years we’ve had the medical imaging and genetic technology to look at the brain better and get a stronger picture of what’s going on. Imaging of depressed brains showed atrophy, shrinkage and cell death, particularly in areas such of the hippocampus, but when treated this rapidly reverses with new cell proliferation in these areas (well, rapid for the brain).

    This led to focus on another area related to a substance called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which commands cell survival, proliferation and growth in the brain. This is the substance currently believed to be primarily responsible for the antidepressant effects, however its increase as a result of antidepressant treatment requires alteration in genetic transcription, which is a painfully slow process. The neurons it controls do not grow quickly either. This delay in transcription and subsequent neuron regeneration presently explains the delay in symptom remission.

    Try explaining -that- to someone who hasn’t sat through a good or five years of college biology, and moreover is depressed. The actual details get -way- into the nitty gritty of cell and molecular biology.

    Hell, look at the trials. We’ve only got a few thousand of them now showing they work substantially better than the placebo effect you’re describing.

  • anti depressants don’t heal depression, they only help with the symptoms. Yes doctors will always use the excuse that it is a chemical imbalance. what about getting those chemicals back into balance. This is done through diet. Natural things, fruit and veg are good starters. bananas contain a protein that is very helpful with depression. how do you feel about yourself? you need love, we humans cant live without it, we strive for it. money becomes a huge problem especially in these trying times. work on the chemical balance first then deal with the rest of the world after that, look after yourself first, the rest of the world comes second.

  • I’ve studied psychology pretty extensively, and that is at least to some degree true. Drugs, like therapy, have about a 60% success rate.

    There is no scientific evidence that states that mental disorders are CAUSED by chemical imbalances. What happened was that scientists created these drugs, and determined that they do create a change in mood in mindset, and then decided that the cause of the mental disturbance must originate from chemical issues, since chemicals can influence emotions.

    But obviously that’s not a sound scientific leap. Cocaine can change your mindset too – but your body doesn’t naturally make cocaine.

    As I stated earlier, drugs and therapy have exactly the same success rate. What this suggests is that chemical influences are no more successful in treating mental disorders than emotional influences.

    The cause of mental illness remains poorly understood.

  • i have been on anti- depressants for 7 years now. i am doing better than i had been doing. i decoded that i was doing so much better that i didn’t need to take some of my meds and onn doctors orders given to my husband i could cut back on seroquel. want to talk about H_ _L i was back in it again. anti-depressants and anti-psychotic drugs have nothing to do with faith in it and the doctor the medicine is what works. i have been tested and the test showed that i have three times the normal amount dopamine in my brain than the average person and that is what causes me to suffer from schizophrenia and other mental illness problems. i have suffered these problems since i was a young child and i am now 53. mental illness runs in my family. all of my brothers and my sister tried all different types of medications they are all dead now mostly due to suicide because the meds they were taking didn’t work for them.

  • There are mixed studies into the impact of anti depressants. But it has been proven that certain foods and exercise can improve depression. You can get more info on anti depresssants on the MIND web site or the BNF.

  • An Anti-depressant doesn’t heal anything it just masks the symptoms which allows a person to still function with the depression. Healing is up to the person through additional mental health treatment by way of a psychologist or other such mental health provider and yes, faith and a personal relationship with the Lord can certainly aid the healing process too.

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