On February 19, 2012, CBS’s 60 Minutes featured Dr. Irving Kirsch, Professor of Psychology at the University of Hull in the United Kingdom and author of The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth. Kirsch was interviewed regarding his recently published data that demonstrates that antidepressants are no more effective than placebos in the treatment of depression. This report has the potential of rocking the medical world and dethroning antidepressants from their exalted position in the treatment of a host of symptoms.
Drug companies have preyed on physicians using deceptive research and marketing material for decades. They have indoctrinated the public to believe that antidepressants are a panacea for a host of problems by inundating the public with television commercials promoting their benefits. The drug companies have never warned physicians or the public about the addictive nature of antidepressants or the significant withdrawal reactions that attend the discontinuation of these drugs.
Drug companies have marketed antidepressants for the masses. They have expanded their recommendations for antidepressant to include not only depression, for which they are prescribed only 25% of the time, but also for anxiety, panic attacks, attention deficit disorder, insomnia, PMS, headaches, crowd phobia, lack of mental focus and fatigue, just to name a few.
Primary physicians have been the main marketing focus of the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture antidepressants. Currently 79% of patients are taking antidepressants that have been prescribed by their primary care doctors. Due to their heavy schedules, these physicians are extremely dependent upon the drug detailing provided by drug company representatives who, more and more, are attractive young women. Get the picture?
Not only are the side effects of antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs downplayed by the drug representatives to the doctors, but little or nothing
The withdrawal reactions may be mild, moderate or severe depending upon how long the antidepressant has been used and the strength of the dose. Depending upon the half-life of the drug, that is the time that the drug takes to be eliminated from the body, withdrawal reactions can occur almost immediately, even when one dose is missed.
By educating the public on the detrimental effects of psychotropic drugs, we hope to prevent women and men from being deceived by the pharmaceutical companies and intimidated by their physicians into thinking that their problems are all in their heads and that psychiatric drugs can solve their problems.
Steven F. Hotze, M.D.