Did you ever come up with an idea for an amazing invention and then see somebody else selling it like two years later? And then everybody’s talking about how great it is and you’re like: I KNOW! I invented that whole thing in my head two years ago!!!
Well, that’s exactly how I felt (but in a good way!) when I watched the Dr. Oz episode, The Truth About Antidepressants. I spent the first time I watched it yelling, “That’s what I’ve been saying!” every other sentence and looking around my empty apartment like, Is anybody else hearing this?! Then I spent the second (and third and fourth…) time writing down every single quote I wanted to share with you guys – which basically involved transcribing the entire episode by hand lol :)
Seriously though: this show summarizes everything we always talk about on Prayers and Apples ♥ I love it!! After all of the episodes of Frasier and The West Wing and Mad Men… and Remington Steele and MacGyver (can’t forget the classics – thank you, Netflix!), this Dr. Oz show is officially my favorite TV episode of all time!
…Well, after The Wonder Years episodes, of course ;)
I tried (unsuccessfully) to upload the entire episode straight to the blog, but unfortunately (as we all know!) I’m a bit tech-challenged. I did, however, succeed in linking the above picture to Dr. Oz’s site (where you can watch the whole thing totally free!) So stop reading and push play!! ;)
…For those of you who are at work and can’t turn up your volume – which is seriously the only good excuse for not watching in person!! – I also took some screenshots (see: I am making some progress with this tech stuff!) ..So you can still catch a couple highlights!
“One of the most important shows we’ll do all year…”
Dr. Oz begins by saying this subject is one he’s “passionate to sound the alarm on.”
“For twenty years, you’ve been told [antidepressants] are a miracle cure… But new research is bringing terrible evidence to light: Antidepressants don’t work for most patients. They can actually make your problems worse. They may even cause deadly harm.”
“…these powerful drugs aren’t helping anymore than a placebo…”
(Long-time readers probably recognize that claim from a post way back in October called, Antidepressants Versus Placebos, featuring Irving Kirsch, associate director of the Placebo Studies Program at Harvard Medical School. For a refresher, check out Kirsch’s 60 Minutes interview.)
Dr. Oz continues:
But most alarming? [Antidepressants] may actually be changing your brain.
So how did we get this whole antidepressant thing so wrong? Dr. Oz explains:
“So you go to the doctor – and, by the way, I was taught this too. So you’re not alone. We’re all in this together… So there’s reason to believe, and there’s some research behind this, that if you have low serotonin levels in the brain, then you’ll get dark, you’ll feel low. So what was happening? People were being prescribed antidepressants. The goal was to boost your serotonin level. But here’s the catch. There’s not a lot of data – in fact, almost zero evidence, that depression is caused by serotonin imbalance.”
(Pretend the blue Kool-Aid = antidepressants.)
“So what happens if your problem isn’t from serotonin? Now you’re taking these pills, you’re flooding your brain – but instead of getting the benefit that you desire, instead you begin to cause all different types of chemical imbalances in the brain. You take all the pills you’re supposed to and maybe this guy over here is doing fine, but you’re actually leaking out as much as we’re putting into you! And you’re wreaking neurohormonal havoc! Chemicals are going haywire in your brain!”
It’s not just Dr.Oz…
Did anyone catch that Are Probiotics the New Prozac? article on the Yahoo! homepage last week? (If so, you’ll appreciate this
super dorky Kevin Bacon-ish connection.) Neuropsychiatrist, Dr. Daniel Amen, is quoted in that article as saying:
When you combine published and unpublished studies of antidepressants, the treatments we have today are no better than they were 50 years ago.
And… you guessed it! He’s also on Dr. Oz’s panel :)
Dr. Amen sheds even more light on how things got off track, explaining that there are two types of depression – one where the brain shows signs of over-stimulated activity and one where the brain shows signs of under-stimulated activity:
Without administering a brain scan, there’s absolutely no way to tell which one a patient has. So when you walk into your regular doctor’s office and leave with a prescription, there’s only a 50% chance that you were prescribed the type of antidepressant that targets your specific level of brain activity. Dr. Drew (yep, he was there too!) drives the point home:
As a primary care doctor [you] have no training in distinguishing between the two.
So I know I sound like a groupie but…
You guys really need to watch this show!!
Depression is a very real, very devastating disorder – and it’s important that we weed out ineffective treatments, so we can focus our energy on strategies that are going produce the most beneficial results.
…Like I said, older posts have linked to almost all of the studies the show mentions (and if not, you know I’m game for finding the rest!) – so please let me know if you have any questions!
Thanks for reading! :)
If you found this article informative, please consider sharing with your friends! ♥
Bonin, R. (Producer). (19 February 2012). Treating Depression: Is there a placebo effect? 60 Minutes.
Cool, L.C. (12 July 2013). Are Probiotics the New Prozac? Yahoo Health.
Harvard Medical School. (11 September 2012.) Placebo Goes Beyond Consciousness.
The Dr. Oz Show. (3 April 2013). The Truth About Antidepressants.