American and British media have been rhapsodizing over the “largest ever” research project on antidepressants, published last month in the Lancet. They quote the study’s prestigious Oxford authors claiming their research proves millions more people should be taking antidepressants and that holding back is like denying needed treatment to patients with hypertension or cancer. The lead researcher says he’s “very excited” about the study’s results and boldly declares the “final answer” has been found regarding antidepressants’ effectiveness.
Yet, when one considers that 10 percent of Britons are already taking antidepressants (one in six in some areas), and 13 percent of Americans, including – shockingly – one in four middle-aged women (age 40-59), a nagging doubt arises about this headlong rush into ever-greater medicating of the population.
Add to this the raging debate, not just over antidepressants and suicidality, but also the question of homicidality – a controversy dramatized by the alarming increase in mass shootings in recent years and the disturbing correlation between the mostly young male perpetrators and the psychiatric medications, particularly antidepressants, they have been taking – and one suspects there is a lot more to this story.
To all appearances, the Oxford University study is indeed impressive – a broad meta-analysis of 522 randomized controlled trials spanning almost four decades and involving 21 different antidepressants. Its 18 authors represent not only Oxford’s psychiatric community, but also one or two experts each from France, Germany, Switzerland and the U.S. – plus seven from Japan . . .
In the researchers’ own words, their study confirms: “All antidepressants were more efficacious than placebo in adults with major depressive disorder.” (Read more from “Media Go Wild Over ‘Junk’ Antidepressant Story” HERE)