Do Antidepressants Cure Depression? Are Psych Drugs Safe? Dr. Colin Ross & Corrina Psychetruth

Do Antidepressants Cure Depression? Are Psych Drugs Safe? Dr. Colin Ross & Corrina Psychetruth


Life Wisdom. I’m Psychetruth corespondent, Corrina Rachel and I’m joined today by doctor Colin Ross. An author and practicing psychiatrist in Dallas, TX. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Well thank you for having me. So today I wanna ask a burning question, do anti-depressants really work? For somebody who is experiencing
depression, what would you want them to know about anti-depressants before they
started them. Well that’s an excellent and an important question and the scientific facts are very
different from what you often hear from your
doctor and from what’s generally known in the culture. We’re taught, we psychiatrist that anti-
depressants are powerful and effective and that it’s really a life-saving intervention
and that you’re not doing your job as a psychiatrist if you don’t offer a depressed person a medication. That’s the basic teaching and on the side we’re taught that depression is probably some kind of brain disease and is due to low serotonin levels or maybe another brain chemical called noradrenaline and that’s just kind of accepted in our culture.
That the doctors and scientists know that
it’s a low serotonin problem. It’s just a disease. It doesn’t have that
much to do with your personality or what you’ve been through in life. And you take a medication. It’s just like taking an antibiotic. It’s gonna work, not 100%, but a big percentage of the time. But that whole picture is not scientifically true. In fact that
whole picture is completely disproven by the existing science. So you wouldn’t recommend then that somebody start?
Well the
question’s a little bit more complicated because your in the world of practical
reality. So for instance when I worked in an
anxiety disorders clinic in Canada, it was mostly people with panic attacks coming in.
So I’d do an assessment and the two options we have here are we have
certain medications or we have cognitive therapy, which has got a whole evidence-based
showing that it works for panic attacks, not all the time but reasonably well. One person would go “I’m not crazy. I don’t need
medication.” Then the next person would say there’s nothing
wrong with me I don’t need therapy, I’ll take the medication. So people would
have completely opposite viewpoints on medication versus therapy and the bottom line is some people are just not going to do
therapy. They’re not interested, there’s no way or
they can afford it or they don’t have time…there’s a million different reasons.
So if the person is not going to do any kind of therapy, it’s either nothing or
medication. In an ideal situation when you’ve got time,
when you’ve got insurance or you could afford to pay for therapy, I’d say
the number one way to go is therapy and there is actually data supporting that. That
long-term if you’re depressed and you take antidepressants you’re gonna do better
with cognitive therapy and on one analysis in terms of cost it looks like of course just to take a
prescription is cheaper than seeing a therapist week after week after week, but
once you get out to about nine months the cognitive therapy is usually ten or twenty
sessions for depression but the antidepressant you keep taking taking
taking taking. Around about nine months the cost of the
antidepressant catches up with the cost of therapy and then it keeps getting
greater and greater and greater. So from an insurance company point of view it’s not true that drugs are cheaper. When we look at the evidence on how well
do these medications work… So we’ve got the old antidepressants and the new
anti-depressants and the main group of new ones is the SSRIs, which is selective serotonin re-uptake
inhibitors, so they’re called SSRIs. that’s prozac, zoloft, and things like
that. When you look at all the studies that are
done by the drug companies including the ones they’ve suppressed and not
published, when you get those all together the basic scientific fact is there’s virtually no difference between
drug and placebo. People with depression, on average their
depression scores dropped the same amount. The difference is tiny and you wouldn’t be able to tell the
difference yourself if you were on placebo and you were on antidepressant and you had the average drop in depression score or the average drop in score for placebo there’s no way you
could internally subjectively tell the difference. So does that mean drugs don’t work? No
because there’s another group in the research, which is called the
waiting list control. That’s where you don’t get drug or placebo or anything
and you just wait until we call you in a few months when a slot opens up. Now those
people do worse than the placebo and drug groups. So both drug and placebo are
clearly better than doing nothing. Both in fact work but the drug doesn’t work better than
the placebo. Those are the scientific facts, but
the way things are set up right now you can’t go to a doctor and tell the doctor i’d like
to get a placebo please because nobody ever asks that question
plus the doctors have all these ethical problems about how it’s deceptive to give
somebody a placebo without telling them, so they won’t do it
in secret. And if they did and the person found out
they could probably sue them. There is actually research where people are told well what we’re going to do is give you a placebo, the dummy pill, a sugar pill that has
nothing and but we found that this is quite helpful and that the placebo response stays the same. There’s also studies where you’ll see TV ads for Abilify
which can be added to an antidepressant to kind of boost the effect of the anti-depressant and those are on TV quite regularly. There’s also research showing that if you’re depressed and you’re given a placebo, you respond a certain percentage of
the time. When you add on another placebo that the person thinks is the second drug, it
basically bumps the depression down as much as Abilify bumps
down your depression when you’re taking an SSRI. There’s no question scientifically that
these drugs are indistinguishable from placebo and from each other in terms of how
well they work, but since you can’t go get placebo in our culture, and you can go get anti-depressants they will work some of the time for
some people and for some people they won’t work at all. The kicker is then what about the side
effects? There’s a lot of side effects which includes your sex
drive just goes to zero, nightmares, agitation, feeling restless,
keyed up, and when you stop these anti-deprssants you can get a noticeable
withdrawal syndrome. Not all the time that a lot of time. Since psychiatrists really don’t want to
recognize that these drugs are addictive and cause withdrawal they call this
discontinuation syndrome to make it sound kinda softer and nicer but it’s
clear that a lot of people have serious withdrawal
from these drugs. So are the side-effects really worth it? Well maybe if you’re one of the people
who is a very good placebo responder you take the antidepressant, you feel
better and you’re one of the people that has minimal side effects. Your insurance company
pays for it. In a way you could live with that, but the whole culture is kind of kidding
itself. These drugs in fact do not work better than placebo and in fact they have alot of side effects, which could include being aggitated suicidal, homicidal, delirious, more than a
placebo will cause. That is also proven scientifically. In terms of the chemical imbalance idea
where you have a chemical imbalances, you have low serotonin. These drugs boost up your serotonin. Doctors say this over and over and over. It’s in the drug ads. There’s
actually an antidepressant that’s on the market in europe that was first developed in france that’s called
a selective serotonin re-uptake enhancer, So it’s an SSRE. Instead of boosting serotonin it actually boosts the re-uptake. So it sucks the serotonin out of the synapses back into the nerve so
it reduces the serotonin level but it’s equally as effective as the
ones that boost the serotonin level. And we have lots and lots and lots of research
showing psychiatrists can’t find any consistent
problem in the serotonin system at all. It’s just a marketing method and that’s not surprising because why would
we think the antidepressants are working through serotonin if they don’t work
any better than placebo? We don’t really need the serotonin
effect at all and that’s proven by if you have a drug thatboosts up serotonin,
it doesn’t work any better than one that blocks serotonin down. So you’re saying that the message that’s
conveyed in TV commercials that’s conveyed to people and then even their
doctor may tell them is actually not backed by the scientific evidence? Well let’s look at another class of TV
commercial. That is what I’m saying. So I’ve learned from watching tv ads that
depression is a medical disease that has certain symptoms that is thought to be due to
imbalance of serotonin and you should talk your doctor about these
effective medications. That’s what i’ve learned from TV ads,
but is not scientifically true. Here’s something else I have learned from
tv ads, if you’re a guy and you really really really wanna date supermodels,
the number one thing you gotta do is drink beer ’cause supermodels just love guys that drink
beer, clearly proven by beer ads on TV. It’s all proposterous. We know
that first of all the super models that are drinking the beer are not drinking a whole lot of beer because they are so thin and they’re not impressed by guys who are
throwing up at the beer party. It’s complete nonsense. It’s not any more objectively
scientifically true what you see in a anti-depressant ad. Very interesting. So we can take with a grain of salt just about anything we see in a tv commercial and obviously when we see a Dorito’s commercial or whatever we
kind of know that you know that isn’t really true, but
it’s interesting that you know even in what is often kind of purported to be
very medical and very scientific is really not so much. This is just their
marketing. Right instead of some good looking guy driving a car fast down the
road it’s a guy who’s got a lab coat on and seems like some sort of professional
or doctor. It’s all marketing. So you spoke a minute ago about
side-effects and you mentioned the sexual health side-effects in a
previous video that we did awhile back. We kind of touched on that subject and one
of the comments that was left on that video was that this is completely true. I
was on anti-depressants for all these years and actually even now that i’ve
been off of anti-depressants for several years he was still experiencing the same
negative sexual health side-effects. Now that’s something that I’ve heard of
and I was actually on a radio show with a guy who’s kind of an expert in that who
has seen dozens and dozens and dozens of people. So the idea is first of all these drugs
don’t have that many side effects. Don’t worry about it. Well it turns out they do have a lot of side-effects. Especially the SSRIs, dropping your sex drive down to nothing. But as soon as you stop you know pretty
soon the side effects will go away and you’ll be back to
normal as far as your sex life is concerned. Now we’re starting to see there’s people where it doesn’t come
back for months and months and months and
months and then of course the psychiatrist will say that’s ’cause they’re depressed. Low sex drive is a symptom of depression but I’ll bet you a lot of times
it’s a side effect of the drug. Just like when we go back twenty years
with the anti-psychotics there’s a lot of people with tardive dyskinesia which is these twitching, grimacing kinda
movements just caused by anti-psychotic medications
and when you stop the meds the side-effect gets worse and it last for years, the rest of your life. So we know within my professional practice lifetime
that’s there are psych meds that have severe side effects that can last your
whole life. That’s not unheard of. That’s admitted to and recognized by
everybody. Now we’re starting to see maybe some of
these SSRIs have long long long lasting sexual side effects. Of course drug companies don’t want to hear about that. Psychiatrists are by and large not wanting to hear about that. It’s absolutely realistically possible. So what would you suggest to somebody who has received a mental health diagnosis or who’s feeling
depressed or maybe they’re watching those commercials and thinking, man I need to ask my
doctor. What would you recommend? First of all depression is a very real
problem. We haven’t proven that it’s a medical disease. We know anti-depressants don’t work that well but it is a very real and serious problem. And we know a number of things that can
be helpful, exercise. It’s hard to get to sleep in your so depressed you can’t sleep,
but good exercise, good diet, good social relationships, and good support,
all those normal things that are good in life, good nutrition, good diet. In terms of treatment I, number one would say cognitive therapy is well proven to be effective. There’s several other schools of therapy. So basically therapy . To take a look at what’s happened
in your life that’s making you feel this way and what’s happened in your life that’s
making you think this way about yourself and you can work your way out of that. Antidepressants you know they’re just here to stay in
our culture for at least awhile. People are going to get them from their doctors.
Their doctors are going to tell them this is the way to go. I just wouldn’t invest all my time and energy in meds. I’d look into healthy lifestyle emotionally, personally,
psychologically, and psychotherapy. Interesting and it’s neat that you point out you know and
looking at someone who’s depressed you really do have to look at their history
and look at what they’ve been through and we’ve talked in several videos about
trauma especially childhood trauma even sexual abuse and how those things play in. So that’s definitely an important
consideration for anybody in that situation. Right now lots of people have been
depressed and never been sexually abused but if you have been sexually abused it
clearly at least doubles your risk of depression. So it’s interesting that you would
recommend those things because Psychetruth’s channel is kind of
founded on trying to give people alternatives of ways that they can improve their lives
or handle depression and that’s exactly what you’ll find on
our channel information about exercise workout videos nutrition all of these
different things. So it’s actually very helpful to hear
from your perspective that those things really can be helpful for
people. Right and I think that’s why you and I are doing these interviews together ’cause what my view of the world fits
with the Psychetruth view. Well thank you so much for joining me
today I really appreciate it! And thank you for joining me. I appreciate you coming and watching! If you liked this video I hope that you will click on the like button and give me a thumbs up! Be sure to leave your comments,
questions, and topic requests in the comments section below. And please please please subscribe to
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and your health! Thank you so much and I’ll see you again soon!

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