Your Prozac may not be helping you any more than a tic tac, according to a recent article in the The New York Times. A shrink explains why he decided to go from just writing prescriptions to helping patients with behavioral therapy, saying that psychiatry had been “transformed from a profession in which we talk to people and help them understand their problems into one in which we diagnose disorders and medicate them.” When, actually, behavioral therapy might be more effective.
According to the article, one study of 19,000 patients found that the average patient taking antidepressants showed a 40% drop in depression, while those taking the placebo showed a 30% drop. “This meant that about three-quarters of the apparent response to antidepressants is actually due to the placebo effect,” the doctor writes.
Of course, the old placebo effect of antidepressants is nothing new – and yet prescription drugs aren’t slowing in popularity. Newsweek noted that calling out psych drugs is like calling out the fact that the emperor is buck naked. And does anyone really want to know why happy pills work, as long as they do the trick?