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CMS: Manufacturing Depression
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In this episode:

How is the pharmaceutical industry shaping the debate around depression?


Episode Audio

49:30 minutes (23.77 MB)
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During the political season of 1996, The Wall Street Journal published an article on the nation's inexplicable and unshakeable good mood.

It was hard for Bob Dole and other challengers of incumbency to make any headway, the article said, because people just seemed to feel pretty OK about everything. The reporters explored a thicket of theories including -- I'm not kidding -- the macarena. They did not explore a pharmaceutical theory. As I read it, I thought, really? The macarena is having a bigger impact than the explosion in use of serotonin reuptake inhibitors?

Of course people don't feel all that bad ... because they don't feel all the bad! Bob Dole must have figured it out because shortly after the election he went to work as a pitchman for Big Pharma.

Today on our show, two Connecticut authors have written books about the overprescription of anti-depressants.

You can join the conversation. 860-275-7266 or e-mail [email protected]

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Listener E-mail from Judy


I really enjoy your shows and found the conversation with the two authors today on depression very interesting. What I'd like to hear more about is the studies that have been done by Irving Kirsch and others on antidepresents vs a placebo that show the placebo affect just as helpful as the antipreseent. In other words in studies it's been shown that patients suffering from depression do just as well on placebo as those taking an antidepressant. This all ties into the drug companies and their free lunches for doctors and staff to push their drugs and I'm sure they have much more monies to prevent this information from getting far. But there is a new book out - The Emperor's New Drugs by Irving Kirsch that gives drug companies a run for their money and I think it would be great to hear from this author and others on this subject.
    I don't have any first hand knowledge of antidepressants but a have a family member that has tried antidepressants for daily headaches and migraines and I've seen the side effects they cause so I find the placebo data very interesting. And although antidepressants may help some with their headaches there are many others that don't get relief with them but do get the unpleasant side effects. So it makes for a great conversation. So thanks again for the great conversation today and I hope it can be expanded at some point to include the placebo affect when it comes to antidepressants.

Listener E-mail from William

I'm (intermittently) employed in a creative field.  For months I've been seeing a therapist (not licensed to prescribe) who's been urging me to get on medication.  Lack of health insurance has been a problem... but I might finally have that solved.
I've had suicidal ideations and started formulating a plan.  I've hid in my bed for weeks at a time.  I hate my life and everything around it.  
I'm close to getting on meds... maybe even this week... but maybe I won't take them.  Because, Hey - all this blackness might inspire me to write an opera!

I can't believe you're on the air chuckling about this crap.

And, if your guest doesn't HAVE ADD... the drug is going to have different impact than on his son who does... just like taking an opiate when in severe pain is going to be different when you're healthy.