Self-Nonmedication

Bruce Stutz, in the New York Times Magazine, gives a first-person account of his struggles to get off an antidepressant after treated with it. He speculates on whether these drugs have more costs than benefits:

“Ron Duman told me about one way that scientists try to test the effectiveness of a given antidepressant in the lab. Put a laboratory rat into a beaker of water and see how long it struggles to get out. When it stops, remove it from the beaker and treat it with the drug. Repeat the test. If it struggles for a significantly longer time than before, the drug is considered to have antidepressant potential.

Is this ability to keep us going altogether good? As Rosenbaum pointed out to me, people under stress can do great harm not only to themselves but also to those around them parents to their children, couples to each other. But when does reliance on a drug keep us from seeking ways to resolve the causes of stress? General practitioners, not mental-health specialists, write most of the prescriptions for antidepressants. For most doctors and psychiatrists, drugs, not therapy, have become the first line of defense. Only some 20 percent of people prescribed an antidepressant ever have even a single follow-up appointment.”

Self-Nonmedication

Bruce Stutz, in the New York Times Magazine, gives a first-person account of his struggles to get off an antidepressant after treated with it. He speculates on whether these drugs have more costs than benefits:

“Ron Duman told me about one way that scientists try to test the effectiveness of a given antidepressant in the lab. Put a laboratory rat into a beaker of water and see how long it struggles to get out. When it stops, remove it from the beaker and treat it with the drug. Repeat the test. If it struggles for a significantly longer time than before, the drug is considered to have antidepressant potential.

Is this ability to keep us going altogether good? As Rosenbaum pointed out to me, people under stress can do great harm not only to themselves but also to those around them parents to their children, couples to each other. But when does reliance on a drug keep us from seeking ways to resolve the causes of stress? General practitioners, not mental-health specialists, write most of the prescriptions for antidepressants. For most doctors and psychiatrists, drugs, not therapy, have become the first line of defense. Only some 20 percent of people prescribed an antidepressant ever have even a single follow-up appointment.”