Critical update to scientific literature: No evidence for effectiveness of anti-depressants in treating mild depression

Monday, January 16, 2012 by: Mike Bundrant
Tags: anti-depressants, depression, SSRI

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(NaturalNews) In what is being called a critical update of the current literature, Ulrich Hegerl, MD, of the University of Leipzig in Germany summarizes what current scientific studies have revealed regarding the efficacy of anti-depressant medication in treating mild depression. What does the research add up to? Nothing.

That's right. Zip. Dr. Hegerl's analysis included the review of eight separate random clinical trials, the sum of which "does not provide evidence for the efficacy of antidepressants in patients with minor depression."

In his summary, the doctor concluded that while many do not consider mild depression to be a serious condition, it is marked by significant personal suffering and loss of quality of life, and increased risk of suicide. Dr. Hegerl declares, "Effective treatments are urgently needed."

If anti-depressant medication is not proven, why is it so popular?

This one is simple. World-class marketing is the force behind the success of depression meds. When I say world-class marketing, I mean the kind of marketing campaigns that can change a culture. Here is a case in point.

How big pharma created depression in Japan

Businesses usually bypass markets in which their products appear to have no chance of succeeding. Why attempt to sell refrigerators to the Eskimos? When you are a pharmaceutical giant, however, the 800-pound gorilla metaphor is more fitting.

The market: Japan. The product: Paxil

Even though Eli Lilly, makers of Prozac, decided not to enter the Japanese market after an extensive evaluation, GlaxSmithKline (GSK) and Paxil were up for the challenge. Why was the Japanese market so formidable? Because, prior to the year 2000, the word "depression" did not exist in Japanese language and the concept was simply not part of Japanese culture. How do you sell Paxil to people who don't have any concept of the problem it is supposed to solve?

GSK's answer: You create the problem. In 1999 GSK pulled off arguably the most sophisticated maneuver in the history of business while simultaneously changing the direction of an entire culture. And it has made them billions.

Prior to 2000, the closest word to "depression" in Japanese language was a term that only applied to the severely ill or insane - those in mental institutions. Emotional health was certainly not something you would speak to your doctor about. You went to the doctor for a physical exam or if you had a cold or other physical problem, period. Emotional health rested firmly in the realm of religion or spirituality, something that was related to kokoro, the soul, or fundamental inner nature of a person (Buddha nature).

Given that nobody in Japan turned to doctors for mental or emotional problems, the market seemed impenetrable. The marketing wizards at GSK came up with an admittedly brilliant solution, however, by introducing a new phrase into Japanese culture through the mass media. The phrase kokoro no kaze - the soul has caught a cold - reframed thousands of years of tradition and transformed mild depression into something you could rightly speak to your medical doctor about. Of course, the MD's were waiting with prescription pads, ready to dispense the soul's cold medicine - Paxil!

In light of these epic accomplishments, getting past the minor obstacle that the research appears inconclusive seems like child's play. If you desire true freedom in your mental health choices, you are not only up against a monster, but the smartest, wiliest monster imaginable.

While you may want to consider pharmaceutical medication as one of your options, bear in mind that many consider natural alternatives, such as SAMe or St. John's Wort, to be just as effective, but without the side effects. Thousands of articles have been written about these supplements as well as dozens of other nutritional cures. Here are some additional guidelines to consider if you are suffering from the blues.

1. You are the one in charge.

Remember, no one cares about your mental health as much as you do. Even if you don't care about your health, you are still the only one rightly responsible for it. Consider helping professionals to be your employees. Their job is to serve you. You pay them for help and you are the one in charge. Do the research. Ask exhaustive questions. Take charge of your health! Don't make anyone else responsible, as tempting as it may be to unburden yourself of the responsibility.

2. Consider depression a wake up call.

Depression is a sign that something is amiss in your life, either physically or emotionally. An early mentor of mine once suggested that depression is the perception of a future in which you do not want to participate. If this is the case, what of it? Get specific about what is going on in your life. Write down the issues so you can see them clearly and create a plan to make improvements. Wake up! This is your life. If you take just a few minutes to think about what's wrong, without making excuses, you can begin to make things right.

3. Learn to manage your mind.

In his review, Dr. Hegerl suggested that psychotherapy, self-help and even online tools were the preferable treatment for mild depression. He's right. We don't learn how to manage our emotions in school. Most parents don't know how to manage their own minds very well, so they can't teach their children. In general, people just cruise through life on auto-pilot, not even realizing they have incredible potential to determine the quality of their inner life.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) alone represents an opportunity to understand the structure of your thoughts and how that structure influences every aspect of living. Not surprisingly, tools like NLP are shunned by mainstream health care.

Regardless, if you need some added emotional support and are inclined to lean on big pharma, realize that big pharma may be operating on little evidence.

Sources for this article include:

About the author:
Watch the free video The AHA! Process: An End to Self-Sabotage and discover the lost keys to personal transformation and emotional well-being that have been suppressed by mainstream mental health for decades.

The information in this video has been called the missing link in mental health and personal development. In a world full of shallow, quick-fix techniques, second rate psychology and pharmaceutical takeovers, real solutions have become nearly impossible to find. Click here to watch the presentation that will turn your world upside down.

Mike Bundrant is co-founder of the iNLP Center and host of Mental Health Exposed, a Natural News Radio program.

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