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The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth Hardcover – January 26, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
This book, though, isn't worthy & technical - it's fascinating. It's a remarkably readable account of how we got carried away with an idea about the brain that isn't true. You don't need to have an interest in depression and you don't have to be a medic; this is a thoughtful look at how bright & well-meaning people get enchanted with an idea & go on to fool themselves and everyone else. It isn't a doctor-bashing book, nor one that pushes the author's own pet therapy. Instead it gives a lovely insight into the way science works, and the way it can sometimes gets done so badly that it doesn't work at all. Kirsch argues antidepressant tablets are based on a false pharmacological model of the brain, and that the balance of evidence shows they don't work except as placebos. Even if you're not persuaded by Kirsch's thesis - and I think you should be - you'll find his ideas thought-provoking.
For most of human history, going to see a doctor was a bad move. We did more harm than good.Read more ›
We have known some fundamentals about depression for decades: It is caused by a biochemical imbalance, the imbalance is in the serotonergic system, antidepressant drugs targeting this system somehow correct the problem, and they do so safely and with an excellent risk to benefit ratio. As the data have accumulated, however, the elegance and sense of these ideas have given way to confusion. In terms of Kuhn's concept of paradigm shifts, the evidence is tilting us uncomfortably from a belief in the origins, nature, and pharmacological treatment of clinical depression, toward a period of confusion where the older ideas collapse but have yet to be replaced by a newer model.
Few have done more elegant and powerful work in this area than Kirsch. As a psychologist specializing in depression, I have followed his articles closely since his work on this topic began coming out over ten years ago. As you read the book, you can begin to get a small chirping annoyance that takes a while to find its way into awareness. With all due respect to Kirsch: "This seems like good work, but it's not exactly rocket science. It's a bit obvious to go back and look at all the data to see what has actually been done, which of it has been published, and what it actually shows in terms of effectiveness. How is it that no one did this before?" You are led to two possibilities: Either people connected with the work see the problems and ignore them, or the quality of the science in this field is pretty low.Read more ›
I got this book because of a seminar on the elderly being over medicated. I see it every time I go out. It is sad to see people looking up at the ceiling, comatose, withering away. And at the heart of it for many people is over medication.
The book is well researched and accurate. It is readable. But it is not pleasant reading because it is the truth. It made me angry.
Irving Kirsch, a researcher who pioneered the use of meta-analysis in studying antidepressants, writes about the chimera of antidepressant effectiveness in his book. Kirsch's main argument is that placebos are effective treatments for depression, and that antidepressants add very little except side effects.
After analyzing 38 clinical trials involving more than 3000 depressed patients, Kirsch found that only 25% of the benefit of antidepressant treatment was due to the drug effect. The placebo effect, the patient's hope that he will improve from treatment, was twice as powerful as the drug effect.
When analyzing the data, Kirsch also found that the newer antidepressants (e.g. SSRI's) were no better than the older antidepressants. Even more surprisingly, he found that sedatives, barbiturates, antipsychotic drugs, stimulants, opiates, and thyroid medications were as effective as antidepressants in treating depression. The only thing that these drugs have in common is that they produce easily noticeable side effects. Kirsch explains that in a clinical trial, patients are randomly assigned to either a treatment (drug) group or a placebo group. If the patient knows that he's been assigned the drug, he'll feel more hopeful and optimistic--i.e. he'll feel less depressed. Since the studies are supposed to be double-blind, the only way the patient can know this is if he gets side effects.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a psychiatrist, I'm fully aware of the limitation of psychopharmacology and hence turned to functional medicine few years ago. Read morePublished 2 months ago by aseptic
Really ... how is it possible? I suppose I shouldn't be shocked anymore by the influence of greed and big pharma, among other machinating factors. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Larry P Kunz
Excellent data. I am currently so interested in this research and applaud all those that are exposing Big Pharma. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Lidman
In less than 200 pages, Kirsch does 'explode' not only the anti-depressant myth, but further explores the placebo effect's history and long-reaching arm in human behaviour. Read morePublished 10 months ago by bek_birkett
Anybody who is on SSRIs needs to read this. Unbelievable what they are selling us.Published 11 months ago by D. Morris
very satisfied with the product, price, service and timingPublished 13 months ago by Amazon Customer