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Amber Scott
Amber Scott
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Has depression become a cliché?


Recently, Cleveland, Ohio’s medical writer for the Plain Dealer wrote “Depression: some experts think we might be over diagnosed and overmedicated.” Since 1 in 10 Americans takes an antidepressant, she wondered if people are actually sad or if they’re clinically depressed.

According to the author, “There is no medical test to prove someone is depressed,” and many depression symptoms are normal feelings. In fact, psychologist Eric Maisel writes in his new book “Rethinking Depression” that depression has been incorrectly labeled a mental disorder and says the feelings most people feel are “a natural part of life.”

So what about all those people being prescribed SSRIs? Are they just sad, or do they truly suffer from depression?

Psychiatrist and Today show contributor Dr. Gail Saltz says that 19 million American adults suffer from clinical depression, which manifests as:

  • Persistent sadness or anxiety
  • Sleeplessness or sleeping too much
  • An increase or decrease in appetite
  • A lack of interest in activities or anything in general
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Exhaustion
  • Helplessness, hopelessness, and/or worthlessness
  • Physical problems with no medical cause
  • Suicide contemplation.

But before you say, “Hey, that’s me,” please consider that depression is experiencing half or more of these symptoms for longer than two weeks; depression is not sadness over a recent breakup or divorce. As Saltz says, “If you feel sad about something or nervous over an issue in your life, this does not mean you are in need of a pill. It means you are human and we all have bad feelings sometimes.”

Two of the most common types of depression are major, or clinical, and chronic. Major depression saps a person’s ability to function and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. Typically, a person may have trouble performing day-to-day activities and may attempt or think about committing suicide. Chronic depression, on the other hand is considered milder, but symptoms may last two years or longer.

Though serotonin reuptake inhibitors balance serotonin levels, which transmit nerve impulses that regulate learning, mood, and sleep, a number of research organizations – including the authors of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association – report that placebos are almost as powerful in treating symptoms in patients with mild to moderate depression. Interestingly, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that one-third of SSRI studies submitted to the FDA that showed a lack of effectiveness were never published.

SSRI safety is also questionable, since Canada just added heart warnings to Lexapro labels, and thousands of lawsuits are pending over antidepressants possibly causing birth defects. Additionally, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that one-third of SSRI studies submitted to the FDA that showed a lack of effectiveness were never published.

In short, not everyone is depressed. But if depressive symptoms last longer than a couple of weeks, seek help. Visit the following website for a treatment center closest to you: http://treatmentcenters.com/categories/Ohio/Depression-54.


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  1. Emilio says:
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    Definitely, depression is overdiagnosed and overtreated, and it has been that way for the last three decades. It is not a mere coincidence that this “explosion” in new cases of clinical depression diagnoses paralleled the development and introduction of new antidepressant drugs by the big pharmaceutical companies that started in the eighties with Eli Lilly’s Prozac (Fluoxetine) and the whole pleyade of SSRIs that followed.before the introduction of Imipramine and Tricyclic antidepressants in the late fifties, true depression cases were relatively scarce and most of the patients affected, recovered spontaneously in a periods of seven to twelve months without any specific medical treatment.What Eli Lilly and other SSRIs manufacturers have managed to hide from the great public is that their own initial clinical studies have shown that an alarming number of the test subjects developed an extreme internal agitation syndrome known as Akhatisia as a direct consequence of these Serotonin enhancing drugs, condition that induced suicidal and/or violent behavior among those affected.To those who want to learn the truth about the magnitude of this problem, I recommend to read the well documented, superbly written book “Anatomy of an Epidemic” by the journalist Robert Whittaker. The studies and evidence presented in that book should be matter of obligatory reading for all psychiatrists or aspiring medical students, but of course, since the APA (American Psychiatric Association) is so colluded with the immensely rich pharmaceutical industry, this will hardly happen, at least, not in any near future.

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    Meanwhile, clinical depression remains elusive to treat and so many of us fall through the cracks trying one form of medication or therapy after another. I suppose in older climes we’d’ve been booted out of the clan. Diagnosing too many is irrelevant, no?

  3. Judy Wood says:
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    I took myself off the anti-depressant, Cymbalta and I am now feeling sooooo much better. I’ve lost 30 lbs since doing this..about 3 months ago!!
    This day and time….a person had better take charge of their own health and to hell with all the doctors, pharmaceuticals, etc.

  4. Abbie Kendall says:
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    Oh ye of little knowledge: I have biological depression caused by a mutant gene found in an estimated 3% of all Caucasions. We with this mutation are born with 80% fewer neurotransmitters than is normal. And this makes life hell. I wake up crying every morning, had colitis my entire life and five straight years of insomnia before being diagnosed and getting SSRIs and anti-anxiety meds. Without my excellent doctors and the research and products of so-called Big Pharma, I would not be alive. Based on my knowledge and experience, I would say that neuropsychiatric diseases are under-diagnosed and certainly not treated with the serious respect and charity dollars they deserve.

  5. Emilio says:
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    One of the things I read in that book (Anatomy of an Epidemic, by Robert Whitaker)is that although antidepressants (specially SSRIs)may improve depression symptoms at the beginning, that is for a short term, its prolonged use tend to make the original depression a chronic ailment. In other words, a probably temporary feeling of melancholy or sadness maybe induced by a job loss, a disappointing love affair or perhaps the loss of some dear relative, something that would otherwise heal by itself with the pass of time and emotional support from other fellow human beings, is transformed into a true chronic melancholy due to the harmful biochemical changes induced at the brain by the drug itself. Due to the fact that SSRIs supposedly “work” by increasing the availability of the neurotransmitter Serotonin at the synaptic cleft of the neurons, the brain develops adaptive changes to this abnormal situation by reducing the sensitivity of the receiving end neurons to Serotonin. The net result of this adaptation is an increased proclivity to develop depressive symptoms,and also this may look like a paradox, it has been shown by study after study (most of them hidden and/or berated by the powerful APA -Pharmaceutical duo)that this is exactly what happens after sometime using these drugs.

  6. Emilio says:
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    Abbie, so you want to rationalize your depression by explaining it as you belonging to a 3% group of Caucasians with a “defective gene” that cause low Serotonin production in the brain of those affected?. Interesting, very interesting although this is the first time I hear this explanation and I am more than puzzled that it “fits” so well in the “neurotransmitter or biochemical imbalance” legend so frequently touted by mainstream psychiatry. If this were in fact the case, with so many “brain balancing drugs ” (antidepressants, antipsychotics, antianxiety, etc)developed and marketed during the last 30 years one would expect that all of these mental illnesses would be in full retreat, at least in the developed countries of the world, when it has been exactly the opposite: today there are much more “diagnosed” patients suffering these illnesses than never before in the history of medicine, and that should tell something very clear on the effectiveness of these medications. And last, but not least, I simply don’t believe that millions of years of unrelenting and unforgiving evolution and natural selection could have allowed such a crippling ailment as deep “clinical depression” to genetically affect up to a 3% of the whole Caucasian human beings without causing the carriers of that supposed genetic flaw to become extinct since long ago. Sorry, as an anthropologist I can’t buy this sales pitch from your Pharma friends, and no serious scientist would either.

  7. paradise says:
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    depression is a mental illness. Mental illnesses are usually caused by the environment the surroundings we live in. the best remedy against depression is a change of scene another environment. Meaning when you are depressed you need. Right A VACATION. A HOLIDAY. where there is no tv, newspapers and radio. where you can put your mind in order. the best remedy for depression is a vacation with no stress and work.
    Emotionaly depressed meaning you are too involved with others that you forget to listen to your own feelings. Not that difficult to understand when you know that depression is caused by the environment that is what we humans self create around us.

  8. darcness says:
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    I knew it was a mistake for me to come here and read this. It’s amazing how uninformed and therefore ignorant people are about mental illness. I’m sorry but being some one who struggled through depression, I can comment on this because I KNOW how it feels. It’s not just “being bummed out” or being “sad” about something. It’s so much deeper and more soul wrenching than that. It’s like something reached inside of you and took away everything that matters. It’s both scary and all consuming at times, and ANYONE who hasn’t been through it has no right to comment on how it feels or how it’s some sort of made up condition. Ignorance people. Get educated and then try to be more compassionate. Not everything can be explained away by evolution or any science for that matter. Some things are a bit more elusive than you might allow yourself to believe.

    As for the medications, therapy, etc being less than effective for some people. That’s true, but you also have to look at the way these tests are conducted and how complex the human brain really is. Have you noticed how all these drug tests they test ONE medication vs. a placebo? Then everyone is amazed when the results aren’t that great. GET A CLUE and do a proper test. It takes some people 5, 10, or even more tries to find a medication that works for them. Such is the case when dealing with again, the complexity of the human brain. Instead of taking these medical tests as true and scientific fact, do some research and understand why they are less than ideal. Not only do they not test a variety of medications in a single test, but they also don’t allow the tests a long enough course to run. Most antidepressants take a good 6-8 weeks to work fully. Even then you’ll likely have some ups and downs still until things get stabilized out.

    This is all things that people simply don’t care to look in to, or are just too ignorant to care about. It upsets me to no end when some one who has no experience with mental illness runs their mouth like they are some kind of expert. Get a clue people and PRAY that this never happens to you. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

  9. Nena says:
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    Unfortunately, I have major depression. It takes so much effort to even function. I am on two medications for it just as a safety net to keep from feeling suicidal. I also go to therapy. Right now I’m so-so and I’m afraid that’s the best that it can be. I’ll take so-so than being so depressed I can’t get out of bed or feel like killing myself.

  10. paradise says:
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    that name darcness could not you use a more positive name for instance like happy or sunshine.
    your nick name sounds depressed before you start reading. Like a virus it wants to infect others with darkness. People wonder why they feel depressed it is from reading and listening and being exposed to negativity

  11. Michelle says:
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    Cliche? Perhaps. I do agree that doctors nowadays do overdiagnose depression. People are too quick to assume that feeling sad over a ‘simple’ situation is need for antidepressants, and some doctors don’t freaking care enough to actually sit down and inform the patient that maybe they just need to talk to someone. Medicine isn’t always the answer. However, I do also believe that depression has become more prevalent. With the advances in media and social networking, society feels more pressured to conform to certain standards.

  12. smile says:
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    be free and independend not pressured

  13. Emilio says:
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    Darkness: I will ignore your comments assuming there is no one else but you who has ever experienced depression, nothing is farther from reality than that assumption. On the contrary, I would say that most people commenting this blog is experiencing or has experienced this condition sometime in his or her life, so don’t think you are alone in this predicament. I myself experienced this problem many years ago, when I was a young man due to some very emotionally traumatic experiences I had to endure at that epoch.And yes, I received psychiatric treatment for my depression, starting with psychotherapy, following with antidepressant drugs (Imipramine was the medication available at that time) and ended up receiving a set of electroshock sessions at a hospital, so I know very well what I am talking about when I speak about depression. Fortunately that set of ECT sessions were reduced to only 3 (normally it is 7 to 12), otherwise I wouldn’t be able to express myself with the coherency and fluidity I think I am doing right now. Later, I was sporadically on tricyclics (Etrafon, Triavil), but after I got married and went back to college (at age 24)I had to decide by myself if I wanted to be able to focus my attention on my studies, what was being explained at the classrooms, with a clear mind, or if I was going to be like a zombie, unable to understand the study matters because of the continuous drowsiness caused by the medications. And I took the decision to quit completely on them no matter what, always supported by my dear wife (today, we have been married for more than 40 years), and have never regret to have taken that decision. As a consequence of that, I was able to complete two bachelor degrees in engineering (electrical and mechanical), with honors, and later was able to successfully work at a major telecommunications company for 28 years before retiring but you may rest assured that I would have never been able to accomplish those things if I had remained under those psychiatric drugs, no way. I can swear this before God or before any court, and this is the main reason I feel so personally involved when I see so many lives derailed by the devastation caused by most psychiatric drugs. After remembering my own experiences and later having learned so much from “dissident” psychiatrists, like Dr. Peter Breggin (who has been called “the conscience of modern psychiatry”), and other researchers in the field, like the mentioned Robert Whittaker, I can affirm with absolute conviction that modern psychiatric drug treatments are one of the biggest modern crimes against the most vulnerable sectors of our society. Of course, it is a pointless task to try and argue about anything with someone that is under the influence of those drugs, so now…I leave this matter to rest in peace.

  14. depression says:
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    depression is a made up illness by doctors for humans who think differently than the main stream society. the doctors give you then happy pills like in the matrix so you can feel happy again.
    After a while the effect of these happy pills wears off because your body get imune of the prescribed drug. People also get hooked on them to get that rush again. Meaning they have become a drug addict.
    the solution to stress or depression is not in a botle with pills.

  15. love says:
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    the solution to depression is love and understanding.

  16. Amber Scott says:
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    I thank you all for your comments. As we can see, everyone has a different angle regarding what depression is, if it really exists despite what science tells us, and what treatments are successful in combating it. For those of you who are suffering depression, I encourage you to continue to seek help from your doctor.