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symptoms of anxiety
personal friend
psychiatrist
aspirin
firstly
favour
seven days
chemicals
You Can Trust Your Antidepressants, Cant You?
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You Can Trust Your Antidepressants, Cant You?

Surely antidepressants have been fully tested, haven't they? By researchers without any vested interest in the drug company? Anyway, if they didn't work, they wouldn't be on the market. Only makes sense, doesn't it? After all, depression can be explained away as a chemical imbalance. Therefore, if depression is a chemical imbalance, it should be treated with chemicals. That makes sense, surely? You can trust your antidepressants, can't you?

Well, as far as I can make out, there are two cinchers to all this. Firstly, the drug companies claim that more than 80% of people who suffer from depression can be successfully treated with antidepressants. And secondly, we see the advertisements on television about how these chemicals in our bodies actually cause depression.

Now, let's face it. The drug companies wouldn't lie -- would they? Well, just so that we don't directly hurt anyone's feelings, let's just say that they're guilty of terminological inexactitudes. Here we come with your imagination again.

Just supposing I come round to your house to find you in a bit of a state. You're exhibiting the symptoms of anxiety.

"Mike, I just don't know what's wrong with me. I'm as jumpy as a cat, and I feel so nervous."

"Don't worry," I say. "I know of a very capable psychiatrist who can help you. Yes, I know it's the weekend, but he's a personal friend and in any case, he owes me a favour."

So I make a phone call and tell this chap what the problem is. Now, he isn't a psychiatrist at all, but he is a doctor. I ask him to bring round his scrip pad, together with seven aspirin. He's to tell you that these are powerful antidepressants, and you must take only one per day for seven days, at the end of which time, you'll be fine.

What you'll be taking are called placebos, or sugar pills. The doctor comes round, opens up his little case in which you see a scrip pad, so this re-enforces the fact that he's a real doctor in your mind. He gives you seven aspirin, or as you think antidepressants. He hands them over to you as though they were made of gold, and we watch as you take one. You're to take the next one the same time the following day and so forth until they're finished.

I see you a week later, and you tell me you feel on top of the world. Did the pills themselves take away your feelings of anxiety? No. Your mind and imagination did that for you.

Do you remember in a past article we discussed dreams? How people who suffer depression dream three times as much as those who don't suffer from the condition? Because the poor depressive dreams so much, he or she start to become sick. They ache all over. They awake in the morning, feeling as though they've been up for three days solid, that they certainly haven't had a night's sleep. It's found that excessive rumination has caused their condition, not some imbalance with serotonin and norepinephrine.

Oh dear. Now what happens? Being cured of depression by being coaxed off rumination does seem infinitely better than suffering the side-effects of various drugs. Let's wait and see and very soon I'll let you know what the big drug companies are up to -- as well as the side effects of some of their drugs.

I do hope you found this article useful, and thank you for reading it.


Street Talk

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