Post Prozac Nation: The Science and History of Treating Depression

Wow! This is article confirms for me what I believed to be true‚ÄĒscience is only beginning to touch the complex causes of depression. It’s interesting that the author didn’t talk about how anti-depressants can cause rapid cycling in folks with bipolar disorder. But, maybe, that’s a whole other article. ūüôā

I thought the same thing. I came across this little piece-o’-interesting in the comments section below the article: Apparently researchers in Canada have found that when a tincture of cannabis is directly injected into the hippocampus of rodent brains it promotes new cell growth. New cell growth in the hippocampus is directly linked to combating depression. Hmmmm…..

I found this an utterly compelling piece–even at its length–and wanted some feedback from you. It was even-handed, I felt, in its presentation of how things have gone wrong–and of what might go better in the future. Still and all, I wouldn’t want to be treating in a world without antidepressants, I can assure you of that!

Hi, there. Yes, lengthy article to be sure, but full of interesting information. Antidepressants seem to be a necessary evil. The worst part is you just don’t know until you try whether they will yield any positive results. In a strange way they are the closest thing we have to a litmus test for bipolar disorder, so there’s some value there. I have known a lot of people who’ve taken them and then thrown the bottle away because they didn’t see any result. But there have been times in my life that if I didn’t start taking them, I doubt there was anything else that would have pulled me out of my depression (although they spun me into a mania).

I would really love to see the author do a follow-up piece on how antidepressants affect bipolars. Another commenter made the same suggestion (I think it was Sandy). Now that I’m thinking about it again, I’ll probably drop him an e-mail and make the suggestion.

Lastly, there was something very interesting buried in the comments after the article. I did not know Canadian researchers found that directly injecting a cannabis ‘tincture’ into the hippocampus of rats resulted in new cell growth. Hmmm…could my son’s former US psychiatrist been right? Did he really see a better result for depression with marijuana than with antidepressants?

Fascinating comments. And you’re right, that many antidepressants are responsible for ‘switching’ into a manic episode, but I do, at some level, hold psychiatrists a bit responsible for that, as no bipolar patient should be put on an antidepressant without a solid mood stabilizer behind him or her.
I thought I had seen some solid research that antidepressants were less effective overall with bipolar patients–does that interest you, if I can dig it up? I think the implication was that often what looks like an antidpressant saving the day, is really just the patient cycling out.
Having said that, I do know bipolar people who swear by their antidepressants, so it’s hard to prove, one way or the other.
On marijuana, I’ve got little to say, as that isn’t one of the standard treatments here–as I’m sure you know!
Best in health, Candida

Ugh – more Spam folder nonsense! Thanks for the reply. Yes, if you have the link to the research showing antidepressants are less effective on Bipolar patients I’d love to look at it. Now that I think about it, patients cycling out of depression probably has a huge bearing on why they improve. I was thinking about my own experience with going off Wellbutrin a few months ago, and I honestly don’t feel any different. I know since that time the Drs playing with my Trileptal and Abilify doses really isn’t a very good baseline for whether or not the Wellbutrin made any difference. I’m just grateful I have one less drug in the old cocktail ūüôā

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head–some of the theory goes that what looks like antidepressants helping is often just the patient cycling out of their depression. I’m not at all sure I buy that, but there is concern about both the effectiveness and the dangers of antidepressants for BD. Just a few links to follow-up: http://www.psycheducation.org/bipolar/controversy.htm address the possibility of switching, http://www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/news/20070328/antidepressants-dont-help-bipolar and http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/04/26/us-bipolar-depression-idUSCOL64857220070426 summarize some research indicating they don’t do much good at all, ironically. Hope that’s helpful–also, if you do a google search loads of information comes up–you’ll be deluged. Antidepressants are a very controversial topic for BD, and often some more scientifically-oriented blogs do detailed analyses of the latest research.

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