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Zen_Again's avatar

Is it really possible that all you need are placebos and not antidepressants?

Asked by Zen_Again (9911points) April 21st, 2010

Say it aint so.

Here’s the link

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

26 Answers

shilolo's avatar

They aren’t. Keep taking them. They work. ;-)

MissAnthrope's avatar

Nah.. I think placebos work for some people, but they wouldn’t work for me. I mean, I’ve taken antidepressants that didn’t work. That seems pretty clear to me that the placebo effect doesn’t work for me.

Cruiser's avatar

I completely believe this could be the case. They tried putting my kid on these and it made him worse. 2 years later he is getting along fine with out them the only thing different is his environment that is better suited to his needs. No medication needed.

Zen_Again's avatar

You guys didn’t read the article. And for the record, I have never taken anything stronger than an aspirin (though I probably should sometimes).

shilolo's avatar

@Zen_Again Hey! I read the article. Speed reading is my forte.

Blackberry's avatar

I’m sure there are people that don’t really have clinical depression, and some that do, the placebos would work for the people that don’t really have anything, except being diagnosed as ‘emo’.

gemiwing's avatar

How anti-depressants work is still a bit of a mystery. So, for some pills a placebo may have the same effect. For other pills, the effect would be noticeably different. Also, different people have different receptors that are misfiring (depends on which current research one reads) so the results would be skewed by that as well.

It’s a tricky area. I think if we stop trying to give pills first and ask questions later, the effectiveness of AD’s will rise due to the population taking them actually chemically needing them.

Arp's avatar

I have wondered this too. Then I wondered “What if all medicine modern society takes isn’t real. We have just been fooled by tricky pharmacists and our own brains!”

Then, I realised I was being a overdramatic sceptic. And I dont take any drugs, anyways :P

Ponderer983's avatar

Placebos have been found to work in many cases. Some people just need the thought that they are getting a certain drug and psychosomatically get better. Others don’t have this “ability” (for lack of a better term) and they truly only repsond to the actual drug.

There are also drugs that giving people a placebo doesn’t work at all and the real drug is always needed. The mind is a great power!

Cupcake's avatar

I agree with @MissAnthrope. Plus, if someone is having suicidal ideations… you wouldn’t want to risk putting them on a placebo. If there is a possibility that antidepressants work, then they’re worth prescribing for the people who really need it.

Now, the question of who really needs antidepressants is a whole ‘nother question.

Trillian's avatar

Interesting article. I’ve said for years that people automatically jump for the pills for every little thing. I used to want to slap the dependent wives who came into the clinic to “pick up my happy pills.” Addressing the root causes of depression is a much better idea. It is too bad that it takes so long and that so many cannot afford this treatment. We’re slipping through the cracks.

cazzie's avatar

Well…. the placebo effect is very very strong. In order for it to work, however, is that the person doesn’t know they are taking nothing but sugar pills or drinking some sort of purified water. Antidepressants these days have some real working parts to them with proper effects on the brain and extended nervous system. I was on them for a while and it’s not so much that they helped me feel less depressed,... I just didn’t care that much any more. EVERYTHING was dampened down, like a pillow shoved into a drum. If someone needs that effect, there’s no placebo for that.

I think people take things and do things all the time and get a placebo effect and I’ll NEVER rain on their placebo parade. It is measurable and it is good for them, but doctors will mostly err on the side of caution and the ‘quick fix’ has become the norm.

Coloma's avatar


I agree. IMO, most depression is ones sub-conscious trying to get them to pay attention to some changes that are needed. I believe better than 80% of depression is based on emotional and spiritual crisis, not bio-chemical imbalances.

Rarely is it about a ‘happy pill’....I went on anti-depressants about 8 years ago during a stressful divorce. A situational depression. Horrible stuff, horrible. I realized that I didn’t need a pill, I needed a new LIFE!

And I got it!

MissAnthrope's avatar

@Zen_Again – I did too read the article. Like @shilolo, I am an adept speed reader. As I said, placebo may work for other people, but I really don’t think it would work for me.

anartist's avatar

Whether they work or not—exercise works better. The same chemical changes that some antidepressants cause can be gained by “runner’s high” and a depressed person will feel so much better physically and accomplishment-wise that the combination packs a wallop.

check out NIMH studies proposed to compare CBT therapy to antidepressant medication

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, for some people it is true, and for some people prayer works, and for some people the diagnosis was wrong in the first place. There is nothing new in that article.

anartist's avatar

I’d like a powerful placebo right now. or maybe chocolate.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I will attest to exercise being very effective. The tough part is forcing myself to do it, especially when I’m depressed.

Zen_Again's avatar

Apologies to the speed readers. I’ll take your word next time you reply within five minutes of posting a question with a seven page article. I am jealous.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Yes, it’s really possible…for some people.
It wasn’t, for me.

mattbrowne's avatar

Some conditions improve by applying hope and self-healing capabilities. Other don’t and real antidepressants are required.

meagan's avatar

Nah. I want the side effects.

anartist's avatar

@meagan you’re kidding! Constipation, dry eyes, nightmares, weight gain?

Cupcake's avatar

Nice article @Zen_Again. Thanks.

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