Thursday, October 21, 2010

Critique of the DSM and Biomedical Perspective

Although Prozac lifted Lauren’s depressive and obsessive-compulsive symptoms, antidepressants generally are not as effective for everyone. Indeed, they may work better for anxiety than depression. About 68% of the improvement in depressive symptoms is from the placebo effect; additionally, only a third of people remit from depression with their first course of antidepressants, and half experience a 50% reduction in symptoms. In sum, although people respond to antidepressants, the effect of medication for depression is not spectacular. A recent meta-analysis showed that only for severe depression were antidepressants worth the risk-benefit ratio.

Finally, side effects are underreported to doctors. The main side effect with which Lauren struggled was lack of sexual desire/difficulty having orgasm, a common reaction to antidepressants. This seemed to become more of a problem when Lauren entered into a monogamous relationship; she and her then boyfriend tried all sorts of alternative remedies to try to correct the side effect, but nothing appeared to help with this issue.

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Acknowledgement: Warm thanks to Diane Hazzard, my student of summer 2008, for the majority of this analysis of PROZAC DIARY.

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