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Sebastian Rushworth MD: Do anti-depressants work?

The one symptom, one diagnosis, one drug mentality of the medical establishment harms tens of millions of people every day. Here is just one of many examples.

Do anti-depressants work?

by Sebastian Rushworth M.D., 30 April 2021. Emphasis added.

Anti-depressant drugs are common. Very very common. According to the Centers for Disease Control in the United States, 13% of adults reported taking an anti-depressant when surveyed a few years ago. Among women over the age of 60, almost one in four was taking an anti-depressant!

When I work in the hospital, I frequently see elderly people who are on five, ten, fifteen, or even twenty drugs simultaneously. Invariably, one or more of these drugs is an anti-depressant. This absurd overuse of medications, an issue known as polypharmacy, is one of the biggest health problems facing elderly people today. Anti-depressants are one of the main drug classes contributing to polypharmacy.

With so many people taking anti-depressants, you would think that they must at the very least be effective. And safe. Why else would so many millions of people be taking them on a daily basis? Why else would doctors prescribe them so freely?

The most commonly prescribed type of anti-depressant is the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)...So, how effective are SSRI’s at treating depression?

systematic review and meta-analysis was published in BMC Psychiatry in 2017 that sought to answer this question... SSRI’s were not able to get over even the generously low bar set by the reviewers. And let’s remember that most of the studies included in the analysis were industry funded, and industry funded studies usually show a bigger benefit than is seen in reality, so it is likely that the real effect is even smaller than was found in the systematic review.

What about safety? Did SSRI’s cause any serious adverse events? 2.7% of participants in the SSRI arm developed a serious adverse event, as compared with 2.1% in the placebo arm. That is a 0.6% absolute difference, which would mean that roughly one in 170 people treated with an SSRI will suffer a serious adverse event as a result of the treatment... So even a small increase in serious adverse events is something that needs to be taken quite, well, seriously.

Medical treatments should ideally result in a decrease in serious adverse events. They certainly should not cause an increase. A truly effective anti-depressant would not just make people feel better, it would also make them less likely to try to commit suicide, which would result in an overall reduction in serious adverse events. No such signal was seen here. Even if you look just at suicide attempts, rather than at adverse events overall, there was no signal that SSRI’s decrease their frequency.


Anti-depressant drugs are ineffective against depression. The harms of these drugs clearly outweigh the practically non-existent benefits. That is true for everyone, but especially so for the frail elderly who are at much higher risk of side effects than the general population. In light of this information, which has now been in the public domain for at least a few years, you would expect large campaigns to get doctors to stop prescribing these drugs. Funnily enough, that hasn’t happened yet.

WIND: it’s all about the money. Big Pharma money along with the herd thinking of the medical establishment has led to its financial and intellectual corruption, which dovetails with the pathologizing of America in every nook and cranny of health.

Doctors have nil training in nutrition. That’s an ugly fact. How many doctors would even contemplate magnesium deficiency (or even know how to correctly test for it)? There is very strong evidence that magnesium deficiency can cause or worsen many mental health issues.

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