The Hidden Treasure

Where Ancient Wisdom Meets Contemporary Psychology

Pills vs. Skills–Part 1 The Shocking Truth About Anti-Depressant and Anti-Anxiety Medications

Written By: Vic Rebman Ph.D - Sep• 12•11

At any given time, it is estimated that one out of four individuals struggle with anxiety.  The World Health Organization indicates major depression will be the leading cause of human suffering by 2020.  That said, this means millions of Americans are attempting to treat their depression and anxiety medically, and the theory that anxiety and depression are the result of a chemical imbalance has become deeply ingrained in our society.

However…the truth is…A thorough review of the clinical research indicates there is no evidence to support a bio-chemical imbalance theory for either anxiety or depression.

Perhaps even more difficult to wrap one’s mind around is the clinical evidence that the effectiveness of anti-depressant medications are primarily the result of placebo effects!  In a review of world literature, which includes all data submitted to the Food and Drug Administration over the last several decades, Dr. Irving Kirsch (University of Connecticut), discovered the difference between anti-depressant medications and placebos were minimal, at best.  At least 75% of the effectiveness attributed to anti-depressant medications were the result of placebo effects alone.  This research clearly indicates the effectiveness of the medication is primarily due to the positive expectation of improvement.  Ahhh…the power of the mind!

Over three decades of research indicates the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in the treatment of depression and anxiety.  CBT teaches skills for dealing with life stressors.  Dr. Henry Westra (York University in Toronto) concluded CBT to be the golden standard in the treatment of all forms of anxiety.  His research found CBT to be more effective than any other type of psychotherapy or medication for the treatment of anxiety.  They also discovered that CBT without medication appeared to be more effective than CBT with medication.

While this startling information for most, this knowledge has actively been around for almost two decades.  Of course, pharmaceutical companies continue to reap the benefit of anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications in the form of  billions of dollars annually…providing a great incentive to continue to perpetuate the bio-chemical imbalance theory, even if there is evidence to contradict it.

Please stay tuned…I have other interesting points to be made on this subject.  Everyone is, or knows someone who takes anti-anxiety or anti-depression medications, making this information valuable virtually everyone.   Stay tuned for Part II!


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