Monday, November 21, 2011

Have fun with drugs

Looks beautiful in Colorado Springs where the 2011 NEI Global Psychopharmacology Congress has just been held. Not sure about the congress opener though. I'm still waiting for Stephen Stahl to post about the RSM meeting on pharmaceutical sponsorship of psychiatry research (see previous post).

Sunday, November 06, 2011

What if the drugs don't work?

Article in the Independent with this title. It mentions a debate between Ian Anderson (see previous blog entry) and Irving Kirsch (see another previous blog entry) with the motion "Antidepressants are useful in the treatment of depression" coming up at the 4th International Congress on Psychopharmacology of the Turkish Association for Psychopharmacology.

There's also a quote from Daniel Carlat (who blogs at The Carlat Psychiatry blog), who admits that, "When I find myself using phrases like 'chemical imbalance' and 'serotonin deficiency', it is usually because I'm trying to convince a reluctant patient to take a medication. Using these words makes their illness seem more biological, taking some of the stigma away." As I wrote in a BJPsych eletter, patients are able to understand that the chemical imbalance theory is only a theory. What they find more difficult to appreciate is why they are told that the theory has been proven when this is clearly not the case (see another previous blog entry).

Pleased also to see that Irving Kirsch is talking more about the nocebo effect from coming off antidepressants, as I have for some time (eg. summarised in my chapter in recent book Demedicalizing misery) . To quote from the Independent article, "If you expect to feel bad when you come off antidepressants, you will, because 'we tend to notice random small negative changes and interpret them as evidence that we are in fact getting worse', Kirsch says".