Rethinking Depression, Part 1

Photograph by Mary O'Connell

Photograph by Mary O'Connell


Depression. It has been called the mean reds. The blue devils. The black dog. And through history, treatments for depression have varied wildly. In the Middle Ages, depressives were caged in asylums. In Victorian England, wealthier patients were sent to seaside resorts for a change of air. In the 1930's, procedures like lobotomies and electroconvulsive therapy were used. Psychiatry's tools were crude and limited.  No wonder then, when the Age of the Antidepressant arrived, it was considered psychiatry's triumph.  Prozac came onto the market in 1988, followed quickly by many similar drugs. But, since then, the number of people afflicted with depression has soared.  In this 3 part program, IDEAS producer Mary O'Connell explores the short and troubling history of the antidepressant.

Part 2 airs Thursday, May 16; Part 3 airs Friday, May 17.

Participants in the Episode 1:

depression-prozac-ad.jpgEdward Shorter, Professor of the History of Medicine, Professor of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.  He is the author of numerous books including, How Everyone Became Depressed. Toronto.

Charles Barber, Director of The Connection Institute for Innovative Practice (dedicated to studying the narratives of people recovering from mental illness) and Lecturer in Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, author of two books on mental illness, Comfortably Numb and Songs from the Black Chair, Connecticut.   

Peter D. Kramer,  is a psychiatrist and author. He is the author of several books, including,   Against Depression and Listening to Prozac, Rhode Island.

Jordan Peterson, psychology professor, University of Toronto, author of Maps of Meaning:  Architecture of Belief, Toronto.

Miriam Greenspan, psychotherapist, author of Healing through the dark emotions, the wisdom of grief, fear and despair, Boston.

Vera Hassner Sharav, president of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, agency that focuses on human rights protection in medical research.

Related Websites:

Chris Norris Words and Music - The Medicated Me

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