Rethinking Depression, Part 2

Photograph by Mary O'Connell

Photograph by Mary O'Connell


Over the years, the descriptions have varied: melancholia, the Black Dog, down in the dumps. The term most used today is "depression". The World Health Organization says depression is set to become second only to heart disease as the world's leading disability by the year 2020. An alarming conclusion when you consider the history. One hundred years ago depression was thought to be extremely rare, with 1% of the population suffering. Today it's often called the common cold of mental illness. But just how effective are antidepressants in treating depression?

Unpublished clinical trials have come to light and they reveal that the antidepressant was never the triumphant treatment many psychiatrists hoped it would be.  And we're also learning that the theory that antidepressants restore serotonin in the brain could be false. However, despite this news about serotonin and sadness, the number of depressed people continues to grow. Now some researchers wonder whether the modern antidepressant has increased rates of depression instead of lowering them. In episode two of Rethinking Depression, IDEAS producer Mary O'Connell examines the debate around antidepressants.

Listen to Rethinking Depression, Part 1

Listen to Rethinking Depression, Part 3

Participants in the Episode 2:

Irving Kirsch
, psychology professor, University of Hull, author of The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth, Yorkshire, UK.
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.  

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

Edward 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. 

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

Robert Whitaker, science journalist, author of several books, including, Anatomy of an Epidemic, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Paul Andrews, assistant professor of evolutionary psychology at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.

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