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NYTimes Mag/12: "Post-Prozac Nation -Science and History of Treating Depression"


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This 2012 New York Times Magazine article provides lots of food for thought. What's clear is that there are many more questions than answers when it comes to treating depression. Medical researchers, must, of course, press forward and continue to search for answers, but essentially, it seems that people who are taking antidepressants are part of an experiment.

 

Here's the concluding paragraph:

 

"We possess far fewer devices to look into the unknown cosmos of mood and emotion. We can only mix chemicals and spark electrical circuits and hope, indirectly, to understand the brain’s structure and function through their effects. In time, the insights generated by these new theories of depression will most likely lead to new antidepressants: chemicals that directly initiate nerve growth in the hippocampus or stimulate the subcallosal cingulate. These drugs may make Prozac and Paxil obsolete — but any new treatment will owe a deep intellectual debt to our thinking about serotonin in the brain. Our current antidepressants are thus best conceived not as medical breakthroughs but as technological breakthroughs. They are chemical tools that have allowed us early glimpses into our brains and into the biology of one of the most mysterious diseases known to humans."

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/magazine/the-science-and-history-of-treating-depression.html

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This 2012 New York Times Magazine article provides lots of food for thought. What's clear is that there are many more questions than answers when it comes to treating depression. Medical researchers, must, of course, press forward and continue to search for answers, but essentially, it seems that people who are taking antidepressants are part of an experiment.

 

Here's the concluding paragraph:

 

"We possess far fewer devices to look into the unknown cosmos of mood and emotion. We can only mix chemicals and spark electrical circuits and hope, indirectly, to understand the brain’s structure and function through their effects. In time, the insights generated by these new theories of depression will most likely lead to new antidepressants: chemicals that directly initiate nerve growth in the hippocampus or stimulate the subcallosal cingulate. These drugs may make Prozac and Paxil obsolete — but any new treatment will owe a deep intellectual debt to our thinking about serotonin in the brain. Our current antidepressants are thus best conceived not as medical breakthroughs but as technological breakthroughs. They are chemical tools that have allowed us early glimpses into our brains and into the biology of one of the most mysterious diseases known to humans."

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/magazine/the-science-and-history-of-treating-depression.html

 

Unknown cosmos of mood and emotion.  That's it right there!  My thoughts precisely and why all these "studies", brain imaging theories, etc, etc, are senseless and a complete waste of time and money!  As simple as that!  It's sheer absurdity to me. My usual motto:  People need to stop pretending to understand things they know nothing about.  My opinion, but of course.

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There was a show on the science channel recently, "Your Brain On Computer Games", about computer gaming and its effects on the brain.  Lots of pros and cons with  concerns about  addiction, violence, and physical brain change potential.  The most interesting part was at the end, when they discussed how some studies are using sophisticated video games to help surgeons train better to perform laprascopic  surgeries  and to help older patients with memory and multi-tasking issues.  One scientist thinks that because of the neuroplasticity potential of video games, that instead of writing prescriptions for drugs, doctors in the future might write a prescription for a video game that could help repair/improve brain issues.  Interesting show.
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The thing that's most troublesome to me is the way the medications continue to be handed out to unsuspecting patients who aren't being told the whole story about the unknowns associated with those medications. Obviously, research continues, and let's hope there's more solid info sooner rather than later. But so many people who are taking antidepressants think the medications do not carry many risks.

 

BurnedOut, it's interesting to consider another possible non-drug approach to treating brain issues. As someone who's dizzy, though, I can't imagine doing any kind of video game that involves a lot of on-screen movement. It would be intensely uncomfortable for someone in my position.

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