In a recent piece for the New York Times Magazine, Columbia University Professor Siddhartha Mukherjee takes a look at the changing attitudes regarding the nature of clinical depression and its treatment.
Mukherjee observes that a class of anti-depressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), widely considered wonder drugs in the 1990s, now have a considerably diminished reputation.
“Fast forward to 2012 and the same antidepressants that inspired such enthusiasm have become the new villains of modern psychopharmacology — overhyped, overprescribed chemicals,” Mukherjee writes.
He goes on to explore recent research indicating that the cause and treatment of clinical depression may be more complex than the simple regulation of serotonin levels previously attributed to SSRIs. And while SSRIs may not be the wonder drugs once advertised, modern research doesn’t entirely discount them either, Mukherjee writes.
In the years since their introduction, concerns about serious side-effects has arisen about SSRIs such as Prozac and Zoloft. Several studies have linked the use of SSRIs during pregnancy to birth defects, including serious heart and lung ailments.
Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication.
See the New York Times Magazine piece here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/magazine/the-science-and-history-of-treating-depression.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1