No Beef with Psychiatry…

But here’s one person’s comment in response to the New York Times’ Freakonomics article concerning the progress or lack thereof of psychology and psychiatry. Michael Anderson, Esq.:

As a former “consumer” of various antidepressants, I’m discouraged that views and experiences from the supposed beneficiaries (of the self-aggrandized psychiatric industry) aren’t being represented here.

My personal odyssey with the “Black Dog” (W. Churchill) and my far-reaching quest for effective solutions over the course of nearly three decades has led me to some harsh realizations about the state of the art in conventional psychiatry:

1. The lion’s share of resources into research and development (in the biological/neurological areas of inquiry) are being expended in non-collaborative ways, by individual pharmaceutical companies solely in pursuit proprietary, profitable, and easily marketed solutions.

2. Presently, the tangible result is 3 to 5 main classes of marginally useful antidepressants with essentially the same biological effects from all medications within each class – and the biological effects of all classes combined represent the targeting of a *tiny fraction* of the biological and metabolic effects that are observable in depression.

3. The vast majority of patients are prescribed from this limited selection in a subjective, unscientific manner. (Given the exact same patient consultation, one psychiatrist might prescribe Paxil, another Cymbalta and yet another Zoloft.)

4. Exceedingly few psychiatrists have any clinical experience with the primary or complementary use of nutrition, dietary supplements, neutracueticals, and physical exercise in the treatment of depression. Orthodox medicine views these modalities as somewhat useful at best or quackery at worst.

5. Yet, the biological and metabolic effects of nutrition and diet alone – especially when combined with physical exercise are significantly greater than any current antidepressant. This only makes sense – these interventions affect blood sugar stability and in turn circulating levels of *all* catecholamines, they can affect all other amino acid balances and how amino acids can be preferentially and consistently transported to the brain, they can ensure the full complement of all co-factors required for neurological health, they impact hormone levels of all the endocrine glands, they can affect blood circulation and oxygenation, etc. The sole use of an antidepressant to effect a single chemical cannot achieve comparable efficacy.

Expenditures towards the development and marketing of additional antidpressant drugs is (in my view), a poor use of healthcare resources. One should consider the near stagnant evolutionary history of antidepressants; tricyclic compounds, demonstrated to be comparable in efficacy to present day SSRI’s have been around for over 50 years, and prozac, still a benchmark, has been around for over 20 years.

From a consumer perspective, this is not progress, and my experience leaves with the conviction that much better outcomes are possible by managing depression via nutritional, and lifestyle modalities.

Michael Anderson, Esq.

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Clinical Psychologist practicing in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.

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