What Are SSRIs?

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (or SSRIs) are a class of antidepressants prescribed for depression and anxiety disorders. They work by increasing the amount of the neurotransmitter serotonin. First developed in the 1970s, allegedly with fewer side effects than their predecessors, they continue to generate controversy. Like most antidepressants, the SSRIs are most effective when used in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy and other forms of therapy

Recent posts on SSRIs

Favorable Trajectories

By Peter D Kramer on May 27, 2016 in In Practice
How distinctive are antidepressants? Answers from research that looks at progress made by individual patients.

Is Heat an Antidepressant?

Before psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy, there was a third therapeutic tradition in psychiatry--and it involved heat. And it was very successful.

What Happens When We Give Antidepressants to Girls?

By Claudia M Gold M.D. on May 09, 2016 in Child in Mind
When we jump to medicate young girls without protecting time to listen to the full story, we miss opportunity for prevention while placing future mothers in an untenable position

Antidepressants Work, But Only For Really Depressed People

By Allen J Frances M.D. on May 07, 2016 in Saving Normal
People who don't really need antidepressant are taking far too many, while those who desperately do need them are not getting nearly enough.

James Gottstein on Psychiatry and Your Legal Rights

The future of mental health interview series continues with James Gottstein on psychiatry and your legal rights.

Peter Breggin on the Psycho-Pharmaceutical Complex

The future of mental health interview series continues with Peter Breggin on the psycho-pharmaceutical complex.

James Davies on the Harmfulness of Psychiatry

The future of mental health interview series continues with James Davies on the harmfulness of psychiatry.

Antidepressants and Efficacy

We have long known that antidepressants are not highly effective because they fail so many of their licensing trials for the Food and Drug Administration.

A Blood Test to Diagnose Depression?

Understanding the biological roots of depression can produce faster diagnosis and better treatment options.

Psychiatry's Many Conflicts of Interest

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on February 13, 2016 in Side Effects
On the "ethical perils" facing a branch of medicine now greatly beholden to its industry sponsors.

Baby Blues, Postpartum Depression, Postpartum Psychosis

This public health measure is well meaning. Good enough maternal love ought to be the highest value in our society. In practice this means the destructive use of antidepressants.

The Problem with Heroizing Robert Spitzer

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on January 22, 2016 in Side Effects
One of the most influential psychiatrists of the twentieth century leaves a complex legacy.

Smashing the Neurotransmitter Myth

Serotonin depletion is not the cause of psychiatric conditions. Antidepressants are a significant factor in suicides and mass mass murders.

Psychiatric Medicines Are Not All Good Or All Bad

By Allen J Frances M.D. on January 15, 2016 in Saving Normal
Psychiatric meds that are very helpful for clear cut psychiatric disorders usually do more harm than good when used for the everyday difficulties that life throws at us.

Psychotherapy Can Dramatically Improve Your "Gut-Brain Axis"

By Christopher Bergland on January 05, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
A new meta-analysis of 41 clinical trials reports that psychological therapy has dramatic benefits for the "gut-brain axis."

The Missing Piece in the Treatment of Bipolar Depression

By Russ Federman Ph.D., A.B.P.P. on January 02, 2016 in Bipolar You
Importance of lessening the downward pull of emotionally painful issues in relation to bipolar depression

The Biopsychosocial Model and Avenues for Treatment

By Ann Olson Psy.D. on December 29, 2015 in Theory and Psychopathology
The biopsychosocial paradigm as it relates to the cycles that exacerbate mental disorders, including those which can be treated with medication, socialization and psychotherapy.

Lighting Up Your Life

Dark days need bright lights

Enough Is Enough Series #4

Two-year-olds on anti-psychotics and biological markers for psychosis

When Depression Ignores the Seasons, but Light Therapy Works

By Michael Terman Ph.D. on December 14, 2015 in Chronotherapy
A hard-nosed clinical trial has introduced light therapy for non-seasonal depression as the new game in town. It worked better than an SSRI! What do you need to know to try it?

Light Therapy Can Help Treat Depression Year-Round

By Christopher Bergland on November 19, 2015 in The Athlete's Way
A new study reports that bright light therapy can help treat both seasonal and nonseasonal depression.

Psychiatry’s Med Check: Is 15 Minutes Enough?

By David Rettew M.D. on November 10, 2015 in ABCs of Child Psychiatry
Goodbye 50 minute therapy visits, the new mode of treatment by psychiatrists are short medication-focused appointments. Here are some ideas to work with and hopefully change the status quo.

10 Signs of Seasonal Depression (and 6 Ways to Fight It)

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on October 26, 2015 in The Squeaky Wheel
When the days get shorter, the sun shines lower in the sky and the weather gets colder people often experience a drop in mood. Sometimes the drop is really big. Here's what you need to know:

Listening to Placebo, Especially in the U.S.

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on October 23, 2015 in Side Effects
Why is the placebo effect intensifying sharply among Americans—and why now?

The Marketing of an Antipsychotic

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on October 05, 2015 in Side Effects
Ghostwriters, massaged data, tiny print, and children’s toys—part of Big Pharma's arsenal of "defeat devices," outlined in Steven Brill's series, America's Most Admired Lawbreaker.

Antidepressants and Violence: A Link in Search of a Cause

By David Rettew M.D. on September 30, 2015 in ABCs of Child Psychiatry
A controversial study links higher youth crime rates with antidepressant use. Before making broad conclusions, however, it’s worth reading the fine print.

The Truth About "Study 329"

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on September 16, 2015 in Side Effects
A major new study about a blockbuster antidepressant.

Apples, Oranges, and Metatheory

By Ann Olson Psy.D. on September 11, 2015 in Theory and Psychopathology
This article utilizes an example regarding the concrete existence of "apples" and "oranges" as compared to the concept of "fruit". Psychosis, like apples and oranges, has a visceral and immediate quality, and the actuality of brain chemistry regarding psychosis is a metatheory that subsumes the "theories" of psychotic individuals.

Coming Out of the Mental Illness Closet

By Eliezer Sobel on September 09, 2015 in The 99th Monkey
I am mentally ill. It sounds a bit shocking to hear myself say that. Such a notion had never even occurred to me, until recently. My unexamined assumption was that mentally ill people were the ones living in institutions, ranting and raving and disrobing in public. They were schizophrenic, psychotic, and secured in lockdown wards.