Vasco M Barreto in Aeon:
It is obvious that the discomfort I once felt over taking antidepressants echoed a lingering, deeply ideological societal mistrust. Articles in the consumer press continue to feed that mistrust. The benefit is ‘mostly modest’, a flawed analysis in The New York Times told us in 2018. A widely shared YouTube video asked whether the meds work at all. And even an essay on Aeon this year claims: ‘Depression is a very complex disorder and we simply have no good evidence that antidepressants help sufferers to improve.’
The message is amplified by an abundance of poor information circulating online about antidepressants in an age of echo chambers and rising irrationality. Although hard to measure, the end result is probably tragic since the ideology against antidepressants keeps those in pain from seeking and sticking to the best available treatment, as once happened to me. Although I am a research scientist, I work on topics unrelated to brain diseases, and my research is not funded by the ‘pharma industry’ – the disclaimer feels silly but, trust me, it is needed. I write here mainly as a citizen interested in this topic. I take for granted that a world without depression would be a better place, and that finding a cure for this disease is a noble pursuit. Without a cure, the best treatment available is better than none at all.