In this article he gets more into the weeds behind his journey and how his experience led to higher and higher dosages of SSRIs without effectiveness:

But the compelling part to me, scientifically, was the lack of statistically significant difference in the effectiveness between the SSRIs in these studies and the placebo. Anyways, I’m familiar with Kramer’s work and I remember in the introduction of “Against Depression” that he said his landmark book, “Listening to Prozac”, that the book led to his readers that wrote back to him taking very firm stances on Prozac: whether to avoid them entirely or to embrace it wholeheartedly. The book also explains this battle between Kirsch and Kramer on some of Kramer’s studies that I think is worth looking into.

I had a Drugs and Behavior class where my Neuroscience professor explained the mechanism behind SSRIs and how they reduce stress, which causes depression. So is there benefit to everyone taking an SSRI to reduce stress? Possibly. The most effective therapy in the field nowadays is a combination therapy: psychotropic meds + CBT, meaning the two sides of this debate would benefit most realizing they’re both right, to some degree.

But in my personal life I’ve had people in my family take them with the notion that they would cure depression without fail, when the underlying stressors were still far too consuming, whether in the form of a miserable job or an abusive marriage. Perhaps they could have benefited more with trying to tackle these underlying stressors in addition to taking SSRIs, but a lot of the pharmaceutical language had them believing that maybe the meds were all they needed, and not tackling the circumstances leading to depression in the first place.

Either way, an overcompensation either way would probably be more damaging to people’s mental health more than it would help…but it’s a balance, and in my generation I’ve just seen the pendulum swung in the opposite direction as your experience.

Written by

Believer, Baltimore City special ed teacher, and 2:40 marathon runner. Diehard fan of “The Wire,” God’s gift to the Earth. E-mail:

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