I've always maintained that drug treatment of depression is a scam. A few month's ago, I wrote in my newsletter, Second Opinion, that depression drugs increase your risk of dying by 55%. Now, a new landmark study, which taxpayers funded to the tune of $35 million, shows that the drugs aren't as effective as advertised.

You may have seen their commercials. They start out with someone sitting on a sofa, looking sadly out the window. By the end of the commercial, though, they're out in groups, smiling and having a great time. It's an incredibly effective sales pitch. And with almost 190 million prescriptions written in the U.S. last year, it appears a lot of people have bought the sales pitch.

But this study showed that chemical treatment fails to successfully treat the disease in half of the patients who take it. And it doesn't matter what drug you use. All of the drugs had equal effectiveness or failure.

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While a 50% success/failure rate doesn't sound too bad, experts agree that depression studies are very susceptible to the placebo effect. One study even stated the placebo rate in depression trials can be as high as 50%. This number concerns the drug companies enough that they have conducted studies to find out why it's so high. All of which means the 50% success/failure rate in this current study is probably grossly over inflated. In fact, with a 50% placebo rate, it's possible the drugs are completely useless!

Dr. David Rubinow, professor and chairman of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, agrees. He said the results were an "illuminating and disconcerting" window into depression. Rubinow called the study "disturbing." He also said we have to look for "other" (biochemical) mechanisms of depression.

When Dr. Rubinow says "other" mechanisms, he means causes other than a natural deficiency of a petrochemical. I've never met a man or woman with a genetic deficiency of Prozac, or Paxil, or Effexor. But I have seen plenty of patients with "other" possibilities.

You might have a deficiency of a mineral, vitamin, omega fatty acid, sunshine, or exercise. Perhaps you have too much heavy metal, chemicals, or mold exposure. Maybe the mercury fillings in your mouth are driving you into depression.

All of these can impair your body's energy production. Correcting the underlying problem enables your own body to manufacture the needed energy. Foreign chemicals can artificially and perhaps dangerously do the same.

Finally, chemicals will do nothing for spiritual causes of your depression. American psychiatry has conveniently overlooked our spirit and soul in favor of the mind-altering chemicals. But I've seen many people solve their depression through spiritual means, such as prayer and meditation.

Since this study was funded by taxpayer money and not the drug industry, it was much more credible than a biased industry study. So if you have depression, don't look to chemicals.

Find an integrative physician to help you find and eliminate the cause.

Ref: New England Journal of Medicine, March 23, 2006; Molecular Interventions, 2:72-76 (2002).

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