Blockheaded research, blockheaded conclusions

When you do simple-minded research, expect to draw simple-minded, blockheaded, and just plain wrong conclusions. What’s worse is the potential damage reports of such research can do to those with mental health conditions in need of treatment.

Case in point… the following description of a McMaster research study from TriCity Psychology Blog:

Anti-Depressants Raise Relapse Risk?
TriCity Psychology Blog
July 20, 2011

Patients who use anti-depressants are much more likely to suffer relapses of major depression than those who use no medication at all, concludes a McMaster researcher.

In a paper that is likely to ignite new controversy in the hotly debated field of depression and medication, evolutionary psychologist Paul Andrews concludes that patients who have used anti-depressant medications can be nearly twice as susceptible to future episodes of major depression. Andrews, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, is the lead author of a new paper in the journal Frontiers of Psychology.

The meta-analysis suggests that people who have not been taking any medication are at a 25 per cent risk of relapse, compared to 42 per cent or higher for those who have taken and gone off an anti-depressant. Andrews and his colleagues studied dozens of previously published studies to compare outcomes for patients who used anti-depressants compared to those who used placebos.

Andrews believes depression may actually be a natural and beneficial — though painful – state in which the brain is working to cope with stress. “There’s a lot of debate about whether or not depression is truly a disorder, as most clinicians and the majority of the psychiatric establishment believe, or whether it’s an evolved adaptation that does something useful,” he says.

This is seriously blockheaded research.

1. Patients who take antidepressants also tend to be more seriously depressed and probably more prone to depression via personality factors and coping skills than those who don’t.

2. Patients who take antidepressants and discontinue them prematurely, typically at about 6 months when they start to feel better, are unquestionably at risk for relapse. They mayu be feeling better but that doesn’t mean theyc are ready to discontinue the medication. Prior research has already demonstrated quite convincingly that those who remain on the antipdepressant medication for 1-2 years are significantly LESS likely to relapse.

“There’s a lot of debate about whether or not depression is truly a disorder, as most clinicians and the majority of the psychiatric establishment believe, or whether it’s an evolved adaptation that does something useful,” he says.

Oh, really? Maybe in the seriously ill-informed world of Andrews and his immediate colleagures. Out in the real world, I’ve never heard of this so-called debate.

Discussion continued at http://forum.psychlinks.ca/prescription-medications-and-otc-drugs/27079-blockheaded-research-blockheaded-conclusions.html

 

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