The question has long been a source of controversy: do antidepressants work? Many wellness industry gurus would have us believe they don't. After all, they'd like to sell alternative solutions like exercise, meditation, retreats, teas, herbs — the list goes on. And those things may very well lift some people's moods, but they don't disprove the efficacy of prescription medications. Now, a six-year study published in The Lancet on Wednesday proves that yes, anti-depressants are extremely effective.
The Guardian published an article covering the study, also on Wednesday, in which they report:
The study published in the Lancet took six years ... and included all the published and unpublished data that the scientists could find. It was carried out by a team of international experts. They looked at results after eight weeks of more than 500 trials involving either a drug versus placebo or comparing two different medicines.
And the conclusion was unequivocal:
Antidepressants work better than placebo.
Holly Brockwell, a journalist for Gadgette, The Guardian, and Gizmodo, among others, responded to the findings with a personal account.
Brockwell started the hashtag #MedsWorkedForMe:
Other people quickly joined in, sharing their stories of how medications helped them:
So @holly started a hashtag, #medsworkedforme. If they did, join in. As for me, I was diagnosed with depression and an anxiety disorder - much of it with a family history - in 2000. Venlafaxine gets me out of bed and able to think straight. It's saved my life.— Mike Stuchbery 💀🍷 (@MikeStuchbery_) February 22, 2018
Tried different SSRIs over two pretty miserable years, then I was put on a tricyclic antidepressant called lofepramine that is meant to be more effective in those resistant to previous treatment. That was two and a half years ago, haven't looked back since. #MedsWorkedForMe https://t.co/5IRnyhnurc— Matt Turner (@MattTurner4L) February 22, 2018
Not ashamed to say #MedsWorkedForMe - Sertraline was my saviour - been off them six months now and hopefully no going back. Lessons learned to ask for help, don't accept the first drug prescribed, don't be ashamed to increase your dose and don't be afraid to stop #yougotthis— Sophie Flowers (@Flowers_S) February 22, 2018
Some just appreciated how this was tackling mental health stigma head-on:
There's some unfathomable idea that by taking antidepressants for mental illness you are giving up, that the pills make you happy rather than normal, or that they remove your ability to feel.— Sarah Barnes (@BarnesOwl) February 22, 2018
It's just moving you to the functional starting line.#MedsWorkedForMe https://t.co/BtgrUrZzpt
Amazing hashtag, great to encourage more open discussion of mental health issues - been way too much suffering in silence. #MedsWorkedForMe & saved my life, more than once. If you experienced intense physical pain, you'd medicate. We need to look at mental health in the same way. https://t.co/xIJ6KkYOnU— ★ZOË HOWE★ (@zoehowe) February 22, 2018
There is no shame in taking medication for depression or anxiety, nor is their shame in having depression or anxiety. I have been on Klonopin, Wellbutrin, and Zoloft at different points in my life, and they helped me immensely. And while I currently don't take medication, they got me through times in my life that may have been impossible otherwise. Tackling these issues is a form of self love. #MedsWorkedForMe