Newsweek article explores the case that antidepressants are no more effective than placebos

A Newsweek article by Sharon Begley looks at the dubious nature of the claims made for the value of antidepressants, and discusses the moral dilemma of recommending drugs that have virtually no intrinsic value beyond people’s belief in them.  Her article is titled “The Depressing News About Antidepressants” and sub-titled “Studies suggest that the popular drugs are no more effective than a placebo. In fact, they may be worse.”  Reading it brings to mind a statement made by Mary Baker Eddy over 100 years ago:  “Drugs and inert matter are unconscious, mindless. Certain results, supposed to proceed from drugs, are really caused by the faith in them which the false human consciousness is educated to feel.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p.484 )

As the scientific exploration of placebos continues it could be seen to be uncovering something of what Mary Baker Eddy recognised of the relationship of mental factors to the effectiveness, or otherwise, of drugs – although such exploration has yet to glimpse the next step that the founder of Christian Science perceived, namely that if mental factors are primary, then the divine Mind, God, must be the most potent force for good that is available for mental as well as physical restoration.

One’s heart can only go out to those struggling with the experience of depression.  While the answer to this does not always come quickly even for those who rely on prayer instead of drugs for healthcare and cure, many have found full freedom from depression through leaning on God for healing.  On there is an audio recording of a live chat with a Christian Scientist who suffered from this condition and was healed of it through her growing understanding of God – and of how to live out from the understanding of her relationship to God – as well as other “live chats” and accounts of healing.


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Author:Tony Lobl

I write and speak on spirituality from my perspective as a Christian Science practitioner. I am also an Associate Editor for the Christian Science periodicals. I studied at the University of Surrey earning a BSc Hons Degree in Modern Mathematics before the impact of spirituality on health caught my attention and re-shaped my career.

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