The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Most people on antidepressants are being duped

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/29/2013 Category: Health
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,441 times Debate No: 29656
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




Around here, I've noticed that being on antidepressants is almost as common as not being on them. People are on them and long term. I have SO MANY issues with this. Technically, it's none of my business. But so what?

By "being duped" I mean that they would be no worse off if they weren't taking them, and probably would be better off.

antidepressants: SSRIs, SNRIs. Of course, if you want, you can try to include other drugs, but they have to be proper antidepressants meaning drugs that doctors would be likely to prescribe for depression.

1. acceptance
2-3 arguments and rebuttals
4 conclusion no new arguments.

5000 characters per round.


I have the burden of proof in regards to proving that there is a single, rational, benefit to taking them.

My opponent has to anti BOP meaning that she has to counter ALL my points so that even if there is a SINGLE benefit she has not disproved by round 5, I will win.

The reasoning behind this dynamic is her definition of being duped means that people taking antidepressants (for the obvious purpose of being less depressed) would be no worse off if they weren't taking them, and probably would be better off.

I would like us to stick to people who stick to prescribed doses and not people who overdose or under-dose since they are not qualifying as test subjects as they have not obeyed rules of the test.

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


Con has tried to alter the terms of the debate to the point where it is unrecognizable. I reject every one of his changes and respectfully refer him back to the resolution:

Most people on antidepressants are being duped


1. As the instigator, I have the BoP to defend the resolution. Con does not have the BoP.

2. "Most people are being duped" means that some people do indeed benefit from taking antidepressants. This is not being contested.

3. "Most people on antidepressants" means people taking antidepressants as they currently do in the real world. This includes:
a) people taking antidepressants for any reason. Con has no justification for limiting the debate to people who take them "for the obvious purpose of being less depressed." SSRIs, for example, are prescribed for a range of reasons - predominantly related to depression and anxiety, but also, notoriously, as mood brighteners.
b) people taking any dosage of antidepressants. There is nothing in the resolution that limits the debate to people adhering to a specific dosage regimen.

4. Anti-depressants may have benefits - most strikingly, the placebo effect - but they also have associated costs, psychological, physiological, financial and social. To win this debate, I will show that the costs balance or outweigh any benefits for most people currently taking anti-depressants.


the placebo effect

There is a very large placebo effect associated with drug intervention for depression (1).

For mild and moderate depression, the placebo effect is not significantly different from the drug effect for most popular antidepressants (2). This means that although these patients do benefit significantly from taking antidepressants, they would benefit as much from taking a placebo. It is only for severely depressed patients that the drug effect exceeds the placebo effect. These patients do benefit from antidepressants.

A recent US survey of antidepressant use found that only one third of people taking antidepressants had severe depression (3). Therefore, two thirds (most) of the people taking antidepressants are benefitting from the medication no more than they would from a placebo.

Finally, the placebo effect associated with antidepressants has been increasing in the decades since they were introduced into our society (4). As antidepressants become more popular, and people believe more and more in the drug company rhetoric, they have more faith in the effects of the drug and the placebo effect is enhanced. This has consequences for society in general, which I may discuss further in the next round.

If people are benefitting from antidepressants, who cares if the effect is a placebo effect or a pharmacological one? A benefit is a benefit, right? Yes, which is no doubt why general practitioners keep on writing those prescriptions. (In fact, four of every five prescriptions for anti-depressants in the US come from non-psychiatrists (5)).

However, antidepressants:

a) are more expensive than a simple placebo (over $10 billion dollars spent on them each year in the US (6)); and

b) have serious side-effects. Side effects include nausea, insomnia, anxiety, decreased sex drive, weight gain, fatigue, and headaches. There is also the risk of increased depression and suicidal behavior, especially in young people. Older people have an increased risk of fractures and bone loss. There are also serious withdrawal symptoms associated with antidepressants (7).

Therefore, most people on antidepressants are being duped. They would be better off with a simple chalk pill or even some paracetamol.

(1) Kirsch & Sapirstein, 'Listening to Prozac but hearing placebo: A meta-analysis of antidepressant medication.' Prevention & Treatment, 1998
(2) Kirsch et al., 'Initial Severity and Antidepressant Benefits: A Meta-Analysis of Data Submitted to the Food and Drug Administration' PLOS Medicine
Also see Fournier et al. 'Antidepressant Drug Effects and Depression Severity A Patient-Level Meta-analysis' JAMA 2010
(3) Pratt et al. 'Antidepressant Use in Persons Aged 12 and Over: United States, 2005–2008' NCHS Data Brief No.76, 2011
(4) Walsh et al., 'Placebo Response in Studies of Major Depression: Variable, Substantial, and Growing'JAMA. 2002;287(14):1840-1847.
(5) B.Smith 'Inappropriate prescribing' Monitor on Psychology APA. 2012
(6) T. Insel, 'Antidepressants: A complicated picture' National Institute of Mental Health, 2011


LatentDebater forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Rats! You completely fooled me, anyway. I had no idea it was you. I believed in the Fijian in the open relationship who was strangely familiar with American pop culture and liked Richard Dawkins. See you in your next life.


LatentDebater forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


LatentDebater forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by rross 5 years ago
By "around here" I mean the suburb where I live, not this debating site of course.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by johnlubba 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit