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7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
2 Points

Most people on antidepressants are being duped

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/5/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 877 times Debate No: 29897
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)




I started this debate before, but got LatentDebater who was banned, and then Inquisitor who was banned. So this is getting exciting now. How many different alts of RationalMadman will I go through before I get to do this debate? So I'm putting it up again:

In the suburb where I live, I've noticed that being on antidepressants is almost as common as not being on them. People are on them and long term and I have SO MANY issues with this.

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.


tara tsongki tayo
Debate Round No. 1


Gusto ko ang iyong pangalan, kurokuro. Ito nababagay sa iyo.


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 by Browse to Save" href="../../Most-people-on-antidepressants-are-being-duped/1/">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


kurokuro forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


You know, I thought you were just pretending to be stoned and from the philippines. See, because your name means "hoax" in the pinoy dialect...

I guess I was overthinking it.


kurokuro forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


kurokuro forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
After looking at round #1, I think PRO has this one...:o
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Vote Placed by Legitdebater 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: forfeit
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: ff, and English is evidently the language for the debate, as evidenced by PRO's round #1.