I understand that only 'some' people are going to get this effect, but I don't think it has anything to do with taking high doses. Aren't side-effects calculated on the reaction of patients to regular prescribed doses? The percentage of people who get this (according to the company of course) is very very small. Just like suicidal tendencies as a SE happens to a very very small percentage. The only reason I brought it up is that I wonder why some people react to anti-depressants this way, and if there isn't a commonality between people who experience this.
Certainly, that's a strong possibility.
If these drugs affect certain people in a certain way, for instance, in your example of giving some people DP, it makes sense that there's something in common between those affected in such a way.
What's not so certain, and almost impossible to ascertain, is whether or not this commonality between those with unusual reactions is physiological - in the sense that their brains have a certain physical "make up" slightly different to most others - or whether it's simply psychological.
I expect it's the former, but the reality is that we know so little about the brain that anything we argue regarding it is almost entirely conjecutre.
The only thing we know for sure is that drugs increase levels of neurotransmitters.... That doesn't say anything about the cause. The way it usually goes in science is you come up with a theory (eg. chemicals imbalance causes depression), you test it, you write your observations. You do this a few times. If after doing it a few times you've still not been able to prove your theory, how can you go on to manufacture the product?
Granted, no one's certain that the cause of depression is some "chemical imbalance" - I myself don't perceive this to be the case, least not for all.
But it doesn't follow from this point that you shouldn't be able to manufacture the product.
The reason for this is that, irrespective of what the underlying causes of depression are, for some people, antidepressant medication works
. Not for all, no. But for quite a few. On this basis, it "makes sense" to manufacture it, because these drugs do benefit a large number of people.
I'm a little worried about repercussions of this long term. Things like more and more kids taking Ritalin or anti-depressants for example. This culture of psychological-problem-but-biological-cause. I think we take wayyy too much meds today, but it's normal, we're bombarded with ads about meds all the time.
Oh I agree with this point entirely.
But likewise, I think that the "anti-medication" arguments that some people put forward go too far.
The fact remains that, for some, medication works. We don't need to ascertain whether the cause is biological or psychological to know that this is the case.
I read somewhere recently, what if the cause of depression is not low levels of neurotransmitters in itself, but rather, that a person's psychological response to the world (happiness, sadness, anxiety) is out of sync with the way the majority of society responds (i.e. most people do not become depressed). Is this hypothesis any more far-fetched idea than the other explanation of causation?
No, it's not at all.
But, as I have said, it's one thing to dispute a cause; it's quite another to dispute what "works" for solving the problem.
Another question: can psychotherapy raise levels of neurotransmitters? How come some people are able to get symptoms of depression to subside through therapy?
Before I say anything, I'm not the expert on this stuff - hopefully some of the more psychologically educated on this board will help me answer these questions.
That said, I can offer my "two cents".
First off, I'll say that I think in the majority of cases, depression is primarily psychologically based, as opposed to physiologically based (though there are certainly cases where depression is demonstrably entirely physiological. To give one example, many heavy long-term users of ecstasy in the 90s are now dependent on SSRIs to feel "normal" because their neurotransmitters are entirely "out of whack".)
I don't think we can know if psychotherapy raises the levels of neurotrasmitters or not. If it does, that would imply that somehow the levels of neurotransmitters that the brain "puts out" is dependent on our thoughts and feelings, which seems a little odd to me.
Nevertheless psychotherapy can work. The reason people are able to get results with it is because, as I've said, for many - probably most -the cause of the problem is psychological not physiological.
It nevertheless seems true that boosting serotonin makes people feel better, even if it doesn't solve the underying issues in the first place.