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Depression blood test announced

Depression blood test announced

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It is no secret that depression is a growing malaise in the US, driven by direct-to-consumer advertising, self-diagnosis and the lack of a blood test or other diagnostic confirmations. In fact, almost one in four American women in their 40s and 50s is taking antidepressants, which endears Big Pharma to Wall Street. 

This month's announcement of the "first blood test to diagnose major depression in adults" is good news for psychiatrists and Big Pharma, who hope they will now have the scientific certitude of the condition they have lacked.  Developed by Northwestern Medicine® scientists, the test, announced this month, "provides the first objective, scientific diagnosis for depression," says Northwestern.

"The blood test can also predict which therapies would be most successful for patients, and lays the groundwork for one day identifying people who are especially vulnerable to depression -- even before they’ve gone through a depressive episode," rhapsodizes a Huffington Post article.  Of course, treating people "at risk" of conditions like heart disease, asthma, osteoporosis or GERD is a goldmine for Pharma: patients never know if they would have gotten the disorders and will stay on the drugs for decades.

Another way Big Pharma sells antidepressants is "suicide marketing." Groups like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention present our national suicide rate as an "antidepressant deficiency" and cite a "stigma" that keeps people away from depression medication - like the 25 percent of older women who are on them right now.

Yet, despite a huge chunk of the population being on antidepressants, suicide is up not down. And in the military, where antidepressant use is rife, suicide is way up, including among those who never deployed. Left out of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's marketing materials is mention of the "black box" warnings on antidepressants that say "Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults…Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior."

Antidepressants have other risks besides suicide. They can cause weight gain, sexual dysfunction, passivity and general complacency about life. When antidepressants quit working or don't work to begin with the "depression" is called "treatment resistant" and more drugs are added. Their side effects--and symptoms if a patient tries to discontinue--are often taken as "proof" of the initial depression. The result is people who were never depressed being on the drugs for years.

Depression certainly exists and antidepressants certainly can work. But through cagey marketing, Pharma has changed the definition of depression from self-limiting, as it was once viewed, to a lifelong condition. Worse, "depression" has been turned into a cultural/commercial condition of lack of happiness instead of a clinical condition. Why shouldn't we be happy at all times? Big Pharma has so medicalized normal, everyday emotions, grief over the death of a loved one is now called a psychiatric disorder and there's a pill for it.

The truth is antidepressants can increase or diminish the risk of suicide, though both suicide and meds are way up. Another truth is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention received $40,000 so far this year from Eli Lilly and $50,000 in 2013 and 2012. It was led for a time by psychiatrist Charles Nemeroff who was found by Congress to have failed to disclose at least $1.2 million in Pharma income to Emory University. 

So, yes, the pills do treat depression — depression of Big Pharma profits.

Comments

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It's 2 years later, now. (09/26/2016). I stumbled upon this article. I *still* haven't heard of this alleged "test" for "depression". Did it fail to meet expectations, or is it fueling the spike in anti-depressant use?
(The whole LIE about depression being caused by a "chemical imbalance of serotonin" has been comprehensively and scientifically debunked, and exposed as the marketing hype it truly is....)
Check out >madinamerica.com<, for Robert Whitaker's "Anatomy of an Epidemic". Very well-researched and written book.

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