Friday, January 8, 2010

email reponse to feature on depression by WCPN

This morning, there was a segment on depression treatments on our local public radio station (WCPN). It was 99% about medical (brief reference to exercise at end) treatments, i.e., anti-depressants, deep brain stimulation, etc. This unbalanced and shallow report bothered me enough to email WCPN. Below is the email I sent to them. I am interested in how YOU feel about this.

Your brief report on depression was woefully lacking. One was left with the impression that the only treatments for depression depression are medical. It is clear that Ms. Cuda had little prior knowledge about depression and that her sources were MDs, medical websites, and/or drug companies.

There have been debates in the past that depression was biological OR psychological. For 25 years, most acknowledge it is BOTH. It would be more accurate to describe it as a bio-psycho-social process.

Trauma can alter one's biology. Negative thoughts can also alter one's biology. Turning the negative thoughts around can IMPROVE one's biology. Schwartz showed this about 20 yrs ago with PET scans of those treated for OCD.

I missed ANY reference to brief psychotherapies that have proven at least equally effective as the anti-depressants. There is about 35 yrs of research that prove this. The research with exercise is another 5 to 10 yrs longer.

A good place to get a more balanced understanding of depression is

While a study reported this week questions the efficacy of anti-depressants for mild to moderated depression do NOT make the mistake that this message is an attack on medications. Rather, it is a criticism for a lack of depth and balance. I expect MUCH better from WCPN.

Mike Miller, PhD

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