March 6, 2017
Dr. Kelly Brogan is an Integrative psychiatrist (trained at MIT and Cornell) who came on the podcast to chat about her new book, A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives.
For those seeking more information please read Dr. Brogan’s landmark book:
Source: High Intensity Health
Key Takeaways from the interview:
01:58 “Before I stopped prescribing, I never once cured a patient” Dr. Brogan was a traditional psychiatric doctor from a traditional family. The goal of traditional psychiatry is to keep you functioning and to suppress symptoms. Many mental illnesses are not valid illnesses or diseases. They are symptoms. Most outpatient psychiatrists do not run basic blood panels on their patients to rule out known reversible causes, like B12 deficiencies. She began recommending fish oil, Rhodiola rosea, and other supplements to her patients on pharmaceuticals. Then she read an expose’ by Robert Whitaker called The Anatomy of an Epidemic, which brought her to a lesser known body of science. She stopped using pharmaceuticals and began to cure patients. Her goal is to not only get her patients off of their prescriptions, but to give them the tools to not need to see her.
05:45 Depression Medication Paradox: Practitioners and the lay person (via direct to consumer advertising) are taught that depression is a discrete disease that is likely heritable and is a result of a chemical imbalance, often a serotonin imbalance. There are antidepressant medications that are serotonin reuptake enhancers as well as other that serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and others that have little impact upon serotonin, but impact norepinephrine and dopamine. Trials show comparable efficacy in non-psychiatric medications like beta blockers or thyroid hormone.
07:51 Do Such Disparate Medications Work? Dr. Brogan says that these medications do not work. The reported efficacy is 30%. There is much unpublished literature. A psychiatry study found that 37 of 38 negative studies used to approve 12 antidepressants were not published because they were negative. When you adjust for active placebo effect, these medications have negligible efficacy.
09:14 Antidepressants: Active Placebo Effect: It is the recruitment of bodily beliefs about your being sick and there being a chemical fix. When you are in a trial, you are told that if you receive the treatment, you may get dry mouth, diarrhea, or headache. The placebo might be a sugar pill. When you start to get the side effects, you tell yourself that you are in the treatment group and you believe that you will get better. A follow up study of people who were successfully treated with Prozac were told that they would be randomized to placebo or continue on the same does that cured them. Both groups became depressed. The power of belief or expectancy is a very important and complex factor.
11:56 Long Term Effects: There is not a single study that suggests that being treated with antidepressants for any psychiatric disorder results in improved long term functioning or improved long term outcomes. According to the WHO, depression is the number one cause of disability, yet we have more prescribing of treatment than ever before. This should be inversely proportional. What if the treatment is inducing disability and a chronic disorder that might have otherwise been a reversible single episode phenomenon? It is time to re-examine the theory that depression has anything to do with brain chemicals.
13:07 The Cytokine Theory of Depression: The primary literature is beginning to support the idea that it could be a body-wide, system-wide phenomenon. It comes down to the mismatch of lifestyle with our over 2.5 million years of what our genes have come to expect. This theory asks what we can do to better align our lifestyle with those of our ancestors so the alarm systems in the body, inflammatory systems, and immunological mechanisms, are not on constant high alert. Depression is a Symptom
15:41 Diet vs Prozac: Prozac will not produce clinical effects, just side effects, for 6 to 8 weeks after treatment starts. Diet will produce positive effects within 30 days.