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Prozac Questions

Question:

Is it true that Prozac is recognized as a miracle drug which cures depression? and if not is there any antidepressant medication that does?

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  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
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Answer:

Prozac is an anti-depressant medicine, but it is certainly not a ‘miracle’ drug. Prozac is one of many drugs now on the market belonging to a class of medications called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (or SSRIs). Other SSRIs (or next-generation ‘atypical’ SSRI-based medicines) include Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Effexor and a bunch of newer medicines. SSRIs have been scientifically studied and shown to help many depressed people to feel somewhat better. None of these medicines, however, should be thought of a ‘cure’ for depression (where cure is understood to mean that the underlying depression is permanently eradicated. SSRI and other anti-depressant medications often have inconvenient side effects (some of them make it very difficult for people to have an orgasm). They also typically only work for as long as you continue to take them. Reoccurrence of depression when medication is stopped is relatively high. There are high quality alternatives to medication for the treatment of depression. Specifically, Cognitive Therapy for Depression, and Interpersonal Therapy for Depression are forms of psychotherapy (talk therapy) that have been shown scientifically to work about as well as medication treatment for depression in the short term. Over the long term (after active treatment has stopped) Cognitive Therapy has been shown to be more effective in keeping future depressions at bay than medication. Not all therapists can offer quality Cognitive Therapy – You’ll need to find a psychologist or social worker who has been trained in this modality in order for it to work properly. It is possible to combine psychotherapy and medication therapy for depression – ask your doctor about this.

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