Before excessive drug treatments NIMH declared depression “on the whole” a diagnosis with best prognosis for recovery: not so anymore


Everything Matters: Beyond Meds

Robert Whitaker’s website — Links to studies showing that depression with much greater frequency becomes a life long chronic problem with the advent of the use of drugs.

A. The Natural Course of Depression

Prior to the widespread use of antidepressants, the National Institute of Mental Health told the public that people regularly recovered from a depressive episode, and often never experienced a second episode. As the NIMH’s Jonathan Cole wrote in 1964: “Depression is, on the whole, one of the psychiatric conditions with the best prognosis for eventual recovery, with or without treatment.” Given this understanding of the natural course of depression, the NIMH’s experts believed that antidepressants might shorten the time to recovery, but they wouldn’t be able to boost long-term recovery rates. The reason, explained Dean Schuyler, head of the depression section at the NIMH, in 1974, was that most depressive episodes “will run their course…

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