7/9/2014, Can antidepressants offer hope to those suffering chronic pain?

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/one-woman-manages-chronic-pain-invisible-affliction/

This question has been around for decades, and the answer hasn’t changed:  If you are one of the lucky ones who can achieve a placebo effect, then antidepressants can work for you.

Wikipedia:  “Roughly only 30% of the population seems susceptible to placebo effects, and it is not possible to determine ahead of time whether a placebo will work or not.”

I think the percentage is lower than 30% in the general population, and even lower than that in the chronic pain population.  However, using that figure, to have a chance at achieving a placebo effect, first you have to be part of the 30% that is susceptible. Then you have to be lucky enough to be part of a small percentage of that group, which actually achieves a placebo effect.  That’s quite a gamble when we’re talking about treating constant pain.

And pain patients have already been through this…  Doctors prescribed antidepressants like candy in the 80s and 90s — they didn’t work for chronic pain then, and they don’t work now, either.  Of course, when antidepressants didn’t work back then, it was easy for doctors to just blame the patient.  But the real truth about antidepressants, the FDA, and Big Pharma has been revealed since then.

Additionally, if you take antidepressants when you’re not depressed, these drugs can mess with your head. (Along with drinking alcohol while taking antidepressants.) But depression is not just about feeling sad — every chronic pain patient feels sad at one time or another.

If you’ve ever been around someone who was clinically depressed, you would understand the difference.  When I was forced to spend a week in a mental institution, my roommate was very depressed.  I mean, I was only able to make her smile like three times during the whole week. Of course, the heavy drugs she was on didn’t help her mood.  As you might imagine, it was an effort for her just to communicate, but from what I understood of her story, her husband had dumped her at this place… and it wasn’t the first time.  When I was finally allowed to leave, she was on the schedule for electric shock therapy.

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