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About five years ago on the TV show "60 Minutes," psychologist Irving Kirsch said that the effect of both antidepressants and placebos is about the same for most people.
It is true that many depressed individuals in research studies respond well to placebo (a fake drug), but this does not mean their symptoms were bogus or that antidepressants are useless.
There are several reasons why people’s symptoms may improve while on a placebo. These reasons are being studied by researchers for verification and to learn more about the science behind the placebo effect.
So in a research trial, an antidepressant doing as well as a placebo does not mean the antidepressant is doing as well as nothing. The expectation effect, brain changes, and face-to-face interventions that come with placebo use are each something. Understanding these somethings may improve all our lives.
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