For mild to moderate depression -- the most common target of antidepressant medication -- they are no better than placebo (Fournier et al. 2010).
And even these meager results may be overstated. When studies fail to show any advantage over placebo or when adverse effects prove too troublesome, no problem -- psychodrug makers simply throw out the results and start over. There are no restrictions on how many studies can be done. A pharmaceutical company can keep at it until approvable results turn up. These outcomes -- no matter how difficult to come by -- can then be trumpeted as the only outcomes. (The FDA does now require all drug studies to at least be publicly registered on a website: www.clinicaltrials.gov.)
You might reasonably ask, Why then do antidepressants remain so popular? One major factor relates to the
tremendous influence psychodrug makers exert over psychiatric publications. In some instances these companies arrange to have supportive articles ghostwritten! Another factor stems from selective publication. In a review of 74 antidepressant studies, researchers found 37 of 38 positive outcomes published in professional journals. In contrast, only 3 of 36 negative outcomes made it into print (Turner et al. 2008). In a few instances, failed results were buried in the report and replaced by a positive but unrelated finding. This long-standing practice carries the nickname "data torturing" (Watters 2010). - page 48
... magnesium, commonly deficient in the American diet and susceptible to depletion by stress, seems to
counteract depression. One report documented depressed persons recovering after taking extra magnesium (125-300 mg) with each meal and at bedtime. When put to the test, magnesium also exerts a mood-stabilizing effect, which may be related to chemical characteristics shared with lithium (Eby 2006). - page 89
Stanford psychiatry Professor Lorrin Koran and his research team studied the addition of a stimulant drug to
the treatment regimen of persons with severe obsessive-compulsive symptoms. While continuing their previously prescribed SSRI, the patients took, in addition, one of two stimulants: dextroamphetamine or caffeine. The researchers were surprised when caffeine (used as the control) produced improvement equal to that achieved with dextroamphetamine. In addition, caffeine was associated with an unexpected reduction in anxiety (Koran et al. 2009).
Further evidence of caffeine's therapeutic value comes from the study of fifty thousand women. Those who
drank two to three cups of coffee a day were 15% less likely to require treatment for depression over a ten-
year follow-up period (Lucas et al. 2011). The results suggest that increasing one's consumption of caffeine
might help stave off depression in persons so predisposed. - pages 91-92