“Side Effects”- Movie directed by Steven Soderbergh, producer Lorenzo di Bonventura, stars – many.

Last weekend my sweetheart Ricki took me to a suspense movie. “You are going to like it. It is in your line of work and has good reviews.”

Yes, very good intent, a very good psychological thriller, but it stirred the pot with problems I am dealing with during the week and we all face as a society.

In the air of “Side Effects” I decided to share with my fan base some excerpts from the January 2013 issue of the “American Journal Of Clinical Hypnosis”. This is the journal that gives me triple delight as it is written by competent clinicians who care, I am able to hold it in my hands and read it, and it is completely void of ads. It is a Special Issue: Placebo, Hypnosis, and Depression.

“Medicalization of Depression

Recently, many writers, including psychiatrists (e.g., Curtiss, 2001; Double, 2006; Gordon, 2008; Greenberg, 2010; Horwitz & Wakefield 2007; Kirsch, 2010; Leventhal & Martell, 2006; Moncrieff, 2008; Parker, 2005; Yapko, 2009, also this issue), have questioned the validity of depression as disease. They believe the DSM-IV-TR (APA, 2000) concept of depression fails to differentiate between depression as an illness and depression as a natural reaction to negative life-events. For example, James Gordon (2008), Harvard-educated psychiatrist and director of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, who himself had a history of depression; does not regard depression to be a medical illness. He and others (e.g., Curtiss, 2001; Leventhal & Martell. 2006) see it simply as a mood in reaction to a stressor. In this sense they perceive depression as a natural and healthy response to an inability to cope with certain life circumstances. This inability to cope and the concomitant distress can manifest as what may appear to be symptoms of depression to some mental health professionals and physicians (Gordon, 2008; Hagen, 2011; Nesse, 2011), especially when the cause of the distress is not investigated. ……”

Aladin, Assen, “The Power of Belief and Expectancy in Understanding and Management of Depression.” American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. Ed. The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. 1/2013. 254. Print.

‘’Concern #3: Economic Corruption and Undue Influence of Pharmaceutical companies on Data Dissemination

Two recent reports published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) raised concerns about how drug companies influence the interpretation and publication of medical research (Psaty & Kronmal, 2008; Ross, Hill, Egilman & Krumholz, 2008). The reports provided evidence that drug manufacturers have paid academic scientists to take credit for research articles prepared by company-hired writers, a practice called ghostwriting. ……”

Yapko, Michael D., “Treating Depression With Antidepressants: Drug-Placebo Efficacy Debates Limit Broader Considerations.” American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. Ed. The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. 1/2013. 277. Print

‘’Concern #4: Pseudoscientific False Advertising

The United States is one of only two countries that allow direct-to-customer advertising, the other being New Zealand (Weil,2012).Virtually all Americans have been exposed to the ongoing blizzard of ads for antidepressants which declare that “depression may be caused by a chemical imbalance and (our drug) corrects this imbalance.”

Yapko, Michael D., “Treating Depression With Antidepressants: Drug-Placebo Efficacy Debates Limit Broader Considerations.” American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. Ed. The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. 1/2013. 278. Print

In short, the whole January issue of the journal is dealing with the problems of oversimplification in the diagnosis and treatment of depression.

This is my review and thoughts on “Side Effects”. And….., yes very good cinematography, very good movie!

Siranush K Cholakian MD

03/27/2013