Increase the Dose of the Doctor

In an article nearing its 15th birthday, its authors looked at something quite novel for a medical research study, the relationship between a psychiatrist and their patient. 

This study looked at data obtained from a large depression study completed by the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH). While the most effective psychiatrists who provided active drugs (antidepressants) had the best results, it was also true that the most effective one-third of psychiatrists had better outcomes with placebos (sugar pills) than the least effective one-third of psychiatrists had with active drug. 

The statistics are a bit confusing but the authors essentially found data to suggest that how a psychiatrist prescribes is actually more important than what he or she prescribes.

It's quite unfortunate that the research priorities in psychiatry have continued to strive toward finding the perfect anti-depression/anxiety/psychotic molecule. We're still looking and I believe our search will be perpetual because treatment requires both a consideration of biological and interpersonal factors.


McKay, K. M., Imel, Z. E., & Wampold, B. E. (2006). Psychiatrist effects in the psychopharmacological treatment of depression. Journal of affective disorders, 92(2-3), 287-290.


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