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The media and intellectuals' response to medical publications: the antidepressants' case

Konstantinos N Fountoulakis1*, Cyril Hoschl23, Siegfried Kasper4, Juan Lopez-Ibor5678 and Hans-Jürgen Möller9

  • * Corresponding author: Konstantinos N Fountoulakis

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 3rd Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54636, Thessaloniki, Greece

2 Department of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology, Prague Psychiatric Center, 18103, Prague, Czech

3 Charles University, 18103, Prague, Czech Republic

4 Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical University of Vienna, 1090, Vienna, Austria

5 Institute of Psychiatry and Mental Health, 28035, Madrid, Spain

6 WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health and Health Research Institute, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria San Carlos (IdISSC), 28035, Madrid, Spain

7 Center for Biomedical Research Network on Mental Health (CIBERSAM), Hospital Clínico San Carlos, 28035, Madrid, Spain

8 Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad Complutense, 28035, Madrid, Spain

9 Department of Psychiatry, Ludwig Maximilians University, 80336, Munich, Germany

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Annals of General Psychiatry 2013, 12:11  doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-11

Published: 12 April 2013


During the last decade, there was a debate concerning the true efficacy of antidepressants. Several papers were published in scientific journals, but many articles were also published in the lay press and the internet both by medical scientists and academics from other disciplines or representatives of societies or initiatives. The current paper analyzes the articles authored by three representative opinion makers: one academic in medicine, one academic in philosophical studies, and a representative of an activists' group against the use of antidepressants. All three articles share similar gaps in knowledge and understanding of the scientific data and also are driven by an ‘existential-like’ ideology. In our opinion, these articles have misinterpreted the scientific data, and they as such may misinform or mislead the general public and policy makers, which could have a potential impact upon public health. It seems that this line of thought represents another aspect of the stigma attached to people suffering from mental illness.

Antidepressants; Efficacy; Debate; Media; Lay persons