Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stanford's Robert Sapolsky On Depression in U.S. (Full Lecture)

Good lecture in many ways.
Stanford Professor Robert Sapolsky, posits that depression is the most damaging disease that you can experience. Right now it is the number four cause of disability in the US and it is becoming more common. Sapolsky states that depression is as real of a biological disease as is diabetes.
Today's newest research article on depression and psychotherapy supports Sapolsky's stance that depression, or at least severe depression, is a biological disorder that responds best to drugs, not to brief supportive psychotherapy (BSP) or cognitive behavioral analysis system of psychotherapy (CBASP). As always, more time consuming (psychoanalysis) or less well-known forms of therapy (Internal Family Systems/Ego States) are not included in the research.

My guess on this study (aside from the fact that the lead author has taken money from every major pharmaceutical company on the planet) is that they weeded out any comorbid patients (those with trauma, PTSD, anxiety disorders, or anything that we are likely to see in the consulting room), which is about as realistic as studying diabetes in people who are not obese/overweight and who do not have a poor diet (those people do not exist in any meaningful way).

Anyway, here is Sapolsky.


Unknown said...

Not really challenging this or anything, and this is probably pretty naive, but is Sapolsky indeed well-funded by pharma?

william harryman said...

That would be my guess, along with a reductionist worldview that does not see consciousness as anything other than a by-product of neuronal function.


Unknown said...

Never mind, Bill, I mis-read your post to be indicating that Sapolsky was the study author and had, as such, taken a lot of pharma money. About which I have no info, maybe he has, but I don't think that's what you were originally saying. (I can't access the study.)

FYI, however, while Sapolsky is an out and out naturalist/atheist, he is a very thoughtful one -- his books are well worth checking out. And at one point, at least, he was connected to the Mind and Life Institute in some way (I can't now find the M/L list of associated scientists that used to be on their site, but he was on it the last time I saw it.)