Two Thought Experiments on Depression
The efficacy of antidepressants vs placebo seems to be quite a tricky issue, especially with all the media hype surrounding it. (Here is a very harsh attack, a somewhat neutral review, and a defence of antidepressants. I lean towards the defence for now.)
There are two studies I wish could be done, but which will remain confined to my speculations for obvious ethical violations:
1) A controlled study of patients of depression (spanning the whole range from mild to severe) who are being administered antidepressants without their knowledge. Would antidepressants treat depression when a patient doesn't even know he is taking the drug?
2) A controlled study of patients of depression who are prescribed antidepressants but are informed by doctors that the effect of the drug may not be any different from that of a placebo. Would antidepressants treat depression when a patient doesn't trust the drug?