Dr. Douglas Berger in Tokyo Comments on “Depressed? Do What You Love” by Daisy Yuhas

Tokyo psychiatrist, Dr. Douglas Berger, comments on “Depressed? Do What You Love” by Daisy Yuhas, October 1, 2016, Scientific American:

In “Depressed? What do you love” Yuhas writes that cognitive-behavioral therapy, and now behavioral-activation therapy, are rigorously studied methods that have success rates similar to medications. These therapies, however, are given unblinded by treaters to unblinded subjects so that there is no way to filter out potential bias of hope and expectation in subjects or researcher bias in depression where symptoms are subjective, so that the rigor of the evidence is quite low. Blinded evaluators of symptoms would only record any bias that comes from the treater-subject system. Not all medications work and some can’t be blinded, but those that do are required by the FDA to have maintained double-blind conditions where subjects and treaters are blind to whether placebo or active drug is given. It is not scientifically valid to compare treatments that are studied blindly to those that are not.

Douglas M. Berger, M.D., Ph.D.

U.S. Board-Certified Psychiatrist

Tokyo, Japan


1.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19476688 Psychol Med. 2010 Jan;40(1):9-24. doi: 10.1017/S003329170900590X. Epub 2009 May 29. Cognitive behavioural therapy for major psychiatric disorder: does it really work? A meta-analytical review of well-controlled trials. Lynch D1, Laws KR, McKenna PJ.

2.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4732552/ F1000Res. 2015; 4: 638. 2016 Feb 4. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.6953.2 PMCID: PMC4732552. Double-Blinding and Bias in Medication and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Trials for Major Depressive Disorder. Douglas Berger

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