Experience is the best teacher

2000 years have passed since Cicero said that: “experience is the best teacher” [Usus magister est optimus]

This is the current dictionary definition of experience:

Experience - dictionary definition

As a doctor, scientist, and artist I have come to consider experience from many stances.  I welcome every view, from every stance.

A recent publication of a meta-analysis on antidepressant prescribing has encouraged  a wider sharing of experience. My sense of this wide-ranging discourse is that we all share a determination to ease suffering.Lancet study on antidepressants, Feb 2018 - title

Following the publication and reporting of this meta-analysis, some senior colleagues have made, or shared public comments, that invoke war-like or shaming terms:

“All in all it has been a bad few days for the anti-medication cult and their followers”

“It feels like there is a war on antidepressants at the moment”

Some of my senior colleagues, including the President of my College, have publicly shared this:

Pill-Shaming Bingo card

The Cipriani Lancet meta-analysis of antidepressants efficacy, was based on (an average) of 8 weeks study (experience).

Almost a decade ago. I asked Professor Ian C. Reid: “What is the ‘appropriate” duration of antidepressant treatment?” After a number of communications, Professor Reid replied:

Not sure what your issue is

Ian Reid was quite brilliant. I trained in psychiatry with Ian. We were good friends. I was surprised to find how 'difficult' Ian found my question.

A few years later this letter was published in the BMJ:

Increased antidepressant prescribing shows correction of inadequate duration of treatment, BMJ, Jan 2014

Not sure what your issue isI did my best to explain to Ian why science must carefully listen and consider all experience. Cicero understood this 2000 years ago. 

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