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Navigating Controversies Around Antidepressants: Efficacy, Safety, and Mechanisms

Available: 06/02/23 - 06/02/2026

Pricing: FREE - $0



The use of antidepressants has been subject to considerable controversy and debate both inside and outside the psychiatric profession. This has led to a situation where not only a substantial portion of lay people and patients but also many psychiatric clinicians are skeptical about their efficacy and safety. The publication of the “serotonin hypothesis” umbrella review in Molecular Psychiatry in 2022 and its coverage in international media has accelerated these debates, and has raised questions about the relationship between the so-called “chemical imbalance” hypothesis and the mechanisms of therapeutic benefit. Critics have argued that the perceived benefit is only because of the placebo effect and “emotional blunting” produced by the medications. On the safety side, there is greater awareness now regarding the risk of complicated and protracted withdrawal and serious adverse effects such as permanent sexual dysfunction. This webinar aims to explore the controversies surrounding the efficacy, safety, and mechanisms of antidepressant medications, with the goal of dispelling misconceptions about antidepressants while acknowledging the ways in which traditional understanding of their use has fallen short. The implications for the use of antidepressants in clinical practice will also be discussed. 


Live interactive webinar 

Learning Objectives 

  • Analyze the sources of controversy around the clinical efficacy of antidepressants. 
  • Appreciate the uncertainty that surrounds serious adverse effects of antidepressants (such as protracted withdrawal and sexual dysfunction) and the implications for clinical practice 
  • Appraise the relationship between "serotonin hypothesis" and the mechanisms of actions of antidepressants 

Target Audience 

Nurse/Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Physician (non-psychiatrist), Physician Assistant 

Instructional Level 

Introductory, Intermediate, Advanced 

Estimate Time to Complete 

Estimated Duration: 1.0 hour 
Program Start Date: June 2, 2023 
Program End Date: June 2, 2026

Attendees will have an opportunity to participate in Q&A. 

Ongoing Interdisciplinary Discussion Board 

After completing the course, engage with colleagues in the mental health field through SMI Adviser's Webinar Roundtable Topics discussion board. This is an easy way to network and share ideas with other clinicians who participate in this webinar. Access through the discussion tab.

How to Earn Credit 

Participants who wish to earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™, nursing continuing professional development contact hours (NCPD, formerly CNE), or a certificate of participation may do so by viewing the live presentation and completing the evaluation. After evaluating the program, course participants will be provided with an opportunity to claim hours of participation and print an official CME certificate (physicians), or certificate of participation (other disciplines) showing the event date and hours earned. 

Continuing Education Credit 

In support of improving patient care, the American Psychiatric Association is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.  


The APA designates this live event for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  

Nurses/Nurse Practitioners 

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) designates this activity for 1.0 Nursing contact hours. Nurses should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

Faculty and Planner Disclosures 

The American Psychiatric Association adheres to the ACCME’s Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Medical Education. Any individuals in a position to control the content of a CME activity — including faculty, planners, reviewers or others — are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with ineligible entities (commercial interests). All relevant conflicts of interest have been mitigated prior to the commencement of the activity. 


  • Awais Aftab, MD is Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Awais Aftab is a member of the Community Advisory Board at Osmind. He is Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Aftab is recognized for his work across both critical and philosophical issues in psychiatry. He is also a psychiatrist in the Cleveland area, working with individuals with serious mental illness. Dr. Aftab has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.  


  • Teri Brister, PhD, LPC, National Alliance on Mental Illness. Dr. Brister has no relevant financial relationships to disclose. 
  • John Torous, MD, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Torous has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.
  • Kathryn Hanley, RN, LPA, PMHNP-BC, University of Texas at Austin. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests. 

Accessibility for Participants with Disabilities 

The American Psychiatric Association is committed to ensuring accessibility of its website to people with disabilities. Please contact the American Psychiatric Association at 202-559-3900, if you require assistance seven (7) business days prior to the start of a live webinar. 

Technical Requirements 

This internet-based CME activity is best experienced using any of the following: 

  • The latest and 2nd latest public versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari 
  • Internet Explorer 11+ 

This Web site requires that JavaScript and session cookies be enabled. Certain activities may require additional software to view multimedia, presentation, or printable versions of the content. These activities will be marked as such and will provide links to the required software. That software may be: Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Windows Media Player. 

Optimal System Configuration: 

  • Browser: Google Chrome (latest and 2nd latest version), Safari (latest and 2nd latest version), Internet Explorer 11.0+, Firefox (latest and 2nd latest version), or Microsoft Edge (latest and 2nd latest version) 
  • Operating System: Windows versions 8.1+, Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) +, Android (latest and 2nd latest version), or iOS/iPad OS (latest and 2nd latest version) 
  • Internet Connection: 1 Mbps or higher 

Minimum Requirements: 

  • Windows PC: Windows 8.1 or higher; 1 GB (for 32-bit)/2 GB (for 64-bit) or higher RAM; Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content 
  • Macintosh: Mac OS X 10.5 or higher with latest updates installed; Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (867MHz or faster) processor; 512 MB or higher RAM; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content 

For assistance: Contact for questions about this activity | Contact for technical assistance 

Availability: On-Demand
Access expires on 06/02/2026
Credit Offered:
1 CME Credit
1 NCPD Credit
1 COP Credit
Funding for SMI Adviser was made possible by Grant No. SM080818 from SAMHSA of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, SAMHSA/HHS or the U.S. Government.
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