« Robert Shiller's Impossible Dream | Main | Desperation, Not Recovery, In Jobs Growth »

04/11/2012

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

eugene12

As a licensed therapist for 25 yrs, I can only second what you've written. I came away from my experience with zero respect for the entire mental health field including psychiatrists. God help anyone questioning a psychiatrist. Extreme arrogance is a huge understatement. Rarely was a client informed of the side effects of a medication. It was common for clients to be prescribed medication over the phone. I worked, some, in Alaska where psychiatrists (locums) would be there a few months each prescribing some new "miracle" drug without canceling the prior prescriptions. I won't rattle on but the list is very long.

It is most unfortunate that the entire medical industry, including mental health, is a for profit situation. The for profit business model rules completely.

Diogenes

On Feb 8, 2008 Frontine presented "The Medicated Child" which offered a view into this disgrace that was beyond upsetting. It is available here:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/medicatedchild/
We need a whole new set of words capable of describing the individual and corporate depravity that surrounds us and our children. "Most unfortunate" just doesn't even come close.

Wanooski

I'd say it is probably a combination of the two, Dave.
And I have seen websites that were totally pro drug controlled moods and behavior modification, touting it as if it were the ultimate solution to the human problem of civilization. Saying that Brave New World, for one, wasn't dystopian, and two, didn't go far enough with the drugs. Needless to say, I very nearly punched my computer monitor.

DaShui

I wonder if you consider these types drugs, plus alcohol, plus illegal drugs how many Americans are perpetually drugged up? 30%?

George

"We've become crazy." ~Richard Manning

source:
Richard Manning on the Psychosis of Civilization
www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5iBOXcoP_8

Bill Hicks

I was a "Ritalin child," having been put on the medication for a couple of years due to extreme hyperactivity. Fortunately, my parents were wise enough to take me off of it when they deemed I was better and did not just keep me medicated because it made me easier to handle.

As an adult, I have actually had it suggested to me that I should consider antidepressants because of my extreme "pessimism," even though my personality is actually pretty even keel and I do not suffer from mood swings. I think another factor is this mess is the overwhelming desire of most people to "fit it," which you definitely can not do if you are overly pessimistic.

Ellen

My son with diagnosed with an autism disorder at the age of 2 because he was non-verbal. The neurologist at Johns Hopkins immediately wanted to put him on Ritalin to "settle him down" even though I requested no medication. Needless to say I left. When my son was 6 I took him to a developmental pediatrician merely to confirm the diagnosis since he was then verbal. She offered (again without any complaints by me of his behavior) to put him on Risperdal, a very strong drug indeed. Again, I left the office. It's outrageous that these drugs should be prescribed to children without any long term studies. The mental health profession is out of control.

Eric

This dependence on 'mind drugs' parallels an increasing dependence on what I call, for lack of a better term, 'artificial nutrition'. There are actually physicians suggesting that children be put on statins to control their cholesterol levels. Then there is Olestra(RT), the synthetic fat that supposedly allows us eat fat without suffering the alleged consequences, even when the question of what constitutes a healthy diet is far from being definitively answered. It is totally nuts in my opinion, that this notion that every aspect of our mental and physical health must be carefully controlled by drugs or surgery (I suppose stomach stapling might be seen as analogous to a frontal lobotomy).

Totally crazy.

sparky

"It is not likely to be due to an inherent chemical imbalance in the brain unless that imbalance has an environmental cause."

What is your basis for saying this? I am no fan of the medical-pharma-lobbying complex, but I think you are painting with too broad a brush here. The over/misuse of SSRIs by the general public does not render them worthless, as you seem to imply. I know a number of people, whose lives have, without exaggeration, been saved by SSRIs. I must also disagree with the notion that in the good old days people did not have so many illnesses. In those days people simply suffered in silence unless they were completely unable to function and were, consequently, locked up. Finally, while I agree that psychotropic medication should be prescribed with caution to children and that SSRIs have many side effects, so far as I know, "brain damage" is not one of them.

Dave Cohen

@sparky

I never said SSRIs are worthless. They have valid applications in a limited number of cases.

I did say that SSRIs and other drugs are over-prescribed, especially to the young, which in my view is a crime. With respect to brain damage, which "as far you know" is not a side effect, I would point out that the brains of young humans have not reached full development until very late in adolescence. And in so far as they are prescribed far earlier than that, it is reasonable to conclude that brain development has been altered in ways we don't understand by those drugs. Pardon me for referring to those changes as "brain damage".

You seem to assume that in the "good old days" people were walking around with all sorts of undiagnosed depression, ADD, autism and the like. No doubt there was some of that, but the far more reasonable conclusion (hypothesis) is the one I gave -- environmental problems which are either physical or psychological (cultural) in nature. Your view would seem to imply that if it weren't for these miraculous drugs, mental illness would be rampant now as it was in, say, 1965. Having been around in 1965, I can tell you that this conclusion is bullshit.'

The assumption that the incidence of mental illness was always this high is a post-hoc (after the fact) and unprovable justification for drug pushing.

Researchers are completely in the dark about the causes of the rise in autism diagnoses. Surely something in the environment has changed, but they don't know what it is. One thing that has definitely changed is that pharmaceutical companies are pushing drugs like never before. Barnett's article contains this and many other telling details.

Some humans think they can tamper with human brain chemistry as if they were changing the spark plug wires in a car. They also think they can burn fossil fuels to their heart's content, and that they'll never run low on oil and other liquid fuels. They believe all sorts of nonsense. And this deplorable drug business is just part of that whole pattern of thought.

Don't swallow the "Progress" myth hook, line and sinker. Markets and technology often create more problems than they solve. Mental health is a case in point. We are treating symptoms for profit, and pay no attention to the disease.

-- Dave

dolph

I am an internal medicine and mostly agree with everything here, but start to think outside the box, people.

There are now 7 billion! people on this planet. There are all sorts of people walking around, eating, doing stuff, procreating. I'm sure that industrialism has allowed alot of "crazy" genes to sort of survive and propagate through the system, when they wouldn't have in times past. And industrial civilization itself creates a bunch of messed up, depressed, anxious people, severed from their roots in nature and culture.

So which came first? Are people crazy and thereby need all this medication just to get through the day, or is all of this medication making people crazy (or perhaps crazier?) Hard to disentangle this web.

Consider fiat money as well. Fiat money, and unlimited debt expansion lets us get away with the "supply side" fantasy. Just give corporations more money and everything will be solved! And what do the corporations do with the money? They produce all sorts of stuff, including drugs.

Without the problem in the money, half of what businessed produce probably would never be there, there simply wouldn't be the demand.

Mister Roboto

Late to the party so probably only Dave will see this, but I was briefly put on Ritalin for bedwetting when I was about 6. I remember being put on the pill and being glad about it. After all, who wants to be a 6YO who still wets the bed? But what happened when I was on the medication remains a blank-spot in my memory (and I have an exceptionally good memory). According to my mother, I became a crying, screaming basket-case, I wouldn't eat, I wouldn't sleep, and the longer I was on Ritalin, the worse it got. My mother said "No more Ritalin" after three weeks, bedwetting or not. Fortunately, I did not resume the bedwetting. My theory is that I was having some kind of neurotic response to the fact that my childhood family-situation wasn't exactly a happy one, and the nastiness of being on Ritalin snapped me out of it.

My extreme sensitivity to medications persists into adulthood. I am a diabetic who can tolerate none of the major blood-pressure medications (I'm still suffering from what beta-blockers did to me despite being off them for a month), so that means my days are likely numbered. I just hope that the heart attack or stroke that finally fells me will quickly end my life instead of leaving my retarded or disabled.

The comments to this entry are closed.