Anti-depressant use in the USA soaring

The % of people on anti-depressants in the USA is at an all-time high at 11 %. (Funny, it only seems to go up, and not down, don’t you think?) This according to an article in Medscape Today, Antidepressant Nation: Use Tops One in Ten.

Eleven percent of Americans ages 12 or older use antidepressants — usually for at least two years but 14% have been taking antidepressants for a decade or longer, according to a CDC analysis of data culled from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-2008.

We’ve got an unemployment rate of 9 %, and I’m just waiting for that one to enter the double digits, too. Obviously, running charities for big businesses run by wealthy Americans is not getting people hired either.

Let’s put this anti-depressant use in perspective by looking at another article on the matter in The New American, CDC: Antidepressant Use Up 400% in Past Decade.

Yes, you read right. In 1 decade there has been a 400 % rise in the number of people taking anti-depressants.

With the development of Prozac and similar drugs, more than one out of every 10 Americans over the age of 12 now takes an antidepressant, according to the findings. Researchers analyzed data collected from 12,637 people who participated in the center’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, which elicit information from about 5,000 Americans of all ages every year. Antidepressants were the third most common prescription drug taken by Americans of all ages in 2005–2008 and the most frequently used by persons aged 18–44 years. The nearly quadruple rate of antidepressant use was from 1988–1994 through 2005–2008.

I’m going to a Canadian article to help explain this phenomenon, Psychiatrists Urged to Fight Stigma Linked to Mental Illness.

A new position paper, released here at the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) 61st Annual Conference by the association, aims to reduce stigmatization of and discrimination against the mentally ill by mental health professionals, including psychiatrists.

Good enough. What’s the problem?

The position paper suggests a 3-pronged approach to reducing stigma: protest, educate, and contact. It calls on all psychiatrists to lead by example and to protest stigma and discrimination when they encounter it, use education to counteract it, and promote direct contact with people who have lived with mental illness.

Keep reading…

In 2008, the CPA’s Stigma-Discrimination Working Group conducted a survey of its members asking about first-hand experiences of discrimination. Based on 394 responses out of a possible 1083, 79% of respondents reported discrimination toward a patient, 65% reported discrimination toward a mental healthcare provider, 53% reported discrimination against psychiatry as a profession, and 53% observed other medical providers discriminating against a psychiatric patient. At 89%, the survey found that the highest rate of stigma and discrimination was toward people with mental illness presenting to the emergency department.

Notice that this survey was asking whether people were discriminating against mental healthcare providers and the psychiatric profession. Does this mean there is a “stigma” attached to providing mental healthcare or practicing psychiatry? Think, if you can, about all the poor unfortunate psychiatrists and mental healthcare workers there are out there in the world. They need more people (i.e. mental healthcare consumers) to remedy their suffering. A mental healthcare consumer is a person who has been labeled by a psychiatrist “mentally ill”. We’re talking business here, and differences in opinion, surely, but are we talking “stigma”? You be the judge.

Now skip to the bottom of the page regarding this anti-“stigma” anti-discrimination campaigner.

Dr. Blanketyblank reports she is on the advisory board of Eli Lilly Canada Inc, Lundbeck Canada Inc, and Pfizer Canada Inc. She also reports receiving research funding from Lundbeck Canada Inc. Dr. Blanketyblank has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

No relevant financial relationships, I’d like to point out, is funding from pharmaceutical companies. This fact certainly gives a new twist to the definition of relevance.

The rates of anti-depressant use are going up because drug companies, and doctors in their pay, are doing everything they can do to sell anti-depressants. If you want the rates of anti-depressant usage to go down, you have to resort to preventative measures. Anti-“stigma” and anti-discrimination campaigns directed at mental healthcare providers and psychiatry as a profession are not preventative. If such campaigns are not preventative, they are causative. This business is asking the public to help it sell itself by using some kind of reverse prejudice ploy, and all sorts of people are all too easily taken in by it.

Throwing more money at the problem doesn’t represent a solution unless that money is actually spent on preventing mental health issues from occuring, and on getting people released from current mental health treatment. An expanding mental health system is a broken mental health system. When the numbers of people in mental health treatment is contracting rather than rising, you have a working mental healthcare system. Unfortunately, due to the confusion sowed by conflicts in interests that already exist, some people might not be able to make this connection. The World Health Organization predicts that by the year 2020 depression will be the leading cause of disability in the world, and this prediction would indicate that the selling of anti-depressants is probably not going to decrease any time soon.

A Florida Senator Challenges The Drugging Of Juvenile Offenders

A Florida Senator is taking on the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice over its practice of prescribing, or rather over-prescribing, powerful psychiatric drugs to kids.

The news report, as found in TheLedger.com, bears the heading, Senator Wants Answers From Department of Juvenile Justice’s Use of Drugs.

Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Brandon, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs, scolded agency officials earlier this week after they responded to questions about DJJ’s policies on medicating children without mentioning the agency’s internal investigation into the practice.

What is the problem here? Maybe those juveniles are disturbed?

But Storms said the drugs have lasting consequences. “Aside from the effects on the human body, any child who’s ever been on any psychotropic drug is not eligible for the military,” Storms said.

Yikes, huh? This is worse than the government’s former “don’t ask don’t tell” policy towards gays in the military, and some people would say it has something to do with “stigma”. Not being inclined to give much credence to invisible marks of disgrace, I’m more inclined to think it has something to do with prejudice and oppression..

She also noted that DJJ’s 34 percent medication rate was much higher than the 14.8 percent rate of use of medication reported by another agency, the Department of Children and Families.

If it sounds like the DJJ is using psychiatric drugs to punish minors, such is probably the case. One thing that is for certain is that the number of kids prescribed psychiatric drugs in the DJJ should not be more than double the number of kids prescribed drugs under the DCF. This statistic looks, smells, and tastes like foul play. It’s a figure that shouts over-diagnosis and over-drugging.

I’d say Florida is fortunate to have a senator like Senator Storms. You don’t know how many other senators in other states would just sweep a matter like this under the rug.

Shyness is not social phobia, social phobia is shyness

A recent report from Reuters bore the heading ‘Social phobia’ not shyness, researchers say.

The biggest non-story around is this study done in order to make social phobia out to be something other and more insidious than shyness. Guess what? The researchers got the results they wanted, and they declared social phobia more distressing than mere shyness. Big surprise, huh? Oh, and get this, social phobia is a legitimate psychiatric condition whereas shyness is not a legitimate psychiatric condition. As they are not going to conduct a study to prove the non-serious nature of shyness, I’d call that conclusion more bullshit in the bullshit department.

“I think their article is a welcome reminder that psychiatric diagnoses aren’t some kind of conspiracy on the part of the pharmaceutical industry,” said Ian Dowbiggin, a historian and the author of The Quest for Mental Health: A Tale of Science, Medicine, Scandal, Sorrow, and Mass Society.

Well, excuse me, Mr. Dowbiggin! Do you think these poor poor pathetic subhuman little student types should be institutionalized for their oh-so-monumental phobias? It must be remembered here that phobia is doctor-speak for fear, and fear the cough cough “disease” is more common than the common cold. Fear, in fact, remains an emotion quite common to the human experience. The pathologizing of that common emotion is the matter that concerns me here.

Around half of the more than 10,000 U.S. teens interviewed in the survey said they were shy to some degree, whereas only about nine percent met the criteria for social phobia.

One in eight of the self-described shy children were estimated to have had social phobia, also called social anxiety disorder, at some point. That compared to one in 20 of those who weren’t shy.

The growing up experience might be described as the process of overcoming, and learning to deal with, one’s fears, anxieties, and phobias. Pathologising human emotions has become a way of insuring that the follies of youth and naivety don’t give way to the wisdom of age and experience. In other words, turning emotion into pathology is a way of avoiding the maturation process.

Adolescents can be shy, and adolescents can have anxiety. Neither shyness nor fears nor anxieties are diseases until psychiatrists get a hold of them, pronounce them such, and catalogue them in their bible, the DSM.

I’ve read where some shrinks would characterize diagnosis as closer to an art than a science. Okay, I can buy that. Whether we call it shyness, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, or social anxiety disorder I kind of think the boundaries have become blurred between this, that, and the other. What’s more, I think drug companies out to expand their markets, and increase their sales, have had a heck of a lot more to do with this blurring of the lines than somebody would like to let on.

Look incredulous.

New American Academy of Pediatrics Guidelines Promote Fraud

The American Academy of Pediatrics just lowered the age for labeling and drugging children with ADHD from age 6 to age 4 in its guidelines. As the FDA has not approved these drugs for children under the age of 6 years old, apparently the AAP is encouraging doctors to commit fraud.

The story was covered by the Boston Globe under the headline New ADHD guidelines could increase treatment in preschoolers and high schoolers.

It is reported that the professor who chaired the AAP guidelines committee had serious conflicts of interest with several major drug manufacturers.

([Dr. Mark] Wolraich, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, has served as a consultant to several pharmaceutical firms that manufacture drugs for the treatment of ADHD. Most of the 15 members of the guideline writing committee had no conflicts.)

If the ADHD labeling rate in this country is growing, lowering the age permitted for labeling children is certainly not going to shrink that rate. In fact, this lowering of the age is likely, in all probability, to accelerate that growth. Accelerated growth in the number of kids labeled with ADHD translates over-diagnosing and over-drugging.

An estimated 5 percent of American school-age children have been diagnosed with ADHD or its cousin, attention deficit disorder, and questions have been raised concerning the overdiagnosis and overtreatment of the disorders in those with mild behavioral problems that fall into the normal range of behavior. Two studies last year found that the youngest kids in the class — who are more likely be less mature than their peers — were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.

Children shouldn’t be penalized for their immaturity. It is in the nature of children to be immature. When adolescents have been drugged since early childhood, the effects of drug withdrawal are often confused for “symptoms of mental illness”. This confusion is often never uncovered.

In a blog posted today, pediatrician Claudia Gold, author of the book Child in Mind, argued that extending the diagnosis down to age 4 is very worrisome. “There is a wide range of maturity rate,” Gold wrote. “A four or five-year-old who is among the youngest in the class is at particular risk for being diagnosed with ADHD for what is in fact a normal developmental variation.”

As I have heard it put before, “All toddlers have ADHD”. Generally they grow out of it without any sort of psychiatric intervention. We call this absence of intervention respecting the differences between children and adults. This is given the uncommon understanding that major problems are more likely occur after psychiatrists are brought into the equation. Major problems that often have a tendency to linger beyond the onset of adulthood.

Boycott Normal Campaign Launched

Enough with the bad news, now for some good news!

On Monday, October the 10th, 2011, International Psychiatric Oppression Day, alternatively known as World Mental Illness Awareness Day and World Mental Health Day, the human rights organization MindFreedom International launched a Boycott Normal Campaign by staging a street theater protest outside of the Eugene Oregon Chamber of Commerce.

This campaign presents a great opportunity for psychiatric survivors, mental health consumers, ex-patients, and other mad entities to show that there is something more to their movement than social withdrawal and a lack of motivation.

At the demonstration the chant that went out was ‘Boycott Normal Occupy Normal!’ linking it to all the demonstrations against the corporate power elite taking place all around the world right now. The question being put to the Chamber of Commerce by this theatrical presence was, “What could be crazier than normal?” Men in business suits are destroying the natural environment and wrecking the economic welfare of citizens in the name of normal, and that isn’t crazy?

The story of this launch, which includes a 16 plus minute YouTube video, is front page on the MindFreedom International website.

Let’s hope that psychiatric survivors, mental health consumers, and ex-patients in other parts of world will take up this cause, and plan other events of the sort in their own locales. We need to show the world that this isn’t just some sort of anomaly relative to the rest of the world. Our normal is no less crazy than you’re normal! If truth be told, the Chamber of Commerce of Eugene Oregon is only a minor player in the ensuing disasters that the corrupt puppets of corporate interests are so intent upon pursuing.

A Word On International Psychiatric Oppression Day (IPOD)

Yesterday, October the 10th, was International Psychiatric Oppression Day. I didn’t post yesterday because I felt silence more befitting for such a day of mourning. I know the thought police and their associates have a different expression for this day. They call it World Mental Illness Awareness Day or World Mental Health Day. Whatever you call it, that doesn’t prevent it from being an International Psychiatric Oppression Day.

The thought police and their goons conduct annual mental health screenings on this occasion. The purpose of these screenings is to find more people to whom they can attach “mental illness” labels. These screenings, in effect, serve as a recruitment grounds for patients in the mental health system. These patients are referred to as consumers as they consume mental health services (i.e. take pills). They keep the billion dollar drug industry booming, and they are the life and blood of the current epidemic in psychiatric disability that keeps Social Security dishing out those checks.

The thought police claim that there is a “stigma” attached to receiving psychiatric treatment, and that this is why it is so important for them to conduct these screenings. When people deemed in need of treatment are fain to come forward of their own free will, it helps to have detection devices like mental health screening tests to smoke them out. It must be remembered that although people under the law have the freedom to receive psychiatric treatment, they don’t have any freedom to refuse such treatment. Mental health screening tests are just one more way for psychiatrists to find the people to whom labels might be attached. This procedure supplements the pay that walks into their offices voluntarily.

The USA is the epicenter of the current worldwide epidemic in psychiatric disability. Big pharma must sell drugs, but in order to sell these drugs big pharma must also sell “mental illness” labels (i.e. mental health services). The drugs that big pharma sells have been shown to be a contributing factor in the extremely high mortality rates people in psychiatric treatment are known to have. The drug companies must make up for these losses by expanding their markets. One way of expanding these markets is by screening the population as a whole for mental health.

There are 300 + psychiatric labels in the DSM IV, the field guide and bible of psychiatric disabilities. The DSM is growing with every new label a revision committee elects into its “disease” pantheon. Thankfully, most of these labels are relatively trivial, and might escape detection by a mental health screening test. A minority of people are, at this time, being treated for “mental illness” labels. This situation is subject to change. The World Health Organization, for example, predicts that by the year 2020 depression will be the leading cause of disability in the world. Any imaginative soothsayer ought to be able to predict a time in the future when the majority of the people on earth will have psychiatric labels attached to them.

An antonym for oppression is liberation. We have a day to celebrate psychiatric liberation, too, and that day is July 14th. Bastille Day in France is Mad Pride Day around the world. 2 madmen were among the 7 people liberated from the Bastille when it was stormed in 1789. We know people can liberate themselves from their labels, and we celebrate this fact on that day. Sometimes we call this liberation recovery. We call this liberation recovery because much of the thing people are recovering from is oppression. Internalized oppression, and learned helplessness, come of psychiatric labeling and institutionalization. What you don’t hear so much about is the fact that there is a way out of this pathos of iniquity. Ability and facility come of breaking the chains of such oppression and labeling. This facility starts with the dawning awareness that “sickness”, the label, isn’t everything.

Seeking A Real Means To Repair An Artificial Crisis

My sympathies are very much in solidarity with those Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York City. We just had what was termed an economic meltdown. This crisis was designed by people with loads of cash to impact negatively on people of more meagre means, and that is the objective that it has managed to achieve.

The article 5 Facts You Should Know About the Wealthiest One Percent of Americans on the AlterNet website illustrates dramatically what is wrong here. Let’s look at the problem.

1. The Top 1 Percent of Americans Owns 40 Percent of the Nation’s Wealth

Examine the pie chart shown in this article, and you will see that approxiately 10% of the US population owns 80% of its wealth while the remaining 90 % of that population owns only 20% of the wealth. That’s some disparity, huh?

2. The Top 1 Percent of Americans Take Home 24 Percent of National Income

I know it’s a truism to say that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. I would actually prefer to find some other truism applicable in this situation. This top 1 percent, with almost 25 % of the take home pay, was taking home 9 % of the National Income in 1976. Now do the math.

3. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Own Half of the Country’s Stocks, Bonds and Mutual Funds

I’m not going to dwell on this subject very long. The expertise of speculators on Wall Street is in which gamble is likely to pay off the most. The greater the likelihood, the less the gamble. Much of this wealth is in written agreements whereas the rest of us suckers are stuck with the diminishing value of the dollar.

4. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Have Only 5 Percent of the Nation’s Personal Debt

Some of the poorest people in the country are expected to shoulder the largest share of the national debt. This national debt was created by rich people. Now tell me, does that make any sense whatsoever!?

5. The Top 1 Percent are Taking In More of the Nation’s Income Than at Any Other Time Since the 1920s

By way of contrast, if you look at the chart provided in the article, since the 1960s 99 % of the population is taking home a diminishing % of the nation’s income.

How does this information concern the state of mental health care in this country? Well, let me tell you. Social programs are being targeted for massive budget cuts because corporations with mega-bucks pull the strings of politicians. We need to take on those corporations by clipping the puppet strings of those politicians most in their pay. It’s time to put an end to this highway robbery of the vast majority of the population, and most especially our poorest and most needy citizens. It’s time to stop letting the ultra-rich have what amounts to a free ride at everybody else’s expense.

Good To Know

Today is Mad Hatter Day. I stumbled across the following explanatory bit of information at Ari Rapkin’s website. His birthday is the day following Mad Hatter Day.

MadHatterDay is a holiday in October. It fills the need for a second crazy day in the year, almost exactly half a year from April Fools’ Day. The real spirit of MadHatterDay is turnabout: The nonsense we usually have to pretend is sane can be called madness for one day in the year; the superficially crazy things that really make sense can be called sane on MadHatterDay.

I guess…

I looked into this matter because a performer is entertaining at an establishment this evening in my locality, and crediting the reason with being it’s Mad Hatter Day.

MadHatterDay is 10/6. The date was chosen from the illustrations by John Tenniel in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, wherein the Mad Hatter is always seen wearing a hat bearing a slip of paper with the notation “In this style 10/6″. We take this as inspiration to behave in the style of the Mad Hatter on 10/6 (which is October 6 here, although in Britain MadHatterDay occurs on June 10…but I digress…) Some astute observers have noted that the paper in the Mad Hatter’s Hat was really an order to make a hat in the style shown, to cost ten shillings sixpence. However, it is well known that Time Is Money, and therefore Money Is Time, and therefore 10/6 may as well be the sixth of October.

Alices Adventures go on and on, don’t they? Nonsense prevails.

MadHatterDay began in Boulder, CO, in 1986, among some computer folk who had nothing better to do. It was immediately recognized as valuable because they caused less damage than if they’d been doing their jobs. It was announced that first year on computer networks. In 1987 it gained minor local recognition. In 1988, it was first recognized as an official holiday by an area business, and also received its first national press coverage by news services (who are always desperate for an unlikely story). It is almost certain that the national election also gave MadHatterDay a good boost in 1988.

Good things generally come in threes, don’t they?

My interest in this matter is that I’ve been working on bringing Mad Pride celebrations and a Mad Pride Day to Florida. I would imagine that there could be a relationship between these Mad Hatter Day events and Mad Pride. Mad Pride though is more closely related to Gay Pride, and if you’ve got any questions about that subject, I advise you to do a little research. Mad Hatter Day celebrates silliness. Mad Pride shows up the silliness of seriousness, and the seriousness of silliness, for what they are. There’s a difference. Mad Pride celebrates difference. Mad Pride is completely serious about its silliness.

I read an article recently referring to what it termed the normality of madness. I would like to add that there is generally much madness in what is commonly referred to as normality. I’ve read articles from a certain psychiatrist who would make presidents Kennedy, Lincoln and Roosevelt out to be nuts while seeing sanity in presidents Reagan, Bush, and Nixon. I just don’t think so…AT ALL. Look deeper, and the veneer of normality vanishes. Mad pride says it’s okay to be different. We’re fine with that. We won’t lock you up for it either.

Thinking, not so deeply on the subject at all, maybe Mad Hatter Day would be a good day to schedule a Mad Pride event on in the future.

A Mad Pride Day and a Mad Hatter Day makes a lot more sense to me than a Mental Illness Awareness Day or a Mental Health Awareness Day. Regarding the later pair, take your pick, they’re both the same. I think that that is a day we frankly don’t need to be made aware of. Maybe if we called it Psychiatric Disorder Labeling Day instead that would make more sense. Madness, on the other hand, is fine. If this is your day to go bonkers, make the best of it. We’re with you on this matter.

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