The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is holding its annual convention in Philadelphia this year. The 5th revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), psychiatry’s label bible, edited by members of the APA, is scheduled for release in 2013. The number of labels contained in the present label bible, the DSM-IV, is up to 374. Expect more, this number climbs with each new revision.
“Mental illness” labeling is at epidemic proportions. Pick up any newspaper in the country, and you are likely to find a story about the increasing numbers of people being labeled “mentally ill”. The APA with its DSM is the major force behind this upswing in the selling of “mental disorder” labels and the treatments that goes along with those labels. These epidemics are largely human made, and the people doing the making are members of this same APA.
Studies have shown people in the mental health system to be dying at an age on average 25 years younger than the rest of the population. This mortality gap is climbing. People in the mental health system are dying because of the drugs that they are being given purported to treat the labels they have recieved. These drugs cause a metabolic syndrome associated with a number of life-limiting and shortening physical ill health conditions. Obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are among those life threatening conditions. This death and disease rate represents an international tragedy that is largely being suppressed and ignored in the mainstream media.
“Off label” drugging, or prescribing drugs for purposes for which they have not been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is rampant in the mental health field. Unruly children and demented nursing home patients are being managed and restrained by these powerful and potentially harmful drugs. These drugs have been known to cause the premature of death of senior citizens suffering from dementia. There is little question that many of the young people given these drugs ‘off label’, who otherwise would have had a brilliant future ahead of them, wind up lifelong mental patients, or mental health consumers, harmed by these drugs.
The APA has many strong financial connections with the pharmaceutical industry. 69 % of the committee members revising the DSM-5 have financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. This is to be contrasted with the committee revising the DSM-IV when 57 % of the committee members had such financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Despite regulations put into place over conflict of interest issues, the committee’s relationship to the pharmaceutical industry is growing stronger rather than weakening.
For these and other reasons a number of ex-patients, psychiatric survivors, mental health consumers, dissident professionals, friends and allies will be gathering in Philadelphia for an Occupy the APA counter-celebration and protest. These people, of whom I include myself, will be there to support healthy, safe, and drug-free alternatives to conventionally harmful psychiatric treatment. They will be there to support other ways of dealing with troubled people besides harming them with drugs and giving them psychiatric labels.
We encourage other people in Philadelphia and at home to join us in our protest. There are other protests planned in sympathy and solidarity in Toronto Canada, Denver Colorado, Anchorage Alaska, Boston Massachusetts, and in other areas around the same time. You can find out more about this event by visiting the Occupy the APA page on the MindFreedom International website. Please, consider any direct action that you can take, be it ever so slight, to let the public know that the labeling, drugging, and harming of American citizens is not something that we can, nor should, take lightly.
Filed under: ADHD, Alternatives, Biological Psychiatry, Brain Damage, Children and Adolescents, Conflict of Interest, DSM, Elder Abuse, Food and Drug Administration, Force, Fraud, Health Care, Human Rights, Mad Pride, Media, Mental Health Care, Misdiagnosis, Oppression, Pharmaceutical Company, Polypharmacy, Protest, Psychiatric Drugs, psychiatric survivor Tagged: | Occupy the APA