Tragedy used to sell psychiatric drugs

For the gullible, here’s your chance to be gulled.

The story appears in International Business Times under the heading Study Links Genes to PTSD After NIU Campus Shootings.

First, the initial tragedy…

On Feb. 14, 2008, Steven Kazmierczak shot multiple people on the campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, killing 5 and wounding 21.

Second, the accompanying and expanding tragedy, a study…

This tragedy has presented the rare opportunity for certain academic types and sic researchers to ambitiously advance their career interests by speculating on the existence of a trauma or, in drug selling psychobabble, a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder gene. It, in fact, allows them a chance to spin the news.

The researchers concluded that when examined in a relatively homogeneous sample with shared trauma and known prior levels of child and adult trauma, this serotonin transporter genotype may serve as a useful predictor of risk for PTSD-related symptoms in the weeks and months following trauma.

Ignoring the fact that the low serotonin level theory for the advent of depression has been completely discredited, this study presents a lame excuse to sell SSRI antidepressants for the treatment of PTSD.

This is a blatant attempt at disease-mongering. The dictionary.com definition of disease-mongering is given as follows.

Main Entry: disease-mongering
Part of Speech: n
Definition: efforts by a pharmaceutical company to create or exaggerate a malady for the purpose of increasing sales of a medication

I imagine that most of these Northern Illinois tragedy survivors will recover sufficiently to get on with their education and their lives, but if they do so, it will be despite the meddling efforts of researchers in the hire of drug companies.

You can expect this type of study to further fuel the over-diagnosing and over-prescribing frenzy we’ve been seeing of late in what has been termed a national mental health crisis.