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.

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2 Responses

  1. Of course it’s blatant disease mongering.

    If a person suffered atrocities of war, was subjected to bullying or crashed their car and they came to me looking for help I would likely diagnose them as being freaked out. And I’d only charge about $20 for a 50 minute session. I’d have to go very gently, for my sake as much as anything else, otherwise I’d be freaked out as well.

    If I was a total stupid prick and a failed physician with a pathological sense of entitlement I would likely diagnose the persons body as being disordered.

    • Definitely, and among so much other “research” of the same sort. Much of the mad gene hunt, as in this case, is mainly directed towards increasing the sales of a chemical compound on the market.

      2 recent studies have been making the news lately. The CDC claims 1/2 of all Americans will need psychiatric help at some point in their lives. A study abroad claims 38 % of the people in Europe are “mentally ill”. Reality or not, what nonsense! These studies are used to raise an alarm, and this alarm is used to increase funding.

      The expectation is that a little of this funding will trickle down to the 5 % of the population reported to bear “serious mental illness” labels. About 10 % (and climbing) of the population in the USA is on antidepressants for depression. Using it for PTSD just fuels the epidemic, and adds to the confusion. If this was about people undergoing personal crises rather than about selling pharmaceutical products, some of these alarmists might see what exists right in front of their noses.

      When one of these mental health professionals says that “mental illness” is being under-diagnosed and under-treated, he or she is saying that the world doesn’t have enough people in it who have been labeled “chronically mentally ill” at this very moment. What else could he or she be saying!? If you increase the numbers of people receiving treatment, you are also going increase the numbers of people on disability for a psychiatric issue. These people make their living on this “epidemic”, and so, for them, it is a no-brainer.

      The solution? Obviously, start getting people out of treatment.

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