Dramatic Rise In Psychiatric Drug Abuse Over The Last Decade

Medco Health Solutions Inc., a pharmacy benefit manager, just released a report finding that psychiatric drug abuse in the USA has risen starkly in the past decade. The Wall Street Journal did a story on this report, Psychiatric Drug Use Spreading. The most startling figure to come out of this report is the fact that fully 20 %, or 1 in every 5 Americans, are on a psychiatric drug at this point in time. That’s a lot of ‘mental illness’, that’s a lot of drug abuse!

Among the most striking findings was a big increase in the use of powerful antipsychotic drugs across all ages, as well as growth in adult use of drugs for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder—a condition typically diagnosed in childhood. Use of ADHD drugs such as Concerta and Vyvanse tripled among those aged 20 to 44 between 2001 and 2010, and it doubled over that time among women in the 45-to-65 group, according to the report.

A big rise then was found in the use of harmful neuroleptic drugs. Neuroleptic drugs are drugs that change metabolism and they are drugs that cause neurological problems; neuroleptic drugs are known to shorten life spans. Also, it’s not just children and adolescents taking the lion’s share of the ADHD drugs any more, now it’s going to adults. Although there aren’t a lot of seniors on speed, just let these adults age, and see where that lands us.

Overall use of psychiatric drugs grew 21 % between the years 2001 and 2010 according to the report. Despite the increase, declines, probably due to increasing awareness of the dangers, were reported in anti-depressant drug use in children, and in anti-anxiety drug use on the elderly.

One thing this article doesn’t go into is whether this decline in the use of anti-anxiety drugs on the elderly has meant a corresponding rise in the use of neuroleptic drugs on them. Drugs that are, as pointed out previously, known to shorten life spans.

Drug sales speak for themselves with the sale of neuroleptic drugs raking in the most profits of the bunch.

Psychiatric medications are among the most widely prescribed and biggest-selling class of drugs in the U.S. In 2010, Americans spent $16.1 billion on antipsychotics to treat depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, $11.6 billion on antidepressants and $7.2 billion on treatment for ADHD, according to IMS Health, which tracks prescription-drug sales.

When people speak of gains in the mental health treatment, I can only see using these statistics to argue that, no, we haven’t made progress, quite the reverse. The mental health system is getting worse.

Shire PLC, maker of Vyvanse and Adderall, pointed to an increased recognition of ADHD as a lifelong disorder as a main factor for growth in treatment in adults, as well as marketing and awareness campaigns have led to the awareness that this is a real entity, said Jeff Jonas, head of Shire research and development. Johnson & Johnson, maker of ADHD drug Concerta, declined to comment.

Drug company marketing campaigns have helped make adult ADHD a “real” entity. Of course, they’re giving new meaning to the word “real” when they make these claims. In a similar fashion, utilizing a similar sleight, Monopoly boardgame play money could be said to be “real” money, too.

One quick way to lower the psychiatric drug abuse increase rate, and with it the ‘mental illness’ increase rate, would be to outlaw the practice of direct to consumer adverterising. Direct to consumer advertising is legal only in the USA and New Zealand now, and certainly it has had more than a little to do with the extent of this epidemic in psychiatric disability that we are weathering at the current time.

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3 Responses

  1. I remember some time in the seventies an adult neighbor went over to LA on business. When he got back he said that everyone there was stoned. OK… a lot of people were stoned. And if he’d hung out in some neighborhoods in Melbourne he could have said the same thing.

    And if he’d talked to the people who were stoned, looked stoned, sounded stoned and smelt of marijuana they would have said, “Yeah man, do you want some?”

    So it probably wasn’t everybody he met but since he was busy shopping and getting a room, hiring a car and keeping appointments and stuff he probably came across it quite often during his stay. Maybe one person in twenty he met was either stoned or a regular user.

    What we have now is maybe one in five people on psychoactive drugs who are likely to become very defensive if their behavior is questioned by an ordinary person with whom they are doing business. They are likely to call the fucking pigs on you. They are given permission to do this by their shrinks.

    Most days I see abysmal behavior from some road users and some pedestrians. But they don’t seem to be drunk or stoned on marijuana. They look “mainstream”, normal, reasonably dressed. There is definitely something not right. It’s something that could not have been written into movies or fiction prior to about 1990. At the beginning of “Shaun of the Dead” Shaun doesn’t notice that people are becoming zombies because at first they don’t seem to be collectively behaving that much differently.

    • Good points, Rod. People, in some instances, seem to be getting further and further away from the sensations that came with the body they were born into sometimes. You get far enough away, and you’re going to seem awfully numb and wooden.

      The illicit substance abuse in the USA is not so high as the prescription substance abuse rate. Of course, I’m saying substance abuse where doctors say “medicating”. When you’ve got over diagnosing and over drugging, as a rule, you’ve got substance abuse.

      The Medco report mentioned in my post had 1 in 5 every people in the USA on psychiatric drugs in 2010. From an Infoplease article, Overview of Drug Use In The United States, I also can get information on the numbers of people on illicit drugs from The National Survey On Drug Use and Health. According to them, about 1 in every 10th person ‘abuses’ illicit drugs.

      About 22.5 million Americans aged 12 or older in 2004 were classified with past year substance dependence or abuse (9.4% of the population), about the same number as in 2002 and 2003.

      This rate goes up among certain sections of the population.

      In 2004, 19.2% of unemployed adults aged 18 or older were current illicit drug users…

      Who knows where we’re at after the 2007 economic debacle staged by Wall Street and global Corporatocracy!?

      On a lighter note, the most recent research is looking at gene mutations as a possible explanation for what is referred to as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Just consider the myriad SciFi implications. The schizophrenia and bipolar disorder strain. Mutant wars. Crazy mutants take over the planet.

      If someone suggests that prejudice doesn’t underlie this kind of research, I have to laugh. It may not be way up there with NAZI war-crime experiments, but this research is prejudiced.

      • regarding gene mutations.
        If gene mutation exists, the first (and only) way of detecting it would be in a physical defect.
        The mutant would be missing a fingers or toes, a cleft lip, or face distortions.
        See “thalidomide babies”

        The human mind can not be diseased or mutated, only legal or criminal.

        A gene mutation would show up as an automatic reaction like epilepsy

        Like fainting goats http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we9_CdNPuJg

        The only rational explanation of madness is that the person is in an Estrus cycle (to reproduce), under the influence of Lust from Mother Nature, like any other animal on the planet.

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