Ronald Pies In Psychiatryland

One of the biggest clown doctors going at the present moment has got to be Ronald Pies. It would be remiss of me to claim that in his latest post, Nuances, Narratives, and the ‘Chemical Imbalance’ Debate in Psychiatry, he has outdone himself. If there was anyone destined for a pie in the face that anyone has got to be Ronald Pies. I would be honored, in fact, to bestow upon Dr. Pies the moniker Ronald “Pie In The Face” Pies for all posterity. Ronald Pies is a marvel of nonsensical shrink think. In his latest escapade into the theory and practice of shrinkery, Pies, by some disingenuous twist of convoluted illogic, would blame “the chemical imbalance theory” on that bug-a-boo and will-o-the-wisp of modern psychiatry, antipsychiatry. Go figure.

Now, if you were to give credence to a recent online polemic posing as investigative journalism, you would probably choose the first or second statement. In the narrative of the antipsychiatry movement, a monolithic entity called “Psychiatry” has deliberately misled the public as to the causes of mental illness, by failing to debunk the chemical imbalance hypothesis. Indeed, this narrative insists that, by promoting this little white lie, psychiatry betrayed the public trust and made it seem as if psychiatrists had magic bullets for psychiatric disorders. (Lurking in the back-story, of course, is Big Pharma, said to be in cahoots with Psychiatry so as to sell more drugs).

Those first two statements Pies alludes to here would be those that indicate either “mental illnesses” were caused by “chemical imbalances” in the brain, or merely that more “serious mental illnesses” were caused by “chemical imbalances” in the brain. What we don’t get out of this story is precisely who was responsible for promoting and spreading this “chemical imbalance theory” that these people in some antipsychiatry movement would be exposing. Where is psychiatry here? Defending itself from those who would be exposing a discredited theory. Certainly it is not defending itself from the ones who would be promulgating that theory. Curious indeed.

Among his more bizarre notions is the notion that this “chemical imbalance” theory has more to do with some catecholamine hypothesis from many years back than it does with the development, marketing and advertising of those trendy psychiatric drugs still surging strong on the market of today.

To the extent the “chemical imbalance” notion took hold in our popular culture, it was due mainly to distorted or oversimplified versions of the catecholamine hypothesis. These were often depicted in drug company ads; pop psychology magazines; and, in recent years, on misinformed Websites and blogs. In short, the “chemical imbalance theory” was never a real theory, nor was it widely propounded by responsible practitioners in the field of psychiatry.

Does Dr. Pies mean that psychiatrists don’t use, or shouldn’t use, those drugs that would be advertised as purporting to correct some kind of postulated and theoretical “chemical imbalance”?  I think not. This leads to another question. To what extent has psychiatry, or the majority of its practitioners, colluded with pharmaceutical companies in producing an atmosphere that now has commercial interests in the media peddling pills, not just to medical professionals, but to the entire buying public perceived and re-envisioned as consumers who will purchase anything at the provocation of the most mesmerizing sound bite?

Psychiatry’s critics also conveniently omit reference to what was arguably the most prevalent paradigm in academic psychiatry, during the 1980s and beyond: the biopsychosocial model (BPSM) of Dr. George Engel. The BPSM has been subjected to much criticism, and some would argue that few psychiatrists nowadays use the BPSM in a systematic, evidence-based manner. And in recent years, several prominent psychiatrists have warned that “…pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy, the major treatment modalities in psychiatry, have become fragmented from one another, creating an artificial separation of the psychosocial and biological domains in psychiatry.”

In the latex gloved mitts of Dr. Pies, our babble here has degenerated into very nuanced babble indeed. If you will notice, despite the nip at bio babble unrefined, bio still has top billing in the theoretical credits. I don’t think this is entirely because of the order of words in the alphabet, or accidental. The mad doctor has shown himself sufficiently proficient in blurring the lines between disciplines to earn himself a rank of major distinction in the therapeutic circus. If criticism equals antipsychiatry, well, there you go. The message is coming in loud and clear. Don’t criticize psychiatry or you must be promoting the discredited “chemical imbalance theory”, too. Clown psychiatry rules!

Television Broadcaster ‘Off His Meds’?

NBC newscaster Brian Williams has been making irrational claims about Cleveland multiple kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro. Brian Williams suggested Ariel Castro had a “mental illness”. Could it be that Brian Williams has a “mental illness”? This has got to be “delusional” thinking on his part. Do you think maybe it runs in his family?

The story, as run in the Orlando Sentinel, bears the heading, Brian Williams’ mental illness remark draws fire.

So when she [Candy Crawford, director of the Central Florida Mental Health Association] tuned in her favorite national news anchor Thursday — NBC’s Brian Williams — she was horrified. Opening his newscast with the sentencing hearing of Ariel Castro, who held three Cleveland women captive for a decade, Williams called the kidnapper and rapist “arguably the face of mental illness, a man described as a monster.”

“Mental illness” and monster equals a man possessed. Does this describe you, Brian Williams? We just have no way of calculating how many people have been gunned down by the news, and it is news these days, hardly impartial, that is paid for by big multinational corporations with many hooks in what news is considered newsworthy. This is something for a person to think about the next time he or she takes an advertising break from the evening news broadcast to visit the frig.

As Ms Crawford puts it.

“When people hear these types of comments over and over, especially from someone so influential, it can sway their beliefs,” she says.

NBC did apologize, but executives and staff are probably still wincing over the public reaction.

For its part, NBC issued a quick reply. “Brian immediately realized his poor choice of words, and he updated the broadcast to omit that phrase for later feeds,” said spokeswoman Erika Masonhall. “We sincerely apologize for the unintended offense caused by these remarks.”

Maybe it’s time people pay more attention to how many news shows are sponsored by drug companies. The USA and New Zealand are the only countries on earth that allow direct to consumer advertising for pharmaceutical products. If it’s not “restless leg syndrome”, it’s “erectile dysfunction”, or any number of other ailments, many of them highly questionable in nature. Then there are the happiness pills that are known to be ineffective, and to give more side effects than they give happiness. As it is doctors who do the prescribing, the advertising should be going to doctors. Outlaw direct to consumer advertising, and you will also clean up many slips of the tongues made by newscasters who are presently, consciously or not, complicit in the legal drug trade.

The ‘Mental Illness’ Confidence Game

“Mental illness” per se is only gullibility. “Chronic mental illness” is chronic gullibility. “Serious mental illness” is serious gullibility. All sorts of people can be gulled, and some of them get gulled into believing that there is something seriously wrong with themselves.

Mental health treatment serves the status quo. Mental health is seen as a 9 -5 job performed by some sort of unthinking automaton. Mental health is also seen as the status of politicians and bankers who get us into all kinds of trouble. We say, in their case, that this trouble is not trouble because these fuck ups make megabucks fucking up.

Mental health treatment, given the ascendancy of biological medical model psychiatry, is a drug. Does it make the person dubbed “mentally ill” mentally healthy? No. It doesn’t, in other words, correct the mistake of “mental illness”. It does produce a subservient and obedient toady who has been sedated sans objection though.

The human being dubbed “mentally ill” who resists this social programming regime through chemistry is referred to as noncompliant. The aim of treatment is compliance. Compliance is a synonym for subservient and obedient. Non-compliance leads to mental health, or independence from insurance payments, and the mental health system, and as such it just doesn’t pay.

You have three, maybe four, different industries that need gullible people. These industries are the mental health industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the insurance industry, and the government, federal and state.

If we want to add a fifth, there is also the health care industry. The drugs that sedate mental patients subservient and obedient also ruin their physical health, and keep doctors and nurses in business. As long as they aren’t automatons, they are expendable. Money, in fact, is made on expending them.

The mental health system is where people are sent who don’t fit into the 9-5 automaton money grubbing scheme mold. Somebody has to make money off them, too, and therefore we’ve got mental health workers, insurance salespeople, drug company exes, and politicians.

The “sicker” people are, and the more “sick” people there are among them, the more money these people make off of this “sickness” industry. As this “sickness” is nothing more than a matter of susceptibility, that is, gullibility, the “sickness” is a matter for industry pitchmen to foster.

There are ways around the 9-5 world. It’s just that they aren’t found in the mental health system because the mental health system is built around that world. People spend their entire lives doing stupid little idiotic things because other people are doing the same. We call some of this idiocy mental health treatment.

The ADHD Party Line

Some people have a hard time detecting crap. What kind of a dumb ass reading this “mental illness” drug company propaganda can take any of it seriously? Apparently there are a great many people who do get sucked into this lip sync mode. One distant and foreign brain to determine everything you do, think, or say can be pretty disturbing to people trained in independent thought, and thinking for oneself.

According to this blog post at PsychCentral, Breaking the Silence of ADHD Stigma, a “stigma” is attached to the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder label. This post starts out by stating that speaking up about this purported “stigma” attached to the ADHD label will help to alleviate it; the “stigma”, that is, not the postulated “disease”. I imagine they are expecting all the speakers to be saying the same thing. It goes onto explain about this “stigma”…

It’s also decreasing thanks to well-designed studies, said Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D, a psychotherapist and author of several books on ADHD, including Adult ADD: A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed. “Research is showing more and more that ADHD is a true biological [and] genetic disorder,” she said.

Well, perhaps what we need are more well-designed studies showing that pigs can fly, or that up is down. The truth of the matter is that researchers are now talking epigenetic rather than merely of genetics. Epigenetic deals with the interaction of environment and genes. Hmmm, so EVERYTHING isn’t so biological after all.

According to the post, ADHD is neither a personality trait nor a weakness in character. ADHD is not a result of poor parenting. The authors seem to claim that to suggest that the ADHD “sufferer” has any sort of self-control whatsoever is to be “stigmatizing”.

If you want to see confusion at work, contrast their ADHD is not an excuse for drug taking ploy with the definition of disease mongering.

Adults with ADHD are misperceived as “drug-seeking,” seeking the diagnosis in order to supposedly get their hands on stimulants. As [psychotherapist Terry] Matlen corrected, many adults with ADHD actually forget to take their medication.

People labeled with ADHD aren’t, according to these professionals, lazy or less than ambitious, no, they have defective brains, and to suggest anything else is to attach a “stigma” to them.

We’re not talking about college students cramming for exams. We’re talking about children who behave in ways that disturb their elders, mostly parents and teachers.

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

This is your mental health professional. This is your mental health professional with a bottle of pills. This is the drug company that is pulling the strings on your mental health professional.

When these over zealous mental health professionals stop seeing the ADHD label, and start seeing the flesh and blood human being, maybe we will be beginning to see some progress. You can’t get much more prejudiced than some of these people are who see “stigma” everywhere they turn. I don’t think an inalterable brain defect is an improvement over a changeable situation. I feel the idea is used to sell drugs.

I think I can recognise the idealogy of idealogues when I see it, and these proponents of the ADHD label are idealogues in the same sense that members of the party in one party totalitarian regimes are idealogues. These people think talking about the issue a good thing so long as they are the only ones doing the talking. As soon as somebody comes along with something different to say, its time to call in the head of your censorship office. You know the excuse that is going to being given for censorship already, don’t you? What you have to say is “stigmatizing”, and therefore, you have to be silenced.

Putting Up With The Antics Of Rebecca And A Couple Of Other Crazies

Oh no, I found another one! Here’s an article from Kansas, from The Topeka Capital-Journal to be exact. The heading of this article reads, Topekan talks about living with schizophrenia.

A Topeka woman is sharing what it is like to live with schizophrenia in a 30-minute documentary that will air Sunday on Topeka’s public television station.

I wonder why people so seldom talk about living without schizophrenia? Ditto, bipolar disorder? Why don’t we have stories starting, ‘I once had a pet schizophrenia, but I got rid of mine. I Just didn’t care for it that much.’

Oh, I know…because they’ve got a drug to help people manage the symptoms now.

“Living with Schizophrenia: A Call for Hope and Recovery,” featuring Topekan Rebecca Phillips and two other people diagnosed with the chronic brain disorder, will air at 3 p.m. on KTWU, Channel 11.

“The chronic brain disorder”, say people who want to sell you a drug “treatment”.

“It’s been a long journey,” Phillips, 37, said of her recovery.

What kind of “recovery” can there be to a “chronic brain disorder“? Isn’t this sort of like talking about seeking the “cure” for “incurable insanity”?

“Someone with schizophrenia can be active in the community. They can make a difference in other people’s lives,” she said. “There’s hope for people with schizophrenia. The end doesn’t have to be bad. They can be just like anyone.”

Anyone? Even people without a pet schizophrenia? Now here comes the scary part…

Phillips said she was asked to do the film in 2010 by officials at Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., which funded and produced the film. She previously had taken part in a shorter film about schizophrenia the company made for its sales representatives.

Jenssen Pharmaceuticals, if you don’t know, is owned by Johnson & Johnson. They are the not so wonderful people who brought you the neuroleptic drug Risperal.

Uh, considering the following, this isn’t the accident you might think it is, is it?

The years that followed were a mix of hospitalizations and medications to try to control the schizophrenia. That changed when she went to The University of Kansas Hospital and was prescribed risperdal consta, a drug she takes by injection every two weeks.

Living with Schizophrenia, the documentary, brought to you by Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Risperal.

This is the same Johnson & Johnson that just got sued for fraud to the tune of 158,000,000 smackeroos by the state of Texas for ‘off label’ prescription practices, notably of their neuroleptic drug Risperal.

I’m thinking about making my own film, Living without Schizophrenia. A film of which it could be said that no drug company, neither Eli Lilly, nor Johnson & Johnson, nor Pfizer, nor Bristol-Myer Squibb, nor Asta Zeneca, had any hand in the production.

Introducing Psychiatric Drug Toxicity Syndrome

The Washington Post recently published an article, Government survey finds that 5 percent of Americans suffer from a ‘serious mental illness’, on a Government survey of emotional disturbance.

About 20 percent of American adults suffer some sort of mental illness each year, and about 5 percent experience a serious disorder that disrupts work, family or social life, according to a government report released Thursday.

Both Allen Frances and Daniel Carlat were consulted by The Washington Post for this article, and both of these doctors had similar takes on this survey. Both were skeptical about the non-serious mental disturbance rate, but both showed themselves to be fervent zealots when it came to the serious “mental disorder” faith.

“There is a stigma about ‘mental illness’ that as soon as you hear the term people assume that it’s something quite severe. The nuances of this type of data tend to be lost on people,” he said. He added, however, that he doesn’t doubt that 5 percent of the population has a serious mental disorder.

Concluded Daniel J. Carlat in this article in The Washington Post.

“Whoa, Nelly! We have a true believer here”, said I.

I suggest instead that the great majority of that 5 % are actually sufferers of Psychiatric Drug Toxicity Syndrome, or PDTS for short. We get a lot of statistics dealing with present statistics. What we don’t get a lot of are statistics from the past. If the so called serious “mental illness” rate has risen sharply in modern times, such a rise supports the existence of PDTS.

We do know that serious “mental illness” rates have risen in recent years, and that this rise in serious “mental illness” rates has something to do with the corresponding quick rise of the big pharmaceutical companies. It is my contention that if this rise has been substantial, such a rise supports the existence of PDTS.

We also know that the recovery rates for people with serious “mental disorder” labels are not very good.  There is some evidence to suggest that those recovery rates  may have been better in the past. There is also some evidence of better outcomes where experimentation with less conventional forms of non-drug treatment have been tried. I suggest that this lack of good outcomes on the part of drug treatment is also a result of PDTS.

The cure for PDTS is achieved through psychiatric drug withdrawal (detoxification) under the care and guidance of an acknowledged, experienced, and trained professional.

Although do-it-yourself detoxification treatment programs are not out of the question, it has been suggested that individuals who chose this form of treatment educate themselves thoroughly on the subject first before they commence with treatment. This is especially true where the subject has been taking prescription psychiatric drugs over the course of many years.  There is a great deal of fear that quitting cold turkey after years of drug treatment adherence could exascerbate the PDTS.

Ending an epidemic means reversing the damage

More than 1 in 10 people in the USA are reported to be on antidepressants at this time. 1 in 5 people are reported to be on psychiatric drugs. When these people are women, fully 1 in 4 of them are reported to be on psychiatric drugs. The World Health Organization predicts that depression will be the leading cause of disability by the year 2020. This is incredible from my perspective. So many people with nothing physical wrong with them are claiming to have a “mental” ailment. The predominate delusion of mainstream psychiatry, at this time, is that there is something physically wrong with them.

The rate of “mental illness” labeling in the USA is so high because the selling of psychiatric drugs and mental health treatment is so pervasive. The thing that separates patients from non-patients is treatment with psychiatric drugs. This treatment comes with a flooding of pro-treatment propaganda. When people are convinced that they are wanting, or ill, then they become patients. Before people are convinced, they are resistant and doubtful with regard to the need, and therefore they must be persuaded. What we have at this time is not a need for more convincing but, rather, a need for more unconvincing.

“Mental illness” labeling has reached epidemic proportions. How could it be otherwise when mental health screening programs are aggressively pursuing more candidates for treatment? How could it be otherwise when mental health professionals claim that “stigma” is preventing people from seeking treatment? How could it be otherwise when mental health treatment is seen as the solution to a media generated fear of  multiple murderers? How could it be otherwise when drug companies inundate magazines, television shows, and internet websites with advertisements for their products?

Focus on the epidemic, ironically enough, doesn’t seem to come from people who want to stem the epidemic. Focus on the epidemic comes from people seeking to raise funds for mental health programs with varying degrees of ineffectiveness. These people are often people who have a stake in raising funds for mental health programs, either as mental health professionals or as family members of dependent patients. In theory these programs are doing something about the problem, our epidemic. In reality many of these programs are feeding the very epidemic they would claim to be countering.

Mental health professionals tend to be very efficient at getting people into treatment. Mental health professionals tend to be very inefficient at getting people out of treatment. ½ of all people labeled with lifelong “mental illness” were labeled by the age of 14 years. Chronicity, or lifelong “mental illness” labeling, is what you get when people go into treatment and don’t come out of treatment–alive. These people don’t come out of treatment alive because of the crippling dependency that it breeds and fosters.

Until this failure to recover people from dependency is addressed, and corrected, the “mental illness” labeling rate will continue to rise unabated. How can it do otherwise? What we call “mental illness” is in actuality the development of a dependency on the mental health system. We’ve got a system that removes people from working situations, and that never returns them to working situations. These people are marginalized and disempowered by the very system that claims to be “helping” them. When the mental health system starts to spend a fraction of the time and energy it spends on acquiring patients, its “consumer” base, on graduating contributing members of society, only then will we have a chance to make a dent on this epidemic in disability.

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.

Critics of the DSM-5 Revision Process Draft Petition

The farsical DSM 5 revision debacle continues. The situation has grown even more comical than previously as members of the American Psychological Association have drafted a petition expressing alarm about some of the current prospective disease categories and calling for changes.

MedScape Medical News, repeating the need for tempering the blunders of the recent past, published a news piece on the matter bearing the heading, Petition Calls for Critical Changes to Upcoming DSM-5.

The disease making process behind the DSM was always very unscientific. This is what neither the American public nor the American Psychological Association seems to understand.

Allen Frances, one of the drafters of the DSM-IV, has become one of the most vocal critics, not opponents, of the process involved in the drafting of the DSM-5. What position he will take when the DSM-6 is being formulated is anyone’s guess.

Divisions of the American Psychological Association have created an online petition addressing “serious reservations” about the upcoming Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5). Launched October 22, the petition has already garnered more than 3000 signatures from mental health professionals, students, and organizations.

I, having serious reservations about the DSM-I, the DSM-II, the DSM-III, the DSM-IV, and the current revisions under review, am not one of the signatories.

One of the issues, although by no means the only issue, for the petitioners is the matter of attenuated psychosis syndrome, the linguistic loophole by which what was formerly referred to as psychosis risk syndrome gets back off the chopping block.

“There’s this idea that if you identify people early, somehow you’ll be able to prevent a full-blown psychosis or full-blown schizophrenia. But research has shown that only up to 20% to 30% of identified people actually went on to develop psychosis, meaning up to 70% or 80% of these people received treatment for a disorder they never ended up developing,” said [Fordham University doctorial candidate] Ms. [Sarah R.] Kamens.

This is not the only proposal these psychiatrists have made for increasing business, and for pushing pharmaceutical products. They also want to reduce the criteria needed to make a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder, and they want to reduce criteria needed to make a diagnoss of generalized anxiety disorder as well.

“We believe we have tapped into a growing frustration with the DSM-5 process. And the groundswell has been quite overwhelming. It’s important to realize, this is not some fringe group that is anti-DSM-5 or antipsychiatry in any way. It’s a group of all kinds of professionals.”

Minor objections to this document are okay, professionals make them; major objections, on the other hand, are made by members of fringe groups. Maybe we need to ship a few more people off to Guantanamo Bay, huh? Assuming they are amateurs, of course.

Unfortunately, once this DSM-5 becomes psychiatric gospel in 2013, the debate will probably die down until we reach the debate on the revisions for the DSM-6. These dead sea scrolls we leave to some archeologist from the post-psychiatric distant future. “Why post-psychiatric”, you may ask? Well, for starters, our very survival is at stake. As you may have noticed, the creeping medicalization of society is now beginning to creep at a cheetah’s pace.

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.