If antidepressant medications worked and were as effective and helpful as the psychiatric community would have us believe – why do many people get worse on the meds? Worsen after being on antidpressant medication, then are given (of course) more psychotropic medication and still not improve.
Patients then become overly-despondant at the ineffectiveness of what they were told would help them (who wouldn’t?) with some then tragically losing their lives to suicide. I was almost one of these patients many years ago, on a few occassions. I’m alive in large part because I got off the meds and received other forms of medical care.The hospitalized patient of 50 years ago receives either SSDI or SSI today. Click To Tweet
When can we start speaking honestly about these medications? How about now. If antidepressants were helping those who are suffering with depression or have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder then we would have folks getting better, feeling better, moving forward with their lives, working successfully, having relationships and a family, etc. Right?
So if the disability rates are increasing for mental illness, something’s amiss. What could it be?
Journalist Robert Whitaker Investigates Psychiatric Medications
One of the leaders of this ‘rethinking psychiatry and psychiatric treatments’ thought movement I am trying to contribute to in my own little way as someone who has lived with a mental illness for many years – is Robert Whitaker. He has won numerous awards for his work as an investigative journalist and written four books.
The below is taken from the abstract on Ingenta.com of an excellent article by Mr. Whitaker in 2005 titled: “Anatomy of an Epidemic: Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America.” He published a book on the subject (almost same exact title) in 2010.
“The number of Americans disabled by mental illness has nearly doubled since 1987, when Prozac—the first in a second generation of wonder drugs for mental illness—was introduced. There are now nearly 6 million Americans disabled by mental illness, and this number increases by more than 400 people each day.”
“A review of the scientific literature reveals that it is our drug-based paradigm of care that is fueling this epidemic. The drugs increase the likelihood that a person will become chronically ill, and induce new and more severe psychiatric symptoms in a significant percentage of patients.”
Source: Link to Full Article PDF
It’s an excellent read, with statistical information on a variety of factors that he uses to make his analysis (introduction of the psych med, placebo effect, disability rates, etc.). He sites around 42 sources, and all are listed in detail in the reference section.
Related post: Understanding the Placebo Effects of Antidepressants.
Antidepressants Lead to Disabling Bipolar Disorder
Robert Whitaker’s research paper explains the placebo effect of antidepressants (which most do not fully understand) and how short-term benefit can lead to long-term disability.
“The SSRI path to a disabling mental illness can be easily seen . A depressed patient treated with an antidepressant suffers a manic or psychotic episode, at which time his or her diagnosis is changed to bipolar disorder. At that point, the person is prescribed an antipsychotic to go along with the antidepressant, and once on a drug cocktail, the person is well along on the road to permanent disability.”
Disability from Mental Illness Increased While From Other Medical Conditions Rates Dropped
The United States isn’t the only country experiencing a deluge of persons unable to support themselves due to a psychiatric conditon. The below is from a January, 2016 article by Joanna Moncrieff M.D. – a British psychiatrist, author and prominent critic of the psychopharmacological model of mental illness.
“If antidepressants are effective, and people with depression are more likely to be prescribed them, then you would expect the consequences of depression to start to lessen. One of those consequences, according to government statistics, is being out of work.”
“But what we see is quite the opposite: Increasing use of antidepressants correlates with increased numbers of people with depression who are out of work and claiming benefits, and increasingly on a long-term basis. And this is at a time when disability due to other medical conditions has fallen.”
In 2013 a Third of the Disability Claims in U.S. Were for a Mental Illness
According to the Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, for the year 2013 disability benefits were paid to around 10.2 million people. Disabled workers were the largest group of beneficiaries at 87.4 percent. The average age of a recipient was 53 years and under 52 percent were men. The average monthly benefit amount awarded was $1,146.42.
On page 25 of the report is a distribution chart of all disabilities by diagnostic group. Mental disoders account for a third of the total 10,228,364 recipients, out of that amount the number of persons with a mood disorder was 1,431,695.
You can read the full report here.
Is a Possible Short-Term Effect Worth Long-Term Disabling Symptoms?
Those who are suffering depression need to be given accurate information about the effectiveness of antidepressant medication. And accurate information about the risks and potential harm from the medications with long-term use.
The lies that are being told by trained medical professionals needs to stop. There is no identificable chemical imbalance in the brain that is proven to be corrected by the use of a psychotropic medication.
As well, patient advocate groups – many that are funded by Big Pharma and act as pawns to these massive corporations monetary interests such as the International Bipolar Foundation – need to become better informed, or have their funding and status as non-profits rescinded.
I personally don’t want to be paying taxes that go towards making more decent, caring citizens incapacitated with brain injuries that could have been prevented, while alternative care that has proven studies validating its effectiveness is not even on the discussion table.
Related post: Take a Staycation Instead of Having ECT Treatments.