Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Are Psychiatric Medications Making Us Sicker?

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » General Discussion Donate to DU
 
WildNovember Donating Member (726 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 02:39 AM
Original message
Are Psychiatric Medications Making Us Sicker?
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 03:31 AM by WildNovember
I first took a close look at treatments for mental illness 15 years ago while researching an article for Scientific American. At the time, sales of a new class of antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRI's, were booming... Many psychiatrists, notably Peter D. Kramer, author of the best seller Listening to Prozac, touted SSRI's as a revolutionary advance in the treatment of mental illness...

Clinical trials told a different story. SSRI's are no more effective than two older classes of antidepressants, tricyclics and monoamine oxidase inhibitors. What was even more surprising to megiven the rave reviews Prozac had received from Kramer and otherswas that antidepressants as a whole were not more effective than so-called talking cures...

In retrospect, my critique of modern psychiatry was probably too mild. According to Anatomy of an Epidemic (Crown Publishers, 2010), by the journalist Robert Whitaker, psychiatry has not only failed to progress but may now be harming many of those it purports to help. Anatomy of an Epidemic has been ignored by most major media. I learned about it only after Marcia Angell, former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine and now a lecturer on public health at Harvard, reviewed the book in The New York Review of Books in June. If Whitaker is right, American psychiatry, in collusion with the pharmaceutical industry, is perpetrating what may be the biggest case of iatrogenesisharmful medical treatmentin history.

http://chronicle.com/article/Are-Psychiatric-Medication... /


The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why?
June 23, 2011
Marcia Angell

It seems that Americans are in the midst of a raging epidemic of mental illness, at least as judged by the increase in the numbers treated for it. The tally of those who are so disabled by mental disorders that they qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) increased nearly two and a half times between 1987 and 2007from one in 184 Americans to one in seventy-six. For children, the rise is even more startlinga thirty-five-fold increase in the same two decades. Mental illness is now the leading cause of disability in children, well ahead of physical disabilities like cerebral palsy or Down syndrome, for which the federal programs were created.

A large survey of randomly selected adults, sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and conducted between 2001 and 2003, found that an astonishing 46 percent met criteria established by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) for having had at least one mental illness within four broad categories at some time in their lives.... Most met criteria for more than one diagnosis. Of a subgroup affected within the previous year, a third were under treatmentup from a fifth in a similar survey ten years earlier.

What is going on here? Is the prevalence of mental illness really that high and still climbing? Particularly if these disorders are biologically determined and not a result of environmental influences, is it plausible to suppose that such an increase is real? Or are we learning to recognize and diagnose mental disorders that were always there? On the other hand, are we simply expanding the criteria for mental illness so that nearly everyone has one? And what about the drugs that are now the mainstay of treatment? Do they work? If they do, shouldnt we expect the prevalence of mental illness to be declining, not rising?

The authors (under review) emphasize different aspects of the epidemic of mental illness...First, they agree on the disturbing extent to which the companies that sell psychoactive drugs...have come to determine what constitutes a mental illness and how the disorders should be diagnosed and treated...Second, none of the three authors subscribes to the popular theory that mental illness is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain...

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/jun/23/ep... /


Kirsch and his colleagues used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain FDA reviews of all placebo-controlled clinical trials, whether positive or negative, submitted for the initial approval of the six most widely used antidepressant drugs approved between 1987 and 1999Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Serzone, and Effexor...

Altogether, there were forty-two trials of the six drugs. Most of them were negative. Overall, placebos were 82 percent as effective as the drugs, as measured by the Hamilton Depression Scale (HAM-D), a widely used score of symptoms of depression. The average difference between drug and placebo was only 1.8 points on the HAM-D, a difference that, while statistically significant, was clinically meaningless.

The results were much the same for all six drugs: they were all equally unimpressive. Yet because the positive studies were extensively publicized, while the negative ones were hidden, the public and the medical profession came to believe that these drugs were highly effective antidepressants.

In his earlier study and in work by others, he observed that even treatments that were not considered to be antidepressantssuch as synthetic thyroid hormone, opiates, sedatives, stimulants, and some herbal remedieswere as effective as antidepressants in alleviating the symptoms of depression. Kirsch writes, When administered as antidepressants, drugs that increase, decrease or have no effect on serotonin all relieve depression to about the same degree.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/jun/23/ep...

One of the authors discussed, Robert Whitaker, speaks here, at about 19 minutes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtM1R2CKB30&feature=rela...

Here is what he calls his quick thought experiment:

Imagine that a virus suddenly appears in our society that makes people sleep twelve, fourteen hours a day. Those infected with it move about somewhat slowly and seem emotionally disengaged. Many gain huge amounts of weighttwenty, forty, sixty, and even one hundred pounds. Often their blood sugar levels soar, and so do their cholesterol levels. A number of those struck by the mysterious illnessincluding young children and teenagersbecome diabetic in fairly short order. The federal government gives hundreds of millions of dollars to scientists at the best universities to decipher the inner workings of this virus, and they report that the reason it causes such global dysfunction is that it blocks a multitude of neurotransmitter receptors in the braindopaminergic, serotonergic, muscarinic, adrenergic, and histaminergic. All of those neuronal pathways in the brain are compromised. Meanwhile, MRI studies find that over a period of several years, the virus shrinks the cerebral cortex, and this shrinkage is tied to cognitive decline. A terrified public clamors for a cure. Now such an illness has in fact hit millions of American children and adults. We have just described the effects of Eli Lillys best-selling antipsychotic, Zyprexa.


Anatomy of a Global Epidemic: History, Science and the Long-term Effects of Psychiatric Medications


The drug industry, of course, supports other specialists and professional societies, too, but Carlat asks, Why do psychiatrists consistently lead the pack of specialties when it comes to taking money from drug companies?

His answer: Our diagnoses are subjective and expandable, and we have few rational reasons for choosing one treatment over another.


Unlike the conditions treated in most other branches of medicine, there are no objective signs or tests for mental illnessno lab data or MRI findingsand the boundaries between normal and abnormal are often unclear. That makes it possible to expand diagnostic boundaries or even create new diagnoses, in ways that would be impossible, say, in a field like cardiology. And drug companies have every interest in inducing psychiatrists to do just that.

Like most other psychiatrists, Carlat treats his patients only with drugs, not talk therapy, and he is candid about the advantages of doing so. If he sees three patients an hour for psychopharmacology, he calculates, he earns about $180 per hour from insurers. In contrast, he would be able to see only one patient an hour for talk therapy, for which insurers would pay him less than $100.

Carlat does not believe that psychopharmacology is particularly complicated, let alone precise, although the public is led to believe that it is...His work consists of asking patients a series of questions about their symptoms to see whether they match up with any of the disorders in the DSM. This matching exercise, he writes, provides the illusion that we understand our patients when all we are doing is assigning them labels.


http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/jul/14/il... /


And the connection to economic conditions:

There seem to be fashions in childhood psychiatric diagnoses, with one disorder giving way to the next. At first, ADHD, manifested by hyperactivity, inattentiveness, and impulsivity usually in school-age children, was the fastest-growing diagnosis. But in the mid-1990s, two highly influential psychiatrists at the Massachusetts General Hospital proposed that many children with ADHD really had bipolar disorder that could sometimes be diagnosed as early as infancy. They proposed that the manic episodes characteristic of bipolar disorder in adults might be manifested in children as irritability. That gave rise to a flood of diagnoses of juvenile bipolar disorder...

One would be hard pressed to find a two-year-old who is not sometimes irritable, a boy in fifth grade who is not sometimes inattentive, or a girl in middle school who is not anxious...Whether such children are labeled as having a mental disorder and treated with prescription drugs depends a lot on who they are and the pressures their parents face.8 As low-income families experience growing economic hardship, many are finding that applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments on the basis of mental disability is the only way to survive. It is more generous than welfare, and it virtually ensures that the family will also qualify for Medicaid. According to MIT economics professor David Autor, This has become the new welfare. Hospitals and state welfare agencies also have incentives to encourage uninsured families to apply for SSI payments, since hospitals will get paid and states will save money by shifting welfare costs to the federal government.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/jul/14/il...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
HubertHeaver Donating Member (428 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 02:50 AM
Response to Original message
1. I've seen this up close. The relationship between the psychiatry
and pharmaceutical industries always seemed to be too cozy.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tomp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 05:38 AM
Response to Reply #1
8. not always.
but in recent times, definitely.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FirstLight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 03:08 AM
Response to Original message
2. Thanks so much!
definitely bookmarked for further research! :)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
SixthSense Donating Member (251 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 03:35 AM
Response to Original message
3. I am certain of this
The key problem is that people being healthy is not good for the "industry"... so we have ended up with an industry that will seek to invent illness where it did not previously exist, in order to treat the patient profitably. Healthy patients don't offer much prospect for profit, do they?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
WildNovember Donating Member (726 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 03:59 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. According to the researcher, not only do people do worse, in aggregate, on meds,
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 04:00 AM by WildNovember
there is now enough evidence to show that they die earlier:

"We got a really big early death problem now...with the seriously mentally ill dying like 25 years earlier."

Plus significant cognitive decline.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtM1R2CKB30&feature=rela...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 04:53 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. But Individuals Can and Do Benefit
The problem is not the drugs, but the inadequate medical attention from prescribers of treatment.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 07:38 AM
Response to Reply #4
15. The mentally ill, particularly schizophrenics, die earlier because of heavy smoking.
With schizophrenics up to 90% are smokers which is nearly 4 times the average for adults. For them it is not a simple nicotine addiction, but smoking does something to help them be able to think better. That is a big reason why they die earlier.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
WildNovember Donating Member (726 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #15
22. Non-mentally ill smokers don't die 25 years earlier on average than non-smokers.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 08:38 PM
Response to Reply #22
30. I could give you a link, but what would be the use since your mind is already closed. n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
WildNovember Donating Member (726 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 02:18 AM
Response to Reply #30
35. The openness or otherwise of my mind has nothing to do with your ability to defend your position.
If you have evidence that smokers' lives are 25 years shorter than non-smokers on average, you should provide it, if only for other readers.

If you aren't willing to provide it, that leads people to suspect it doesn't exist, and your comment about my mind is just an excuse.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
themadstork Donating Member (797 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 05:28 AM
Response to Original message
6. No doubt in my mind
that I would be dead right now without the big heaping handful of psychopharmaceuticals I gulp down each morning with my OJ. Off drugs I am almost psychotically depressed -- I rarely get like deeply sad, but it's as if I become possesed by some force whose sole driving obsession is murdering myself. It becomes like I physically crave it, the suicide. But on meds I've been able to begin a career in the field I love, I've been stable enough to be there for my fiance as she goes through open-heart surgery after surgery, I've been able to generally engage with the world without all the dark psychic interference. . . very nice. I feel like I'm living on bonus time.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
shireen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 01:50 AM
Response to Reply #6
32. +1
well said!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 05:33 AM
Response to Original message
7. While I concede some mental illness is organic, having to do with chemical imbalances
in the brain, I don't agree with the dominance of pharmaceuticals to treat those disorders. I've read about food allergies affecting some individuals with symptoms that mirror mental disorders. You remove those foods and the symptoms lessen or disappear.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
WildNovember Donating Member (726 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 05:39 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. According to all the folks cited in the OP "chemical imbalance in the brain" is pure myth.
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 05:39 AM by WildNovember
Whatever psych drugs do, they don't balance chemical imbalances.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 07:42 AM
Response to Reply #9
16. Horsehit. I have not had a single panic attack since I started on Paxil.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
MedicalAdmin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 12:23 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. Odin, you know better...
... that to quote anecdotal evidence as proof.

Glad it worked for you but the question is why and was it necessary? If the answer is yes, great. But overmedication is a problem even if it worked out for you.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
WildNovember Donating Member (726 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:26 PM
Response to Reply #16
23. But that does not necessarily have anything to do with the chemical imbalance
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 01:29 PM by WildNovember
story.

Your results can be quite real and solid and the chemical imbalance story still fictitious.


It's discussed in the articles from the OP:

When it was found that psychoactive drugs affect neurotransmitter levels in the brain, as evidenced mainly by the levels of their breakdown products in the spinal fluid, the theory arose that the cause of mental illness is an abnormality in the brains concentration of these chemicals that is specifically countered by the appropriate drug. For example, because Thorazine was found to lower dopamine levels in the brain, it was postulated that psychoses like schizophrenia are caused by too much dopamine. Or later, because certain antidepressants increase levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, it was postulated that depression is caused by too little serotonin. (These antidepressants, like Prozac or Celexa, are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) because they prevent the reabsorption of serotonin by the neurons that release it, so that more remains in the synapses to activate other neurons.) Thus, instead of developing a drug to treat an abnormality, an abnormality was postulated to fit a drug.

That was a great leap in logic, as all three authors point out. It was entirely possible that drugs that affected neurotransmitter levels could relieve symptoms even if neurotransmitters had nothing to do with the illness in the first place (and even possible that they relieved symptoms through some other mode of action entirely). As Carlat puts it, By this same logic one could argue that the cause of all pain conditions is a deficiency of opiates, since narcotic pain medications activate opiate receptors in the brain. Or similarly, one could argue that fevers are caused by too little aspirin.

But the main problem with the theory is that after decades of trying to prove it, researchers have still come up empty-handed. All three authors document the failure of scientists to find good evidence in its favor.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #16
24. Doesn't it make you sick to see people like this?
It isn't a joke. It is real.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tomp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 05:43 AM
Response to Original message
10. read "anatomy of an epidemic" by robert whitaker....
...for the mind-blowing history and documentation.

we are entrenched in an unhelpful paradigm and the scientific underpinnings of biological psychiatry is basically wrong, and very likely fraudulent.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hobbit709 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 05:44 AM
Response to Original message
11. At one time my wife was on 6 different meds for her PTSD.
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 05:50 AM by hobbit709
All they ever did was put her on yet another one when they weren't working. all they did was turn her into a walking zombie.
When her old psychiatrist retired, she went to the new one, whose first action was to add yet another one to the mix. When she asked about getting her off some of them so they could establish a baseline of what she needed, he said "My way or the highway"
She got up and walked out. With the help of her GP, she got off all of them, took about 6 months. She felt better, all her symptoms went away-the nightmares, anxiety attacks, inability to get decent sleep-everything.
and her diabetes was starting to get under control again.
I still think the side effects of all those meds contributed to the heart attack that killed her.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Are_grits_groceries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 05:47 AM
Response to Original message
12. I wouldn't be here without these medications.
One of the problems all doctors and others who prescribe them is making a correct diagnosis, choosing the right med, and getting the right med strength. I have been on different ones, and the right amount has to be found. If a therapeutic level isn't reached, the drug does little good. All of them have potentially devastating side effects so it is critical that their effect is monitored.

I believe the benefit of my meds is actually twofold. One is the fact that they do help correct whatever chemistry or whatever is haywire. Secondly, I believe because I feel better or at least start to, I relax some and actually am in a better frame of mind to get better whether I realize it or not.

People who rail against using them at all are misguided. Better training in understanding each drug and prescribing them would help. Speaking from experience, the meds available now are light years better than the older ones. Some of the older ones are still useful though.

One problem with these drugs that has gotten better is speeding up the time it takes for them to take affect. People who need them have a hard time waiting through the period before they begin to work. I don't expect a miracle pill, but depression can be so crushing that any start to easing it is a godsend.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
shireen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 01:55 AM
Response to Reply #12
33. +1 nt.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
WildNovember Donating Member (726 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 06:22 AM
Response to Original message
13. Rebecca Riley: Parents in prison, doc got immunity, big pharma got $$$$
http://blogs.psychcentral.com/bipolar/2010/01/it-takes-... /

Dr. Kayoko Kifuji

Kifuji is testifying as a prosecution witness under a grant of immunity, it was disclosed in court today.

Dr. Kayoko Kifuji acknowledged that when she first met Rebecca Riley, at age 2, she had initially diagnosed her with having attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder after only a one-hour meeting.

After a one-hour meeting in her office, the psychiatrist diagnosed Kaitlynne as having bipolar illness and immediately prescribed Depakote based largely on the mothers depiction of the girl as physically aggressive to her older brother, and the girl saying she sometimes saw monsters and ghosts.

In another report, I read that Dr. Kifuji testified as diagnosing Kaitlynne without even examining her. The diagnosis was based solely on information from Carolyn along with a family history.

While Kifuji told Carolyn Riley that a parent cannot just introduce new medications without a doctors approval, the psychiatrist went ahead and added clonidine to Kaitlynnes regimen of prescription pills.

At that time, the mother acknowledged she had already been trying out clonidine on Kaitlynne, having taken some of these prescription pills from a bottle designated for her oldest son, Gerard.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 07:33 AM
Response to Original message
14. I know for certain that my goddaughter would either be in a psychiatric facility or jail or prison
if she did not take her psych meds. They work for her and have saved her life. Before she became stable with the right meds she had been hospitalized in psych wards 15 times at 12 different hospitals in 18 months from the time she was 17. In the last 18 months she has not been hospitalized once.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Ghost Dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 08:12 AM
Response to Original message
17. Anti-psychiatry & Critical Psychiatry
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 08:35 AM by Ghost Dog
Anti-psychiatry is a configuration of groups and theoretical constructs that emerged in the 1960s, and questioned the fundamental assumptions and practices of psychiatry, such as its claim that it achieves universal, scientific objectivity. Its igniting influences were Michel Foucault, R.D. Laing, and Thomas Szasz. The term was first used by the psychiatrist David Cooper in 1967.<1>

Two central contentions of the anti-psychiatry movement are that:

- The specific definitions of, or criteria for, hundreds of current psychiatric diagnoses or disorders are vague and arbitrary, leaving too much room for opinions and interpretations to meet basic scientific standards.<2>
- Prevailing psychiatric treatments are ultimately far more damaging than helpful to patients.<3>

Other key criticisms of mainstream psychiatry include:

- Inappropriate and overuse of medical concepts and tools to understand the mind and society, including the miscategorization of normal reactions to extreme situations as psychiatric disorders;
- Scientifically and/or clinically ill-founded system of categorical diagnoses (e.g., Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM), which stigmatizes patients;
- Unwillingness to develop and use objective tests (such as intelligence/cognitive tests) to determine patients' state (such as strong psychosis)
- Inappropriate (i.e. unvalidated) exclusion of other approaches to mental distress/disorder;
- Unexamined abuse or misuse of power over patients who are too often treated against their will;
- Relation of power between patients and psychiatrists, as well as the institutional environment, is too often experienced by patients as demeaning and controlling;
- Compromise to medical and ethical integrity because of financial and professional links with pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies in countries where these companies are a force.
- Forced use of government (both civilian and military) psychiatric treatment prevents the patient from choosing private psychiatric or alternative treatment thereby denying the patient of his or her basic rights.


/... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-psychiatry


The Antipsychiatry Coalition: http://www.antipsychiatry.org /
On Critical Psychiatry: http://www.critpsynet.freeuk.com/critpsynet.htm , http://criticalpsychiatry.blogspot.com /
The International Society for Ethical Psychology & Psychiatry: http://psychintegrity.org / (see links page)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 10:48 AM
Response to Original message
18. I'll stop taking my meds and come live with you, okay???
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 10:54 AM by hunter
I'll give the cops your number so you can come pick me up whenever they find me out dumpster diving somewhere at two in the morning, not talking, and refusing to identify myself.

:rofl:

My personal crazy is a bit paranoid, a bit psychotic, and a deep black pit of depression. But it's not the sort of depression that keeps a person hidden at home in bed, or makes a person suicidal. It's more of a "what's the point, Cthulhu is going to eat you" crazy Far Side chicken escapee from the slaughterhouse autistic spectrum kind of crazy, and the kind of hell you can't see any escape from once you are there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cthulhu

Are crazy meds overprescribed? Oh hell yes. Our pharmaceutical industry is rotten to the core. They'll hide research, twist research, engage in all sorts of unethical behaviors to sell as much as their product as they can.

Does that mean all their products are complete bullshit? No. Crazy meds keep me somewhat functional.

I also believe our society is so fucked up and downright cruel that people are taking drugs in a futile attempt to cope. It's seems easier to take a pill than to change the world. The people selling the pills don't mind, nor do the one-percenters who make this world a cruel place. They're always on the lookout for new happy pills, food and drinks to keep the wage slaves "productive" and compliant. That's something to fight. But a blanket condemnation of crazy meds and psychology is unwarranted.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
shireen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 01:56 AM
Response to Reply #18
34. +1 nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 10:52 AM
Response to Original message
19. I can be pretty useless without Cymbalta.
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 10:54 AM by hifiguy
I've suffered a number of "severe depressive episodes" over the last few years, and Cymbalta allows me to be functional and productive w/o any side effects. I can't imagine life without it - and I've had plenty of experience with "talking therapy." Those therapists recognized that I needed medication and strongly recommended that I use it. Talking therapy can be great for some things - I worked through a lot of things while doing it - but I need meds to function.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FirstLight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 03:32 PM
Response to Reply #19
25. have you ever been put on anything else?
I recall being put on Zoloft for severe post partum...but after a while i realized i was having thoughts that just 'weren't mine'...

years went by and i ended up having my MD give me cymbalta, and yes, it's been the most even keel i have been in for a lifetime, and that is even through job loss etc.

but i have also recently wondered if i was 'over the hump' and could go off meds...but I don't want the crash and burn effect in my life to come back either...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 03:53 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. I was on Effexor a few years ago.
After the dosage was ramped up from introductory to maintenance level I spent two days feeling like my heart was racing (it wasn't) and like I was getting low-grade electric shocks in my arms and legs. It went away, and Effexor did work in getting me out of the depressive episode but it lost its effectiveness after a year or so.

Cymbalta has been a godsend for me and it's all I have taken for the last few years. I don't need a huge dose - 15 mg twice a day - and I am able to work effectively and get on with my (admittedly limited, I am dX'd Asperger's) life as I want to. It also seems to work as a mood stabilizer for me.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
BOG PERSON Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 12:50 PM
Response to Original message
21. i thought this part of the first nyrb article you posted was pretty important
When it was found that psychoactive drugs affect neurotransmitter levels in the brain, as evidenced mainly by the levels of their breakdown products in the spinal fluid, the theory arose that the cause of mental illness is an abnormality in the brains concentration of these chemicals that is specifically countered by the appropriate drug. For example, because Thorazine was found to lower dopamine levels in the brain, it was postulated that psychoses like schizophrenia are caused by too much dopamine. Or later, because certain antidepressants increase levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, it was postulated that depression is caused by too little serotonin. (These antidepressants, like Prozac or Celexa, are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) because they prevent the reabsorption of serotonin by the neurons that release it, so that more remains in the synapses to activate other neurons.) Thus, instead of developing a drug to treat an abnormality, an abnormality was postulated to fit a drug.

That was a great leap in logic, as all three authors point out. It was entirely possible that drugs that affected neurotransmitter levels could relieve symptoms even if neurotransmitters had nothing to do with the illness in the first place (and even possible that they relieved symptoms through some other mode of action entirely). As Carlat puts it, By this same logic one could argue that the cause of all pain conditions is a deficiency of opiates, since narcotic pain medications activate opiate receptors in the brain. Or similarly, one could argue that fevers are caused by too little aspirin.

But the main problem with the theory is that after decades of trying to prove it, researchers have still come up empty-handed. All three authors document the failure of scientists to find good evidence in its favor. Neurotransmitter function seems to be normal in people with mental illness before treatment. In Whitakers words:
Prior to treatment, patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, depression, and other psychiatric disorders do not suffer from any known chemical imbalance. However, once a person is put on a psychiatric medication, which, in one manner or another, throws a wrench into the usual mechanics of a neuronal pathway, his or her brain begins to functionabnormally.

Carlat refers to the chemical imbalance theory as a myth (which he calls convenient because it destigmatizes mental illness), and Kirsch, whose book focuses on depression, sums up this way: It now seems beyond question that the traditional account of depression as a chemical imbalance in the brain is simply wrong. Why the theory persists despite the lack of evidence is a subject Ill come to.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
sarcasmo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 05:16 PM
Response to Original message
27. Kick!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 06:24 PM
Response to Original message
28. They are making us fatter. That means more obesity related illness. Esp. Abilify and other new neuro
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 06:28 PM by McCamy Taylor
leptics. People become massively obese on them. Kids get diabetes and go into coma. And yet, they get over prescribed for anxiety disorder and PTSD even though benzos like Xanax and Valium are perfectly effective (and do not make you eat like a pig).

Neurontin and Lyrica (for pain) also cause obesity. Many anti-depressants do as well. Wellbutrin is the only one with a neutral weight effect.

Stimulants like Concerta cause weight loss (duh!). So does Topamax.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
greiner3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 07:09 PM
Response to Original message
29. I do not agree with the OP, at least in the overall tone of the post;
I have been on and off anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and the like since I was a teen. I am now middle aged and have only been relatively stable for 2 years. I know this stability is on account of the newer, and better, pharmaceutical advances. I am not a fan of the drug industry as a whole, but...

I was on the above listed tricyclic anti-depressants (TADs). I tried many of the flavors and they not only had terrible side effects, I found they did not work for me. I was put on Prozac in 1989, but only for a few months. At the time this was a new drug and the cost was very high. I started to feel a lot better while on the med but soon had to go back to the unworkable TADs.

I was put on Lithium in 1989 and just came off of them last year. I was taking the max amount for all of that time and only came off of them because I developed tremors so severe I could not hold a coffee cup with both hands. For most of this time I was also on a cocktail of psychotropics; Risperdal, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Buspar (sp), Effexor, Seroquel and others I cannot remember.

The SSRIs I took worked, for a time. They did stabilize my rapid cycling of Bi-polar. However, they were not a long range fix.

My current Psychiatrist took me off all the above meds but Zoloft. He prescribed 2 anti seizure meds and I have had little of the mania and just a bit of the depression. I am a bit depressed as I write this but I attribute this to a lifelong case of SAD.

So I do not agree with the findings that SSRIs are a bad thing. There is some evidence that SSRIs may not be the magic bullet once hoped for as a cure all for depression and other related mental illness. Serotonin is but one neurotransmitter and it could be that there are combinations of neurotransmitters that are the best cocktail for the cure of depression.

I agree that prescribing meds for children are in an infancy period. There is so little testing done on most meds for this age group because of the ethics involved with the testing. So doctors must make judgment calls when prescribing adult meds to children and adjusting the dosage. I agree that the drug companies are not nice-people? I agree that a lot of meds are being hoisted upon the American public for the profitability and bottom line of the drug companies. Drugs for mental illnesses have come a long way in such a short time frame. I agree that there is a great rush to label children as abnormal and in need of fixing. I believe this is in part to the fact that if a child is labeled with a 'disability' the parents could benefit with increased government aid to give the child more care and medical treatment. It also benefits the school system as there is increased government dollars coming in for the extra disabilities. Follow the money.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
krabigirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 08:46 PM
Response to Original message
31. The ones I took made me very ill, and gain weight at the same time. Didn't know how that happened.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Tue Sep 23rd 2014, 07:39 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » General Discussion Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC