drug me

On and off the moose has commented about the alarming practices around psychiatric drug prescription, use, and the manipulations behind the scenes.

This interview with Charles Barber, author of Comfortably Numb, captures my take pretty well.

What I found was that psychiatry, at least for certain diagnoses, has confused the really serious forms of the illness with the far lesser forms. The best example is depression. Many of the folks that I worked with suffered from severe depression. I make the distinction in the book between big “D” depression and small “d” depression. In its severe forms, it’s an absolutely brutal, horrific and malevolent illness where people are at dire risk of hurting themselves.

It’s jarring to go to a cocktail party and hear people talking about being bummed out or hear that they’re going through a divorce, and their family doctor put them on an antidepressant. There has been a confusion and conflation of this diagnosis that confuses serious disorders with far lesser conditions or, in many cases, life problems. We’ve medicalized a lot of life issues that are not mental illnesses.

(moose ‘s emphasis)

And are these drugs really any good for us, anyway, or are they simply being foisted on us by a hard sell propaganda program from the pharmaceutical companies that profit from it?

The drug maker Merck drafted dozens of research studies for a best-selling drug, then lined up prestigious doctors to put their names on the reports before publication, according to an article to be published Wednesday in a leading medical journal.
[…]
The lead author of Wednesday’s article, Dr. Joseph S. Ross of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, said a close look at the Merck documents raised broad questions about the validity of much of the drug industry’s published research, because the ghostwriting practice appears to be widespread.

(variously via american samizdat and cryptogon)

3 Responses to “drug me”

  1.   Pearce
    April 18th, 2008 | 7:44 pm

    There was a two-part article in yesterday’s Dom Post about pharmaceutical companies. The first talked about studies that suggest there is evidence that taking vitamin supplements can shorten your life span.

    The second talks about the Merck stuff quoted & linked above, and goes on to claim that they withheld information from its studies on an Alzheimers medication it manufactures that demonstrates a marked mortality rate amongst users.

    I am so glad to have a doctor who prefers to recommend non-medicinal therapy where possible.

  2.   Maire Smith
    April 19th, 2008 | 9:53 pm

    When I had been crying every day, several times, for months, for no reason in particular; when I had been sleeping too many hours a day and always tired for months; and when I had lost interest in painting pictures; my doctor suggested I try an antidepressant.

    I hadn’t been trying to kill myself. I hadn’t even noticed feeling depressed. I was just weepy and a bit unmotivated.

    The Prozac I took made me feel like myself again in just a month. Flowers looked beautiful again. I stopped sleeping all the damn time. I made it through lectures without falling asleep (and it’s damned embarrassing falling asleep in a two-person class, I can tell you!).

    Prozac had its own problems of course, as did the other two antidepressants I moved onto afterwards to find an antidepressant that worked for me, but didn’t have unmanageable side effects. I didn’t like the side effects of the one I ended up on for a few years, really, but they were less bad than being off the drug. Between them, they massively improved my overall quality of life, and I’m really glad they were available.

    I got to make a lot of art I wouldn’t have otherwise. I got tertiary qualifications I might not have otherwise.

    I’m very glad I live now, not thirty or fifty years ago.

  3.   bruce
    April 20th, 2008 | 9:44 pm

    on Merck, etc., yeah, it’s nice that this happened and in very simple terms what was known to be happening can be shown– not just that the data they use was all bad, but so blatantly simple that it can play in the MSM.

    On medication– I am all in favor of people having access, so they can see for themselves what works. To the extent that big pharma makes stuff more available, great, to the extent that they make (competing) stuff less available, bad.