online column: Are psychiatric medicines making us sicker

A column on psychotropic drugging and so-called ‘electroconvulsive therapy’ (ECT) was published in The Chronicle of Higher Education on 18 September 2011. The columnist challenges the high level of psychotropics given to young people in the US and western, more affluent countries generally. This concern is consistent with what SRV teaches us about the sick role and the patient role; for example, for anyone diagnosed by the medical and mental health service systems as having ‘mental illness.’ The columnist does not seem to deeply examine the overarching dangers of being cast into the devalued roles of sick person and/or patient for people with mental disorders, but is much more concerned with the specific problems of mind drugging. This is understandable perhaps as mind drugging is an enormous and exponentially growing problem for people of all ages, for families and for society. It is also a problem rarely challenged in the media and academic circles.

A few quotes from the column:

“What was even more surprising to me—given the rave reviews Prozac had received from Kramer and others—was that antidepressants as a whole were not more effective than so-called talking cures, whether cognitive behavioral therapy or even old-fashioned Freudian psychoanalysis.”

(The columnist references Robert Whitaker, author of Mad in America and Anatomy of an Epidemic. See the June 2007 issue of The SRV Journal for reviews of Mad in America.) “If Whitaker is right, American psychiatry, in collusion with the pharmaceutical industry, is perpetrating what may be the biggest case of iatrogenesis—harmful medical treatment—in history.”

“Between 1985 and 2008, sales of antidepressants and antipsychotics multiplied almost fiftyfold, to $24.2-billion. Prescriptions for bipolar disorder and anxiety have also swelled. One in eight Americans, including children and even toddlers, is now taking a psychotropic medication.”

“A decades-long study by the World Health Organization found that schizophrenic patients fared better in poor nations, such as Nigeria and India, where antipsychotics are sparingly prescribed, than in wealthier regions such as the United States and Europe.”

I recommend looking also at these resources:

Social Role Valorization versus drug therapies

The growing threat to the lives of handicapped people in the context of modernistic values

Wolfensberger, W. (2004). Reply to Levitas, McCandleless, Elenewski and Sobel. SRV-VRS: The International Social Role Valorization Journal, 5(1&2), 42-66



Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.