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Mass Psychosis In the USA? 542

Posted by timothy
from the don't-actually-want-to-be-sedated dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "James Ridgeway writes in Al Jazeera that with over $14 billion in sales in 2008, antipsychotics have become the single top-selling therapeutic class of prescription drugs in the U.S., surpassing drugs used to treat high cholesterol and acid reflux. While once upon a time, antipsychotics were reserved for a relatively small number of patients with hard-core psychiatric diagnoses, today it seems, everyone is taking antipsychotics. 'Parents are told that their unruly kids are in fact bipolar, and in need of anti-psychotics, while old people with dementia are dosed, in large numbers, with drugs once reserved largely for schizophrenics,' writes Ridgeway. 'Americans with symptoms ranging from chronic depression to anxiety to insomnia are now being prescribed anti-psychotics at rates that seem to indicate a national mass psychosis.' By now, just about everyone knows how the drug industry works to influence the minds of American doctors, plying them with gifts, junkets, ego-tripping awards, and research funding in exchange for endorsing or prescribing the latest and most lucrative drugs. According to Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, under the tutelage of Big Pharma, we are 'simply expanding the criteria for mental illness so that nearly everyone has one.'"
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Mass Psychosis In the USA?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 16, 2011 @07:20AM (#36784802)

    No surprise here!

  • What?! (Score:5, Funny)

    by pinkj (521155) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @07:20AM (#36784808)
    That's crazy!
    • by alostpacket (1972110) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @07:29AM (#36784868) Homepage

      SDFCDXVPIs dsfousDF W3EIUSVCKNP09U Sdf8uiSDKn09 9ac9 9vskn23kjsfd90iasdf sd0-asvn98vns er923ns-sdfnsc90vusd[vfsdv -DJERPDFGN;fv9vbmn0fngb30dvnopsadng4w- df-09idfma-43k5df-0g dsf0g43590d df09gt3 fg0 4

      (I'm Amrecian)

    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      More like sad.

    • I Am Not Surprised (Score:5, Interesting)

      by improfane (855034) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @08:09AM (#36785114) Journal

      I imagine it's pretty easy to become depressed in our society.

      • Consumerism people judge themselves by products (Apple, car brands, discount retailers), they depend on corporate products to do what they could otherwise do, they are powerless to the system, they buy cake mixtures or microwave teleivsion dinners.
      • Devoid of meaning I'd hazard that most people feel that their life is meaningless which brings me to my next point.
      • Life = job People (by necessity) live life a job, not a life. office workers and labourers.
      • Unchecked capitalism Capitalism doesn't feel soft and fuzzy. You feel powerless. Advertising is harmful.

      People who live a job rather than a life do things that advertising and media tell them to do or what other people in their situation do to escape. They turn to alcohol, nightclubs, meaningless sex*, gambling, smoking or anything that is meaningless or self destructive.
      * Not that meaningless sex means anything to Slashdotters but I hope my point is made intellectually.

      I imagine that these factors, plus the fact that everyone seems to be a big asshole these days contribute to people turning to drugs. Ultmately, people feel disconnected from other people, they are ostracized and bullied. Drugs don't solve problems. You do.

        I feel powerless because of the following:

      • My Privacy invaded day by day
      • My Government and the US government is massively corrupt, doesn't tax companies
      • The unjust succeed while the moral wither
      • Everyone thinks they are right so nothing gets done

      As Adam Smith said, agriculture is the root of all progress. Our society is unsustainable and growth seems to be on top of artificial markets. For example, digital markets like the domain market. Or on advertising.

      • by Servaas (1050156) <captivayay@hotmaiLIONl.com minus cat> on Saturday July 16, 2011 @08:18AM (#36785154)
        Wasn't this a scene in the extended ultra mega remix ultimate edition Blue-ray disc of Fight Club?
      • by improfane (855034) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @08:19AM (#36785162) Journal

        Ask yourself.

        Why aren't you happy? You (probably) have: electricity, abundance of food and water, computers, video games, (some) free time, a job, a loving girlfriend/wife? Money?

        You're not happy because you cannot be you in this society.

        It's that trite cliche that materials do not bring happiness but they are necessity for happiness. You cannot be happy about something before you have shelter, food and water. (Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs)

        Our society lacks somethin that people need. Drugs really don't give that to you.

        Arguing about happiness on Slashdot. Very odd.

        • by derGoldstein (1494129) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @09:00AM (#36785470) Homepage
          I know that it's cliche, but someone has to bring up nietzsche at this point. He kept pointing out that people in "the modern era" were really just carts on a rail, regardless of their social-economic status. Whoever you are, there are things that "are expected of you", which, if you chose to avoid, either make you "weird", or even downright rejected.

          It doesn't matter that you have food and shelter. These things don't provide you with real freedom. You're still restrained by society and forced to choose between several pre-determined, "acceptable" paths. If you do anything else, there will be social penalties. His famous collapse at the reigned horse was him weeping for mankind -- we're all shackled and bound, because if we weren't, we'd be too destructive.

          We can't change our lives in order to become happy, so the next logical step is to change our brain chemistry. Maybe then we'll be slightly happier broken-in horses.
          • Society has a few purposes, one key purpose is to reign in outlandish and destructive behaviour. You should work, you should follow the law, you should get an education, you should not beat up children, etc...

            The other key purpose is mutual support. I don't need to know 50 trades to live, just one. I trade for everything else the other trades provide. Society provides, police, fire-fighters, courts, and many other services paid for collectively.

            A healthy society stops you from doing evil, asks you to re

        • by OakDragon (885217)

          Arguing about happiness on Slashdot.

          Now that makes us happy!

      • by clifyt (11768) <sonikmatterNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday July 16, 2011 @08:52AM (#36785400) Homepage

        " I feel powerless because of the following:

                My Privacy invaded day by day
                My Government and the US government is massively corrupt, doesn't tax companies
                The unjust succeed while the moral wither
                Everyone thinks they are right so nothing gets done"

        This is all external, and nothing is an internal. Your privacy? Who cares...the problem is that you think someone does care. Stop worrying about how others judge you, and it doesn't matter about your privacy. The gov't is corrupt? The gov't has always been corrupt. The world has always had more corruption than it has righteousness. It is far easier to be corrupt than it is to be righteous. What does this matter towards your powerlessness? You have the choice to be corrupt or righteous. This seems as though it proves you have power. Same with the very next argument...the unjust succeed. How are you defining success? Money? Power over others? These shouldn't determine your success. You are allowing it to determine your success and you have defined success in a way that allows the unjust to get the upper hand in your world.

        As for everyone thinking they are right...maybe you need to stop trying to be right as well. I'm probably wrong about all of this...I'm right in my world, but my success in life doesn't depend on you agreeing...if you do, that's cool...but I'm not going to base my concept of success on this. If someone else wants to be right, let them...if you want to be right, don't make your success based on others believing it. Believe that you can be right and someone else can hold an opposing view and still be right too. In most complex situations, there can be multiple paths to the right solution...

        Again, who knows if I'm right...I do know I'm happy more often than most people I know...

        • by improfane (855034)

          IT attracts more people that are arrogant and think they are right more than any other industry. They don't want to solve a problem, they want to brag and be an asshole.

          Our society is a massive committe of people trying to argue what is right and what to do rather than just doing it. Government, local councils, nothing actually gets done.

          Privacy is what I want. If you don't give it to me, you deserve the consequences. It costs you nothing to give it. You don't need my address, to listen to my phone calls or

      • That's pretty much what Marx summed up under the label of "alienation". And I agree, that's what is going on. Instead of changing the system, we decided to change the mind by means of psychopharmaca. O brave new world....
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Fuck me, I hate reading this shit. Going to post anonymously for this one.

        Depression on the whole, is not induced by something like "Unchecked capitalism". While there is a subset of them which may have depression due to social circumstances, last I read, this was a very small subset, and it was argued that this might not be actual depression, or might be much lower on the scale.

        Depression is mainly a physical problem you have. It can be induced by drugs, but for many, it's just your unlucky biochemistry. F

      • by mjwx (966435) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @11:25AM (#36786566)

        * Not that meaningless sex means anything to Slashdotters

        If it meant something, it wouldn't be meaningless wouldn't it?

        Believe it or not, I'm someone who engages in a lot of "meaningless" sex. The problem is not that the entire process doesn't have anything more "deep" then sexual gratification but rather that some people try to attach something else then simple gratification to it.

        Just as the parent pointed out in his post, people use it as an escape and this is actually a good thing(TM) but the distinction the GP did not make is the difference between "an escape" and "living in a fantasy world". Having a vice does not automatically make one an addict, for example, a person who drinks is not automatically an alcoholic because they can be capable of stopping and exercise it at will, the ability to keep under the legal limit or to say "no thanks, I've had enough".

        By the same token, there are people who can have "meaningless" sex without trying to attach anything to it. The same with all the other vices the GP listed, one can enjoy gambling, smoking, drinking or clubbing in moderation without actually becoming a victim to that action.

    • by Sulphur (1548251)

      That's crazy!

      Spending like crazy too.

  • by mbone (558574)

    I can believe it. Have you looked at our politics lately ?

  • by Lazy Jones (8403) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @07:25AM (#36784830) Homepage Journal
    Aldous Huxley was spot on ...
    • by frdmfghtr (603968)

      I had the same comparison to "A Brave New World." I've been meaning to go back and read it again. Perhaps this should be required reading.

      • I guess it is. Just nobody told them that it's a warning, not a manual.

        What scares me is that some people actually took it as an utopian novel. 1984 is easy to see as dystopian, nobody wants to live in a world like that, but I actually know people who thought that the BNW looks actually quite nice...

    • by dgun (1056422)
      Yes but in the book, pop culture is all about sex, and sex itself is trivial, and people are brainwashed and have infantile views.....Ok. But where is my helicopter vehicle thingy?
  • by srussia (884021) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @07:27AM (#36784842)
    It's a Brave New World.
  • Expensive drugs? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zAPPzAPP (1207370) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @07:28AM (#36784854)

    Maybe those drugs are just super expensive. A total number of consumers would be more useful.

    • Re:Expensive drugs? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Hebbinator (1001954) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @07:55AM (#36785040)
      DINGDINGDINGDING

      Most brand-name antipsychotics can go WHOLESALE for 400-500/month, some are even more than that. Most cholesterol drugs are now on the $4 list, or have a $4 equivalent, except for lipitor (debateable whether or not it could be substituted for another statin because of all the studies..) which will be generic soon. Acid-reflux drug sales bottomed out as omeprazole (Prilosec) went generic and over the counter - the PPI class used to be the big money maker here because there were no generic alternatives. The new generation of antipsychotics are ALL still on patent except for Risperidone.

      Also of note: "antipsychotics" are used to treat more than psychosis. They have been shown to be very helpful in several other psychiatric illnesses.. although I must say there are a *LOT* of cheaper/better alternatives for insomnia. These are not "off label" uses, by the way - many antipsychotics have been researched and gained FDA approval for more than one disease/condition. The class name is being substituted for the indication here to cause a stir.. "if you are on an 'antipsychotic,' then you must be psychotic!" A better name would be "selective d-2 receptor blockers with varying serotonin and anticholinergic receptor activity" but its a bit lengthy ;)

      The real headline here should be "PPI and Statin drug sales wiped out by generic replacements, antipsychotics still under patent. Also, some people havent heard about ambien yet."
      • Exactly. One of the prescriptions I was one a while ago was 800/month without insurance.

        • by Rich0 (548339)

          Everything medical costs 10x as much without insurance. If I were in charge I'd pass two laws:

          1. Everybody providing a medical service must publish a price list.
          2. The medical service provider must collect the same fee from everybody.

          Go to the hospital without insurance. You'll get a $100k bill in the mail. Beg and plead, they'll send you an application for charity care. After submitting in triplicate every financial record you've ever had or not had and spending 100 hours on this, chances are they'll

  • Or it's just a case of mass over-prescription of antipsychotics. Nothing is normal anymore, EVERYONE has some kind of mental or physical disorder that must be treated by drugs.
  • Thanks to drug companies' advertising, it seems a lot of drugs of different classes are overprescribed. I'm no M.D. but it doesn't seem that antipsychotics would do much good for depression.

    My doctor had me on Paxil for a year or so after my divorce, they were hard to get off of and I'd wished I'd never taken them.

    However, it sure seems like there are an awful lot of really crazy people here in Springfield, many of them violent, who should probably be on medication but aren't. I'm 59 and I don't remember ve

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Maybe those people are crazy because they're OVERmedicated? And further, because the only things the public health system will pay for on their behalf are shit? I had a county health official prescribe me a pill for respiratory function that it turned out the county health wouldn't pay for (this was a while back in my student days) even when petitioned... something that had been on the approved list just a month earlier, and something for which there was no more effective replacement.

  • Everyone wins (Score:4, Interesting)

    by alphatel (1450715) * on Saturday July 16, 2011 @07:30AM (#36784884)
    Last year my wife was suffering from some anxiety during her pregnancy. An internal medicine doctor prescribed an anti-psychosis drug to treat bipolar disorder. The list of side effects included just about everything you wouldn't want to happen to a pregnant women. What would a drug like this do to an unborn child, let alone an adult!
  • The "dumb" half of the country goes manic from the hype on the media, the "smart" half gets depressed by seeing what happening. One half swallows the hype and goes nuts over it, the other half doesn't and descends into hope- and helplessness.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    the popularity of Facebook and the iPhone.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 16, 2011 @07:33AM (#36784906)

    Check out the BBC show "The Century of the Self"

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/features/century_of_the_self.shtml

    When you see that, it becomes pretty clear that the US population were unsuspecting guinea pigs in what's certainly the biggest experiment in mass psychology ever done. And that experiment FAILED.

  • Lack of exercise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by antifoidulus (807088) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @07:47AM (#36785006) Homepage Journal
    Well, as is obvious from our ever expanding waistlines, Americans are getting less and less exercise?and probably sunlight too). I wonder if this is, at least in part, contributing to our increased depression. Several studies have shown pretty clearly that exercise is a great, if not the best, treatment for mild to moderate depression. So instead if sucking down big pharma and big agra's endless supply of shit, maybe we should try getting off our ass and going out for a run or bike ride.
    • Re:Lack of exercise (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Brewmeister_Z (1246424) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @09:35AM (#36785734)

      I started dealing with depression about 10 years ago. I have tried many drugs with little benefit but plenty of the worse results such as weight gain, sexual side effects, and mania. I have been hospitalized multiple times on both sides of the spectrum but nothing was ever stated as a physical cause other than stress.

      Only in the past year was a test done to check for imbalances that may lead to depression. It turns out my vitamin D levels were very low. Many people cannot create or absorb vitamin D very well (especially a problem in winter). To treat it, I was told to take 5000 IU of D-3. Guess what, it worked! And within a few days and not 30 days like some drugs that must build up in your body. Now I take a lower dose (2000 IU) as supplement. If I feel a bit off mood-wise, I can take a dose and it makes a difference within 30 minutes. Also, it significantly cheaper. I can get a 100 doses of D-3 5000 IU for $5 or 200 doses of 2000 IU for $6. I would pay at least $25 for a 30 day supply of anything else as a prescription and that is only if my deductible was met.

      Big pharma always downplays nutrition supplements (even studies that support it) as natural cures because they cannot patent it and charge $5 and up per dose. That being said, some of these drugs do genuinely help people with certain conditions. The problem is the lack of diagnosis to determine the cause of the problem and just trying to chase symptoms with drugs that create more problems than they may fix and may take a month before any benefit is seen. With depression, that is a long time to basically go without help and subjected to immediate side effects only to make a person feel even worse about life.

      Exercise and diet is not downplayed because they know that people do not have the drive, resources and/or time for it be a factor in not needing to take their drug for whatever condition.

  • Forced (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ChaoticCoyote (195677) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @08:07AM (#36785106) Homepage

    Over a decade ago, a school psychologist noticed "odd" behavior in one of my daughters. Under the guise of "vigilence", they looked for people to put on drugs. My girls, in grades 1 and 3, were interrogated -- without my permissions or knowledge -- by a school psychologist, who diagnose them with various psychotic disorders. Why? Because the girls told wild tales -- one claimed to know how to fly, and the other told dark tales ala Poe and Lovecraft.

    This bitch of a psychiatrist demanded that we drug our children, and began the process of forcing us to give the girls "medicine" (i.e., anti-psychotic and ADHD drugs), even when other psychiatrists said that my daughters were fine. When asked why she was so insistent on treating my daughters for something that didn't exist, the offending psychiatrist said:

    "I've been taking these drugs most of my life. I know they're good for your kids."

    Needless to say, I no longer live in Colorado, where this travesty was legal. My girls are intelligent, creative, productive young adults (with lots of quirks, like any smart person). Now that they're adults, they can chose what the do and do not put in their bodies.

    American society is driven by a need by people's to feel like a victim, by fear, and by selfish greed. It is a recipe for disaster.

    • by improfane (855034)

      Wow. That's horrific. I am glad you moved away.

      I imagine psychiatrists get commission on prescribing drugs. I can't describe how wrong it feels the fact he demanded your children be prescribed too. It sounds like in his medicated state that he must 'convert' others to the same mental state.

      Medicated ostracization.

    • Damn right. I have a daughter much like your two. Fortunately we know the school nurse (no psych in 2nd grade) and she would never do something like that bitch tried to do to your kids. "I've been taking these drugs most of my life. I know they're good for your kids." That's the problem right there.
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      How exactly were you forced? Was a court order involved? Or did the psych force pills down your daughter's throat? Or what?

      I'm not doubting your story, I'm just thinking that kind of information could help other parents who find themselves in a similar situation.

  • by phrostie (121428)

    ever read what goes into Coke or Pepsi diet drinks?

    Phenylalanine

    "ADD/ADHD, emotional and behavioral disorders can all be triggered by too much Phenylalanine in the daily diet"

  • Forms of advertisement and propaganda that are commonly used in US, rely on subjecting the viewer/listener to extreme emotional pressure, as person's current state (not owning a product, acting in a manner different from one being prescribed) is portrayed as miserable, ridiculous or immoral. As a result the goal is achieved (some of affected people buy products and obey the norms of thoughts and behavior promoted by propaganda, to get rid of negative self-perception) however both those who comply and those

  • Clearly a lot of drivers I see on the road are over-medicated.

  • by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @08:55AM (#36785434)

    I'm a victim! It's the environment! My mom was cruel to me! Hormones make me eat too much! Video games make me violent!

    All I need is some understanding. And another pill.

    Or I'll kill you.

  • antipsychotics have become the single top-selling therapeutic class of prescription drugs in the U.S

    Big Pharma forcing shit down our throats for profit. Just like every other corporation in this country: out for the bottom line. Clinical depression is a bitch. I saw first hand what these so called" thereputic drugs" did to my mother. Take this for the depression take this for the pain take this so your liver doesn't explode. Where does it end? When do the doctors stand up and say NO. Remember the Hippocratic Oath? Oh and the only reason these so called thereputic drugs are the top selling drugs is because

  • Anti-psychotics are an interesting class of drugs in their own right. That said, many drugs have uses other than their primary one.

    http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/index.cfm/search-for-guides-reviews-and-reports/?productid=8&pageaction=displayproduct [ahrq.gov]

    As you can see there, some anti-psychotics are used to treat depression, OCD, and PTSD. Each of which, I believe represents a larger section of the population than people who are actually psychotic. I would not be surprised if the off label use in the

  • Parents don't want to deal with their kids. They'd rather drug them and let the TV babysit. After all, being a parent is hard and a complete life changing event. If its not, you're doing it completely wrong. Most parents completely fuck up their children by trying to be their friend rather than their parent. And even then, a large number of parents are extremely poor parents because they don't want to be a good parent by ever telling their child, "no." A parent who doesn't believe in saying, "no", and stand

  • was when I realized most people are nuts. I don't mean that as an insult or exaggeration. I mean that people with a tenuous grasp on what is actually happening around them are the rule, not the exception. It actually hit me pretty hard, because several people very close to me kept exhibiting horribly irrational and self-destructive behavior, and I kept expecting them to stop doing it because, hey, no rational person would do these things, right? It was just a momentary lapse in judgement, right? Wrong. And
  • The vast majority of prescribed antipsychotics are atypicals. While they are FDA approved for schizophrenia and type I bipolar, they are also useful off-label in treating major depressive disorder, augmentation in dementia, and even for sleep disorders. The same is true of antidepressants. Tricyclics are often used to treat neuropathic disorders--usually pain, and SSRI's are used off-label for bulimia, Raynaud's, and fibromyalgia. Psychiatric medicine is perhaps the least understood of all areas of medi
  • by sl3xd (111641) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @10:14AM (#36786036) Journal

    TFA's headline talks about anti-psychotic medications, yet the article itself is about the entire class of psychoactive drugs.

    Antipsychotics are a small sliver of the class of psycoactive drugs.

    Antidepressants are psychoactive, but they are not anti-psychotic. The same applies for anti-anxiety durgs, such as Xanax, mood stabilizers for bipolar disorder (such as lithium), and for drugs used for Attention Defecit, such as ritalyn.

    The problem is TFA lumps drugs used for depression and anxiety disorders in the same category as drugs used for treating schizophrenia.

    In other words, the headline is misleading. Psychoactive != antipsychotic. The headline is purposefully misleading the reader into thinking that because someone takes a psychoactive drug, they are psychotic, and since americans take a lot of psychoactive drugs, Americans are psychotic.

    This isn't a surprising headline for a news service whose primary audience isn't fond of Americans.

    I'd expect to see the same sort of headline in a Scientologist publication.

    • Funny (Score:4, Funny)

      by Das Auge (597142) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @12:02PM (#36786856)
      It's funny when you think about it. Some Americans take drugs to feel better about themselves, but non-Americans talk shit about Americans to make them feel better about themselves. Well, I guess the later is cheaper...
    • by sjames (1099)

      No, the drugs they mentioned by name are all classified as anti-psychotics even though they get used for other things. They did not include drugs classified as antidepressants in their numbers.

      There is a great deal of crossover in uses including anticonvulsants, antidepressants and antipsychotics. In part that's because they really have no earthly cklue what the diseases are or how the drugs treat (or fail to treat) them. They just try one after the other until the patienmt stops complaining so much and cal

    • by kwikrick (755625)

      Yes, these drugs were originally created to cure a specific disorder, however, it seems to me that many psychiatrists take a rather experimental approach to prescribing drugs;they try lots of different drugs on a patient until the patient stops complaining. To cure the side effects, they just add some more drugs to the cocktail. I've seen this happen to a close friend who's stared out with mild depression, was put on various psychoactive drugs, developed various other disorders (I believe due to these drugs

  • by Harvey Manfrenjenson (1610637) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @11:25AM (#36786570)

    The expansion of antipsychotic use has nothing to do with the number of people being diagnosed with psychotic disorders. AFAIK, that number hasn't increased much.

    The real reason is that over the past 10 or 15 years, antipsychotic meds (i.e. dopamine antagonists) have been used with increasing frequency in patients who do NOT have psychotic symptoms. ("Psychotic symptoms" basically means either hallucinations or delusional thinking). Many of these meds are marketed as "mood stabilizers" for bipolar disorder-- and the criteria for bipolar disorder are so broad and so subjective that just about anyone can be diagnosed with it. Indeed, one of the popular "screening tools" for bipolar disorder is something called the Mood Disorders Questionnaire, which is a bit like those Scientology quizzes that tells you whether Scientology is right for you. (It always is). The MDQ was designed by doctors who work for drug companies-- I've met one of them.

    There are three other groups who tend to get lots of antipsychotics-- the elderly (especially in nursing homes), the mentally retarded, and people with plain old depression. The last one is actually the easiest to justify, since there are some studies which suggest that certain antipsychotics can work as adjunctive treatment for depression-- they have managed to get FDA approval for that indication. The first two-- elderly and MR-- are impossible to defend. They don't benefit the patient, they cause cognitive slowing and deterioration of functioning, and they increase overall mortality. Lilly in particular has been guilty of marketing their antipsychotic (Zyprexa) to nursing homes and claiming that it improves "behavioral disturbances of dementia". It doesn't, and they eventually had to pay out billions of dollars in fines.

    Any psychiatrist with half a brain knows what's going on here. In the mid 90s all the new antidepressants (Prozac, etc) started to go off-patent and the drug companies lost a major cash cow. Ever since then, the drug companies have sought new indications for dopamine blockers, since they are mostly still on-patent, and most of them are fiendishly expensive.

  • by no1home (1271260) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @01:44PM (#36787644)

    While of course it is a strong overstatement to say all of us Americans are insane in some way, it is true that Big Pharma and our simplistic views of life are turning us into mass consumers of psychotropic medications, legally.

    In some ways, I was one of those the system tried to abuse. I say that not to inflame the argument- I know the people involved did not INTEND to do me harm. Luckily for me, I have good parents who resisted the BS. Way back in early grade school, they said I was having trouble and that I should be put on Ritalin, that I had ADD or ADHD. My mother, being smart person who can think for herself, looked at the situation and removed most of the processed sugar junk from my diet. I got sufficiently better that the matter was closed.

    But wait! There's more! It turns out I am one of those unlucky few who actually was born bipolar! 35 years ago, we didn't really know these things, so I went without diagnosis, let alone treatment. And the argument still rages, can a child BE bipolar? (My case is a clear argument that, yes, a child can be bipolar).

    And there's still more! Once I was properly diagnosed, by two separate, unrelated psychiatrists who were unaware of each others diagnosis (I call it the 'blind taste test method of diagnosis), I began treatment. Over a decade of trying this, that, and the other medication. You know what finally worked? Testosterone replacement therapy and vitamin-B complex, along with some mental trickery I do for myself. This is MY solution and not medical advice. But the idea is, they mostly want to sell you drugs, expensive drugs. You MUST take control and find the underlying cause for yourself! And you must be intelligent about it.

    Which leads me to...

    RANT ON

    I don't see much hope these days. I work closely with the public and it makes me want to kill. It makes me want to remove the right to vote and breed. It makes me um... depressed... again. Americans want to blame an external source for their problems and take a magic pill to make it all better. I know this. I went through that phase of trying to find something outside of me that made me screwed up and I wanted an instant fix for it. Most Americans, it seems, don't get past that phase- ever. It's the immigrant's fault. It's my spouse's fault. It's my parent's fault. As I told an ex of mine many years ago, so the fuck what! You're an adult now. Act like one and figure your shit out; take responsibility for who you are today and make yourself better. Ask for help if need be, of course. I had to and it worked. My shrink helped me figure out the testosterone issue. She's one of the good ones.

    So is Big Pharma really to blame? Or are they just capitalizing on our nature? That's a trick question. We are BOTH to blame.

    RANT OFF

    I apologize for the rant. This is a sore subject for me and working with the public the last several years has not helped! :) But try to imagine the conversation I have to have sometimes:
    Me: I'm bipolar.
    Them: Ya, so is everyone else these days.
    Me: Yes, I know. It's being WAY over-diagnosed now, but I really am.
    Them: Yep, they all say that too now.

    If they only knew the real pain. The guilt of the pain my disease has caused others. Hell, they still wouldn't give a shit. Many of is Americans are too self-absorbed to notice. I wonder if there's a pill for that...

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

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