Saturday, March 27, 2010

Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America — a note from Robert Whitaker

Over at Bipolar Blast ask Beyond Meds, todays post is a note from Author Robert Whitaker regarding his book The Anatomy of An Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America. The link to view this book on Amazon is here.

The question...Could our drug based paradigm of care be fueling this epidemic?

Whitiker continues: To answer that question, I fleshed out what the scientific literature has to say about the long-term effects of psychiatric medications. I think an observation made by one of the many people I interviewed for the book aptly sums up the tale told in the scientific literature. She said:

“With psychiatric medications, you solve one problem for a period of time, but the next thing you know, you end up with two problems. The treatment turns a period of crisis into a chronic mental illness.”

After this tale of science is told (and the book basically relates a history of science that has unfolded since the 1950s), I look at why our society doesn’t know about the many studies that have documented the poor long-term outcomes. These study results never get reported in the newspapers, and the book explores the financial reasons why that is so.

You can read the rest of this note here.

You can see my earlier post on this issue here "Another rant...which came first? The Chicken or the Goose?"

So what's the purpose of posting this information? Because I believe that we as consumers are not getting all of our options, we are not being fully informed. Instead we are being sold on the idea that we are somehow biologically broken and that Big Pharma has the ONLY answer to the issue of mental health and wellness.

This is a subject not widely discussed yet and carries much of the similarities of the fraud carried out on consumers of tobacco product and even the most recent financial crisis where we were presented with the idea that the banks were operating in our best interest, yet their greed and offering only one side of the story - incomplete information - leads consumers to believe that as the "professionals" we can trust what they are telling us to be "truth" and in our best interest.

Each year, Big Pharma is being called on it's misuse of America's trust as they invent new ways of pushing their drugs, telling us that this is the only answer to our heartburn (try eating less junk) our "Fibromyalgia" (women are getting over this every day by excercising and managing stress healthier) or how this magic pill will "fix" us. And they have done a grand job at pulling the wool over the eyes of consumers as we staunchly defend that we are "chemically imbalanced". I know because I've lived it. To have done otherwise was unthinkable because this was my last hope at finding a solution to the emotional distress and faulty cognitions that kept me bound in self doubt and dependance on drugs to cope each day. After all, without being "mentally ill"...who was I and what the hell was "wrong" with me?

Today, the Government has finally stepped in and penalized Big Tobacco for the lies that we ate up when we bought in that tobacco was harmless and safe. Banks that have gouged Americans for years are being brought up short and held responsible for their mismanagement of America's resources. And each year Big Pharma pays millions in settlements to those their "medicines" have harmed and fines to the Government for their fraud in misleading consumers on various drugs.

This may not be your opinion, and my goal is not to change your mind about this but to encourage you to do your own reading and research on this message that somehow we are broken and drugs (not to mention the lifetime bill for never ending therapy that goes along with this assumption) are the only answer.

So here's what Big Pharma isn't telling us; that we can learn to manage our thoughts, our emotional instability and find our way out of the muck and mire of "mental illness". We can learn to develop rational thinking and emotional expression that heals instead of incapacitates us. We can learn the life skills to help us overcome those feelings of "less than" or "different".

Drugs? They may have a place and even benefit us short term to manage crisis and keep ourselves safe - but they also inhibit our ability to learn, to think, to recall and remember both short term and long term. But when they are heralded as the "only" solution to mental health issues the result can be painfully debilitating as our hope for a better outcome is reduced to simply "managing" and surviving.

Finding light in the darkness of mental illness requires the use of and access to our thoughts and emotions - the things that medication "numbs".

So while using medication may be helpful in the short term - the long term use of it inhibits and prevents us from accessing the natural solution of learning new ways of coping and how to trust the natural emotional process that we are working so diligently to avoid.

(Note:I am not a physician. This information should not be taken as medical directions. Do not discontinue any medications without first doing your own due diligence and making the decision that is best for you.)


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