Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Don't get too heated in the debate about psychiatry

Two reviews in Psychiatric Services recommend reading Robert Whitaker's book Anatomy of an Epidemic even if it makes you angry and you want to dismiss him as an anti-psychiatric activist. It's apparently good to read biased, flawed books like this to be able to marshall a response to defend psychiatry. Let's please have this debate. It's not really dealing with the issues by just expressing disappointment that Whitaker blames biomedical psychiatry and suggesting he's illogical to connect the taking of medication with poor outcomes.

Actually, I think all he's asking for is a debate about how drugs increase the risk that people will become chronically ill (see previous post).


Jeff Johns said...

While Whitaker shows correlation between increasing use of psychotropics and increasing rates of disability, he does not prove causation. Unfortunately, psychiatry cannot prove that our medications help people over the long-term either. The reviewers should have pointed out this gaping hole in our knowledge base as our APA guidelines and the "standard of care" call for long-term use of psychotropics.

Anonymous said...

The simple fact is there is NO evidence that these drugs have ANY antipsychotic properties in them. They were designed as major tranqullisers and that is all they are. Sure they can help to dampen the intensity of the hallucinations in SOME cases, but they do so with the most horrible and lethal of side effects.

Further there is NO evidence that people do better when kept on them long term. There is NO long term research that shows that people do better on them. ALL long term research says otherwise. The standard of care is based on abruptly withdrawing people from excessive doses, yet they do not suggest starting people on excessive doses. If you move people up to higher doses, why not move them down to lower doses??

In NO area of medicine the aim to keep people on the highest level of medication possible. The aim is always to use the lowest dose possible, except for psychaitry that aims to put people on doses, at 10 times or more the maximum clinically recommended dose. Where is the evidence that people should be on 12 different antipsychotics at once, where is the evidence that it is healthy for people to be on 100 mg of Zypreza. The simple fact is psychaitry not only has no evidence at all for anything it does, it also does not follow it's own guidelines for the use of these treatments, and is able to have court ordered control of people, and claim that these sedating and torture substances are evidenced based treatments. There is NO evidence that these medications keep people well, and there is NO evidence that they have any anitpsychotic, antidepressent, antianxiety, mood stablising properties in them.

If psychiatry wants to be able to control people's lives, more than anyone can for anything else, then it better come up with some firm evidence. The fact is convicted mass murders have more rights and are given more humane treatment, than someone labelled as mentally ill and it is just a labell, as you sure as hell cannot perform any test to prove any of these conditions exist