“Boiling Frustration” Among Protesting Psychiatrists

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AlterNet has published a feature story about prominent critical psychiatrist and MIA Foreign Correspondent David Healy, who “says his output and reputation have had little to no effect — both on the pharmaceutical industry he argues buries relevant information about prescription drug harms, and on the psychiatric and medical professions he claims are being ‘eclipsed’ by drug companies.”

“It’s been clear to me that writing books or articles banging on the risks and hazards of drugs is just going to increase the sale of drugs,” Healy told AlterNet.

Along with recounting details of some of Healy’s educational, medical and legal efforts and challenges over the years, the article discusses the “boiling frustration” among other psychiatrists who’ve dared buck the mainstream.

“For years, it was fairly easy for people in the pharmaceutical and medical industries to label Healy, Kirsch and Breggin as alarmists,” reports AlterNet. “But two summers ago, one of the most prominent members of U.S. medical establishment, Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of New England Journal of Medicine, published an article damning the over-prescription of psychoactive drugs. In two essays in the June 23, 2011 and July 14, 2011 New York Review of Books, Angell backed arguments by the university clinician Kirsh, the mental heath journalist Robert Whitaker, and Boston psychiatrist Daniel Carlat… [Angell] wrote: ‘The industry-sponsored studies usually cited to support psychoactive drugs — and they are the ones that are selectively published — tend to be short-term, designed to favor the drug, and show benefits so small that they are unlikely to outweigh the long-term harms… Both the pharmaceutical industry and the psychiatry profession have strong financial interests in convincing the public that drug treatment is safe and the most effective treatment for mental illnesses, and they also have an interest in expanding the definitions of mental illness.”

“But like Healy, Angell’s warnings have fallen on deaf ears,” reports AlterNet. “Recent data indicates that U.S. prescription drug use is growing… Other university psychiatrists and medical doctors I contacted for this article either wouldn’t talk on the record or didn’t want to be interviewed, confirming an atmosphere Healy describes as ‘McCarthyist.'”

Meet the Doctor Big Pharma Can’t Shut Up (AlterNet, September 25, 2014)

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2 COMMENTS

  1. On an unrelated note: funny how even is there is a tiny bit of attention from any media, even alternative, to the criticism of psychiatry/”mental health” system it has to come from “professionals” themselves or occasionally another worker/family member. If it comes from the people who have the most to criticise – psychiatric survivours (no we are not “consumers”) it gets ignored almost 100% of the time. Only sometimes when one of us dies by suicide or drugging there is even a mention of the victims.
    We don’t count. Nobody talks to crazy lunatics.

  2. Perhaps what is needed is some kind of modern-day psychopharmaceutical equivalent to Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle”–a story about one or more people harmed from being on more than six or eight different psychiatric drugs simultaneously (fictional or otherwise).

    (Appealing to people’s intellectual sensibilities is not a valueless approach but it takes much longer and tends to reach fewer people than more sensationalistic narratives.)