The BMJ article on The Marketing of Serotonin has stirred some interest. There are some highly technical comments on the BMJ site but of course the key point behind the piece is the rather obvious fact that twenty-five years ago many people were saying it was all a myth. The extraordinary Michael Leunig nailed it twenty years ago in the sketch above. (Leunig is wonderful across the board and razor sharp on medicine and mental health).
So did the BMJ know what they were doing when they sent the article to SMC leading to the extraordinary new Switch on Anti-Depression (SAD) theory?
I thought they were making a mistake, but maybe not. The figures for impact from Altmetric show a lot of interest.
There are good grounds for a lot of people to be very angry.
The lawyers for several pharmaceutical companies for instance claim to be very angry and upset by recent posts mentioning that finding out about things such as the idea that lowered serotonin was a myth could provoke murderous fantasies in some people, most of whom would do nothing but simmer and seethe. They have been even more upset at the suggestion that while some of us can view all this as “academic” others might be radicalized and might storm the offices of pharmaceutical companies or journals.
Our rulers are exquisitely aware of the potential for violence in those who are oppressed – those who are powered out. The violence inflicted on us – mostly by White Males – from Ferguson and Charleston to Baltimore playing out across television screens for the last year offers just one example. They expect Us to be as violent back as they are to US, and they tend to take pre-emptive action. At the first FDA Prozac and suicide hearings, the Chairman Daniel Casey wore a bullet-proof vest.
Clearly there has been no endorsement here for violent action but as one correspondent (MMC) put it, we sent Marlboro Man packing and something similar is needed here.
Better Die on your Feet than Live on your Knees sounds violent but was in fact the rallying cry of the Non-Violent Resistance movement that began in Ireland in the 1870s with Michael Davitt and later extended to Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
If you want to see what is involved, fill a RxISK report on your behalf or someone close to you and take it to your/their doctor. There is a good chance you’ll find out just how violent the system is.
But keep knocking until you find a doctor who listens, let us know about them and we can build networks that can change medicine. It is only going to change from the Bottom Up.
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.