U.S. Spends Big on Mental Illness Treatments That “May Not Even Work”


U.S. News reports that “Given the stakes, we should be immensely troubled by recent research which tells we don’t really understand what treatments actually work … many antidepressants are ‘only marginally better than placebos‘ for most people. The official diagnostic manual that guides the use of psychoactive drugs has been called ‘a product of unscrupulous politics and bureaucracy.’ Nonetheless, antidepressants are a huge business, ‘the most consumed class of medication in the U.S.‘”

Article →


  1. Mental illness treatments are working just fine. They are generating profits for drug companies and sustaining psychiatrists’ status and incomes, thus fulfilling their primary goal.

    As for what treatments really work, people need to pull their heads out of the sand, think about what “mental illness” really is, and use common sense. Psychotherapy, peer support, access to jobs and housing, and promoting a non-medical message that distressed people can become well are the most cost-effective “treatments” for so-called mental illness. If long term studies were done of intensive psychotherapy/peer support versus drug treatment, it would be obvious which is better. These types of studies would need to involve years of human-to-human support contrasted with years of medication maintenance. The current studies comparing a few weeks/months of CBT with medication treatment are bullshit, because recovering from trauma and learning to love takes years, not weeks. So the much greater effectiveness of love and caring versus brain-damaging pills will not be obvious immediately.

    Also, not everything can be measured – as Einstein said, not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. It’s incredible how the relative value of love and emotional support versus medication is not obvious to more people. Just ask yourself what helped you develop into the person you are today.

    As for US debt, we now have $18.3 trillion in debt with millions more added every hour of the day. See here – http://www.usdebtclock.org/

    The article is correct that the hundreds of billions largely wasted on medications is contributing to this debt. It’s possible that the horrific mistreatment of emotional distress by most US mental health workers will contribute to the next economic collapse. Having so many people on disability and wasting money for decades on pills that do virtually nothing only makes the US economy more vulnerable. Along with peak oil, debt, and climate/natural resource problems, the mismanagement of emotional distress may be one of the things that ruins our economy and reduces the US to a third-world nation. People think such collapse is impossible, but taking the long view of centuries, formerly great civilizations have collapsed completely, and there’s no reason that can’t happen here.

    Report comment

    • ” People think such collapse is impossible, but taking the long view of centuries, formerly great civilizations have collapsed completely, and there’s no reason that can’t happen here.”

      The great American disease, arrogant ignorance, is precisely why such a thing could never happen here in our great nation, the Unites States of America. You must be one of those new terrorists!

      Report comment

    • I agree, and the BS beliefs of the psychiatric industry have always, historically, brought down countries who advocated belief in psychiatry, and their toxic drugs.

      It’s truly heartbreaking to me that my own country, the U.S., which used to (and still somewhat or hypocritically claims to be) a Christian country has now become one that actually is a believer and advocate of the DSM “bible.” The problem is the mainstream Christian religions are advocating psychiatric care, because the psychiatric industry has historically, and is still today, covering up child abuse for the paternalistic Christian religions.

      And the true problem is we, who believe all should treat others as we’d like to be treated, as Jesus taught, are currently dealing with corporations who are legally required to behave as psychopaths, and this includes the mainstream Christian religions in the US today. Legally corporations, including today’s religions, are required to worship only bottom line profits, and they are.

      All the corporations need to be done away with, including today’s corporate child abuse covering up religions like the Catholics and ELCA Lutheran religions. And we need to bring about non-paternalistic societies which believe love, not injustice, psychiatric stupidity, theivery, torture, and terror, should prevail.

      Psychiatry’s undeserved credibility, and current rein of terror, is the problem in our society today.

      Report comment

  2. I am very glad to see an article such as this in a mainstream news magazine questioning the efficacy and prescribing of psychiatric drugs. It has been noted by the mainstream news media that the number of people on social security disability has “skyrocketed” and that next year, there may be “cuts” in payment. Of course, all of this must pass and be legislated by both houses of Congress and then signed by the president. Many times, this rise is attributed to the governmental policies of the Obama administration. This may be part of it. However, what has yet to be realized by the media and the politicians is that the rise in social security disability recepients correlates with the rise in the use of psychiatric prescription as noted by Robert Whitaker and others. Many want to reform the disability system/process, Where I live there is a backlog of applicants and many who should be getting disability turned down several times; when maybe they should be on disability. It may be that those desiring disability for “physical needs” may be turned down in favor of those with allegedly “mental needs.” I really don’t know. It’s just a guess in my mind. I think there may be many who really want to get off the disability and return to contributing to society and meaningful paid employment. The problem is there are very few satisfactory ways to make the transition and transformation. Most non profit agencies that say they help people back to work are just “puppets of the politically correct government” and have no idea how to help in this transition and most would rather keep the status quo of “the alleged mentally ill on psychiatric drugs” on disability even when they could be contributing to society and working in meaningful paid employment. The Social Security Disability system most likely does need reform. Many on disability need to come off of it. They do not wish to be fraudulent or take advantage of the system. It is just that the toxic addictive psychiatric drugs made many otherwise healthy individuals sicker than they ever thought they could be and they got “disorders and diseases right from the drugs.” It is like this ” THIS IS MY BRAIN ON TOXIC, ADDICTIVE PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS!”

    Report comment

    • Hi Rebel
      I hope I don’t cause offence as none is intended, but large blocks of text such as yours above are difficult to read for some people (like me).

      Your ideas are valuable – by hitting the return key occasionally you will make them easier to follow.


      Report comment

      • I’m sorry if you have trouble reading what I wrote. I mean no offense. My mind has always thought faster than either the pen or keyboard. I guess that is something else that I have been prescribed for (against) or should be by psychiatric thinking. What one of my evil psychiatrists say it was something about “mania” or “thinking too fast or too much.” I’ll work on doing better. Thank you for letting me know.

        Report comment

  3. Of course the treatments do not work. Since most “so-called mental illnesses” are actually the result of some type of trauma or abuse; emotional, sexual, verbal, physical or unknown or whatever.
    Toxic., addictive, ineffectual drugs can not work on such pain, misery, agony, and result feelings of worthlessness. Such a person needs love and ” affirmation” of his self- worth and someone to believe in him again as someone who has strengths, talents, skills, abilities, gifts, and special temperament to contribute to “society.” Such a person needs to know it is very wonderful to be who he is; his unique; God-given and blessed self. Until we take this approach; nothing will work. Additionally, the person needs to be believed that it was some type of abuse or trauma; not that it was that the “parent” or other authority figure actually loved the person or had his best interests at heart. Yes, in this system; we “reward” the abuser and “discount” the abused.

    Report comment

    • This is true; given the incredible blindness of most people to the fact that severe emotional distress is largely due to lack of love and/or trauma… and due to the voracious amoral desire of many psychiatrists and corporations to profit from medicalizing distress… it can be safely predicted that “mental illness” treatments will fail miserably for years to come.

      Anyone dealing with severe distress should do their best to extricate themselves from the existing system of illness mislabeling and over-medicating, or never enter the system period. In that way their soul will have a chance to return to life or become alive for the first time.

      Report comment

  4. Mental illness treatments are working just fine. They are generating profits for drug companies and sustaining psychiatrists’ status and incomes, thus fulfilling their primary goal.

    This initial comment by BPD still sums up the situation pretty succinctly.

    I would add that the mental illness myth is used quite effectively to persuade people that their pain is primarily the result of a personal inadequacy rather than of an oppressive socio-economic system.

    Report comment