It’s no secret that at the present time, psychiatry is reeling under a barrage of scrutiny and criticism. Their long-standing contention that all significant problems of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving are brain illnesses “just like diabetes,” which need to be “treated” with drugs and high-voltage electric shocks to the brain, has been thoroughly discredited. And yet they go on peddling their spurious, self-serving ideology and the products of their pharma partners.
The great mystery in all of this is why has the mainstream media been so slow to pick up the story. This is the greatest hoax in history being played out right under our noses. People’s lives are being destroyed, and our cultural resilience is being systematically eroded by psychiatric “diagnoses” and “treatments”. In recent years, we have seen some increase in media scrutiny, but it’s been relatively circumscribed, and way outnumbered by the media’s faithful regurgitation of pharma-psychiatry’s press releases, extolling the latest “great breakthrough” in the “treatment of brain illnesses”.
But perhaps the dam has finally broken. On September 14, Britain’s Daily Mail.com ran an article by Peter Gøtzsche titled Prescription pills are Britain’s third biggest killer: Side-effects of drugs taken for insomnia and anxiety kill thousands. Why do doctors hand them out like Smarties? Dr. Gøtzsche is a Danish physician, Professor of Clinical Research Design and Analysis at the University of Copenhagen, and leader of the Nordic Cochrane Center, Copenhagen. Smarties are British M&M’s.
The article is a plain-spoken, no-holds-barred attack on psychiatric research and practice. Here are some quotes:
“More than 80 million prescriptions for psychiatric drugs are written in the UK every year. Not only are these drugs often entirely unnecessary and ineffective, but they can also turn patients into addicts, cause crippling side-effects – and kill.”
“And the death toll from these pills has been grossly underestimated. As I reveal in a new book, Deadly Psychiatry And Organised Denial, the true figure is terrifying: according to my calculations, based on data from published and unpublished sources, psychiatric drugs are the third major killer after heart disease and cancer.”
“…for instance, finding that the number of suicides among adults and children taking antidepressant drugs is actually 15 times greater than the number calculated by the U.S. drugs watchdog, the Food and Drug Administration.”
“Just this month, for instance, a study published in the BMJ found that thousands of people in England with learning difficulties are routinely prescribed antipsychotic drugs: these drugs do nothing to help these patients but are used as a chemical cosh.”
“…antipsychotics are licensed if they show an effect in two placebo trials, no matter how small that effect is.”
“…an analysis of trials by Cochrane Collaboration [a global independent network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers, and people interested in health] found that when the placebo was designed to cause similar side-effects to the drug, the psychiatrists reported just as good results from both groups.”
“Based on the same sort of flawed trials, antidepressants are also being handed out for conditions such as binge eating, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and menopausal symptoms.”
“The claimed benefits can be ludicrously small, for instance: they cut the rate of hot flushes from ten to nine a day.”
“Most of us could get one or more psychiatric diagnoses if we consulted a psychiatrist or GP.”
“When they try to come off the pills and experience very unpleasant side-effects, patients say they are told their symptoms are the result of their illness coming back.
This ignores the fact that the drugs’ withdrawal effects can mimic the symptoms of psychiatric disorders. It also doesn’t fit in with what happens when patients in desperation reach for the drugs again: within a few hours they can be feeling better. Real depression doesn’t fade that fast.”
“My proposal is to start a campaign to Just Say No – it is time for a war on psychiatric drugs.”
Everything in the article will be familiar to those of us on this side of the issue. Indeed, I think it will be familiar to psychiatrists also, but they allow self-interest to dull their critical faculties.
But the important point is that this hard-hitting, outspoken piece is being run by the Daily Mail, Britain’s second largest print daily newspaper, and its largest online newspaper!
In an addendum to the article, there is a personal account by Luke Montagu, heir to the Earl of Sandwich. Luke recounts that when he was 19, he had a sinus operation that left him with headaches and “a sense of distance from the world”. His GP told him – guess what? – that he had a chemical imbalance in his brain!
Luke describes briefly but convincingly his experiences with psychiatrists and other doctors over the next 25 years. He finally managed to taper off the drugs, and describes the detox as “…nearly seven years of hell”. Then:
“About three years ago, I very slowly began to recover. I still have a burning pins and needles sensation throughout my body, loud tinnitus and a feeling of intense agitation.
But my mind is back, and I’m determined to try to help others avoid this terrible trap.”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Again, all, or most, of the material here is familiar to us, but it’s extremely well put together, and Luke Montagu’s personal struggle with psychiatric drugs will, I think, resonate strongly for many individuals who have been similarly mistreated.
But the important point is that this message is being publicized in a mainstream media outlet. Please take a look at this article, and pass it on to others.
The tide is coming in, and psychiatry’s bloated sandcastle is being washed away.
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.