Flooding the World With Psychiatric Drugs Could Increase Mental Disorders

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From STAT: “To reduce the rising burden of mental disorders around the world, the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development has declared a need to increase psychiatric services globally, which should include an effort to ‘reduce the cost and improve the supply of effective psychotropic drugs for mental, neurological, and substance use disorders.’

While reducing the burden of mental disorders is certainly a laudable goal, we believe that implementing this plan will increase the global burden of mental disorders rather than decrease it. […]

Any call for improving global mental health needs to recognize two facts: First, there are commercial forces at work in this enterprise, which urge more access to psychiatric drugs. Second, as the globalization of mental health has unfolded over the past several decades, the burden of mental disorders has increased in tandem. Without such recognition, proposals for closing the global treatment gap risks further exporting a failed paradigm of care. […]

While the Lancet report is to be commended for acknowledging the importance of social and economic factors on mental health, the fact that it doesn’t investigate the public health failure of the past 30 years, which has unfolded even as the global market for the use of psychiatric drugs has expanded, puts it into the category of a potentially harmful document. It promotes more psychiatric treatment on a global scale without making the case that this will lower the burden of mental disorders worldwide. Indeed, it is easy to make the case, as we have sought to quickly do here, that ‘closing the treatment gap,’ when treatment includes increased use of psychiatric drugs, will likely make things worse.”

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13 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t know that much about antipsychotic drugs causing mental disorders, but they certainly cause neurological disorders like tardive dyskinesia. This misdirected causation would be more likely with the alleged antidepressants, which are used to tinker with the chemicals involved with moods- plenty of room to go astray there, particularly with careless and/or feckless prescribing.

  2. long term neuroleptic treatment can cause tardive dementia and tardive psychosis, both of which are incredibly damaging to the individual and, one would think, damaging to the economy and society as a whole, given how many people are prescribed tranquilizers for any number of (often questionable) reasons. the antidepressants overlap with neuroleptics in some respects (they decrease frontal lobe activity), and with sedatives and stimulants in others, depending on drug in question, dosage, additional drugs, etc.

    If “mental health” was about improving the health of individuals, families, communities, and society as a whole, then the “experts” would have found different ways to deal with problems in living a long time ago. If, on the other hand, the medicalization of deviance and the psychiatry-ization of the masses is more about social stability and control, then…

    Congratulations! The system works like a charm! Time to export this bad boy!

  3. Flooding the Market With Psychiatric Drugs WILL Increase Mental Disorders. I don’t think there is any need to seem so tentative. Here’s another example of the “mental illness” industry pretending somehow to be about producing “mental health”. It doesn’t result in “mental health”, it does result in increased “consumers” of the “mental health” treatments it “provides”.

    This is globalization of westernized medicine, although medicine is perhaps a misleading term to use. We have no doubt that if we provide the treatments (drugs), you will provide the patients (treatment junkies). We’ve knocked out the notion of free choice in order to have a steady supply of treatment customers, that is, revenue, and increased job security for members of the “helping” professions.

    Alright. Each and every one of you. Enjoy your invalidation vacation.

  4. Has Robert Nikkel read Anatomy of an Epidemic?

    The title is way too tentative. Of course I realize Nikkel wanted to get his article published and had to write for the editor and readership.

    Sadly most believe these drugs are “neuroprotective” and dismiss all criticisms however cautiously they’re worded.