In this blog, I want to give some personal reflections on the events of the last few weeks in relation to the Lancet antidepressant meta-analysis and the lodging of a formal complaint with the UK Royal College of Psychiatrists. The issue of antidepressant withdrawal has been brought into the public eye in the UK like never before. What happens next will be very interesting.
When you consult the Royal College of Psychiatrists' website it proclaims that one of its primary aims is to "improve the mental health of individuals, their families and communities" — thus, to act in the public interest. Recent events at the Royal College concerning its public position on the Cipriani et al. antidepressants study put that proclamation in serious doubt.
Jeffrey LIeberman and colleagues have published a paper in the American Journal of Psychiatry stating that there is no evidence that psychiatric drugs cause long-term harm, and that the evidence shows that these drugs provide a great benefit to patients. A close examination of their review reveals that it is a classic example of institutional corruption, which was meant to protect guild interests.
Lancet Psychiatry, a UK-based medical journal, recently published a study that concluded brain scans showed that individuals diagnosed with ADHD had smaller brains. That conclusion is belied by the study data. The journal needs to retract this study. UPDATE: Lancet Psychiatry (online) has published letters critical of the study, and the authors' response, and a correction.
US news coverage has primarily framed the opioid drug abuse epidemic as a criminal justice issue rather than a public health problem, according to new research published ahead of print in the Journal of Psychiatric Services. The media’s framing of the epidemic may increase stigma against those who develop a dependency on prescription drugs and distract political attention from public-health oriented solutions, such as increased access to substance abuse recovery treatments.