This is a good article featuring Robert Whitaker and Oryx Cohen. The study Whitaker mentions that shows more frequent and sustained improvement among those with psychosis over a 15 year problem IF they were not using meds is a study I featured on this blog. (I now have so many posts I can’t even find it to link to it!! how annoying) Thanks to the reader who alerted me to this piece.
If you want the whole study in PDF format email me or leave a comment and I’ll send it to you.
Is there a conspiracy to keep accurate information about medications from psychiatric patients?
Both an author and a local resident told College of the Holy Cross students last week that they think so. Robert Whitaker, author of “Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill,” and Oryx Cohen of Worcester, who is director of the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community in Holyoke, think there are many healthy alternatives to psychotropic medications for people with mental illness.
Mr. Cohen, who is also co-founder of the Freedom Center in Northampton, said he has not taken a psychiatric drug in six years regardless of his diagnosis as having bipolar illness. He is a leader of the consumer/survivor/ex-patient movement and touts holistic treatments such as proper sleep, yoga, acupuncture and reiki.
Mr. Whitaker spoke about a 2007 study by two University of Illinois researchers that he claimed shows that 40 percent of patients with schizophrenia who weaned themselves from antipsychotic medications showed improvement in their illness 15 years after the study began. Only 5 percent of those who remained on the drugs showed similar improvement, he told the 79 people attending the symposium at Dinand Library Thursday.
Most remarkable, said Mr. Whitaker, a journalist and Cambridge resident, not one mainstream newspaper in the country reported the surprising results of the study, which was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. It would have been treated as big news had the results been reversed as pharmaceutical companies would have liked, he claimed.
“Corruption” keeps adverse drug results out of the public eye, Mr. Whitaker said. He pointed to profits so great that not even a $1.4 billion settlement with the federal Justice Department last month by one company, Eli Lilly, of civil and criminal claims surrounding the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa, seems to slow the companies, Mr. Whitaker said. (read the rest here and this is a must read!)