Profiting from mental distress

Just sharing a Comment is Free article from the Guardian. Nice little synopsis of a lot of what gets covered on Beyond Meds by Harriet Fraad.

The excerpt:

The New York Times recently led with a front-page splash about psychiatry’s propensity to prescribe pills, “Talk Doesn’t Pay, So Psychiatry Turns Instead to Drug Therapy”. That news is already widely known in the mental health field, but it has vast ramifications for Americans trying to maintain their sanity in our market-driven and medical system for delivering mental healthcare.

What does the turn to drug therapy mean for the mass of Americans?

Mental illness has not decreased with the change from talk therapy to drugs. In fact, as Robert Whitaker’s book diagnoses, mental illness in America has become an established epidemic. So-called miracle drugs like Prozac are taken by 11% of the population – and Prozac is only one of the 30 available antidepressants on the market. Antidepressants are accompanied by anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic drugs. Xanax, America’s leading anti-anxiety medication, is so ubiquitous that Xanax generates more revenue than Tide detergent, reports Charles Barber in his book Comfortably Numb.

Anti-psychotics drugs alone net the pharmaceutical industry at least $14.6bn dollars a year. Psycho-pharmaceuticals are the most profitable sector of the industry, which makes it one of the most profitable business sectors in the world. Americans are less than 5% of the world’s population, yet they consume 66% of the world’s psychological medications.

Do these psycho pharmaceuticals work to restore mental health? Actually, the evidence is overwhelming that they fail. Antidepressants, the most popular psycho-pharmaceuticals, work no better than placebos. They work 25% of the time and stop working when the user stops taking them. In addition, they may actually harm patients in the long run. They disrupt brain neurotransmitters and may usurp the brain’s organic soothing functions. read the rest here

I made comments on the New York Time’s article “Talk Doesn’t Pay, So Psychiatry Turns Instead to Drug Therapy” mentioned above right here.

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters