It's not in the least bit surprising that one who has lived through such trauma is the one to make breakthrough discoveries in how to care for people who suffer in similar fashion.
When psychoactive drugs were first introduced, there was a brief period of optimism in the psychiatric profession, but by the 1970s, optimism gave way to a sense of threat. Serious side effects of the drugs were becoming apparent, and an antipsychiatry movement had taken root, as exemplified by the writings of Thomas Szasz and the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. There was also growing competition for patients from psychologists and social workers. In addition, psychiatrists were plagued by internal divisions: some embraced the new biological model, some still clung to the Freudian model, and a few saw mental illness as an essentially sane response to an insane world. Moreover, within the larger medical profession, psychiatrists were regarded as something like poor relations; even with their new drugs, they were seen as less scientific than other specialists, and their income was generally lower.
Pema Chödrön describes a liberating way to relate to our fears: not as something to try to get rid of or cast out, but as something we became very intimate with. In so doing, she explains, we come to find that the journey of knowing fear is in fact the journey of courage. From this wisdom, we learn to embrace the fullness of our experience in life.
I’m not anti-medication, but I am anti-bullshit. I know that medications truly help some people,and some people do well on them. Those people should feel free to continue using them. However, I think all people should be given honest information about psychiatric meds before being put on them. We should be told how hard they can be to get off,and that there is not a ton of research showing long term effectiveness for medications. We should be given the truth that the chemical imbalance theory has not proven to be true. We should be given help and support for getting back off the medications as soon as possible. This would be the best way to help the 40% of people that do not respond to any given medication and might actually be harmed by it. In our current system,people unhelped by medications are only given more medications as well as the message that they are doing something wrong if they’re not recovering.
The research effort is led by Dr. Carlotta Belaise, a colleague of Dr. Giovanni A. Fava and frequent co-author with him of scientific papers challenging the long-term use of antidepressants. Her research team is collecting data on antidepressant withdrawal syndrome, “which we strongly believe is a very important, common and delicate clinical problem.”
Marcia Angell (none other than the former Editor in Chief of The New England Journal of Medicine) reviews three books, all of which have been mentioned on this blog before. The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth Irving Kirsch Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in... Continue Reading →