Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Book I Intend to Read...

Mad In America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill by Bob Whitaker is one book I intend to get ahold of and read.

It seems like every second person I meet is on some form of antidepressant. There is a rising tide of mental illness in North America, and aside from the usual causes of overwhelming guilt caused by unredeemed sin, one of the contributing factors appears to be the very drugs they administer for depression.

Whitaker
starts by debunking the effectiveness of these massively hyped wonder drugs -- antidepressants like Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil, and the new atypical antipsychotic drugs like Zyprexa. His research shows how they often are barely more effective than placebos in treating mental disorder and depression, despite the glowing adulation they have received in the mainstream media.


But he goes on to make the startling claim that these new psychiatric drugs have directly contributed to an alarming new epidemic of drug-induced mental illness. The very drugs prescribed by physicians to stabilize mental disorders in fact are inducing pathological changes in brain chemistry and triggering suicide, manic and psychotic episodes, convulsions, violence, diabetes, pancreatic failure, metabolic diseases, and premature death.


Whitaker originally was a highly regarded medical reporter at the Albany Times Union and also wrote off and on for the Boston Globe. A series he co-wrote for the Boston Globe on harmful psychiatric research was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1998. When he began his investigative research into psychiatric issues, Whitaker was still a believer in the story of progress that psychiatry has been telling the public for decades.

He said, "I absolutely believed the common wisdom that these antipsychotic drugs actually had improved things and that they had totally revolutionized how we treated schizophrenia. People used to be locked away forever, and now maybe things weren't great, but they were a lot better. It was a story of progress."

That story of progress was fraudulent, as Whitaker soon found out when he gained new insight from his research into torturous psychiatric practices such as electroshock, lobotomy, insulin coma, and neuroleptic drugs. Psychiatrists told the public that these techniques "cured" psychosis or balanced the chemistry of the brain.

But, in reality, the common thread in all these different treatments was the attempt to suppress "mental illness" by deliberately damaging the higher functions of the brain. The stunning truth is that, behind closed doors, the psychiatric establishment itself labeled these treatments as "brain-damaging therapeutics."

The first generation of antipsychotic drugs created a drug-induced brain pathology by blocking the neurotransmitter dopamine and essentially shutting down many higher brain functions. In fact, when antipsychotics such as Thorazine and Haldol were first introduced, psychiatrists themselves said that these neuroleptic drugs were virtually indistinguishable from a "chemical lobotomy."

Remember what a doctor I quoted in an earlier blog post said? Drugs are things that if given to a healthy person, makes them sick.

1 comment:

Mitch said...

Hmm, as someone that has lived with a schizophrenic before and after going on medication, I can vouch for the incredible difference the meds can make. Instead of damaging her "higher order brain functions," Debra has gone from being unable to read to pulling off "A's" in many of her high school classes.

Also, Darren used to work at a place that still did electroshock to certain individuals, and he says that the results were amazing. It really, really works on some people, which is probably why institutions went overboard and gave it to everyone.