Most antidepressant users have never had depression

Depression’s increase in the U.S. has been persisting for years, and it’s going on decades. And while the increase in antidepressant use has followed a predictably similar path, not all cases can be explained by the parallel rise in disease. Many people, in fact, take antidepressants regardless of a diagnosis. A new study published in The…


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    With publication of the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), it becomes obvious that mental health care is a very long way from “improving” in America. Many qualified healing arts professionals argue that the DSM’s expansion of disorder labels was bought and paid for with Pharmaceutical company money in multiple undeclared conflicts of interest among members of the APA working groups. Although public and non-psychiatrist stakeholder commentary was nominally invited by these groups, it was roundly ignored.

    Over use of anti-depressants is by no means the only significant issue facing modern psychiatry. It would not be overstating to suggest that the brain-disorder model for human distress and cognitive disorganization is an abject failure lacking any consistent scientific or observational support. Anti-depressants are no more effective than placebo for mild to moderate depression. Electro-convulsive shock is still advocated by some for treating severe depression, but is widely viewed by patients as a sanctioned medical barbarism. Neuroleptics used long term in patients labeled with schizophrenia or psychosis are also associated with permanent disablement in tardive dyskinesia in a third of patients so treated. Millions of kids are being “treated” with stimulants for ADHD, despite their association with developmental disorders and obesity.

    These issues are not news. Authors such as Dr. Peter Breggin have written for 25 years of the dangers of Prozac, Benzodiazepines, and other highly psycho-active and highly addictive drugs in common use. As noted by no less a figure than Dr. Allen Frances MD, who headed the DSM-IV working groups, pharmaceutical companies have paid literally BILLIONS in fines for false advertising, but ignore the fines as a cost of doing business.

    My advice to psychiatric professionals is to wake up and smell the coffee. Medical psychiatry is in a crisis of public confidence. Big Pharma is lying to us, while it buys our legislators with campaign contributions. Major legal reform is inevitable and deeply needed — starting with outlawing the advertisement of prescription drugs, and enforcement of open standards for the independent validation of published research results.

    Richard A. Lawhern, Ph.D.
    Patient Advocate

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    From an anecdotal perspective – I’ve decided that a good deal of depression is situational in nature. IE, I get depressed when I’m lonely, or when I’m out of money, etc. Pills don’t help that sort of “depression” – if you can even call that “depression” (which I believe is the point of this article). As a society, we are placing way too much emphasis and importance on medication, and not nearly enough emphasis on teaching people virtues and that “real happiness is always a byproduct of things like love, acceptance, belonging, contributing, achieving goals, etc.” – Victor Frankl had many great quotes, one of which was: “Pleasure is, and must remain, a side-effect or by-product, and is destroyed and spoiled to the degree to which it is made a goal in itself.”