John Hoggett questions societies attitudes towards psychiatric drugs

The pharmaceutical companies make a lot of money out of peoples’ sense of loss. US journalist Robert Whitaker has followed the rise in psychiatric diagnosis treatable by medication. In Anatomy of an Epidemic he charts the statistics in the US of the rise in dependence on psychiatric drugs since their introduction in the early 1950s. The numbers are staggering.

But it seems the power of the pharmaceutical companies knows no boundaries. In the update of the psychiatric industry’s bible for diagnosis and treatment, the DSM-5 – published in May 2013 – more and more forms of behaviour are being classified as mental illnesses. Even bereavement is now officially considered a mental illness treatable by psychiatric drugs.

These are powerful drugs which ensnare people into dependancy, often with devastating results. Neuroleptic drugs in particular are widely documented [Dr Joanna Moncrief reports some of these in a talk on youtube about the myth of the chemical cure] as producing ‘side-effects’ such as: stopping the bodies ability to produce white blood cells, causing Parkinson-like destruction of the nervous system and shrinkage of the brain.

John Hoggett questions societies attitudes.

DRUG DEALERS BEWARE – part 1

Did you know that if your child is being a bit uppity and refusing to go to bed, not doing what you ask and running around like a mad thing, there is an old folk remedy which works in nearly every case. Give them a line of cocaine; it slows them down really fast. Give them less than you would take as an adult and if it doesn’t work give them a larger dose or change your dealer and try another supplier. Works like a charm!

I’m joking of course. But imagine that some drug dealer had a child that was a right pain, running around, knocking things off the table, not doing what he was told, answering back, refusing to go to bed and playing on his game boy instead of doing his homework. Now imagine the drug dealer decides to give the kid a line of cocaine to calm him down. Not enough to lay him out or cause really serious damage, but enough to slow the boy down. Imagine the dealer did this every day for several years. Then social services find out. What do you think would happen? Would the child be taken into care? Would the dealer go to prison? What would happen to the child’s mother for allowing this to happen? What would the local community think?

Now imagine an inexperienced teacher has a young boy in her class. He won’t sit still, won’t do his work, stands on chairs, taunts the teacher, gets into fights with the other boys and is a right pain. Now the teacher has a friend who can supply drugs, not that unusual these days. So she slips the kid some dope at lunchtime and low and behold he calms down in the afternoon. She tries him on a few different drugs but eventually works out that a low dose of amphetamine slows Matthew down. It’s a miracle! So she carries on for the rest of the term, and the next term, and the term after that. Then the police find out. What would happen? Would she lose her job and never teach again? Would there be outraged mothers marching up to the school demanding the head resign? Would there be a national scandal reported on the television news?

Now imagine that a multinational drug company discovers that an old drug, that has nearly the same effect as cocaine, an amphetamine type drug, slows children down. The drug company needs to find some new markets to increase their profits. The marketing department of the drug company infiltrates the psychiatric institutions, puts on conferences and produces lots of glossy brochures, buys a lot of lunches and starts employing ex-psychiatrists in dodgy, but well paid research positions. The marketing department starts talking about a new wonder drug and the ex-psychiatrists start talking about a new disease and inventing junk science involving dodgy interpretations of some new amazing brain scans to justify this so called disease.

A child plays up a school and a young teacher can’t cope. She reports the child to the special educational needs coordinator who refers him to an educational psychologist who assesses the child and decides he has ADHD and refers him to a child psychiatrist who agrees with the diagnosis and proscribes Ritalin, a drug with almost exactly the same effect as cocaine or amphetamine. The child is on the drug for years, possibly for the rest of their life. A new drug addict has been created.

A multi-million pound industry has been created supported by a huge number of professionals. Support groups are formed where parents are encouraged to keep their children on class B drugs for years at a time. No one asks why the children are playing up. No one reminds parents that children do play up, but often, with time, eventually calm down. No one decides that school needs to be more interesting or helps young teachers learn to manage classrooms better. No one asks if unhappy parents contribute to uppity and anxious children who find it difficult to sit still.

There is no scandal. There is no TV investigation, no one is prosecuted, the child is not offered counselling for the trauma of surviving systematic child abuse, the school is not investigated for neglect and the professionals are not prosecuted for fabrication of illness.

The drug dealers make a killing. Child psychologists and child psychiatrists have well paid careers for life. Multinational drug companies make huge profits for their shareholders.

This is a scandal and I’m not joking.

DRUG DEALERS BEWARE – part 2

Does anyone have any friends who are really unhappy? You see them and more times than you care to remember they are in tears, they tell you about the awful time they are having; they can’t sleep, they act odd, the partners a nightmare, work, if they have it, is going badly. It’s tears before bedtime and probably no sleep either.

You listen, and it helps for while but not for long. You tell them to buck them selves up and they resent you. You keep away, you feel bad and you worry something awful is going to happen to them.

Well don’t worry. I have a bit of advice that works every time. Give them a bit of ecstasy. Put it in their coffee in the morning and another bit at teatime. Works like a charm. If it doesn’t work add a bit more ecstasy, and if that doesn’t work add a bit of heroin to the mix, well it’s a serious situation and you’ve got to do something.

I’m joking of course. But imagine a drug dealer who has a girlfriend who is anxious all the time and occasionally suicidal. She has had a hard life and is unhappy. Imagine the drug dealer persuades his girlfriend to take some downers. She likes the drugs; it calms her down for a bit. She also finds it hard to sleep, so the drug dealer gives her some stronger drugs. She takes them for a several months, and now finds she can’t sleep without them. She tries to kill herself on the drugs and fails. She tries again. The drug dealer persuades her to take even more drugs, persuading her that if only she took the right sort of drug she would be happier.

Then the police find out. What do you think would happen? Would the dealer go to jail? Would there be a story of evil drug dealers in the local paper? Would the Television News run a story on out of control drug dealers? Would the girlfriend be offered help and sympathy? Would there be calls to remove drug dealers from the streets?

Now imagine that a multinational drug company needs a market for some new drugs so they can increase their profits. The marketing department of the drug company infiltrates the psychiatric institutions, puts on conferences and produces lots of glossy brochures, buys a lot of lunches and starts employing ex-psychiatrists in dodgy, but well paid research positions. The marketing department starts talking about new wonder drugs and the ex-psychiatrists start talking about a new disease and inventing junk science involving dodgy interpretations of some new amazing brain scans to justify themselves.

Imagine a woman who has had a hard life, is unemployed, is finding her children difficult and is anxious all the time. Haunted by childhood memories of terror, she cannot sleep at night. She goes to the doctor and is referred to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist proscribes a sleeping pill, a daytime tranquilliser, and an anti-depressant. The young woman is not much happier but sleeps well. Two months later she tries to kill herself on the sleeping pills. One week later she tries again. The psychiatrist puts her on a mood stabilizer on top of the other drugs.

She is on these drugs for years. A new drug addict has been created. She develops brain damage from the mood stabilizer. Then her kidneys collapse, she is on dialysis and needs a kidney transplant.

A multi-million pound industry has been created, supported by a huge number of professionals.

There is no scandal. There is no TV investigation, and no one is prosecuted.

No one is really interested in what causes someone to become so unhappy they cannot sleep or try to kill themselves. The drug dealers make a killing. GP’s and psychiatrists have well paid careers for life. Multinational drug companies make huge profits for their shareholders.

This is a scandal and I’m not joking.

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