Its the drugs, stupid
December 19, 2012 § 12 Comments
The usual question is raised: is it that violent people happen to be on psychiatric meds, or is it that psychiatric meds make people violent?
A commenter asked:
Are there any scientific or medical studies that show antidepressants, which are more like tranquilizers than stimulants, cause violent behavior?
Yes, there are. Here is a paper that surveys some of that large body of scientific evidence. (HT to commenter Vickie who saved me the trouble of collecting my own sources).
It has been decisively proven that these drugs actually cause violent and suicidal behavior: not just that people who are already suicidal and violent take them, but that the drugs actually make a significant number of patients violent and/or suicidal.
In addition, the “chemical imbalance” serotonin theory of depression has been completely discredited. Despite this it is still vigorously sold to the public by drug companies and the psychiatric profession.
Anyone who is on long-term medication — even for blood pressure — owes it to himself to read the book Pharmageddon by Dr. David Healy. Healy is not anti-drug, but he brings a scientific and clinical realism to the table that is sorely lacking in our pharmacomedical establishment.
I have some involuntary personal experience in this area. There are lots of things about prescription medications – especially their long term use – that most people do not know and about which most doctors are in denial. Just as a sampling:
The mechanism of action of most medications is unknown. When someone tells you that a medication “just” increases the neurotransmitter serotonin, for example, that is a sign that he doesn’t know what he is talking about.
Most medications – for any purpose – will exhibit a discontinuation syndrome (“withdrawal”) in some portion of the population after long term use.
Some portion of the population will go into “tolerance withdrawal” when on a medication long term. This means that you will start having withdrawal symptoms even though you have not discontinued the medication or reduced your dose. Your body has adapted to the presence of the medication, and now you are exhibiting withdrawal symptoms even though you haven’t withdrawn.
Most medical doctors would not recognize a withdrawal symptom if it beat them over the head repeatedly. Tolerance withdrawal isn’t even in their vocabulary.
Most doctors will not believe that the patient is experiencing withdrawal once enough metabolic “half lives” for the medication have gone by. The myth is that withdrawal syndromes last until you get the medication “out of your system”. The reality is that in some cases it takes years for your body to reach equilibrium.
The entire medical system takes a “see no evil, I’m not listening” approach to problems with medication. As a result, the great majority of medication-caused problems are attributed to some underlying illness rather than the medication. This means that as a systematic matter problems with prescription drugs are underreported by orders of magnitude. When your doctor tells you a prescription drug is “safe” he literally doesn’t know what he is talking about, because the way the system works now it isn’t possible for him to know what he is talking about.
The idea that patients with depression or bipolar disorder – or many non-psychiatric problems, for that matter – need to be on medications for life is very often a self-serving mythology propagated by drug companies. This mythology is perpetuated in many ways. One of those ways is that when the patient goes off the medication, he experiences a withdrawal syndrome that is attributed to a nonexistent underlying permanent illness. The idea that the transient problem for which the person was prescribed medication in the first place has passed, and that the medication is now the problem, is never taken seriously — even though it is often true.
There are virtually no humane systems, clinics, or hospitals in existence that are capable of competently helping a patient come off of prescription medications safely. The last one I am aware of existing was one run by Dr. Ashton in the UK to help people get rid of benzodiazepines. It closed many years ago because she hit mandatory retirement, and she was doing a job that nobody else wants to do. Benzodiazepines are prescribed by doctors like candy, they are harder to get rid of than heroin, and if you seek medical help in trying to get rid of them you will most likely be categorized as either an addict or a mental patient and “treated” as such.
An unknown number of “addicts” started off by just doing exactly what their doctors told them to do and are not the sort of people to self-indulgently pursue a “high”. Their doctors got them addicted to one substance or another and then hung them out to dry (after they hit tolerance withdrawal, say); they self-medicate illegally and imprudently as a way, not of getting “high”, but of dealing with protracted withdrawal symptoms brought about by their doctors’ actions. Many of these end up dead either by overdose or suicide, never really understanding what happened to them.
I could go on and on.