Drug Detente?

December 23, 2012 § 4 Comments

Lawrence Auster proposes a set of propositions on SSRI’s and antispsychotic prescription drugs with which he hopes we can all agree:

(a) Anti-depressant drugs are greatly over-prescribed in this country, they often lead to psychotic or violent behavior, and this over-prescription should stop.

(b) It is not anti-psychotic drugs in themselves that cause psychotic or violent behavior, but the underlying psychosis that the drugs are intended to suppress. However, psychotic individuals will not voluntarily keep taking their anti-psychotic medicine, and when they go off their meds they frequently become psychotic and violent.

(c) Therefore dangerously psychotic individuals, in addition to being given anti-psychotic drugs, also need to be confined in an institution where they will be required to take the drugs and where they will not be a danger to society.

This is an excellent formulation. For my own part, I would add the following adjustment to (b) and some additional clarifications:

  1. Antipsychotics are also wildly overprescribed.
  2. Sometimes antipsychotic drugs (not just SSRI’s) cause violent and suicidal behavior. Sometimes benzodiazepines cause violent and suicidal behavior. Sometimes opiates cause violent and suicidal behavior. Sometimes even alcohol causes violent and suicidal behavior. In general, it should be assumed that in some number of cases a psychoactive drug will cause violent and suicidal behaviour.
  3. Sometimes it is neither the drug itself nor an underlying condition in the person that causes violent and suicidal behaviour. A third kind of cause is a withdrawal syndrome from the drug, which in some cases may be protracted over a period of many months or even years, long after the drug itself has left the person’s system. A person’s body adapts to the presence of the drug, and it is these adaptations – which may take months or years for the body to reverse – which cause withdrawal symptoms. Many people have been convinced that they have lifelong depression or bipolar disorder because when they stop taking the drugs they exhibit symptoms of depression or bipolar disorder. In fact, in these cases (withdrawal syndrome cases) what is occurring is “rebound” or other withdrawal symptoms.
  4. Staying on the meds is no guarantee of long term stability, because of the phenomenon of tolerance withdrawal. In tolerance withdrawal the patient’s body has adapted to the medication, and he begins to experience withdrawal symptoms even though he has not stopped taking his meds or changed his dosage. Sometimes increasing the dosage will make the symptoms disappear; sometimes increasing the dosage fails to make symptoms disappear or causes other problems due to drug toxicity.
  5. Generally speaking, many people who are convinced that they have to take psychoactive drugs for the rest of their lives do not in fact have a permanent irreversible underlying condition. They think they do because doctors tell them they do, drug companies tell them they do, and when they stop or change medications they have withdrawal symptoms which get blamed on a nonexistent permanent underlying condition. Many of these people have a shortened lifespan because of drug side effects.
  6. There is no way to get a handle on the statistics underlying these different scenarios because of the way the “science” of pharmacology has been corrupted. It isn’t mainly a top-down corruption enforced by a conspiracy; rather, it is a societal dysfunction (rather like liberalism) which is to some extent self-organizing and self-perpetuating. To really get a handle on this, read Pharmageddon.

[Updated to include over-prescription of antipsychotics (point 1) and tolerance withdrawal (point 4)]

§ 4 Responses to Drug Detente?

  • tz2026 says:

    There is a danger, perhaps even greater than “gun control”. Look back at the USSR labeling dissidents as psychotic and sending them to mental institutions.

    No one has yet suggested to differentiate between demon possession or oppression and psychosis, but the symptoms aren’t always different. Yet that is another reality secular society has problems dealing with.

    Consider those who might be grieving over a death of a loved one and take a medicine (in this case assume effective). Your medical record now reflects you were taking some anti-psychotic medication. Should you be able to vote or get a gun even though it has been years since the bereavement?

    And who will judge who is sane? The same secularists who will say opposing contraception or believing in the resurrection or the bible for that matter is crazy?

    Yet in this case I’m not so libertarian (see Thomas Szasz who does make good points). If there appears to be a threat, there should be a means to evaluate it, and it should require the same kind of evidence to arrest and hold someone, not just hearsay. Perjury or even over-zealousness should be severely penalized. If someone is found to be a “danger to himself or others”, first potentially, then actually, have them committed, but reevaluate. If they are cured, then restore to them the rights of a sane individual.

    Sanity conditional upon taking a medication (usually with side-effects) presents a problem which is hard to resolve. If a person wills to not take the medication and opts for a controlled environment where his rights are restricted to prevent harm, instead of taking the medication, ought it not be his decision?

  • Zippy says:

    tz:
    All excellent points. The problem may be intractable in an advanced liberal society simply because advanced liberalism is incapable of dealing with it. So right now we are really just negotiating an ideal of sorts. But even in that context this notion among some commentators that the medication is never a cause, and the utter lack of consideration for things like withdrawal syndromes and the tolerance withdrawal time bomb, is a particularly acute bit of unreason.

  • Anymouse says:

    I feel it would be best to use the criminal justice system for the typical violent psychotic. If he presents a threat he should be chargeable. If not violent, then he is not of direct importance to the state or Social Workers.

  • The One says:

    It should be pointed out that millions of boys are currently on Ritalin. Combine that with Obama-care and a psych profile, and all of a sudden millions of men ten years from now are ineligible to own guns… funny how that works out.

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