Marjorie Bontempo was a changed woman after moving into Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley, a Littleton nursing home where the staff doesn’t believe in using antipsychotic drugs simply to calm residents. A physician had prescribed an antipsychotic for Bontempo a year earlier, after Alzheimer’s disease had transformed her from an accomplished seamstress and demure family peacekeeper into a cantankerous, confused woman who refused to eat.
I am sick of seeing friends who are seriously mentally distressed neglected and damaged by mainstream psychiatry. I am fed up hearing about people being detained, locked up and forced to take damaging medication before anyone has found out why they are distressed. I am angry about children being forced to take addictive psychoactive drugs by health professionals because no one could be bothered to work out why they are playing up. I met some others who wanted to change things and together we formed an organisation called Speak Out Against Psychiatry.
A recent story in Al Jazeera by James Ridgeway of Mother Jones illuminates the efforts by major pharmaceutical companies to get doctors prescribing medicines like Zyprexa, Seroquel, and Abilify to patients for whom the drugs were never intended. Focusing on psychiatrists because they rely on subjective diagnoses, the drug reps have been so successful that they’ve changed the criteria for mental illness and disability payments. Ridgeway quotes former New England Journal of Medicine editor Marcia Angell.
“[T]he tally of those who are so disabled by mental disorders that they qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) increased nearly two and a half times between 1987 and 2007 – from one in 184 Americans to one in seventy-six. For children, the rise is even more startling – a thirty-five-fold increase in the same two decades. Mental illness is now the leading cause of disability in children.” Under the tutelage of Big Pharma, we are “simply expanding the criteria for mental illness so that nearly everyone has one.” Fugh-Berman agrees: In the age of aggressive drug marketing, she says, “Psychiatric diagnoses have expanded to include many perfectly normal people.”
1. Treatment Facts 2. Preying on the Elderly for Profit 3. Real Solutions 4. What You Can Do In today’s high-pressure world, tradition is too…
While sipping drinks from coconut shells, psychiatrists from around the world recently met in Honolulu to discuss more ways to capitalize on human behavior and promote drug dependency. The occasion was the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), held in a Hawaiian convention center lined with mental disorder displays and pharmaceutical booths.