The dangers of [psychiatric ] drugs: The drugs are especially hazardous to older people, raising the risk of strokes, pneumonia, confusion, falls, diabetes and hospitalization. “There’s a bunch of problems, not least of which is those drugs can kill you,” said Dr. Mark Kunik at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston who spoke last month at the Gerontological Society of America’s annual meeting in New Orleans. Instead of looking for causes of disruptive behavior among dementia patients, doctors typically prescribe drugs to mask the symptoms, he said, because “It’s the easy thing to do. … That’s true in hospitals, in clinics and in nursing homes.” Federal regulators are cracking down on homes that don’t routinely reassess residents on psychotropic drugs. But use remains widespread.
When you are going mad, you first notice new, shocking things about the world; you had not previously realized that the pigeon on the windowsill is always the same pigeon, nor that the rhythm of its coos is the rhythm of human speech. Only later does the fear begin, as you sense that even the most intimate and familiar parts of life are infested and undermined by secret forces. In the last phase, everything makes sense again. Your world is not that of other people, but you know what you have to do – whatever the consequences.