All of the panel members that produced the American Psychiatric Association (APA)’s Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Major Depressive Disorder had numerous financial ties to drug companies that manufacture antidepressants, raising questions about the trustworthiness of the guideline, a UMass Boston researcher says.
Recently some of the nation’s top researchers, clinicians and scientists convened in Washington D.C. for the first annual Selling Sickness conference–examining how Pharma “sells” diseases to move the medications intended to treat them. Examples of Pharma’s disease-mongering business model abound, especially since direct-to-consumer advertising began in the late 1990’s.
The pharmaceutical companies have broadened their horizon. It is not enough that they have 30% of middle and upper income white women addicted to antidepressants and that 20% of adults take some form of psychiatric medication. They now want to hook as many children as possible on psychiatric medication as well.
A Winnipeg judge’s ruling that a teenage boy murdered his friend because of the effects of Prozac will not be appealed, confirming an apparent North American first and reviving debate around the widespread prescription of anti-depressants to young people. Justice Robert Heinrichs concluded the 15-year-old boy was under the influence of the medication when he thrust a nine-inch kitchen knife into the chest of Seth Ottenbreit, a close friend.
Justice Robert Heinrichs concluded the 15-year-old boy was under the influence of the medication when he thrust a nine-inch kitchen knife into the chest of Seth Ottenbreit, a close friend.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is published by the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM provides a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders, which is used in the United States and to some extent internationally, by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and policy makers. The DSM is produced by a panel of psychiatrists, many of whom have financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. It is considered the “bible” of American psychiatry. The latest edition — DSM-IV — was published in 1994.
In 1952, the DSM was a small, spiral-bound handbook (DSM-I), but the latest edition (DSM-IV), is a 943-page magnum opus. Over time, psychiatric diagnoses have increased in the American population and in turn, drugs that affect mental states are then used to treat them. The theory that psychiatric conditions are caused by a biochemical imbalance is often used as a justification for their widespread use, even though the theory in unproven. Since there are no objective tests for mental illness and what is normal and abnormal is often unclear, psychiatry is a particularly fertile field for creating new diagnoses or broadening old ones.