By Martha Rosenberg Op Ed News September 25, 2017 How did the once modest medical specialty of child psychiatry become the aggressive “pediatric psychopharmacology” that…
In his book Psychiatryland, psychiatrist Phillip Sinaikin recounts reading a scientific article in which it was debated whether a three-year-old girl who ran out into traffic had oppositional-defiant disorder or bipolar disorder, the latter marked by “grandiose delusions” that she was special and cars could not harm her.1
How did the once modest medical specialty of child psychiatry become the aggressive “pediatric psychopharmacology” that finds ADHD, pediatric conduct disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, mood disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, mixed manias, social phobia, anxiety, sleep disorders, borderline disorders, assorted “spectrum” disorders, irritability, aggression, pervasive development disorders, personality disorders, and even schizophrenia under every rock? And how did this branch of psychiatry come to find the answer to the “psychopathologies” in the name of the discipline itself: pediatric psychopharmacology? Just good marketing. Pharma is wooing the pediatric patient because that’s where the money is. Just like country and western songs about finding love where you can when there is no love to be found at home. Pharma has stopped finding “love” in the form of the new blockbuster drugs that catapulted it through the 1990s and 2000s. According to the Wall Street Journal, new drugs made Pharma only $4.3 billion in 2010 compared with $11.8 billion in 2005—a two-thirds drop
Psychiatry mimics science but is not a real science. The symptoms it treats are subjective and have not been demonstrated and cannot be demonstrated at the cellular level. That gives psychiatrists free reign to just experiment and symptom chase, often insanely chasing the side effects and negative interactions of the current drug regimen with more and more drugs. Polypharmacy is also a way psychiatrists can distinguish themselves in an increasingly competitive market. No one believes you need a specialist for one drug — any primary care physician can give you Zoloft — but for multi-drug therapy you do. If you don’t write a prescription as a psychiatrist, you won’t work these days. It is like being a pacifist and having no choice but working in a bullet factory.
Phillip Sinaikin, MD, is a Florida psychiatrist who has been in practice for 25 years. Author of “Get Smart About Weight Control” and co-author of “Fat Madness: How to Stop the Diet Cycle and Achieve Permanent Well-Being,” his new book focuses on excesses and industry influence in the field of psychiatry.
Rosenberg: Your new book, Psychiatryland, traces how deception, conflicts of interest, medical enabling and direct-to-consumer advertising have resulted in millions being on psychiatric drugs they don’t need. One patient you describe has legitimate mourning and grief work to do after his wife leaves him for his own cousin. But his grief is pathologized into “bipolar disorder” by the system, including his own mother.