by Jonathan Emord, Constitutional Attorney and Author
November 28, 2011
Psychiatric drugs are big sellers. They are among the best selling drugs made. In 2010, Americans or their insurers doled out some $16.1 billion for anti-psychotics; $11.6 billion for anti-depressants; and $7.2 billion for ADHD treatments.
Within the last two decades the field of psychiatry has mushroomed from a fringe body of Sigmund Freud admirers to a mainstream player in the field of medical pharmacology, largely because of an unseemly union between that profession and the drug industry, leading to the creation of many never before known disease states and profitable ways to exploit those alleged diseases with psychiatric services and drugs.
The field of psychiatry has persistent and well-informed critics who point to the excessive drugging of institutionalized patients, of children commonly misdiagnosed as suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and of the elderly misdiagnosed with treatable dementia, among others. The drugs given these patients have their own side-effects, including increased risk of depression, suicidal thoughts, birth defects, and even death. Because of the movement of psychiatry from the fringe of medicine to its heart, a majority of Americans are likely to come into contact with psychiatric drugs, either recommended for use by their children or for use by them at some point in their lives. Indeed, presently some 1 in 5 adults take anti-depressants, anti-psychotic, or anti-anxiety drugs.
The next edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), the profession’s so-called diagnostic bible, will soon be published in 2013. It comntinues the trend of identifying as “diseases” conditions that have previously been considered within the normal range. It adds to the list of “disease” states “apathy syndrome” (i.e., not caring enough); “internet addiction disorder” (i.e., liking the web too much); “parental alienation syndrome” (i.e., not liking your parents enough); “mild neurocognitive disorder” (i.e., age-related decline in mental function); “absexual” disorder (i.e., disliking sex); and “sluggish cognitive tempo” (i.e., daydreaming too much). Characteristics that we all used to think within the realm of normal brain function (such as teenage angst at parental rules; parental angst at teenage rebellion; a loss of quick wittedness in the elderly; youthful exuberance or youthful preoccupation with daydreams beyond the confines of academia) are all fast becoming “diseases.” The APA’s overall movement has been one of calling into question characteristics of eccentricity, leading to an unscientific conclusion that anything different may be rightly called a disease and rightly prescribed a treatment.
Every newly identified psychiatric disorder begets a new slate of psychiatric drugs for their treatment, giving leading pharmaceutical companies new opportunities to profit from the expansion of psychiatric diagnoses. Psychiatric drugs are big sellers. They are among the best selling drugs made. In 2010, Americans or their insurers doled out some $16.1 billion for anti-psychotics; $11.6 billion for anti-depressants; and $7.2 billion for ADHD treatments.
Profit lies in designing drugs for the treatment of these conditions. As the drug industry continues to pump out new elixirs that, in turn, leads to more reliance on psychologists and psychiatrists, which leads them in turn to prefer identifying more conditions as disease. The perverse incentives abound, and the FDA is pleased to approve the drugs at the behest of the drug company sponsors.
Everyone standing to profit from the sale of these agents wins at the expense of patients.
The drugging of America is an enormous problem, having spill-over effects that include drug addiction and destruction of the family, productivity, even national security. With an ever rising population taking these drugs which alter cognitive function, it becomes ever more apparent that the very fabric of our society, its common commitment to stable family life, self-sacrifice for the greater good, and adherence to laws that protect life, liberty, and property are all imperiled. As the drug industry and psychiatric profession profits enormously with each new declared disease state, there is a loss of free agency in the population, a movement that saps self-control from the individual in favor of control by the medical community over basic life-affecting decisions. Patients become dependent, event addicted, to drugs, and ever more dependent on their medical counselors to cope with life.
Whatever may be said for use of psychiatric drugs in those who cannot function in society, the expansion of those drugs to embrace those who can, including those with virtually any characteristic that exceeds the norm, represents a horrific sacrifice of the very promise of life that lies in those eccentricities. It is particularly horrific to watch beautiful, energetic children with all their great promise become addicted to drugs that alter brain chemistry in ways that yield drug dependency and lessen their perception of and enthusiasm for life and their ability to achieve. A majority of children prescribed anti-depressant and anti-psychotic drugs are wrongly prescribed those drugs, even by accepted psychiatric standards. That misguided course is itself a form of deviant behavior by this profession, calling into question the mental stability of those who would profit off of misdiagnosis and mistreatment.
The psychiatric drugging of America is bearing and will continue to bear for generations to come toxic consequences, whether in the form of the destruction of the family, increases in crime, or decreases in productivity and inventiveness. It’s high time for a rebellion against this drugging for the sake of sanity.
Jonathan W. Emord is an attorney who practices constitutional and administrative law before the federal courts and agencies. Congressman Ron Paul calls Jonathan “a hero of the health freedom revolution” and says “all freedom-loving Americans are in [his] debt . . . for his courtroom [victories] on behalf of health freedom.” He has defeated the FDA in federal court a remarkable eight times, six on First Amendment grounds, and is the author of Amazon bestsellers The Rise of Tyranny, and Global Censorship of Health Information. He is also the American Justice columnist for U.S.A. Today Magazine. For more info visit Emord.com.