Emerging Truths in Psychiatry Create the Need for Psychotherapy to Take Back Its Rightful Place as Healing Modality
Pam Chubbuck, PhD, LICSW, LPC ©2015
[Author’s Note: I do not oppose responsible medical treatment. This is a call to fully educate ourselves so we can better assist clients to heal. We need access to accurate and complete information in order to make our best and independent decisions.]
Our profession is needed now more than ever! Remember the kid who said, “The king isn’t wearing anything at all” while the whole country went along with the tailors’ deception? An explosion of information is telling us “the king” we call mental healthcare (currently, drug-based treatment with psychotropic medications) is only wearing underwear.
Every day more information is emerging that affects us personally and professionally. Scholarly books, journal articles, websites with proficient contributions by mental health professionals as well as descriptions of the lived experiences of “psychiatric survivors”, are reporting that the medical pharmacologic model of mental health treatment just isn’t working; in fact, it is causing more harm than good. Shocking? Perhaps, but statistics show that for the last 50 years people in the US are getting sicker, not better as drug companies have attested.
Scholars are publishing revelations of once buried drug trial data and research studies which increasingly suggest that much of the “more sick” is caused by psychotropic medications. Countries that do not use psychotropic medications as liberally as the US have healthier citizens – sadly, the countries who have adopted our biopsychiatric model have seen their health measures slide.
Globally, numerous physician researchers, scientists, journalists and dedicated psychiatrists are stepping up for the public good, documenting corruption and deception by the pharmaceutical industry including burying of negative data, as well as supposed watchdog agencies such as the FDA failing to require rigorous honesty and correction of deeply flawed drug trials. (1)
“Psychiatry… has a long history of ignoring the adverse effects of drugs, or attributing them to the underlying disease, of essentially blaming the patient rather than blaming the drug…. For example, in the history of tardive dyskinesia, and the history of the obesity caused by the new atypical antipsychotics, in both cases there was an attempt to say ‘No, it’s the disease’ and in both cases it has eventually been shown conclusively that ‘No, it was the drug.’”
~Joanna Moncrieff, MD – psychiatrist and senior lecturer, University College London
Pre-Freud, psychiatrists traditionally ran “insane asylums,” while post-Freud created psychiatrist-psychoanalysts. After WWII much need for treatment for returning soldiers found counselors, social workers and ministers helping as well or better than physicians. By 1980, psychiatrists began to buy into the idea that mental illness was a brain-based disease that could be cured by giving drugs. Although this theory has never been proven (2), most psychiatrists started to almost exclusively prescribe psychotropic medications. According to industry data, one in 5 adults in the US are taking psychotropic medications (http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/06/prescribing.aspx) which are demonstrated to not do what the drug companies claim they do, but instead often cause harm.
Oft-repeated myths: “You have a chemical imbalance and will need this lifelong – just as diabetics need insulin”; “There’s no harm in giving this medication a try”; “This new drug does not have side effects as the old ones did.” These myths continue to harm us. Negative effects (“side”, withdrawal, and long-term) are not typically discussed prior to prescriptions being written even with FDA “black box” warnings. Samples of dangerous medications are freely available even by mail. To our disgrace, children and now even infants are given psychoactive drugs.
History clearly shows us that before lobotomies, Sigmund Freud, ECT, or psychotropic medications – “methods” including friendship, ministry, ensuring healthy nutrition, and the “gift of time” were available to assist troubled minds and souls, and they worked remarkably well much of the time for many life struggles now being too quickly medicated; similar methods are currently working in other countries, such as Sweden.
What do we need to do? Not really so hard or frightening – just be independent, informed, reasoning thinkers and don’t swallow the Emperor’s New Clothes deception. Think and find your ethical truth.
Demand that psychiatric drugs are researched by autonomous scientists not paid by drug companies. Do not allow companies naturally wanting to protect product image, to research their own merchandise.
To truly help people in crisis we must come together and share authority with physicians, philosophers, child development experts, educators, mental health “patients”, biologists, ministers, social workers, and psychologists. None of whom may be funded by drug companies.
We need to give voice! Therapists have long been discouraged to voice opinions or participate in medication decision-making.
As social workers we are on the front lines. We care. We know our empathic methods work. It is our ethical responsibility to inform ourselves about what is not working. We must be ready to assist in giving accurate and complete “informed consent” to clients who may ask for drugs, for themselves or a family member.
[“Do not attempt to discontinue psych drugs without first very carefully educating yourself on the risks involved in both getting off and staying on these medications.”] (3)
(1) Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, (2015) by Robert Whitaker.
(2) Depression Delusion: The Myth of the Brain Chemical Imbalance, (2015) by Dr Terry Lynch.
(3) Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal: A Guide For Prescribers, Therapists, Patients, and Their Families, (2013) by Peter Breggin, MD.
CDC statistics – Journal of Pediatrics, published online April 1, 2015.
Breggin, Peter R, MD (2008). Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry: Drugs, Electroshock, and the Psychopharmaceutical Complex.
Corrigan, Michael W, EdD (2014). Debunking ADHD: 10 Reasons to Stop Drugging Kids for Acting Like Kids.
Corrigan writes in a refreshing style while being steadfast about accurate research.
Gotzsche, Peter, MD (2015). Deadly Psychiatry and Organised Denial.
Healy, David, MD (2013). Pharmageddon.
Moncrieff, Joanna, MD, (2013). The Bitterest Pills: The Troubling Story of Antipsychotic Drugs.
Psychiatrist Joanna Moncrieff explores evidence that antipsychotics induce neurological suppression and have toxic effects.