How Big Pharma and the Psychiatric Establishment Drugged Up Our Kids

Alternet

The following is an excerpt from Born with a Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks, and Hacks Pimp the Public Health (Prometheus Books, 2012).
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.

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.

Doctors have a “growing fear of prescribing new drugs with unknown side effects,”explains the Journal, and the government is cracking down on illegal marketing. But also, private and government insurers are less willing to “cough up money for an expensive new drug—particularly when a cheap and reliable generic is available.

It’s gotten so bad, AstraZeneca, whose controversial Seroquel® still makes $5.3 billion a year though it is no longer new, now conducts “payer excellence academies” to teach sales reps to sell insurers and state healthcare systems on its latest drugs. No wonder Pharma is finding “love” by prescribing drugs to the nation’s youngest (and oldest) patients, who are often behavior problems to their caregivers, who make few of their own drug decisions, and who are often on government health plans.

“Children are known to be compliant patients and that makes them a highly desirable market for drugs,” says former Pharma rep Gwen Olsen, author of Confessions of an Rx Drug Pusher. “Children are forced by school personnel to take their drugs, they are forced by their parents to take their drugs, and they are forced by their doctors to take their drugs. So, children are the ideal patient-type because they represent refilled prescription compliance and ‘longevity.’ In other words, they will be lifelong patients and repeat customers for Pharma.”

Just as it used to be said in obstetric circles, “Once a cesarean, always a cesarean,” it’s also true that “once a pediatric psychiatric patient, always a pediatric psychiatric patient.” Few, indeed, are kids who start out diagnosed and treated for ADHD, bipolar disorder, and other “psychopathologies” who end up on no drugs, psychologically fine, and ready to run for class president. Even if they outgrow their original diagnoses—a big “if” with a mental health history that follows them—the side effects from years of psychoactive drugs and their physical health on mental, social, and emotional development take their toll. Even children on allergy and asthma drugs, which are promoted for kids as young as age one, are now known to develop psychiatric side effects according to emerging research.

Kids who start out with psychiatric diagnoses are not only lifers—they are expensive lifers usually shuttled into government programs that will pay for psychiatric drug “cocktails” that can approach $2,000 a month. What private insurer would pay $323 for an atypical antipsychotic like Zyprexa®, Geodon®, or Risperdal®, when a “typical” antipsychotic costs only about $40?

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More than 20 percent of American adults now on psychiatric drugs for behavioral problems

Natural News

Prescription drug addiction is a very serious problem in the US, and is typified in part by the more than 20 percent of American adults that are now hooked on pharmaceuticals for conditions like anxiety and depression. A new study conducted by Medco Health Solutions Inc., a pharmacy benefits management company, has found that one in five adults — and one in four women — now regularly takes at least one drug for psychiatric or behavioral disorders.

The findings, which are based on data compiled of 2.5 million patients, found that the use of behavioral drugs among adults has skyrocketed by 22 percent since 2001. The majority of adults taking behavioral drugs are still women aged 45 years or older, but many men are now taking them as well — and based on current trends, such drug use in general is expected to continue to increase.

It used to be that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs like Ritalin, Dexedrine, and Adderall were prescribed primarily to young children. But now middle-aged adults are apparently a primary target as well, as the use of both ADHD and antipsychotic drugs among 20- to 44-year-olds has more than tripled within the past decade.

More women than men currently take drugs for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, which include Zyprexa, Risperdal, and Abilify. But the use of these drugs among men has risen fourfold within the past ten years. On the flip side, prescriptions for ADHD drugs, which have typically been more popular among males, have risen by 250 percent among females since 2001.

It is pretty clear where all this is going. The drug lords and their army of drug dealers within the mainstream medical system are in the business of getting as many people hooked on prescription drugs as possible. Millions of Americans have already been pimped to the medical mafia, and the system is working to hook the rest by whatever means possible.

Mental health screening programs have been an effective way for Big Pharma to recruit new drug users, as these screenings often detect “problems” in younger children that are not actually problems, or at least not the kind that require medication with mind-altering drugs (http://www.naturalnews.com/033969_mental_health_screening_teens.html). And yet these screenings have been critical in expanding the ranks of prescription drug users.

Antidepressants Could Cause Harm to Heart, Brain, and Bones

Activist Post

Did you know that roughly 10% of the American population suffers from depression? It isn’t exactly a coincidence, with the FDA approving a wide variety of damaging foods and drugs that many millions of Americans consume each day. The FDA isn’t helping the population with their approval of the dozens of antidepressant medications on the market – it in fact is doing the exact opposite.

The beneficial results of antidepressants have been under the spotlight for quite some time in the health world, and the validity of giving them out like candy to patients in need of a quick and easy solution is under question as well; just how useful is medication for depression?

At best, the tangible results felt by patients are comparable to sugar pills. That is to say, the medication itself does virtually nothing to improve the mood of the patient directly. At worst, antidepressants cause decreased mental stability. Wanting to kill yourself or others around you are feelings which antidepressants have been shown to ignite.

There is even the possibility that while on these terrible drugs you can become even more vulnerable to more serious mental illnesses – all whilst other legitimate non-medication methods for treating depression are being tread underfoot by the FDA.

In more recent studies, there has been surfacing evidence that antidepressants cause arteries to thicken at a faster rate. Research specifically points to an increased thickness of the lining of the carotid artery by up to 5% in men, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease substantially by putting more pressure on the heart.

This occurs when taking either selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs, the primary form of antidepressants), as well as antidepressants that affect other chemicals in the brain. The evidence isn’t completely concrete, but it points towards the change of serotonin in the body caused by the medications.

Another study in women who have gone through menopause unveiled that women who take either variation of antidepressants were up to 45% more likely to suffer from life-threatening brain damage from a stroke. This same study also found that women’s death rates rose 32% more whilst on the drugs.

Other documented side effects are much more prominent, but certainly no less detrimental to your health. These include those suicidal/homicidal thoughts mentioned earlier, as well as an increased risk of diabetes, an increased possibility of stillbirth, lowered immune system support and reduced bone density — resulting in a higher risk of fractures, primarily in the spinal column.

There are also a few long-term risks with using these detrimental drugs: a conversion from unipolar depression to bipolar depression, and an overall cognitive decline in most users. If becoming bipolar unnecessarily does not steer you away from these, then the overall loss of your mental capacity should be enough to raise a warning flag.

CDC: Antidepressant use skyrockets 400% in past 20 years

USA Today, Oct. 21, 2011

Use of antidepressant drugs has soared nearly 400% since 1988, making the medication the most frequently used by people ages 18-44, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.

Eleven percent of Americans ages 12 years and older took antidepressants during the 2005-08 study period, the authors write. They add that though the majority of antidepressants were taken to treat depression, the drugs also can be used for anxiety disorders and other conditions.

“Unfortunately, some families are looking for a quick fix, but a pill is never going to get to the root of the problem,” says David Palmiter, a psychologist and author of Working Parents, Thriving Families: 10 Strategies That Make a Difference.

Ducharme agrees. “That is the thing that bothers me the most,” she says. “These drugs can be dangerous, and there needs to be follow-up care.”

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More than 1 in 10 Americans on Suicide-Linked Antidepressants

Activist Post, Oct. 20, 2011

Despite evidence linking popular antidepressants like Prozac to suicide more than 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 12 are now taking antidepressants prescribed by their doctors. In fact, antidepressants are now the most common drug among people aged 18 to 44, according to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

Even more notable is the fact that once prescribed, individuals generally keep taking antidepressants for years. Over 60 percent of patients prescribed antidepressants report taking them for more than 2 years, and 14 percent for 10 years or more. This is unfortunate when the drugs meant to help depression actually cause further depression.

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Diet Coke and Depression

Psych Central, Mar. 14, 2011

In 1993, Dr Walton, who is a psychiatrist, conducted a study of 40 patients with unipolar depression and a similar number without a psychiatric history. The subjects were given 30 mgs per kg of body weight a day of aspartame or a placebo for 20 days (about equal to daily consumption if it completely replaced sugar). Thirteen individuals completed the study, then an institutional review board called the project to a halt “because of the severity of reactions within the group of patients with a history of depression.” In a smaller, shorter crossover design, “again there was a significant difference between aspartame and placebo in number and severity of symptoms for patients with a history of depression, whereas for individuals without such a history there was not.” Accordingly, the author concluded that “individuals with mood disorders are particularly sensitive to this artificial sweetener and its use in this population should be discouraged.”Full story