Feminism and mental health - The drugs don't work

(442 Posts)
dittany Sun 26-Jun-11 22:13:12

Two articles in the New York Review of Books, reviewing a number of new books, which argue variously that SSRIs are almost no more effective than placebos (a fact that drug companies have covered up) and more worryingly that the marked increase of disabling mental illness being recorded may in fact be caused by the drugs being prescribed:

www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/jun/23/epidemic-mental-illness-why/?page=1

www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/jul/14/illusions-of-psychiatry/

"The number of disabled mentally ill has risen dramatically since 1955, and during the past two decades, a period when the prescribing of psychiatric medications has exploded, the number of adults and children disabled by mental illness has risen at a mind-boggling rate. Thus we arrive at an obvious question, even though it is heretical in kind: Could our drug-based paradigm of care, in some unforeseen way, be fueling this modern-day plague?"

I was aware that the so-called chemical imbalance that supposedly causes depression was a piece of made up speculation by unscientific doctors, but these articles and the books they are reviewing spell it out clearly.

This is a feminist issue how? Well women are the majority of people who are diagnosed with depression, so if the drugs that are being used on us are ineffective or even damaging, that is extremely concerning.

There's also plenty to say about the sexism of the psychiatric profession which I'll come back to tomorrow. I also think the profession's incompetence and their misogyny are linked.

Ormirian Mon 27-Jun-11 09:29:22

Maybe it's allied to whatever it is that makes so many people drink, smoke dope etc. Life just isn't all that sometimes. Our problem is accepting it.

Prolesworth Mon 27-Jun-11 09:29:37

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claig Mon 27-Jun-11 09:31:04

GetOrf, have you heard about Dr. Breggin on antidepressants? He is in the minority, but he discusses the side effects. There are lots of interviews with him on US TV channels on youtube.

claig Mon 27-Jun-11 09:31:35
GetOrf Mon 27-Jun-11 09:31:36

I reckon it is having to be so bloody perfect.

Have to be a perfect mother
Have a great career (which is usally knackering)
Have to look good
Have to be a perfect partner
Have to be well read, well educated
Have to be knowledgaable about all sorts
Have to be stylish
Have to be thin
Have to be able to cook
Have to be able to clean
Have to be able to have fun

GetOrf Mon 27-Jun-11 09:33:36

No wonder we are all going nuts.

I agree with your proles - feeling like shit is probably a response to all the stuff which has to be done and done well. If you fall short of anything your feel like shit, and so the cycle starts.

Thanks claig I will have a look at that later.

This is a great threda - have got to go now (WORK - pah grin) but will read it later.

Prolesworth Mon 27-Jun-11 09:35:13

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Prolesworth Mon 27-Jun-11 09:40:36

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claig Mon 27-Jun-11 09:43:19

Agree. I read teh review for 'Straw Dogs'. It is extremely depressing and nihilistic, a bit like the tales of doom and destruction of teh climate change evangelists. I think many of these depressing messages have a political purpose, to dampen the human spirit and to prevent humanity progressing. Brave New World had the elites drugging the population to stifle and control them. Didn't Lennon say that the CIA invented LSD for control?

answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081108214350AAZ2CdO

The opposition to nihilism is religion. That's why the nihilists are determined to destroy religion and hope and spread their pessimistic messages of doom to the people.

Prolesworth Mon 27-Jun-11 09:43:50

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claig Mon 27-Jun-11 09:48:41

Don't mention politics, or they'll double the dose. Just nod your head and behave.

Prolesworth Mon 27-Jun-11 09:52:07

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Prolesworth Mon 27-Jun-11 09:52:49

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Prolesworth Mon 27-Jun-11 09:53:50

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claig Mon 27-Jun-11 09:54:28

Prolesworth, thanks for that. You know more about him than I do. I will have to actually start reading him to see what he is getting at. But I don't think it will be my cup of tea.

Prolesworth Mon 27-Jun-11 09:56:55

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wubblybubbly Mon 27-Jun-11 09:58:17

Going through mental health problems my own experiences have been very good.

I was fortunate enough to see a wonderful female GP who was reluctant to prescribe antidepressants and put me in touch with a fabulous psychologist - another woman.

That helped me through a particular period but the depression came back. This time I was seen by a male psychiatric nurse. I didn't get far, there didn't really seem any structure to our discussions, although he did introduce me to Margaret Atwood.

By this point I was taking ADs, prescribed by my GP, without any side effects other than weight gain, they certainly didn't cure me, but I stopped feeling suicidal. I then started on a course of CBT with a female counsellor. That was the key for me, the pragmatic approach just clicked and everything changed for me.

I came off the AD's myself. Slowly and gradually, as is advised and felt no effects at all.

3 years later I suffered from PND, another small stint on AD's which I asked for, my male GP was reluctant to prescribe them but he did it. More CBT and again, it worked for me. I don't think I was on the AD's long enough for them to have any real impact, I quickly came off them without any problems.

My point really is that I don't think AD's in themselves are an issue, it's the whole care system around mental health. I was very lucky I feel, with the professionals I came into contact with. AD's were part of the solution on some occasions, but certainly not the be all and end all.

claig Mon 27-Jun-11 10:00:27

Sorry, one more aside about him. Here is a Guardian review of Straw Dogs

www.guardian.co.uk/books/2002/sep/07/highereducation.news2

'Not that nihilism is a term he would endorse. His book is so remorselessly, monotonously negative that even nihilism implies too much hope. Nihilism for Gray suggests the world needs to be redeemed from meaninglessness, a claim he regards as meaningless. Instead, we must just accept that progress is a myth, freedom a fantasy, selfhood a delusion, morality a kind of sickness, justice a mere matter of custom and illusion our natural condition. Technology cannot be controlled, and human beings are entirely helpless. Political tyrannies will be the norm for the future, if we have any future at all. It isn't the best motivation for getting out of bed.'

The elites in Brave New World couldn't hope for a better supporter. If humanity listened to him, they would soon head to the annihilation, doom and destruction that is so often preached to the people by the elites. No wonder people are increasingly depressed when so many meesages of doom and hopelessness are constantly spread by the media of the elites.

Stropperella Mon 27-Jun-11 10:04:33

Nobody ever seems to consider that hormonal contraceptive methods may play a part in the increase in the number of women diagnosed with depression/anxiety etc. Hormonal contraception is both dished out and taken with far too little thought about its side effects. As for SSRIs, I thought it was common knowledge that they don't do much for some people and are actively harmful in some cases (see Ben Goldacre on this subject).

As a patient, it is worth reading up about what you have been prescribed - before you consent to taking it. If you are unhappy about what you have found out about the meds, go back to your GP and talk to them about it.

In cases where people are really mentally ill, the correct medication is a life-saver and should not be messed with. If your ADs are making you feel worse, then you are either on the wrong ones, or maybe you don't need them.

SindyTellsMe Mon 27-Jun-11 10:11:56

I have little to add as I am only beginning to wake up politically after years of ostriching. However this has been a fascinating and eye-opening thread.

I have been thinking lately around the undermining of the importance of nurture and care, how these are perceived as little more than jobs that you do when you're not fit for anything better, whether you are a SAHP, care assistant or childminder. How this undermining of the urge to nurture and be nurtured might be contributing to the growth of mental health issues over the last 3-4 generations. Medicating to control this dissatisfaction is a quick fix that makes money.

Prolesworth Mon 27-Jun-11 10:14:05

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I think you've got a good point about the doom-spreading of the so-called 'elites', claig. That combined with the social perfectionism Getorf described (which I think is far more often prescribed to women- but that is just imho and as garlic notes, there are a fair few depressed men out there too) is a right old toxic cocktail.

I popped my 20mg citalopram and 200mg carbamazepine last night and felt a real qualm. Fear of what they're doing to me combined with fear of what sort of antisocial, angry monster I might become without them. A 3 day per week single parent cant' really afford 2 months or so of that.

Getorf, some of your post resonates with me. Since starting to take SSRIs 16 years ago I've developed OCD (including a horrible hairpulling habit which leaves me bald in places- nice) and a nasty form of chronic fatigue combined with agitation which I think is what led to the diagnosis of bipolar type II. I have never trusted their labels; I just wanted to feel I could manage, and in particular, be a better mother (I've often got low enough as to be unable to cope at all with them).

claig Mon 27-Jun-11 10:17:48

Very good point SindyTellsMe. Care is unimportant to the elites because they don't care for the people. They promote pessimism to the people and tell them that that id the way of the world. They say they can't make changes, that's just the way it is. But that's just the way they want it to be.

Why do we hear so many stories of elderly people being mistreated, and not even being fed and being dehydrated in hospitals, and yet no one ever seems to go to jail for this mistreatent. Animals are treated better, and they have organisations to fight on their behalf. But our elderly have little voice. Someone doesn't care.

btw Claig I am forever astonished at the clear intelligence of a woman who loves the Daily Mail!!! But that's a hijack and no doubt a point that's been made to you far too often :D

Ormirian Mon 27-Jun-11 10:20:50

"3 day per week single parent cant' really afford 2 months or so of that."

Who can! That is the problem. We have to be ON 24/7 and functioning at our best (or near enough!) At my worst I almost pray for a minor dose of flu to give me the excuse to switch off and catch my breath because illness is the only way to do it.

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