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I Just Don't Know What (Or Whom) To Believe Anymore


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I read this blog post about Biederman's punishment by psychiatrist SteveBMD with much excitement. The title really speaks to the zeitgeist: "I Just Don't Know What (Or Whom) to Believe Anymore. He brings up some excellent points, and I hope that more psychiatrists start having that proverbial light-bulb go off in their heads that something really smells about modern psychiatry.


My favorite bit:


I entered medical school in the late 1990s. I recall one of my preclinical lectures at Cornell, in which the chairman of our psychiatry department, Jack Barchas, spoke with breathless enthusiasm about the future of psychiatry. He expounded passionately about how the coming era would bring deeper knowledge of the biological mechanisms of mental illness and new, safer, more effective medications that would vastly improve our patients' lives.


My other teachers and mentors were just as optimistic. The literature at the time was filled with studies of new pharmaceuticals (the atypical antipsychotics, primarily), molecular and neuroimaging discoveries, and novel research into genetic markers of illness. As a student, it was hard not to be caught up in the excitement of the coming revolution in biological psychiatry.


But I now wonder whether we may have been deluding ourselves. I have no reason to think that Dr Barchas was lying to us in that lecture at Cornell, but those who did the research about which he pontificated may not have been giving us the whole story. In fact, we're now learning that those "revolutionary" new drugs were not quite as revolutionary as they appeared. Drug companies routinely hid negative results and designed their studies to make the new drugs appear more effective. They glossed over data about side effects, and frequently drug companies would ghostwrite books and articles that appeared to come from their (supposedly unbiased) academic colleagues.

The influence of Whitaker's work (and, I'd like to believe, the hard work of the peer recovery movement, such as this site) is all over this passage.


LINK: http://thoughtbroadcast.com/2011/07/02/i-just-dont-know-what-or-whom-to-believe-anymore/


EDIT: I just wrote a comment on this blog post. I've cut/pasted it below:


Of everything you said, I must say the title of your post resonates the most. In the last few years I have rapidly come to the conclusion that seemingly everything we thought we knew (and thought to be effective) in this country (whether it be economic models, higher education/student loans, psychiatry, or health care in general) isn't working anymore or was an all-out snow job by insatiably greedy corporate elites. The breadth and depth of the corruption is downright vertiginous. And it's spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting to endure. I wouldn't be surprised if we have to re-evaluate nearly all our most-cherished values in the next decade or face cultural, social, medical, and economic ruin like never before in this country. It could spell the end of an empire if we don't.


I'd just like to say I'm no novice in the arena of psychiatric corruption. I was put on Paxil at age 14 for what was, in hindsight, perfectly understandable situational anxiety over my dad's cancer diagnosis that I'm certain would have remitted naturally with talk therapy. And here I am, 13 years later, still on an SSRI (Lexapro) because no psychiatrist knew how to withdraw me from the medication without me having unbearable withdrawal symptoms. And now the long-term symptoms have set in, which are devastating: sexual dysfunction (ED, low libido, reduced pleasure in orgasm), and emotional anhedonia and lack of motivation, which gives me odd and pervasive social anxiety I NEVER used to have. All these symptoms cost me my first romantic relationship.


I am currently tapering my Lexapro very slowly and will hopefully be off next year, which will allow me to be med-free for the first time in 13 years. But thanks to the corruption of the literature, there are no scientific studies that can tell me how much of my original functioning and quality of life I can regain, or if my withdrawal will be difficult. In fact, the only way I can even GUESS at the answers to these questions is by relying on peer-support message boards of patients in similar situations. I think that fact alone speaks volumes of the spectacular betrayal of a patient's basic rights by psychiatry. And this corruption has been flourishing for decades.


I must remind you that the exposure of a lot of the corruption that you are now aware of is largely the fruits of the labor of the peer recovery movement who have gotten the word out, as well as clear-minded psychiatrists like Dan Carlat and Mickey at 1boringoldman.com, and of course courageous journalists like Robert Whitaker, whose ANATOMY OF AN EPIDEMIC honors evidence-based medicine far better than many of the "studies" sponsored by pharmaceutical companies that formed the core of the biological-based model of psychiatry practiced today. By and large, mainstream psychiatry and the APA couldn't care less about the corruption and the human rights violations inherent in it (after all, there's just too much money in it). As long as that continues, psychiatry will continue to spiral into a deep decay of toxic debauchery and a Roman orgy of greed.


If you think I'm exaggerating, spend some quality time over at 1boringoldman.com. Print out as many of his posts as you can (they're all good), grab a stiff drink (you'll need it), soak it all in, and just be AMAZED at how far humans can fall when no one is enforcing the rules. And remember it's been like this since at least 1980 when the DSM-III was introduced.


Finally, if you'd like to hear an hour-long interview I conducted with Robert Whitaker on these subjects and more, go to the link below and download the audio file. The audio is thin mono so headphones are recommended. The interview was posted on survivingantidepressants.org, which is a peer-support message board for those suffering from prolonged SSRI withdrawal syndrome. The administrator of the board, Altostrata, has been suffering with protracted withdrawal for seven years and counting, and she is currently in discussion with researchers about how prevalent this condition is and how overlooked it has been in the literature, which may very well invalidate a large swath of the antidepressant literature.

Been on SSRIs since 1998:

1998-2005: Paxil in varying doses

2005-present: Lexapro.

2006-early '08: Effexor AND Lexapro! Good thing I got off the Effexor rather quickly (within a year).







Currently tapering Lexapro ~10% every month:



11/7/10: 13.5 mg

12/7/10: 12.2 mg

1/6/11: 10.9 mg

2/3/11: 9.8 mg

3/3/11: 8.8 mg

4/1/11: 7.8 mg

4/29/11: 7 mg

5/27/11: 6.4 mg

6/24/11: 5.7 mg

7/22/11: 5 mg

8/18/11: 4.5 mg

9/14/11: 4 mg

10/13/11: 3.6 mg

11/9/11: 3.2 mg

12/7/11: 2.6 mg

1/3/12: 2.1 mg

2/2/12: 1.8 mg

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I was also struck by this post on thoughtbroadcast.


Excellent comment, cine!


And thanks for the shoutout to this site.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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