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Advertising is behind the high take-up of antidepressants


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By James LeFanu

7:30AM BST 12 Sep 2011

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/women_shealth/8712020/Advertising-is-behind-the-high-take-up-of-antidepressants.html

 

The pressures on many mothers juggling the demands of work and family are no doubt stressful enough. Still, it is hard to credit the report last week from the authoritative-sounding European College of Neuropsychopharmacology that, as a result, they are twice as likely to suffer from depression than 40 years ago.

 

It is certainly true that, astonishingly, family doctors now write three times more prescriptions for antidepressants than back in the Seventies, but that mainly reflects the success of drug companies in redefining psychological and other conditions in such a way as to encourage doctors to treat those conditions with pills.

 

Their methods were well reported by a New York advertising executive, Vince Parry, in a 2003 article, “The Art of Branding a Condition”, in which he described how he collaborated with several companies to foster “the creation of medical disorders”, by deploying three main strategies.

 

First, elevate the importance of symptoms, then redefine an existing condition, before developing “a new condition for an unmet market need”.

 

The several instances of this brand conditioning include “medicalising” normal physical events, redefining psychological traits as quasi-psychiatric illnesses (so shyness becomes social phobia) and, most important, redefining the limits of what is considered normal of some physiological variable such as blood pressure or cholesterol.

 

The process itself has to be subtle, almost subliminal, a carefully orchestrated campaign to shift perceptions involving the co-operation of prominent doctors (or, as they are known in the industry, key opinion leaders). And very effective it has proved to be, with pharmaceutical industry sales during this period doubling from $400 (£250) billion to $800 (£500) billion a year.

 

 

I came off Seroxat in August 2005 after a 4 month taper. I was initially prescibed a benzo for several months and then Prozac for 5 years and after that, Seroxat for 3 years and 9 months.

 

"It's like in the great stories Mr.Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn't want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it's only a passing thing this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it'll shine out the clearer."  Samwise Gamgee, Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers

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Every word rings truer than the last. It's maddening and sad. And twenty years ago I jumped right on their band wagon.

 

Even my former GP, who I still think a lot of today, thought it was the best thing since sliced bread, so she said.

 

I often wonder if she thinks about me and the other people she suggested take Prozac.

 

 

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Every word rings truer than the last. It's maddening and sad. And twenty years ago I jumped right on their band wagon.

 

Even my former GP, who I still think a lot of today, thought it was the best thing since sliced bread, so she said.

 

I often wonder if she thinks about me and the other people she suggested take Prozac.

 

Ditto, ditto, ditto. My butt is pretty damn sore from riding in that wagon.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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I sometimes wonder if my GP thinks of me too. I wish with all my heart I had never trusted him.

 

 

I came off Seroxat in August 2005 after a 4 month taper. I was initially prescibed a benzo for several months and then Prozac for 5 years and after that, Seroxat for 3 years and 9 months.

 

"It's like in the great stories Mr.Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn't want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it's only a passing thing this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it'll shine out the clearer."  Samwise Gamgee, Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers

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I know my gyn, who prescribed Prozac for PMS for me more than 10 years ago, has seen the light. She loved Robert Whitaker's book.

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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