Just about everyone by now knows how the drug industry works to poison the minds of American doctors—not that many of them have resisted drinking the Kool-Aid, which comes in the form of ego-tripping awards, junkets, dinners, research funding, and cash in exchange for endorsing or prescribing the latest and most lucrative drugs.
It turns out that not just some, but most of the shrinks who wrote the American Psychiatric Association’s most recent clinical guidelines for treating depression, bipolar disorders, and schizophrenia—which together account for $25 billion in prescription drug sales annually—had financial ties to drug companies, according a study to be published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, as reported in the Boston Globe. . . . “18 of the 20 authors of the guidelines had at least one financial tie to drug companies. Twelve authors had ties in at least three categories, such as consulting, research grants, speaking fees or stock ownership, the study found.” (Source)
In 2008, with over $14 billion in sales, antipsychotics became the single top-selling therapeutic class of prescription drugs in the United States, surpassing drugs used to treat high cholesterol and acid reflux. (Source)
A survey conducted by the CDC revealed that “one in ten Americans are now on SSRI antidepressant drugs . . . antidepressant use jumped 400% from 2005 – 2008, while women are 2.5 times more likely to use antidepressants than men. (And whites are far more likely to use them than blacks, the CDC found.)” (Source)
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. (Source)
Without a doubt the economic recession is exacerbating underlying issues with many Americans. (Source)
Can we “medicate” economic problems?
From 2005 to 2009, there was a huge jump in mood-altering drug prescriptions. For example, Xanax is a medication that is largely aimed at helping calm anxiety and anxiety associated conditions. Prescriptions for Xanax jumped 29% from 2005 to 2009 even though US population only increased by 4%–44 million Xanax prescriptions were given out in 2009.
According to Mar 17, 2010 Army Times: “at least one in six service members is on some form of psychiatric drug.”
A recent Pentagon study revealed alarming rates of prescription drug abuse among active duty soldiers. The study revealed that an alarming 1 in 4 soldiers admitted to abusing prescription drugs, most commonly pain killers. A spokesman for the military stated that the prescription pain killers were being used for pain and also for “behavioral health issues”. (Source)
Abusing Using Drugs Everyday
Once upon a time, antipsychotics were reserved for a relatively small number of patients with hard-core psychiatric diagnoses – primarily schizophrenia and bipolar disorder – to treat such symptoms as delusions, hallucinations, or formal thought disorder. Today, it seems, everyone is taking antipsychotics. Parents are told that their unruly kids are in fact bipolar, and in need of anti-psychotics, while old people with dementia are dosed, in large numbers, with drugs once reserved largely for schizophrenics. Americans with symptoms ranging from chronic depression to anxiety to insomnia are now being prescribed anti-psychotics at rates that seem to indicate a national mass psychosis. (Source)
Name Your Poison
Below are the top 10 psychiatric medications by number of U.S. prescriptions dispensed in 2009, according to IMS Health. To put the percent change into perspective, the U.S. total population rose approximately 4 percent from 2005 to 2009. (Source)
|Used for…||U.S. Prescriptions (% change)|
|Anxiety, panic disorder||25,868,000
|Depression, Anxiety, OCD, PTSD, PMDD||19,500,000
|Depression, Anxiety, fibromyalgia, diabetic neuropathy||16,626,000
|Bipolar disorder, Depression||15,814,000
|Depression, Anxiety, Panic disorder||14,992,000
|Anxiety, Panic disorder||14,009,000
NCHS Data on Prescription Drugs (Source)
- Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15-44.
- Major depressive disorder affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.
- Approximately 40 million American adults ages 18 and older, or about 18.1 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have an anxiety disorder.
Nearly 10% of the country or 27 million Americans are on mood altering drugs. Please understand that there is only a one month supply in the system. The kind of psychotic breaks that will happen if people come off these drugs too fast, en masse, could be catastrophic. (Source)
What about all drugs? Here’s the percentage of US population using at least one prescription drug:
“Psychiatrists are particularly targeted by Big Pharma because psychiatric diagnoses are very subjective,” says Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman, whose PharmedOut project tracks the industry’s influence on American medicine, and who last month hosted a conference on the subject at Georgetown. A shrink can’t give you a blood test or an MRI to figure out precisely what’s wrong with you. So it’s often a case of diagnosis by prescription. (If you feel better after you take an anti-depressant, it’s assumed that you were depressed.) As the researchers in one study of the drug industry’s influence put it, “the lack of biological tests for mental disorders renders psychiatry especially vulnerable to industry influence.” For this reason, they argue, it’s particularly important that the guidelines for diagnosing and treating mental illness be compiled “on the basis of an objective review of the scientific evidence” – and not on whether the doctors writing them got a big grant from Merck or own stock in AstraZeneca. (Source)
Look at the recent case of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, which agreed to pay a record $1.4 billion dollars to settle charges that it illegally marketed the anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa as a treatment for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in elderly patients. This despite the fact that the drug was not only unapproved for this “off-label” use, but had also been shown to cause obesity and diabetes—as this former Eli Lilly rep explains.
Now, $1.4 billion might sound like a tough punishment, until you find out that Lilly’s total sales of Zyprexa have topped $37 billion. And at least some of those sales were thanks to doctors who, with guidance from Lilly drug reps, wrote thousands of prescriptions for patients with virtually no ability to defend themselves. Can you imagine an easier group for the drug companies—and their shills in the medical profession—to victimize than old people with dementia? (Source)
- Why Are Anti-Psychotics the Most Common Prescription Drugs in America? (izabael.com)
- Mass Psychosis In the USA? (science.slashdot.org)
- America a nation of psychotics? (hotdogfish.wordpress.com)
- How does Xanax affect one’s intestines? (zocdoc.com)
- 19th Nervous Breakdown (jennmariex.wordpress.com)