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Chapter 1: Introduction
Psychiatrists tell us that the way to fix unwanted behavior is by altering brain chemistry with a pill.
But unlike a mainstream medical drug like insulin, psychotropic medications have no measurable target illness to correct, and can upset the very delicate balance of chemical processes the body needs to run smoothly.
Nevertheless, psychiatrists and drug companies have used these drugs to create a huge and lucrative market niche.
And they’ve done this by naming more and more unwanted behaviors as “medical disorders” requiring psychiatric medication.
But should these really be called diseases?
So the question is:
How did psychotropic drugs, with no target illness, no known curative powers and a long and extensive list of side effects, become the go-to treatment for every kind of psychological distress?
And how did the psychiatrists espousing these drugs come to dominate the field of mental treatment?
Chapter 2: Psychotropic Drugs
Psychiatrists claim a history of great advances in the area of psychotropic drugs. But is this parade of brain chemicals the “scientific breakthroughs” they assert?
Sigmund Freud’s early drug marketing efforts helped create a major cocaine epidemic throughout Europe.
Psychiatrists next turned to amphetamines until those drugs were discovered to be not only ineffective, but highly toxic and addictive.
Years later, the world was told that “antidepressant” drugs were actually “lifestyle drugs” for a choose-your-mood society. Yet within ten years, staggering details of side effects such as violence and suicide could no longer be ignored—with an estimated 3.9 million adverse events on Prozac alone.
Today, the same cycle continues, with breathless news coverage of new chemical treatments promoted as “miracle drugs.”
Two questions remain—where is the science that backs psychiatry up?
And how much longer will the public continue to believe false hopes, hype and outright lies?
Chapter 3: All in Favor Say Aye, DSM
PSYCHIATRY’S DIAGNOSTIC MANUAL
Without any scientific lab tests showing the presence or absence of mental problems, how does psychiatry’s diagnostic system work—and how did it become so prevalent?
Psychiatrists published the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1952, listing 112 so-called “mental disorders” based not on standard scientific procedure, but votes sent in by psychiatrists.
With every new edition of the DSM, the diagnoses have not only expanded in number, but cast a wider net, now encompassing whole population segments. As a result, nearly one million children are diagnosed as bipolar.
In 2007, half a million children and teenagers took at least one prescription for an antipsychotic. And antipsychotic drugs, powerful chemicals designed originally for only the most seriously mentally troubled, are now a $22.8 billion industry.
Yet the average person is completely unaware that psychiatric diagnoses are not medical but merely voted-on behaviors.
Which leads us to our next question: How do psychiatrists take these “disorders” and get people to believe they have them?
Chapter 4: Disease Mongering
SELLING SICKNESS TO THE WORRIED WELL
Disease Mongering (noun): “The act of convincing essentially well people that they are sick, or slightly sick people that they are very ill.”
Psychiatrists know about it. Drug companies know about it. Advertising executives throughout the world do, too.
Disease Mongering is a highly successful strategy that turns common life situations into psychiatric disease states, getting people of every walk of life to worry about the latest “mental illness”—and to demand a pill.
And according to one marketing guru, “No therapeutic category is more accepting of condition branding than the field of anxiety and depression, where illness is rarely based on measurable physical symptoms and therefore, open to conceptual definition.”
And it works. Psychiatrists and drug companies have carved out a lucrative market niche grossing over $150,000 every minute.
But with disease mongering campaigns creating the illusion of widespread mental illness, how safe are the drugs psychiatrists are prescribing to treat it?
Chapter 5: Psychotropics on Trial
In modern psychiatry, psychotropic drugs have become the weapons of choice. But are they as safe as we’ve been led to believe?
In fact, claims of psychotropic drug safety by psychiatrists and drug companies are far from the truth.
First, drug safety testing is predominantly done by drug companies themselves, not by governmental agencies or independent labs—creating an obvious conflict of interest.
Psychiatrists have no scientific lab tests to objectively measure improvement either, which permits researchers many opportunities to skew results of drug trials in the pharmaceutical company’s favor.
And there are many, many ways of biasing trials to avoid negative findings or accentuate the positive.
As one drug expert summarized, “It can be proven that most claimed research findings are false.”
The result? Volumes of negative effects associated with psychotropic drugs have since been discovered, including homicide and suicide.
With this level of corruption pervading the testing of psychotropic drugs, one is left with the question:
Where are those entrusted with our protection?
Chapter 6: Watchdog
MISSING IN ACTION
So why are so many dangerous psychotropic drugs being allowed on the market?
One reason may be the revolving door between government, academia and the drug industry, where panels recommending psychotropic drug approval have long been filled with psychiatrists with financial ties to drug companies.
Another may be that instead of serving a safety function as “post-marketing surveillance,” the final phase of clinical trials are now being re-cast as “post-marketing research” and repurposed into a means of testing psychotropic drugs for additional psychiatric disorders.
That is also why drug companies continue to enjoy profit margins triple the norm of most businesses.
In fact, the total profits of the top ten drug companies in the Fortune 500 exceeded the combined profits of the other 490 businesses.
And with so much money at stake it is no wonder that stockholders are never told the truth about the drugs whose companies they invest in.
But once the drug is approved, the next challenge is:
How does one convince prescribing physicians that these drugs are truly safe, effective and carrying few side effects when the drug company’s own trials prove that this is not the case?
Chapter 7: Marketing to MDs
THE EASY SELL
How did psychiatrists and drug companies succeed in convincing millions of medical doctors to prescribe their powerful psychoactive drugs to a hundred million people?
Indoctrinating physicians begins at medical conferences—conferences frequently paid for by drug companies.
Respectable journals also publish studies written by drug company ghostwriters, falsely credited to prominent psychiatrists who are paid to put their names on it.
The drug industry now spends $22 billion a year marketing to doctors to increase prescriptions—an astonishing 90% of its marketing budget.
As a result, medical professionals worldwide are handing out psychotropic drugs, assured that they are safe and necessary by the “experts” in the field—psychiatrists.
But early on, psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical companies realized that promoting to doctors was not enough.
How could they reach their target demographic—the end user—and drive them into doctor’s offices to demand these drugs?
Chapter 8: Psychotropics and the Media
A MARRIAGE MADE ON WALL STREET
In 1997, drug company lobbyists pressured the US Congress to allow advertising psychotropic drugs on American television. And this opened the floodgates to a torrent of advertising which soared from $595 million a year in 1996 to $4.7 billion today, an increase of almost 700%.
In the United States, drug advertising on television accounts for fifty-five percent of the pharmaceutical industry’s Direct to Consumer advertising budget.
It is therefore no surprise that media conglomerates are loathe to bite the hand that feeds them.
That is how psychiatrists and drug companies have been able to use every communication outlet they can influence to drum out one single, relentless message: “You are sick, we’ve got the answer, and ask your doctor.”
But they are not satisfied only with media campaigns.
So their next strategy is: How do you convince even more people to take psychotropic drugs all the while remaining a hidden influence?