My Heated Exchange with a Colleague’s Blog about Psychiatric Medications

First my comment, based on personal experience, then his reply.
   You’re passionate as ever about your view of things and sometimes I get the impression that for you, your view is absolutely the only possible correct perspective.  My experience is different than yours, as is my reading of the many studies in this area.  I’m not expert about meds for psychosis and their consequences, so I have nothing to say about that stuff, tho I’m aware of the interpretation you present.
I agree, chemical imbalance is a weak argument, and in addition to my own clinical experience [which I’d discount no more than  I would any other clinician’s whom I know well and respect], there’s a reasonable case for carefuly and conservatively prescribed psych meds being very useful to Many non-psychotic clients — including myself and lots of my more secretive professional and personal friends.  I find individual case by case results far more interesting and compelling than statistical or theoretical models, which can also prove whatever view one prefers.
Belinda Novik, PhD, MD has the clearest, most comprehensive view I’ve heard, twice, about the subversive marketing and harm done by big pharma and by mis- and over-medicating.  I don’t recall if you attended her NCPA talk a while back.  The CLS version is available on videotape   in the 2012 section at bottom of this year’s offerings.  For me, this version of her presentation seemed to have even more punch than her NCPA talk.  Warmly, b



You of all people should know that our perceptions are capable of deceiving us, and, that, we see what we expect to see. As I recall, the fact that our perceptions are deceptive and our expectancies shape our experience is precisely the reason for the scientific method.  Antibiotics were a magic pill and thought to be harmless before MRSA and VRSA came on the scene.  Thalidomide was thought to be harmless before the data accumulated enough to see patterns correctly.  Semmelweiss was ridiculed and ostracised for insinuating that physicians were responsible for childbed fever by going from the autopsy room to the delivery room without washing their hands.  It takes, on average 27-30 years for enough population statistics to emerge to be able to step back and see the full picture correctly.  And that is precisely what we have now: 30 plus year of longitudinal data.  So we must,must, must look at the data. And we have to beware of black and white thinking. The data is clear: medications make matters worse in the long run. They can be highly effective for relieving symptoms in the short run but we now also have research on brain plasticity and we know that these medications produce structural changes in the brain. In fact, the narrative that they treat a chemical imbalance is false.  The truth is that they create a chemical imbalance.  No other area of medicine that I know of treats patients without comparing treatment with medications to the natural course of an illness without treatment with medications.  The natural course of depression is short lived.  The natural course of schizophrenia is much longer but it is also self limiting in countries that do not have the means to treat with antipsychotics.  Every day 850 adults are added to the rosters of SSDI for psychiatric disability in this country.  Every day 250 children are added to the rosters of SSDI for psychiatric disability in this country.  Short run benefits for long term disability is not a rational trade off but it does create a powerful illusion. Life is full of illusions. Our job, as human beings, is to see through the veil and commit ourselves to truth. Read the book. Listen to the author.  Study the data. When you’ve done that, I’ll be happy to cross swords with you or anyone else in debate.



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