This post from last week caught my eye.
I glossed over it at first, but that is 45 times PER DAY for 2 weeks. What was going on? The facebook entry below tells the story succinctly.
(For ease of reading, the text is repeated below the picture.)
Are we reaching a tipping point in Denmark and the collapse of psychiatry as we know it? The last 2 weeks psychiatry has been in the media 640 times that is 45 media articles A DAY!!! I repeat 45 articles, TV or radio programs discussing psychiatry A DAY!! Psychiatry is now truely in crisis here in Denmark. Why is it happening now in Denmark you may be asking. It is happening because professor Peter Gøtzsche, director of the prestigious Cochrane Centre has after writing his book met with survivors and professionals working for a paradigm change in psychiatry, and that has personalized what he views as the most corrupt area in medicine, namely psychiatry. As a doctor and professor with impeccable credentials he cannot be dismissed and when he wrote his article in a national newspaper two weeks ago titled “Psychiatry going astray” describing 10 psychiatric myths, he opened the can of worms. Psychiatry retaliated by being rude and insulting however since he is taking one of them to the medical ethics comity for labeling him paranoid the psychiatric tone has changed to a more conciliatory tone and increasingly, psychiatry is now focusing on damage control. ie. they are desperately trying to stuff the worms back in the can. But they can’t. (January 20th 2014.)
I am already familiar with the reputation of the Cochrane Collaboration studies, and their reputation for independence and professional analysis of the data. So the fact that the Centre Director has come out and spoken is newsworthy indeed.
I googled him and found the following speech he gave – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1LQiow_ZIQ It is 54 minutes long, and worth a look if you are not familiar with the issues of how drug companies influence medical practice, public policy, and our health. Ultimately he indicates that psychiatry is bad for our health.
I have been aware of most of the information in this talk, and written about much of it on this website. It is powerful to hear him state the facts, given his high standing.
And he did make me think further about antidepressants. I have written that they are equal to placebos. When reviewing the book, “The Emperor’s New Drugs,” (also posted on this site) I thought, “Well, placebos do work, so perhaps general practitioners are justified in prescribing placebos/antidepressants.” Gotzsche points out that placebos in antidepressant trials actually hardly work at all. If you compare a group taking antidepressants, and a placebo group, and a group who gets nothing, most of the last group get well too.
People do not need placebos or antidepressants; most of those in trials have temporary ailments which will pass, unless diagnosed and treated with drugs – these cause side-effects, worsening of symptoms, difficulty when people try stopping their medication (which is confused with the ‘illness’ returning, so they are convinced to continue or increase the dose, or even add another medication.) Many are convinced they will need to be on the medication the rest of their lives.
The pharmaceutical industry has lowered its threshold for treating all sorts of ailments, so more and more life situations are defined as a dysfunction or illness. In DSM3 it was the case that people still grieving the loss of a spouse after 12 months were labelled depressed. In DSM4 it was 2 months, and in DSM5 it can be after 2 weeks!
Gotzsche has written all this in his latest book, “Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare.” Only 2 chapters are devoted to psychiatry, because the same tactics are present in all areas of medicine. I will add his book to my reading list.
I have found little encouragement in the mental health services to raise topics such as those mentioned in his speech. I understand psychiatrists get upset and angry. That is not my desire. Professionally, we should all be aware of this material as it affects the health of our clients, our families and ourselves. It is sad if the current practices continue, as much harm is being perpetuated. If you are not sure, watch his speech.
It remains to be seen what 640 media articles in 2 weeks in Denmark will change. I hope momentum builds as information spreads. Much of this information has been known for more than 10 years. Will more doctors add their voice for change?