This has been a week of alarming news that has shocked many across our country. However, several North Carolinians are numbered among the growing number of Americans who have known that mental health care has gone industrial, and in many ways. But worse, many of us have tracked the knowledge about the dangers to citizens caused by the fact that mental health treatment is far too driven by profits than by promoting patient health.
Now, this is some rough stuff! First, one article was shared this week reporting that finally, after researchers have re-evaluated original data from a previous study, it has been determined that Paxil does, after all, pose serious threat to adolescents by increasing suicidality. See article. This begs the question: is pharmaceutical science truly science when it is appears too frequently to be shaped by a profit motive?
Later this week, we learn that there is an ingestible form of Abilify that carries sensors in it that can measure behavioral responses so that a clinician can amend dosages. The patient wears a patch that transmits electrical signals for remote clinical analysis. This sounds like something from a fantasy novel, and it certainly dismisses the dignity of the patient as human with personal liberty in this culture where the next step may well be to force treatment! (Summary article found in market magazine for Open Minds, a mental health systems consulting group. Contact for copy: email@example.com). I recall when my son said that such capability to track and monitor individual’s behavior biologically was under development 7 years ago, and regret I did not believe him (he is no longer with us). Yet truly, it does not take much for a person to realize that so much of what motivates “progress” is not freedom or health or such humanity-honoring values, but profits!
Lastly, today a fellow NC Advocate has sent out what looks like the first parts of a comprehensive report on just one major producer or our corporate health care industry and its ill-motivated actions to sell, sell, sell drugs without sufficient research or adequate warning to product users—even while the company knew of the existence of these side effects.
I must admit, I have often wondered why some mental health advocates as well as the public and private mental health industries have simply looked the other way in spite of the growing amount of research attesting to the danger of these drugs or certainly to the negligent mismanagement within drug therapy. It seems that stigma must play a really large role in keeping the door to the abusive use of drugs open to pharmaceutical companies and clinicians. There is big money to be made as long as there is little regulation and many people looking the other way while even some advocacy groups gain financially when people (often people forced to use these medications) are medicated with little respect for the human experience with these drugs!
Read the alarming report about the power and abandon with which large pharmaceuticals have been allowed while people suffer from sometimes terrible and irreversible side effects. http://highline.huffingtonpost.com/miracleindustry/americas-most-admired-lawbreaker/chapter-1.html
I believe there are many ways to treat difficult and disruptive thinking or behavior. And I believe medications can be appropriate though they do not resolve everything—recovering and moving forward requires much more than a pill. But it is time that we as Americans take it upon ourselves to value each other more and to learn more about what truly causes a person to think, feel, or behave differently. Then consequently, we must come to terms with what hurts and what helps people and we must take a stand for the abusive practices against persons with psychiatric labels to end.
Post Script 9/28: A new article was shared with NC CANSO today: