More psychiatric illnesses means more money for drug companies

More and more mental illness disorders invented to prescribe more drugs Photo: AP

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2013 - “There is no definition of a mental disorder. It’s bullshit. I mean, you just can’t define it.” Dr. Frances said.

In 1994 Dr. Allen Frances, headed the latest edition of the psychiatric bible, the DSM-IV. This bible of psychiatry defines, labels, and describes every mental disorder for the people. The DSM-IV eventually listed 297 of them. The new DSM-V will list even more.

People are looking for hope, for someone to tell them what is wrong and how they can get well and stay healthy. Many people are relieved when they get a diagnosis of what is wrong even if it isn’t organic. An organic disorder has objective, measurable biochemical or physiological dysfunctions. It could be a fault in cellular metabolism or a systemic dysfunction. It could be in objective anabolic hyperplasia or advanced catabolic disintegration. This can be determined. Empirical evidence has to do with human physiology, including mental physiology. Can one perform certain functions; is a test performed to determine status?

So why are we inventing more mental disorders? Can one professional know for certain, one mental disorder from another or are these ‘newly-described’ disorders opinions in the psychiatric catalogue, professional as they are, based on physiological and biochemical tests? Scientific or opined? 

A diagnosis is very different than an opinion. It is one thing to test and treat. It is another to be scientific. To be termed scientific, the inquiry must be based on objective and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning, not guess work. Not newly created events. Especially when the treatment is with powerful drugs with powerful side effects.

Now bipolar disorder, as it is described, includes far more people. Even ADHD has been “updated” and expanded to include more people.

But here’s the real problem: Drug companies are making more money off these expanded mental diagnosis. When more mental disorders are labeled and described, the “drug solution” becomes available to far more people. More toxic drugs prescribed.

One prime example is Dr. Joseph Biederman, a world-renowned child psychiatrist. He earned a lot of money from drug makers, for one, by getting Johnson & Johnson to finance a research center at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, with a goal to “move forward the commercial goals of J.& J.”  Dr. Biederman’s work helped to fuel a fortyfold increase from 1994 to 2003 in the diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder and a rapid rise in the use of powerful, risky and expensive antipsychotic medicines in children. Johnson & Johnson makes the popular antipsychotic medicine called Risperdal, or risperidone. More than 25% is prescribed to children and adolescents.

But later, Johnson & Johnson, agreed to a settlement of $2.2 billion to resolve a federal investigation into the company’s marketing practices. This includes “a roughly $400 million criminal fine for the illegal promotion of the antipsychotic Risperdal,” according to the Wall Street Journal. 

Antipsychotic drugs, like the ever-popular Prozac, can be dangerous. The label specifically states, “WARNING: SUICIDALITY AND ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGS”

Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of Prozac or any other antidepressant in a child, adolescent, or young adult must balance this risk with the clinical need. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older.

Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. PROZAC is approved for use in pediatric patients with MDD and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). When using PROZAC and olanzapine in combination, also refer to Boxed Warning section of the package insert for Symbyax.

Peter R. Breggin, MD, a psychiatrist, has long criticized the use of psychiatric drugs and Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in treating mental disorders. He is the author of more than 20 books, including the bestseller Talking Back to Prozac. In his book, Toxic Psychiatry, he describes a deal struck between the psychiatric profession and drug companies. Drug companies would bankroll psychiatry. These companies would pour money into professional conferences, journals, and research. In return, they wanted “science” that would promote mental disease as a biological fact, a gateway into the drugs. Everyone would win – except the patient.

There are more humane approaches to mental health problems than drugs. How much research is spent on non-drug approaches? There is no money in it. 

This is where we are. Unless things change radically, more to follow.


Dr Peter Lind practices metabolic and neurologic chiropractic in his wellness clinic in Salem, Oregon. USA. He is the author of 5 books on health, one novel, and hundreds of wellness articles. His clinical specialty is in physical, nutritional, and emotional stress. 

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Peter Lind

Dr. Peter Lind has written five books about healthy lifestyle and specifically subjects such as food, diet, nutrition, exercise, and stress. He has written one thriller about agriculture genetic engineering that has been written into a screenplay. 

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