Friday, September 21, 2012

Tinkering With Drugs



Dr. Peter Dregen, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist did two hours on Coast to Coast the other night about the doping of our nation by the pharmaceutical companies. His new book, Psychiatric Drug Withdrawl, is a must read for anyone who is currently taking psychotropic drugs and especially for anyone who is considering putting their child on one.

I loved that Dr. Dregen didn't mince words - he totally blasted doctors prescribing these drugs to millions and millions of people and keeping them on them for much too long - sometimes for a lifetime. None of these drugs were designed for long term use. And when the pharmaceutical companies get sued - they just pay it - the money they are paying out is minute compared to the billions being made. In one case, after paying out  three billion in a settlement, the stock actually went up - everyone knew what the impact was going to be and it wasn't that bad - business as usual.

Once on a drug of this type for too long, the next step is another drug to counter the effects of the first drug, and on and on it goes. The drugging of children in foster care is especially grievous. People are not finding solutions to their problems, they are just masking the symptoms of their pain. And in the case of children, we're drugging normal children to make them easier to control. The small percentage of people that actually have a chemistry imbalance in their brain has turned into treating millions that don't have the imbalance, but may have depression that is situational based on past events, or current difficulties. One caller said that he found out his son's school was actually getting kick-backs from the drug companies for children they recommended go on drugs for ADD. (I can't verify that, by the way.) Teachers are not trained psychotherapists - they cannot tell you your child is ADD or ADHD. You need a trained professional to give those types of diagnoses. All too often even trained professionals take the easy way out and suggest mood-altering drugs, especially if the patient is asking for one. So be very careful if a drug is suggested for your child. Get another opinion. Be especially careful if you are on more than one - the long term consequences on your brain could be far reaching. Coming off of these drugs takes time, and should never be done all at once.

This is a bugaboo subject with me, as most of you know. Dr. Dregen believes that people need to feel their pain so they can work through it and go on with their lives, which is exactly what I believe. We feel pain for a reason - to help spur us on to fix whatever it is that needs fixing. Just as we feel pain when we touch something hot - our psyche needs to feel pain if we are doing something, (or someone is doing something to us), that needs to be avoided. Finding life purpose, following our dreams, getting involved in life, are all ways to feel well.  Good nutrition and exercise also play a part in good mental health. A good mental-health practitioner should give you their time and their empathy, which is what Dr. Dregen feels is most important in helping someone get through life's trials and tribulations. We are not machines. A good friend, supportive family, spirituality, finding your passion, all help people deal with life. (And let's not forget blogging!)

So if you have some time, listen to him on Coast to Coast and buy his book if you feel you might need it, or know someone that does. I think this is a very important subject. We are reeling from the impact of these drugs on our society.

18 comments:

Rob-bear said...

As someone who has spent most of my life on psychotropic drugs, I have some sympathy for the doctor's comments. Drug companies do make a lot of money. And spending your whole life on drugs is probably not "a good thing." I understand the ethical challenge in this.

On the other hand, I have worked a long time on getting me healthier, though nothing much has been accomplished. I can handle some situations better, but some things I cannot. Without my medications, I would be mentally immobilized and in a great deal of physical pain (I'm on medications which deals with both physical and emotional pain.) The specialist who is helping me is a good and capable doctor. "I'm doing the best that I can."

Nancy said...

Rob-bear - You may very well be one of the small percentage that actually have an imbalance. I'm glad you are doing well. The problem is that doctors are prescribing these drugs for children, when they are meant for adults, keeping people on them for far too long, and not providing the empathy and life coaching that many people need in order to get off of them. Then they add more drugs on top of the ones they first prescribed and it is often doing damage to developing brains. This is a hot bed of an issue. I see both sides, believe me. But my gyn actually put me on Prozac for menopause - certainly NOT an imbalance in my brain - more having to do with changing hormones. Luckily, I realized very early on that it was absolutely not the right thing for me to do. I'm really glad you have a good doctor!

Brian Miller said...

ugh, sadly i have seen some of this first hand when i was doing counseling...and some of the very nasty side affects when you come off the drugs....

Nancy said...

Brian - The doctor said the benzodiazapines are very much like heroine withdrawl. One caller said she was having sever foot pain after coming off of them and the doctor said there was no scientific literature on that particular side effect, but that he has come across it in his practice.

Leah J. Utas said...

This is appalling. Normal feelings and behaviours are made to sound abnormal in order to control and sedate us. Yes, we need to work through normal pain. It's how we grown and learn.
The underlying problem is still there and one day it's all going to come out in a manifestly inappropriate way.
Some of these psychological problems are because of food, I believe, and that has to be addressed for everyone's health.

Nancy said...

Leah - Good point. One of the things I find very disturbing is that these drugs are in our water supply. They have found them in all of our waterways. In other words, we are all taking them now.

Al Bossence said...

Good post Nancy,
My 90 yr. old Dad died 2 years ago, my 86 yr. old Mom was grieving and at that same time feeling a sense of relief after caring for him for 5 years at home, she went in to have a knee replacement that she had put off for those 5 years... developed some "supposedly depression" while recovering and was put on anti-depression drug. Dr. said to take for a year... at that time, she tried to stop ( w/ no help fr. Dr. as to how ) she could not and immediately went back on them, now feels she should double them as they are not working as well...My sister lost her 50 yr. old husband to lung cancer, he left her with some financial problems and un-resolved problems between them, she became depressed and came down with a bad case of psoriasis (skin problem) Dr. put her on anti-depress. So disappointed with both these outcomes, Another family member just starting on this road, but this is getting too long... but I appreciated your post. Kelly ( not Al )

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

We had neighbor some years ago whose son was on something that helped him deal with panic attacks. He was just 13 at the time. Part of his pain, I think, was that he was gay and hadn't told anyone.

Nancy said...

Kelly - Your family members are prime examples of being put on mood-altering drugs when empathy-based psychological help may have been the best treatment. Having major surgery is depressing after losing a dear loved one. But does that mean one needs to be drugged - or does that mean your mom needed to heal from two very difficult life stressors? Healing from trauma takes time and care from loved ones and doctors. We also have a family member on these drugs for years and she also has had them increased. And she is still not happy. Last I heard she was going on something else in additiona to what she has already increased. It is a never-ending loop. Thank you for sharing.

T&R - That was the exact reason he was depressed. Again, situational. A loving family that is open to him being gay was what was needed not drugs on a developing brain.

karen said...

My brother in law committed suicide while on a drug that actually warned of suicidal tendency. The moment he started taking the drug was when he moved from depression to suicide. But they say he killed himself because he was depressed. I knew this guy a long time and I can tell you I truly believe it was the drugs. His behavior escalated into darkness while taking them.
My dad who is 79 was just put on anti depressants because he gets panic attacks when his wife isn't at home...I can tell you he's never been depressed in his life...getting older I think we all panic in unfamiliar situations...but the doctors are so quick to prescribe drugs. I think they make commission on the sale of them....I agree with Leah's comment...when are they going to look at food.

ain't for city gals said...

When my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer stage four the first thing Hospice wanted to do was put him on anti-depressants...I thought what in the world??? He fought the ant-depressants and the cancer until the very very end...I was never so proud of him! These drugs are going to be the downfall of the future generations.

Nancy said...

Karen - I am so sorry for your loss. What is chilling is that I don't think this story is all that uncommon. Again, the Pharma companies just pay our of court settlements, and continue on. There is so much money involved in this! I hope your Dad is okay :-(

ain't for City Gals - Wow. I watched my Dad die of emphysema - I know how you feel. My Dad was a man until the end as well. But you really have to wonder ... what the hell is going on when they want to put a terminal patient on antidepressants? What he needs is love and care. Period.

Amanda said...

watching tv these days we are inundated by primarily car ads and ads for pharmaceuticals. it seems amazing to me that we take the latter in stride. if we truly listened to what is being said in these ads, we would be astounded - so many of these drugs have horrible side effects and the announcer always speeds up at the end, the voice lowering to get out all the words. we are a crazy culture to allow these things to impale our consciousness without noticing. there is no doubt that some drugs make a critical change in some people's lives. but so many more people are taking - and subsequently getting hooked on - medication to work through painful life issues that, as you say, counseling and therapy could help them with, not to mention good nutrition and exercise. with all of this help, perhaps it's possible for someone to uncover their own life's purpose and eventually live free from drugs.

Nancy said...

Amanda - I hate to be a conspiracy theroist - but could there be an agenda here? It is so widespread and so insidious - could there be a reason the 'powers that be' want people anesthetized? Or does it just come down to greed? Does it have something to do with The Shift that is currently occuring on this planet? Maybe to keep people from waking up? I just don't know. But the fact they have now found these drugs in our waterways says there are A LOT of people taking them!

Rob-bear said...

There are many things to consider in this discussion. I don't have the answers, but at least I have the questions.

Doctors are under pressure to provide results, and to provide them more or less immediately. We live in a society where people want a "quick fix." patients will seek anti-biotics to cure a cold. Anti-biotics work on bacteria, not a (cold) virus. And doctors will sometimes give people an anti-biotic, just to keep the patient from complaining. (Though occasionally, a doctor will do so to prevent the formation of a bacterial infection — which is possible with a cold.) But medications make a quick fix, which we seem to demand of everything in our society. Including depression and children who "act up."

Secondly, prescribing medications over a long term needs follow-up. Are patients going to see their doctor for regular follow-ups, so the doctor can keep track of the patient's progress on medications? And does the prescribing doctor understand the implications of long-term prescription of any drug?

The more one asks questions, the more complex the picture that develops.

ain't for city gals said...

Just been thinking about this...a while back I read the book The Age of Anxiety by Andrea Tone...an older book, I believe. She said the new anti-depressant are basically the old valium...when valium was getting such a rap people wanted to stop taking it they changed up the formula a bit and those became the new anti-depressants!

Nancy said...

Rob-bear - Excellent points! I wish I had the answers. But aren't our doctors supposed to know that these drugs cannot be used over the long term without problems? And it isn't just antidepressants. Whenever we go to the doctor they want to write a Rx. My father-in-law was an Internist for many years and he said "most things go away" - I will never forget that - the body has a way of healing itself of most things when given proper nutrition, exercise, positive thinking, and empathy from those around us. And let's not forget feeling useful and following our life purpose. I think that alone keeps me from feeling depressed as I look around me.

ain't for City Gals - Wow. I think you are right! We've always wanted sad feelings to go away. These new drugs are just repackaged and sold in a new way. But we never drugged children before. And from a developmental point of view - there is absolutely nothing worse for a developing body and brain than to be drugged.

Luna said...

Great post.
"We feel pain for a reason - to help spur us on to fix whatever it is that needs fixing."
I completely agree with this.
Luna