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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Should I take medication for depression or anxiety?

         Someone asked me if there are any books about psychotropic medications, like Zoloft, Prozac (SSRI), Effexor (SNRI), and Abilify (Novel Antipsychotic). They were wondering if anything has been published that would help a consumer (lay-person) better understand medications. There are actually dozens of books about psychiatric medications. Many of them are excellent, well-researched, and explain and document the problems with pills.
         Consumers would be wise to take some time to understand the environment in which these "medications" flow. The degree to which pharmaceutical corporations have infilitrated and exert influence in American psychiatry and primary care is not only frightening but criminal (Side Effects by Alison Bass goes into great detail about this issue).
         The influence and unethical behaviors of corporate-doctor relationships hit a new low in 2010 when the Pharmaceutical giant, SmithKline Beecham actually had ghostwritten and entire textbook on psychiatric illnesses entitled, Recognition and Treatment of Psychaitric Disorders: A Psychopharmacology Handbook for Primary Care (269 pages). SmithKline paid a writing company to produce the text book which then listed two authors for the book, Dr. Charles B. Nemeroff (from Emory) and Dr. Alan F. Schatzberg (from Stanford). The doctors received a 15% royalty (You can find more about this at
      Most of the books below focus on Antidepressants. However, some discuss other drugs, too, but most important, they will give you a very clear and comprehensive understanding of how the unethical relationships between pharmaceutical corporations, the FDA, Universities, and psychatrists.What disturbs me most is how Primary Care Doctors (PCP) are duped into over-using these pills in day-to-day prescriptions because they trust their peers in the psychiatry specialty; so, rather than refer people to a mental health specialist for a full mental health assessment, many will just prescribe psychotropics using the same type routine process for prescribing antibiotics, especially pills for depression, anxiety, and ADHD.

Just change the name of the octopus from Standard Oil to Big Pharma
      One of the most common complaints against psychiatry and pharmaceutical corporations is that they take normal human conditions and turn them into disorders that are conveniently treated with a pill - for example, shyness is social phobia or social anxiety disorder. I see this more as a cultural phenomenon, not unique to Western societies, but probably more common among them. 

      Any definition of "normal" is driven by cultures, and Western societies have narrow and rigid ideas about how people should be, what is acceptable. The more narrow the definition of normalcy, then the more abnormal people become on either side of the average. This phenomenom explains the source of most mental illnesses as only a few types have signfiicant biological causal factors. The question is whether or not drugs are the best solution. It is my opinion that drugs are probably desireable, at one point or another, in 3-6% of cases of mental illness and that the majority of individuals who suffer from mental illness should commit to evidence-based psychotherapies with a licensed psychotherapist rather than drug use. I also think that our society could do a much better job working on prevention of mental illness. For example, we are provided no formal primary education for some of the most important and practical aspects of our life, financial management, effective parenting, critical thinking, emotional intelligence and regulation, and how to have a happy marrige. We should no longer leave these aspects to chance.

The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why? The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why?
by Marcia Angell
Side Effects: A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower, and a Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial Side Effects: A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower, and a Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial
by Alison Bass
Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer
by Shannon Brownlee
Psyched Out NEW! Psyched Out: How Psychiatry Sells Mental Illness and Pushes Pills That Kill is an in-depth investigation into the fraud of psychiatric diagnosing and the dangerous, potentially life-threatening adverse reactions connected to the prescription mind-altering drugs used as “treatment.”
by Kelly Patricia O'Meara
Prozac Backlash
Prozac Backlash: Overcoming the Dangers of Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, and Other Antidepressants with Safe, Effective Alternatives (Paperback)
by Dr. Joseph Glenmullen
The Truth About the Drug Companies
The Truth About the Drug Companies : How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It
by Dr. Marcia Angell
Powerful Medicines: The Benefits, Risks, and Costs of Prescription Drugs Powerful Medicines: The Benefits, Risks, and Costs of Prescription Drugs
by Jerry Avorn, M.D.
America Fooled: The Truth About Antidepressants, Antipsychotics and How We've Been Deceived America Fooled: The Truth About Antidepressants, Antipsychotics and
How We've Been Deceived

by Dr. Timothy Scott
Comfortably Numb Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry
Is Medicating a Nation

by Charles Barber
Prescription for Disaster
Prescription for Disaster the Hidden Dangers in Your Medicine Cabinet
by Thomas J. Moore
Selling Sickness
Selling Sickness: How the World's Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies Are Turning Us All into Patients
by Ray Moynihan and Alan Cassels
Commonsense Rebellion Commonsense Rebellion:
Taking Back Your Life from Drugs, Shrinks, Corporations, and
a World Gone Crazy

by Bruce E. Levine
The Antidepressant Solution The Antidepressant Solution
by Dr. Joseph Glenmullen
Generation Rx
Generation Rx : How Prescription Drugs Are Altering American Lives, Minds, and Bodies
by Greg Critser
Big Pharma
Big Pharma
by Jacky Law
Bitter Pills Bitter Pills: Inside the Hazardous World of Legal Drugs
by Stephen M. Fried
Medicines Out of Control
Medicines Out of Control: Antidepressants And The Conspiracy Of Goodwill
by Charles Medawar and Anita Hardon
The Whistleblower The Whistleblower: Confessions
of a Healthcare Hitman

by Peter Rost,  M.D
On The Take
On the Take: How Medicine's Complicity with Big Business Can Endanger Your Health
by Jerome P. Kassirer
The Anti-depressant Era
The Anti-depressant Era
by Dr. David Healy
Talking Back To Prozac Talking Back to Prozac: What Doctors Aren't Telling You About Today's Most Controversial Drug
by Peter R. Breggin, M.D.
Making Us Crazy
Making Us Crazy
by Herb Kutchins and Stuart A. Kirk
The Undiscovered Mind
The Undiscovered Mind: How the Human Brain Defies Replication, Medication, and Explanation
by John Horgan
The Power to Harm
The Power to Harm: Mind, Medicine, and Murder on Trial
by John Cornwell
Blaming the Brain
Blaming the Brain: The Truth About Drugs and Mental Health
by Elliot Valenstein
The Shooting Drugs
The Shooting Drugs - Prozac and its Generation Exposed on the Internet
by Donna Smart
From Placebo to Panacea
From Placebo to Panacea: Putting Psychiatric Drugs to the Test
by Seymour Fisher et al.
Let Them Eat Prozac
Let Them Eat Prozac: The Unhealthy Relationship Between the Pharmaceutical Industry and Depression
by Dr. David Healy
Confessions Of An Rx Drug Pusher
Confessions of an Rx Drug Pusher : God's Call to Loving Arms
by Gwen Olsen
Beyond Prozac Beyond Prozac: Healing Mental Suffering without Drugs
by Dr. Terry Lynch
Dying For A Cure Dying for a Cure:
A Memoir of Antidepressants, Misdiagnosis and Madness

by Rebekah Beddoe
The $800 Million Pill
The $800 Million Pill
The Truth behind the Cost of New Drugs

By Merrill Goozner
Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness Shyness: How Normal Behavior
Became a Sickness

By Christopher Lane
Book Exerpt
Introduction: Bashful No More
Wall Str

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