Therapy vs. Pharma Smackdown

General Idea, One Day of AZT/One Year of AZT, the Power Plant Gallery, Toronto,

My kid has been sick this week so sorry in advance for "phoning it in" on this post. I've collected a few good articles for any therapist concerned about the ever-growing medicalization of mental health.

Psychiatry at War with Itself

By the way, Jules Evans over at the Politics of Well Being has an excellent blog. The writing is creative, cogent and fascinatingly interdisciplinary. I could eat up with a spoon -- Love it. I got lost (in more ways than one) on the site for hours last night.

Talk Doesn't Pay, So Psychiatry Turns Instead to Drug Therapy

This N.Y. Times article caught my eye today while standing in line at the coffee shop. It gives a solid "day in the life" picture of a contemporary private practice pyschiatrist.

Disclosure? It's Not Good Enough

In case you hadn't noticed already, I'm a huge fan of Dan Ariely. In this post he talks about how doctors say they are not influenced by Big Pharma support, however, they most certainly are. Every week the site has a new research survey, so hop on over and take it!

Big Pharma Is Spending Big Bucks Hoping That You Have Fibromyalgia

Alternet calls to task the heartless marketing machine of Big Pharma.

PBS Frontline: The Medicated Child

A short documentary on the 4,000% increase in bi-polar diagnoses in children.

Read all that?

Good. Now please pass the Soma, I'm cranky about thisĀ Brave New World.



What I find so disturbing about this whole thing is that the DSM and its accompanying pharmaceutical prescriptions are being pushed as the one-and-only paradigm in which to view/diagnose/treat mental illness. I have many problems with the DSM, but primarily with how it narrows the spectrum of what normal or acceptable behaviour is, and the whopping numbers of people who are given inaccurate diagnoses because to receive treatment they have to be diagnosed with something. I can't count how many people I've seen who had been labelled with really serious mental illness, who were really just struggling with really difficult life experiences. I guess it's easier to see the problem as intrinsic to the person instead of looking at what might be happening in their life to create/sustain distress, which tends to be much more difficult to address.
That said, I also have trouble with how polarized this debate had become, because while I do agree that our population is wildly overmedicated, I think meds can be really useful in certain situations. All the research I've read on depression, for instance, indicates that the best treatment includes the combination of both medication and talk therapy- not one or the other. Sometimes meds are the best way to get stable, making therapy possible.

The above articles paint a pretty grim picture! I think there are lots of folks in mental health working outside the box, though, and trying to help clients take the paradigm apart a little, framing any treatment up in terms of whether it's helping them get where they want to go.

leigh's picture

Great points, Heather!
Having been treated in my teens twice for depression; once with just psychotherapy and then again with a combo of drugs and CBT, I can say that the second method worked much better than just talk therapy alone. But I wasn't treated with any of the expensive "sexy" mood drugs out there - just a year of plain old Nortriptyline paired with cognitive behavioral therapy.

What I find most distressing is that the psychiatrists recommend seeing a talk therapist but many of the patients won't go -- that says to me the drug company message is speaking "louder" than therapists. That message is saying: don't think, don't reflect, take it easy -- take a pill. And anyone who has ever successfully dealt with their "issues" knows that with or without drugs it's hard work. No person, and certainly no pill, can live it for you.

I'd like to find those awesome therapists working outside the box -- heck, that's why we started whereapy :)

I'm with you Leigh; I think the appeal of the medication-only route is that it's quick, and that it doesn't involve being so vulnerable. Going to therapy can feel like having to take off all your clothes, but worse (how's that for a sales pitch!), and looking at everything that's bothering you can feel really overwhelming. I think good therapy generally involves changing something, which we tend not to like; I know the therapy that has been the most helpful to me always involved hard questions that made me squirm a little.

Big Pharma and Big Agra are hand-in-hand corporate mercenaries as far as I'm concerned. Profit and the bottom line is all they are interested in. Forget the small family farms, they will buy it for cheap and add it to the millions of acres of GMO crops, i.e. recently approved Alfalfa, and just before that, sugar beets, corn, soybeans.
Pharmaceutical products have their place, but many times doctors over prescribe them because that's what they are taught to do in college. They are groomed by big pharma companies while in college, and given many perks that they continue when entering the profession. Prescription kickbacks, seminars in exotic locals, all paid for-and bring the family if you want, all sorts of perks to prescribe and prescribe some more. Forget nutrition and the health of your gut, just take another pill, please!
And don't forget to take your (sickness inducing) vaccines, which increases your chances of getting the flu.
I urge all readers to visit Dr. Sherri Tenpenny's website as she has the scoop on vaccination damage and cures.

You are what you eat, so spend your money on quality foods, unprocessed, and organic if possible.
Better to spend your money now, on health -- than later on the doctor when you've gotten ill.
Check out your body's pH with test strips. If you maintain it at 7.0 or above, you'll rarely get sick or get cancer.
This is something your doctor will rarely tell you.
Think about it: if doctors were really in the business of health and healing, they'd be out of jobs very soon.
Except for trauma doctors and OB specialists that is. We will always need doctors to set broken bones and stitch up wounds and help deliver babies.
Think about it: 60 years ago, 1 in 200 people had cancer. In 2020, the National Cancer Institute predicts cancer rates will go up from 1 in 4 (today) to 1 in 2. What is going on? What are we doing differently today than we did back in the 1950's? Processed foods, Vaccinations, Microwave radiation from cell phone towers, unavailability of raw milk, no Iodine in bakery or salt (iodide is not iodine) etc etc etc. Dr. Joseph Mercola's website will clue you in.

leigh's picture

Drea I love that you live on an organic farm and raise chickens - so cool! Yeah, I've seen a few documentaries on the US food system and it's just disgusting... blech!

Thank you Miss Leigh!
I forgot to mention water with fluoride, lithium and arsenic in it, now made in China like everything else is, added to your local municipal water plant.
Even though the EPA has finally ruled that they were adding to much to the system. Bad habits are hard to break, hey?
Our organic farm is a haven for all sorts of insects (some bad like the Japanese beetles) butterflies, wildlife and fowl, like the 34 wild turkeys.
If the economic times get really bad, I might have to hire a local hunter to do the evil deed and dispatch one of them for a turkey dinner. But first we'll fish all we can from the pond. It's spring fed, so no farm run off from herbicides and pesticides.
If you want an easy detox from heavy metals (vaccines, air pollution, processed foods, etc.) take a nice warm bath with 2 cups powdered bentonite clay. It will literally leach or pull these metals out of your bloodstream, organs and skin. You have to do this about six times, and it really helps autistic children eliminated the mercury in their systems.

You need to drink one glass of wine or red grape juice everyday, for the resveratrol properties, which are anti-inflammatory and anti-oxydant.

But one of the very best, and cheapest ways, to safeguard against inflammation of any kind and Dementia, is the Indian herb found in curry dishes called Turmeric! You can find it by McCormicks's in the spice isle at the grocery store, but it's not always easy to incorporate it into your dishes, if you're not having eggs, soups, stews, etc. So, now you can buy the capsules at Walmart very inexpensively, or buy in bulk and make your own capsules with this small manual gizmo, under $10. That's what I used to have to do, before Walmart got in the game.
In India, with 1 Billion people, hardly anyone suffers from Alzheimer's, like my Mother did the last 4 years of her life (and moved in with us).
The Alzheimer's foundation states i in 2 people in the USA will develop this dread disease. So prevention is the cure: Take 2 capsules everyday for the rest of your life, and system inflammation will lessen, arthritis won't hurt so much, and you wont get A.D. Promise! Look it up on a google search.
And don't forget to get a special filter to remove chlorine and fluoride from your water. Fluoride was given to the inmates at Labor Camps during WW2, to dull them, make them passive, so they wouldn't escape. It worked.

Another tip. Since 2002, prostate cancer has increased 500%.
This is due to men carrying cell phones on their belts or in their pockets, as they got smaller and were able to be carried this way. Correlation is the key.
Don't let them do this anymore if you love your men!

For women, get a shield for your phone, which you most likely carry in your purse. Keep phone at least 3 feet away from you or more, and use speakerphone. Thank you.

Dr Drea, have you heard anything about biological medicine? I was at a lecture about it recently, and the doctor (who has conventional allopathic training) was talking a lot about her goal of practice being the reduction (or elimination) of the use of pharmaceuticals, and treating the whole person with a great emphasis on what we're eating. She was advocating a largely plant-based, organic, and local diet and also spoke about several of the points you mention above- I was just curious if you're familiar with that.