Straight Talking Introduction To Psychiatric Drugs  - Moncrieff, Joanna

Straight Talking Introduction To Psychiatric Drugs

Joanna Moncrieff

Yayınevi: PCCS Books

Yayın tarihi: 02/2013

ISBN: 9781906254179

İngilizce | 155 Sayfa | Cep boy |  10,80 x 17,20 x 1,40 cm.

Tür: Psikoloji

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This little book is aimed at the large percentage of the population who have been prescribed antidepressants, tranquilizers, mood stabilizers, so-called antipsychotics, and stimulants. It is not an anti-psychiatry tract, and the author recognizes that in some cases the advantages of a drug may outweigh the disadvantages.

However, the author also points out that the research into these powerful drugs is likely to be flawed for many reasons. Even the “gold standard” double-blind random controlled tests have pitfalls. They are conducted by the very companies wishing to bring them to a lucrative market. Unfavorable studies may simply remain unpublished. Also, it doesn’t seem to have occurred to researchers that it isn’t difficult for those getting the real drug, and the control group getting a dummy pill, or placebo, to figure out which they’re getting. This produces “unblinding” which knocks out one of the supposed main strengths of such studies.

This means the evidence that mood fluctuations and other “mental illnesses” are really caused by “an imbalance in brain chemicals” that can be corrected, that is, restored to a natural state by drugs, is practically nonexistent. That is why drug companies qualify their pitches with “it is believed that.” It is also why your doctor comparing an antidepressant to insulin is disingenuous. We know exactly what causes diabetes and we know just how to compensate with insulin and nothing has to be “believed” because we know all the scientific facts.

I can check my blood sugar anytime I want with a simple finger stick. In all my years under psychiatric care, I have never seen a “serotonin level,” probably because they would have to get it directly from my brain: an expensive and unpleasant experience for non-cadavers.

So what accounts for any improvements in symptoms? This is the most interesting part of the book.

The book states the obvious: drugs do stuff to you. They change the way your brain works. The provocative question is this: are they really “correcting a disease-specific imbalance,” or are they just doping you up so you are exchanging whatever symptoms you have for drug side effects such as sedation and loss of interest in things?

If you take an opioid painkiller, you’re going to feel super whether you’re in pain or not. If you take Valium, you’re going to chill whether you suffer from anxiety or not. And if you take an antidepressant, you’re going to experience effects, whether you are depressed or not (except not so pleasant). The author says this “drug-centered model” is the right description for what is going on when your doctor prescribes any psychotropic drug. It is not correcting some imaginary chemical imbalance. It is just a drug doing its thing on any human brain.

This book says psychiatry purports to treat “diseases” but its drugs simply change how anyone who takes them feels—usually by deactivating them to one degree or another. Now, this may be a good thing for people suffering severe symptoms. If you’re psychotic or manic, you are probably better off with a drug-impaired brain, at least for a while. Most of us shouldn’t need our lives bubble wrapped.

This book arms the patient and family members with an easy-to-understand perspective they will not get from their doctor. In the end, it’s pretty obvious: these drugs do powerful stuff to your brain, which is one of the more important organs in your body. Maybe you really need that. Most people don’t. There are reasons to make your own informed choice, and not taking psychotropic drugs—especially for the rest of your life—may be better in the long run.

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