Psychiatry: A Corrupt Marketing Scam Rather Than A Medical Speciality
(What mental illness are YOU suffering from?)
Thanks to psychiatrists and drug companies millions of people who are eccentric, shy, romantic or bereaved will now be labelled as `mentally illí. And millions of criminals will be able to claim that they are just `illí and not responsible for their crimes.
The American Psychiatric Association has revised its advice manual on psychiatric diseases and created a host of new mental illnesses. This regular event is always a great opportunity for psychiatrists to invent the new diseases the drug companies want to be able to treat. As always, commercial expediency takes the place of dull stuff like scientific evidence. These new diseases are just `createdí because they will make a lot of people a hell of a lot of money.
What makes things even worse is that over half of the small group of psychiatrists devising these new illnesses have financial links with drug companies. Moreover, the American Psychiatric Association, like many other medical organisations around the world, gets over half its multi-million pound income from the big drug companies.
All this must be added to the evidence which shows that most psychiatrists are no better qualified to diagnose or treat mental illness than the average hairdresser. I say this not as a writer but as a qualified, registered and fully licensed general practitioner who is thoroughly ashamed of this branch of medicine.
For example, a study of 131 randomly selected psychiatric patients showed that approximately three quarters of the patients had probably been wrongly diagnosed.
One problem is that in many cases patients are diagnosed as having - and then treated for - serious psychiatric problems when their symptoms are in truth caused by drugs they have been given for physical problems. Whole wards full of patients have been diagnosed, treated and classified as `schizophrenicí when in fact they were suffering from side effects produced by the drugs they had been given by prescription happy doctors.
The alarming truth is that nothing psychiatrists claim as `fact' can be proved by any means recognised by scientists; there are no proper controls and if an experiment is repeated it rarely produces the same result. The ultimate absurdity is the fact that psychiatrists claim that only they are fit to judge the effectiveness of their recommendations. Psychiatry is black magic masquerading as science.
The result of the fact that the psychiatric profession has sold itself to the pharmaceutical industry is that patients are now often treated for conditions that sane people would not regard as illnesses. Patients who feel guilty, worried, or concerned about the state of the world are likely to find themselves labelled and drugged for life. Those who are too timid, too reserved, too kind, too gullible or too anything are likely to find themselves filled to the gills with some poisonous but enormously profitable concoction. These are all now regarded as mental illnesses. Psychiatrists never suggest that patients might live with their symptoms, or (heaven forbid) find some non-pharmacological solution. There is never any discussion of side effects, or any suggestion that the long term consequences of therapy might turn out to be worse than the long term consequences of the disorder.
Psychiatrists and drug companies have been so successful in convincing politicians of the effectiveness of their so-called `speciality' that virtually all the money available for the care of mental patients is now spent on pills (even though there is invariably no evidence to show that they do any good at all). Institutions caring for the mentally ill were closed down (using the excuse that they were politically incorrect) and the patients who needed care were dumped into the community, to wander the streets. It's difficult to blame drug companies for this sad state of affairs (they exist, after all, solely to make money) but it's easy to blame psychiatrists.
The sad truth is that psychiatry is the greatest con on earth.
Psychiatrists and general practitioners have become increasingly enthusiastic about drug therapy in recent decades. They claim that they can treat a wide range of disorders with psychotropic drugs and so a goodly portion of the world now regularly gulps down happy tablets. The result is that the incidence of mental health problems is increasing. Officially, one in two people in Britain is incurably mentally ill. (Despite this the number of beds available for mental health patients is constantly shrinking. This is, of course, because the mentally ill make an ineffective lobby.)
Psychiatry is a collegiate confidence trick with pretensions of grandeur. Take chemical imbalance Ė frequently used as an excuse for drastic medication protocols. The simple fact is that there is no evidence that there is any such thing as `chemical imbalance'. Ask any reputable psychiatrist about this and he will agree that I'm right: `chemical imbalance' is a still unproven theory. It's never even been properly tested so how could it ever be proven?
So how can psychiatrists and drug companies possibly treat the problems which they claim are caused by `chemical imbalance'?
The bald truth is that psychiatry is no more a science than witchcraft. It is a perfect example of pseudoscience running riot. Cinema legend Samuel Goldwyn was right when he said that anybody who goes to see a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined.
You may be surprised to learn that psychotropic drugs (widely promoted by doctors who have close links with the companies making them) have no provable, useful effects. They do, on the other hand, have massive and provable serious bad effects (such as death). How are these drugs supposed to work? That's not exactly known. It is, however, known that they flatten the emotions and cause a numbing and dullness of the mind which makes patients taking the drugs less aware of their problems. Patients become so numb that they don't notice the nasty world around them. These drugs don't cure mental symptoms; they simply cover them up. The best patients can hope for is that the side effects aren't too bad.
Psychiatrists do not, and will not, agree with any of this, of course. They have a rapidly growing dictionary of labels which they can apply to their patients. The big problem with their labels (I'm talking here about well-known diseases such as ADHD and schizophrenia) is that none of these diseases (none) actually exists. Not in the way that pneumonia and tuberculosis exist, with real signs and symptoms. Psychiatric disorders are created and agreed upon by groups of psychiatrists who meet together and think up new disorders. I'm not making this up. There is proof that diabetes exists. There is scientific evidence to show that heart disease is real. But there is no proof to show that any psychiatric disorders really exist. They are labels which are often created merely to find a market for a newly invented drug. Diagnoses are made, and treatment begun, without any evidence that a patient has anything wrong that can be treated. Drugs are prescribed in the vague hope that they will produce an improvement. Most of the time they produce a change - but the change is more likely to be a deterioration than an improvement.
Many entirely non-existent diseases are becoming forever commoner and taking up constantly increasing parts of constantly decreasing health care budgets. Many psychiatrists claim (apparently meaning it) that we are all mentally ill and that we all need treatment. This is not a social comment so much as an excuse to hand out prescription drugs which do more harm than good. (My own experience of medical colleagues who are psychiatrists is that they are mostly barking. The Brazilian psychiatrist who shot a patient because `they all come in here and just want to think about themselves, no one thinks about ME' wasn't that exceptional. Psychiatrists are pretty screwed up people; deviants and neurotics. That's why they become psychiatrists. A few of the students I studied medicine with became psychiatrists. There all seemed pretty barking to me. The psychiatrists I knew at medical school were as mad as hatters. By anyone's standards they were potty.
Doctors became psychiatrists because they canít deal with the logical science of real medicine. They choose, instead, to drift into the world of psychiatry where judgements are made subjectively rather than objectively.
Many psychiatrists have such close links with drug companies that they promote drug therapy for all with missionary zeal. Whenever psychiatrists make a suggestion one only has to ask `Who benefits?' to see what is going on. A proposal to screen the entire population of Britain for depression was recently abandoned, possibly because it was realised that a virtually bankrupt nation could not afford to conduct an inefficient but incredibly expensive survey into mental health, possibly because a civil servant somewhere realised that the cost of providing anti-depressants would push the nation further into bankruptcy and possibly because someone realised that the nation was so despairing that a survey would probably show that the whole country was depressed.
Drug companies concentrate on me-too drugs, the money makers, ignoring diseases that affect the third world and ignoring rare diseases. They want long term medications for long term problems, and psychiatric drugs are the most profitable. Drug companies love mental illnesses. Patients don't die from them. They live long, healthy lives and so, once diagnosed, can be given drugs for decades. Patients never get better and so the drug therapy is eternal. These disorders are self-reinforcing. When told they are `mentally ill' people tend to become anxious, introspective, less interested in the outside world and more self-obsessed.
Doctors talk about exogenous and endogenous depressions but the only real difference between the two is that in one the cause has been found and in the other it hasn't. The two varieties of depression are basically identical. Both are largely caused by stress.
The sad truth is psychiatry is a nonsensical speciality. And all its treatments are unproven rubbish. Aversion therapy,
behaviour therapy and hormonal rebalancing are nonsense. Drug therapy is as dangerous, in its way, as psychosurgery. Diagnoses are made without evidence existing. Treatment is prescribed in a purely subjective way. And the diagnostic symptomology is so vague and far reaching that I could, without much difficulty, find some definable mental illness in every person in the developed world.
According to the official definitions and symptom lists I reckon I am suffering from autism, ADHD, ODD, obsessive compulsive disorder and several dozen other psychiatric disorders. And I don't mind betting that you are too. Today just about every human emotion or behavioural pattern is a psychiatric disease; an official medical diagnoses. Shyness, homesickness, suspicion, having ups and downs and distractibility are all diseases. Women who have small breasts are suffering from micromastia. There are special drugs for all these disorders. New diseases soon likely to be classified include: `apathy disorder', `compulsive shopping disorder and `internet addiction disorder'. If your doctor says you have one of these then you're officially mentally ill. Lack of self- control and impatience are now officially recognised as diseases. Welcome to the worldwide club. There's a drug with your name on it. And a long-term sick note just a scrawl away.
Many of the new diseases relate to children. There's a good reason for this. Once a child is started on a drug there are likely to be decades of prescribing (and profits) ahead.
How do psychiatrists define new diseases? Easy. A bunch of 27 of them (most of them with links to drug companies) simply decide what is officially a disease. Psychiatrists actually have meetings to vote on whether diseases exist or not. Homosexuality used to be a disease, but political correctness pressures resulted in a vote deciding it was not. That's what psychiatrists call `science'. Thanks to their efforts, everyone can be diagnosed as mentally ill and everyone diagnosed will be treated. Providing drugs for mental illness is an industry worth a third of a trillion dollars a year. It's hardly surprising that new mental diseases come thick and fast. There is no evidence that any of the drugs prescribed can `cure' anything (partly because none of the diseases being treated can be properly diagnosed or specifically identified) but there is plenty of evidence showing that the drugs being used produce a huge variety of known, and sometimes deadly, side effects.
There are now nearly 400 psychiatric medical diagnoses in the official lists. There are specialists and drugs for all these diagnoses. And not one of the 400 has been tested or proven to exist. If you ever have a dull moment in your life get yourself a copy of the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and flick through it looking for the daftest diseases. It's hardly surprising that no one is now truly normal. These diseases aren't found in a laboratory or identified by epidemiological studies: they are created in marketing departments because this branch of medicine is now a marketing business rather than a science. Drug companies can make 500,000% profit on the drugs they sell. (In the last half a dozen years, by the way, drug companies have paid out around £5 billion to settle accusations of marketing fraud.)
Drug companies use marketing experts to persuade well people they are ill and need to take a pill, preferably permanently. Patient groups are set up and funded. In the UK, one of the big groups catering to autism sufferers takes drug company money. Journalists are bought and diseases created. In the business this is called disease mongering. It's big business. Research is funded by drug companies and not surprisingly, the research with inconvenient results never gets published. Some medical journals rely entirely on drug company advertising.
The medical community is corrupt and up to its eyes in drug company money. When TV programmes want to speak to a doctor about drugs they invariably contact one of the `hired hands' recommended by the drug companies. Doctors who tell the truth are banned and marginalised.
Governments say they canít find any doctors without conflict of interest to sit on committees assessing drugs. (Well, I'm here. An acknowledged expert on drugs and iatrogenesis and a licensed, registered medical practitioner. But, surprise, surprise, they never approach me.) Doctors go to conferences run and or paid for by drug companies. No doctor who is likely to oppose or question drug therapy will be invited to speak. (The last time I was invited to speak to NHS personnel I was quickly uninvited when drug companies found my name on the list.)
Many of the commonest problems are behavioural conditions associated with children. These are often diagnosed by nurses and teachers rather than by psychiatrists. The doctors are too busy signing the prescriptions to bother with actually seeing patients. ADHD, autism and Asperger's syndrome will all become default conditions soon. Their incidence is increasing so absurdly fast that children without one of these conditions will be regarded as abnormal and will, of course, need treatment. Autism became popular because itís a damned sight more convenient for drug companies to create a new disease than it is to accept that children can be brain damaged by vaccines (another drug company product). For drug companies it is a double whammy. They avoid the vaccine lawsuits. And the new diagnosis enables them to sell treatments for newly created and non-existent diseases. Parents don't seem to care that the evidence shows that a walk in a park is better than drugs for children with ADHD. Pushy, expectant parents with not very bright children temper their disappointment by accepting that their children have a new and fashionable disorder. A doctorís note showing that a child has ADHD enables him and family to jump to the front of the queue at theme parks, and to jump the queue for school lunch. It's hardly surprising that one in 20 in Britain has ADHD. And yet the symptoms are so vague that I doubt if there is a child in Britain who doesn't have it. The more intelligent doctors who prescribe drugs for ADHD and other entirely imaginary diseases know damned well that the whole thing is a scam: useless products for imaginary disorders; non-existent solutions for non-existent problems.
New diseases are being invented almost daily. There's another exciting disease around now. Itís ODD (Opposition Defiant Disorder). The symptoms are an absence of respect for authority and anger management issues. Those with ODD are surly, defiant, uncooperative and hostile towards authority figures. Psychiatrists believe that ODD affects between 1 and 16 per cent of all school age children (nice of them to be so precise).
So, what the hell is really going on? Is all this just about profits?
Well, here's an interesting quote from the National Association for Mental Health: `Principles of mental health cannot be successfully furthered in any society unless there is progressive acceptance of the concept of world citizenship. World citizenship can be widely extended among all peoples through applications of the principles of mental health.'
And here's a quote from Dr G Brock Chisholm, psychiatrist and co-founder of the World Federation of Mental Health: `To achieve world government, it is necessary to remove from the minds of men their individualism, loyalty to family traditions, national patriotism and religious dogmas.'
The bottom line, of course, is that since the psychiatrists and the drug companies decide what mental illness is, and is not, the incidence of mental illnesses will continue to soar.
But it isn't the patients who are mad; itís the doctors, nurses and administrators who believe this mumbo jumbo.
Copyright Vernon Coleman 2013
Vernon Coleman is a qualified, registered and licensed medical practitioner.
This article is based on material taken from his book Do Doctors And Nurses Kill More Patients Than Cancer?