Any woman can tell you how the week before, during, and after a menstrual cycle can be an emotional roller coaster; feelings of sadness, sensitivity, food cravings, chronic fatigue, and severe mood swings, with bouts of crying. Not to mention the physical changes such as breast tenderness or swelling, headaches, joint or muscle pain and a sensation of bloating and feeling fat.
Yes guys, it is that uncomfortable.
Luckily, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), – a psychiatric classification tool – a woman with these “symptoms” can be diagnosed with a disease called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. A psychiatrist will then prescribe a common and marketable antidepressant, known as a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) such as Prozac, Sarafem or Fontex. Suddenly, this type of drug cannot only help with sad feelings, but can also be prescribed to help you quit smoking, and guess what? They’re now the magic pill to make you feel less fat and calm those emotional outbursts each month.
Psychiatrists claim they are motivated to promote these illnesses classification and treatment practices by expressing their concern and hopes, for instance, to ease a woman’s discomfort and possible relationship disruption due to suffering from this premenstrual ‘disease’. Frankly, it is difficult to believe that a 330 billion USD per year industry that rakes in the most money from prescribing and selling the top three antipsychotic drugs, would only be concerned with the patient’s interpersonal relationships and discomforts.
Illogical Medication Use:
As a scientist, no flag can be redder than the prescribing of a medication that is completely unrelated to the cause of the disease.
For example, the proposed causes of the Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder are ‘possible’ variants in the estrogen receptor alpha or the Catechol- O-methyl transferase genes. Neither of which interact or are affected by Serotonin levels in the body. Now, does that sound like a Serotonin issue to you?
It’s like going into the doctor’s office with a broken wrist and having them spray an expensive anti-itch cream on it, claiming that the issues may be related. This type of behavior does not instill the comfort and confidence that patients should feel from a medical practitioner.
This is just one example of how psychiatrists are able to vote a disease into existence via the DSM-5 classification process, and then claim to treat it with an already approved and purchasable drug. This allows them to have a whole new class of clients that they may have never targeted in the past.
It’s just one trick up this multi-billion dollar industry’s deceptive and bulging sleeve.
In the riveting and informative documentary, “Making a Killing: The untold story of Psychotropic Drugging” a panel of experts discuss the appalling aspects of the psychiatric medication industry such as faulty clinical trials, the revolving door in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the lack of proper toxicity testing on these drugs. All these techniques have helped the exponential growth of this well-oiled money making industry. This film presents evidence and contains testimonies from past users and families of victims; who are among the 42,000 that die from the use of these drugs each year!
Masked Under Good Intentions:
It is difficult to investigate and find fault with an industry that is calling itself medical, and waves the flag of healthcare and good intentions.
This mask of good intentions and empathetic work does not only cover the faces of the psychiatrists who admit to using a “trial-and-error” approach towards your medical treatment, it also covers the faces of the many pharmaceutically funded officials that make the regulatory decision about the psychiatric medication in the FDA.
It raises concerns when the governing body, in this case the FDA, which is supposed to perform unbiased analysis of proposed drugs, is receiving millions of dollars for a quickly approved drug. In addition, these board members are comprised of mainly psychiatrists themselves who can eventually benefit financially from prescribing this medication. Ulterior motives perhaps?
An Alternative Approach:
The illnesses that the psychiatric industry attempts to treat are poorly understood. Neuroscientists are still baffled by the complexities of the human brain. Therefore, rather than just finding fault with the current and past methods of mental health care, I would like to highlight alternative treatment practices. They are adequate and can be potentially curative for those who do not want to take medication, but find their current mental state unbearable.
There are a lot of instances where diet changes, acupuncture, talk or group psychotherapy, music therapy and even new studies about bacterial therapy help patients cope and improve their lives.
A good example of online group therapy is the popular podcast, The Mental Illness Happy Hour. On this show people who are suffering from various forms of trauma, negative thinking and addictions speak openly about their experiences and coping mechanisms.
Additionally, The international network called Intervoice is a platform to help those who hear voices. They work to educate others about the meaning of the voices, and offer ways for people to cope outside the use of psychotropic medications. Eleanor Longden, a member of Intervoice, describes her struggles at the Ted Talks in a truly eye opening and beautiful way.
These are just a few specific examples of alternative care for those who suffer from mental illnesses.
A Brighter Future:
The Psychiatric industry has a history of poor and controversial treatment practices. The psychiatrists who promote illegitimate psychotropic drug use have done a good job distracting the public from the non-scientific basis for the prescribing methods. The industry is continuously working towards taking on new clients, no matter how old, by improper prescriptions for children and the elderly.
What is even more upsetting is that a board comprised of men and women, who have only studied theories, have the audacity to tell us that they know what normal human behavior is supposed to be. They are taking advantage of the ever changing, demanding, and stressful world by telling us that our natural reactions to it, such as anxious feelings and waves of sadness, are wrong.
We strive to exercise, concern ourselves with proper nutrition, and avoid mind-altering drug use such as methamphetamines and heroin. So why would we take a pill that has only been tested in clinical trials for at most 8 weeks? Pills with clinical trial data that is statistically fudged!
We are told that these drugs are helpful, that there is scientific evidence for the design of the drugs, that the only downside is that they have “side effects.” However, let’s not let the diction confuse us, these are not side effects, these are EFFECTS: innate chemical reactions in our bodies to these drugs. I think these effects are telling us something, don’t you?
I cannot convince you of how this industry is wrong in a short blog post, but I hope to encourage you to be your own mental health advocates and to investigate this industry before you trust it. The information is out there. Please, think critically about what you are putting in you or your loved one’s body, why you think you are sick, and who is telling you that everyday human emotions should be something to be ashamed of and controlled.
Let the psychiatric industry spend our money on something more constructive, like programs to help people struggle less and flourish more, just maybe then we can see a decline in mental illnesses such as depression.