Are most psychiatric drugs nothing more than placebos? If that’s the case, then drug companies are making massive amounts of money selling patients what is actually–nothing at all. We suspect that the swine flu "epidemic" was–in large part–a "hoax" perpetrated by drug companies, but psychiatric illness are real, despite the fact that some of them, such as ADHD, may be over diagnosed.

The number of people who are so disabled by mental disorders that they qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) increased nearly two and a half times between 1987 and 2007, from one in 184 Americans to one in 76. For children, the rise is even more dramatic: a 35% increase, to the extent that mental illness is now the leading cause of disability in children. And treatment has shifted almost completely from "talk therapy" to psychoactive drugs, to the extent that almost 10% of Americans over age 6 now take antidepressants. 

Researchers have found that placebos were 3 times as effective at treating mental illness as no treatment at all BUT they also find that genuine antidepressants worked only a tiny bit better than placebos: Placebos are 75% percent as effective as antidepressants. This is all based on the now discredited theory that mental illness is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.

In the June 23rd edition of the New York Review of Books, Marcia Angell quotes psychologist irving Kirsch as saying, "It now seems beyond question that the traditional account of depression as a chemical imbalance in the brain is simply wrong." Angell writes, "Are we learning to recognize and diagnose mental disorders that were always there? On the other hand, are we simply expanding the criteria for mental illness so that nearly everyone has one? And what about the drugs that are now the mainstay of treatment? Do they work? If they do, shouldn’t we expect the prevalence of mental illness to be declining, not rising?

"Imagine that a virus suddenly appears in our society that makes people sleep 12, 14 hours a day. Those infected with it move about somewhat slowly and seem emotionally disengaged. Many gain huge amounts of weight–20, 40, 60, and even 100 pounds. Often their blood sugar levels soar, and so do their cholesterol levels. A number of those struck by the mysterious illness–including young children and teenagers–become diabetic in fairly short order. The federal government gives hundreds of millions of dollars to scientists at the best universities to decipher the inner workings of this virus, and they report that the reason it causes such global dysfunction is that it blocks a multitude of neurotransmitter receptors in the brain.

"Meanwhile, MRI studies find that over a period of several years, the virus shrinks the cerebral cortex, and this shrinkage is tied to cognitive decline. A terrified public clamors for a cure. Now such an illness has in fact hit millions of American children and adults. We have just described the effects of Eli Lilly’s best-selling antipsychotic, Zyprexa."

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