Mental illness, Rx drug treatment and abuse, side effects, black boxes... what is the state of mental health in 2019? Our Anne Dachel's site lossofbraintrust.com has been cataloging the demise of education around the world as children as young as preschool sink into the web of behaviors, violence and Rx drug prescriptions. Schools are faltering under the weight of having to teach students who are mentally or as we often call it, neurologically ill. Toxic insults that affect the brain begin in utero. This article from NPR's Terry Gross caught my eye. The topic will only grow more urgent. We had yet another school shooting last week. Another violently angry, maladjusted young male. The shooters used to be disgruntled middle-aged men who lost their jobs. The "good" old days that spawned "going Postal" as a phrase for a meltdown. Today, it's young men. Is Pharma and our willingness to turn over our very brains and immune systems to their pills and needles the root?
Insurance that will cover prescriptions doesn't always cover talk therapy, a chance to work out your problems with expert guidance. I think of a therapist like a tug boat. Gentle assistance to move forward to your journey or into a safe harbor. During my divorce, a therapist gave me a sounding board, solid ideas that were mine to pursue or not, and moments of quiet that I needed. A pill that would have tamped down my anxiety over the process would have numbed me perhaps, and just put off the pain. No thanks.
Who is at fault? The doctors who allowed their unions to fall under the spell of pharma money, trips, incentives. Politicians who suck at the teat of pharma donations. And consumers - yes, us too. Consumers, who want a quick fix in place of hard work. Are pills always wrong? No, of course not. Nor are the a pillacea.....
From NPR's Terry Gross:
Historian and Harvard professor Anne Harrington believes that pharmaceutical companies have played an oversized role in determining how mental illness is treated in the United States — leading to a rise in the use of antidepressant drugs.
Harrington's new book, Mind Fixers: Psychiatry's Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness, chronicles the history of psycho-pharmaceuticals, such as Prozac and Xanax, which have been used to treat depression and anxiety, as well as lithium, the first drug to treat what is now called bipolar disorder.
Prior to the 1970s, Harrington says, society tended to distinguish between forms of depression that should be treated medically versus depression caused by "bad stuff going on in your life," which was thought to be treated best by talk therapy.
But as pharmaceutical companies began to market antidepressant drugs, the focus of treatment for many people moved away from talk therapy. Harrington says this shift has not always served patients well.
"We don't know enough about the biology of these mental disorders to know whether or not some of the reasons are biological — in the sense that medicine likes to think of these things as diseases — and whether it's just because they're having terrible problems," Harrington says. "I would love to see a larger, more pluralistic set of options."