May 6, 2013

"When I think of psychiatry... I think of mildly sad people on antidepressants."

"I think of upper-middle-class parents putting their kids on Ritalin as soon as they flunk math, or misremember the lyrics to Dave Matthews songs. Pills seem so overabundant in our country that it’s possible to forget there are Americans who really and desperately need a pharmacological fix for an illness of the mind...."


Oso Negro said...

When I think of psychiatry, I think of Woody Allen.

CEO-MMP said...

One of the biggest problems with psychiatry is that most of the practitioners don't need to be them, they need to see them.

But yes. America is a pill-centered country. Has been for years. I was watching some Quincy re-runs streaming off Netflix the other day. Several episodes centered on his outrage at the easy availability of pills to treat this or that. Including the scene where he became disgusted at himself for reaching for an aspirin for a mild headache.

But everything is over prescribed isn't it?

St. George said...

My uncle's crazy.

Thinks he's a chicken.

Some folks think we should put him away.

We'd never do that.

We need the eggs.

--Woody Allen

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

When I think of psychiatry I think of a psychiatrist family friend who deals with the pre-Sandy Hook Adam Lanzas of the world, who have severe and multiple psychoses, who won't take their pills, whose families won't pay bills or cooperate with treatment plans or commitment hearings, who live in a society without enough live-in facilities for the severely and dangerously mentally ill. It's an exhausting, discouraging job.

edutcher said...

My mother was chronically, severely depressed all her life.

She could have used some of that pharmacology.

CEO-MMP said...

"She could have used some of that pharmacology."

Maybe. Sometimes it makes it worse. Tough to live that way though. For her, you, your dad etc.

But not everything is solved by a pill--it's still you who takes the pill every day. Where ever you go there you are and all that.

Pogo said...

Amazingly, you don't need medications or anything the psychiatrists are selling, you need talk therapy, that Greenberg is selling.

While there are many complaints to make about the medicalization of normal behavior, he is veering into Scientology-level hatred of psychiatry.

I couldn't scan Greenberg's book, but his article and the first chapter treat the mind like a black box, even though much is now known about brain disorders via functional imaging (i.e. MRI, PET).

Functional MRI of the amygdala and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis during conditions of uncertainty in generalized anxiety disorder
"Based on these results, we hypothesize that [ANXIETY] patients disengage the amygdala and its response to acute stress earlier than non-anxious controls making way for the BNST to maintain a more sustained response. Future studies are needed to investigate the temporal dynamics of activation and deactivation in these regions."

(And I suspect this is another post about bigotry against gays, if you read the article. Oddly, Scientology despises the gays, and Psychiatry changed its POV, like Obama.)

Pogo said...

"But not everything is solved by a pill--it's still you who takes the pill every day. "

Very true.

But people who cannot get out of bed and try to slash their wrist are a different problem than people who hate going to work. Overtreatment is a risk.

The problem arises out of insurance.

You cannot get paid if there is not a medical code, a name with an accepted diagnosis.

Until very recently, for example, internal medicine could not charge people to discuss obesity.

Insurance, and especially the gubmint, have driven the relentless categorization of all things. Medicine has sheepishly complied, and some have found a source of power in being among the deciders.

All have been sullied in the process.

Pogo said...

No, I am not a psychiatrist.


CEO-MMP said...

Yes, Pogo, you're right of course and I should've been a little more expansive.

There are people who not only could benefit but actually need pharmacological intervention.

Mitchell the Bat said...

When I think of psychiatry . . . I think of Dr. Bob Hartley which is weird because he was a psychologist.

Carol said...

the pills don't 'fix' brain chemistry, they perturb it.

ricpic said...

Mildly sad? And for that you go to a psychiatrist and ingest god knows what pill she hands you? Mildly sad used to be borne as the human condition. To quote the immortal Cher, "Snap out of it!"

Becon said...

My psychiatrist says the pill is only about 30% of the solution for my depression.

I'm not a housewife. I'm a 28 year old male that has had frequent thoughts of suicide since I was a small child.

Paddy O said...

Ann Perkins: Do you have any history of mental illness in your family?

Ron Swanson: I have an uncle who does yoga.

creeley23 said...

My mother was basically medicated to death by psychiatrists, so I have strong feelings in this area.

Nonetheless, I do recognize that some people are in deep trouble and psychiatric meds, while rather blunt interventions upon brain chemistry, are their best shot.

OTOH I think Americans are way over-medicated and studies do not bear up the efficacy of these treatments. Time and again, placebos have been shown to be about as good as drugs or talk therapy for that matter.

At one point in the nineties I noticed that more than half the women I knew were on the new SSRI antidepressants and they were unable to wean themselves from these drugs when they tried.

Back then I was concerned that there would be serious side-effects from long-term use which would hurt people, as had been the case for amphetamines and thorazine which had irreversibly damaged my mother.

We seem to have been lucky with the SSRIs, but it's only been luck. The long-term effects of SSRIs were not researched before being prescribed to people and are still not being studied.

Largo said...


I agree -- as I hooe you agree that insulins shots do not cure my metabolic homeostayis, though it does perturbs it (fir the better, thank God!)