Myths and Facts About Psychiatric Medication
Dear Friends, We have very interesting topic this week and on request from many people we putting up the Myths behind the Psychiatric Medication. We are here to help you and please meet us before taking any decisions. Below are few Myths about the Psychiatry Medications.
MYTH: Medication can’t really help a “mental” problem.
FACT: The illness of depression may have symptoms related to emotions and thoughts but it is nonetheless a very physical illness with often-disabling bodily symptoms. Antidepressants help alleviate those symptoms as well as work on the neurotransmitters that influence both the physical and psychological symptoms.
MYTH: Even if they can help, antidepressants are a “quick fix” or a “crutch” which don’t get at the root of the problem.
FACT: While it is true that antidepressants won’t do much to alleviate the environmental circumstances that cause situational depression, they can be “enabling” medicine that alleviate symptoms of major depression enough to enable a person to pursue and receive more benefit from lifestyle changes, support groups, and counselling techniques.
MYTH: Antidepressants are addictive.
FACT: No. Unlike sleeping pills and some anxiety medications, antidepressants are not addictive. However, you should never just stop a course of antidepressants on your own without the supervision of a treating physician; while your body will not crave the medicine, it will be affected by a sudden stop, particularly at higher doses.
MYTH: Once on antidepressants, I’ll be on them for life.
FACT: Not true. A general rule clinicians often use is that a person should be treated with antidepressants at least one-and-a-half times as long as the duration of the depressive episode before they can begin to be weaned off. Longer-term antidepressant usage is considered only for a smaller percentage of people who have two or more relapses of major depression.
MYTH: Antidepressants are “happy pills”
FACT: Antidepressants are often called “drugs” in slang but they have no relation to amphetamines (“uppers”) or euphoria-inducing recreational drugs. Antidepressants are designed to correct imbalances in certain brain chemicals and get you back to feeling like yourself, not merely a happier self. A person without those imbalances, who is not depressed, will feel no effect from antidepressants and may even feel ill.
MYTH: Antidepressants will change your personality or prevent you from feeling “normal” moods
FACT: Many people are nervous when taking any kind of psychotropic medication (medication for a mental illness) because they feel anything affecting the brain—the very heart of our humanity—may interfere with their identity and feelings. Actually quite the opposite: antidepressants are designed to return you to your former demeanour or personality, not create a different one.
MYTH: If the first antidepressant I try doesn’t work, others won’t work either.
FACT: There are currently a few dozen antidepressants on the market, and while they have a lot in common they’re not all identical. Add to that varying dosage levels and combinations of antidepressants and it is clear that there are countless variations within antidepressant treatment. Finding the right one is largely a process of trial and error. Many people have to try several different medications before they find one that works. Augmenting antidepressants with another mood stabiliser (e.g., lithium) or augment agent (e.g., thyroxin) may also help.
MYTH: If someone I know has done well with one type of antidepressant, it’ll probably work on me too
FACT: Everyone’s body is unique—including the way our brains are wired. Therefore, medication targeted at chemical messengers will work differently in each person just like the same perfume can smell nice on one person and not quite right on someone else. Trial and error is still the best process we have to find out which medicine will work for someone. Patience during this process is key.
MYTH: Antidepressants have horrible side effects
FACT: Like other medications, antidepressants carry the risk of side effects. These range from fatigue to dry mouth to sexual side effects. Fortunately, newer brands of antidepressants have relatively few or mild side effects. Many of these lessen or disappear with time, or can be corrected in other ways. Be sure to talk to your doctor and pharmacist to learn more about what you can expect.
MYTH: I’ll probably know right away if the antidepressant is working.
FACT: Unfortunately, no. It takes about four to six weeks at a clinically effective dosage to be able to determine if the antidepressant is alleviating symptoms. You’ll feel the side effects much sooner, however. Stick it out the six weeks though before you pass judgement.
MYTH: Once I start feeling better, I can stop taking the antidepressants.
FACT: The evidence is clear: just like you shouldn’t prematurely discontinue a course of antibiotics even if you feel better, clinicians recommend that you stay on antidepressants for the prescribed amount of time, even when you’re already feeling recovered. This will prevent a relapse. Then your doctor will instruct you on how to gradually wean off the medicine.
Myth: It’s no problem to stop treatment with antidepressants
FACT:A Danish professor of psychiatry said this at a recent meeting for psychiatrists, just after I had explained that it was difficult for patients to quit. Fortunately, he was contradicted by two foreign professors also at the meeting. One of them had done a trial with patients suffering from panic disorder and agoraphobia and half of them found it difficult to stop even though they were slowly tapering off. It cannot be because the depression came back, as the patients were not depressed to begin with. The withdrawal symptoms are primarily due to the antidepressants and not the disease.
Myth: Psychotropic drugs for mental illness are like insulin for diabetes
FACT: Most patients with depression or schizophrenia have heard this falsehood over and over again, almost like a mantra, in TV, radio and newspapers. When you give insulin to a patient with diabetes, you give something the patient lacks, namely insulin. Since we’ve never been able to demonstrate that a patient with a mental disorder lacks something that people who are not sick don’t lack, it is wrong to use this analogy. Patients with depression don’t lack serotonin, and there are actually drugs that work for depression although they lower serotonin. Moreover, in contrast to insulin, which just replaces what the patient is short of, and does nothing else, psychotropic drugs have a very wide range of effects throughout the body, many of which are harmful. So, also for this reason, the insulin analogy is extremely misleading.
Myth: Psychotropic drugs reduce the number of chronically ill patients
FACT: This is probably the worst myth of them all. US science journalist Robert Whitaker demonstrates convincingly in “Anatomy of an Epidemic” that the increasing use of drugs not only keeps patients stuck in the sick role, but also turns many problems that would have been transient into chronic diseases.If there had been any truth in the insulin myth, we would have expected to see fewer patients who could not fend for themselves. However, the reverse has happened. The clearest evidence of this is also the most tragic, namely the fate of our children after we started treating them with drugs. In the United States, psychiatrists collect more money from drug makers than doctors in any other speciality and those who take most money tend to prescribe anti-psychotics to children most often. This raises a suspicion of corruption of the academic judgement.The consequences are damning. In 1987, just before the newer antidepressants (SSRIs or happy pills) came on the market, very few children in the United States were mentally disabled. Twenty years later it was over 500,000, which represents a 35-fold increase. The number of disabled mentally ill has exploded in all Western countries. One of the worst consequences is that the treatment with ADHD medications and happy pills has created an entirely new disease in about 10% of those treated – namely bipolar disorder – which we previously called manic depressive illness.Leading psychiatrist has claimed that it is “very rare” that patients on antidepressants become bipolar. That’s not true. The number of children with bipolar increased 35-fold in the United States, which is a serious development, as we use anti-psychotic drugs for this disorder. Anti-psychotic drugs are very dangerous and one of the main reasons why patients with schizophrenia live 20 years shorter than others. I have estimated in my book, ‘Deadly Medicine and Organised Crime’, that just one of the many preparations, Zyprexa (olanzapine), has killed 200,000 patients worldwide.
Myth: Happy pills do not cause suicide in children and adolescents
FACT: Some professors are willing to admit that happy pills increase the incidence of suicidal behaviour while denying that this necessarily leads to more suicides, although it is well documented that the two are closely related. Suicides in healthy people, triggered by happy pills, have also been reported. The companies and the psychiatrists have consistently blamed the disease when patients commit suicide. It is true that depression increases the risk of suicide, but happy pills increase it even more, at least up to about age 40, according to a meta-analysis of 100,000 patients in randomised trials performed by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Myth: Happy pills have no side effects
FACT: At an international meeting on psychiatry in 2008, I criticised psychiatrists for wanting to screen many healthy people for depression. The recommended screening tests are so poor that one in three healthy people will be wrongly diagnosed as depressed. A professor replied that it didn’t matter that healthy people were treated as happy pills have no side effects!Happy pills have many side effects. They remove both the top and the bottom of the emotions, which, according to some patients, feels like living under a cheese-dish cover. Patients care less about the consequences of their actions, lose empathy towards others, and can become very aggressive. In school shootings in the United States and elsewhere a striking number of people have been on antidepressants.The companies tell us that only 5% get sexual problems with happy pills, but that’s not true. In a study designed to look at this problem, sexual disturbances developed in 59% of 1,022 patients who all had a normal sex life before they started an antidepressant. The symptoms include decreased libido, delayed or no orgasm or ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction, all at a high rate, and with a low tolerance among 40% of the patients. Happy pills should therefore not have been marketed for depression where the effect is rather small, but as pills that destroy your sex life.
Myth: Happy pills are not addictive
FACT: They surely are and it is no wonder because they are chemically related to and act like amphetamine. Happy pills are a kind of narcotic on prescription. The worst argument I have heard about the pills not causing dependency is that patients do not require higher doses. Shall we then also believe that cigarettes are not addictive? The vast majority of smokers consume the same number of cigarettes for years.
Myth: The prevalence of depression has increased a lot
FACT: A professor argued in a TV debate that the large consumption of happy pills wasn’t a problem because the incidence of depression had increased greatly in the last 50 years. I replied it was impossible to say much about this because the criteria for making the diagnosis had been lowered markedly during this period. If you wish to count elephants in Africa, you don’t lower the criteria for what constitutes an elephant and count all the wildebeest, too.
Myth: The main problem is not over-treatment, but under treatment
FACT: Again, leading psychiatrists are completely out of touch with reality. In a 2007 survey, 51% of the 108 psychiatrists said that they used too much medicine and only 4 % said they used too little. In 2001–2003, 20% of the US population aged 18–54 years received treatment for emotional problems, and sales of happy pills are so high in Denmark that every one of us could be in treatment for 6 years of our lives. That is sick.Myth: Anti-psychotics prevent brain damageFACT: Some professors say that schizophrenia causes brain damage and that it is therefore important to use anti-psychotics. However, anti-psychotics lead to shrinkage of the brain, and this effect is directly related to the dose and duration of the treatment. There is other good evidence to suggest that one should use anti-psychotics as little as possible, as the patients then fare better in the long term. Indeed, one may completely avoid using anti-psychotics in most patients with schizophrenia, which would significantly increase the chances that they will become healthy, and also increase life expectancy, as anti-psychotics kill many patients.Please visit a Doctor before using any medications. If you think you are getting addicted to the medication speak your doctor. Take care and Stay Blessed !!!