In the past decade, drugs such as Seroquel (quetiapine) and Zyprexa (olanzapine) have become among the most profitable drugs ever made in history.
A new book, The Bitterest Pills: The Troubling Story of Antipsychotic Drugs, written by Dr Joanna Moncrieff, senior lecturer in psychiatry at University College London, exposes the true dangers and the vast over-prescription of these heavy duty medications.
According to an article about the book in the Daily Mail on 24 September 2013, patients describe the drugs’ effects as ‘sluggish’, ‘inhibited’, ‘feeling nothing’, ‘feeling weird’, ‘spacey’ and ‘empty’. For people who are acutely psychotic, the damping down of the feelings these indicate, may be welcomed, but for many they are intolerable.
Even more concerning are the side effects and long-term effects. These include major weight gain, high cholesterol and other harmful fats, along with raised glucose that can lead to diabetes and heart disease (the drugs have been linked with 1 800 deaths from stroke and heart disease a year).
In the long term they can also shrink the brain. This had long been suspected but it was difficult to prove because schizophrenia is believed to have the same effect. However, earlier this month a long-running brain scanning study, reported in The American Journal of Psychiatry, concluded that ‘the higher the antipsychotic medication, the greater the loss of both grey and white brain tissue.’ ‘Long term treatment can also cause an irreversible form of brain damage’, says the Daily Mail article. These drugs are also extremely hard to get off, so trying them for a ‘trial period’ often means a person becomes hooked.
I find it extremely perverse that, under the guise of science and the authority of psychiatrists, people who are going through a bad patch are often prescribed these drugs with little or no exploration of psychological issues and potential nutritional treatment.
At the Brain Bio Centre we see so many people every year who respond extremely well to correcting blood sugar problems, and dealing with allergies or specific nutritional supplementation to correct underlying deficiencies, identified by testing. The idea that these kind of approaches are not even taught to medical students and, instead, prescribing these terrible drugs when it is not always called for and considered ‘good medicine’ shows just how much psychiatry is still in the dark ages, or in the pockets of big pharma. Well done to Joanna Moncrieff for telling it the way it is.
If you’d like to find out more about nutritional approaches to mood disorders, visit foodforthebrain.org and read The Feel Good Factor. The book Optimum Nutrition for the Mind contains more information on known causes of more serious schizophrenia-like disorders, including bipolar mood disorder. The Brain Bio Centre, which is part of the charitable Food for the Brain Foundation, specialises in these kinds of health problems.