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The Overuse Of Psychotropic Medications For Children

2368 words - 9 pages

In less than a year, John Geis was seen by four different medical doctors who diagnosed him with five separate illnesses, including autism, bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression), insomnia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). John's pill regimen kept multiplying, consuming a daily cocktail of mind-altering drugs. The harmful concoction included Risperdal (antipsychotic), Prozac (antidepressant), Adderall (psychostimulant). John's story is far too common in America today. In this paper, I will explore what lead up to the mass labeling and drugging of young boys in America. I will provide evidence of unethical and illegal business practices by the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, driven by greed.

Psychiatry once subscribed to the Freudian view that mental illness comes from roots in unconscious conflicts (usually appearing in adolescence), that affects the mind as though it were separate from the brain. With the introduction of psychoactive drugs in the 1950s, and sharply accelerating in the 1980s, it was then that the psychiatric focus shifted to the brain, as if it were a physical disease. Psychiatrists began to refer to themselves as psychopharmacologists, and became far less interested in exploring the life stories of their patients and more interested in treating their patients with drugs. The psychiatric profession became optimistic that the use of psychoactive drugs would be beneficial with the new biological model that psychiatry adopted. Their optimism began to fade as serious side-effects of the drugs were becoming apparent, and an anti-psychiatry attitude began to spread rapidly. (Angell)

Consequently ,with the  new medical model came the need for research, just as the need for cancer research and any other medical disease, plus the need for the funds that make the research possible. The National Institute of Mental Health(NIMH) have since admitted that it was in the late 70's that prominent members of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), as well as directors and researchers with NIMH, needed more government funding. They launched a plan to create consumer and advocacy organizations in order to lobby congress for research money. One such group is the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), This was a brilliant marketing/lobbying strategy, set up patients rights groups to lobby for the funding needed for psychiatry and the whole while, the drug makers are claiming to be “advocates” for the mentally ill. It was also then that these so called advocate groups admitted having board or advisory board members with financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.(“NIMH celebrates Half-Century of Progress,” 31).
One example, the NAMI’s campaign to stop the “stigma” and “end discrimination” against the mentally ill, and funded by the ones who benefit from more and more people being labeled mentally ill. The “Founding Sponsors” of this campaign were Abbott Labs,...

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