Americans are spending billions of dollars on psychiatric medications, but according to Dr. Allen Frances (Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt Against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life) "We are ignoring the people who have severe psychiatric illness; so that, one-third of people with severe depression see a mental health clinician, two-thirds don't. Two-thirds of people with severe depression get no treatment at all. At the same time, we're way over-diagnosing people who have milder problems that would get better on their own."
Meanwhile, the drug companies push the prescribing of expensive new medications, while at least a million Americans are receiving their mental health care via the prison system. Allen argues "It shouldn't be that we deliver our psychiatric services to patients after we make them prisoners. We should be getting the kind of community care and housing that's common in the rest of the world. We're barbaric; we've gone back two hundred years, imprisoning psychiatric patients."
In BSP 102 Dr. Frances and I talk about the various factors that are driving these disturbing trends, including the over prescribing of psychotropic medications to young people without regard to the long term consequences. These are issues that concern us all, so I encourage you to listen to this interview and check out the additional references I have included below.
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Links and References:
- Choosing Wisely: a resource for reducing the overuse of tests and other medical procedures
- Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt Against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life by Allen Frances
- Essentials of Psychiatric Diagnosis, Revised Edition: Responding to the Challenge of DSM-5® by Allen Frances MD
- Hippocrates Cried: The Decline of American Psychiatry by Michael A Taylor
- The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry by Gary Greenberg (Audible.com link)
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- Dr. Campbell will be attending the 2013 Meeting of the National Association of Science Writers at the University of Florida, November 1-5.
- Next month's episode is an update on the Human Connectome Project with Olaf Sporns. Dr. Sporns was previously featured in BSP 74.