Psychiatry would like us to believe that depression is caused by defective biology, faulty brains, dodgy neuro-pathways, chemical imbalances and other pseudo-scientific and speculative nonsense. The current rise of suicides and increase in depression in Ireland has been linked to the country’s devastating financial crisis and deep recession. The rise in depression and the beginning of the global economic crisis can be directly correlated to each other. Therefore, it is clearly and obviously traumatic life events which cause depression, not defective or imbalanced chemicals in the brain. Depression is a very valid emotional reaction to psychological trauma. It is the body’s way of expressing despair, fear and an inability to cope in a certain circumstance. It is an emotive response and should be treated accordingly. Not with drugs, but with understanding. People will thrive when they are exposed to positive circumstances, support, encouragement, compassion and understanding. When subjected to negative experiences, overwhelming odds, and continual fear and hopelessness, depression can occur. It doesn’t take a genius to see that depression is quite clearly (for the most part) emotional in nature. Emotions are not diseases. Nor are they due to faulty brain wiring. They are human reactions.
The fact that increases in depression, self harm, suicide and general mental health problems, happens in times of harsh economic climates, is a macrocosm of the factors which cause mental health problems at all times. Depression can come from a myriad of life events. From grief, low self esteem, abuse, bullying, fear, anxiety etc etc. These events are not biological, they are merely triggers. Looking for biological markers for depression is like searching for a reason why people smile when they are content, or laugh when they are amused, or grieve when they lose a loved one. We are much more than our biology, yet psychiatry seems to overlook this fact.
It also doesn’t take a genius to figure out how depression can happen when life gets too much to deal with. There is no scientific or biological mystery to depression, (as psychiatry would have us believe), because depression is not a result of faulty brain chemistry. Depression is a human condition, which all of us can manifest. It is not a disease. If it was biological and chemically based, then it would not be possible to link its increase to economics. Psychiatry and the drug companies who peddle SSRI’s are committing fraud and exploitation on people who are suffering during a very fragile and vulnerable time of their lives. This is morally and ethically unsound and it is wholly wrong. These are inhumane acts for the purpose of profit and the perpetuation of the psychiatric ideology. They are instigated against people who are in a state of utter despair .This is a human rights abuse.
Bloomberg says that since the 2008 downturn began, about 7% of more than 2,000 workers surveyed in England and Wales had started taking antidepressants for “problems directly caused by the pressures of recession on their workplace,” such as longer hours and low morale, according to research published last year by Mind, a UK-based mental health charity.
In the period 2007-09, the countries facing the most severe financial reversals of fortune, such as Greece and Ireland, had greater rises in suicides (17% to 391 and 13% to 527, respectively) than did the other countries, and in Latvia suicides increased by more than 17% between 2007 and 2008.
Peter Byrne, consultant liaison psychiatrist at Newham University Hospital in East London, told the London Independent, and he has seen an increase in patients who have self-harmed or attempted suicide because of “personal debt, loss of hope and uncertainty.”
The impact of losing a job can have very adverse knock-on effects. The effects are not only felt directly by the unemployed person but also by the entire family. Bankruptcy and homeless are frightening prospects. The problem is more prevalent in men which is possible due to the fact that they are much more defined by their work.
This preliminary study points to ‘the absolute importance of providing mental health services to assist those in crisis due to the recession’.
The study clearly shows the link between unemployment and suicide increase and this can no longer be written off as ‘scaremongering’
Banks driving people to ‘alcoholism and suicide’
“The banks are driving people to alcoholism, suicide and you name it,” says Byrne, who has not been able to pay the mortgage since his father got sick in 2008 and went into hospital.
Suicide increase linked to economic downturns
Thursday, April 14, 2011 – 16:30 in Health & Medicine
The rate of suicides rises during times of economic hardship and declines in periods of prosperity, with the association strongest for working adults ages 25 to 54, CDC study finds.Everyone is familiar with stories of businessmen jumping to their deaths from window ledges during the Great Depression. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that those stories, sometimes viewed as apocryphal, have a strong basis in fact: The rate of suicides rises during times of economic hardship and declines in periods of prosperity.
The number of people suffering stress, anxiety and depression because of redundancies, job insecurity and pay cuts owing to the recession is soaring, a study published today reveals.
Worries about the effects of the downturn have produced a sharp rise in people experiencing symptoms of common mental health conditions, according to the report, by academics from Roehampton University and the children’s charity Elizabeth Finn Care.
The incidence of depression has jumped by between four and five-fold as unemployment, cuts in hours and concern about security of tenure have become common, the report found. Among people who have lost their jobs in the last year, 71% have suffered symptoms of depression, 55% said the same about stress and 52% experienced symptoms of anxiety.
Those ranked as of middle socio-economic status were more likely to experience depression (59.8%) than those from lower (44.9%) or higher groups (46.7%).
Among those who had experienced a drop in salary or cut in their hours or days, 51% said they had experienced symptoms of depression, 48% said the same for anxiety and 45% experienced stress symptoms.
Those aged 18-30 were more likely to suffer from depressive symptoms than any other age group.
Dr Joerg Huber, principal lecturer at Roehampton University, said: “What makes our findings worrying is the high percentage of people reporting symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. This applies even more to those who have lost their job or experienced a major loss of income.”
Left untreated, depression could turn into “a vicious cycle of related disability and an inability to work”, he added.
Mental health problems cost the UK about £110bn a year, according to a recent report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the London School of Economics and the NHS Confederation’s mental health network. They found that demand for mental health treatment had increased during 2009 because of rising levels of debt, home repossessions, unemployment and threat of redundancy.
Prof Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said the increase in mental health problems identified by the researchers reflected the recent experience of family doctors. “GPs across the country have been seeing a definite increase in the last year in the number of patients coming to see them with mental health and physical issues. These appeared to be related to either losing their job or fearing their job and livelihood are threatened,” said Field.
He added: “There’s been an increase in people coming to see me with backache and tiredness, as a way of discussing the fact that they’re actually stressed and depressed, because their job is under threat or they are no longer earning enough to feed their family.”
The case against antidepressants
A growing chorus of critics is challenging the widespread use of antidepressants. Why?
POSTED ON JULY 22, 2011, AT 11:33 AM
How do antidepressants work?
No one knows for sure. The most commonly prescribed antidepressants in the U.S. alter levels of a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which has been linked to feelings of well-being. These drugs, grouped together as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and marketed under such names as Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, and Paxil, essentially keep serotonin in the brain’s synapses for an instant longer than usual; in theory, an increase in the level of serotonin is what makes people feel less depressed or anxious. About three quarters of people who take antidepressants say that the drugs improve their lives. Antidepressants are now the most commonly prescribed medication for adults up to age 59: One in 10 Americans, or 30 million people, takes them every day, generating $10 billion in annual sales. But a spate of critics have recently stepped forward with books and studies that challenge the efficacy of antidepressants, and the theory behind how they work. These critics even charge that the profligate use of SSRIs and other psychiatric medications is unpredictably altering the brain chemistries of millions of people, and contributing to the epidemic of mental illness in the U.S.
What evidence do critics have?
They point to numerous studies—including many done by Big Pharma itself—that have found that SSRIs are little more effective at relieving depression and anxiety than placebos, or dummy pills. In the book The Emperor’s New Drugs, psychologist Irwin Kirsch revealed that more than half of the clinical trials sponsored by drug companies for the Food and Drug Administration between 1987 and 1999 found that SSRIs alleviated depression no better than placebos. (See below.) A more recent study published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association in January 2010 found that for mild to moderate depression, the difference between placebos and antidepressants was “nonexistent to negligible.” The medications proved significantly more effective in only the most severe cases, about 13 percent of patients.
Is depression caused by a chemical imbalance?
There’s actually little evidence supporting this widespread belief, which was heavily promoted by the drug companies. In fact, studies have found that the levels of serotonin in depressed people’s brains are the same as they are in those of nondepressed people. If neurotransmitters play some role in depression, critics say, it’s clearly not a simple matter of cause and effect. “The serotonin theory of depression,” says Irish psychiatrist and author David Healy, “is comparable to the masturbatory theory of insanity.”
So what do these drugs do?
They actually create an unnatural imbalance of neurotransmitters, some psychiatrists and scientists say. This is one reason SSRI users can experience unpleasant side effects, ranging from agitation to reduced sex drive to an increase in suicidal thoughts. In his book, Anatomy of an Epidemic, science writer Robert Whitaker argues that long-term use of SSRIs makes people dependent on an artificially elevated level of serotonin, so they “crash” back into depression when they try to go off the medication. It’s no coincidence, he says, that “the numbers of adults and children disabled by mental illness has risen at a mind-boggling rate” since the use of antidepressants and other psychoactive drugs became widespread.
Don’t people say the drugs help them?
Yes, many do. That can be explained, says Kirsch, by the well-documented “placebo effect”: People often recover from a physical or mental illness if they believe a pill or other treatment will help them. “These drugs work because people hope and expect they will,” Kirsch says. The drug companies disagree; they say different people respond to the drugs in different ways, which is why studies of a single drug across a large group can show negligible effects when measured against a placebo. It’s all a matter of matching the right SSRI to the right patient, the drug companies say. Like many psychiatrists, Peter D. Kramer, author of Listening to Prozac, says that SSRIs help many of his depressed, anxious, or highly neurotic patients get “unstuck” from negative patterns of thinking and behavior. Antidepressants “make the brain more flexible,” he recently wrote in The New York Times. “They’ve earned their place in the doctor’s satchel.”
What’s the future for SSRIs?
The critics are hoping to persuade psychiatrists and society as a whole to stop viewing drugs as a go-to cure for depression. Studies show that in cases of mild or moderate depression, psychotherapy—talk therapy—relieves symptoms at the same rate as drugs or placebos; even regular, vigorous exercise has been shown to alleviate symptoms of depression as well as pills do. But insurance companies now resist paying for more than a few sessions of talk therapy. In addition, most of the doctors prescribing antidepressants are primary-care doctors, not psychiatrists, and they can’t offer talk therapy. So SSRIs will probably remain widely prescribed for the foreseeable future—especially since many people say they can’t live without them. “I believe antidepressants have saved my life on several occasions,” says the author John Crace, who has written about his struggles with severe depression. “The profession well might say I am deluded, that I am the victim of a medical conspiracy. Possibly I am. But rather deluded than dead.”
How SSRIs were approved
If Prozac and its chemical cousins are barely more effective than placebos, how did the drug companies get the government to approve them? To approve a drug, the Food and Drug Administration requires pharmaceutical companies to provide just two positive trials showing that it’s more effective than a placebo. But the FDA does not set a limit on the number of negative trials a company can carry out before coming up with two positives. Theoretically, a drug company could carry out hundreds of failed trials before finally ending up with two successful ones. Not only that, but the company doesn’t even have to tell the public about the unsuccessful trials. For his book on antidepressants, psychologist Irwin Kirsch used Freedom of Information Act laws to uncover dozens of unpublished scientific trials by Big Pharma in which antidepressants failed to perform better than placebos. When drug companies submit studies of medications to the FDA, Kirsch says, “Adverse data are suppressed. It’s as if the fox has been hired to guard the hen house.”