Will Self (to Simon Wessely) :
“.. Let’s drag up the horses head .. these are the guys who hand out the pills…
” One of your colleagues… prescribed me Seroxat and I attempted suicide.. when I went back to see the psychiatrist he prescribed me two other drugs in addition to the Seroxat – I’ll give you some other drugs just to even it out- I thought enough is enough”…
“I haven’t taken another of these drugs ever since and I am actually in quite good mental health”….
(53 Mins into debate).
Psychiatrists and the pharma industry are to blame for the current ‘epidemic’ of mental disorders
Drug pushers. We tend to associate them with the bleak underworld of criminality. But some would argue that there’s another class of drug pushers, just as unscrupulous, who work in the highly respectable fields of psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry. And they deserve the same moral scrutiny that we apply to the drug pedlar on the street corner. Within the medical profession labels are increasingly being attached to everyday conditions previously thought to be beyond the remit of medical help. So sadness is rebranded as depression, shyness as social phobia, childhood naughtiness as hyperactivity or ADHD. And Big Pharma is only too happy to come up with profitable new drugs to treat these ‘disorders’, drugs which the psychiatrists and GPs then willingly prescribe, richly rewarded by the pharma companies for doing so. In the last decade the use of antidepressants in the UK has doubled and in 2012 50 million prescriptions had been written for them. It’s a similar story for hyperactivity: the use of Ritalin has tripled with 800,000 prescriptions written by 2012.
Speakers for the motion
Psychoanalyst and author whose books on the psyche, love, the sexes, and the arts have won him a popular following. In Strictly Bipolar he established himself as a campaigning voice against the use of drugs-based treatments for mental health disorders. His most recent publication is The New Black: Mourning, Melancholia and Depression.
Novelist, journalist and essayist, recently described in The Guardian as ‘the most daring and delightful novelist of his generation’. His two most recent novels, Umbrella (shortlisted for the Booker Prize) and Shark, deal with the treatment of mental illness.
Against the motion
Veteran of the pharmaceutical industry. He was formerly Head of Worldwide Development at Pfizer Inc. which developed the popular antidepressant Zoloft. He is currently CEO of Portage Biotech and executive chairman of BioHaven, a technology start-up which is working on a radically new form of antidepressant based on ketamine.
President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He is also Chair of Psychological Medicine and Vice Dean of the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London.
Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).