Thursday, June 09, 2005

Mental Health Experiment

Catching up with the Chicago Tribune, I ran into this little ditty about Drugs and Drug Ads.
An experiment was carried out and (from the article)
Researchers found that primary-care doctors were easily persuaded to prescribe anti-depressants, even unnecessarily, when a patient mentioned having seen television ads for them.

In this unusual experiment, actresses posed as mildly depressed patients who did not need medication. But doctors were five times more likely to write prescriptions when an ad for Paxil, a popular antidepressant, was mentioned.

In defense of the doctors, Kravitz said, depression can be difficult to diagnose and many people resist the possibility that an illness may be mental. An openness to trying an antidepressant appeared to be an important cue to the physicians, he noted.

If the patient says they want a drug....then give 'em a drug because that want (stirred up by the approximately $4 billion pharmaceutical advertising budget) is an important cue?!? Objective, educated and scientific medical training in evidence here?

Doc Kravitz says depression can be difficult to diagnose. But yet every Tom, Dick, and Sherry should be screening kids for mental health per the IL Childrens Mental Health Act.

I like this letter in response

Mental illness claims
Chicago Tribune
Published June 1, 2005

It shouldn't be much of a surprise that actresses portraying "depression" got doctors to prescribe powerful drugs for them ("Doctors and drug ads," Editorial, May 30). A professional performer can portray just about any "mental illness" to a doctor, a board certified psychiatrist included, to be admitted to and treated in a psychiatric facility. Actually amateurs can do the same, as did the leading character in "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest." The fact and the problem is that there is no objective clinical or laboratory way to diagnose any "mental illness." Claims to the contrary are not substantiated scientifically. Nor is it there a clear consensus of what "mental illness" is.

The Tribune's editorial is barely the tip of the iceberg to the monumental mental illness tragicomedy our society has been in the midst of for over half a century, which has been cultivated by special interest groups such as the academic, medical, pharmaceutical business "complex" and fostered by the conventional press' silence. The unconventional press such as the Internet is different. It has been voicing fast growing, devastating criticism about the "complex," more so since the "complex" began to expand its business to include school children, compulsively. Hopefully the Tribune will break the silence and will investigate and expose the state of the mental illness affair, including the evidence and opinions from scientists and professionals representing the other side of the official story.

Nelson Borelli, MD


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