On August 27th, New York Times reporter Matt Richtel published an article entitled “This Teen Was Prescribed 10 Psychiatric Drugs: She’s Not Alone.” The article begins as an honest indictment of psychiatry’s rising irresponsible practice of over prescribing multiple powerful drugs for teens struggling with anxiety, depression and other behavioral disorders. Richtel states the problem clearly.
“Many psychiatric drugs commonly prescribed to adolescents are not approved for people under 18. And they are being prescribed in combinations that have not been studied for safety or for their long-term impact on the developing brain.” The practice of prescribing multiple psychiatric drugs, known as polypharmacy, to any given patient has “gone mainstream.”
Many of these drugs, such as the entire class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, carry black box warnings. Because psychiatry has never proven itself as an exact science, physicians frequently experiment by switching drugs, prescribing drugs for conditions they were not licensed for, and combining drugs into highly toxic cocktails. The Times article documents several cases where young adults were taking 9 and 10 drugs simply for a diagnosis of anxiety and depression. In practice, psychiatry is largely based on guesswork rather than empirical evidence.
Admirably, Richtel’s article identifies a crucial problem in modern psychiatric practice for treating common mental disorders. However it suffers from the sin of omission. It fails to specifically identify the nature of the teen’s suffering from polypharmacy practice.
Nor does Richtel mention that these drugs commonly cause the very mental illnesses they are prescribed to relieve. He also fails to mention that the entire Chemical Imbalance Theory upon which psychiatric medication for depression is based remains unproven. As we will explore in detail, the theory may be completely erroneous as a fundamental tenet for treating such disorders with drugs.
Richtel’s omissions are no surprise. The New York Times and the National Institute of Mental Health that the newspaper writes on behalf of has lost all credibility for promoting blatant psychiatric quackery. Having been one of the nation’s loudest media cheerleaders for US military interventions in the Middle East, when did the Times ever take responsibility for accurately reporting on the high rates of suicide among military personnel due to the overprescribing of psychiatric medications? It is now well established that SSRIs contribute to suicidal and homicidal ideation. This was the reason for the CDC slapping a black box warning on SSRIs. By omitting the most important facts regarding the failures of SSRIs and other psychopharmaceutical drugs, the mainstream media and the entire psychiatric establishment has been manufacturing madness for decades. So where has the Times and the mainstream media been for the past fifty years when reporting the actual cause of anxiety and depression, and offering legitimate criticisms for prescribing SSRIs and other medications.