Friday, 21 March 2014

psychiatrists should not be in cahoots with pharmaceutical companies

I am absolutely convinced that psychiatrists should not be in the pocket of big pharma.  (the same goes for leaders of mental health organisations)  It stands to reason.  Pharmaceutical companies are profit driven machines churning out new psychotropic drugs to bring in the dosh.  It's all about money.

But psychiatrists should be all about their patients.  Ethically and morally.  If they are drug-centred and believing the rhetoric of big pharma then the patients are not going to be their priority.  A patriarchal system like psychiatry, that makes decisions on behalf of their children/patients, has to be free from bias. 

A good father knows their child, their personality and abilities, what will be in their best interests.  When I was a child my father knew that I liked adventure and to run free.  That I wasn't defined by being a "girl" and so he and my mother got me toys like a farm with a straw roof, a doll's house, a cowgirl outfit with hat, skirt, waistcoat, sheriff's badge, holster and guns.  

I played with the boys at shooting the baddies, sometimes being a baddie myself, taking a turn.  I climbed trees, played football, dressing dolls, scraps, skipping, kick the can, ice skating.  A variety of childhood games which I remember most of all as being great fun.  School holidays and after school were the best of times.  However I still did well at school because I had freedom outside of it.

Therefore psychiatrists who are in relationships with big pharma have to break free from its influence.  For the sake of their patients.  Otherwise there will be a conflict of interest and the patients will suffer.  More than they need to.  Let's be honest.  Psychiatrist treatment can be traumatising.  I can testify to that, personally and on behalf of family members.

An institution that can force its rules on to its "members" under law has to be kept a close eye on.  The tools of the trade are psychotropic drugs but I would like to see a variety of tools on offer and the drugs used sparingly.  If psychiatrists are hand in hand with big pharma they will be under its influence.  Don't let's kid ourselves it's the other way round.  That would be daft.

Psychiatric drugs didn't suit me.  Risperidone (developed by Janssen) in 2002 made me clinically depressed.  I was then given venlafaxine (marketed by Pfizer) which didn't lift my mood, despite being put on maximum doses of it by my psychiatrist after taking an overdose because of a suicidal impulse.  To cap it all I was put on lithium, to "augment" the anti-depressant.  No difference.  Flat as a pancake.

It was up to me to take charge.  And so I did.  It wasn't easy, being unmotivated on the psychotropic drug cocktail but I managed to taper them, lastly lithium, getting off them all by 2004.  Then in March 2005 I fractured my fibula in 3 places when walking down a stair, didn't trip or fall, got a 6 inch metal plate.  Now I hear, in research articles, that maximum doses of venlafaxine can cause bone loss in older people (I was in my 50's).

Becoming clinically depressed through being prescribed risperidone and physically injured through being prescribed venlafaxine I would be very annoyed to hear that my psychiatrist had links or consultancy positions with either Janssen or Pfizer.  Because that would make them in cahoots with these pharmaceutical companies and directly responsible for the damage done to my mind and body by these psychotropic drugs given to me against my will or under coercion.

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