Posts tagged apa
Posts tagged apa
The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder
By Alan Schwartz
The Number of Diagnoses Soared Amid a 20-Year Drug Marketing Campaign
Excerpt: After more than 50 years leading the fight to legitimize attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Keith Conners could be celebrating.
Severely hyperactive and impulsive children, once shunned as bad seeds, are now recognized as having a real neurological problem. Doctors and parents have largely accepted drugs like Adderall and Concerta to temper the traits of classic A.D.H.D., helping youngsters succeed in school and beyond.
But Dr. Conners did not feel triumphant this fall as he addressed a group of fellow A.D.H.D. specialists in Washington. He noted that recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the diagnosis had been made in 15 percent of high school-age children, and that the number of children on medication for the disorder had soared to 3.5 million from 600,000 in 1990. He questioned the rising rates of diagnosis and called them “a national disaster of dangerous proportions.”
“The numbers make it look like an epidemic. Well, it’s not. It’s preposterous,” Dr. Conners, a psychologist and professor emeritus at Duke University, said in a subsequent interview. “This is a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels.”
The rise of A.D.H.D. diagnoses and prescriptions for stimulants over the years coincided with a remarkably successful two-decade campaign by pharmaceutical companies to publicize the syndrome and promote the pills to doctors, educators and parents. With the children’s market booming, the industry is now employing similar marketing techniques as it focuses on adult A.D.H.D., which could become even more profitable.
Few dispute that classic A.D.H.D., historically estimated to affect 5 percent of children, is a legitimate disability that impedes success at school, work and personal life. Medication often assuages the severe impulsiveness and inability to concentrate, allowing a person’s underlying drive and intelligence to emerge.
But even some of the field’s longtime advocates say the zeal to find and treat every A.D.H.D. child has led to too many people with scant symptoms receiving the diagnosis and medication. The disorder is now the second most frequent long-term diagnosis made in children, narrowly trailing asthma, according to a New York Times analysis of C.D.C. data.
Behind that growth has been drug company marketing that has stretched the image of classic A.D.H.D. to include relatively normal behavior like carelessness and impatience, and has often overstated the pills’ benefits. Advertising on television and in popular magazines like People and Good Housekeeping has cast common childhood forgetfulness and poor grades as grounds for medication that, among other benefits, can result in “schoolwork that matches his intelligence” and ease family tension.
A 2002 ad for Adderall showed a mother playing with her son and saying, “Thanks for taking out the garbage.”
The Food and Drug Administration has cited every major A.D.H.D. drug — stimulants like Adderall, Concerta, Focalin and Vyvanse, and nonstimulants like Intuniv and Strattera — for false and misleading advertising since 2000, some multiple times.
Sources of information that would seem neutral also delivered messages from the pharmaceutical industry. Doctors paid by drug companies have published research and delivered presentations that encourage physicians to make diagnoses more often that discredit growing concerns about overdiagnosis.
Many doctors have portrayed the medications as benign — “safer than aspirin,” some say — even though they can have significant side effects and are regulated in the same class as morphine and oxycodone because of their potential for abuse and addiction. Patient advocacy groups tried to get the government to loosen regulation of stimulants while having sizable portions of their operating budgets covered by pharmaceutical interests.
Companies even try to speak to youngsters directly. Shire — the longtime market leader, with several A.D.H.D. medications including Adderall — recently subsidized 50,000 copies of a comic book that tries to demystify the disorder and uses superheroes to tell children, “Medicines may make it easier to pay attention and control your behavior!”
Profits for the A.D.H.D. drug industry have soared. Sales of stimulant medication in 2012 were nearly $9 billion, more than five times the $1.7 billion a decade before, according to the data company IMS Health.
Even Roger Griggs, the pharmaceutical executive who introduced Adderall in 1994, said he strongly opposes marketing stimulants to the general public because of their dangers. He calls them “nuclear bombs,” warranted only under extreme circumstances and when carefully overseen by a physician.
Psychiatric breakdown and suicidal thoughts are the most rare and extreme results of stimulant addiction, but those horror stories are far outnumbered by people who, seeking to study or work longer hours, cannot sleep for days, lose their appetite or hallucinate. More can simply become habituated to the pills and feel they cannot cope without them.
Tom Casola, the Shire vice president who oversees the A.D.H.D. division, said in an interview that the company aims to provide effective treatment for those with the disorder, and that ultimately doctors were responsible for proper evaluations and prescriptions. He added that he understood some of the concerns voiced by the Food and Drug Administration and others about aggressive ads, and said that materials that run afoul of guidelines are replaced.
“Shire — and I think the vast majority of pharmaceutical companies — intend to market in a way that’s responsible and in a way that is compliant with the regulations,” Mr. Casola said. “Again, I like to think we come at it from a higher order. We are dealing with patients’ health.”
A spokesman for Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which makes Concerta, said in an email, “Over the years, we worked with clinicians, parents and advocacy groups to help educate health care practitioners and caregivers about diagnosis and treatment of A.D.H.D., including safe and effective use of medication.”
Now targeting adults, Shire and two patient advocacy groups have recruited celebrities like the Maroon 5 musician Adam Levine for their marketing campaign, “It’s Your A.D.H.D. – Own It.” Online quizzes sponsored by drug companies are designed to encourage people to pursue treatment. A medical education video sponsored by Shire portrays a physician making a diagnosis of the disorder in an adult in a six-minute conversation, after which the doctor recommends medication.
Like most psychiatric conditions, A.D.H.D. has no definitive test, and most experts in the field agree that its symptoms are open to interpretation by patients, parents and doctors. The American Psychiatric Association, which receives significant financing from drug companies, has gradually loosened the official criteria for the disorder to include common childhood behavior like “makes careless mistakes” or “often has difficulty waiting his or her turn.”
The idea that a pill might ease troubles and tension has proved seductive to worried parents, rushed doctors and others.
“Pharma pushed as far as they could, but you can’t just blame the virus,” said Dr. Lawrence Diller, a behavioral pediatrician in Walnut Creek, Calif. “You have to have a susceptible host for the epidemic to take hold. There’s something they know about us that they utilize and exploit.”
For more mental health news, Click Here to access the Serious Mental Illness Blog
A soon-to-be-released documentary feature, Kings Park offers an inside look at public mental health care in America by focusing on the story of this now abandoned institution. The journey back begins with Lucy’s sudden decision, on the cusp of her fiftieth birthday, to return to Kings Park for the first time in over thirty years. Determined to face her past and come to terms with her commitment to the state hospital, Lucy’s goals are purely personal when the film begins. She soon learns, however, that in order to fully understand her own story, she needs to somehow learn about the institutional world in which she was once locked away. To this end, Lucy seeks out other former patients, their families, and hospital staff, who share intimate accounts of life at Kings Park. Shot on the overgrown and sprawling grounds of the shuttered hospital, these firsthand accounts of a vanishing world bear witness to the many changes in treatment, policy and attitudes over the past century.
The film culminates with a vision of today. Stories are shared of the often brutally executed “emptying out” of the hospital, and we follow Lucy in her effort to see how mental health care has changed since the hospital’s close. Scenes shot at small mental health care centers, committed to the recovery of their members despite limited resources, let us see the kind of progress that is being made. In contrast, footage shot at the local jail reveals a very different reality – where the penal system has replaced the state hospital as the default “provider” for people with serious mental illness.
By Robert D. Stolorow, Ph.D. for Psychology Today
A young woman who had been repeatedly sexually abused by her father when she was a child began psychotherapy with a young female therapist who consulted with me on the case. Early in the treatment, whenever the patient began to remember and describe the sexual abuse, or to recount analogously invasive experiences in her current life, she would display emotional reactions that consisted of two distinctive parts, both of which seemed entirely bodily. One was a trembling in her arms and upper torso, which sometimes escalated into violent shaking. The other was an intense flushing of her face. On these occasions, the therapist was quite alarmed by her patient’s shaking and was concerned to find some way to calm her.
I had a hunch that the shaking was a bodily manifestation of a traumatized state and that the flushing was a somatic form of the patient’s shame about exposing this state to her therapist, and I suggested to the therapist that she focus her inquiries on the flushing rather than the shaking. As a result of this shift in focus, the patient began to speak about how she believed her therapist viewed her when she was trembling or shaking: surely her therapist must be regarding her with disdain, seeing her as a damaged mess of a human being. As this belief was repeatedly disconfirmed by her therapist’s responding with emotional understanding rather than contempt, both the flushing and the shaking diminished in intensity. The traumatized states actually underwent a process of transformation from being exclusively bodily states into ones in which the bodily sensations came to be united with words. Instead of only shaking, the patient began to speak about her terror of annihilating intrusion.
The one and only time the patient had attempted to speak to her mother about the sexual abuse, her mother shamed her severely, declaring her to be a wicked little girl for making up such lies about her father. Thereafter, the patient did not tell any other human being about her trauma until she revealed it to her therapist, and both the flushing of her face and the restriction of her experience of terror to its nameless bodily component were heir to her mother’s shaming. Only with a shift in her perception of her therapist from one in which her therapist was potentially or secretly shaming to one in which she was accepting and understanding could the patient’s emotional experience of her traumatized states shift from an exclusively bodily form to an experience that could be felt and named as terror. It is in the formation of such somatic-linguistic unities, the bringing of emotional experience into language within a holding context of human understanding, that a sense of being can be born, restored, or consolidated.
The list links out to comprehensive neuroscience-focused definitions, treatment options, research endeavors, organizations, and more.
[Article of Interest] Mind-Pops More Likely With Schizophrenia
By Ia Elua, Keith R. Laws, Lia Kvavilashvili
Excerpt: Mind-pops are those little thoughts, words, images or tunes that suddenly pop into your mind at unexpected times and are totally unrelated to your current activity. These involuntary ‘mind-pops’ have become a topic of scientific study only recently even though they were described long ago by novelists such as Vladamir Nabokov.
Almost everyone reports experiencing mind-pops at some time or another, but some experience them more than others according to research conducted by the University of Hertfordshire. In the paper to be published in Psychiatry Research, findings suggest that mind-pop experiences are related to hallucinations in those people suffering from schizophrenia.
[This study] found that all 100% schizophrenia patients reported experiencing mind-pops, compared to 81% of the depressed patients and 86% of the mentally healthy individuals. In addition, schizophrenia patients experienced mind-pops significantly more frequently than depressed patients and mentally healthy people. Professor Laws added: “Mind-pops were more common both in patients who had experienced hallucinations in the past and in those who were currently experiencing hallucinations.”
Co-Written and Co-Edited by Daniel Mackler and Matthew Morrissey, with Contributions by:
• Patch Adams, M.D., inspiration for Robin Williams film
• Joanne Greenberg, author, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
• David Oaks, director, MindFreedom International
• Will Hall, co-founder, Freedom Center
• Annie Rogers, Ph.D., professor, author, A Shining Affliction
Family conflict can wreak havoc on people diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. A Way Out of Madness offers guidance in resolving family conflict and taking control of your life. The book, the first in the ISPS-US book series, also includes personal accounts of family healing by people who were themselves psychiatrically diagnosed.
Excerpt from Will Hall’s Essay in the book:
My mother was in therapy and she realized my father’s violent past was taking a terrible toll on our lives together. But she couldn’t see her own role and was helpless to change it, to talk, to break the spell we were all under. To this day I have never had a conversation with my father, mother, or brother about being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Years of trying to speak only led back into my worst mental states. And so at different times in my life I’ve broken contact from them entirely. When I do make plans to visit I hope for a snowstorm to cancel the flight, or some other reason not to go. I live in a kind of exile from my family, and a silent and unbreakable taboo is still in place against who I am. We continue trapped in the codes and dramas of our past.
I spent a year looking for help in the public mental health system before I began, slowly, to look within myself. My freedom and recovery eventually came through trusted friends and support groups, holistic health and acupuncture and nutrition, meditation and spiritual discipline. I stopped taking psychiatric drugs, and I stopped believing in the diagnosis I was given. I’ve gained enough clarity to make a fragile but lasting peace with madness, and live with my wild mind, voices, and altered states of consciousness. I now trust that when the demons come, the angels will soon also have their turn.
Today I work as a mental health advocate and counselor, and I get calls and emails from people searching for an answer different from what they’ve been told by doctors and TV ads. When parents contact me, desperate to help their sons and daughters, I do hold out the possibility of change. I believe these frightened and traumatized fathers and mothers can grow and become a source of freedom for their children. I tell them that families can heal, and that people can recover.
[Blog Post of Interest] The Big Chill: Psychiatric Medications Now Are on Trial For Murder
By Michael Cornwall, Ph.D. on Mad in America
Excerpt: The Canadian judge in the first North American criminal trial to find Prozac the sole cause of a murder ruled – “There is clear medical evidence that the Prozac affected his (defendant’s) behavior and judgment, thereby reducing his moral culpability.” Will those chilling words cause a small tremor in the writing hand of every prescriber of Prozac and other psychiatric medications from now on?
That Prozac verdict which is not going to be appealed by the District Attorney changes everything. The upcoming Utah Supreme Court trial where the court has already ruled that prescribers of psychiatric medications can be held responsible for the actions of their patients, adds to the huge shift in the landscape for anyone who prescribes.
From the New York Times review: The Idea that our Western conception of mental health and illness might be shaping the expression of illnesses in other cultures is rarely discussed in the professional literature. Many modern mental-health practitioners and researchers believe that the scientific standing of our drugs, our illness categories and our theories of the mind have put the field beyond the influence of endlessly shifting cultural trends and beliefs. After all, we now have machines that can literally watch the mind at work. We can change the chemistry of the brain in a variety of interesting ways and we can examine DNA sequences for abnormalities. The assumption is that these remarkable scientific advances have allowed modern-day practitioners to avoid the blind spots and cultural biases of their predecessors.
The upcoming webinar will cover:
Great crisis leaders are not like the rest of us; nor are they like mentally healthy leaders. When society is happy, they toil in sadness, seeking help from friends and family and doctors as they cope with an illness that can be debilitating, even deadly. Sometimes they are up, sometimes they are down, but they are never quite well.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
A blog written about the experience of suffering from depression.
Various discussion groups made available for individuals whose lives are touched by psychosis, directed by The International Society for the Psychological Treatments of the Schizophrenias and Other Psychoses.