Skip to comments.A Self-Effacing Scholar Is Psychiatry's Gadfly
Posted on 11/16/2005 5:37:36 AM PST by neverdem
Scientist at Work | David Healy
His mother in Ireland is entirely unaware of his international reputation, as far as he can tell. His neighbors in the hamlet of Porthaethwy, on an island off the coast of Wales, are equally oblivious, or indifferent. His wife, who knows too well the furor he has caused, says simply, "How could you be right and everyone else wrong?"
Dr. David Healy, a psychiatrist at the University of Cardiff and a vocal critic of his profession's overselling of psychiatric drugs, has achieved a rare kind of scientific celebrity: he is internationally known as both a scholar and a pariah.
In 1997 he established himself as a leading historian of modern psychiatry with the book "The Antidepressant Era." Around the same time, he became more prominent for insisting in news media interviews and scientific papers that antidepressants could increase the risk of suicide, an unpopular position among his psychiatric colleagues, most of whom denied any link. By 2004, British and American drug regulators, responding in part to Dr. Healy and other critics, issued strong warnings that the drugs could cause suicidal thinking and behavior in some children and adolescents.
But Dr. Healy went still further, accusing academic psychiatry of being complicit, wittingly or not, with the pharmaceutical industry in portraying many drugs as more effective and safer than the data showed.
He regularly gets invitations to lecture around the world. But virtually none of his colleagues publicly take his side, at least not in North America.
"It's strange. I don't even know about friends, what they think about me," Dr. Healy said in New York, as he waited for a flight after giving a lecture at Columbia. "You don't really know who you can trust."
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Don't know but I suspect that the feeding of psychiactric drugs to students can't be good. My ex always thought Columbine was caused by this.
If someone decides to seek out psychological counseling, they can expect to be sent to a psychiatrist and handed a prescription. I'm not saying that anti-depressants aren't a valuable treatment option, but rather they are the first if not the only method many, many psychology professionals use regardless of how depressed a patient might be or why. And, unfortunately, the side effects of these drugs are often worse than the "disease" they attempt to treat.
Isn't this where The Prisioner was filmed? An ironic place for a psychiatrist to live for sure.
A Daily Workout Could Add 4 Years to Life, Study Says WaPo's take on the same story.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list. Anyone can post any unrelated link as they see fit.
Funny - if you look up that paper, what it makes clear is that, not only is Healy making money off of testifying against SSRI's in court, he has a vested interest in trashing SSRI's because he's working for a drug company that makes competing anti-depressants (reboxetine), and has taken on a role actively promoting reboxetine, despite the fact that his own work shows it to be no more effective than SSRI's.
It's nice to think of the lone cowboy, courageously standing up against the mob, but it's a myth. Healy's no lone cowboy - he's just another hired gun.
1. This isn't anything new, though the mass media and the medical establishment are acting very surprised about these revelations. Twenty-five years ago when the only anti-depressants most psychiatrists had in their pharmacopia were MAO inhibitors and tricyclics, we were warned that sometimes giving an anti-depressant to a depressed patient could cause him to commit suicide. It isn't just some magic about the SSRIs like Prozac that makes this happen.
2. I know John Davis, mentioned in this article, and he used to admit the same thing in private situations.
Read Peter Breggin on the same subject - a psychiatrist practicing in Baltimore who has gone against pharmaceutical psychiatry for years and written a number of books on the subject.
My brother is a psychiatrist, and a big-time advocate of anti-depressants and other mood-altering drugs. I understand that psychiatrists feel too overwhelmed by the workload for traditional analysis, but I can't believe that drugs are a great alternative in a society in which drug abuse is such a problem. Maybe we ought to train more psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists, if we can get the AMA, APA, DEA, CDC, etc. to go along.
What if the rise in depression in this era has to do with hopelessness, which has to do with the loss of Christianity as a foundational belief in our society. Existential angst, I think they call it. Drugs are SO not the solution.
So to counteract the mania they put her on ativan. Which causes crushing depression in some small percentage of people. After presenting our case to her psychiatrist he agreed that the drugs were causing the problems. and took her off the drugs.
So, yes these drugs do cause suicidal depression in some people.
Eventually she was put on a non-SSRI type drug Cymbalta that worked well for her. There is no reason why the patient should have to diagnose the problem. That's what the doctors are for. But they don't. They just prescribe more drugs.
My wife died of a seizure while in the hospital after one of these manic attacks. Turns out that her anti-seizure drugs were also mood stabilizers and as we adjusted her epilepsy drugs it unbalanced her cymbalta so she had a manic attack. A simple adjust of the cymbalta was called for but she died before that could be done.
John, how tragic. I am so sorry about your loss. It is good you were aware of her meds as much as you could be. I hear stories about how much people have been helped by these drugs, so I never toss the whole thing. But the variables are so compelling.
The drugs can do a world of good. But they can also doa world of harm. The doctors need to do more than jsut prescribe the drugs, Tehy need better diagnosis (what is the problem) and much better follow up. (If I can ask, please keep myself and my 5yo daughter in your prayers. It's been 8 weeks and we are still trying to get over the shock of it and get back to living a normal life like my wife would have wanted)
I'm a firm believer in better living through chemistry. However, I do take a holistic approach -- I'd never suggest fighting a way using just one weapon. And not any single thing will work for every person.
You have my sincere sympathy for your loss. You and your daughter will get my prayers.
Me? My life is much, MUCH better because of a combination of treatments, including meds.....which are a key component. For every bit of bad news, there are dozens of good stories going quietly about their lives.