Highly recommending ‘Anatomy of an Epidemic’ by R. Whitaker 2010

Review of ‘Anatomy of an Epidemic’ – R. Whitaker 2010

anatomy-of-an-epidemic-bookAnatomy of an Epidemic is excellent. It is the best book of this type I have read. It confirms what many of us have believed about psychiatric drugs for a long time. I have recommended this book to my students. Even for people who firmly believe the information supplied by drug companies, this is a must read book to understand the views of millions who have taken the drugs, experienced worsening symptoms and bad effects.

Prior to this book I found it difficult to explain why drugs never been shown to be beneficial continue to be prescribed. This book has made my life easier. I only need to say that the facts are explained in Anatomy of an Epidemic.

Robert Whitaker’s style is excellent. It is a subject that can seem daunting yet he takes you on a journey from the first ‘energisers’ of the 1950’s to the more recent chemicals, which turn out to be surprisingly similar in action to the earliest ones.

One effect of the book is that I find I am now increasingly being asked questions about coming off psychiatric medication. It makes sense to ask. Stopping quickly is almost always a bad idea. Finding a doctor you can work with is an excellent idea and then working with that doctor to find ways towards lower/safer doses is likely to lead to a far better life.

One American trend we can do without

bipolar children

Juvenile Bipolar Disorder 1995 - real data?

Juvenile Bipolar Disorder is a Myth

Over the years many trends have started in USA and made their way around the world. Very often the UK follows quickly, copying what happens in USA. Just think of rock ‘n’ roll, wearing blue jeans, increasing litigation…

Since 1994 there has been a trend in the USA that most of the world has avoided following: increasing diagnosis of children as having bipolar disorder. More than one million USA kids have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Although the average age of diagnosis in the UK has dropped from 40 down to 19 years old, young children who have variable moods are still viewed as children who have variable moods.

We all start life as babies who cry and scream just because we get hungry (behaviour indicative of extreme mood variability). Adults are not expected to make so much fuss. Toddlers can rush around knocking ornaments over, falling down steps and then in the same day crash out and sleep before going off to play again. A great many teenagers sulk. Many teenagers are thrill seekers. In adults all these behaviours typical of young people can be seen as signs of mental illness. Diagnostic methods for adults are not appropriate for children.

It is not possible to match a child’s behaviour to the diagnostic criteria for any form of bipolar disorder, so how have these 1,000,000+ children been diagnosed? From what I have read it seems that USA criteria were changed in 1994 making it easier to diagnose and prescribe powerful mood altering drugs to USA children. Psychiatrists elsewhere in the world are resisting these changes.

Please keep resisting. Give the kids help with understanding moods and help them develop a lifestyle for mood stability.