The issue in question is the prolific use of psychiatric drugs on children and adults who are having apparent difficulties in dealing with life's challenges. Brooke Shields has asserted that psychiatric drugs (antidepressants) have helped her to deal with post partum depression-a psychiatric term assigned to the complications often encountered after childbirth believed to affect a person mentally. Mr. Cruise has asserted that these drugs are unnecessary and dangerous, as they don't address the real underlying issues that are physical in nature-- hormonal imbalance, thyroid problems, blood sugar variances, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies, etc. So what's the truth- celebrity aside?
Fact: There is no physical, scientific or biological test for any mental disease. Despite vested interest claims to the contrary, the bedrock truth is there is not one single, objective test for any mental illness-none! Following the Matt Lauer interview with Tom Cruise, one psychiatrist stated that Mr. Cruise was correct in that there are no scientific tests for mental illness. Later even the president of the APA American Psychiatric Assn. (APA), Dr. Steven Sharfstein, confirmed this as fact. This is the truth-there are none.
Next, is the issue of the safety and effectiveness of psychiatric drugs. As for the safety of antidepressants, one needs only to go back a few days and read the most recent FDA warning on these drugs. They already had a suicide warning on them and are banned for use on children in the UK for increases in suicide and violence. The newest warning states that adults who take antidepressants should be closely monitored for warning signs of suicide, especially when first starting the pills or changing a dosage. Also, remember that many school shootings, such as Columbine and most recently Minnesota, involved the use of antidepressants, as well as the mother who drowned all five of her children in Texas.
Regarding the effectiveness of antidepressants, in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. (JAMA) April 10,2002 issue, tests show that antidepressants did no better than a sugar pill in alleviating depression in clinical trials.
A final fact to embrace speaks volumes for the field of psychiatry as a whole. Psychiatrists have the highest suicide rate of any profession. Not surprisingly, the majority of their suicides are committed by psychiatrists under the influence of the very drugs they prescribe their patients. Now you decide what's the truth. Mark Palermo