Are Psychiatric Drugs Necessary?
September 26, 2009
About one in every hundred people faces being diagnosed with schizophrenia at some stage in their life. But there are questions over the quality of the treatment available, and concern that drug companies have been influencing psychiatrists over what anti-psychotic drugs to prescribe.
Dr. Herbert Meltzer, who pioneered the use of clozapine in the U.S., denies such interference is the norm. But he was challenged in a television debate by medical journalist Robert Whitaker over the need for medication.
Whitaker pointed to studies in Vermont and Illinois as evidence that too many schizophrenia patients are kept on medication for too long. In the Vermont case, patients discharged in the 1950’s and 1960’s were studied 30 years later. One-third had completely recovered and all of those ex-patients had stopped taking anti-psychotic drugs.
Controversy over alleged conflicts of interest has been dogging the world of psychiatry. In response, the American Psychiatric Association recently put an end to medical education seminars and meals sponsored by drug companies at its annual meetings.