April 17, 2020
The Depressing Truth About SSRIsby Ballard Quass
why psychedelic therapy must REPLACE modern psychiatry rather than simply complement it
Open letter to MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies:
I keep hearing MAPS researchers use the phrase "those who don't respond to regular anti-depressants" when talking about clinical trials. This gives the impression that anti-depressants usually work just fine, but that is just plain wrong - although psychiatrists have been paid millions by Big Pharma to go on shows like "Oprah" and say otherwise.
If such pills are really the silver bullets they are purported to be, why is America more depressed than ever, statistically speaking, decades after these silver bullets hit the market?
Many of these medications are highly addictive and harder to kick than heroin! Heroin can be beat in one grueling week. Anti-depressants can take months as the brain chemistry attempts to return to normal. Some of these meds can NEVER be stopped. I wanted to get off of Effexor, but my doctor told me not to bother because recidivism rates are over 95% after three years.
About one in eight men and one in four women are addicted to Big Pharma antidepressants, according to psychiatrist Julie Holland. And now the pharmaceutical companies are going after the toddler market. This is a huge but silent scandal, especially when you consider Robert Whitaker's finding that antidepressants actually CAUSE the chemical imbalances that they purport to fix.
And yet MAPS researchers are silent on these issues. I can only guess that Big Pharma's influence is keeping them from recognizing the obvious. MAPS researchers should be pushing for psychedelic therapy to REPLACE modern antidepressants, not simply to eke out therapy for those supposedly rare cases that can't be "helped" by these deliberately addictive drugs (these annuities for Big Pharma executives).
And what do we even mean when we say that an antidepressant "works"? In the book "Psychedelic Medicine," Dr. Richard Louis Miller tells the story of a reporter who wrote a first-person story about Prozac. The reporter was bullish on the drug at first, saying that the medicine was definitely making him happier. But then he went to a family funeral and found to his horror that he felt nothing at all. Was Prozac working? You might say yes, it was working all too well. (This is not a surprise, since American psychiatry has a long history of defining "cures" as "treatments that render the patient more docile," as opposed to "treatments that help the patient achieve self-fulfillment in life.")
Anti-depressants are working great for Big Pharma, of course, bringing in $40 billion a year. They are swimming in dough from monthly purchases by addicts. But those who take the drugs are turned into eternal patients and are guinea pigs for substances that were never properly trialed for lifetime use. Worse yet, such patients are ineligible for participation in most new psychedelic therapies for fear of Serotonin Toxicity Syndrome.
MAPS researchers should start speaking truth to power and tell Big Pharma that its whole pill-mill approach to psychiatry is wrong. As a victim of the status quo, I for one would appreciate to hear someone in the field actually recognizing that "eternal patients" like myself exist. I don't expect I'll ever get an apology from the psychiatry business for addicting me for a lifetime to a mind-numbing drug (one that offers no self-insight whatsoever), but it would be nice if someone in the field would at least acknowledge that there is a problem here.
That's why I won't be fully happy with MAPS until they start promoting psychedelic therapy as a REPLACEMENT for the status quo, rather than as a mere helpful adjunct for the Big Pharma pill mill.