Mothers Act Disease Mongering of Katherine Stone

Evelyn Pringle April 27, 2009

Katherine Stone’s website, Postpartum Progress, serves as one of the most prolific disease mongering campaigns on the internet in support of the Mothers Act legislation, coming up for vote in the US Senate in the near future.

The legislation refers to postpartum depression and psychosis only. However, Big Pharma funded supporters of the Mothers Act have transformed the language of the Act to “perinatal mood and anxiety disorders” to create a new cottage industry for the psycho-pharmaceutical cartel out of the four million women a year who give birth in the US.

On September 8, 2008, Stone gave perfect of example of the type of a pop quiz that will be used to screen and drug women with a blog headline announcement of: “Researchers Find 3-Question Screening Test Effective in ID’ing PPD.”

She explained that for this sub-scale of the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale, new mothers were asked to answer “Yes, most of the time,” “Yes, some of the time,” “Not very often” or “No, never” to the following statements: I have blamed myself unnecessarily when things went wrong; I have felt scared or panicky for not very good reason; I have been anxious or worried for not very good reason.

“The subscale identified 16 percent more mothers as depressed than the original, longer questionnaire,” Stone reported, in the best possible news for the psycho-pharmaceutical industry.

Not surprisingly, Stone used to be an “account supervisor at the Y&R PR firm Cohn & Wolfe,” according to a summary on LinkedIn, where she now advertises for employment.

The SourceWatch website lists Cohn & Wolfe clients that include Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Merck, Novartis and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

On LinkedIn, Stone is described as a: “Talented, award-winning marketing and PR professional returning to the workforce after brief sabbatical as full-time mom.”

The summary further states in obvious reference to her Postpartum Progress website:

“Used break from full-time employment to become an expert at social media, creating most widely-read blog in the U.S. in her niche.”

However, the problem with Stone’s website and blogs is that she seems to just make things up as she goes along.

The story reported on her website is that, “In 2001 she suffered postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder after the birth of her first child.”

Over a few months of reading through the stories and blogs posted by Stone on Postpartum Progress, never once was there a claim that she suffered from postpartum depression (PPD) after the birth of her first child.

Yet in a blog on April 16, 2009, she says she was on an antidepressant at the time of the birth of her second child to “prevent” PPD “since I’d had it with my son.”

A day later, she wrote that she continues to take “meds” (plural) “for my OCD.”

In a webpage titled, “The Art of Psychiatric Medication,” posted with a date of June 8, 2006, Stone told readers:
 
“I’ve taken many medications, including Effexor, Celexa, Seroquel, Risperdal, Wellbutrin, Luvox, Cymbalta, etc.  Throughout all of them, I was on the road to recovery.  Some just worked better than others at treating my symptoms.”
 
In the June 7, 2004 issue of Newsweek, she described her treatment for OCD and wrote “in my case, that meant taking an antidepressant and going for weekly therapy sessions.”
 
Since reporting on the Art of Medication page in my last article, Mothers Act – Bad Movie Rerun, Katherine removed the paragraph with the list of drugs from her website and put in the line:

“My psychiatrist gave me seven different medications, partially because he didn’t know what he was doing and partially because some of them didn’t work for me.  When I finally found a trained doctor, we developed a plan that worked, including one antidepressant and weekly therapy.”

Compare those statements with the story she told five years ago in a Newsweek, when she wrote: “I took advantage of my company’s employee-assistance program and called the help line. God blessed me that day. They put me in touch with a wonderful therapist who saw me immediately and recognized what was wrong.”

“As it turns out, I had postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder,” she stated.

“For a while I was convinced that I’d never be the same person again,” she said. “But I did everything my doctor told me to do, and I’m now back to the old me.”

There was no mention of changing doctors or trying seven different drugs in Newsweek. There was also no claim of having postpartum depression after her first child. In fact, Stone specifically stated:

“Unless you’ve personally experienced some sort of mental illness, you can’t begin to understand what it’s like. My empathy for people with depression, schizophrenia and other ailments has gone through the roof.”

“I tell the story so that women who are now going through what I did will know there is help,” Stone said, leading women to believe they could take a single antidepressant and attend weekly therapy sessions and be done with it.

Readers had no way of knowing that the definition of “help” was five antidepressants and two antipsychotics. Nor would they know that Stone’s statement of, “I’m now back to the old me” meant taking antidepressants during their next pregnancy and still being on “meds” seven years later.

In the Art of Medication she told women, “expecting to get better in a week is unrealistic.” 

“What you can expect is to get less sick over time until you get back to who you were before you got sick,” she said. “For some people that takes a couple of months, for some people longer.”

On her website, Stone reports that Newsweek took her article down and seems to wonder why. Being her article was promoting the Mothers Act even back then, maybe the magazine was afraid of being accused of publishing false and/or misleading stories about the treatment of mental disorders to a readership of women looking for truthful information about the Mothers Act.

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