Throwing Billions Down a Psych Drug Rat Hole

Evelyn Pringle May 18, 2009

From 1996 to 2006, prescriptions for psychiatric drugs increased by 73% among adults and 50% with children in the US, according to a new study in the May/June 2009 issue of the journal “Health Affairs.”

Another study in the same issue, found spending for mental health care grew more than 30% over the same 10-year period, with almost all of the increase due to psychiatric drug costs.

On April 22, 2009, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, reported that in 2006, more money was spent on treating mental disorders in children aged 0 to 17 than for any other medical condition, with a total of $8.9 billion.

By comparison, the cost of treating trauma-related disorders, including fractures, sprains, burns, and other physical injuries from accidents or violence was only $6.1 billion.

On December 22, 2008, the “National Survey on Drug Use and Health,” published by the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, reported that in 2007, 10.9 percent of adults aged 18 or older, or an estimated 24.3 million persons, had experienced serious psychological distress in the past year, and 44.6% had received mental health services in the past year.

Of those adults who received services, 87% were given prescription medication, and 34.6% received drugs only. In contrast, only 10.7% received outpatient treatment alone without any medication.

Something is very wrong with this picture. All we ever hear is that more people need to be screened and treated for mental illness in the US. When are we going to start hearing about all the people recovering from mental disorders as a result of ingesting tens of billions of dollars worth of psych drugs every year?

In 2008, the makers of psychiatric drugs raked in overall sales in the US of $14.6 billion from antipsychotics, $9.6 billion off antidepressants, $11.3 billion from antiseizure drugs and $4.8 billion in sales of ADHD drugs, for a grand total of $40.3 billion.

The successful peddling of these drugs is accomplished under the ruse of suicide prevention. Yet in 1987, the year Prozac was approved, and not coincidentally, the year the bogus epidemic in mental disorders began in this country, the number of suicides was 30,796, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

In the latest year posted of 2006, after hundreds of billions of dollars were thrown down a psych drug rat hole, the number of suicides was 33,292.

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