Monday, 26 November 2012

The Epidemic Of Mental Illness

"You can judge your health by your happiness"
Dr Edward Bach. 
Diseases that affect the brain, and reduce our mental capacity to cope with life, are becoming increasingly prevalent. Depression, for instance, is a problem that appears to be on the increase - not only in terms of numbers of people affected, but also the age at which people are now becoming affected. 
1 in 4 British adults experience at least one diagnosable mental health problem in any one year and 1 in 6 experiences this at any given time (The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity Report 2001).

* It is estimated that approximately 450 million people worldwide have a mental health problem (World Health Organisation 2001).

* Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain, with almost 9% of people meeting criteria for diagnosis (The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity Report 2001).

* One in ten children between the ages of one and 15 has a mental health disorder (The Office for National Statistics Mental Health in Children and Young People in Great Britain 2005).

* Rates of mental health problems among children increase as they reach adolescence. Disorders affect 10.4% of boys aged 5-10, rising to 12.8% of boys aged 11-15, and 5.9% of girls aged 5-10, rising to 9.65% of girls aged 11-15 (Mental Disorders more common in boys, National Statistics on Line, 2004)

* Depression affects 1 in 5 older people living in the community and 2 in 5 living in care homes (Adults in later life with mental health problems, Mental Health Foundation, quoting Psychiatry in the Elderly (3rd Edition), OUP 2002.

* Major (or clinical) depression is a huge and growing problem. "(It is) the No.1 psychological disorder in the western world, it is growing in all communities, in all age groups, with the greatest growth being seen in the young, especially teens".

* Major depression is the 4th most disabling condition in the world, and 2nd in the developed world (the biggest consumers of ConMed drugs).

* The escalation in the problem, and the recurring episodes of depression show that "while the first line treatment of depression by antidepressants may sometimes control the symptoms, it usually does little to give sufferers depression-free lives".

* Clinical or major depression is growing at an incredible rate.

This website makes two important points about the reasons for the depression epidemic. First, it claims that there is 10 times more major depression in people born after 1945 than in those born before. Second, it says that this increase is not due to more people telling their doctor, and that misdiagnosis and undiagnosed cases would indicate the problem is much bigger. 
* Depressive disorders affect approximately 18.8 million American adults or about 9.5% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year (including major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder).

* Everyone, at some time in their life, will be affected by depression - their own or someone else's, according to Australian Government statistics (its states that depression statistics in Australia are comparable to those in the US and the UK).

* Pre-schoolers (children under 5?) are the fastest-growing market for anti-depressants, with at least 4% - over a million children being clinically depressed.

* The rate of increase of depression among children is an astounding 23% per year.

* In the developed countries 15% of the population suffers severe depression.

* 30% of women are depressed. Men's figures were previously thought to be half that of women, but new estimates are higher.

* 5% of depressed people will commit suicide.

So is this evidence of yet another ‘epidemic’ of illness that has occurred over recent decades? Or is there something else that needs to be understood about this increase in mental illness? Whilst the statistics found on these two websites demonstrates the size of this epidemic, an important question needs to be asked. Is it a real epidemic of real disease? Or is it an epidemic that has been constructed by a health industry that has come to see Mental Health as a source of income and wealth?

Mental Illness has become a big money earner for the Big Pharma drug companies, and in recent decades there has been a rapidly increasing supply of suitably diagnosed patients who are said to have a ‘Mental Illness’ of some kind. Indeed, where individuals show no sign of disease the ConMed Establishment appears to be willing to invent new mental disorders - see ‘Invented Diseases’!

The ConMed Establishment has developed, and relies upon the theory that Mental Health problems are caused by a ‘chemical imbalance’ in the brain, and that mental illness arises when someone has low levels of Serotonin in their body (see ‘Depression’). Naturally, the Big Pharma companies have just the drugs to correct this imbalance - unproven, and unsound, as the theory might be!

The sale of Antidepressant and Antipsychotic drugs have been, and continue to be, a major source of revenue for the Big Pharma drug companies for many decades.

The ability to persuade us that we are ill, and that, as a result, we need ConMed treatment, especially Big Pharma drugs, has been one of the main reason for the rise of our drug-dominated NHS. It is more difficult to persuade someone that they have the physical symptoms of illness, but not so hard to persuade them that they are not thinking properly. 

And it has been the ability of ConMed to persuade so many people that they are ‘mad’ or ‘sad’ or ‘bad’ has certainly proven to be a lucrative ploy. Who was it who said, with amazing insight, you have to be mad to be able to live in the modern world! It is certainly true that traditional communities are less susceptible to depressive. And major depression is apparently almost unknown in the Amish society in the USA. Perhaps it also needs to be noted here that one feature of such groups, including the Amish, is that ConMed drugs are not used or approved there.

Indeed, it can also be argued, very strongly, that Big Pharma drugs can contribute to to genuine Mental Health problems. The link between mental health and suicide is often sited, on the basis that depression leads to people taking their own life. For instance, it has been estimated that 80% of suicide victims suffer from major depression. But it is equally true that most people who suffer from ‘major depression’ are taking antidepressant drugs. The question arises, therefore, about whether it is the depression, or the drugs that is causing the massive increase in suicide. It certainly means that antidepressants are not stopping people from taking their lives!

This article was originally published in "The Failure of Conventional Medicine".