Are psychiatric diagnoses valid? I'm beginning to wonder. At best, they are sometimes misapplied to the point of becoming meaningless. At worst, they are causing great harm both psychologically and physically.
Throughout the years I've agonized when working with dual diagnosis clients who attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or any of their sister programs. Too often there are well-meaning people in the groups who take it upon themselves to give psychological or medical advice. All too often, this results in tremendous damage. One of the major offenders is the idea that any member of AA, CA or NA who is taking psychiatric medications is not "clean and sober". Not only is this bad advice it's not the official policy of AA.
I really have a problem with the recent surge in diagnosing children with Bipolar Disorder. The children I see with this diagnosis are often the victims of serious issues at home, issues which may even include abuse. Some struggle with PTSD and the mood swings which are inherent in a traumatized individual are attributed to "Bipolar Disorder" and medicated.
A recent story in U.S. News and World Report states, "The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, as it is known, is hugely influential because it determines what is and is not a mental disorder. In turn, it is responsible for much of the sales growth in prescription drugs." In a recent article in Psychiatric Times Dr. Allen Frances discusses his concerns about the way the next version of the DSM is being formulatedand the possibility that formerly normal human behaviors will be become "medicalized".
Furious Seasons is a great blog about mental health issues, especially the effects of Big Pharma on psychiatric practices. The author is a journalist who is not only fighting for his own mental health, but providing valuable information for others battling the same issues. His coverage of the pharmaceutical companies and prescription medications is especially well-documented and worth your time.
The FDA now requires eight "mood stabilizers" used for the treatment of Bipolar Disorder to carry warning labels saying that they may cause suicidal ideation. What does this mean and what are these medications?