Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry launches today with data showing dramatic rise in mental health disability

London, UK – The Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry (CEP) launches today with an event at the House of Lords where it will release a publication entitled Unrecognised Facts about Modern Psychiatric Practice which challenges many of the assumptions commonly made about modern psychiatry. CEP intends to start a national debate about the use of psychiatric drugs and treatments, given the mounting evidence of ineffectiveness and harm, and is campaigning for essential changes to protect patients.

CEP will also share its analysis of recent data from the Department for Work and Pensions showing a 38% rise in the number of disability benefit claimants with mental and behavioural disorders in England, Scotland and Wales between 2000 and 2013. The total number of claimants has remained steady at about 2.3 million; however the number with mental and behavioural disorders has risen from 745,000 to over one million during this period.

While there has been a 24% drop in claimants for physical health conditions the data indicates that the current paradigm of psychiatric care, which centres on drug treatments, isn’t enabling people to get back to work. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that the increasing long-term use of psychiatric drugs may itself be contributing to the problem. This striking increase in mental health disability is mirrored in other developed nations, and the rises predate the recent financial crisis. For example in the US it has been calculated that there were around 4 million mentally ill recipients of disability payments in 2007, up from 1.25 million in 1987. Similar increases have been identified in other countries.

Dr. James Davies, the co-founder of CEP, says: “During the last thirty years we have seen a dramatic rise in the use of psychiatric drugs. In 2013 in England alone over 53 million prescriptions were issued for antidepressants, a 6% increase on the previous year and a 92% increase since 2003. If the drugs were helping you would expect a significant reduction in mental health disability over this period – and yet the opposite is true. These figures raise some very difficult questions for modern psychiatry and for society more generally.”

The keynote talk at the launch will be given by Professor Peter Gøtzsche, member of CEP, Director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre and co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration which is considered the gold standard for the review of medical research data. Gøtzsche has recently published a book, Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime, which describes the fraudulent behaviour of the pharmaceutical industry over recent decades, drawing parallels with the tobacco conglomerates who fought to obfuscate the truth about the harm being caused by their products.

“The main reason we take so many drugs is that drug companies don’t sell drugs, they sell lies about drugs. Patients don’t realise that – although their doctors may know a lot about diseases and human physiology they know very, very little about drugs that hasn’t been concocted and dressed up by the drug industry,” says Gøtzsche. “For example, antidepressants are still being marketed as drugs which can rectify a chemical imbalance. This is a hoax, as no chemical imbalance has ever been proven in relation to any psychiatric condition. These drugs create a chemical imbalance, which is why it is so difficult for patients to get off them again. My studies in this area lead me to a very uncomfortable conclusion: the way we currently use psychiatric drugs causes more harm than good. We should therefore use them much less, for shorter periods of time, and always with a plan for tapering them off again to prevent people from being medicated for the rest of their lives.”

Dr. James Davies believes that the UK is trailing some other countries in its recognition of these issues. “In the US, Thomas Insel, head of the National Institute for Mental Health (the largest global research funding body), recently acknowledged that the current psychiatric diagnostic system lacks validity because of the absence of any objective measures. He also accepted evidence showing that long-term treatment of schizophrenia with antipsychotics may be worsening patient outcomes. Yet there has been no such admission or public discussion from the leaders of psychiatry here in the UK. Much greater public and parliamentary scrutiny of these issues is long overdue.”

26 Responses to Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry launches today with data showing dramatic rise in mental health disability

  1. Jan Waterton 30/04/2014 at 11:09 am #

    Hi again
    This is absolutely brilliant, but also very worrying that this has been going on for so long. I really hope the medical profession take nite and get this to Gp practices as soon as possible.
    Kind regards
    Jan

  2. Jim Maddock 30/04/2014 at 1:27 pm #

    Congratulation to all concerned at CEPUK on today’s launch in Westminister. The message you are proclaiming needs to be heard loud and clear throughout the world. It will be another powerful voice to the ever growing number of similar organisations and groups who have been proclaiming the same message not just in recent years but as far back as the early 1970’s. Say it loud – we’re human and proud!

    • Mary Maddock 01/05/2014 at 11:03 am #

      Congrats!

      Too many people have been harmed rather than helped by prescription drugs!

      ” Please look at us! Listen to us!”

      “We deserve to know the truth about our prescription drugs.” Nuria O Mahony

  3. Mary MacCallum Sullivan 30/04/2014 at 2:15 pm #

    And about time too! I am so happy that at last significant figures are coming out and admitting what has been evident for some considerable time.

    The playing field has been distorted by the money that has been available and poured into all sorts of re/search into the ’causes’ of ‘psychiatric’ illness, looking for the biological roots, the chemical imbalances, the structural deformities in the brain…. Isn’t it about time that we owned up to the idea that ‘unhappiness’, experience of cruelty, abuse, violence and a host of other individual experiences, together with a range of social conditions, may give rise to personal crisis that can be ‘diagnosed’ as ‘madness’ as a way of removing it from serious consideration and at the same time opening up a useful market for Big Pharma to play in.

    Please can we now begin to pay attention to people’s own lived experience? and maybe just listen to them as they seek to articulate, understand, and create their own meaning out of their own, individual, experience….?

  4. Arnold Knutsen 30/04/2014 at 3:31 pm #

    My life was destroyed by a benzo( lorazapam) while on it blackouts caused falls that caused the loss of my left hand,arm,and shoulder.( severe chrushed bones and skul fractures. After stopping them a year ago Feb. I have beer living 24/7 in a recliner as when I stand all my voluntary muscles contract making it unbearable so I have to sit back down.as time has progressed the condition has worsened to the point where going to the doctor is not possible.( never helped anyway and he is a neurogolist). I am in great distress and no one believes me about benzo withdrawal,as I look fine ,the doctor even laughed when I told him m swollen belly was ” benzo Bely” .There is no help but time and I am not sure even that is on my side as I am 76!

  5. truthman30 01/05/2014 at 9:47 am #

    Absolutely great to see this..
    Wish you every success…

  6. Pauline Thomas 01/05/2014 at 10:59 am #

    Let us not forget too the over medicating of people who have no voice, no choice and are unable to consent to the drugs given to them. The people with learning disability and the people with dementia.

    • Mariano Almudevar 11/08/2014 at 9:30 am #

      Yes Pauline. My severely disabled son has been excluded for more than three years here in Spain because I refuse to accept the use of antipsychotics for his challenging behaviour, Prior to this exclusion in the small group of autistic individuals here in ths small town I saw five very severe adverse reractions including one boy who ended in a wheel chair and died from neuroleptic asphysia, two severe EPSs, one neuroleptic malignant syndrome, and one grand mal. I konw the world of autism and can say that metabolic disorders akathisias and dyskinesias are very common and often misdianosed.

      In my carrer as a psychiatrist (I have been retired for over 19 years now) I practiced on the principles that critical psychiatry is now putting forward. I was trained in the seventies and eclecticism was the dogma. It is good to see that such critical position is now getting organized. One can ask though why in the name of emprical science, psychiatrists became deaf and blind over the last 30 years.

      The Convention of 2006, article 25, states clearly the right of disabled people to informed consent. After all adults, with disorders o no disorders, can exercise that right unless the Law says otherwise; children and de intelectually disabled, cannot exercise that right and they are further disabled and sometimes killed in ways that remind me of the nazi euthanasia program reasons of eugenics but for commercial ones.

      It is through focussing on those rigths of the disabled and children that a big difference could be made, for they are further used as wedges for the widening of markets in what amounts to experiments which are in fact unlawful.

  7. Bernard Daniels 02/05/2014 at 3:40 pm #

    Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime. How big pharma has corrupted healthcare, by Peter C. Gotzsche… should be the new DSM.

  8. Dudley Cotton 10/05/2014 at 10:51 pm #

    Thankful to see this action as it is very welcome if it makes progress towards the Houses of Parliament. I feel for all those victims having counselled them taking their stories, while not being able to be that effective in the early days (1980s) and lately, the same things happening even now! Releasing anger in any way to a psychiatrist would not be helpful but this is quite likely having felt so much for these victims!

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