These days one is led to believe that there are an awful lot of adults and children suffering from ADHD, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder and an endless list of other “mental disorders.” The mental health system routinely diagnoses “disorders” but offers no cures. Instead, you are put on the path to disability. You can become debilitated from psychotropic drugs themselves, or if you are unable to work, your mental health diagnosis can make you eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD).
The number of Americans receiving SSD for “mental disorders” has doubled in the past fifteen years. There are 1.4 million Americans who are getting government assistance for mood disorders alone. Roughly one in forty-five adults of working age are on SSD or other government assistance due to “mental illness.” The number of children on such programs has experienced a thirty-five fold increase!
When one takes into account the costs of therapy, drugs, hospitalizations and many subsidies, the cost is half a trillion dollars! That is more than is spent on all of Medicare in one year! With mental health coverage about to expand next year with the implementation of Obamacare, costs are only going to get worse and probably even more people will go on SSD.
The question is, if so many people are “mentally ill,” then why aren’t they getting treatment and getting better? It’s a fact that there are no cures offered by psychiatry, but what about the numerous drugs that have come on the market over the past few decades? Shouldn’t there be a marked improvement when so many new psychiatric drugs are available for treatment?
Take Prozac for example. It came on the market in 1987 and it wasn’t long before it became a household name. Logically, one would assume people would get better due to the hype about Prozac. One would assume less people would need to be on SSD or other disability programs due to relief from Prozac. However, the fact is the number of people on disability due to “mental illness” increased from 1.25 million in 1987 to 4 million in 2007. Perhaps the marketing of Prozac was more effective than the drug itself.
A study done at the University of Illinois kept track of sixty-four patients diagnosed with schizophrenia over a fifteen year period to see how they did in the long-term. Once two years passed, the ones not taking any psychiatric drugs did better for the rest of the term. Forty percent of that group was in “recovery” and sixty percent of them were working. Only six percent of those on drugs were in “recovery” and very few were working. The conclusion of the study is obvious. It is also evidence that psychiatry is not making people better, but is sending people down the disability path to get SSD or other assistance.
Since psychiatry can only diagnose based on opinion and not on pathology, the door is wide open to say a patient has a “mental disorder” without any biological proof. This only results in over-diagnosing and mis-diagnosing of conditions that are really caused by some deficiency, allergy, toxin or many other possible causes of emotional and behavioral problems. This in turn produces massive over-prescriptions of addictive, expensive and ineffective psychiatric drugs.
Since there is no medical test to confirm a patient’s condition, it is easy for a mental health provider to see a patient briefly, make a diagnosis based on a few questions and then write a prescription. This is an opportunity for abuse of the system. In some circumstances, people who don’t really have a condition can get a psychiatric diagnosis and then apply for SSD.
An example of this is a twenty-seven year old woman who went to see a psychiatrist. She was from a high stress neighborhood full of gangs, crime, drug abuse, etc. She did not have any obvious “disorder” and said she was retired because she just got her SSD approved. She had previously worked but stopped due to stress. A family member told her she could apply for SSD which took a lawyer to get her approved. All she did was go to a doctor and say she couldn’t work due to stress. She got a diagnosis and only needs to see a doctor every so often to keep her monthly checks coming.
This woman clearly was not disabled, but was certainly benefiting from the mental health system. She was even asked why she was on disability and she didn’t know. She only referred the psychiatrist to “whatever they wrote.” Living in a crime-ridden neighborhood no doubt caused a lot of stress for this woman, but that does not make her “mentally ill.”
A story like this makes one wonder how many other able people are out there too stressed out to work and instead are receiving SSD or some other government assistance paid by our tax dollars. This sort of situation is not doing anyone a bit of good not to mention the fraud factor of it all.
Let’s not forget the disabilities caused by the psychotropic drugs themselves. The side effects of these drugs are not to be taken lightly. Hallucinations, panic attacks, heart failure, blindness, tremors, severe involuntary muscle movements, coma, tics and seizures are some of the worst. These are the type of things that really make one disabled and unnecessarily a candidate for SSD.
So why take the chance with dangerous drugs and unsupported diagnoses? It would be much more productive and helpful to find the true cause of one’s condition. It only makes sense that there is a physiological problem causing the emotional or behavioral problem.
Certainly there are people who need SSD for a legitimate reason. Sometimes a doctor can’t make a patient perfectly healthy again, so disability becomes a factor. However, just as the differences between normal and abnormal are being blurred together in the field of psychiatry today, so are the distinctions between healthy and disabled. Do everyone a favor and stay out of the mental health system. Search for the underlying physical causes of your condition. You will be healthier and happier as a result.