Whenever you take a drug, you want to be clear about what effects it will have. This will allow you to evaluate whether or not taking it is in your best interest. Unfortunately, there is a range of negative side effects that have been linked to psychiatric drugs. Let’s take a closer look at some of the scientific evidence behind these claims.
How Are Psychiatric Disorders Diagnosed
One of the biggest problems could lie in the way that these disorders are diagnosed. Psychiatrists claim that the drugs they prescribe fit deficiencies in the brain. However, there are no chemical tests to objectively determine whether or not you need to take this medication.
Instead, psychiatrists might turn to brain scans. However, critics point out that this isn’t an effective diagnostic tool. For example, Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, New York University Medical School states that brain imaging technologies are not suitable for diagnosis or treatment. Dr. Elliot Valenstein goes one step further. He states that “structural changes were claimed to be the cause of the disorder, but they might actually be the effect of the treatment.”
Instead, they will need to rely on behavioral evidence to decide when they should apply for drugs. Without an objective test, it is difficult to know what type of medication to prescribe. This can increase the chances that a patient will be prescribed the wrong drugs.
This unscientific approach extends to the concerning way that these drugs are tested, according to journalist Robert Whitaker. To determine their effectiveness, they need to be compared to a placebo. However, many studies are constituted of people who were previously on the drug, then were withdrawn. This maximizes the negative effects that the trial participants experience, to make the new drug seem more effective.
Without this, the effects of most drugs aren’t clinically significant.
What Kind of Side Effects Can You Experience?
The type of side effects that you might experience often vary depending on the type of drug that you are prescribed. But they do have the possibility of being serious and damaging. For example, some schizophrenia drugs have been linked to making the patient more agitated. Over the long term, they might cause the brain to shrink. Because of this, long-term studies showed that those who reduced their dose had a significantly higher chance of making a functional recovery.
This is the same story for a range of other drugs. Because of this, the risks of taking these drugs are very high. Many drugs can lead to more serious mental health problems in the future. For example, there is often a link between these drugs and conditions like mania. There is also a chance that they will increase your risk of committing suicide. There is also some evidence that it can have dramatic changes in your personality.
Even more concerning is that many psychiatrists don’t know the long-term effects. The FDA estimates that between four to ten percent of adverse health reactions get reported. With such low numbers is it likely that many harmful drugs continue to get prescribed. If you have had an adverse reaction, you can report it to the FDA here. You can also report the problem to the CCHR Georgia team.