Cutting Edge Psychology

Anti-psychotic drugs for young people

Posted on September 4, 2013 at 7:10 AM

Former Australian of the year, psychiatrist Patrick McGorry has lobbied successfully to have the federal government fund his Early Psychosis Intervention Centres (EPIC). Despite howls of protest from leaders in mental health around the world, pointing out that false positives of diagnoses of young people as psychotic numbers around 9 out of 10, McGorry is still treated by the media and government alike as though he is offering something useful. The primary psychiatric intervention provided to young people identified as 'at risk' of becoming psychotic at some time in the future (despite the fact that the 'diagnosis' will be wrong 9 out of 10 times) are anti-psychotic drugs. In addition to the increased risk of diabetes (see the below article), anti-psychotic drugs taken within prescription limits for as little as a year results in permanent brain damage, called Tardive Dyskenisia, in a high proportion of people. So, McGorry (with tax payers money) wants to 'treat' young people who are currently well, but who may at some time in the future experience psychosis, with dangerous drugs which are guaranteed to raise the risk of conditions like diabetes and Tardive Dyskenesia in a high proportion of people. In addition, there is the damage (often permanent) to a young person's fragile self concept, being labelled as 'at risk of becoming psychotic'. And all this completely ignores the fact that mental health problems result from stressful life events- so, lets as a culture turn a blind eye to the kid's dysfunctional family life, the abuse they have suffered, their alienating school experience- and pretend that the problem lies in their brain chemistry, justifying the use of major tranquilizers which will damage their health. A pretty shabby way of treating young people who are already suffering from bad life circumstances. Next time you hear McGorry being interviewed on talk back radio, ring in and ask him a few difficult questions.

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