Cork - Event Notice
Dé Máirt Márta 01 2011
Anatomy of an Epidemic: public lecture by Robert Whitaker
rights and freedoms |
Déardaoin Feabhra 17, 2011 13:38 by Basil Miller - The Wellbeing Foundation wellbeing at wellbeingfoundation dot com 2 Eden Park | Glasthule | Dun Laoghaire | Co Dublin 01 4433494
Acclaimed medical journalist on the failure of drugs 'therapy'
TUESDAY 1 MARCH: Public lecture
Venue: Boole Lecture Theatre 2, University College Cork, 6.00 - 8.00 pm.
Organised by the School of Nursing and Midwifery and the School of Applied Social Studies, co-sponsored by the Irish Network of Critical Voices in Mental Health
In his latest book acclaimed US author Robert Whitaker investigates the astonishing rise of mental illness in the developed world.
Why has the number of adults and children disabled by mental illness skyrocketed over the past 50 years?
Why does this epidemic parallel so closely the growth and dominance of psychiatric drugs as treatment?
You can hear Robert answer these questions in person during his speaking tour.
Whitaker documents a history of science and medicine that raises a heretical question: Could the drug-based paradigm of care be fueling this modern-day plague?
Whatever the short-term effects of psychiatric drugs, where many trials suggest they can be effective, Whitaker analyses the full history of their use and asks:
What about their long-term effects?
He carefully documents an answer to that question for four major psychiatric disorders and for child and adolescent disorders. The answer is frightening. The drugs worsen long-term outcomes — and recovery from debilitating mental states has become rare.
Whitaker concludes we need to start an open conversation about how to stem the epidemic of disabling mental illness in society and move to a paradigm of care that helps people get well and stay well over the long term.
Robert Whitaker is the author of four books, two of which tell of the history of psychiatry. His first — Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill — was named by Discover magazine as one of the best science books of 2002, while the American Library Association named it one of the best history books of that year. His newest book — Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America — investigates the explosion in the number of disabled mentally ill exactly at the time that the so-called ‘magic bullet’ drugs were acclaimed as a cuer which would eliminate mental ‘illness’.
Before writing books, Whitaker was science and medical reporter at the Albany Times Union newspaper in New York for a number of years. His journalism won several national awards, including a George Polk award for medical writing, and a National Association of Science Writers’ award for best magazine article. A series he co-wrote for The Boston Globe was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1998.
The lecture tour has been organised under the auspices of The Irish Network for Critical Voices in Mental Health, in association with a number of voluntary and statutory organisations. This collaboration reflects the enthusiasm for and commitment to expanding the debate on new ways to embrace mental health within the Irish community.
The Irish Network for Critical Voices in Mental Health is a new national movement, made up of a coalition of various individuals and interest groups from the mad community, nursing, psychology, social sciences, carers, psychiatry, academia, and voluntary and statutory agencies, to provide a forum to discuss and debate critical issues in the area of mental health, psychiatry and madness, to attempt to bring this debate onto a new and wider national platform, and to campaign for a mental health system which is not based on the traditional bio-medical model, but one which recognises and responds to human distress in more creative, diverse and non-coercive ways.
For further information, contact Harry Gijbels on firstname.lastname@example.org Lydia Sapouna on email@example.com Doug Ross on firstname.lastname@example.org or Basil Miller on email@example.com
Irish Network of Critical Voices in Mental Health
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BULLET POINTS FROM WHITAKER’S RESEARCH
• In 2007, Martin Harrow, a psychologist at the University of Illinois, College of Medicine, reported on the 15-year outcomes of a large group of schizophrenia patients he has been following since the 1980s. Forty percent of the patients “off medication” had completely recovered, which was eight times greater than the recovery rate for those on antipsychotic drugs.
• In a 1995 study of patients with major depression, investigators from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reported that over the course of six years, those who were “treated” for the disorder were three times more likely than the unmedicated group to suffer a “cessation” of their principal social role, and seven times more likely to become “incapacitated.”
• Forty years ago, bipolar illness was a rare condition and long-term outcomes for patients so diagnosed were fairly good. Today, there are nearly six million adults in the United States with this diagnosis and their long-term outcomes are poor.
• In the 1990s, the NIMH mounted its first long-term study of a childhood mental disorder (ADHD). At the end of 14 months, the children treated with a stimulant were doing slightly better than those who weren’t medicated. However, at the end of three years, “medication use was a significant marker not of beneficial outcome, but of deterioration.”
Robert Whitaker speaking tour dates