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Medicine

Mass Psychosis In the USA? 542

Hugh Pickens writes "James Ridgeway writes in Al Jazeera that with over $14 billion in sales in 2008, antipsychotics have become the single top-selling therapeutic class of prescription drugs in the U.S., surpassing drugs used to treat high cholesterol and acid reflux. While once upon a time, antipsychotics were reserved for a relatively small number of patients with hard-core psychiatric diagnoses, today it seems, everyone is taking antipsychotics. 'Parents are told that their unruly kids are in fact bipolar, and in need of anti-psychotics, while old people with dementia are dosed, in large numbers, with drugs once reserved largely for schizophrenics,' writes Ridgeway. 'Americans with symptoms ranging from chronic depression to anxiety to insomnia are now being prescribed anti-psychotics at rates that seem to indicate a national mass psychosis.' By now, just about everyone knows how the drug industry works to influence the minds of American doctors, plying them with gifts, junkets, ego-tripping awards, and research funding in exchange for endorsing or prescribing the latest and most lucrative drugs. According to Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, under the tutelage of Big Pharma, we are 'simply expanding the criteria for mental illness so that nearly everyone has one.'"

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