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Occupy the APA

April 15, 2012

Sometimes, the difference between “depressed” and “normal” is just the difference between passively suffering and fighting back.

I read an interesting article today on how psychiatry stigmatizes depression sufferers, whose problem is not actually low serotonin levels (that’s a pharmaceutical company myth which has already been debunked), but high levels of stress.  The newest research on depression is focusing on blocking stress hormones like cortisol, although you’d never know it from the drug ads, which continue to tout the serotonin theory.  In other words:

rather than a specific psychiatric brain disorder causing depression, we are simply talking about the uncontroversial reality that certain physical, familial, and societal pains can trigger depression.

And yet, an enormous amount of money–not just Big Pharma money for drug ads, but government money for “screening” of adolescents, insurance money for the “care” of people kept in hospitals against their will, etc.–is spent drawing a sharp line between those suffering (not too much) from unhappy life circumstances, and those suffering from “disorders”.

I recommend that everybody who’s pissed off about the stigmatization of those who suffer emotionally should come down to Philadelphia on May 5th, where the APA (American Psychiatric Association) is having their annual meeting, and where MindFreedom is organizing a historic “Occupy the APA” protest.  More info here:

occupy the APA

If you can’t get there, you can still participate!  They also are promoting local actions wherever you are.  More info here:

boycott normal

occupy normal

I think that Big Pharma and the government don’t actually want to cure depression, they just want us to be depressed about being depressed.  What I mean by that is, they’re pushing on us drugs that don’t work.  What might work: changes in the American social fabric that decrease economic anxiety and social isolation.  Such as free higher education (so we’re not stressed about paying off student loans), free healthcare (so we’re not stressed about paying off medical bills), living wage laws (so we can afford to have both enough money to raise a family on and enough time to have a life outside of work), etc.

What also might help: more attention to medical causes of depression like crappy diet, cortisol sensitivity etc.  Which is not being done, presumably because it doesn’t involve selling people drugs.  Okay, so how about concentrating on drugs that can make people feel happy (like MDMA) or cause long-term positive changes in philosophical outlook (hallucinogens)?  Oh wait…those are illegal.

Why actually make people happy, when you can just make them ashamed of their unhappiness, and then tell them that the only way to cure the shame is to buy your product?

Also, there’s a strong bias on the part of the healthcare system towards drugs that “slow you down”.  When you’re admitted into a psych ward involuntarily, the first thing they do is push tranquilizers on you.  Drugs that immediately give you a “rush” are generally illegal, while SSRI’s, which even the doctors who recommend them warn will feel like nothing’s happening in the first month of taking them, are heavily promoted everywhere.  Or take Ritalin/Adderall/etc.: for ADHD sufferers, their effects are a general “slowing down” sometimes leading to narcolepsy, and they get marketed like crazy to those people.  In the hands of non-ADHD sufferers, they cause a general “speeding up”, and are illegal.

When anti-psychotic drugs (which destroy brain tissue and shorten life expectancy) were first introduced, they were referred to as “major tranquilizers”.  The name is accurate: many people who hear voices in their heads report that these drugs don’t stop the voices so much as muffle them, while also reducing energy and feeling in general.

The elites don’t want us to be happy.  They want us tranquilized, going through the motions, unhappy but too ashamed or too tired to be angry about it.

I am angry about it.  I am unhappy and want to be happy; being tranquilized is not good enough.  That’s why I’m occupying the APA on May 5th.

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