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What Pharmaceutical Companies Don't Tell About Mental Health Treatment

Updated on December 7, 2014
What they don't say
What they don't say | Source

A Billion Dollar Industry

The pharmaceutical companies are one the richest industries in the US. With over 3 billion in profit these companies provide medication but never the mention of treatment or cures to be spoken.

Ever wonder why?

The companies promise to reduce pain, remove unwanted feelings and to help in recovery for whatever ails us. As a society, the American people have decided that pain and uncomfortable feelings are unwanted and must be eradicated. Unlike the times of the past where endurance was taught, today we search long and hard to remove any part of us that even whisper discomfort.

Tendency to Overprescribe

Every industry exemplifies why their products work best. Pharmaceuticals are no different. And, if your belief were to properly monitor and medicate your patients the likelihood of medicating the majority of your clients would be pretty high. Monitor and medicate is the role of psychiatrists.

Not to bash that part of mental health care, psychiatrist are a valuable part of treatment, however, many practicing physicians are bought out by the pharmaceutical billion-dollar scheme. Just as psychologist believe, therapy is best, psychiatrist do not differ. Not to argue who is more important, rather point out the discrepancy related to the tendency to over diagnose and medicate.

For example, there is a growing tendency to diagnose and medicate children who seem to be active and energetic. Interesting that years in the past those children took extra time to work with or an aid assisted their learning. Today we are working with reduced instructors and more children therefore, maintaining class control is essential. As a result if a child is more work than the overworked teacher can manage then requesting or recommending testing and medication is many times an immediate reaction.

On the same note, prescribing these medications like candy also run the risk of abuse. The abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise in drastic numbers. In 2011, there were 1.4 million emergency room visits related to overdosing on pharmaceuticals. Many of those visits, anti-anxiety medications were found in the patients system. Suicide by way of overdose is the leading cause of death in 2012. As the increase of abuse continues to occur it is apparent why monitoring of pharmaceutical are so important.

Marketing Societal Obsessions

Media is at the heart of many products. The general public remains glued to their television for the latest and greatest information. All commercials are intended to market the newest and greatest products. The unfortunate and downside to any of the medications are hidden and minimized. Pharmaceutical companies as described above have a large margin that can be used toward marketing the next best feel good concoction. The money is pumped into prescription drugs because that is what society wants – a feel better potion.

All over the television, commercials lead by a cloud of fog that miraculously clears up once the cartoon like character pops this wonder pill. Ever think what commercials like this do to the unconscious mind. Well sure we all want those foggy days to clear but does that pill solve the problem. I guess the answer would be yes, that is until the next dose is due.

There's no weakness as great as false strength.

— Stefan Molyneux

Common Side Effects of Psychotropic Medication

Any artificial substance introduced to ones system is likely to have some sort of side effect. Many of the psychotropic medication used to treat mental health disorders are riveted with adverse reactions. The most common are dry mouth, lowered sex drive, drowsiness, nausea, depression, and often increased suicidal ideation. Though medication may be “highly recommended” by the best physicians insurance can pay for – losing ones sex drive or having a habitual dry mouth or suicidal thoughts may not feel like an even exchange for a better mood.

Many consumers overlook the effects caused by these medications, as they believe the hype that is sold in the logistically planned commercials and marketing schemes that increase the revenue of the pharmaceutical companies and send the consumer in an addicted tailspin.

Long-Term Effects Of Using These Medications

I cannot lie, medications at time are helpful but overtime one must be prepared to reap the long-term effects aside from the happiness promised by the pharmaceutical companies. What they do not tell is happiness comes with a price that far exceeds what they are selling.

Anything that seems to be too good to be true usually works out that way. Medication is no different, the long-term effects are astounding and many times life changing. Some of the long-term effects and most popular is Parkinson like shakes that emerge after long-term use of anti-psychotic medications. Other lasting effects associated with anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications include memory loss and issues with concentration. Additionally, prolonged use has been known to increase bone loss, respiratory issues and low blood sugar.

Is this where our country is headed?
Is this where our country is headed? | Source

There are many ways of getting strong, sometimes talking is the best way.

— Andre Agassi

When A Prescription May Be Unavoidable

There are many disorders that are severe enough to warrant medication, though, must be done with caution and education. Such diagnoses in particular that commonly use medication as a main treatment include schizophrenia, bipolar and some severe depression and anxiety disorders.

Long-Term Benefits When Compared To Talk Therapy

Mentioning side effects, long-term effects and the worry that pharmaceutical companies pushing medication for their own benefit one must evaluate if talk therapy is just what the doctor called for. When comparing long-term benefits of both types of treatment – talk therapies win that fight. Talk therapies take time to generate results though what the patient gains is lifelong. As opposed to medication therapy the only life long acquired notion is side effects and chemical changes in the brain.

Holistic Treatment Options

Alternative treatment options exist for the treatment for many mental health issues. This is not intended to suggest that medication may not be appropriate, however, there are additional options that have proven success in the relief of symptoms related to depression, anxiety and other disorders. Some successful alternatives to medication are as follows:

Group therapy

Finding a group with individuals who have like concerns and struggles have shown to benefit many who participate. There are groups for anything from anxiety to grief and survivors of suicide. Search online for a group that is near you.


Food has been shown as a direct link to mood. Those who may not produce enough serotonin, the happy chemical, food can supplement. Some food, such as drinks with caffeine has the tendency to produce or increase anxiety related symptoms. Therefore, reducing intake of caffeine can help to reduce those experiences.


Using self-help measures such as meditation can help to reduce anxiety, reduce depression and improve overall mood. Meditation is a technique that is widespread and well explored. Videos are available by cd, via Internet and other media sources. Once meditation is used the possibilities are life long and continually useful.


Exercise such as yoga proves to be just as important as having a good diet. Getting the body moving also increases serotonin and supports mood improvement. Like meditation, yoga takes control, practice and motivation. Though just like with meditation, yoga offers lasting emotional stability.


Many forms of self-help resources are available. Whether the words of a personal story of mental health triumph or the new found tips of a mental health professional the resources are endless. These resources are available in book format, online and by video. Many of them have the ability to provide just what someone is looking for. If medication is not your thing, there are many accounts out there of a medication free journey.

Learn How to Meditate

Combined Treatment

Ideal treatment when medication is beneficial includes a combined treatment regimen. Medication treatment is very helpful for an immediate relief to overwhelming symptoms; however, long-term and lasting benefits are likely to come through talk therapy. Especially when treating anxiety, depression and personality disorder diagnoses, talk therapy is essential for overall change. Without adjunctive therapy, medication will only provide relief for as long as the patient continues to take the medication. On the contrary, traditional therapy affords the patient relief that will continue well beyond cessation of treatment.

Are Prescriptions The Way To Go

So in closing I challenge you to think about the effects and benefits of medication. Do the long-term effects outweigh the momentary need of symptom relief? Can medication serve as a short-term relief and combined with talk therapy provide the patient with lasting relief.

Education about what is ingested is the only way to go. Of course, look into who is marketing a particular product and look for the alternative viewpoint. Medications are meant for short-term stabilization. In the case of severe mental illness medication may be appropriate to reduce the severity and frequency of psychosis and moderate mood. Though, whether the hope is to increase mood or reduce psychosis – medication can only soothe the system for a period of time without adverse consequences but therapy can serve as a long-term support.


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    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thank you Celina for the comment.

    • profile image

      Celina 3 years ago

      Great common sense here. Wish I'd thuhogt of that.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      You are absolutely right, medications are created for our benefit and longevity of life but they have been habitually misused. I agree that physicians are likely receiving kickbacks for promoting the newest drug. I find many of my clients saying that their doctor offered them samples from their offices which somewhat confirms that suspicion. I think as a whole society will have to fight back or the path we are on will not be pretty. Thanks for commenting :)

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

      In a society driven by greed, anything goes. Without certain drugs, our life expectancy would be pretty short. Drugs like antibiotics saves and prolong lives. However, we still managed to misuse them, we failed to use them correctly and we're now paying the price. Hypnotics and antidepressants needs to be carefully prescribed. These drugs works in the short term, but are dangerous when taken over long periods of time. I'm pretty sure, some doctors are still accepting kickbacks from the drug companies for prescribing and promoting their products, this practice can be dangerous and needs to be stopped. The drug companies as well as the doctors should be hit where it's most likely to hurt, in the pockets. Great informative hub, well done.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thank you for stopping by teaches12345 and sorry for your friend's loss. Many times family does not know their loved one is on meds since they are so easy to obtain. When feasible natural remedies are the way to go.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      A friend of mine just found out her son overdosed on prescription meds. She didn't even now he was taking them. Sad. I love your opening photo, it's all about the money. Your message is one all people should take notice of and follow your natural remedy advice for healing.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks cristasquidoos for the comment

    • christasquidoos profile image

      christasquidoos 3 years ago

      Thumbs up article!

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thank you lamservent, I do my best :)

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Back at you. You have a challenging job and I admire anyone in your field. Most are in the field because they care and want to help. I wish you the best.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thank you lambservant for sharing your personal story to what I told in this article. You are absolutely right, it makes it hard for psychologists like myself to come against the sold ticket done so well by the pharmaceutical companies. I get it people want to feel better we all do. But few like yourself want to learn the skills and tools to manage without medication. I know I push diet and fitness but it certainly beats pushing medications with so many side effects. Benzo's have far to many side effects on top of the addictive qualities. My hats off to you for staying positive and using therapy as the best tool!! Good luck friend.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Great article. And don't get me started. Psychotropic medications (which I take a few) are so over prescribed and so riddled with side effects it's ridiculous. There are sooooo many who go off their meds due to side effects. I've seen it time and again. If I have an increase in symptoms and mention it to my prescriber during a maintenance visit, her first instinct is to say "Let's bump this dosage up," or "Let's add this pill," or "Let's get you back on..." I always tell her, "I would prefer to work through these symptoms with therapy or using my tools." She respects and appreciates this, but because most all of her other clients accept this type of treatment, it surprises her. 99% of the time, the symptom lessens and even goes away. She trusts that I know my body, mind, and symptoms well enough to take the lead in such a way. In the past I was so overmedicated it was ridiculous. My quality of life now is ten-fold better.

      On another note, it is abominable, appalling, that physicians today very irresponsibly, and carelessly prescribe dangerous and addictive pain meds, especially without trying other things first. Rehabs are full to the brim and overflowing with people addicted to pain killers that started after an injury , surgery, or something else. The livers and kidneys blow out or get diseased and the need for medical treatment snow balls.

      Also, when I first started taking an antidepressant back in 1999, the doctor, and a few after that, told me they were not addictive and there would be no withdrawals should I decide to go off of them. Well, that turned out to be poppycock. As the years have gone by, time has proven that many or most of the SRI's are horrible to get off of. The same for benzodiazipines like Xanax, and Atavan. I have a disorder than needs at least minimal medication as it is biochemical. But I do all I can to keep it at a minimum and use the tools I have learned to manage symptoms. I am distressed that people just blindly trust that they need all this stuff, and demand it under that mindset, when symptoms appear. Psychologists and other Mental Health professionals meet with a lot of resistance with their clients in using coping skills and other tools to manage their symptoms because they've been sold a bill of goods that medication is most important, and the more the better.

      Okay, rant over. Thanks for this wonderful, TRUTHFUL article.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      You are welcome manatita. Glad it was a subject that interests you.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      I agree quildon. I also see clients daily who are herded toward medication without a thought or attempt at other measures. Truly a terrible future we are headed toward.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 3 years ago from london

      Great article on creating awareness and a knowledge of how some industries work. Thanks.

    • quildon profile image

      Angela Joseph 3 years ago from Florida

      mdscoggins, what you have written here is so true. I see patients everyday who are so drugged out by prescription drugs they can barely function. For them the hospital or clinic is a revolving door where they come to get meds, go home and return a week later with the same problem. Something has to give. Voted up and useful.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thank you Suzette. This topic certainly needs to be spoken about and revealed to the general public :)

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      Boy, have you hit the nail on the head. Pharmaceutical companies are so powerful they are running our health insurance and prescription services. This is an excellent article showing the greed of these companies. Voted up+

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thank you Faith Reaper for the support. It does tend to turn the stomachs of people that understand the extent of the damage we are creating. I do say that medication can be helpful for certain illnesses, however, talk therapy has shown great success even with schizophrenia, a disorder widely known for its severity and likelihood of medicating. It all depends on the motivation of the individual and unfortunately the source of money.. It all comes down to money - sadly.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      It just turns my stomach at such greed as we are soon becoming or already there, a nation of those dependent on whatever the pharmaceutical companies have the doctors so eager to write such prescriptions. My mother was so anti-prescription drug, and I now believe she was ahead of her time in her thinking. People do not often think of the long-term effects of such or worse than the ailment of why they started taking such drug to begin with ... disturbing. I read the side effects of one and it said "death" so I threw it away and was glad I did. I know that anything can actually cause death depending upon what all else one is taking. I am all for talk therapy and getting to the root of any mental health issues.

      Up +++ tweeting, pinning and sharing

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Hi Iris so many times pharmaceutical companies squirm when it comes to the foundation of their beliefs and how pushing pills is at the front of their campaign. Essentially we are moving toward legal forms of addiction and all regulated by a prescription - really sad.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Hi Sheila, even not being a health professional yourself you happen to be absolutely right. I see it all the time where clients are made to believe that medication is the way to go without addressing physical activity, diet or other holistic treatment options first.

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 3 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      A few days ago our local news station had a pharmacologist on an interview program. It was ridiculous in the extreme because she was talking about "to you" advertising used by supplement companies. Now, what she was saying was valid. We need to question claims made by companies of course. Here's where it got laughable. At no time did she address the air wave and print media saturation of pharmaceutical companies that market directly "to you" (Viagra, etc.). Worse yet, the interviewer (read warm body nodding yes to everything the pharmacologist said) never pointed out the obvious double standard. Follow the money. This piece is exactly what people should read. We must think critically about our health care.

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      I'm not a mental health professional so maybe my opinions will be considered wrong in other people's eyes, but I couldn't agree with you more. While some disorders may require a life-long regime of medication, I don't think that applies to most situations. As you said, maybe it's good for the short-term; however, if the problem is treated with the other types of treatment, the person can be taken off the drugs or not have to start taking them in the first place.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Hello again Goodpal. You are right the testing of new drugs are kept very quiet and I would bet that most of what is done is never leaked until an outbreak of some disease occurs. Ironic that it happens in other countries but the US has some "non FDA approved" cure for it. Makes you scratch your head a few times, right.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Hi LIsa - you are absolutely right seeing a physician for psychotropic medication is truly a vicious circle and one that consumers can hardly afford. I had a client once on Medicare and his psychiatrist saw him monthly for medication refills and he was responsible for a $10 copay which on a fixed income was very pricey for him. But it was a medication he needed. Go figure. Some mental health disorders respond very well to holistic measures and therefore cut out the need for such medications. The trouble is in the US we are accustomed to quick fixes and that is what the pharmaceutical companies promise.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Hi Nadine of course this article is not about the misuse of this type of virus spreading, however, as a researching in the US using human experimentation is no longer legal or accepted research practices. I am not certain about the practices of other countries. What I can say is we are at the forefront of unfortunate circumstances due such measures. Though as I mention the pharmaceutical companies being in it for the money it appears that what is currently happening follows that concept - those that need the medication do not have appropriate resources, therefore, they are viewed as a lost cause which is terrible.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Hi Goodpal - you are right any industry is out for themselves and we as consumers are left to fend for ourselves. I am not saying that the pharmaceutical companies are not needed at times but it surely it distasteful to promote mental health medication as they do to gain customers which equates to a world of legal drug addicts. I like how you mention if we all did the right thing and created our own "healthier life" business for health care would plummet. Being part of that system I recognize that customers will exist I would just hope for more holistic care. Thanks for the comment

    • Goodpal profile image

      Goodpal 3 years ago

      I appear to agree with you Nadine. Not just Africa, poor souls in Bangladesh and other societies face the same exploitation. They also offer real life testing of new drugs. Of course, it never becomes news in the mainstream corporate media.

    • lisavanvorst profile image

      Lisa VanVorst 3 years ago from New Jersey

      Physicians today spend little time talking to their patient; and more time writing prescriptions and referrals. It is sad. The worst part of taking medication for depression, anxiety and other mental problems is that one becomes addicted/dependent on these medication. These medications all come with side effects, however the medication mask the effect and does create a balance in the brain. Going off these medications cold-turkey can cause sickness, shakes, nausea and mood changes. So most patients won't and do not want to do this. Doctors also do not recommend doing this. The best bet is to slowly decrease the dosage. I do see many physicians doing this. Also those who take these medications no longer can just call for a refill. The physician must see the patient every three months. So when you think about this, the pharmaceutical company is getting rich and the physician is making more money because what once was a yearly doctor visit becomes a visit four times a year, just so you can get your medication. Some Insurance companies will only refill these medications on a monthly basis, no longer for 90 days. So now you have to reach your physician (providing you had a visit within three months) to get your refill. What if your physician is unavailable, on vacation and the one on call won't refill it because he or she is not your primary care physician? Well then you start to go through withdrawl. Experience the symptoms that the medication was prescribed for. It is a vicious cycle.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      That was an excellent article on this topic. What is really scary is that now it seems that virus drugs and their antidote are created, and then the virus is been introduced into society, especially in Africa, but NOT the antidote. There are many articles and videos on the internet that seem to proof that this is the case today. What are your thoughts on that?

    • Goodpal profile image

      Goodpal 3 years ago

      Medical profession runs like any other industry, for profit alone and maximization of profits. Commercials promote their products like any other product. So, we can't expect 'cures' or 'treatment of root cause' of diseases; that would kill their business. It's all symptomatic - eliminating warning signals the body is sending - so that the 'customer' keep returning to get rid of pain or discomfort.

      The best ally of 'healthcare' (euphemism for 'pain management') industry is the 'junk food' industry.

      Imagine what would happen if people 'eat right', exercise regularly and don't allow themselves to get stressed - this is true 'healthcare'!! People would rarely need medical attention and all these industries would collapse. This would decrease the GDP of the country, but people will live happier and healthier life.

      In my opinion, efforts to grow the GDP eternally is at the root of all major ills we see in the world, including the 'cureless' treatment of illnesses. People are no longer human 'beings' who deserve dignity and satisfaction; they are just human 'consumers' who must be exploited.

      Thanks for a good article, pointing to the reality of our life.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I totally agree. Diet and exercise do wonders for our health :)

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks Sunshine - I hope to increase awareness. As a therapist I focus on holistic measures and use a referral for medication as a last ditch effort. Many times mild to moderate symptoms can be regulated with diet, exercise and therapy.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      The TV commercials that go on and on and on about the possible side effects and dangers of taking certain pharmaceutical medications are more than enough for me to "Just say no!" I avoid not like them. These companies do NOT care about the consumer, you are correct they just care about creating the customer. I just had two wisdom teeth removed and refused to take the pain killers...actually I didn't need them, the old fashioned ice packs did just great. Excellent article! I hope more people read it and try to avoid being another customer.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks Wrath Warbone!

    • Wrath Warbone profile image

      Terry Chestnutt 3 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio

      Terrific, good sir! Wonderful of you to break this new ground for us all. Thanks tons.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks Bill. Hope it interests many but may not since people tend to blindly search for happiness. Have a great weekend :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love articles like this one. You may or may not get tons of views, but this is a valuable piece of writing. Well done, Michelle!

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks for stopping by Jackie and for sharing. I also believe that many times medication is trying to cover deeper concerns.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Great info here! Prescription medicine for the most part just help hide an underlying problem that needs to be solved not covered up! Up and sharing.


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