Award-winning investigative journalist, Robert Whitaker, author of Mad In America and Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America will join Leslie Carol Botha, host of the Holy Hormones Honey! radio program on the VoiceAmerica Health and Wellness Channel. The show will air on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time.
In Anatomy of an Epidemic, Whitaker asks why the number of adults and children disabled by mental illness skyrocketed over the past 50 years. In 1955, there were 355,000 adults in state and county mental hospitals with a psychiatric diagnosis. During the next 3 decades (the era of the first generation of psychiatric drugs), the number of disabled mentally ill rose to 1.25 million. According to government records, there are over 4 million people in the US who receive a disability check because of a mental illness, and that number continues to soar. Every day, 850 adults and 250 children with a mental illness are added to the disability rolls.
The disability numbers in turn, lead to a much larger question. Why are so many Americans today, while they may not be disabled by mental illness, nevertheless plagued by chronic mental problems: recurring depression, bipolar symptoms, and crippling anxiety? Why have the mass killings from Columbine to the Naval Yard massacre been committed by people with a history of mental illness and on psychotropic medications? Last’s week’s Capitol Hill shooting of an unarmed postpartum ‘psychotic’ mother on prescription meds for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and in a delusional state while ramming barricades and police cruisers is a another example of drugs gone bad.
If we have treatments that effectively address these disorders, why has mental illness become an even greater health problem and a threat to national security? Whitaker opens this Pandora’s Box in both of his books. It is time that we pay attention.