Psychiatry and Psychology's Epidemic of Junk Science, Overprescription, Misdiagnosis, Subjectivity, and Pharma Marketing

By Ben Alonzo
mental health

Health Science: Recent scientific research, top scientists, court cases, and whistleblowers have highlighted how a large portion of the psychiatry and psychology industry propagates unscientific research findings, continues to use subjective diagnosis procedures, overprescribes unnecessary and potentially dangerous drugs, and creates made-up mental health disorders as a way to generate billions of capital for pharmaceutical companies. In a time when there’s a pill and mental disorder for everything, it’s especially important for people to make informed decisions. It’s amazing that a majority of Americans are on prescription medications, much of which are psychiatric drugs. Are we doing more harm than good? Let’s dive into various science journal articles and court case documents together.

It’s alarming when more than half of an industry’s research claims cannot be verified or reproduced. More Americans and scientists should be highlighting the problems with junk science, especially when it has the potential to impact millions of people.


Psychiatry and psychology are different in that a psychiatrist is a medical doctor, but the truth is that they work close together on the same subjects (such as depression) and both industries have the same problems, such as misdiagnosis, creating, using, and propagating unscientific research, misleading patients, overprescription, greed, and a habit of labeling anything a disorder. This is a big industry with hundreds of billions of dollars at stake.

The purpose of this lengthy article is to inform people that are unaware of the serious issues that hurt our country, raise awareness about junk science, and practices that have the potential to damage the physical and mental health of unsuspecting patients. To be clear, nobody is claiming that psychiatry and psychology are useless, or that mental health disorders don’t exist — they do. Many people go into these fields with good intentions, but there’s no denying that problems are growing in size and frequency. This article will examine facts, recent research findings, court cases, input from top scientists, and professional perspectives on the psychiatry and psychology industries.

It’s time to admit that psychiatry and psychology have a very serious lack of objective diagnosis ability, promote overmedication, misdiagnosis, and withhold important information from patients about the dangers of psychiatric medications. These issues are difficult to resolve because a billion dollar pharmaceutical industry constantly fights any attempts to expose these flaws, educate patients, and discontinue the subjective practices and overmedication trends. Patients are also in a difficult position because they feel “a doctor is never wrong.”

There is hope. Informed citizens are turning to factual resources online, recent scientific research findings, informative news articles, input from other medical doctors, court cases, and other help. We challenge our readers to look at the facts about psychiatry and psychology. Are you informed? Do you know how we got to a nation so full of psychological disorders and overmedicated people? What can you do to avoid the mess and help change this problem?

Some History

It might shock people to learn a little bit about the history of psychology and psychiatry. Let’s not forget that the psychology community considered homosexuality as a mental disorder, which was listed as “ego-dystonic homosexuality” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) — also known as the bible of psychology — until 1986. It was removed by a vote. This fact tells us a lot about the foundation of a subjective practice and associated ideologies. It’s worth noting that the homosexual disorder was only listed initially because of a simple subjective opinion of early therapists.

Later, they were challenged by scientists that proved that homosexuals could live normal and happy lives, which caused them to reconsider listing homosexuality as a disorder. If that wasn’t bad enough, instead of removing homosexuality as a disorder from the DSM, they tried changing the name from “homosexuality” in 1974 to “ego-dystonic homosexuality” in 1980. It was finally removed in the late 1980s by a vote.

Science isn’t done by a vote, which tells us that the DSM wasn’t scientific to begin with. In fact, this is shocking, if one considers the ramifications of such a system and how it could be easily manipulated by money and politics.

In the Psychiatric Times, Dr. S. Nassir Ghaemi, MD, MPH, writes an article, titled “Why DSM-III, IV, and 5 are Unscientific”:

“The original DSM-III personality disorders were almost completely based on psychoanalytic opinion, with hardly any scientific validity literature to support them, as documented well by Hannah in her archival research. In the intervening 30 years, a number of scientific validity studies (using the classic nosology validators of phenomnelogy, course, genetics, and biological markers) have invalidated most DSM-IV personality disorders; in other words, they have been falsified scientifically. This is the problem. It’s not complicated, and philosophically difficult. If you have opinion, and nothing else, it’s not science. If you refuse to change your opinions, it’s not science.”
Most of DSM has been based on opinion, and our profession has refused to change most of that opinion for 2 generations. How can anyone imagine that any profession would ever experience progress, much less scientific progress, if it refuses to change its opinions, themselves based on nothing but prior opinion? We are much more ignorant than Hippocrates over 2 millennia ago. He knew that opinion breeds ignorance, while science is the father of knowledge. We mistake our opinions for science.

Top scientists resign over DSM group’s refusal to incorporate scientific evidence, reports Discover Magazine.

Industry professionals say that the DSM is not scientific and that the reviewing board ignores scientific evidence standards. Roel Verheul is a psychologist and John Livesley is a psychiatrist, both were members of the DSM-5 work group for for personality disorders. They found that the group ignored their warnings about its methods and recommendations. They resigned out of disapproval, explaining why in an email sent to Psychology Today. Their disapproval stems from two primary problems with the proposed classification system: its confusing complexity, and its refusal to incorporate scientific evidence.

The proposal displays a truly stunning disregard for evidence. Important aspects of the proposal lack any reasonable evidential support of reliability and validity. For example, there is little evidence to justify which disorders to retain and which to eliminate. Even more concerning is the fact that a major component of proposal is inconsistent with extensive evidence…This creates the untenable situation of the Work Group advancing a taxonomic model that it has acknowledged in a published article to be inconsistent with the evidence.

In 2013, Dr. Steven Hyman, a neuroscientist and former Director of The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the federal government’s most prominent psychiatric expert has said the DSM book suffers from a scientific “lack of validity”, calling the DSM’s psychology and psychiatry practices a “scientific nightmare”:

Dr. Hayman goes on in this article:

“the underlying science remains immature… The molecular and cellular underpinnings of psychiatric disorders remain unknown; there is broad disillusionment with the animal models used for decades to predict therapeutic efficacy; psychiatric diagnoses seem arbitrary and lack objective tests; and there are no validated biomarkers with which to judge the success of clinical trials.”

Furthermore, he acknowledged that there is no real theoretical basis for current drug treatments for mental illness. He noted that existing treatments have not changed since the 1950s, and don’t work to improve the lives of people who suffer from real mental illnesses:

The DSM is considered the “bible of psychology” in America. It’s the book that counselors and psychiatrists go to, but you might not be aware of what’s inside. While a doctor can run an objective blood sugar test to determine if you have low blood pressure, there’s no objective test to determine many of the mental health diagnosis listed in the DSM. The DSM is full of subjective checklists and the way the book is made will shock you. It’s not science, it’s votes, politics, and money. That’s hard to swallow for many, but the facts support such conclusion. It’s only getting worse.

Rising Concern

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights International (CCHRI) is a mental health watchdog non-profit. They have provided nothing but facts on their website regarding the DSM and the psychology industry practices. They describe the DSM as “Psychiatry’s Flawed Tool: A book full of subjective checklists.”

“Someday our grandchildren’s grandchildren are going to sitting in college classroom learning about the early 21st century and wonder how a society so seemingly advanced could have such primitive ideas about mental health. They will no doubt be shocked and appalled that our major diagnostic tool for psychiatry is a book full of subjective checklists—the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM versions I-IV).” – Citizens Commission on Human Rights International

More professionals are coming forward to expose the major flaws of psychiatry and the flawed DSM “bible of psychology” tool.

There’s a very interesting read in the Atlantic from an interview with Gary Greenberg, a practicing psychotherapist. Greenberg is the author of “Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease” and contributor to The New York Times and other publications. His insight appears to be a matter of fact: the DSM is a book full of the work of politics and bureaucracy as well as endless subjective checklists. Greenberg goes into detail about the history of the DSM and examples of flawed practices. He doesn’t deny that mental health conditions exist, but the fact is the DSM is flawed and the psychology industry is out of control.

Here’s a very interesting and damning quote from his interview:

The Atlantic: “Can you talk about how the first DSM, published in 1952, was conceived?”Greenberg: “One of the reasons was to count people. The first collections of diagnoses were called the “statistical manual,” not the “diagnostic and statistical manual.” There were also parochial reasons. As the rest of medicine became oriented toward diagnosing illnesses by seeking their causes in biochemistry, in the late 19th, early 20th century, the claim to authority of any medical specialty hinged on its ability to diagnose suffering. To say “okay, your sore throat and fever are strep throat.” But psychiatry was unable to do that and was in danger of being discredited. As early as 1886, prominent psychiatrists worried that they would be left behind, or written out of the medical kingdom. For reasons not entirely clear, the government turned to the American Medico-Psychological Association, (later the American Psychiatric Association, or APA), to tell them how many mentally ill people were out there. The APA used it as an opportunity to establish its credibility.”
The Atlantic: “How do diagnoses affect people?”
Greenberg: “One of the overlooked ways is that diagnoses can change people’s lives for the better. Asperger’s Syndrome is probably the most successful psychiatric disorder ever in this respect. It created a community. It gave people whose primary symptom was isolation a way to belong and provided resources to those who were diagnosed. It can also have bad effects. A depression diagnosis gives people an identity formed around having a disease that we know doesn’t exist, and how that can divert resources from where they might be needed. Imagine how much less depression there would be if people weren’t worried about tuition, health care, and retirement. Those are all things that aren’t provided by Prozac.”
The Atlantic: “Who was involved in the creation of the DSM-5?”
Greenberg: “The American Psychiatric Association owns the DSM. They aren’t only responsible for it: they own it, sell it, and license it. The DSM is created by a group of committees. It’s a bureaucratic process. In place of scientific findings, the DSM uses expert consensus to determine what mental disorders exist and how you can recognize them. Disorders come into the book the same way a law becomes part of the book of statutes. People suggest it, discuss it, and vote on it. Homosexuality was deleted from the DSM by a referendum. A straight up vote: yes or no. It’s not always that explicit, and the votes are not public. In the case of the DSM-5, committee members were forbidden to talk about it, so we’ll never really know what the deliberations were. They all signed non-disclosure agreements.”

Greenberg’s remarks appear to be factual. It’s very telling that the way something appears in the DSM is by suggestion and vote. Again, real science does not involve a voting process. This is a clear and present danger for America. It’s a serious matter when we’re dealing with real people and medications.

Greenberg is not alone in sharing his concerns about psychology and psychiatry practices, especially the questioned legitimacy of the DSM. Many other scientists and studies are supporting the position that the DSM is flawed, full of subjective materials, psychology itself is extremely subjective, and a misdiagnosis and overprescription trend exists.

Junk Science Harms People

Appearing in the British Medical Journal in 2015, Peter Gotzsche argues:

“Psychiatric drugs are responsible for the deaths of more than half a million people aged 65 and older each year in the Western world, as I show below. Their benefits would need to be colossal to justify this, but they are minimal.”
“The randomised trials that have been conducted do not properly evaluate the drugs’ effects. Almost all of them are biased because they included patients already taking another psychiatric drug. Patients, who after a short wash-out period are randomised to placebo, go “cold turkey” and often experience withdrawal symptoms. This design exaggerates the benefits of treatment and increases the harms in the placebo group, and it has driven patients taking placebo to suicide in trials in schizophrenia.”
“Under-reporting of deaths in industry funded trials is another major flaw. Based on some of the randomised trials that were included in a meta-analysis of 100,000 patients by the US Food and Drug Administration, I have estimated that there are likely to have been 15 times more suicides among people taking antidepressants than reported by the FDA—for example, there were 14 suicides in 9,956 patients in trials with fluoxetine and paroxetine, whereas the FDA had only five suicides in 52,960 patients, partly because the FDA only included events up to 24 hours after patients stopped taking the drug.”

There’s an extended article, if you read the above journal article, which presents two sides of an issue. Be sure to look at the conflicts of interest statement — it should give you some hints as to who’s telling the unbiased truth.

It appears that there are legitimate issues with the validity of many psychology ideas. It’s very troubling that the psychiatry (medical physician) industry has similar issues. It’s not a baseless opinion to state that both of these industries have junk science problems that are harming actual people. Junk science has been accepted for so long that it’s hard for people to come to terms with the fact that such major issues exist or even question their own situation.

Here is an interesting take on the whole psychiatric drug trend, appearing in the Journal of Psychotherapy in Australia (Frances, 2013):

“In this extract from his new book, Saving Normal, Allen Frances, Chair of the DSM-IV Task Force, warns that mislabeling everyday problems as mental illness has shocking implications for individuals and society: stigmatising a healthy person as mentally ill leads to unnecessary, harmful medications, the narrowing of horizons, misallocation of medical resources, and draining of the budgets of families and the nation. We also shift responsibility for our mental well-being away from our own naturally resilient and self-healing brains, which have kept us sane for hundreds of thousands of years, and into the hands of ‘Big Pharma’, who are reaping multi-billion-dollar profits.”

Appearing in the journal Nursing Ethics, here’s an even more damning take from medical professional perspectives (Barker, 2012):

“The enduring psychiatric myth is that particular personal, interpersonal and social problems in living are manifestations of ‘mental illness’ or ‘mental disease’, which can only be addressed by ‘treatment’ with psychiatric drugs. Psychiatric drugs are used only to control ‘patient’ behaviour and do not ‘treat’ any specific pathology in the sense understood by physical medicine. Evidence that people, diagnosed with ‘serious’ forms of ‘mental illness’ can ‘recover’, without psychiatric drugs, has been marginalized by drug-focused research, much of this funded by the pharmaceutical industry. The pervasive myth of psychiatric drugs dominates much of contemporary ‘mental health’ policy and practice and raises discrete ethical issues for nurses who claim to be focused on promoting or enabling the ‘mental health’ of the people in their care.”

People need to understand that there’s damning evidence, which is well-cited, showing that both psychology and psychiatry are using junk science in much of their research and practice areas. This becomes especially problematic when the medical arm of psychiatry begins to use junk science to treat patients. One could cite journals all day long that detail these facts, but there will be some that refuse to accept the truth. Many people have been impacted by junk science, as evident from the massive lawsuits won, and there is an overprescription epidemic – the direct result of junk science and associated marketing pressures. Since junk science hurts real people, it was complementary to include some of their stories in this article. You will see some links to various interviews where people describe the hell junk science put them through. People need to see what junk science does and just how out of control things can get.

Junk Science

There is a heated debate between various scientists and psychology figures, after several researchers published data that questioned the validity of psychological research. A major part of sound science is that legitimate research must be reproducible. In order to be considered “science” or “scientific” research (or practice of something) must have all of these key elements of the scientific method: (1) observable evidence/data, (2) a testable theory with the ability to verify/reproduce results/confirm on it a consistent basis, (3) predictability, (4) quantifiability, and (5) clearly defined terminology. This is why there was a right/wrong answer on your high school physics test. It’s not about how you feel (subjectivity), it’s about the scientific method, evidence, facts, empirical data, demonstrable results, verification, consistent replication, etc. (objectivity).

Psychology has a significant reproducibility crisis. Scientists say, if you can’t consistently reproduce your research, it isn’t science. Similarly, the psychiatry field has its own problems as demonstrated in several court cases, research findings, and remarks from our nation’s top scientists. These two industries seem to have a growing problem with junk science and false findings.

A recent 2015 large study was published in the journal Science (also appearing in Nature), titled “Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science.” Similar to other research (Yong, 2012), it found that most psychological research could not be reproduced. In science, it’s called junk. These papers highlight the problem with biases, subjective methods, and tweaked findings in the positive direction. Serious concern is mounting about the reproducibility of research findings, especially in medical journals that claim their content is grounded in evidence-based medicine.

“For years there has been concern about the reproducibility of scientific findings, but little direct, systematic evidence. This project is the first of its kind and adds substantial evidence that the concerns are real and addressable,” said Brian Nosek, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, who led the study.

The study has caused ruffled feathers in the psychology community, which was quick to write off the claims of this research project, using the excuse of “the researchers didn’t understand context so that’s why they couldn’t reproduce results.” That’s a pathetic attempt to disregard such damning evidence of serious flaws in psychology today.

Back to science —- it’s interesting that so many people accept something that has such weak science to support it, but then they turn around and demand an extremely rigorous amount of objective science to disprove something —- and even then they may not accept the truth. There’s enough scientific evidence to definitely question the validity of many psychological ideas, psychiatry drug research, and psychiatry practices. There’s something to the reproducibility, junk science, and overprescription crisis. This article is just a small picture of the situation. You could dig deeper and find even more disturbing things. Much of the objections to this pseudoscience are well-documented, frequently presented with peer-reviewed journal studies, surveys, government and legal data. The problem will only get worse, especially if junk science is favored over objective, sound science practice. Junk science is directly harming people and everyone involved in perpetuating overprescription, flawed research, and deceptive marketing should be held accountable.

Other industry professionals welcome the highlight of psychiatry and psychology flaws, since it is likely a first step to resolving them.

“This very well done study shows that psychology has nothing to be proud of when it comes to replication,” said Charles Gallistel, president of the Association for Psychological Science.

Sound science can be reproduced, regardless of the scientist reproducing it. Otherwise, it’s nothing more than rolling dice, extreme subjectivity, and very dangerous when used as a basis for decision-making.

The Guardian has also reported about psychology and its replication problem. Replication is a critical element of sound science. Without replication, testability, and objectivity, it’s not science. (Peer-reviewed journal source)

Of 100 studies published in top-ranking journals in 2008, 75% of social psychology experiments and half of cognitive studies failed the replication test.

For another interesting perspective, take a look at this LA Times piece from an author with a PhD in Microbiology (Alex B. Berezow).

Psychologist Timothy D. Wilson, a professor at the University of Virginia, expressed resentment in his Times Op-Ed article on Thursday over the fact that most scientists don’t consider his field a real science. He casts scientists as condescending bullies:

“Once, during a meeting at my university, a biologist mentioned that he was the only faculty member present from a science department. When I corrected him, noting that I was from the Department of Psychology, he waved his hand dismissively, as if I were a Little Leaguer telling a member of the New York Yankees that I too played baseball.
“There has long been snobbery in the sciences, with the ‘hard’ ones (physics, chemistry, biology) considering themselves to be more legitimate than the ‘soft’ ones (psychology, sociology).”
The dismissive attitude scientists have toward psychologists isn’t rooted in snobbery; it’s rooted in intellectual frustration. It’s rooted in the failure of psychologists to acknowledge that they don’t have the same claim on secular truth that the hard sciences do. It’s rooted in the tired exasperation that scientists feel when non-scientists try to pretend they are scientists.

That’s right. Psychology isn’t science.

Why can we definitively say that? Because psychology often does not meet the five basic requirements for a field to be considered scientifically rigorous: clearly defined terminology, quantifiability, highly controlled experimental conditions, reproducibility and, finally, predictability and testability.
Happiness research is a great example of why psychology isn’t science. How exactly should “happiness” be defined? The meaning of that word differs from person to person and especially between cultures. What makes Americans happy doesn’t necessarily make Chinese people happy. How does one measure happiness? Psychologists can’t use a ruler or a microscope, so they invent an arbitrary scale. Today, personally, I’m feeling about a 3.7 out of 5. How about you?
The failure to meet the first two requirements of scientific rigor (clear terminology and quantifiability) makes it almost impossible for happiness research to meet the other three. How can an experiment be consistently reproducible or provide any useful predictions if the basic terms are vague and unquantifiable? And when exactly has there ever been a reliable prediction made about human behavior? Making useful predictions is a vital part of the scientific process, but psychology has a dismal record in this regard. Just ask a foreign policy or intelligence analyst.

To be fair, not all psychology research is equally wishy-washy. Some research is far more scientifically rigorous. And the field often yields interesting and important insights.

But to claim it is “science” is inaccurate. Actually, it’s worse than that. It’s an attempt to redefine science. Science, redefined, is no longer the empirical analysis of the natural world; instead, it is any topic that sprinkles a few numbers around. This is dangerous because, under such a loose definition, anything can qualify as science. And when anything qualifies as science, science can no longer claim to have a unique grasp on secular truth. That’s why scientists dismiss psychologists. They’re rightfully defending their intellectual turf.

Tom Hartsfield is a physicist finishing his PhD at the University of Texas. He wrote a scathing review of psychology and junk science, called “Statistics Shows Psychology Is Not Science”. He has some interesting points that should be considered. Is what he’s saying not a fact? Does he make a strong argument?

Live Science has also reported on psychology’s junk science, fabrications, and scandals. More and more scientists are pointing out the problem with an industry that lacks a more consistent practice of sound science (the scientific method):

“By selectively excluding study subjects or amending the experimental procedure after designing the study, researchers in the field may be subtly biasing studies to get more positive findings. And once research results are published, journals have little incentive to publish replication studies, which try to check the results”

In a 2010 study in the Journal of Social and Personal Psychology, researchers detailed experiments that they said suggested people could predict the future.

Other scientists questioned how the study, which used questionable methodology such as changing the procedure partway through the experiment (red flag), got published. Some of the journal editors expressed skepticism about the effect, but said the study followed established rules for doing good research, oddly enough.

“That made people wonder, “Maybe there’s something wrong with the rules,” said University of Virginia psychology professor Brian Nosek.””But an even bigger scandal was brewing. In late 2011, Diederik Stapel, a psychologist in the Netherlands, was fired from Tilburg University for falsifying or fabricating data in dozens of studies, some of which were published in high-profile journals.”

“And in 2012, a study in PLOS ONE failed to replicate a landmark 1996 psychology study that suggested making people think of words associated with the elderly — such as Florida, gray or retirement — made them walk more slowly.”

“The high-profile cases are prompting psychologists to do some soul-searching about the incentive structure in their field. The push to publish can lead to several questionable practices.”

Some psychology claims are so outrageous that even psychologists point it out. Time Magazine recently interviewed a psychology professor that pointed out:

“Affluenza is Junk Science. There are many legitimate conditions that might explain terrible teen behavior, but being too rich is not one of them. “

Overprescription & Medication Dangers

Many psychiatric drugs are dangerous, even driving patients to suicide. Not all psychiatric drugs are bad, but misdiagnosis and overprescription has become an epidemic in the United States. According to 2014 IMS Health, Vector One: National (VONA) and Total Patient Tracker (TPT) data, at least 8,000,000 children (18 years old) are on psychiatric drugs. According to a Mayo Clinic report in 2013, at least 70% of Americans are on some kind of prescription drug. Such information is shocking. Junk science is harming our public.

Among the side effects of various drugs: irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, weight gain, diabetes, suicidal thoughts, heart attack, insomnia, seizures, hallucination, headaches, loss of sex drive, impotence, rash, blisters, loss of consciousness, etc. It should be noted that every medication is different and that more serious side effects are possible, including death. There have been numerous cases of death and violent suicide associated with psychiatric drugs, especially in children.

Toddlers are also on psychiatric drugs. For example, in Washington State, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) data indicates that as of April 2014, 208,632 kids (under 18) were on psychiatric drugs. Of that amount, 6,079 were under 1 years old, and 8,335 were between 2-3 years old. At least some watchdog groups are trying to inform the public.


Remember ADHD? There is no objective scientific basis for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). There is no objective biological test to diagnose it. It was voted into the DSM by members of the American Psychiatric Association (talk about conflict of interest and bias) in 1987. Is it a coincidence that this vote led to a $9 billion dollar annual market? We drugged our kids as a nation, but we turn around and tell them “don’t do drugs.”

In the 1990’s, ADHD was pushed on kids only because it was a big cash maker. If you care to read the whole story about this, beware, it will only anger parents. Worst of all – there has been no long-term testing as to the effects of the drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall on kids, despite being prescribed like candy during this period. It should also be noted that no scientific test ever determined their effectiveness for ADHD, probably because such disorders do not exist. In fact, many find out that they magically grow out of ADHD in their adult years. Some have even proposed that ADHD is nothing more than a motivation and environment problem, not something drugs solve.

Before the House of Representatives, in 2002, Dr. Mary Ann Block, a physician from Texas spoke about the lack of scientific validity of ADHD:

“My goal as a physician is to look for and treat the underlying cause of a patient’s problem, rather than just covering the symptoms with drugs. I have seen and treated thousands of children from all over the United States who had previously been labeled ADHD and treated with amphetamine drugs. By taking a thorough history and giving these children a complete physical exam, as well as doing lab tests and allergy testing, I have consistently found that these children do not have ADHD but, instead, have allergies, dietary problems, nutritional deficiencies, thyroid problems, and learning difficulties that are causing their symptoms. All of these medical and educational problems can be treated, allowing the child to be successful in school and in life without being drugged.”

“There is no valid test for ADHD. The diagnosis called ADHD is completely subjective. While some like to compare ADHD to diabetes, there really is no comparison. Diabetes is an insulin deficiency that can be objectively measured. Insulin is a hormone manufactured by the body and needed for life. ADHD cannot be objectively measured and amphetamines are not made by the body, nor are they needed for life.”

“The prescription drugs that are used to treat symptoms of attention and behavior come with a host of potential side effects. According to the manufacturers of the drugs, the following side effects can and do occur: insomnia, anorexia, nervousness, seizures, headaches, heart palpitations, cardiac arrhythmias, psychosis, angina, abdominal pain, hepatic coma, anemia, depressed mood, hair loss, weight loss, tachycardia, increased blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, dizziness, and tremor, to just name a few.”

“These drugs are classified as Schedule II controlled substances with high abuse potential. According to reports in the “Journal of the American Medical Association,” the drug Ritalin has been found to be very similar to and more potent than cocaine. Ritalin and cocaine are so similar that they are used interchangeably in scientific research.”

“There are no long-term studies on the safety and effectiveness of these amphetamine drugs, though millions of children are treated with them for years at a time.”

There’s even more interesting testimony from the House of Representatives records, particularly from Dr. F. Baughman, MD:

“On April 29, 1999, Baughman [26] responded to Report of the Council on Scientific Affairs of the American Medical Association [27]: “Once children are labeled with ADHD, they are no longer treated as normal. Once Ritalin or any psychotropic drug courses through their brain and body, they are, for the first time, physically, neurologically and biologically, abnormal.””On November 28, 1999, I wrote to Matthew D. Cohen, Esq. [28] President of CHADD, stating: “You and I know that whether or not ADHD is an actual disease with a confirmatory, physical or chemical abnormality, (detectable, patient-by-patient) is more fundamental to the debate now raging over the Colorado State Board of Education’s resolution, than whether or not psychotropic drugs cause violence or, are addictive, dangerous and deadly. You at CHADD, including all members of your Professional Advisory Board, are aware that actual, bona fide diseases, are characterized and validated by a confirmatory, physical or chemical abnormality. You are aware of this, even if the general public is not, and is inclined to trust and believe anything physicians tell them. Thus the widespread belief, by the public, in ADHD as a disease, something “neurobiologic”, when there is no research-empirical proof. This brings me to ADHD and to your letter to Mr. Clair Orr, Chairman of the Colorado State Board of Education, of 11/2/99. You state: ‘Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a severe neurobiological condition…’ The term “neurobiologic condition” says to the public that there is something wrong or abnormal with the brain or nervous system of the child/person with ADHD. How can CHADD make such a statement to the public, and now, to the Colorado State Board of Education, when there is no objective evidence or proof anywhere in the peer-reviewed literature, that there is any neurological (brain) abnormality in children (persons) said to have ADHD, or that there is anything physically, chemically, or biologically abnormal, at all. How does CHADD justify calling so many normal children diseased, abnormal–for surely you do–for purposes of justifying prescriptions for them, mostly of addictive, controlled, Schedule II, psychostimulant medications?””

“I have never heard back from Mr. Cohen. However CHADD repeated its claim, still with no scientific evidence with which to back it up, that ‘Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a severe neurobiological condition…’ in testimony to the Arkansas State House of Representatives, May, 3, 2000.”

“On December 13, 1999, Surgeon General, David Satcher released his Report on Mental Health. In it he alleged: “Mental illness is no different than diabetes, asthma or other physical ailments… Mental illnesses are physical illnesses… We know the chemical disorders we are treating…””

“In a letter of January 25, 2000, I [29] responded: “Having gone to medical school and studied…disease, then, diagnosis, you and I, and all physicians, know that the presence of any bona fide disease, like diabetes, cancer, or epilepsy is confirmed by an objective finding–a physical or chemical abnormality. No demonstrable physical or chemical abnormality: no disease! You also know, I am sure, that there is no physical or chemical abnormality to be found, in life, or at autopsy in “depression, bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses…” Why, then, are you telling the American people that “mental illnesses” are “physical” and that they are due to “chemical disorders”?… Your role in this deception and victimization is clear. Whether you are a physician, so unscientific, that you cannot read their contrived, “neurobiologic” literature and see the fraud, or whether you see it and choose to be an accomplice–you should resign.”

Search the internet and you will find a plethora of personal opinions about whether certain psychology or psychiatry claims are true or not. What’s important is not whether you believe something exists or not, it’s whether that position you hold as being true is backed up by objective, sound science evidence and that the evidence can be consistently tested for results. Either a claim is scientific or it isn’t. You will see many try and make subjective things into sparkling scientific facts so concrete that you are not permitted to question its validity. You will see personal attacks against some of the top experts in science and medicine that question the subjective, obviously pseudoscience, claims of an industry. Who’s right? The answer is science is right. Despite there being a scientific method, some will continue to insist that their completely subjective practice is actually scientific, even though it’s missing several key parts of the scientific method. Without testability and objective measurement, it isn’t science.

The Harvard psychologist, Dr. Jerome Kagan once called the mental health industry out, stating that mental-health establishment and pharmaceutical companies were incorrectly classifying millions as mentally ill out of self-interest and greed.

In a 2012 interview with German Der Spiegel, Kagan says many know that ADHD was just an invention:

SPIEGEL: “In the 1960s, mental disorders were virtually unknown among children. Today, official sources claim that one child in eight in the United States is mentally ill.”

Kagan: “That’s true, but it is primarily due to fuzzy diagnostic practices. Let’s go back 50 years. We have a 7-year-old child who is bored in school and disrupts classes. Back then, he was called lazy. Today, he is said to suffer from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). That’s why the numbers have soared.”

SPIEGEL: “Experts speak of 5.4 million American children who display the symptoms typical of ADHD. Are you saying that this mental disorder is just an invention?”

Kagan: “That’s correct; it is an invention. Every child who’s not doing well in school is sent to see a pediatrician, and the pediatrician says: “It’s ADHD; here’s Ritalin.” In fact, 90 percent of these 5.4 million kids don’t have an abnormal dopamine metabolism. The problem is, if a drug is available to doctors, they’ll make the corresponding diagnosis.”

Isn’t it ironic that the very people we are told “counsel” are kids are actually abusing them? Willful ignorance is not a defense to purposely propagating misdiagnosis, overprescription, and subjective practices. These very counselors are hurting our kids and our country. It’s important that patients are informed, especially parents with kids that are not performing well, or that just plain act bored in school. After all, who can blame a kid for not wanting to sit for 8 hours a day, especially with poor teachers and no motivation? Should we just throw a pill at them? What are the side effects? Should we address the problem, or call it a mental disorder when a child acts bored? Does the child have good parenting? Is your counselor, psychiatrist, or psychologist behaving this way? How does this happen? Many counselors are actually doing more harm than good to their patients. How did it get this bad?

ULTRA TechLife previously reported on how such practices happen. You can read about it here. To summarize, a significant amount of US doctors are given large amounts of cash and gifts in exchange for pushing dangerous drugs on their patients. They are also encouraged by big pharma companies to keep any negative drug side effects knowledge from their patients. We’ve linked to the facts, data, research, criminal case files, US government lawsuits, and other evidence to support this. We’ve also provided a search engine where our visitors can check to see if their doctor is being showered with cash and gifts from big pharma.

Pharma Fraud

It’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s a fact that there’s a fraudulent drug market that targets unsuspecting patients, and even kids. More people are killed from prescription drugs each year, yet we put all the wrong people in prison, ironically, while the larger threat of big pharma continues to pose a clear and present danger to the general public.

The psychiatry and psychology industry generates big income for pharma businesses. There’s a lot of unhappy people out there and they want answers. Who can blame them? However, the answer isn’t overprescription and misdiagnosis. The overprescription comes from the direction of big pharmaceutical companies that mislead the public, doctors, pay corrupt physicians off, and even publish fraudulent research pieces.

Unfortunately, many uninformed patients have been convinced that such practices are necessary — they are misled about the entire subjective diagnosis processes, effectiveness of drugs, potentially dangerous side effects, and alternative, safer options.

Big pharma might be the real drug war.

Big pharma companies have been caught fraudulently pushing medications on unsuspecting patients with the help of willing physicians. In fact, the Department of Justice has also listed one of the largest cases of pharmaceutical fraud by GlaxoSmithKline in 2012. The pharma company purposely misled people about psychiatric medications and their safety.

It’s very frustrating to have so many doctors tangled up in fraudulent medication studies, such as those published by GlaxoSmithKline. It’s just as frustrating to have so many doctors accepting cash and gifts from companies in exchange for pushing potentially dangerous meds on their unsuspecting patients. Patients find themselves in a difficult position because they are supposed to trust doctors. Other scientists also find themselves in a difficult position because they point out that sometimes even the most prestigious science journals have misleading and fraudulent data in them. How can you disagree with a doctor? How can you disagree with studies (so many biased by pharma cash)?

There are too many factual examples of fraud to list in this article. For the purposes of background, here is just some description of fraud from the Department of Justice:

Paxil: In the criminal information, the government alleges that, from April 1998 to August 2003, GSK unlawfully promoted Paxil for treating depression in patients under age 18, even though the FDA has never approved it for pediatric use. The United States alleges that, among other things, GSK participated in preparing, publishing and distributing a misleading medical journal article that misreported that a clinical trial of Paxil demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of depression in patients under age 18, when the study failed to demonstrate efficacy. At the same time, the United States alleges, GSK did not make available data from two other studies in which Paxil also failed to demonstrate efficacy in treating depression in patients under 18. The United States further alleges that GSK sponsored dinner programs, lunch programs, spa programs and similar activities to promote the use of Paxil in children and adolescents. GSK paid a speaker to talk to an audience of doctors and paid for the meal or spa treatment for the doctors who attended. Since 2004, Paxil, like other antidepressants, included on its label a “black box warning” stating that antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in short-term studies in patients under age 18. GSK agreed to plead guilty to misbranding Paxil in that its labeling was false and misleading regarding the use of Paxil for patients under 18.

Wellbutrin: The United States also alleges that, from January 1999 to December 2003, GSK promoted Wellbutrin, approved at that time only for Major Depressive Disorder, for weight loss, the treatment of sexual dysfunction, substance addictions and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, among other off-label uses. The United States contends that GSK paid millions of dollars to doctors to speak at and attend meetings, sometimes at lavish resorts, at which the off-label uses of Wellbutrin were routinely promoted and also used sales representatives, sham advisory boards, and supposedly independent Continuing Medical Education (CME) programs to promote Wllbutrin for these unapproved uses. GSK has agreed to plead guilty to misbranding Wellbutrin in that its labeling did not bear adequate directions for these off-label uses. For the Paxil and Wellbutrin misbranding offenses, GSK has agreed to pay a criminal fine and forfeiture of $757,387,200.

Avandia: The United States alleges that, between 2001 and 2007, GSK failed to include certain safety data about Avandia, a diabetes drug, in reports to the FDA that are meant to allow the FDA to determine if a drug continues to be safe for its approved indications and to spot drug safety trends. The missing information included data regarding certain post-marketing studies, as well as data regarding two studies undertaken in response to European regulators’ concerns about the cardiovascular safety of Avandia. Since 2007, the FDA has added two black box warnings to the Avandia label to alert physicians about the potential increased risk of (1) congestive heart failure, and (2) myocardial infarction (heart attack). GSK has agreed to plead guilty to failing to report data to the FDA and has agreed to pay a criminal fine in the amount of $242,612,800 for its unlawful conduct concerning Avandia.

The Solutions

The fields of psychiatry and psychology must admit the major flaws they have, in order for progress to be made. Total reform is needed and any patient treatment ideas should be driven by evidence-based science only. The DSM is flawed, it must be replaced by something entirely focused on sound science. A huge portion of psychological research is flawed and the fact that psychiatrists use such junk science is very telling. There is a misdiagnosis and overprescription epidemic in America. Humans are not robots, they are highly complex. Their feelings and behavior must be studied in individual context. Their environments are highly variable, from the room they are in, space they move through, their experiences, etc. No two people are alike, which makes diagnosing real disorders difficult, especially in psychology. In fact, science may not be able to deal with happiness at all because it’s mostly subjective.

Parents need to be aware of the problems with psychology, psychiatry, and associated “head” drugs. Parents should get a second, possibly third opinion from a qualified physician, and read up on side effects of drugs, before allowing a doctor to prescribe your kid psychiatric medications. We must also recognize that overprescription of minors is rampant. We should understand that kids and toddlers may not want to sit still for 8 hours a day, especially if they are not motivated or other problems are occurring — that could be solved without the use of untested (long-term effects) or potentially dangerous medications. Children are developing and it’s dangerous to introduce drugs into their systems – particularly medications that have little to no long-term scientific study of effectiveness and harmful effects.

It’s never ok for a doctor to tell you there are no risks or side effects with mental health drugs (that’s dishonest, and it should be a red flag). Patients must know about the dangers of psychiatric drugs before they take them (*do not discontinue drugs without your physician’s help).

Citizens must also be aware that corrupt doctors do exist. There are also stubborn doctors that do not want to admit that psychology has its own issues – and that psychiatric drugs are potentially dangerous. There are doctors that will aggressively attack anyone that questions the efficacy and safety of psychiatric drugs. If you’re a patient, we suggest researching your own doctor here to determine if they are being influenced by companies to prescribe unnecessary and potentially dangerous medications to you. After all, why should a doctor be showered by gifts as an “encouragement” to promote/prescribe certain pills? Who is the expert, the physician or the marketing department?

We must accept that a pill is not the answer to everything. Medicine works, when it is used properly. Patients should be informed and doctors should be honest. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of money involved in many practices, which influences people that might otherwise have good intentions to mislead and even harm patients.

Much of our country’s mental health and depression problems stem from social stigmas and pressures (the environment) we create for each other. When we repeatedly tell people they are traumatized, broken, damaged goods, as counselors, or peers in the general public, we lay the foundation of false feelings and prolonged mental harm in the name of subjective practice. We created a billion dollar industry that is rooted in subjective practices and is harming a growing number of patients.

In order for psychiatry and psychology to improve its image, it must remove biases in diagnosis processes, such as removing pressures from pharmaceutical industries to increase prescription quotas.

For research to be accepted as legitimate sound science, results must be consistently reproducible, and the research methods must be objective. There is some level of intellectual dishonesty to call subjective materials and methods “good tools” for scientific research.

Again, when we’re talking about people’s lives, our decisions should be made via the best objective, scientific methods.

We might ask ourselves, why we are depressed or behaving certain ways? If we are observant, we should realize that much of our nation’s depression comes from the environment we’ve created: unnecessary stress, high taxes, long work hours, corrupt police forces, overbearing laws, oppression, national debt, student loan debt, high cost of living, high unemployment, the way we treat each other, etc. Changing these key issues will likely cause a dramatic decrease in cases of depression.

Prediction: By adding more and more excessive and subjective laws, higher taxes, ignoring the fact we are behind other countries in healthcare standards, benefits, time off, maternity and paternity leave, mandatory vacations, excessive political correctness, and disregard for science and progress, our depression statistics will only continue to increase. Too many people are perpetuating a society that encourages everyone to be victims, constantly outraged, and react based in fear, ignorance, religion, tradition, and blind rage. Essentially, we are creating most of our problems.

No pill will change unemployment, unnecessary stress, or how we treat each other. Potentially dangerous medications should only be used as a last-resort option.

Finally, more professionals need to come forward to educate the public, even if it means discussing the very industry they represent. It’s better to work to resolve a problem, rather than ignore it or make excuses for the continued trend of subjectivity, misdiagnosis, and overprescription, which is hurting our country.

Has your health professional received drug company money? This is a free search tool to see if your doctor is accepting money from pharmaceutical companies. URL:

Further reading: Psychiatrists are killing thousands of Americans with unnecessary prescription, overdosing, and pseudoscience (sources linked in blue to scientific journals, click and read)

Legal Bit: This article was provided for educational and information purposes and is not intended to be used for medical advice. Consult a physician about your condition or medications. Some of these medications are so dangerous that you cannot just stop taking them. Do not start, discontinue or modify any prescription medication use without first consulting your doctor. By using our site, you agree to our Terms of Service.

Author: Ben Alonzo is a unique science and tech expert, professor, entrepreneur, and journalist. He founded and is the CEO of the tech firm Storm Sector, LLC. Ben holds an MS in Information Technology, MS in Geoscience, MS in Health & Nutrition, and a BS in Geoscience. He is a highly rated professor that teaches a wide variety of college courses within earth, environmental, computer sciences and public health. His diverse background spans enterprise information technology, healthcare, weather forecasting, consumer electronics, digital media, web development, and business leadership. He holds numerous professional licenses and certifications, ranging from information technology to healthcare and emergency medical technician. Ben is a tech entrepreneur and is business partners with multiple restaurants. He is also a private pilot, fitness pro, musician, and loves filmmaking. Alonzo has written about science and tech for over 10 years. You can see some of his past articles on the Houston Chronicle, Heart, and other networks. In his free time, he likes scuba diving, storm chasing, and the gym.
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