1. Tones text states “Thorazine inaugurated the massive deinstitutionalization of psychiatric patients, chiefly schizophrenics.” (80) She also tells us how Thorazine provided scientists with a “promising research agenda” as they realized that schizophrenia was caused by chemical deficiencies. (80) Is it ethical to place psychiatric patients in a “zombie like state” to control a serious mental illness? Do we do it for the “greater good?” The issue of drugging people into calmness and submission is a “slippery slope.” Kids with AD/HD are given Adderall and told they need it for the rest of their lives. (Whitaker 10-11) What are your thoughts on pharmaceutical intervention as a solution to chemical brain disorders?
2. Tones says that pills were “cheap and easy to take” and seemed a “straightforward route to treat run-of-the-mill anxiety.” (90) What do you think of this statement? What is run-of-the-mill anxiety? The New York Academy of Medicine’s Subcommittee on Tranquilizing Drugs wrote in 1956: “Should there be a pill for every mood or occasion?” (86) Conversely, many physicians in the 1970s and 80s asked if we are depriving severely anxious patients of an appropriate treatment? (215) What are your feelings on how American psychiatry approaches depression and/or anxiety disorder in a time when we are all trying to process the impact of a global pandemic?
3. Chapters eight and nine (Tones) address addiction narratives, the plethora of questions regarding women and pills, and the advertising “push” for psychiatric medications. I watch a lot of television and noticed that the Latuda (lurasidone) and Rexulti (brexpipazole) commercials target women. What things have you noticed in American culture about the targeting of women by drug manufacturers? Why does our media continue to depict women as the victims of bipolar disorder and/or anxiety? I know just as many men who are suffering. Opinions?
Submitted by Bonnie Akkerman I pledge…
1. One of the things I noticed after reading through this week's readings and through my own research is that people appear to have been quick to jump behind these treatments, despite the detrimental side effects that were both short-term and long-term. I simply find this ironic, given the pandemic and our cautiousness concerning vaccines.
2. Thorazine, Insulin Coma, ETC, and many more all have extremely detrimental side effects. However, these treatments appear to be no different than many that we see today. I personally have seen the side effects of certain medications cause people serious problems. I simply wonder sometimes if pharmaceutical companies, as well as doctors, fully consider the risks of how certain people may react to drug treatments. Something else that came to mind concerning this is how mental patients perceive their own recovery when treated with drugs. You hear stories about patients stopping their medications, often because they are unhappy with the results. To me, it simply brings to mind the ethical implications of using any form of medication, especially in the case of mental patients. I'm not advocating against the use of prescriptions, only trying to understand the more unethical side of the history of pharmacology.
3. Why do you think the term “chemical imbalance” became such a popular phrase? I know I have heard it before by talking to people, on television, and in movies. Why do you think it became such a popular explanation for depression?
Submitted by Lyndsey Clark. I pledge…
1) On page xi, Tone states a point that we've been trying to make over the course of this class… “How has it [anxiety] been described, interpreted, and treated has varied across time and place. Consequently, we must resist the temptation to impost modern understandings of anxiety onto the past. . .” Keeping this in mind, what do we see happening similarly in Tone's reading as our modern understanding of anxiety?
2) Throughout the chapter “Psychiatry in the Medicine Cabinet,” the author speaks about the rise of psychopharmacology. In the past, the treatment of mentally ill patients was done in a facility, but after the trend of deinstitutionalization, many patients were out in the world again (80). Do you think that the massive popularity and “pharmaceutical optimism” towards psychopharmacology products created a “healthier” population of people or not?
(Submitted by Carson Berrier - I pledge…)
1.Why did Americans propagandize that the drug problem was the result of foreign interference or marginalized men? Why do you think they were seeking to explain away the crisis in this way?
2. Why do you think the medical community could never reach a consensus about the risks and benefits of drugs like benzodiazepines? If the community had vested interest in promoting the medications, why wasn’t there more of an effort to coalesce.
Submitted by Jack Kurz. I pledge…
1.) In the preface of Tones' reading, she mentions how we as a society should be wary about how we approach anxiety; “Consequently, we must resist the temptation to impose modern understanding of anxiety onto the past lest we flatten the chronological particularities that make history meaningful.” (xi). Why do you think that is important whilst discussing anxiety in the past in general?
2.) In the Anatomy of an Epidemic, Whitaker highlights how the disarray of psychiatry is a form of an epidemic on its own by fueling the disabling of mental disorders. Would it be safe to assume that, rather than claiming to make progress in regards to labeling and treating mental illnesses, are we still stuck trying to complete the puzzle? Does the lack of a proper psychiatric approach to mental illnesses make this epidemic even worse, or rather the lack of proper treatment; something that is not new?
Submitted by Erica Banks. I pledge…
1. With Thorazine, Adderall, and other medications proving effective against schizophrenia and ADHD symptoms, can we officially say that Foucault was wrong? Perhaps one could argue that the societal pressure to “take” pills to overcome their symptoms is a form of societal control, but even that might be too generous. What does the class think?
2. Are mental health drug manufacturers responsible for their drugs' addictive qualities to the same degree that opioid manufacturers are? Chapters 8 and 9 explain that people, especially women are over-targeted for medications. Is this practice similarly predatory?
Submitted by Theron Gertz. I pledge…