Markham Heid’s “How Drugmakers Influence Our Beliefs…” is Misleading Antipsychiatry Bullshit.
As I have recently written on Medium, you do not have to be anti-psychiatry to oppose Pharma’s overselling of medication to people who do not require or benefit from it. Many of the early pioneer neuropsychopharmacologists became anti-corruption, but not antipsychiatry, They recognized that medications had a place in mental health treatment and that some people’s lives and functioning depended on the appropriate use of medication.
Marshall Held cites Christoffer Lane, who is no expert on psychopharmacology. He has a degree in English.
Many students with carefully diagnosed ADHD require Adderall to level the playing field in competition with students who do not have ADHD. It is not a performance enhancer and has to be used sparingly. The medication has some real downsides.
Many college students living in dorms or in groups of campus or enrolled in law school share their medications. That was a fact of life even when I was a grad student. The sharing does not necessarily have lasting implications for their wellbeing. However, myths about Adderall being a general performance enhancer make it attractive for sharing and misuse.
Misuse of Adderall when it is not indicated impairs students by increasing their test anxiety. This can become a vicious cycle that they deal with increasing worries by increasing their use of Adderall. They are likely to develop insomnia.
The students living or studying in groups may also be sharing prescriptions for sleeping medication and they may turn to these meds as a solution.
It is also normal for students to be partying. When they mix Adderall, alcohol, and sleeping medication, the cocktail can precipitate acute manic episodes in people who are prone to them.
The problem is that many people prone to mania are not identified until they have their first episode in college. Becoming acutely manic and being sent to a general or psychiatric emergency room may get them their first diagnosis.
Some college students may not be so fortunate, With specialty psychiatric inpatient facilities not available, they may be left waiting in general emergency rooms for hours or days until they are transferred to jail.
All of this cautionary tale is lost without an appreciation of appropriate diagnosis and neuropsychopharmacology from experts.
Markham Heid is apparently a journalist, not a mental health professional. Following Heid’s advice can lead someone down the path to abusing their own or someone else’s prescription Adderall. For some who don’t know they are prone to mania, it can cause death by suicide, maybe in an unwatched jail cell.