Shift Work Disorder

Shift Work Disorder

Circadian Rhythm Sleep-Wake Disorder, also called Shift Work Disorder, classified in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition) under “sleep-wake disorders”, is a way for the psycho-pharmaceutical industry to sell drugs to people who work nights or rotating shifts and who may experience difficulty adjusting to this sleep-wake rhythm. The implication that this is some kind of mental illness or disorder is most invalidating and simply untrue.

I myself worked a rotating night shift once upon a time, and it was pretty obvious that any sleep-wake discomfort I experienced was simply that and not any kind of mental illness. I found my own way of getting enough sleep without drugs.

“If you work non-traditional hours and struggle to stay awake at work, you may be experiencing excessive sleepiness.” However, for those who buy in to the psychiatric pill-pushers, they can get NUVIGIL® (armodafinil), an addictive, stimulant-like psychiatric drug for adults who cannot stay awake due to “shift work disorder.” Of course, like many psychiatric drugs, possible side effects are headache, nausea, dizziness, insomnia, depression, anxiety, hallucinations, suicide, and aggression. Note that this drug is not a cure for any condition, and is only used to make a person stay awake while working. Of course, the manufacturer warns the user not to drive or operate machinery while taking the drug, so one is not really sure what benefit it could possibly have in any case.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries tried to get the FDA to approve Nuvigil for bipolar depression symptoms, but the results from the “Final Phase III Study of Patients with Major Depression Associated with Bipolar I Disorder” failed to show that it was more effective than a placebo.

The precise mechanism through which armodafinil is thought to promote wakefulness is unknown, but they think it has a similarity in action to amphetamine and methylphenidate, with some kind of effect in the brain involving dopamine and other chemicals. But they want you to try it out and let them know if it works. What do you think?

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