Risperidone Ineffective for PTSD

Risperidone Ineffective for PTSD

A recent study published in The Journal of the American Medical
investigated whether the antipsychotic drug risperidone
would be effective for veterans diagnosed with military-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Serotonin reuptake-inhibiting (SRI) antidepressants are currently the only FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of PTSD. This study used risperidone on veterans who were not responding to ongoing treatment with SRI antidepressants.

Risperidone is an atypical antipsychotic drug, also called a major tranquilizer, neuroleptic (nerve-seizing) drug, or chemical straightjacket. The ingestion of a single tablet of risperidone may cause significant toxic poisoning in a toddler. This class of antipsychotics may also cause increased risk of diabetes, and an increased risk of stroke and death in the elderly.

All antipsychotics can cause akathisia (a word derived from a, without; kathisia, sitting; an inability to keep still). Akathisia is a terrible feeling of anxiety, an inability to sit still, a feeling that one wants to crawl out of his skin. This side effect has been linked to assaultive, violent behavior and can be experienced by up to 76% of patients taking the drugs.

The conclusion drawn by this study is, “Among patients with military-related PTSD with SRI-resistant symptoms, 6-month treatment with risperidone compared with placebo did not reduce PTSD symptoms.”

The study also found that adverse effects limited some patients from reaching their targeted drug dose.

In other words, risperidone is no more effective than a placebo for PTSD, and in addition it has bad side effects.

A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in September, 2005 had already shown that this class of antipsychotic drugs were ineffective and have intolerable side effects.

Why are psychiatric researchers again investigating a drug already proven to be ineffective and that has potentially devastating side effects? One might presume that there is so much money and time invested in developing this drug that they are desperate to find some way to use it and continue to reap its profits. Or one might presume that they really do intend to cause as much damage from this drug as they can.

Behind the alarming reports of mental illness gripping our nation are drug companies inventing diseases. Disease mongering promotes nonexistent diseases and exaggerates mild conditions in order to boost profits for the pharmaceutical industry.

So-called post-traumatic stress disorder emerged in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, when veterans were having difficulties overcoming the brutal events they had witnessed. Three American psychiatrists coined the term PTSD and lobbied for its inclusion in the 1980 edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s “billing bible,” the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). While the effects of war are devastating, psychiatrists use people’s logical reactions to it to make money at the expense of their vulnerability.

We’ve been led to assume, by psychiatric “crisis teams” sent almost immediately to any terrorism or disaster scene, that people suffer severe psychic wounds from experiencing such traumas, or even from being in the general vicinity when they occur. The DSM categorizes symptoms most survivors experience following a disaster as “acute stress disorder” or “posttraumatic stress disorder” (PTSD), but are these people really suffering from a “disorder” requiring psychotherapy and the use of potentially addictive medications?

Some experts say that most of the soldiers suffering the effects of participating in particularly dangerous missions were experiencing battle fatigue, or in other words, exhaustion, not “mental illness.”

Today, PTSD has become blurred as a catch-all diagnosis for some 175 combinations of symptoms, becoming the label for identifying the impact of adverse events on ordinary people. This means that normal responses to catastrophic events have often been interpreted as mental disorders.

Psychiatric trauma treatment at best is useless, and at worst highly destructive to victims seeking help. By medicalizing what is a non-medical condition and introducing harmful drugs as a therapy, victims have been denied effective treatment options.

What’s more, the prescription of these drugs is often accompanied by a lack of fully informed consent. Look for a future newsletter about this aspect of the situation.

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