There’s a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines (benzos for short) that are promoted by Pharma and prescribed by psychiatrists to “treat” anxiety. (As if anxiety were an illness!) See my post on the So-called Anxiety Disorders.
Benzos include such household names as Valium, Librium, Ativan, Xanax, etc.. When introduced in the 1960’s, these drugs were widely touted as “safe” tranquilizers. Readers may remember Valium as “mother’s little helper,” so called because it was marketed to millions of harried housewives as they struggled to adapt to an increasingly complex and multi-faceted lifestyle.
Almost immediately it began to be recognized in certain circles that these products were strongly addictive, but Pharma consistently denied this, and the psychiatrists went on prescribing. A psychiatrist I met in the 80’s once remarked: “You don’t take people off Xanax. Once you’re on it, you’re on it.” About the same time, I heard another psychiatrist say: “The only difference between Xanax and true love is that Xanax is forever.”
Within the addiction “treatment” field, benzos are described as “dry alcohol.” And indeed, they resemble alcohol in many ways. They have a sedating effect, they produce intoxication, and in fact, in hospital settings benzos are widely used to detox cases of chronic alcohol abuse.
Now all of this is well known. What’s new?
Well apparently in 1982, Malcolm H. Lader, Professor of Clinical Psychopharmacology, Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, demonstrated measurable brain shrinkage in individuals who had taken these products, and that the shrinkage was similar to that found in long-term alcohol abusers. Surprise!
But the plot thickens. It has recently come to public attention that Britain’s Medical Research Council (MRC) agreed – back in 1982 – that further large-scale studies were needed to explore and confirm Dr. Lader’s findings. But – and this is almost beyond belief – they marked the file “closed until 2014”! And the further investigations were never done.
Why not, you might ask?
Well here’s a clue. Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is funded entirely by fees derived from the very industries they are supposed to regulate.
Remember – there are no mental illnesses, and the products sold to “treat” these fictitious illnesses are drugs. And the one abiding feature of all drugs – no matter how pleasant they may seem in the short run – is that they are dangerous. Drug dealing – whether it’s on the streets or in the local mental health center – is a dirty business where human life and human welfare are routinely sacrificed on the altar of corporate profit.