Want Some Drugs?

So, I thought that I would share some of my writing with you guys.  This is one of the my research papers from college.  It has to do with medications and schizophrenia.  It was a very interesting topic to research and I though that I would share it with you guys.  The topic might seem boring to some some people so my goal of this piece was aimed to entertain and inform.  So I want to know what you guys thing about this topic and my writing.  Weigh in!
I also put my works cited page so you guys can check out some of the sources for yourself!  ENJOY! 

Want some Drugs?
            To solve a problem – take a pill.  To fix someone’s mood – take a pill.  To chill out – take a pill.  To perk up – take a pill.  To stop hearing the ‘voices’ – take a pill.  To stop seeing ‘things’ – take a pill.  To stop an addiction – take a pill.  In a country that is as advance as the United States, it is no wonder why there is a pill for pretty much anyone who has an “issue” (the United States do not have problems). This pill craze has turned an addiction to prescription medication. It’s okay to have, since it is given by a doctor and street drugs are still ‘really bad’.  There is a problem with all these medications, it’s easy to over medicate.  People with serious mental health problems are being over medicated.  Antipsychotics are the most popular medication in The United States <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Cha08 l 1033  <![endif]–> (Barber)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  This might be a shock to a small few who may have wool over their eyes, but antipsychotics are used may the double digits by people with schizophrenia and other serious mental health problems <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Cha08 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Barber)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  This is just a classic case of over medication and it is not the people with the problems that are profiting.  Although medications help people with schizophrenia build, manage, and maintain a functioning lifestyle, medication is only a short term “easy fix” to the actual problem and over-medicating is stripping away people’s choices and abilities while big drug companies are profiting.
            Schizophrenia is a complex disorder to say the least <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Wal04 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Walker, Kestler and Bollini)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  It defined scientific explanation because of the sole reason that no single factor of schizophrenia is common among patients <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Wal04 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Walker, Kestler and Bollini)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  Only a small percent of the population, about .4-1.2% (in the United States – these numbers change when it goes global) is affected with the thought disorder and the onset (which means when the first symptoms start to show) is about twenty years old to about twenty-five. <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Tab05 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary 20th ed)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>  There are other extreme classifications of the disease popping up as young as eleven years old, and during the onset of Alzheimer’s disease<!–[if supportFields]>CITATION Tre05 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Treating and Preventing Adolescent Mental Health Disorders)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>. Symptoms are classified by two types; positive symptoms and negative symptoms<!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Tab05 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary 20th ed)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.   Positive symptoms are not actually “positive” but are the most common and present in many of the cases of schizophrenia.  They are delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech and other grossly disorganized behavior <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Ame94 l 1033 <![endif]–> (American Psychological Association)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  Negative symptoms are missing an emotional factor or difficulty with social functions. The negative symptoms are alogia (it is very little speech or none at all) avolition (is a lack of initiative or motivation) and social withdrawal <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Ame94 l 1033 <![endif]–> (American Psychological Association)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  To complicate things even more, there are four subtypes, they are: paranoid, disorganized, catatonic and undifferentiated. <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Wal04 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Walker, Kestler and Bollini)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>  Each of these subtypes have specific attributes but just for now, paranoid is the best prognosis and catatonic is the worst prognosis.  There are other aspects of schizophrenia that is often over looked like cognitive impairments, physical problems, and neuromotor functions<!–[if supportFields]>CITATION Wal04 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Walker, Kestler and Bollini)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.
            Antipsychotics are a medication group that is for the treatment of psychosis which is an umbrella term which houses schizophrenia <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Tab05 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary 20th ed)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  Antipsychotics seem to be a quick fix to schizophrenia and they are one of the most prescribed medications in the United States <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Cha08 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Barber)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  There are several medication that are commonly prescribed, a few examples are: haloperidol, Risperdal (which is specifically for schizophrenia!), clozapine, Zyprexa, Seroquel and Geodon.  Each medication has its own uses and how it works; several of the medications are used together even though they achieve the same job by themselves. 
            In the world of antipsychotics, there are two types; typical or first-generation and atypical or second-generation<!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Wal04 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Walker, Kestler and Bollini)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  First generation antipsychotics are not often used and they include medications like Clozaril (clozapine is the generic name) and Thorazine (chlorpromazine).  Second generation medications are the most common and more often known medications <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Wal04 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Walker, Kestler and Bollini)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  For example Risperdal (which the generic name is risperidone) is used for the treatment of schizophrenia and it works on the neurotransmitters (serotonin and dopamine) in the brain to help restore normal thinking and normal mood <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION HWi10 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Griffith)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  Another common antipsychotic medication is Seroquel (which its generic name is quetapine) and it is also used for schizophrenia and it’s official ‘how its works’ is unknown but it is believed that it blocks certain nerve impulse (which is unknown which ones are blocked but it must be okay because the FDA approved it) between certain nerves<!–[if supportFields]> CITATION HWi10 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Griffith)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  All these medications have side effect.  Some of these side effects are common to all medications, like nausea and vomiting but some are just specific to antipsychotics like: severe drowsiness, involuntary movements, agitation, nervousness and in some cases agranulocytosis [which is an acute disease of a deficit lack of granulocytic white bloods cells<!–[if supportFields]>CITATION Tab05 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary 20th ed)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>] <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION HWi10 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Griffith)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  There are other medications that are often used to treat schizophrenia as well, but these are often used to treat the side effects from the other medications or other symptoms.  For example, Celexa is often given to help with depression with the antipsychotics.
            Schizophrenics are over-medicated.  The common stereotypes of schizophrenics are two-fold.  There is the common example of the violent killer schizophrenics or the heavy drugged up ones that are like the walking dead.  Which one is most common?  The drugged up one are the most common.  Why?  Because schizophrenics are the most medicated people in the United States by taking these antipsychotics in the double digits are mixing and matching the side effects in epic proportions <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Cha08 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Barber)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>. The ideal treatment for schizophrenia is a healthy mix of medication, psychological therapy and community support but “In reality, medication is both the first and the only treatment received by many patients.” <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Wal04 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Walker, Kestler and Bollini)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>  Why is medication the first choice?  The only reason is because it is a quick fix, meaning that there is no need to spend time or energy on that person, just let the pill do the work.  This is not the cost effective approach by a long shot. (This topic will be addressed later).   Giving a pill (or a shot depending on the medication specifics) to someone who is acting out or not following the normal pattern of behavior, solves a whole lot of problems for the system (which could be anywhere from a mental hospital to a halfway house to an at home program).  First it takes only one person to administer the medication. This cuts back of the staffing of the system (the less people on the floor means more profit and less cost to the consumer).  Second, once the pill has taken effect, the person is mellow or very often knocked out and unable to ‘cause any more trouble.’  If the person is not doing anything but sleeping, then the staff does not need to worry about them and that means less work load.  The third less thought of reason for the double digit prescribing, it the drug companies are making money on each pill. So, who really is benefiting from this approach? 
            Another problem that comes with treating schizophrenia is treatment-resistance schizophrenia.  Since the jury is still out on the official definition of what is it, the basic, commonly accepted definition is there is a certain amount of medication (usually two different antipsychotics) given during a certain period of time (this period of time is often four to ten weeks of treatment) and that the treatment wears off or just stops working.  There isn’t an exact day (like day seventy-four of medication therapy stopped working) but it there must be a clear difference between when treatment started and when treatment actually started to work until that point in time when treatment stopped working<!–[if supportFields]>CITATION Shi11 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Shim)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  The percent of how many treatment resistance schizophrenia is upward twenty to sixty percent of reported cases<!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Shi11 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Shim)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  There are three important factors on predicting if there is a possibility of getting resistant, they are: “a history of treatment resistance, severe current symptoms, and treatment resistance to current antipsychotic drugs” <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Shi11 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Shim)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  Treatment-resistance schizophrenia’s main cause is the fact the body gets tired of the drugs in the body and decided not to work.  Ever dealt with a two year old during the peak of the terrible twos? Similar idea here with the rejection of the medication in the body; it is all about medication nonadherence<!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Buc11 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Buckley)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>. To help resolve the treatment-resistance schizophrenia is similar to have an addiction to a street drug, the person needs to go through detoxification.  Another option on dealing with the treatment-resistance schizophrenia is to drug the person up with Clozapine, which really isn’t helpful because then that just starts another case of treatment-resistance schizophrenia <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Buc11 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Buckley)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.
            Another unseen problem with the over-medication of schizophrenics is that the drug companies are making unseen amount of money off of these medications they are pushing. While waiting in a doctor’s office, a typical person can see about three to four different drug representatives coming to see the doctor.  He is not seeing the doctor because of some health problem, but to sell his drug.  He will give out pens, notepads, hand sanitizer and other nick-knacks with the drug he is trying to sell to the masses.  That way, when that person used that pen or the notepad that drug name is remembered and used on other people.  Remember that word of mouth is the best way to sell things!   The doctor is not buying the drug but he is just writing a prescription for it.  It is you who is buying it.  Worldwide, the drug Zyprexa made 4.7 billion dollars.  That is more the Levi Strauss Company made that year<!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Cha08 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Barber)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>. Psychiatric drugs are the number one category of drugs of prescriptions worldwide.  In the year 2004, Risperdal was Johnson & Johnson’s second best selling drug<!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Cha08 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Barber)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  Zyprexa alone is responsible for 30% of Lilly’s revenues in 2005 <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Cha08 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Barber)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  The thing that is important to keep in mind is that the government isn’t paying much for the medications.  In 1999, for every dollar spent on schizophrenia medications, thirty dollars was spent on HIV/AIDS <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Cha08 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Barber)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  It’s a good thing that the government is focusing money on thing other than drugging people up, the problem comes to the fact that the American people are paying for these drugs.  Even in 2005, while Lilly settled more than 8,000 product-liability suits for close to $700 million, the drug company would generate $4.2 billion in sales in 2005 alone <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Eva08 l 1033 <![endif]–> (West)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  It is just crazy how people still take these drugs (some are against their will); with the knowledge of the side effects and a company can still out gross the profits for food for the world. 
            There are still a few therapies that help schizophrenics and they use little to no medication.  Of course, based on case by case, antipsychotics are needed, but often they are only needed for short periods of time.  One new emerging treatment for schizophrenia is using organic substance known as bioactive folate, which is found in the leafy green vegetables <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Hes11 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Hesselgrave)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  This is not a fix but is a treatment that helps with managing symptoms of schizophrenia and offers a more natural way of creating more dopamine<!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Hes11 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Hesselgrave)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  Other ways of treating schizophrenia is with psychosocial and psychological therapies.  One example of a treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT which is the therapies that work on changing automatic thoughts and resulting schemas<!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Opl11 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Opler)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  In contrast, cognitive remediation developed by neuropsychologists that use different exercises, many of them are computer-based to help patients with understanding the problems with their processes that lead to disruptions in thinking <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Opl11 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Opler)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  Compensatory approaches or CR is designed to stimulate new learning, or relearning, of cognitive tasks <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Hur11 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Hurford, Kalkstein and Hurford)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  Errorless learning or EL people with schizophrenia are taught their mistakes and forced to correct them in an effort to guide future behavior <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Hur11 l 1033 <![endif]–> (Hurford, Kalkstein and Hurford)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  Cognitive adaptation training or CAT introduces environmental adaptations that help people with schizophrenia adjust to a ‘normal’ life. CAT therapy is one of the best therapies because it is like the proverb, ‘give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man how to fish, he eats for a lifetime.’  If someone is taught how to function with the rest of society, that reduces the need for medication.  All of the above therapies invest time, not pills.  These therapies allow schizophrenics to learn new skills while being able to show off their exceptional personalities.
            The United States’ 2002 cost of schizophrenia was estimated to be $62.7 billion. Almost $22.7 billion of the $62.7 billion was spent of direct health care cost.  If you break that down again you are looking at $7.0 billion spent on outpatient services, $5.0 billion was spent of drugs, $2.8 billion inpatient services, and $8.0 billion was spent on long-term care. Other non-health care costs were estimated to be $7.6 billion – this includes arrests and any other non-patient cares <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION WuE05 l 1033 <![endif]–>(EQ)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  Five billion dollars were spent of medications alone in 2002.  Occurring to the US Census Bureau, the average income in the United States is $46,326 a year.  Subtract five billion dollars from forty-six thousand and there will be a large gap.  Why is so much money put toward handling schizophrenia?  It is because of the fear that schizophrenia brings to people.  In 1999, NIH spent $74.65 per person with schizophrenia on research for a cure of some sort <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION The10 l 1033 <![endif]–>(The Internet Mental Health Initiative)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  People are afraid of the unknown.  The less someone knows about something, the more people with start to place bad connotations with it.  News and entertainment media tend to suggest that there is a link of schizophrenia to criminal violence <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION The10 l 1033 <![endif]–>(The Internet Mental Health Initiative)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  When things boil down, most people with schizophrenia just want to be left alone and are very socially withdrawn <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION The10 l 1033 <![endif]–>(The Internet Mental Health Initiative)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  (Remember that one of the symptoms is social withdrawal and apathy?)  The only thing that would cause a violent outbreak is often linked to heavy use of drugs and alcohol, which many people know that anyone who heavily uses either of those item have the chance to be violent.  Schizophrenics are not scary, it the response to the disease, that is the scariest part of having he disorder.
            Medications help people with schizophrenia build, manage, and maintain a functioning lifestyle, but medication is only a short term, “easy fix” to the actual problem (it’s like putting a bandage on after open heart surgery) and over-medicating is stripping away people from the world while only big drug companies are profiting.  Not a single day goes by in America that someone is put on more than one antipsychotic.  There are families out there loosing dear loved ones because of prescription drug related deaths or because a family member is lost in an over load of medications.  Schizophrenia is a disorder but it does not make the person.  The person could be a mother, father, brother, sister, grandmother or just a friend that is lost to the over medicated effects of antipsychotics.  What would you do if you see your father drugged up just staring at you? It’s a heart sinking feeling and it hurts more seeing that person a zombie then they actually feel.  So before sending people to get drugged up, there are other solutions then just drugs. It will take time and energy but it will pay off in the long run.  Don’t just let the doctor do the thinking, let the mouth that nature gave you work too!


Works Cited

<!–[if supportFields]> BIBLIOGRAPHY <![endif]–>American Psychological Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th ed. Washington, D.C: American Psychological Association, 1994.
Barber, Charles. Comfortably Numb. New York: Vintage Books, 2008.
Buckley, Peter. “Is It Treatment-Refractory Schizophrenia. . . And if It Is.” Psychiatric Times (2011): 24.
EQ, Wu. “The economic burden of schizophrenia in the United States in 2002.” The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. (2005): 1122-1129.
Griffith, H. Winter. Complete Guide to Prescription & Nonprescription Drugs. New York: Peguin Group, 2010.
Hesselgrave, Barbara. “Personalizing Schizophrenic Care.” Drug Topics (2011): 30-31.
Hurford, Irene M, Solomon Kalkstein and Matthew O Hurford. “Cognitive Rehabilitation in Schizophrenia: Strategies to Improve Cognition.” Psychiatric Times(2011): 43-47.
Opler, Lewis A. “Cognitive Symptoms in Schizophrenia: Recognizing and Treating Cognitive Deficits in Schizophrenia.” Psychiatric Times (2011): 64-65.
Shim, Seong S. “Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia: Strategies for Recognizing Schizophrenia and Treating to Remission.” Psychiatric Times (2011): 18, 20, 22-3.
Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary 20th ed. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company, 2005.
The Internet Mental Health Initiative. Schizophrenia.com. 1996-2010. 30 11 2010 .
Treating and Preaenting Adolescent Mental Health Disorders.Oxford University Press, 2005.
Walker, Elaine, et al. “Schizophrenia: Etiology and Course.” Annual Review of Psychology(2004): 401-430.
West, Evan. “Side Effects.” Indianapolis Monthly (2008): 84-89, 110-112.

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