After i started getting interested in nutrition, i have become ever more skeptical of the use of psychoactive drugs, and a lot of other drugs for that sake. I have family who works as scientists doing independent peer-reviewing of papers on new drugs, and they tell me that corporate influence on standards, laws and classifications, even philosophy and ethics is rampant in the field. Objective science is having difficulties getting any funding, and pharmaceutical schools are getting increasingly sponsored by the corporations directly. Personally as i am just now really beginning to learn how biological chemistry works, and learning about the myriad of factors that effect human cognition, i am getting increasingly convinced that close to everyone could be helped much better with radical lifestyle changes in; diet, exercise, getting out in nature more, belonging to purposeful communities, learning to move and breathe in natural and relaxed manners, disconnecting from stressful tech etc. My problem is that i stand a bit lonely with my views, and when i mention to people that i doubt the good long term effects of benzodiazepines, SSRI's and amphetamines, they all begin to hate me and call me an alarmist, disillusioned by my fear of big-pharma ;)
But off course i'm just a student of these subjects and is not sure of anything yet, therefore i want to be sure i am on the right path with my current notions and really delve into these fields. What's your stand on the matter? And can anyone point me in the direction of some good independent and objective blogs/articles/documentaries/books on the pharmaceutical industry and historical and contemporary philosophy of disease and treatment. Also good "progressive" books on nutrition, neurochemistry in relation to lifestyle factors and comparative analysis of lifestyle factors versus drugs?
Guess the word i was looking for was "Holistic", i would like to read some scientists looking at the body more holistically. When you begin to learn for example biology in high school and in university, topics are often divided sharply. I'm interested in stuff like breathing and dopamine production, light waves in relation to mood, and off course diet, exercise and cognition. Also brainwaves seem interesting in relation to for example cortisol levels. Or the human sleep cycle or the importance of touch and face-to-face conversations in relation to mirror neurons and behavioral mirroring. Phew a lot of examples, but there are so many interesting topics.
This subject is a pandora's box if there ever was one, so be prepared to be surprised once you open it. As someone who was taking an antidepressant and an antipsychotic daily for about 4.5 years, I believe I have researched the effects of psychotropic drugs more than most people. However, the most valuable lesson I learned about these drugs came from discontinuing them completely (not cold turkey, which is a nightmare).
I prefer watching documentaries about subjects as controversial and complex as these, because actual human experiences tell a better story than research papers and blogs IMO. Sorry allopathic doctors/big pharma/FDA, but the placebo effect doesn't explain suicide and school shootings. These are the behaviors that often occur as a result of using these drugs. I remember reading that almost every school shooting or similar mass shooting in the U.S. was done by people taking or withdrawing from psychotropic drugs.
The best documentaries I have watched on the subject or that discuss the subject are the following:
Food Matters: http://vimeo.com/18579151
Making A Killing: The Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/making-a-killing-the-untold-story-of-psychotropic-drugging/
The Marketing of Madness: The Truth About Psychotropic Drugs (Part 1/2): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zhwu4pSLBRk&feature=related The Marketing of Madness: The Truth About Psychotropic Drugs (Part 2/2): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjMXTtg8EfE&feature=related
The Drugging of Our Children: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-drugging-of-our-children/
There are many more on this subject, but those are the ones that are the best IMO. All of these are free online using the links I provided. If you have watched the documentary Burzinski, most of the information provided in these documentaries will not be too surprising to you. If you haven't prepare to take notes and also make sure to watch Burzinski the movie. I believe every human being should watch it, because it demonstrates the degree of both good and bad that humans are capable of: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/burzynski-the-movie-cancer-is-serious-business/
As for blogs, Chris Kresser's is BY FAR the best regarding information about psychotropic drugs and the illnesses they are used to treat, especially depression. I learned more from his section on depression than from all the studies on psychotropic drugs combined: http://chriskresser.com/depression I recommend reading all of the articles in that section, or at least this one to start with: http://chriskresser.com/when-it-comes-to-drug-claims-skepticism-is-healthy/ He also links to several great articles on the subject.
There are not too many studies about psychotropic drugs that are unbiased and not paid for by big pharma, but the watershed study on these drugs was this: http://psychrights.org/Research/Digest/NLPs/EmperorsNewDrugs.htm Also you can read all of the studies authored by Irving Kirsch, as he is arguable the most authoritative researcher of psychotropic drugs who is against their use.
There are too many books on this subject for me to choose one or a few to recommend, but they are easy enough to find on Amazon or your local library.
For anything related to neurochemistry, I recommend Dr. Kruse's blog, but only if you are willing and able to take a biochemistry course: http://jackkruse.com/jacks-blog/
+1 for asking a very important question (or series of questions).
After watching the above documentaries, one must make 2 conclusions: 1 - reality is stranger than fiction, and 2 - greed (usually synonymous with money) is the root of all evil.
Heh heh, if you're interested in that you might want to look into some naturally-occurring substances like capi/ayahuasca, psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline, iboga, etc. Many indigenous tribes have experimented with these psychoactive drugs, better known as "entheogens."
There are now tours available to Brazil and Peru where you can participate in indigenous rituals prior to ingesting these substances: google ayhuasca tours. The book to read is "Breaking Open the Head" by Daniel Pinchbeck, which is a definitive guide to entheogens and indigenous cultures that spawned their usage.
Some of the substances are man-made, like LSD, DMT and DPT. I'm not advocating that these substances are useful. Just observing that they are part of the pre-industrial, pre--agricultural cultures that relied on them to explore spirituality. Paganism was defined by rituals centering around such entheogens, thus defining the nature of reality much broader than the materialism enveloping our industrialized society.
Paleo, paganism and psychedelics. All of the indigenous and naturally-occurring substances are Paleo, no question. But is it advisable that you consume them? Not unless you want to and if you're only spiritually inclined and curious. It's not like they're essential like Vitamin D and Omega 3 FA.
I would second the Chris Kresser recommendation and add another. Adbusters: It's an (ad-free) independent magazine available in most large bookstores which frequently has articles and essays on this topic. They aren't necessarily scientific articles--many are first person accounts--but it is a frequent topic in the magazine.
Not crazy about the Pinchbeck book. There are tons of sources out there, and I've read and enjoyed many of them, and slogged my way through others.
At the top of the list -- for the intellectually and academically curious, I'd recommend as a start, PIHKAL by the Shulgins, organic chemist Alexander and his wife Anne. Readers will get a lesson in life, spirituality, biochemistry and public policy, told in an engaging and endearing style by two voices.
Another good source are the works of Dale Pendell, particularly his Pharmako trilogy. Beautiful, enlightening stuff. Enjoy.