Amateur psychiatry is booming

World of Psychology has a short but interesting article on the increasing trend for people to order unprescribed psychiatric medication as a form of self-treatment or simply to get their kicks.

The trend is being fuelled by ‘no prescription’ web sites that will deliver drugs to anywhere in the world and online instructions of dubious origin.

Link to article ‘Self-medicating Online’.

3 Comments

  1. Posted July 28, 2006 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    The article credulously asserts a “booming trend” of teenage “pharma parties”. Jack Shafer’s Press Box column at Slate http://www.slate.com/id/2143982/ effectively (I thought) exposed them as a media myth last month. The author does admit she has no evidence for her “growing culture” of self-psychiatry except “Google hits”. But she doesn’t say what hits she means, or what their numbers are, or what those numbers compare to. Would links to her article be evidence of that culture?
    (Sorry. I can’t stand John Grohol or his site.)

  2. Vaughan
    Posted July 28, 2006 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    I agree the ‘pharma party’ concept seems a bit dodgy – or at least, it’s hardly news. Teenagers have been swapping highs for generations.
    However, there has been a number of well-researched articles on ‘self-psychiatry’ recently:
    NYT: http://tinyurl.com/8khln
    NewSci: http://tinyurl.com/eg2bj
    WashPost: http://tinyurl.com/n8sfk

  3. Kschltr
    Posted August 1, 2006 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    I once had the experience of admitting a young college student to an inpatient locked psych unit in NY who was mute, experiencing generalized muscle rigidity, was disorganized, with extremely dangerously elevated blood pressure and a pounding pulse. Had the young man not been a very healthy 20 something he most likely would have experienced a cardiac episode and/or blown an aneurysm.
    I monitored his condition for a day or two as the signs and symptoms subsided and he was finally able to concentrate a bit and speak. I said; “Do you take any prescribed medication for a mood disorder?” He said; “Oh yeah, I take Prozac and I kinda figured if it helped make you feel better when your depressed I might be able to feel really good and get high if I took more of it…”
    Yeah, no shit. He was actually a fairly intelligent college student and failed to look up the potential disasterous side effects and/or complications of an SSRI Overdose before he decided to “GET HIGH” on his Prozac.
    He did not recall the prior two days or recall his own physical and mental state. I explained what I had observed and explained his vitals to him. I told him if he were not a very healthy, athletic kid his heart would have just given out under the stress and/or he would have blown a few arteries, like maybe in his brain…
    He didn’t seem phased and thanked us. We discharged him to his outpatient physician’s care with a referral.
    Amateur doesn’t even begin to describe what folks who are allegedly educated or pursuing and education in the American College System are all about. It is just another day at the “BIN”.
    Serotonin Syndrome is caused by a number of conditions and medications, but primarilly by SSRIs and has only lately, the past 10 years, been recognized as a major problem associated with the newer classes of antidepressants.
    It can be just a lethal as NMS or Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome and we can only manage the symptoms till either of these conditions pass. Both have potential for permanent disability and the mortality rate is fairly high.
    Oh well…


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