Psychiatric Misdiagnosis Gone Totally Off the Rails

by Bruce Boyers

It’s already common knowledge that the far majority of patients being prescribed antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are not properly diagnosed, per medical guidelines, before such prescription. But a recent study by researchers at University College London (UCL) shows that people with Antipsychotics May Be Pushed On Those with Intellectual Disabilitiesintellectual disabilities—generally indicated by an IQ of under 70—are being prescribed highly dangerous antipsychotic medications, despite no evidence, in the far majority of cases, of a psychotic condition.

Intellectual disability is normally defined as a lifelong condition, beginning at the age of 18, in which a person has limitations in intellectual functioning as well as difficulties with one or more life skills. Approximately one percent of the population is affected with an intellectual disability.

According to the study, people with intellectual disabilities are quite likely to be prescribed antipsychotic medication despite its violation of clinical guidelines and the serious risk of harm from side effects. Incorrect prescribing includes those also with autism or dementia, and even older people.

Per the study, antipsychotic drugs are not the only drugs prescribed through misdiagnosis or non-diagnosis in intellectually disabled people. Other classes of drugs used to treat mental illness were also commonly prescribed, including anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants.

The study pointed out the vital need for comprehensive care of people in such a condition, and that anti-psychotic medication—or, indeed, any medication—is no substitute.

The study covered anonymous medical records of 33, 016 UK adults between 1999 and 2013, and found that more than 25% had been prescribed antipsychotic drugs. 71% of these had no record at all of severe mental illness.

Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) has long been aware of the complete lack of diagnosis or misdiagnosis in psychiatry and psychology, and provides a form for the reporting of psychiatric diagnosis abuse. You can find the form here.

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