"We've been led to assume, by the psychiatric 'crisis teams' sent almost immediately to any disaster scene, that people suffer severe psychic wounds from experiencing such traumas—or even from being in the general vicinity when they occur….But are these people really suffering from a 'disorder' requiring psychotherapy and the use of potentially addictive medications? Are they really at great risk of suffering long-term consequences from their trauma? The answers, surprisingly, are 'No,' and 'No.'"1

Dr. Sydney Walker, III
Psychiatrist, author of
A Dose of Sanity

While the majority of Americans are busy getting their lives back on track after the September 11 terrorist attack, some are specializing in pushing hard on the idea that many people will never get back to normal.

"Seventy-one percent of Americans said that they have felt depressed by the [terrorist] attacks," a U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Hearing on "Psychological Trauma and Terrorism," was told on September 26. "Nearly half had trouble concentrating. A third had trouble sleeping. For most of these Americans, such symptoms will not lead to lasting psychological problems. But for significant numbers of people they could," the hearing was told.2

Alarming enough statistics, until it is realized that the survey behind this statistic was conducted just two to six days after the attack, when the majority of Americans were still in a state of shock, glued to their television sets and suffering perfectly normal reactions to the horrific tragedy. Who needed a survey to find out that Americans were suffering? Interestingly also, the survey sampled 1,200 people, which, by a quantum semantic leap, concluded that an alarming 71% of Americans have been harmed.

Then there was the testimony by Dr. Carol North, professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine, Missouri, and a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association who told the September 26 hearing that by comparison, "nearly half of the people in the direct path of the [Oklahoma] bomb blast developed a psychiatric disorder, usually post traumatic stress disorder and, secondarily, major depression." With the current terrorist attacks, she says, we "can be expected to deposit tens of thousands of psychiatric casualties in its wake."

However, in reviewing the source of this statistic, you see that only 182 people were interviewed out of 1,098 survivors of the bombing who registered their names with the Oklahoma State Department of Health.3 It was 45% of these who reportedly had psychiatric problems in the six months following the bombing, with 34% reportedly having PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)—essentially, 81 people, of who 27 had "PTSD."4

The Senate Hearing also heard that "Like the war on terrorism itself, the struggle against the psychological trauma inflicted by terror cannot be won without substantial resources… ."

The substantial resources of course refer to money, in fact $175 million for initial programs, and ultimately, an estimated $3 billion for New York alone, to treat the severe trauma and other mental illnesses supposedly caused by the attack.5

This is the mental health lobby hard at work.

Not that we haven't heard this before: The Oklahoma bombing, the Arkansas and Columbine school shootings, even World War II. In fact, the mental health lobby's push for funding has increasingly taken on the demeanor of a feeding frenzy immediately following such national and international tragedies. However, there is mounting criticism about funds being channeled into psychiatric and psychological programs that are unproven, unworkable, not needed, and even harmful.

And at a time when our countrymen need to be alert, the increase in antidepressant prescriptions is alarming. New prescriptions for antidepressants jumped 17% from the week before the attack and prescriptions for anti-anxiety drugs rose 25%.6

Psychiatric drugs are mood-altering, capable of not only unpredictably changing the way a person thinks, feels and acts, but what a person sees. They are also potentially habit-forming and addictive. Already, during prime time news coverage of the attacks, we are seeing ads on TV promoting antidepressants that are already a multi-billion dollar industry.

Before we commit to such huge investments, it would be a good idea to know more about the controversies surrounding psychiatric and psychological programs, as well as the absence of real community returns from today's mental health system.