Friday, September 30, 2005

Psychiatry-A Wretched History
Orphaned by Susan Ewell
My grandmother was a victim of a lobotomy.  It probably took place sometime in 1940's in New Jersey.  My grandmother suffered from depression and I guess this was their answer to heal her.  Well, needless to say it didn't. 

My grandfather died shortly after, which left his two daughters to fend for themselves.  When my grandfather died, my mom and aunt lost everything.  Not only did they lose their mom and dad, but they lost their house and everything in it.  They were lucky to keep the clothes on their backs.  If it wasn't for the kind neighbors that lived next door, they wouldn't have anything from their parents.  The neighbors hid some pictures, a little bit of jewelry, and some dishes (not enough for the state to be suspicious, but enough for them to remember their parents). 

One daughter was put into an orphanage (she was still a teenager and too young to take care of herself) and the other daughter (my mom) was turned out on the street to fend for herself (she was too old).  Neither my grandfather's or grandmother's family would take them in and care for them.  It was my uncle from Chicago that finally drove down to New Jersey and saved them.  He took my aunt and my mom back up to Chicago and gave them a place to live and made sure they went to college.  Nowadays, my uncle would have been arrested for kidnapping.  You see, he took my aunt out of the orphanage without approval, but back then they probably didn't care as much - as it was one less mouth to feed for them. 
After my grandmother had the lobotomy, she spent the rest of her life in a mental hospital (she died when she was in her late 80's - can you imagine spending 50 years in a mental hospital?).  I think my mother and aunt visited her once, but never went back.  For one, she didn't know who they were, which was heartbreaking for them.  For the other reason, if the state knew that she had children that could help pay her medical bills, they would expect them to help out leaving them not much of a life themselves. 

Nowadays, this doctor would have been sued for what he did.  My mother and aunt also suffered through depression problems (apparently it is hereditary).  My mom suffered through electric shock, which is inhuman if you ask me (it took a lot out of her and it never did her any good whatsoever), and through countless different medications.  My mom eventually died at 65 due to complications from an angiogram which was the hospital's fault but my dad went through enough and didn't want to pursue suing the hospital (I honored his wishes). 

My aunt probably died about the same age as my mom, but she died of a massive heart attack at home (no one saw it coming).  She also had depression problems and went through countless different medications (not sure if she went through electric shock).  My mom was diagnosed with manic depression and my aunt had panic attacks (I'm not sure what else she had). 
There were many years that my aunt and my mom suffered through depression problems that the medication they were on could not help them.  Their doctor's kept on trying different combinations until they found something that would work and it would work for awhile, then they would start having problems again. 

So far, my brother and I have not had any problems with depression - perhaps we have too much of our father in his - I don't know - perhaps they had problems with depression because of what they had to go through when they were younger - I don't know.  I do know that my grandmother's lobotomy robbed me of knowing my grandmother - my mother only told me bits and pieces of her childhood, perhaps it was too painful for her - I don't know - I do know, there seems to be a part missing that I should know or have experienced that the lobotomy stole from me - knowing my grandmother, knowing about my mother's childhood and robbing me of my mother at times. 

Thank you for taking the time to hear my story.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Children with 'ADHD'... What Can You Do?

Stop Medicating Your ADHD Child
By Gailon Totheroh
CBN News Science and Medical Reporter – (CBN News) Today, there are millions of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD -- kids who are hyperactive, or unable to concentrate.
Most of the treatment has focused on giving kids stimulant drugs like Ritalin. But there are concerns about the long-term side-effects of those drugs.
And there is also a growing movement to get away from drugs. Brain researcher Russell Blaylock says ADHD drugs can lead to brain diseases later in life.
He says, "The big question (is), are we producing a lot of children that, when they become 40 and 50 years old, they're going to end up with Parkinson's disease?"
Blaylock recommends nutrition as a better alternative to treating ADHD.
Physician Don Colbert agrees. He has written a booklet on overcoming Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and hyperactivity naturally.
Another key, these two doctors say, is to let an abundance of fruits and vegetables crowd out the junk food from a kid’s diet.
Blaylock says it is a difficult initial task to gather the good foods and supplements and avoid all the bad foods, but it is well worth it for the long term -- for the whole family.
And, he says that every child, as well as adults, whether ADHD or not, should avoid a range of food additives that are toxic to the brain. The technical name for these toxins is excitotoxins - the title of one of Blaylock's books.
Excitotoxins cause nerve cells to be hyper, damaged, or they may even kill brain cells. Although often called MSG or glutamate, dozens of food additives have these toxins.
And those additives have stealth names that hide their toxicity, such as aspartame, flavoring, hydrolyzed protein, broth, and soy protein isolate.
In practice, that means avoiding the majority of grocery items such as box mixes, prepared soups, flavored chips, and canned tuna.
But healthy choices, such as canned tuna that has only tuna and water, or another that has the ingredients tuna, olive oil, and salt.
"ADHD kids, in particular, when they're exposed to monosodium glutamate or one of the excitotoxins in food, it really throws them out of kilter -- they become excessively hyperactive," Blaylock explained.
A related no-no for the ADHD brain is sugar. Sugar, strangely enough, can actually bring on abnormally low sugar levels in the blood. And that increases glutamate release in the brain, yet another excitotoxic cause of hyperactivity.
Kids would do better to eat fresh fruit like apples – they are sweet, but they carry many nutrients, especially in the skins.
But you should be cautious of buying just any apples. Organic apples may be best because regular apples are often high in brain-harming pesticides.
Plus, Blaylock warns, it is best to avoid fruit in juice form because it can cause low blood sugar, and thus increase excitotoxins in the brain.
On the positive side, multivitamins with minerals are important for normal brain function. Kids' varieties should include iron, which is essential for brain growth and development.
And indeed, there are other brain-boosting minerals as well -- zinc and magnesium -- whether from multivitamins, individual supplements or food.
"Magnesium is really important in brain function,” Colbert said. “Again, magnesium comes mainly from seeds and nuts. About 75 percent of the population is low in magnesium intake."
But there are minerals that interfere with normal brain function, and parents need to consider avoiding these toxins:
- Tap water often has aluminum added by water treatment facilities
- Many vaccines contain both aluminum and mercury
- Dental fillings known as amalgams contain mercury.
Again, on the positive side, probably the most basic brain supplement of all, one that kids (and adults) should be taking—are fish oils that feed the brain like no other substance. Fish oils contain omega-3 fats.
Recognizing the importance of those fats, supplement makers are producing more and more options designed for kids. Fruit flavors like lemon and strawberry make omega-3’s easier to consume.
The most crucial omega-3 fat is called DHA. Some products concentrate the DHA to make the fish oil even more powerful for kids' brains.
"People who consume more EPA, but particularly DHA, have a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, macular degeneration -- these nerve disorders where they need that fat to make the nerves work," said nutrition analyst Bill Sardi.
For helping prevent ADHD in the first place, Blaylock says pregnant and nursing women should take omega-3s and avoid excitotoxins.
Blaylock said, "The brain undergoes rapid growth in the last trimester of pregnancy, all the way to age two. That's where 80 percent of all brain growth occurs. If they're exposed to these products, it severely interferes with the formation of these brain pathways."
Omega-3 oils are critical during this period, because the DHA provides the raw ingredients of the brain, and it blocks excitotoxins.
So what overall strategy should parents use? Blaylock says a cold turkey approach to junk foods is best, otherwise, you continue to stimulate kids' appetites for addictive tastes.
But Colbert suggests that parents use a gradual approach, at least for a portion of their strategies.
"It's taking these children and going through the withdrawals -- the sugar withdrawals, the caffeine withdrawals, the video game withdrawals -- it's really tough,” Colbert admitted. “So that's why they have to get a plan, they have to do it maybe as a group. Many of these parents will have to get together and start weaning them off it slowly, so they don't crash them."
And a gradual weaning from medication can be accompanied by introducing dietary changes -- dietary changes that mean better brain health for the entire family.

Merck (pronounced Muck) in the Dock

Medical statistics expert Richard Kronmal testified last week on behalf of postal worker Frederick Humeston, 60, of Boise, Idaho who survived a 2001 Vioxx induced heart attack.

"They had evidence that they were potentially killing people and they let that go on for another two years, to 2003 ... To me, that was scientific misconduct," Kronmal told the jury last Thursday.

Merck are well aware that this is a tip of the iceberg trial with lawyers holding their breath all over the world. If Merck lose the Vioxx case they will be buried under an avalanche of litigation for their antidepressants. When that happens it opens the floodgates of litigation on the whole of Big Pharma and on the psychiatrists who unconscionably fronted for them.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Psychiatry-World Watch

Psychiatry in Action in Turkey

A human rights report just released shows that Turkey’s psychiatric hospitals are just as riddled with horrific abuses as those in the rest of the world.

The report found that electroshock is used as a form of punishment on children as young as 9, as well as adults.
The report quotes a 28-year-old electroshock patient at the Bakirkoy Psychiatric Hospital as saying, "I felt like dying."

"If we use anesthesia the ECT won't be as effective because they won't feel punished," the report quotes the ECT center's director as saying. (at least you have to give the Turkish psychs credit for honesty)

The report describes patients being dragged to electroshock therapy in straitjackets and forcibly held down by staff during the procedure. Others, it said, are told they are simply going to be X-rayed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

For Every Pill Another Ill

For Every Pill, They Invent Another Ill
by Mary Wakefield

It had never occurred to me, before last week, that big pharmaceutical companies might actually be evil. I knew they could be a bit iffy - bribing doctors, failing to mention horrible side-effects, fudging the science - but I always imagined them to be fundamentally well-intentioned.

On Monday I read a new book, Selling Sickness, by an American journalist called Ray Moynihan, and am determined never to be so naive again. Drug companies, it turns out, are not on our side at all. They're misanthropic on an epic, Bond-villain scale. Instead of looking for ways to defeat illnesses, they spend their time trying to create them. Instead of selling cures to the relatively small pool of sick people, they find it more profitable to convince healthy folk that they are unwell. It's creepy and, in a sick way, it's also rather brilliant.

Here's a textbook example of how the disease-mongering works, courtesy of GlaxoSmith Kline. A few years ago, GSK needed to file a new application for one of its anti-depressants, Paxil, in order to extend the patent. What to do? Easy - invent an ailment for it to cure.

They found a brief mention of a little-known nervous condition - Social Anxiety Disorder - in a psychiatric journal somewhere, and hired a PR firm to turn it into a star. The symptoms of SAD - feeling nervous, sweaty, shy at parties - don't amount to much more than the symptoms of being alive, but it was marketed with a serious ad campaign and a catch-phrase: "Imagine being allergic to people."

The PR company rounded up patients, experts, a celebrity sufferer and then presented the SAD story to the press. A new disease? With a famous name? How could an editor could turn it down. The New York Times ran a long, serious feature and American Vogue followed suit.

Instantly, of course, thousands of people decided that they suffered from SAD. Doctors prescribed Paxil, GSK thrived and the PR company won an award for "Best PR Programme of the year".

All week I've been rootling around on the internet, finding out about disease-mongering, and from what I can gather it's a growing, multi-billion-dollar business across America and Europe. Drug companies invent and publicise new "lifestyle disorders" every day, and the public obligingly develop the symptoms and pop the pills.

As all hypochondriacs and pharmaceutical companies know, you only have to read a list of unpleasant symptoms to begin to suffer from them. It's the reverse placebo effect. Once a big drug company has wheedled a disease into the papers, they've as good as sold the cure.
The Sunday Telegraph, 11th September 2005
Mary Wakefield is assistant editor of The Spectator

Monday, September 26, 2005

Chemical Warfare on Humans

For one of the best interviews on psychiatric drugs that I have ever read go to:
It is an interview with Robert Whitaker (author of Mad in America) in which he points out the obvious truth that it is the very psychiatric drugs that are supposed to be curing 'mental illness' that are actually causing mental illness in epidemic proportions.

Terrible Catastrophe?

A prescribed threat
* Among the harshest critics of the child wonder-drug regimen? Think rock icons.
By Mary Eberstadt, MARY EBERSTADT is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and author of "Home-Alone America," newly released in paperback by Penguin/Sentinel.
WHEN TOM CRUISE and his fellow Scientologists took a hammering earlier this year for their public opposition to psychiatric drugs, neither they nor their critics could have anticipated the releases in July and August of two weighty reports offering evidence that at least some psychiatric prescription-writing has run amok.
If these two reports by Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, or CASA, have it right, more kids than ever have their fingers — and sometimes their noses — in somebody else's psychiatric prescription pill bottle.
The July report ("Under the Counter: The Diversion and Abuse of Controlled Prescription Drugs in the U.S.") estimates that while self-reported use of prescription drugs by people of all ages nearly doubled between 1992 and 2003, abuse by teenagers during those years tripled.
Similar increases appear in the August report, "National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse X: Teens and Parents." Between April 2004 and June 2005, for example, "the percentage of teens who know a friend or classmate who has abused prescription drugs jumped 86%."
In his introduction to the July report, CASA Chairman and President Joseph A. Califano Jr. zeroes in on the problem: "Particularly alarming is the 212% increase from 1992 to 2003 in the number of 12- to 17-year-olds abusing controlled prescription drugs, and the number of teens trying these drugs for the first time."
Nor does Califano sugarcoat the question of just how close to home the problem hits: "The explosion in the prescription of addictive opioids, depressants and stimulants has, for many children, made the medicine cabinet a greater temptation and threat than the illegal street drug dealer, as some parents have become unwitting and passive pushers."
At a time when many doctors, teachers and parents swear by the beneficial effects of prescription stimulants for minors, words as unsparing as Califano's are likely to be dismissed as alarmist.
But these reports are not the only evidence of the harm done by these drugs to at least some kids. If we look at what kids say, sing and report about psychiatric medications, we learn that among the harshest critics of the child wonder-drug regimen are some of its intended beneficiaries and graduates.
Consider two music icons. The late grunge-rock guru Kurt Cobain appears in retrospect as a kind of anti-poster boy for child stimulants. Prescribed Ritalin from the age of 7, Cobain believed that the drug led to his later abuse of related substances. (He committed suicide by shotgun in 1994.)
Cobain's widow, Courtney Love, put the connection this way to biographer Charles R. Cross: "Kurt's own opinion, as he later told her, was that the drug was significant. Courtney, who also was prescribed Ritalin as a child, said: 'When you're a kid and you get this drug that makes you feel that [euphoric] feeling, where else are you going to turn when you're an adult?' "
Marshall Mathers, a.k.a. bad-boy rap superstar Eminem, is another prominent self-perceived child victim of the label-and-medicate momentum. In an article in Rolling Stone magazine, Howard Stern said that Eminem told him that his mother "misdiagnosed him with attention deficit disorder. 'My mother said I was a hyper kid, and I wasn't,' he said. 'She put me on Ritalin.' " One telling Eminem hit called "Cleaning Out My Closet" includes the lyric, "My whole life I was made to believe I was sick when I wasn't."
It seems almost too perverse to be true: Cobain's and Eminem's fans might get a stronger anti-stimulant message from their icons' examples than from their own parents, teachers and doctors.
Criticism of the child-drug phenomenon also comes from writers who self-identify as members of "the Ritalin generation." One is Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of the books "Prozac Nation" and "More, Now, Again." The latter detailed her harrowing descent into Ritalin addiction after a well-meaning doctor prescribed the drug to help her "focus" on writing.
Advocates of psychiatric medication for children often argue, and passionately, that these drugs alleviate the suffering of many children and families. But if that positive experience is to be a legitimate test, so too should the negative feelings and experiences of others be acknowledged.
"These [stimulants] are very safe medications," a child psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School told a reporter in the wake of the July CASA report. "They have been used for 70 years, and we haven't had terrible catastrophes."
Yet it doesn't take a Scientologist to wonder whether "terrible catastrophe" is the most accurate measurement.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Drugs Causing Brain Abnormalities?

“It is well established that the drugs used to treat a mental disorder, for example, may induce long-lasting biochemical and even structural changes [including in the brain], which in the past were claimed to be the cause of the disorder, but may actually be an effect of the treatment.” Further, “it is now difficult to find mental patients who have not had a history of drug treatment, and as a result many of the brain abnormalities found in these patients are probably iatrogenic [doctor/treatment caused], that is, produced by the treatment rather than being the cause of the disorder.”
Dr. Elliott Valenstein, Ph.D.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Psychiatry-Gothic Horror Story
For psychiatry, a cautionary tale
By Paul Roazen, Globe Correspondent  |  September 19, 2005

Madhouse: A Tragic Tale of Megalomania and Modern Medicine
By Andrew Scull
Yale, 352 pp., $30

Andrew Scull, a sociologist at the University of California, San Diego who specializes in the history of psychiatry, has unearthed a Gothic horror story of abuse in the early 1900s. ''Madhouse" is a shocking tale about how a doctor at the Trenton State Hospital in New Jersey had for years surgically removed the teeth, colons, stomachs, spleens, tonsils, sinuses, gall bladders, and reproductive organs of patients in a misguided effort to treat mental illness.
Dr. Henry Cotton had trained at Johns Hopkins University under the famed Adolf Meyer, a Swiss-born psychiatrist who became arguably the most influential single psychiatric leader in 20th-century America. Meyer was humanely trying to get away from concentrating on classification and diagnosis and the 19th century's beliefs in heredity and so-called degeneration. Instead, he tried to understand how people respond to the stress they encounter.
In his program of promoting therapeutic improvement, rather than just custodial care, Meyer was open-minded about what his students proposed to undertake. Cotton started his operations in 1917 on the hypothesis that madness could be caused by local infections. Teeth, even when X-rays showed no problems, were only the beginning of the bodily culprits to be removed. If patients were unwilling to undergo these surgical procedures, such obstruction was viewed as a reflection of their diminished mental capacities.
Scull has constructed an engrossing narrative about how Cotton's theories and practices were welcomed in certain medical circles (in Great Britain, for example) at the same time that criticisms began to mount, especially among local denizens of New Jersey.
By mid-1925, when a state legislative committee began to investigate the charge that patients were being abused under Cotton, the doctor himself was too unbalanced to be able to defend himself adequately.
Cotton had claimed to achieve an astronomical ''cure" rate of 85 percent. In reality, the mortality rates resulting from the operations were extraordinarily high, and nobody could confirm his alleged rates of success.
Meyer appointed a young psychiatrist, Phyllis Greenacre, to explore what had happened at Trenton. Although her conscientious findings were distinctly unfavorable to Cotton, Meyer curiously chose to sit on her report initially.
The Trenton State Hospital remained a house of horrors right up until Cotton's death in 1933, after which Meyer somehow wrote an appreciative obituary. Cotton's public standing was such that H.L. Mencken had accepted an essay by Cotton for The American Mercury. Doctors covered for one another throughout the surgical mayhem, and teeth went on being pulled for psychiatric purposes at Trenton State Hospital until 1960.
The misguided penchant toward lobotomies, which were undertaken at Mass. Mental Health Center here in Boston right through the late 1950s, is a much better-known medical scandal than this episode. As Scull's skillful telling suggests, popular treatments in mental illness can be flawed, and we should be on guard about the danger that drugs with serious side effects will get overused.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Psychs Hard at Work in Chinese Prison Camps

Shock Treatment for "Obstructionist Personality"
AFX News Limited
At least 100 property activists arrested in Shanghai, rights group says
09.20.2005, 07:07 AM

SHANGHAI (AFX) - Police have arrested at least 100 people involved in protests against official land grabs in Shanghai, a rights group said.

The action signals a significant toughening by authorities following a barrage of streets protests in Shanghai largely related to forced evictions due to urban renewal, Human Rights in China said, according to Agence France-Presse.

Petitioners were rounded up on the street, on buses and some in the middle of the night and most of the detainees remain in custody, the report said.

It said the crackdown was organised by the Shanghai Petitions and Letters office, which is in charge of receiving citizens' complaints, and the Jing An district Public Security Bureau, or police.

Detainees who refused to cooperate were beaten, the report said. One person, named as Zhang Fenfen, was told he would be sent to a mental hospital.

It said Zhang had previously been forced to undergo psychiatric treatment by the judiciary for having an 'obstructionist personality.'

Among others arrested was Mao Hengfeng, who was recently released from a labor camp where she said she underwent forced electric shock therapy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Shock Treatment for "Obstructionist Personality"

AFX News Limited
At least 100 property activists arrested in Shanghai, rights group says
09.20.2005, 07:07 AM

SHANGHAI (AFX) - Police have arrested at least 100 people involved in protests against official land grabs in Shanghai, a rights group said.

The action signals a significant toughening by authorities following a barrage of streets protests in Shanghai largely related to forced evictions due to urban renewal, Human Rights in China said, according to Agence France-Presse.

Petitioners were rounded up on the street, on buses and some in the middle of the night and most of the detainees remain in custody, the report said.

It said the crackdown was organised by the Shanghai Petitions and Letters office, which is in charge of receiving citizens' complaints, and the Jing An district Public Security Bureau, or police.

Detainees who refused to cooperate were beaten, the report said. One person, named as Zhang Fenfen, was told he would be sent to a mental hospital.

It said Zhang had previously been forced to undergo psychiatric treatment by the judiciary for having an 'obstructionist personality.'

Among others arrested was Mao Hengfeng, who was recently released from a labor camp where she said she underwent forced electric shock therapy.

Shock Treatment for "Obstructionist Personality"

AFX News Limited
At least 100 property activists arrested in Shanghai, rights group says
09.20.2005, 07:07 AM

SHANGHAI (AFX) - Police have arrested at least 100 people involved in protests against official land grabs in Shanghai, a rights group said.

The action signals a significant toughening by authorities following a barrage of streets protests in Shanghai largely related to forced evictions due to urban renewal, Human Rights in China said, according to Agence France-Presse.

Petitioners were rounded up on the street, on buses and some in the middle of the night and most of the detainees remain in custody, the report said.

It said the crackdown was organised by the Shanghai Petitions and Letters office, which is in charge of receiving citizens' complaints, and the Jing An district Public Security Bureau, or police.

Detainees who refused to cooperate were beaten, the report said. One person, named as Zhang Fenfen, was told he would be sent to a mental hospital.

It said Zhang had previously been forced to undergo psychiatric treatment by the judiciary for having an 'obstructionist personality.'

Among others arrested was Mao Hengfeng, who was recently released from a labor camp where she said she underwent forced electric shock therapy.

Shock Treatment for "Obstructionist Personality"

AFX News Limited
At least 100 property activists arrested in Shanghai, rights group says
09.20.2005, 07:07 AM

SHANGHAI (AFX) - Police have arrested at least 100 people involved in protests against official land grabs in Shanghai, a rights group said.

The action signals a significant toughening by authorities following a barrage of streets protests in Shanghai largely related to forced evictions due to urban renewal, Human Rights in China said, according to Agence France-Presse.

Petitioners were rounded up on the street, on buses and some in the middle of the night and most of the detainees remain in custody, the report said.

It said the crackdown was organised by the Shanghai Petitions and Letters office, which is in charge of receiving citizens' complaints, and the Jing An district Public Security Bureau, or police.

Detainees who refused to cooperate were beaten, the report said. One person, named as Zhang Fenfen, was told he would be sent to a mental hospital.

It said Zhang had previously been forced to undergo psychiatric treatment by the judiciary for having an 'obstructionist personality.'

Among others arrested was Mao Hengfeng, who was recently released from a labor camp where she said she underwent forced electric shock therapy.

Ritalin Use-a Scandal

There are currrently no medical tests for ADHD, and children are diagnosed based on their behaviour - including displays of inattention, fidgeting and restlessness, which are all perfectly normal behaviour in children.

Sami Timimi, a consultant child expert and adolescent psychiatrist based in Lincolnshire, described the soaring use of Ritalin as "a scandal" and insisted that the drug should be used only as a last resort.
"It is ludicrous that the normal spectrum of behaviour that all kids will demonstrate at some time in their childhood is now interpreted as a disorder which requires medication,"

"Various methods of behaviour management therapy and a change in diet are often all a child needs but adults are increasingly turning over the role of parenting to professionals who feel more "doctory" if they can make a diagnosis and prescribe medication."

Prof Peter Hill, an ADHD specialist and honorary consultant in child psychiatry at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, believes that the concept of ADHD has become popular, "partly because it offers an alternative explanation for antisocial behaviour, other than bad parenting".

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Blog Feedback

Just received the following from a reader of the psychiatric news Blog:
"My friend started experiencing panic attacks a few months ago, and for quite some time has had high levels of anxiety because of some family problems. He lives with his dad who is a raging alcoholic that screams all the time, so this gets pretty stressful for him. For the last few weeks, he’s had a lot of trouble being able to sleep, sometimes not at all. His mom gives him some Lorazepam (like xanax) and that works wonders for him. So he makes an appointment with his dad’s doctor, and MD, and he goes to his appointment. The doctor barely listens to him and writes him a prescription for Zoloft. My friend expresses concern about the side effects of SSRIs, and the doctor said “Don’t worry about it, you’ll be fine.”
"My friend wasn’t so naïve as to just start popping Zoloft for his problems, so he sought a second opinion from his mom’s doctor. She half-listened to him as well and wrote him a prescription for Paxil. He’s getting pretty desperate at this point because he hasn’t been sleeping at all, so he tries one of the Paxils.
"And he doesn’t sleep very well, though he manages to fall asleep a little bit. And during the night, he has nightmares, which he says he never has. The next day he lost his cellphone, but couldn’t find it anywhere. He’s had that same phone for probably 3 years now. He then got very very uncharacteristically angry once he couldn’t find the phone. After all this, he decided SSRIs weren’t for him and he stopped taking them.  It’s possible that those things were all unrelated, but my friend doesn’t think so!"

Your friend is one of the lucky ones who put two and two together. The solution of course is for your friend to remove himself from the source of his upsets and stress. Move. There is always an alternative.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Psychiatrist Sexual Misconduct

NSW, Australia
Psychiatrist Winifred Childs was struck off by a medical tribunal for sexual misconduct in 1990. Her name was suppressed. Now it is not.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Psychiatrist Struck Off Had Name Suppressed

NSW, Australia
Psychiatrist Tony Aguado was struck of by a medical tribunal on February 27th 2002. He was found guilty of having sex with a disturbed patient over a period of seven months. He also prescribed himself drugs under a false name. His name was suppressed. Now it is not.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Children are Being Drugged Into Submission

Dr Sami Timimi, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist based in Lincolnshire, UK, said: "The idea that there is such a thing as a test for ADHD is nonsense. There is no such thing."

Jill Harris, a child psychologist at Birmingham's Children's Hospital in the UK, said: "There is evidence that if you change the learning environment then children will do better. But we are talking about a perfect world and not the over-stretched education system we have. So what we do is medicate."

Friday, September 16, 2005

Psychiatrist "lacking in credibility"

New Zealand
Psychiatrist John Angus Marks has been found guilty of professional misconduct after one of his patients committed suicide. The Medical Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal found that Marks had not been conscientious in the performance of his duties. It also found Dr Marks' evidence during the hearing to be "inconsistent, opportunistic and lacking in credibility".

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Ritalin Abuse

by Jim Kouri, CPP
2.3 Million Children Abuse Ritalin, Other Stimulants
September 07, 2005 04:37 PM EST

A new report from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University shows that prescription drug abuse among teens tripled from 1992 to 2003. The survey indicated that one in 10 teenagers (10 percent), or 2.3 million young people, has tried prescription stimulants Ritalin and/or Adderall without a doctor's order.

Additionally, each year the Monitoring the Future study measures the extent of drug use among adolescents and young adults nationwide. The 2004 results on annual use indicate that 2.5 percent of 8th-graders abused methylphenidate (Ritalin), as did 3.4 percent of 10th-graders and 5.1 percent of 12th-graders.

In 1987, members of the American Psychiatric Association voted ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder to be a mental disorder for inclusion in its Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Because stimulant medicines such as methylphenidate do have potential for abuse, the US Drug Enforcement Administration has placed stringent, Schedule II controls on their manufacture, distribution, and prescription.

In 1995, in response to a petition by Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (CHADD) and the American Academy of Neurology to lower the regulatory controls on methylphenidate, the DEA conducted an extensive review of the use, abuse liability, actual abuse, diversion, and trafficking of methylphenidate. The CHADD petition attempted to characterize methylphenidate as a mild stimulant with little abuse potential, however this is not what the review found and the petitioners subsequently withdrew their request.

A number of questionable practices have contributed to the diversion and abuse of stimulant medication including improper diagnosis, lack of adequate information to youth, parents, and schools regarding the abuse potential of these drugs and lax handling of medication.

The DEA findings concluded that long-term studies looking at the effects of using these drugs are very limited; the medical use of stimulants in the treatment of active children continues to escalate; the expansive use of these drugs for childhood behavioral characteristics in the United States differs significantly from medical practices in the rest of the world and that poison control data, emergency room data and high school surveys all indicate that the abuse of methylphenidate has increased significantly since 1990.

The consequences of stimulant abuse can be extremely dangerous. Taking high doses of a stimulant can result in an irregular heartbeat, dangerously high body temperatures, and/or the potential for cardiovascular failure or seizures. Taking high doses of some stimulants repeatedly over a short period of time can lead to hostility or feelings of paranoia in some individuals.

Luke Catton, a supervisor for the well-known rehabilitation center Narconon Arrowhead, says, "Those of us working in the rehabilitation and prevention field have enough people to help already. We don't need new addicts being created because of a subjective diagnosis that calls for giving kids addictive drugs."

Catton also points out that many of the symptoms of a child who's prescribed these harmful drugs align closely with signs of kids who are considered gifted and that the line between the two is too ambiguous.

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others, and he's a columnist for TheConservativeVoice.Com. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com,, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Death Roll for Zoloft Continues

Russell Johnson of Nebraska survived cancer surgery two years ago, but he didn’t survive his subsequent prescription for Zoloft.

To the initial bewilderment of his family he shot himself dead. The bewilderment was replaced by anger when they belatedly learnt about the known side effects of Zoloft.

With the help of a Lincoln Attorney’s office Russell Johnson’s son, Bowde Johnson, filed a lawsuit in Lancaster County District Court against Pfizer Inc., manufacturer of Zoloft.

Are the Experts Crazy?


Are We all Going Mad, or Are the Experts Crazy?
by Stuart A. Kirk

PSYCHIATRIC researchers recently estimated that half of the American population has had or will have a mental disorder at some time in their life. A generation ago, by contrast, only a small percentage of the American population was considered mentally ill. Are we all going mad?

Freud started this. He made us suspicious that any behavior was potentially rife with psychopathology. As a neurologist, he used the medical language of pathology to suggest that the demands of civilization on our fragile human nature were such as to make all of us somewhat neurotic.

The current psychiatric bible published by the American Psychiatric Assn., "The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," or the DSM, continues this tradition of making us all crazy.

Because there are no biological tests, markers or known causes for most mental illnesses, who is counted as ill depends almost entirely on frequently changing checklists of behaviors that the DSM considers as symptoms of mental disorder. In the recent research, lay interviewers asked a sample of people to respond to lengthy questionnaires based on the DSM lists. Computer programs then counted the responses to determine if those interviewed had ever had the required number of behaviors for any mental disorder at some time in their life.

We keep getting higher estimates of mental disorders in part because the APA keeps adding new disorders and more behaviors to the manual.

Since 1979, for example, some of the new disorders and categories that have been added include panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social phobia, borderline personality disorder, gender identity disorder, tobacco dependence disorder, eating disorders, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, identity disorder, acute stress disorder, sleep disorders, nightmare disorder, rumination disorder, inhibited sexual desire disorders, premature ejaculation disorder, male erectile disorder and female sexual arousal disorder. If you don't see yourself on that list, don't fret, more are in the works for the next edition of the DSM.

Because so little is known about the causes of most mental disorders, just about any behavior can look like a symptom. Here is a selection from hundreds of behaviors listed in the DSM, behaviors that signify one disorder or another: restlessness, irritability, sleeping too much or too little, eating too much or too little, difficulty concentrating, fear of social situations, feeling morose, indecisiveness, impulsivity, self-dramatization, being inappropriately sexually seductive or provocative, requiring excessive admiration, having a sense of entitlement, lacking empathy, fear of being criticized in public, feeling personally inept, fear of rejection or disapproval, difficulty expressing disagreement, being excessively devoted to work and productivity, and being preoccupied with details, rules and lists.

For children, signs of disorder occur when they are deceitful, break rules, can't sit still or wait in lines, have trouble with math, don't pay attention to details, don't listen, don't like to do homework or lose their school assignments or pencils, or speak out of turn.

Granted, one momentary feeling or behavior will not qualify you as having a DSM mental disorder; it requires clusters of them, usually for several weeks, accompanied by some level of discomfort. Nevertheless, as Freud suggested, the signs of potential pathology are everywhere.

The vast broadening of the definition of mental disorders has its skeptics, myself included, who are suspicious of the motivations of the APA and the drug companies that may view the expanding sweep of mental disorders like a lumber company lusting after a redwood forest. But unlike the environment, with its leagues of watchdogs, the medicalization of human foibles has few challengers. That's too bad: The misdiagnosis of mental illness often leaves a lasting trail in medical records open to schools, employers, insurance companies and courts.

Does it advance psychiatry to view an increasing expanse of human troubles as the expression of psychopathology rather than as part of the texture and diversity of life? Psychiatry once focused on the prevention and treatment of serious behavioral problems, of which there are plenty. But based on the metastasizing DSM, the psychiatric association appears to be caught up in a contemporary narcissistic quest for individual perfection.

The grand American experiment once was an attempt to structure our social and political institutions to create a more civil and just society. Perhaps, frustrated that we still contend with gross inequality, stinging poverty and rampant political and corporate corruption, we now embrace the perfectibility of individuals, not social institutions.

The public is being asked to swallow the view that all manner of human troubles - from anxiety, interpersonal squabbles to misbehavior of many kinds - be viewed not as inevitable parts of the human comedy, but as psychopathology to be treated, usually with drugs, as expugnable illnesses. The implicit ideal - the healthy, normal and truly happy camper - will, properly medicated, harbor no serious worries or animosities, no sadness over losses or failures, no disappointments with children or spouses, no doubts about themselves or conflicts with others, and certainly no strange ideas or behaviors. Their moods will be perfectly controlled in all circumstances, and bad hair days will be things of the past.

Is it inevitable that the rest of us, the recalcitrant, flawed resisters to the movement for individual perfection, will show up in future counts of the mentally disordered? Count me in.
LA Times 14th August 2005

STUART A. KIRK is a professor of social welfare at UCLA. He is the co-author of "The Selling of DSM" and "Making Us Crazy." His most recent book is "Mental Disorders in the Social Environment: Critical."

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

FDA in the Spotlight

From: The Daily Aztec, San Diego State University
Drug prescriptions lethal to Americans
By Ari Whitten, Contributing Columnist
Published: Monday, September 12, 2005

Media Credit: KRT Campus
Vioxx is responsible for thousands of deaths since its approval.There's a new killer in America: it isn't the result of an unhealthy diet or lifestyle, nor is it an obscure new disease. Yet, it ranks within the top-five causes of death in America each year, along with cancer, heart disease and stroke.
Adverse reaction to prescription drugs is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Medical Association. This doesn't include deaths and injuries that result from drug abuse or prescribing errors, and the AMA notes that "reactions to prescription and over-the-counter medications kill far more people annually than all illegal drug use combined."
The question is: Why are so many Americans dying from drugs that are intended to help them? After all, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is "responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs," according to its mission statement. However, recent occurrences force me to question just how devoted to protecting the public health the FDA really is.
Consider the case of Vioxx, an anti-inflammatory drug usually prescribed to arthritis patients and recently re-approved by the FDA. Vioxx is responsible for more than 55,000 deaths and 160,000 heart attacks since its approval by the FDA in May 1999, according to Dr. David Graham, an associate director of the FDA's Office of Drug Safety. In September 2004, its manufacturer, Merck, voluntarily pulled Vioxx from the market because research data showed patients taking the drug faced twice the risk of heart attack compared to those taking placebo. Incredibly, an FDA advisory panel recently voted to allow Vioxx to return to the market with full FDA safety approval.
In November 2004, before Congress, Graham - who had warned about the heart risks of Vioxx - called the FDA's actions "a profound regulatory failure," according to Reuters. Several government watchdog groups now claim the FDA is attempting to censor and intimidate Graham. With its decision to deem one of the most lethal drugs to ever hit the U.S. market as safe for consumers, the FDA has made its safety approval policy entirely meaningless.
Among the many other dangerous drugs the FDA has knowingly allowed to remain on the market is Rezulin, which lowers blood sugar in Type II (adult onset) diabetics. Rezulin has been directly linked to a number of serious, life-threatening side effects, including severe injury to the heart and liver and death. Warner-Lambert, the manufacturer of the drug, has been blamed in dozens of deaths from liver failure and thousands of other cases of liver damage reported from 1997 to 2000. In December 1997, Rezulin was removed from the British market but despite its obvious dangers, the FDA allowed the drug to remain on the U.S. market for more than two years.
Tragically, the FDA's failures to ensure the health of the American public go far beyond its inability to ensure drug safety, but also extend to efficacy.
According to the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, "the majority of antidepressant trials conducted by drug companies have found that sugar pills, or placebos, produce results similar to or better than antidepressant drugs."
To make matters worse, recent research has demonstrated that people who take SSRI antidepressants - the popular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac and Zoloft - are more likely to attempt suicide, compared to users of placebo or other therapeutic interventions, according to the British Medical Journal. Sadly, depression afflicts roughly 19 million Americans and it's these dangerous, marginally effective drugs, which the FDA willfully allows to remain on the market, that remain the treatment of choice.
Clearly, the FDA is more interested in protecting the interests of the pharmaceutical industry than protecting American consumers. According to Graham, the reason for this conflict of interest is the FDA "views industry as its client, and the client is someone whose interest you represent."
Unfortunately, the industry is more concerned with profit than with health. Until the FDA realizes that our interests are not adequately represented by the industry, Americans will continue to pay for it with their lives.
-Ari Whitten is a kinesiology senior.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Constant Gardener

Hollywood Shakes Up Politics & Big Pharma: Constant Gardener Gaines Grassroots Support
Posted by DrBettyMartini on Friday September 9, 2005 at 6:27 pm MST
National Coalition of Organized Women

From Laboring Women to Labor Unions, we move as one

For Immediate Release September 10, 2005 phone: 917 804-0786 Contact: Eileen Dannemann, director


Hollywood Shakes Up Politics & Big Pharma

The Constant Gardener Gains Grassroots Support

Eileen Dannemann, the director of the National Coalition of Organized Women, announced today that NCOW is administrating an initiative to fire up the grassroots networks to promote the new blockbuster hit movie, The Constant Gardener. Grassroots lobbyists are hitting the streets and the members of Congress with flyers and materials urging everyone to run out ASAP to see the movie about Big Pharma and Tessa, the little engine that could.

Alluding to AIDS is very subtly handled in the movie

Tessa, (Rachel Weisz) a grassroots activist in Africa, married, ever so romantically, to diplomat husband played by Ralph Fiennes finds out that GKS (or whatever the acronym was in the movie) is testing unapproved, dangerous drugs on the African population and hiding the adverse reactions, burying the unfortunate victims. “It is interesting, how the movie starts off early on alluding to AIDS, says Ms. Dannemann.. “Most people might miss the subtle reference that is why I point it out,” she comments.

In 2004 Congress passed Project Bioshield giving unfettered authority to the Dept. of Defense to mandate the vaccination of military and civilians

Last year the Congress passed Project Bioshield, giving the Dept. of Defense (DOD) and the Dept. of Human Health Services (HHS) unfettered authority to declare a national emergency, whether real or “potentially” real. The authorization gives the Secretaries of these agencies broad authority to mandate use of untested, unlicensed and unproven biodefense vaccines on both military and civilian personnel. Based on the “potential” that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction the DOD used that authority, declared a potential emergency (which is still in effect), and forced the untested ANTHRAX vaccine (Gulf War Syndrome) on the military population. (

Project Bioshield II, currently on the Senate calendar, is an audacious protectionist legislation for Big Pharma at an incomprehensible scope.

Senators Hatch (Utah), Lieberman (Conn.) and Brownback (Kansas) have constructed a voluminous, comprehensive 157 page bill (S.975) that gives big Pharma congressional protection and privileges such as special patent and liability protection, anti-trust and visa exemption and special tax incentives, etc. “Who can read it…or better yet…who wrote it”? asks, Ms Dannemann. “It is obvious that these three Senators get a lot of help from Big Pharma”, comments Ms. Dannemann.

The Tessa Pledge will vote out of office any Representatives who back Big Pharma against the people.

The Grassroots effort establishes the TESSA PLEDGE, named after the lead character in the movie that, with the complicity of the diplomatic core, was ruthlessly killed by Big Pharma. The Tessa Pledge goes like this, “I will do everything I can to remove from office any Representative who sponsors this bill or any other bill that uses taxpayer money to fund and protect Big Pharma”.

Testing unapproved drugs is happening right here in the United States

Ms. Dannemann warns that Big Pharma is testing drugs on our children and elderly right here in the United States with experimental AIDS cocktails to foster children. ( And GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), for example, introduced Fluarix, a flu vaccine -- an investigational new drug (IND) that has not been licensed in the United States. HHS has bought 1.2 million doses with taxpayer dollars. “Many of the elderly and parents are seeking Thimerosal (Mercury)-free flu shots. I would beware of being enlisted as an experimental subject for Fluarix as an alternative”, warns the director of NCOW.

An entire generation has been damaged by the Childhood Vaccine program

For the past twenty years the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) mandated the injection of the nation’s children with high levels of mercury in the early childhood routine immunization program. “An entire generation of our children received 22 of these vaccines by the time they were two years old. The result is that nearly 20% of the children entering school today have Autism, ADD, ADHD, hyperactivity, depression, inability to cope, and are being prescribed psychiatric drugs like Ritalin, Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, Zyprexia, Wellbutin, Adderall, etc.”, cites Ms. Dannemann ( And now we find out that the kids such as those involved in the Columbine killings, Chris Pittman at the age of 12 (who shot his Grandparents and burned down the house) and a vast number of suicide victims were on these medications. “8 million children are on psychiatric drugs, today”, She cites, (

Teen Screen and the New Freedom Commission is a marketing tool by the drug interests using our public schools as a marketing medium.

In the last session, the Congress approved the presidential executive order to fund a program that would screen all America’s children for mental illness. This year the New Freedom Commission will survey, diagnose, label, report and force school aged children into the arms of health professionals who routinely prescribe these dangerous medications. “Teen Screen must be stopped”, demanded Ms. Dannemann. “Most of the symptoms of these children are mercury poisoning. Rather than pointing the finger at the real problem (the 20 years of injecting our children directly in the arms 22 times with mercury), the government agency administrators mask their complicity and, instead, dumb down our children by facilitating the use of more drugs for the industry to profit from. Our youths go kill somebody or hang themselves on a hook in the laundry closet (…And we wonder why? Who is being held responsible, Ms. Dannemann asks. “The New Freedom Commission, Teen Screen program is a marketing tool by drug interests initiated by President Bush (and unsuccessfully by his father before him). This program has been sanctioned by Congress. It has unfettered use our public schools as a marketing medium. “It must be stopped by parents before it gets a foot hold” insists, Ms.Dannemann.


“It is well established that the drugs used to treat a mental disorder, for example, may induce long-lasting biochemical and even structural changes [including in the brain], which in the past were claimed to be the cause of the disorder, but may actually be an effect of the treatment.” Further, “it is now difficult to find mental patients who have not had a history of drug treatment, and as a result many of the brain abnormalities found in these patients are probably iatrogenic [doctor/treatment caused], that is, produced by the treatment rather than being the cause of the disorder.”
Dr. Elliott Valenstein, Ph.D.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

TeenScreen Exposed
The real story behind ‘TeenScreen’ has been comprehensively covered at the above website. Check it out and send it on to others. This is a great presentation of the facts and I will not try to select out bits and pieces for the Blog. I would advise that it be read by parents and students alike, and by anybody else interested in the insidious inroads that Big Pharma and the psychiatrists are making into the sanity of our children and our society.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Real Story Behind 'TeenScreen'

The real story behind ‘TeenScreen’ has been comprehensively covered at the above website. Check it out and send it on to others. This is a great presentation of the facts and I will not try to select out bits and pieces for the Blog. I would advise that it be read by parents and students alike, and by anybody else interested in the insidious inroads that Big Pharma and the psychiatrists are making into the sanity of our children and our society.

Psychiatric Torture of the Mentally Ill

From the Daily Times of Pakistan
Punjab CMIT Minister Col. (r) Shuja Khanzada is head of the Chief Minister’s Inspection Team (CMIT) that was formed to investigate the death of a patient in a mental hospital.

Col. Khanzada declared in an official statement on Monday that the patient named Ahmad had died as a result of torture and negligence by the staff.

It was recommended that a departmental inquiry be initiated against the duty doctors, staff nurse and Medical Officer Dr Zulfiqar Rizvi for lack of professionalism.

Merck in the Dock Again

On the eve of its second court case over the drug Vioxx, Merck & Co the giant pharmaceutical company made a conference call to reporters this week re-asserting its plans to fight each and every lawsuit. Vioxx was withdrawn from the market after up to 400,000 deaths in the US alone were attributed to it.

Kenneth Frazier, the senior vice president of Merck also desperately sought to reassure investors in the company that they would not lose their shirts from the lawsuits despite analysts claiming that they stand to lose around $50 billion in total if they are found guilty. Frazier made the amusing claim that “Merck’s future is both secure and promising.”

Last month Merck claimed they they would settle a number of cases out of court. That they are now back-pedalling on that announcement is probably due to the fear of enticing even more claimants into the law courts. The s*^# has finally hit the fan. A sense of panic is in the air.

In a way it has similar parallels to the New Orleans disaster. It was always going to happen, the inevitable always does. The current crop of rogues running Big Pharma just hoped it would not be on their watch, just as the mayor of New Orleans hoped it would not be on his watch. Who will Big Pharma try to point the finger at?

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Mind Game

Once our schools were safe havens in which our children could thrive and learn. Today, school campuses are commonly the playground for drug dealers, pornographers, Satanists and constant youth violence. Millions of children are daily drugged up because they have been diagnosed 'mentally ill'.

Phillip Day's new book is The Mind Game. In it, the British political and health researcher poses his central, awesome question: "What on Earth is going on?"

In the Part 1 of this extraordinary new book, Phillip Day leads the reader through the tumultuous social and political upheavals of the past 200 years and identifies the common themes.

He shows, with stunning, contemporary research, how an ancient plan to change the very building blocks of our civilisation has been carefully executed around us without the consent of a dumbed-down global citizenry seduced with bread and circuses.

At first glance, most would not even acknowledge the incredible changes psychiatric and psychological theories have wrought in the way we have come to view ourselves and those around us. Yet we witness in the starkest hues how these pernicious doctrines, by the admission of leading psychiatrists themselves, have permeated our courts, our police departments, our hospitals, our entertainment industry, our school playgrounds, our governments and even our homes with catastrophic effects.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Political Pressure on Psychiatrists and Big Pharma



Release date: 13th June 2005


In calling for the review, Mr Hendry comments: "The huge explosion in the use of drugs to tackle hyperactivity shows that it is increasingly being used as the first line of attack and not the last resort. Before drugs are used, all other possible solutions should be examined first, such as diet, allergies, reactions to colourings and additives. It cannot be right, when a child has a biological condition, to pump their small bodies full of chemicals to control their behaviour."

In his letter to the Minister, Mr Hendry is calling for the most detailed study ever of children with ADHD to be put in place to gain a better understanding of the causes behind it, together with new guidance to GPs that all other treatments should be explored before prescribing drugs. Mr Hendry adds: "As MPs, we have all witnessed a huge growth in ADHD cases in our constituencies. Prescribing more and more drugs cannot be the solution to a problem that was almost unknown a few years ago."

The text of Mr Hendry's letter to the Health Minister follows:

8th June 2005

Dear Jane

You recently answered a Parliamentary Question which I had tabled on the use of Ritalin. The answer shows that the prescribing of Methylphenidate Hydrochloride has doubled in the last five years and last year a shocking 359,000 prescriptions were made.

I am profoundly concerned by these figures which show that drugs Methylphenidate Hydrochloride is increasingly being used as the first line of defence in treating hyperactivity in children, rather than as a last resort.

I am writing to ask that you should set up a full review of the way that hyperactivity in children is treated. First of all, to carry out the most detailed study ever undertaken of hyperactivity and its potential causes and treatments; and to issue new advice to GPs that all other forms of treatment should be examined before drugs are prescribed.

There is no doubt that there is a link between hyperactivity (at least in some children) and food colourings and additives. Surely, it makes sense to explore all the options in terms of dietary change, potential allergies etc before allowing drugs to be prescribed.
I would be grateful for a meeting to discuss how such a review can be taken forward.

Yours sincerely,

Charles Hendry

To: Jane Kennedy MP
Minister for Health
Department of Health
Richmond House
79 Whitehall
London SW1

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Selling Sickness


Corporate power threatening our health

Selling Sickness: How Drug Companies are Turning Us All into Patients
By Ray Moynihan & Alan Cassels
Allen & Unwin, 2005
254 pages, $26.95 (pb)


Thirty years ago, the retiring head of the Merck pharmaceutical company told Fortune magazine that he was distressed that the market for his company’s drugs was limited to only sick people. If he could make drugs for healthy people, he would be able to “sell to everyone”. That dream is now coming true.

One of the reasons why the global pharmaceutical industry has stacked the weight on its 12-digit bottom line, say Ray Moynihan and Alan Cassels in Selling Sickness, is its strategy for selling new perceptions of disease to the healthy. Drug companies have marketed common complaints as frightening and widespread diseases for which they have the answer in a new drug.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) are the biggest selling of these new drugs. Although high cholesterol is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, drug companies have successfully narrowed the focus on heart health to blood-cholesterol, despite it being only one of a suite of risk factors (among smoking, physical inactivity, diet and diabetes), all of which could be more effectively addressed, without the risk of the serious side-effects of statins, through prevention.

The rise of statins up the revenue charts has been aided by drug companies greatly exaggerating the almost non-existent benefits of statins for those without a heart condition, and by lowering the threshold for high cholesterol to catch in its net more of the healthy, an outcome achieved through funding the medical experts who set the official threshold. Eight of the nine members of the US expert panel that in 2004 revised the cholesterol threshold downwards, so trebling the US market to 40 million (one in every four) adults, were on drug company payrolls.

As with cholesterol, so has hypertension (high blood pressure) been turned from a risk factor into a disease treatable by drugs. Nine of the 11 experts who lowered the official US threshold to redefine millions more people as sick and in need of anti-hypertensive drugs, had financial links to drug companies whose anti-hypertensives have had their modest benefits overblown by the drug company promotional machine.

Mental health offers a field day for drug marketing. Depression, inflated to include people often just going through ordinary life experiences such as teenager angst, has been successfully sold as a chemical (serotonin) imbalance in the brain treatable by anti-depressants such as Prozac, despite the scientific debate over the causes, and therefore treatments, of depression. Anti-depressants, however, show only modest advantage over placebo drugs and carry with them serious side effects including, ironically, increased risk of suicidal thinking and behaviour among the young.

“Social anxiety disorder” is a pure marketing construct that has been so successfully promoted in the US as a disease affecting all those who may suffer shyness or uneasiness in social situations, that GSK’s anti-depressant Paxil, approved for its “treatment”, succeeded in outstripping sales of Prozac in 2002.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been another spectacular success story in transforming public perceptions about a mental health disorder. Psychiatrists on drug-company payrolls have sold a neurobiological explanation for ADHD, and scripts for amphetamine-based drugs such as Ritalin have soared. ADHD, however, is a condition whose prevalence is inappropriately expanded to encompass not just children with severe symptoms of hyperactivity or inattention, but a vastly greater number of kids who fidget and can’t sit still or who drift off in class. Prescribing lifelong speed to adults (whose “symptoms” include that they “drum their fingers”) has also been a marketing spin-off, “one obscenity too many”, says a livid Moynihan, “when each year millions of adults and children ... will die early from preventable and treatable life-threatening diseases”.

Women’s health is a profitable hunting ground for drug companies. Menopause has been successfully turned from a normal physiological state into a disease requiring long-term treatment through Hormone Replacement Therapy. HRT, however, whilst useful for short-term treatment of hot flushes and sleeping problems, makes no difference to general health and vitality, mental health or sexual satisfaction, and its long-term use increases the risk of many of the problems it is supposed to prevent, such as heart attack, stroke, blood clots, breast cancer and dementia.

Similarly, the drug company Lilley, seeking to save the profitability of its soon-to-be-off-patent and therefore less profitable Prozac, has turned pre-menstrual symptoms, which can be severely disabling for some women, into an entirely invented mental illness called “pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder”, claimed to affect 7% of women and treatable by Prozac (renamed Sarafem), with its exorbitant mark-up from its new patent-protected use.

Another marketing construct is “female sexual dysfunction”, a “disease” made to order for Proctor and Gamble’s testosterone patch. Testosterone is useful for the small numbers of women with chronic, biologically based sexual problems, but is useless and potentially harmful for the 43% of healthy women who report occasional lack of sexual desire and sexual performance anxiety.

Osteoporosis has also been the subject of marketing propaganda, exploiting the natural tendency for bone density to decrease with age and thus increasing the risk of hip and other bone fractures, particularly among elderly women. Drug company money lies behind the experts who set the World Health Organisation’s definition of normal bone density to classify half of all women over 50 as suffering from osteoporosis and osteopenia (pre-osteoporosis). Sales of drugs to slow bone density loss have benefited, despite their modest benefits and serious side-effects, at the expense of prevention through diet, lifestyle and reduction of falls hazards.

In all these cases, drug companies have sold a perception of a disease as widespread, severe and above all treatable by drugs. The creative engines behind this strategy are the marketing wizards “working from chic offices in Manhattan, London, Toronto or Sydney”, paid by drug companies to change the way we think about health conditions. The internal documents from the public relations world give the game away with refreshing candour. They write about “creating markets” for drugs, “expanding the patient pool” by changing public perceptions of what is normal and what is sickness, and exploiting “market opportunities” through the “corporate sponsored creation of disease”.

The PR glitz is multifaceted and sophisticated. Massive advertising blitzkriegs selling drugs and fear scare people to their doctors. An army of drug company sales reps (80,000 in the US) — bearing warm doughnuts for their clients, invitations to lavish banquets at conferences in five-star hotels, and sponsorship of medical education of practising doctors — prime doctors to sell the companies’ drugs.

Although doctors tend to deny that they are influenced by drug company advertising, sales reps and perks, researchers have demonstrated that doctors exposed to drug company cultivation are more likely to diagnose a debatable disease, to favour drugs over non-drug treatment and to prescribe more expensive drugs over cheaper ones.

Drug companies are also masters of advertising posing as educational “awareness raising” campaigns. They also fund patient advocacy groups that pitch the same line as the drug companies about the cause and (drug) treatment of a disease. Two-thirds of charities and patient advocacy groups accept sponsorship from drug companies.

The political reach of drug companies is extensive, aided by drug company user-funding (50% in the US, 100% in Australia) of government regulatory agencies. These agencies, funded by the companies whose drugs they are assessing, can be inclined to soft pedal on the rigour of drug approval and monitoring. Corporate-friendly management, regularly replenished with industry blood and political appointments, sidelines and suppresses scientists who adhere to evidence rather than pleasing the drug companies.

It has been 30 years since drug bosses once saw health as the absence of a drug sale. They have worked hard with the marketing spivs to correct this barrier to profits. Without saying so directly, Moynihan’s excellent book shows that one of the major disease threats to people’s health and financial well-being is the corporate power of the pharmaceutical companies.

From Green Left Weekly, September 7, 2005.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Pschiatric Sexual Exploitation

Numerous studies report that psychiatrists, child psychiatrists and psychologists are significantly over-represented in sexual crimes. According to a 2001 study, “Sex Between Therapists and Clients,” by Kenneth Pope, a former head of the ethics committee for the American Psychological Association, 1 out of 20 clients who had been sexually abused by their therapist was a minor, the average age being 7 for girls and 12 for boys. The youngest child was 3.

• A 1998 review of U.S. medical board actions against 761 physicians disciplined for sex-related offenses found that while psychiatrists and child psychiatrists account for only 6% of physicians in the country, they comprised 28% of perpetrators disciplined for sex-related offenses.

• A 1998 report from Sweden’s Social [medical] Board on patient complaints over a four-year period found that psychiatrists were responsible for nearly half of the mistreatments of patients reported to the Board, including sexual abuse.

• In one British study of therapist-patient sexual contact among psychologists, 25% reported having treated a patient who had been sexually involved with another therapist.

• A study by the University of Cologne, Germany, in the 1990s found psychiatrists had sexually abused 600 patients each year.

• A woman is at greater risk of being raped while on a psychiatrist's couch than while jogging alone at night through a city park. Studies show that between 6% and 13% of psychiatrists and psychologists sexually abuse their patients and, according to one American Journal of Psychiatry study, 80% of psychiatrists reporting sexual contact did so with an average of 6 patients. With a conservative estimate of 10% of psychiatrists and psychologists sexually assaulting at least 4 patients each, there could be as many as 78,000 patients in the United States U.S. or 260,000 patients worldwide victimized by these professions.
The above was extracted from an article on well worth reading in full.

Zoloft Legal Cases

An attorney in Los Angeles said that his firm has filed around a dozen Zoloft suicide cases and that he knows of at least a dozen filed by other firms. He also said that there were many other cases pending against other antidepressants.

Robert Brava-Partain said that the cases are all pending in the federal court. In a few prior cases judges have tended to side with the drug companies finding that they were not liable because the F.D.A. had approved the drugs.

That argument is likely to hold less sway in the future given that even the mainstream media have finally picked up on the fact that Big Pharma is regularly 'misrepresenting' the truth about their research. The tide is turning.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Katrina and the Mental Health Opportunists

When decent people see the effects of hurricane Katrina they are horrified at the destruction wrought by nature. But where we see a terrible natural disaster, the mental health industry will see a wonderful opportunity. The mental health industry is just that, an industry. As an industry it seeks to ever expand its market share. It even refers to the people caught up in its system as 'consumers'.

Those who have suffered material loss to the hurricane will be upset, who wouldn't be? Those who have lost the lives of their loved ones will be distraught and overcome with grief, again who wouldn't be? But let us get it straight right now, before we are inundated by the orchestrated wails for more money to be poured down the mental health waste hole, the victims of Katrina are not mentally ill.

The victims of Hurricane Katrina have suffered too much at the hands of nature to be further victimised by the grasping hands of 'mental health' opportunists.

Psychiatric Child Pornographer

Salt Lake City, USA
Psychiatrist Bruce Guernsey who worked at the Utah State Hospital was indicted last week for downloading child pornography from the internet.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Exposing of Psychiatry

“All truth passes through three stages: First it is Ridiculed.
Second, it is Violently Opposed. Third, it is Accepted as being Self-Evident.”
- Arthur Schopenhauer (1778-1860)

F.D.A. Now Hiring

News Target satires new employment postings at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

Propaganda Officer: Help the FDA create and spread information that discredits products, companies and ideas that threaten FDA control. No scientific background necessary.
Science Censor: Bury scientific findings that harm the prestige and credibility of the FDA.
Chief Oppression Officer: Conduct armed raids on places where dangerous criminals are teaching patients about nutrition.
Kickback Coordinator: Keep tabs on FDA managers' investments in pharmaceutical companies. Criminal background preferred, mob ties are a plus.
Morale Officer: Keep FDA employees in line to boost morale and work efficiency.
Public Safety Program Director: Not really a full-time job. In fact, you don't even need to show up.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Psychotropic Drugs in the Dock-Again

Walter Bishop, aged 60, who was described as a “truly just wonderful human being who has done nothing wrong in his life” hunted down and shot to death a man carrying a 9 month old baby. The man he shot had almost been involved in a minor traffic accident with him.

Walter Bishop was taking Wellbutrin and Paxil. His lawyer Kevin J. Reddington is now arguing in his defence that the psychotropic drugs were the cause of Bishop’s inexplicable rage that day. If he convinces the court of this position it will wind up as yet one more huge litigation against Big Pharma.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Antidepressants Lead to Birth Defects

A new study just out has confirmed that babies born to Mothers taking antidepressants such as Prozac and Seroxat during pregnancy are substantially more likely to suffer birth defects and premature births.

Dr. Pia Wogelius of Aalborg Hospital in Denmark in said: "We found an association between maternal use of SSRIs and an increased risk of both congenital malformations overall and congenital cardiac malformations.”

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Child Medication Safety Act

A bill is being promoted in Congress that would withhold federal school funds from states that do not prohibit the forced drugging of students with psychiatric medications.

Rep. John Kline, R-Minn. is sponsoring the bill which is entitled the “Child Medication Safety Act of 2005". The legislation currently has 23 co-sponsors.

An education political action committee which initiated and is helping promote the bill put out a statement saying: "The psychotropic medications, both on and off the controlled substances list, are far from benign; their side effects are rarely adequately explained to parents; and there are no studies defining their effects on the developing nervous systems of growing children, especially those under the age of 5 years."