I am a psychiatric survivor of over thirty-six years. Since my nervous breakdown in 1978, I have undergone multitudinous experiences ranging from the subtly humiliating to the horrifically debilitating at the hands of incompetent psychiatrists and psychopharmacologists who, in the name of medicine, did more harm than good.
About 17% of college students take stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall, primarily because they believe the drugs will help them improve their academic performance, according to a meta-analysis published in Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review. More →
A medical study that was widely hailed in Swedish media and led to new treatment guidelines was a "fraud," states health reporter and researcher Janne Larsson. The study involved giving prisoners high doses of the ADHD drug Concerta to help "treat" addiction. More →
A third of patients who have taken the common psychiatric medication lithium for over ten years have developed "chronic renal failure" from the drug, according to a study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. More →
Quartz has posted a list of the prescription drugs that generated the most in global sales dollars in 2014, according to a study by Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News. The antipsychotic Abilify was number twelve at $5.7 billion. More →
Somewhere along the line we have lost the understanding that kids come in all shapes and sizes. Some kids are active, some are quiet; some kids are dreamers, others are daring; some kids are dramatic, others are observers; some impulsive, others reserved; some leaders, others followers; some athletic, others thinkers. Where did we ever get the notion that kids should all be one way?
The extensive off-label use of antipsychotic medications in nursing homes is causing many adverse effects and providing limited benefits, according to a review of the literature in Health Policy. More →
This is the second of a series of excerpts from Cracked Open, a book whose unintentional beginning came after I became physically dependent on Ativan in 2010. After a year of following my doctor’s orders for daily use to treat insomnia, my body and mind began to fall apart. I’m serializing the book here – before sending it out into the world – because MIA became a lighthouse for me. I want this community’s feedback because I want to help make a difference. I want my words and message to be clear and strong.
Pneumonia cases in the elderly are strongly associated with use of anticholinergic medications, according to research in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Some anticholinergics are used for treating psychiatric conditions, including benzodiazepines and tricyclic antidepressants. More →
Thirty-one US states have implemented some kind of "prior authorization" policies to try to rein in the unnecessary prescribing of antipsychotic medications to children, according to a research letter in JAMA. However, the impacts of those policies should be studied, because they could be backfiring, stated the researchers. More →
Clinicians are following best practice guidelines only half of the time when they are giving antipsychotic medications to children, according to a study in Vermont published in Pediatrics. And the prescriptions were for FDA-approved indications for the drugs only one-fourth of the time. More →
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the atypical antipsychotic Saphris (asenapine) for use in "manic or mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder in pediatric patients" aged 10-17. The approval, according to Medscape, came as a result of positive results in only one clinical trial that lasted just three weeks. More →
In New York Magazine, Jesse Singal discusses two recent studies that looked at the long-term relationships between use of psychedelics and the development of mental illnesses, and found either no relationships or even suggestions of protective effects. More →
On Health Care Renewal, Dr. Roy Poses writes that "uncritical media reports that parroted drug company executives" have led to "overenthusiastic promotion of the latest wonder drug." Poses critically analyzes some of the research which resulted in Vyvanse being approved by the FDA to treat Binge Eating Disorder. More →
Increasing numbers of children with sleep disorders are being treated with the hormone melatonin, but the medication has not been approved for such use anywhere in the world and is understudied and risky, according to a paper in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. More →
In a commentary published in the University of Ottawa nursing journal Aporia, Paula Caplan writes about how Allen Frances and two other academic psychiatrists were paid by Johnson & Johnson in the late 1990s to write a practice guideline that identified Risperdal, the company's new atypical antipsychotic, as a preferred treatment for schizophrenia. More →
Instead of hope and enthusiasm for their futures, too many children now grow up believing they are inherently defective, and controlled by bad genes and biochemical imbalances. They are shackled by the idea that they have ADHD and then subdued by the drugs that inevitably go along with the diagnosis. Unless something intervenes, many of them will go on to pass their days on Earth in a drug-impaired, demoralized state.
The chair of a state Senate committee told a public hearing that California’s foster care system “has grown more addicted to mind-altering medication” and that the state has "done little to act on this alarming issue,” reported San Jose Mercury News. The hearings follow on the heels of a series of news investigations into the extensive use of psychiatric medications in the foster care system. More →
A jury decided Johnson & Johnson must pay a Philadelphia man $2.5 million in damages "for failing to warn that its Risperdal antipsychotic could cause gynecomastia, which is abnormal development of breasts in males," reported WSJ Pharmalot. More →
In 2010, Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica published a study by Göran Isacsson et al. The paper was titled Antidepressant medication prevents suicide in depression. It’s a complicated article, with some tenuous logic, but, in any event, it’s all moot, because the article was retracted by the authors and by Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica about sixteen months after publication. The retraction had been requested by the authors because of “… unintentional errors in the analysis of the data …”
The FDA recently approved lisdexamfetamine (LDF) for the treatment of the newly minted DSM-5 diagnosis of Binge Eating Disorder. This caused me some consternation and this blog will be as much about my reaction to this news as to the news itself.
This is the first of a series of excerpts from Cracked Open, a book whose unintentional beginning came after I became addicted to Ativan in 2010. After a year of following my doctor’s orders for daily use to treat insomnia, my body began to fall apart. My story is much like the stories I’ve read on MIA.
Common scientific beliefs about serotonin levels in depression and how antidepressants act on the brain appear to be completely backwards, according to a paper from Canadian and American researchers in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. More →
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