Jürgen Margraf and Silvia Schneider, both well-known psychologists at the University of Bochum in Germany, claim that psychotropic drugs are no solution to mental health issues in an editorial for the latest issue of the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine. They argue that the effects of psychiatric drugs for depression, anxiety, and ‘ADHD’ are short-lived and may have negative long-term consequences.
A new analysis published in the The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry investigates the public health effects of direct-to-consumer advertisements for psychiatric drugs. The researchers from Brown University systematically examined existing studies on the consequences of these ads on prescription rates and quality of treatments. They found that, although there have been limited studies addressing this issue, doctors appear more likely to prescribe when ads are referenced by patients and that this contributes to the over-prescription of psychiatric drugs.
A change.org petition out of the United Kingdom is addressing the extreme difficulty faced by people who attempt to taper off of antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. The petition calls on the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, to require pharmaceutical companies to produce “drug tapering kits” designed to help patients reduce their medications over time. “As it is now, many people who want to stop have no option but to reduce to the lowest possible dosage then ‘jump off’ which can be extremely challenging,” the petition reads. “Some users simply carry on taking a drug beyond the point at which it was effective and useful to avoid the challenge of stopping.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration yesterday mandated updated labels for nearly 400 opioids and benzodiazepines, following a review of scientific evidence and a citizen petition arguing that combining opioids and benzos increase the risk of addiction and death.
It is the deadly cocktail of benzodiazepines and opiates that is most responsible for the rising rate of opiate overdose deaths… and benzos may actually be THE decisive deadly component in the lethal drug combination. Yes, fentanyl and propofol can be dangerous drugs, but to focus the main attention in this crisis on these rarely used drugs is deliberately misleading…This minimizes the critical role of benzos and rather conveniently lets certain institutions and their leaders off the hook as the main suspects in such a vast number of cases that should be labeled as crimes of negligent homicide.
Dr. Raymond Armstrong and I are currently working together to push Texas lawmakers to adopt restrictions on the prescription of benzodiazepines and sleep drugs. We feel fortunate to be able to draw from the experience of the benzo movement in Massachusetts, and we are grateful for the information that long time advocates like Geraldine Burns have provided us.
I am an award-winning singer/songwriter with a number one record to my credit. I also owned several small businesses and founded a 501c3 non-profit for women’s health. I ate healthy, swam and cycled every day and had a very active lifestyle. This was before benzos came into my life. Since withdrawing from benzodiazepines five months ago, I still cannot play one of my own compositions all the way through without a mistake.
“We asked people from all over the world to share about the iatrogenic injury they sustained from taking benzodiazepines as prescribed and why they are participating in 'World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day' on July 11th. These are their stories...”
I have given up on psychiatry as a system capable of “being there” for people who are dealing with life and death issues. Psychiatry as a system of care lacks validity. Every day — unfortunately — we learn of new examples proving this statement. But here’s the good news: every day we meet people who show us that the predictions of psychiatry are not true; that there are “cures,” that it is possible to reduce or withdraw psychiatric drugs. This October 15th, we will host Scientific Symposium – Psychiatric Drug Risk and Alternatives in Gothenburg, Sweden, to gather and build on what we learn from them.
Beginning with the glamorization of Miltown in the 1950’s, the “I don’t care” pill was a way to ease the growing awareness that the world is indeed unsafe, and that something is deeply bankrupt in the promises of burgeoning science, technology, and industrialization. Still, we sought to heal these wounds through application of more of the same mentality – one of dominance, management, and suppression of all obstacles into submission. As our bodies, minds, and spirits become more and more separated from nature, each other, and ourselves, the worry, discomfort, and unease mount. Now that the going has gotten very tough, we are reaching for medications more than ever. Surely, however, turning off the smoke alarm is not the best way to deal with a fire.
For the Huffington Post, David Freeman asks “By tamping down anxious feelings, could it be that these so-called “anxiolytic” drugs are blunting our empathy and rendering us less willing to lend a helping hand to those in need?”
A new study, published in BMJ Open-Access this week, found a significant link between the level of air pollution in a community and the mental health of the children living there. After controlling for socio-economic status and other potential variables, researchers in Sweden discovered a strong association between the concentration of air pollution in a neighborhood and the amount of ‘antipsychotic’ and psychiatric drugs prescribed to children. The link remained strong even at pollution levels well below half of what is considered acceptable by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“The war against the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts may be pushing another potential public health crisis into the shadows,” the Metro West Daily News reports. Anti-anxiety drugs known as benzodiazepines, like Ativan, Klonopin, and Xanax, were involved in over thirty percent of all opioid-related overdose deaths in 2014, according to a new CDC report.
The 11 July 2016 will be the inaugural World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day, part of a campaign to raise global awareness about the issue of doctor-induced benzodiazepine dependency, which affects millions of people worldwide and can lead to debilitating withdrawal symptoms that often last for years. You can buy t-shirts in support of this campaign here.
A groundbreaking article for The Province is “sounding the alarm over the heightened risk of death linked to the use of psychiatric drugs.” They report on two studies, published this month, that studied the connection between benzodiazepines and mortality. "The interesting thing about this is that it's a prescription drug and people think they're safe," a doctor told the paper. "But as it turns out, we're probably prescribing these drugs in a way that's leading to harm."
“In a bid to raise awareness towards the global epidemic of abuse on Benzodiazepine or ‘benzos’ abuse, a global campaign dubbed as World Benzo Awareness Day (WBAD) has been gaining ground,” Morning News USA reports. “I have seen so many people suffering, committing suicide because they cannot tolerate the prolonged withdrawal reactions and the damage done to them any longer, and there is very little, if any, help available to them.”
Today, organizers have released a statement announcing a "World Benzo Awareness Day" to take place on Monday, 11th July 2016. "This day has been made necessary due to decades of inaction on the part of global governments over the most serious of public health issues - that is doctor induced benzodiazepine drug dependency and associated iatrogenic damages." See the full statement below.
The hearing for Bill H4062: Informed Consent for Benzodiazepines and Non-benzodiazepine Hypnotics took place on Monday – in the middle of an April snowstorm! The discussion clarified some important points in the legislation and gave survivors an opportunity to tell their stories. I was so proud to be there and witness the courage, camaraderie, resilience, advocacy, and vulnerability of fellow survivors. This legislation is our chance to be heard. As one survivor said, through tears, to the committee, “Do not let my suffering be in vain. I beg you to pass this bill.”
The Massachusetts Benzo Bill H4062: Informed consent for benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepine hypnotics was just scheduled to be heard by the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse on Monday, April 4th. Less than a week away! The committee will decide whether the bill moves forward to the house and senate, goes to study, or is denied.
As the benzodiazepine crisis spreads throughout the United States and other parts of the world, so does the debate within the benzo victim/survivor community. We know that it can be terribly invalidating to label and treat a person as a “drug addict” who is only physically dependent on benzos — and taking these drugs exactly as prescribed by a doctor. However, it can be equally invalidating to deny that “iatrogenic benzo dependence” intersects in multiple ways in the lives of people struggling with “addiction.” People will ALSO SUFFER when yanked off of their benzos, or forced into similar rapid tapers when a doctor becomes aware of their addiction history.
On February 24th, 2016 Bill HD4554 – An Act relative to benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepine hypnotics was filed by Representative Paul McMurtry in the Massachusetts State House. The bill received 47 co-sponsors during the seven-day open period in which legislators can co-sponsor. This is an impressive and promising turnout.
When I was born, everyone was expecting me to have arms. The doctor’s mind raced; how am I going to tell this mother and the father that their son has hands but not arms? If he’s missing so much in his extremities, mustn’t he also be missing a mind? My mom looked into my eyes and knew – in a way that only mothers know – that I had a mind, and spirit.
A large study of the population in Taiwan reveals that long-term use of benzodiazepine drugs, commonly prescribed for anxiety, significantly increases the risk for brain, colorectal, and lung cancers. The research, published open-access in the journal Medicine, also identifies the types of benzodiazepines that carry the greatest cancer risk.
Copyright © 2016 Mad in America Foundation.