The New York Times reports that the “baffling” rise in suicide rates in the U.S. military is not correlated to deployment, as is often assumed. “Perhaps the biggest challenge facing the Pentagon is simply getting suicidal service members into treatment,” the article states, adding that “despite campaigns to reduce stigma, many service members continue to believe that treatment will be ineffective or hurt their careers.” However, nearly every example given in the article mentions that the person was taking antidepressants – evidence that the person was “not in a good place.”
It is time for a new understanding of suicidal feelings and actions. Perhaps a more open dialogue, without fear of sirens and police and involuntary hospitalizations, would have made a difference for one young man here in Asheville last month. Perhaps more public local conversation would have saved some of the 45 lives we lost here in Buncombe County in 2010. Perhaps a more public and safe national conversation would have saved some of the 22 veterans who died from suicide every day in 2010. Full Article →
Suicidal torment is magnified by the loss of hope. People in life-or-death survival conditions, such as being lost in the wilderness or being held prisoner of war, will dream and plan for the future in order to make their present conditions tolerable. The critically ill heart patient expresses his faith in his upcoming surgery by making a date to play golf six weeks after the operation. But the depressed person sees no viable future. There is nothing to look forward to, no dreams to fulfill, only the never-ending hell of the eternal present. Full Article →
At the University of Minnesota, the answer is apparently $1,446. If harmless clerical errors were to blame for oddities like this, that fact should be easy to clarify simply by looking at the relevant documents. But if there are systematic issues with the administration of clinical trials that makes it possible to bill for a visit with a dead subject, those issues would be important for other universities and private trial sites as well. Full Article →
Jacks McNamara is a genderqueer artist, writer, organizer, and healer. Jacks co-founded The Icarus Project and is the subject of the poetic documentary Crooked Beauty. They are the author of Inbetweenland, released by Deviant Type Press, have self-published 5 zines, and are co-author … Full Article →
I first learned about the significance of our country’s Bill of Rights around the same time I started on my first doses of SSRIs for depression and suicidal feelings. At the same time I was learning in school about the “inalienable” freedoms to which citizens of the United States are entitled, I was learning in a psychiatrist’s office about how I might be a “danger” to myself and lose some of these freedoms “for my own good.” I don’t claim that I was conscious of the contradictions at the age of 13 or 14, but the significance is not lost on me now. Full Article →
Is it really best to force someone into the hospital when they are suicidal? Do suicidal feelings plus “risk factors” really mean professionals can predict whether someone might try to kill themselves? And are suicidal feelings the symptom of a treatable illness that should include medication prescription? Full Article →
Psychiatrists at the University of Minnesota forced a young man into a profitable study of antipsychotic drugs over the objections of his mother, who desperately warned that his condition was deteriorating and that he was in danger of killing himself. On May 8, 2004, Mary Weiss’ only son, Dan Markingson, committed suicide. A petition to the governor of Minnesota now asks for an investigation. Full Article →
A Colorado based company, Sundance Diagnostics, contacted me a few months ago to tell me about work they are doing to develop a genetic test to predict suicide risk when patients are prescribed antidepressant drugs. Their plan is to sequence the entire human genome of about 360 patients and controls to see if antidepressant drug risk can definitively be predicted. Full Article →
In August 2010, my friend and fellow ‘suicide mum’ Deb Williams and I established CASPER – Community Action on Suicide Prevention Education & Research. CASPER’s goals are to provide peer support to families bereaved by suicide, to educate politicians and opinion leaders on suicide and its prevention and to support families and communities to reclaim suicide prevention from medical professionals and governments. Full Article →
A large-scale study of depression-related brain activity may also reveal whether a connection exists between the high rates of both psychotropic medication and suicide in the military, according to Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md).
Ketamine (known in social circles as “Special K”) has been touted as a rapid-acting and “profound” treatment for depression. The Journal of Psychosocial Nursing reviews the research, finding “although single doses of ketamine have rapid antidepressant effects that last for up to 1 week, the extent and duration of this antidepressant effect over longer periods has not been well-characterized under controlled conditions.”
The American Association of Suicidology (AAS) has created a blog for suicide attempt survivors. By seeking out and actually welcoming the survivor voice, for the first time anywhere in the world by a mainstream suicide organisation, this represents a global breakthrough in the field. Full Article →
A google link to a Forbes magazine article titled “Psychiatric Drugs, Not A Lack Of Gun Control, Are The Common Denominator In Murderous Violence” now leads to a page on the Forbes website that says “Oops!”
Bob Fiddaman writes about Janne Larsson, whose dogged journalism brought to light closely-guarded information that revealed the true extent of antidepressant-related suicides associated with published, inaccurate research, and the misinformation about greatly increased health risks and risks for aggression, depression, neurological disorders, psychosis, mania, and anorexia associated with Concerta contained within Janssen’s own literature.
An article in the New York Times reported on a publication in JAMA Psychiatry that presented the results of a reanalysis of data from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement. The results suggest that the vast majority of those adolescents who might attempt suicide are already in treatment. This should discourage efforts to identify even more children at risk and get them in to treatment if the rationale for screening is to prevent suicide attempts. Full Article →
David Kupelian, editor of Whistleblower magazine, reviews the evidence for a role of psychiatric medication in violent events such as the Sandy Hook tragedy and asks why the question of a role of medication is persistently ignored.
CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks at the roles of trauma and medication as a “common factor” in tragedies similar to the Sandy Hook shooting. SSRIs have been shown to carry a risk of increased impulsivity, says Dr. Gupta, and points out that “over a 7-year period, there were 11,000 incidences of violence” connected with SSRIs, many of them suicides.
Suicide needs to come ‘out of the closet’ as a public health issue. But this in turn requires a broad, ongoing community conversation rather than the current status quo of ‘experts’ talking about us without us. We also need to move beyond the excessive medicalisation of suicide that blames it on some notional ‘mental illness’. This is my first post where I introduce myself, telling you a little of how I came to do a PhD in Suicidology. And an invitation to join me in a radically different conversation about suicide, here at Mad in America. Full Article →
Pharmalot has just posted a piece – ‘Controversial FDA official, Tom Laughren, retires.’ This is a must read for anyone with anything to do with mental health – both the post and the comments afterwards where some have posted that they still believe the Black Box warnings on antidepressants arose because of pressure from the Church of Scientology rather than in response to the data.The post will likely seem boring to many. But the comments won’t – they seethe with anger. Full Article →
I do not understand how we can continue to avoid the conversation about psychiatric medications and their role in the violence that is affecting far too many of our children, whether Seung-Hui Cho, Eric Harris, Kip Kinkel, or Jeff Weise (all of whom were either taking or withdrawing from psychotropic medications) or the scores of children and adults they have killed and harmed. It is not clear what role medications played in the Newtown tragedy, though news reports are now suggesting there is one. Full Article →
A couple of days ago, after two years of fighting, I received Mylan Pharmaceuticals assessment of the causal link between their drug Fluox and my son’s suicide. Their conclusion is identical to that of the New Zealand drug regulator Medsafe, that the SSRI antidepressant Fluoxetine is the probable cause of Toran’s death. The rating of ‘probable’ includes an assessment that Toran’s suicide was ‘unlikely to be attributed to disease or other drugs.’ Full Article →
Today I paid a visit to the Managing Director of Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Lloyd Price. Mylan is the company that manufactured the antidepressant Fluox1 which, according to the NZ government, is the most likely cause of my son’s suicide. My dealings with Mylan in the time since Toran died have not been entirely fruitful. Full Article →
The recent research scandals out of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Psychiatry may be alarming, but they are not new. Back in the 1990s, when the university was working its way towards a crippling probation by the National Institutes of Health (for yet another episode of misconduct (this time in the Department of Surgery), the Department of Psychiatry hosted two spectacular cases of research wrongdoing, both of which resulted in faculty members being disqualified from conducting research by the FDA. Full Article →