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 →
Based on a psychiatrist’s recommendation that the effects of citalopram (Celexa) had contributed to a 61 year-old grandmother’s lethal bludgeoning of her friend of over 20 years as they had tea, the High Court in Edinburgh accepted a reduced plea of ‘culpable homicide.’ The psychiatrist indicated that she had been prescribed a dosage “far in excess of what she should have been prescribed.”
The Brattleboro Reformer, citing intense public concern after a county-wide security alert regarding an “autistic” man’s release from involuntary detention, obtained the court transcript in which the judge “concluded that ‘the lapse in judgment’ by the subject in making the threatening statements was not connected to any major mental illness… one of the biggest problems in the State’s case is actually demonstrating from the time (the man) was held against his will… any behavior that really is consistent with an impulse to act on the statements that were so concerning… ”
Since mid-March, NY has required mental health treatment providers to report when a patient is a potential danger to himself or others. But professionals who must participate in the process say it was hastily designed and broadly written. “When someone drops a whole new set of rules out of the sky, and there isn’t a whole lot of time to discuss them or consider them or appreciate the many dimensions that may be played out in this, it becomes really entangling,” said the chairman of the psychiatry department at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “You trip up on a lot of stuff.”
A North Carolina study of 1,420 participants finds higher rates of agoraphobia (4.6x), generalized anxiety disorder (2.7x), and panic disorder (3.1x) among victims of bullying. Among those who had been both bullies and victims, the study found higher rates of depression (4.8x), panic disorder (14.5x), agoraphobia (26.7x) and suicidality (18.5x) in both childhood and young adulthood. Results appeared in JAMA Psychiatry.
Research by California’s Stanford University on Sweden’s entire adult population from the years 2001 to 2008 finds that a mental disorder was associated with a 5x greater risk of homicidal death, relative to persons without mental disorders, and irrespective of age, sex, or other characteristics. The research was published this week in the British Medical Journal.
Legislation intended “to ensure that those who have been declared an imminent danger to themselves or others aren’t legally able to obtain a firearm” was introduced yesterday by a bipartisan group of senators, lead by South Carolina republican Lindsay Graham. The bill, written with help from the N.R.A., would prevent persons involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital, or declared incompetent to stand trial in a criminal case, or found not guilty by reason of insanity, from buying guns.
Many of us in the consumer/survivor movement have begun to worry that recovery is being co-opted. That it is being used too easily, and has lost its meaning. I think we live in bubble. Outside our world, the larger society has not even heard that recovery is possible. In fact, society hears a constant litany, through major media, that emotional distress is due to chemical imbalance. Today young people are told they will never recover, and should accept that they have a life long illness. Full Article →
A prospective study of 2,422 children from 2004 to 2012 found that children whose parents reported Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and depressive symptoms were 4x more likely to have a diagnosis of ADHD, even after adjusting for other variables. Children of parents who reported depressive symptoms alone were 2x more likely to have been prescribed medication.
Scapegoating is an ancient human practice that probably dates from the time the first human beings decided to circle their huts — what we fondly term the dawn of civilization. When things got tense in the compound, penalties got handed out to one or more individuals or families, those usually at the low end of the pole, the politically powerless or vulnerable. Full Article →
I am appalled to read a press release by the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery that lauds the proposals emerging from the Vice President’s Task Force and accepts in principle a national database of individuals with mental health diagnoses that is “limited to those with a known history of violence.” Full Article →
Family therapists view violent young people in the context of the wider social systems of which they are a part. This typically means the youth’s parents, but it can also include grandparents, teachers, or even friends. Framing youth violence in terms of the social context or family system–rather than as a psychological problem of the individual– is the most effective way of putting an end to the violent behavior.
The New York Times explores the surge in legislative activity related to the mental health system and violence. “New York State legislators on Tuesday passed a gun bill that would require therapists to report to the authorities any client thought to be ‘likely to engage in’ violent behavior … Yet many patient advocates and therapists strongly disagreed, saying it would intrude into the doctor-patient relationship in a way that could dissuade troubled people from speaking their minds, and complicate the many judgment calls therapists already have to make.”
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!”
The killing of 20 children and six adults in Newtown has triggered a search for some way of preventing these kinds of tragedies. The focus has been on gun control, video game violence and a registry of persons diagnosed with … Full Article →
In response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, ISEPP, a non-profit mental health research and education network, issues a statement calling for a Federal investigation into the link between psychotropic drugs and mass murder.
The drumbeat for more “Risk Management” just gets louder. And nowhere is this so alarmingly evident as a new policy proposed by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) in November 2012. Full Article →
An examination by London-based researchers of the data related to aggression in adult psychiatric in-patient settings, published on January 4, 2013 in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, found that while there were differences between aggressive and non-aggressive patients (being younger, male, involuntarily committed, or unmarried, among others), “the associations found between these actuarial factors and aggression were small. It is therefore important for staff to consider dynamic factors such as a patient’s current state and the context to reduce in-patient aggression.”
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.
I am deeply saddened by the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut. It is difficult to make sense of the despair that motivated the violence. As one who works in the mental health field, I hear too many of my colleagues … Full Article →