Rethinking Brain Research In Psychiatry

Robert Whitaker
22
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The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA is one of the premier centers for brain research in the country, and so when the Institute announced in late December that its scientists had discovered a “brain cell malfunction in schizophrenia,” one might assume that it would be careful work. The published article would detail how the researchers accounted for the deceased patients’ exposure to neuroleptics and other psychiatric drugs, which is an obvious confounding factor.

But this research, funded by the National Institute of Health, doesn’t pass that simple test. As a result, we now have yet another research study funded by American taxpayers, that, in my opinion, is essentially worthless, or even worse than worthless. By assigning the abnormality to the disease, without having assessed whether it may in fact be due to the drug exposure, the study may be presenting a “finding” that is fundamentally misleading.

And so I offer a modest proposal: I think it is time for federally funded brain research in psychiatry to move in a new direction.

First, let’s look at this particular study. The researchers studied 82 “postmortem human brain samples.” Thirty-four were from “normal subjects,” 32 were from schizophrenia subjects, and 16 from subjects with bipolar disorder. The investigators did report that none of the subjects had a record of treatment with valproic acid.  They did so because this is a drug thought to be protective against the deficiency in gene expression they were going to be assessing. However, the researchers didn’t report on other medication use by the schizophrenia and bipolar subjects, and obviously most of those diagnosed with schizophrenia would have spent years taking neuroleptics.

In the December issue of Translational Psychiatry, the researchers announced that, based on their study of the 82 brain samples, DNA “stays too tightly wound” in the brain cells of schizophrenia subjects. This can lead to certain genes in the cells being “turned off,” and thus the cells won’t manufacture proteins essential to normal functioning. In a press release, Scripps’ neuroscientist Elizabeth Thomas said that her group was “excited by the findings,” which could lead to the development of new drugs to treat schizophrenia.

That is the usual concluding pronouncement from such studies. An abnormality is discovered, it is attributed to the disease and not the medications used to treat the disease, and then the researchers say this could lead to new drug development.

Now let’s turn to a 1996 paper by Steve Hyman titled “Initiation and Adaptation: A Paradigm for Understanding Psychotropic Drug Action.” A neuroscientist, Hyman was director of the NIMH when he authored that paper. He told of how psychotropic drugs perturb neurotransmitter function, and how in response to that perturbation, the brain goes through a series of compensatory adaptations in order to maintain its normal functioning.   However, after a time  these compensatory adaptations break down, and the “chronic administration” of the drugs causes “substantial and long-lasting alterations in neural function,” Hyman wrote. As part of this adaptive process, there are changes in intracellular pathways and “gene expression.”

Focus on those last words. The drugs alter gene expression in brain cells. And what is this finding by Elizabeth Thomas and the Scripps’ scientists? There is evidence of abnormal gene expression in the brain cells of schizophrenia patients.

That begs an obvious question: If  DNA is too “tightly wound” in the brain cells of schizophrenia patients, is that due to the “disease” or the drugs?

There is a fairly easy way to at least partly investigate that question. The Scripps’ researchers could have administered neuroleptics to healthy rats for an extended period of time, at clinically relevant dosages, and assessed whether the same “brain cell malfunction” showed up in the rats. But their paper does not tell of that simple step having being done.

This study is emblematic of the many problems with the brain research literature in psychiatry. The confounding factor of drug exposure is often ignored. While there have been a number of first-episode studies, or studies in “medication naïve” patients, that seemingly avoid this problem, those studies—upon closer examination—are often not what they seem.   Many of the subjects—even in the “medication naive” studies—may in fact have been exposed to psychiatric drugs, at least for a short period of time (with the researchers then discounting this exposure because of its relative short duration.) Another problem with this literature is that the studies regularly present “composite” findings. The researchers use MRIs or some other technology to put together a picture of the “schizophrenic” brain in comparison to a “normal” brain, and while that composite comparison may lead to an identified “abnormality” in the schizophrenia group, many individuals in the schizophrenia group don’t actually exhibit the identified abnormality, while some in the “normal” group do. When this overlap happens, it is a bit of a leap to conclude that you have identified a pathology that is a defining characteristic of a disease, and yet that is how the findings are often presented to the public.

But even more to the point, decades of such brain research has not produced any notable therapeutic payoff. As is now clear, the second-generation psychiatric drugs are no more effective than the first-generation psychiatric drugs. Nor is there a promising “third-generation” of psychiatric drugs coming down the pipeline. In fact, new drug development in psychiatry is stymied precisely because decades of  brain research has failed to provide pharmaceutical companies with promising new molecular targets.

Thus, a modest proposal:  Rather than continue putting so much money into a line of inquiry that has proven rather futile, the NIMH should concentrate on funding research into the effects of psychiatric drugs on brain morphology and brain function The purpose of this research would be to flesh out the many possible harmful effects of psychiatric drugs, a pursuit, it should be noted, that is consistent with the Hippocratic Oath to “Do No Harm.” It is also one certain to be therapeutically useful. It would provide both physicians and the general public with information needed to better evaluate a drug’s risks and benefits, particularly over the long term.

I can think of many questions that desperately need to be investigated. In the U.S. today, one is six babies is born to a mother who took a psychiatric drug during her pregnancy. How might that in-utero drug exposure affect brain development? The organizing of cell structures in the brain? And how will any brain abnormality arising from that in-utero exposure affect the child over the long-term? There is research in rats that suggests in-utero exposure to an SSRI leads to a clumsy adult rat; is the same thing occurring in humans?

Next, we are prescribing stimulants, antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers to our children today on a regular basis. This has often been described as one big “experiment.” The kids are the guinea pigs in this experiment, and so shouldn’t we at least  try to answer a few fundamental questions? What effect do the various drugs have on brain development? The maturation of the frontal lobes? Hormonal systems? Sexual development? Cognitive function? Metabolic function? Physical skills? Will the drugs cause lasting changes in gene expression? Will neuroleptics cause the teenage brain to shrink? And so on. The daily taking of a psychiatric drug modifies the child’s brain, and I would think that both parent and child would like to see such questions answered.

With adults, many of the same questions apply. NIMH-funded studies could investigate a drug’s long-term effect on brain morphology, gene expression, the functioning of neurotransmitter pathways, cognition,  behavior, and physical health.

Finally, here is the one pressing question that I am regularly asked when I give a talk about Anatomy of an Epidemic. In response to a psychiatric drug, the brain goes through a series of compensatory adaptations. If you then withdraw from the drug, does the brain return to its normal functioning? For instance, in response to an SSRI, which blocks the normal reuptake of serotonin from the synaptic cleft, the postsynaptic neurons decrease the density of their serotonergic receptors. Upon withdrawal from the SSRI, will the density of serotonergic receptors return to normal?

Unfortunately, nobody knows the answer to that question.

This is why I think it is  time for the NIMH to reallocate its research dollars. We have had decades of research seeking to discover the biological causes of mental disorders, but that research has failed to produce any notable therapeutic benefit. The NIMH should alter its focus, or at least expand it,  and provide financial support to brain research of a kind that is certain to benefit society. It should fund animal and human studies that would give us a better understanding of what we are doing to our newborns, our children, and our adult selves when we take these medications on a regular basis.

 

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22 COMMENTS

  1. I second your “modest proposal” to take federally funded mental illness research in a new direction. How about researching those who have recovered from diagnoses of mental illness? How did they recover? What are the common factors in their healing? How can we replicate that healing? Is there anything unscientific about such an approach?

    • As Mr. Whitaker exposes possibly inadvertently, people recovered by discovering the truth through research and finding such books and information by Dr. Peter Breggin and other courageous whistleblowers. The next step was to dump the mental death expert(s) and their lethal, useless poisons and destructive bogus stigmas as well as any and all abusers in one’s life while focusing on developing a healthier lifestyle of nutritious food as described in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s superb book, EAT TO LIVE, exercise, regular sleep, stress reduction, spirituality, better relationships, etc.

      I think it is already very well known how much the mental death profession has harmed untold people and destroyed countless lives. It is time to fight to abolish biological psychiatry as a crime against humanity and a threat to every human being’s civil, human and democratic rights. It is 100% fraud and should not be tolerated by any decent society.

  2. Great article Bob!

    Your proposal that research be funded and done on the negative effects of psych drugs on children and adults who are taking them seems as necessarily obvious and logical as to ask your question- ‘Why didn’t the Scripps DNA study consider the obvious possible effects of psych drugs in their ‘gold standard’ study?’

    To help me shake of the surreal sense that I am not like Alice in Wonderland as I consider this, I find myself remembering that the title of your first liberating book was-‘Mad in America: Bad Science,bad medicine, and the enduring mistreatment of the mentally ill.’

    The title of your book explains to me in a nutshell what is happening that otherwise makes no sense.

    Can we have good science, good medicine and the end to the enduring mistreatment of the so-called mentally ill as long as drug companies and bio-psychiatry both have such enormous stakes in the research you propose not being done?

    Can we ever count on world class researchers, like those at Scripps, who are apparently now so blindly seeking the holy grail of proving the cause of so-called schizophrenia, that they have become stuck in the bio-psychiatry echo chamber of ‘bad science’ to such a degree that they overlooked such a fatal flaw in their study?

  3. A similar study is happening at UCLA and USC as we speak! –

    Participants needed for a research study on BIPOLAR DEPRESSION

    Are you 18-65 years of age?

    Have you been struggling with DEPRESSION, including:

    * Loss of interest or low energy
    * Sleeping problems or change in appetite
    * Feelings of worthlessness

    Have you ever had a period of time when you had increased energy or irritability, needed less sleep, had too many ideas to keep track of, or your thoughts jumped from topic to topic?

    If so, we want to hear from you. Qualified participants will receive free investigational medication, doctor visits and financial compensation.

    You may be compensated up to $375.

    To learn more, please call Ana at: 310-794-6663

    Visit our website at: http://www.uclamood.org

  4. The solution is already available. All of the effects on the brain ARE from the drugs, because there was no disease in the first place. This is because schizophrenia and schizo-affective (and bipolar, often) are nonsense labels for people with spiritual experiences and beliefs by atheistic psychiatrists. For 50 years psychiatry has been falsely calling christians schizophrenic. ALL christians would be called schizophrenic, by them, and millions have been.
    The Definition of Mental Illness needs to be challenged in the first place; that will reveal the fact that everything else IS from the drugs.
    My work addresses this issue.
    God sent me into the mental health system to be a witness against it and write a book, FREE on my website, Manual for Transformational Healing-God’s Answer to Psychiatry. It exposes atheistic psychiatry & their genocide by toxic drugs, which are deadly, BY DESIGN, & tells how to heal mental & physical illness thru prayer. http://www.1prophetspeaks.com
    I used to live in Cambridge MA for 12 years. It was in MA that I first became a mental patient, after having become a Christian.
    A court clinician said to me “if you believe in the bible, you’re mentally ill” and sent me there. He would consider my religious beliefs a “delusion”, a supposed symptom of schizophrenia! This is how most of the dr’s are.
    I spent 7 years total in psych hospitals over a 10 year period, both in MA and NY. I saw that 90% of patients were NOT ill; they were Christians. 95% of psychiatrists & psychologists are atheists. This is what I saw. This is the problem; it is theological, not biological.
    Dr’s 2nd question is always “DO you hear voices?” Anyone who says they hear God or demons is thought by them to have auditory hallucinations, a supposed symptom of psychosis. But it is NORMAL Christian theology to hear voices! Jesus said “my sheep hear my voice.” John 10:27 The correct answer is that EVERYONE hears voices, as thoughts in our heads. They come from the spiritual realm. The word ‘inspiration’ means ‘a spirit goes into it’.

    Most dr’s are theologically ignorant of New Testament theology. That is 1 reason God had me write the book – to inform them & get them to repent.
    Mental and physical illness, according to the new testament, is from demonic oppression. Jesus rebuked spirits and gave his followers authority to do it. It works . I have rebuked Canc-, asthma, depress-, and been healed.
    The problem with psychiatry is that they have been calling Christians, who hear from God, mentally ill just like people who are oppressed by demonic spirits. They make no distinction.
    All Christians would be called schizophrenic by atheistic psychiatrists, and millions have been.
    The nazis killed mental patients with psych meds in the t4 euthenasia program. This genocide has continued worldwide using mental health as a cover. Dr Peter Breggin exposed the t-4 genocide. http://www.breggin.com
    The nazi genocide of psych patients was a stealth genocide of christians, who they falsely called mentally ill. The nazis were devil worshippers, anti-christians, pretending to be catholics.
    This genocide has continued worldwide since. It is why God sent me into the psych system to witness it.
    The mental health system is run by masons, who are also devil worshippers. That is why psychiatry has such an anti-God agenda.
    When I was first at the hospital, where I wrote the book, I kept seeing a truck go by that said “WB MASON” I sensed intuitively that God was hinting to me that Masonry had some connection to psychiatry, and when I got out and did research, saw that this is true.
    I have seen the handbook for the 32nd level scottish rite; it was written by albert pike, a sata–st, who said “we worship the luciferian principle but we don’t tell the lower levels this.”
    The first head of the NIMH Dr Robert Hanna Felix, was director of 32nd level scottish rite psychiatric research. He ran MKULTRA< the CIA brainwashing program that programmed assassins (using drugs) which has continued under a different name. The CIA is run by ex nazis scientists who came to the US after WWII under Operation Paperclip.
    The mental health system is completely unconstitutional;
    it violates the first amendment for religious freedom,
    the anti-slavery amendment (they use patients as involuntary medical guinea pigs, which is involuntary servitude, or slavery),
    the amendment against cruel & unsual punishment since the drugs are toxic and torture;
    and the due process amendments with regard to psych hearings.
    All of these legal issues should be addressed. BY the supreme court! They could be remedied by executive orders by governors and the president, making it illegal to hold anyone or treat them involuntarily in a civil commitment, overriding all the unconstitutional state mental health laws which allow all this. ch 1 of my book addresses legal issues & is help for lawyers. http://www.1prophetspeaks.com
    Most state hospitals hold people involuntarily for years just to get insurance money. It is all insurance fraud. This is what happened to me. The only way out is to escape, which I did, multiple times. They are concentration camps, not hospitals. I saw several people die from the drugs, both from side effects, & including people driven to suicide by them.
    See my article "The mental health system is a FRONT for nazi genocide-an eyewitness account & excerpts from the book The Men Behind Hitler-a German warning to the world by Bernhad Shrieber." http://www.1prophetspeaks.blogspot.com/2011/08/mental-health-system-is-continuation-of.html
    Shrieber talks about the social engineers in the US and UK who supported eugenics & euthenasia, who supported HItler. Many were psychiatrists.
    The nazi institute for racial hygiene changed their name to Mental Hygiene, another name for mental health, after WWII. Mental Hygiene is the cover they are using to continue their genocide, by drugs, of blacks, jews, christians, mentally ill, the poor, and others.
    See my article "Quotes showing real agendas behind mental health & education". These include: mind control, atheism, genocide, world government. http://www.1prophetspeaks.blogspot.com/2011/09/quotes-showing-real-agendas-behind.html
    Sigmund Freud, the atheist father of psychiatry, said "I consider myself to be the greatest danger to religion."
    The nazis used fluoride in the water in the camps to make prisoners docile. Fluoridated water is mass medication of the population, for mind control & genocide. It is a toxic waste, the ingredient in rat poison. Toothpastes with it say to call poison control if swallowed. It does not improve teeth – that is a BIG LIE to snooker the public. Sodium fluoride causes brain damage, cancer, bone fractures. IQs are 20 points lower where they use it. 65% of the US and UK use it, NYC does, Europe banned it. FLuoride is also in all the antipsychotic and anti-depressants which do the same thing they stupify people, to brainwash them. Fluoride is also sneakily in most bottled water, many drinks & foods. antidotes include vitamin C, apple pectin, chlorella & other herbs.
    See article "Warning toxic fluoride in drinking water, drugs & foods". http://www.1prophetspeaks.blogspot.com/2010/06/fluoride-in-drinking-water-and-drugs.html
    http://www.1prophetspeaks.com

  5. I have been reading Robert Whitaker’s web sites and superb books for a long time. I’ve been recently reading ANATOMY OF AN EPIDEMIC and for the most part, he more than puts in to words and undeniable scientific proof of what I and all too many others have come to learn about what I now call the mental death profession.

    The only thing that bothers me in reading this book is that Whitaker seems to assume that all bipolar and other fraud diagnoses are legitimate in the sense that the deceived victims have such symptoms as mania, psychosis and other supposed bipolar symptoms even if many are iatrogenic.

    Although it seems he does mention in passing that many stigmatized children have suffered much abuse, he doesn’t seem to acknowledge that a vast majority of adults who go for help or end up in the mental death system (a majority women and children) have suffered domestic, work or other abuse or bullying/mobbing from a more powerful person or orgnizations. When the victims try to explain what is going on the mental death expert colluding with their fellows in the power elite falsely accuse the victims of being paranoid, delusional, bipolar, ADHD and other bogus stigmas that will further discredit, disempower them along with their stress/trauma symptoms from the abuse and rob them of all justice, their jobs, homes, assets and children. Being drugged into a zombie reinforces the bogus stigma and makes it more difficult if not impossible to escape the abusers with any justice. Employers and courts routinely rely on mental death experts to diagnose the victims into destruction and oblivion and get away with murder literally. Books that address this are DIVORCED FROM JUSTICE, TRAUMA AND RECOVERY as well as web articles by Dr. Frank Ochberg, Dr. Carole Warshaw, BULLYONLINE, Gary Namie’s bullying web site, THE MOBBING ENCYCLOPEDIA, WORKING WITH MONSTERS and countless others. Dr. Judith Herman says in her classic work TRAUMA AND RECOVERY, that most mental “health” experts know that most who they come in contact with have been abused, but like Dr. Carole Warshaw, domestic violence expert exposes, the mental death profession routine refuses to acknowledge the abuse while using the symptoms that include physical illness to label the victim crazy. Dr. Herman exposes that the most common fraud misdiagnosis/stigma for the abuse was borderline personality disorder in the past known to be no more than an insult garbage can label that would guarantee the victim would be treated with contempt, disrepect and refusal to acknowledge or “believe” him/her.

    I would appreciate it if Robert Whitaker would acknowledge that bipolar disorder became psychiatry’s latest fraud fad garbage can diagnosis just like schizophrenia before it to help destroy anyone who objected to abuse, exploitation and other injustice from the power elite, parents, spouses, bosses, etc. Women are still routinely being falsely committed by more powerful spouses looking to rob them of all assets and be rid of them as is true of families and others. See book, NOT TO PEOPLE LIKE US on upscale domestic violence.

    I cringe when Whitaker talks about those HAVING BIPOLAR DISORDER on this site and in his book as if this fraud label is at all true, scientific or otherwise. Most symptoms used to fraudulently stigmatize children and adults with bipolar are abuse stress/trauma symptoms like self medicating, addictive or self destructive behaviors, hypervigalence, obsessive thoughts and flashbacks about traumatic events,etc. So, even with dead people, just because a bunch of psychopaths stigmatized a bunch of people with bipolar and forced lethal poisons on them in the guise of medicine, doesn’t make it so.

    Also, the book THE MYTH OF THE CHEMICAL CURE, and many others expose that the mental death profession is only about social control for the power elite. The recent term “behavioral health” that could have only been invented by a psychopath is so obvious in terms of social control, it says it all.

    Finally, there was much financial incentive for the mental death profession to falsely accuse someone of being bipolar since this could guarantee a lifelong patient since the frauds had gotten insurance to recognize this as biological while this was not the case with PTSD and other labels or real problems. Also, the poison drugs fo bipolar were not approved for PTSD until much later, another incentive for fraud!! Recent studies have shown these lethal drugs useless for PTSD too. The DSM is a “blame the victim” death sentencing torture manual for those who have the least power, so let’s not dignifiy it by saying anyone really has any of the bogus labels listed there.

    Read Dr. David Healy’s MANIA: A SHORT HISTORY OF BIPOLAR DISORDER to see partly how this fraud came about thanks to the mental death profession in bed with BIG PHARMA!

    Also, Robert Whitaker should also consider the explosion of books and web sites about the narcissism/psychopathy epidemic that is taking its toll on these victims also falsely accused of being a mental case by the perpetrators and those they con. It is obvious that the majority if not all of the mental death profession practicing biological psychiatry or advocating for it have to be malignant narcissists and/or psychopaths to perpetrate such evil againt other humans since they are intraspecies predators by definition. See Dr. Robert Hare’s WITHOUT CONSCIENCE, SNAKES IN SUITS: WHEN PYCHOPATHS GO TO WORK, Dr. Martha Stout’s THE SOCIOPATH NEXT DOOR, Dr. John Clarke’s WORKING WITH MONSTERS, POLITICAL PONEROLOGY, THE MASK OF SANITY, TIM FIELD’s BULLYONLINE web site and many other sources about this worst plague, menace threatening our whole world.

  6. @donna camp, I’m quite sure that Whitaker is just trying to reach a larger audience with his pseudo-respect to mental health consumers. Just compare Mad in America to Anatomy of An Epidemic. I swear that whenever I read Mad in America, it makes me want to strangle psychiatrists to death with my bare hands. Yet when I read AOAE, it makes me want to fall asleep.

    But now look at the receptions. Mad in America seemed to only be regarded by psychiatric survivors and people who were anti-psychiatry. It’s dark, seemingly spiteful and aggressive writing style turned anybody that had any sympathy for mental health professionals away from it. For it’s time, I do believe Mad in America was by and far more damning that AOAE when it came to groundbreaking evidence. Even with the newer studies Whitaker presents in AOAE, they still just aren’t as ground breaking but instead are just a bit more sand added to the pile. Yet, as Mad in America was just that much more important for it’s time, it was also that much less regarded because of how it was written.

  7. January 20, 2012

    Mr. Whittaker may be right about big Pharma pushing drugs, but his approach to the whole problem of mental illness comes off as the outsider who knows it all about what he has never personally experienced. As someone with an engineering degree or two, I view with skepticism any depictions of science coming from Hollywood or journalism.

    Besides that, from what I have read so far, Mr. Whittaker’s approach is too narrow. I do not see him taking into account other things that have been devastating to people with psychiatric disabilities. Ironically, the passage of the ADA produced an overwhelming backlash. In its enforcement guidance for how to deal with people with psychiatric disabilities, it presented the case of a surly, poorly washed employee who had to be kept on.

    It was an effective bit of political sabotage. The number of white males with disabilities amounted to about 60% of all blacks, male and female, able and disabled (2000 Census). If the EEOC had not done this, its emphasis would have shifted dramatically from the concerns of the plurality of black females in its employ.

    Between this and the Post Office shootings, it prompted many editors, commentators and cartoonists to depict it as forcing business to hire the dangerously insane. Whereupon many businesses hired self-appointed consultants in risk avoidance, allegedly giving advice on how to detect employees with a potential for violence. Advice that merely identified people with mental illness and was based upon little if any science.

    One poor woman was fired merely for having anxiety attacks and bad dreams about being shot in her workplace. All it has taken since then, either to fire someone or to have them involuntarily committed, is a “reasonable” fear of violence. It hurts so bad to be refused a productive place in society, that many of us have turned to medication and disability.

    Mr. Whittaker also ignores certain environmental conditions. By 1960, W.L. Popham of the USDA-ARS contended that agriculture would fail without fertilizers and pesticides. One of these pesticides was a nasty chemical named Chlordane, which was banned in 1980 as too dangerous for any human contact. In one study (available on PubMed.gov), a comparison between two apartment buildings, one with wood treated with Chlordane as a termicide and the other not, found a strong correlation between Chlordane and neuromuscular and mental deficits.

    In the 1950s, my father sprayed the garden vegetables with it, which take it up through the skin and roots, air, water and soil. We ate it, breathed it and consumed it. His already bad temper became hair-triggered and extreme. He was using it around his home as a pesticide all the way up to 2000. We are all living with that legacy to this day. Everyone else in my immediate family has had either cancer or Parkinson’s. One has died. PubMed.gov lists journals with a host of nasty conditions associated with Chlordane. The cancers took about four or five decades to develop after initial exposure. Where does that fit in the time frame of increased psychiatric disability cited by Mr. Whittaker?

    I expect I got the bad neurological and immune effects, and I’m waiting for my turn at cancer and/or Parkinson’s. My later suicide attempts in the 1960s did not come about because I was taking big Pharma pushed neuroleptics. They came because an adult systematically destroyed my self-confidence and made me live in fear and shame. Not to mention dosing with Chlordane.

    Nor was that the only ugly experience in my life, counting death treats, a tornado, a lightening strike, a bad divorce, maiming by a drinking driver, abusive maltreatment in a hospital afterwards, major surgery looking for cancer and abusive treatment on the job. I’m taking psych meds because, after I felt safe enough that whoever I asked might not cut out a hunk of my brain or fry it with electricity, I was living in hell and asked for them. By that time, I could no longer get hired, so I have put up with the side effects that prevent me from doing higher math or computer programming. When a psychiatrist asked me what I wanted out of my visits, I told him that I wanted to get rid of the anger. He prescribed Depakote and it helped. It was the best of a bad set of choices, and one of the very few drugs that actually reduces symptoms without making me feel like I’m dying.

    So I find it a bit annoying and offensive that Mr. Whittaker might think he knows what is best for me. If he is politically correct, he wouldn’t dare tell a woman that he knows how it feels to get raped or to have a miscarriage. But like many others, he does not shrink from telling those of us with mental illness what choices to make. We don’t have a “National Organization of …” or a “National Association for the Advancement of …” that might teach him some sensitivity.

    If he wishes to do something really positive, perhaps he could look into state mental health codes. They treat us like the new Darkies who just can’t live without the oversight of State psychiatrists, and don’t deserve the same standard of justice as first class citizens. All only takes a few lies about a “reasonable fear of threat” to get involuntarily committed. The due process of even the mental health codes be damned. The only evidence, evaluation and judgment the Mental Health Court needs comes from the very facility that would keep us. For months if we don’t agree to accept the hearsay that put us there.

    Big Pharma is the easy target. Next time, try bigotry.

    • Yes, exactly. There are surely many reasons driving the disability rate up, but as Whitaker’s evidence has shown, at the very least current psychiatric treatments are not doing anything to help and at worse are causing disability in at least some people due to their adverse side effects. I am one of the people disabled by drug induced brain damage after having spent my childhood on psychiatric drugs, so I know that the drugs can definitely be the sole cause in at least some cases.

      But while reading your comment I couldn’t help but to think that you’re both right and wrong at the same time. You seem to be condemning Whitaker’s works as inaccurate because they do not take into account all the ways in which people can become mentally ill and/or disabled, but the focus of his works was to determine if the 300 billion dollar a year machine known as mental health treatment in the United States was doing any good to consumers and society as a whole.

    • One last thing though that I couldn’t help but to think about form your post:

      “Nor was that the only ugly experience in my life, counting death treats, a tornado, a lightening strike, a bad divorce, maiming by a drinking driver, abusive maltreatment in a hospital afterwards, major surgery looking for cancer and abusive treatment on the job. I’m taking psych meds because, after I felt safe enough that whoever I asked might not cut out a hunk of my brain or fry it with electricity, I was living in hell and asked for them. By that time, I could no longer get hired, so I have put up with the side effects that prevent me from doing higher math or computer programming.”

      And doesn’t it bother you that the appointed AUTHORITIES on mental illness chose to blame your brain instead of your life and circumstances? Doesn’t it bother you that while having hundreds of billions of dollars a year to work with in total, they offer you nothing but drugs and ssi? It bothers me. I cant believe that it doesn’t bother you.

  8. Thank you for your writing! Your work is a real game changer. The improvements you suggest must happen if the true aim of research is to help people rather than make salable products and bolster a profession at whatever cost.

    I wonder how such wide-spread lapses in logic are possible in a scientific community that presumably has a lot of smarts to work with. I suppose that professional training (MS, PhD) does not necessarily equal self awareness (of ulterior motives, for example) or big picture and historical awareness.

    Luckily, there are people out there who are calling for more discerning methods, such as yourself in this article calling for a reallocation of research dollars, for better questions, and more logical studies/ that take confounding elements into account and question the reliability of composite findings.

    I wish there were better structures in place to evaluate the logic of studies (before, during, and after they happen) and to keep industrial interests in check in order to protect patients from being sacrificed (whether intentionally or not) as mere consumers. I wish there was a streamlined way of getting this information out there widespread in a way that could compete more effectively with interests that have a large monetary and status-quo backing. I think articles like this show that we are moving in that direction–the right questions are being asked and a lot of us are interested (a lot of us are effected by the questions and answers). There are people seeing the problems and opening up the dialogue. I look forward to seeing who will take up these new questions you pose for future research.

    Thank you, and onward!

  9. As usual, brilliant writing. Thank you for posting this. In reflection, I believe that these world class researchers knew full well that they should have done that simple step in determining whether lab rats (although I am against using animals for research)showed the same “brain cell malfunction”. It was a very fundamental procedure. And this “overlapping” misrepresentation further demonstrates (imho) that they once again fully understood the implications of this. I believe from the outset they never had any integrity to conduct true research practice; but instead, just another unethical expedition in the intangible quest for connecting the physical body as a cause-effect relationship for schizophrenia (gene expressions and all!) Excellent exposure to serious unethical practice in research.

  10. Don’t forget that people in psychosis who are truly drug naive people that have been carefully selected may show different brain scans. But that doesn’t validate the disease model – it just shows that lots of stuff happens in the brain during psychosis. We’ve also shown that lots of stuff happens in the brain during sex or storytelling, or probably foreclosure and bankrupty if you check people in those mental states. My best friend Ken Braiterman taught me that psychosis is just my normal response to stress, like other people get ulcers or back pain or arthritis.

    http://wellnesswordworks.com/how-distress-language-cured-corinna-wests-psychosis/

    • I recently verified the term, “psychosis” and it is one who sees things that aren’t there, is delusional, etc.

      As I said in my post above, the vast majority of biological psychiatrists have to be pathological liars and probably psychopathic malignant narcissists for creating this unbelievable fraud plague against humanity and continuing the scam against all evidence and in spite of the massive harm and millions of lives they destroyed. I have been studying this and other issues for many years and the evil of this monstrous profession boggles my mind.

      To clarify, I have repeatedly praised Robert Whitaker for his superb research in ANATOMY OF AN EPIDEMIC that added greatly to my knowledge about the criminal enterprise of biological psychiatry. I realize that Mr. Whitaker had to maintain a professional distance to approach the subject in an evenhanded, credible, scientific manner since the vultures of psychiatry are looking for any slight loophole to discredit, silence, disempower and destroy any of their critics whether from so called patient victims or fellow professionals like Mr. Whitaker. So, as I have said elsewhere, I am very grateful for the superb job he did in this book and though he doesn’t come right out and say it directly, this is one of the most damining exposures of the evil, corruption, fraud and menace of what I now call the mental death profession.

      My ONLY criticism or PLEA is that in future publications, now that Mr. Whitaker has done the research, he has to know that all psychiatric stigmas in the junk science DSM “bible” libel lie of bogus biological psychiatry is 100% fraud per Dr. Paula Caplan, Dr. Fred Baughman, Dr. Peter Breggin and many others. Even Dr. David Healy of whom I disapprove because he does practice some of this fraud including brain damaging ECT, exposes the recent bipolar spectrum diagnosis is nothing but a huge fraud fad explosion of what might have been labelled anxiety or some lesser labelel only to push the latest lethal drugs on patent like Depakote given the fraud name of mood stabilizers and the now multibillion dollar poisons atypical antipsychotics, both of which do nothing for any symptoms under the fraud stigma of bipolar. Even Dr. Francis, editor of the DSM IV admits they created huge epidemics of bipolar, ADHD and autism, claiming to suddenly have developed a conscience along with the evil originator of the deadly farce DSM who tended to view other humans as rock and insect specimens with no humanity like himself, the infamous Dr. Robert Spitzer.

      Anyway, I realize I present quite a challenge here but I hate to aid and abett the current NAZI DOCTORS by even pretending for a second that their bogus labels and fables to commit more crimes against humanity have any validity whatsoever!

      May I suggest to the noble whistleblower and advocate for those harmed by the mental death profession to at least put their bogus labels in quotation marks as does Dr. Thomas Szasz when discussing the “science of lies” or “the therapeutic state” or cruel compassion to expose the fraud of biological psychiatry??

      My heart goes out to people who have suffered much in their lives due to many factors from their toxic environments, but as a wise person pointed out here, since the mental death profession not only refuses to acknowledge any of these toxic environmental stressors or injustices in its bogus diagnoses deliberately, but heaps all the more abuse, fraud, lies, injustice, harm and betrayal to retraumatize the victim, it would seem that once the victim wakes up to this, the last thing he/she would want to do is see a mental death expert.

      I realize that Robert Whitaker cannot write like this and be accepted by journalist, medical or other standards, but he does a superb job of exposing these criminals just by calmly and carefully building his case by writing in exhaustive detail with tons of evididence the horrific, sordid history of a group of psychopathic criminals passing themselves off as doctors with every intention do DO NOTHING BUT HARM for their own greed, status, power, malice and sadism knowingly and deliberately.

      Thank you again Robert Whitaker for these great gifts to humankind. I regret if you and others misunderstood my other emails to mean anything but my immense gratitude to you for your dedicated and superb work and advocacy for those silenced and disempowered by the mental death profession. I did want to point out that just because one of these proven pathological lying frauds says somebody is delusional or psychotic, it sure doesn’t make it so especially when saying so means much profit to the mental death expert and the destruction of the unsuspecting “patient.”

  11. Feb.23 I lost my son to suicide after 32 year diagnosis of Schizophrenia. Pharma dominated treatment and it’s advocates murdered him. For new model neuro-research must be accompanied by Medicare reform to include neuro-science allowing ‘true’ diagnosis instead of current pseudo-psychiatric subjective guesswork.

    Having authored the classic in that field, I assure you neuro-science/brain abnormality data holds the key to effective treatment/risk aversion/suicide prevention.

  12. There’s a new article called “Epigenetics of psychoactive drugs” published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. If someone on this site has access and can review it, let us know if it is a step in the direction that Bob has called for above.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2042-7158.2012.01475.x/abstract

    Key findings:  Evidence suggests that epigenetic modulations play key roles in psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The analysis of epigenetic aberrations in the mechanisms of psychoactive drugs helps to determine dysfunctional genes and pathways in the brain, to predict side effects of drugs on human genome and identify new pharmaceutical targets for treatment of psychiatric diseases.

    Summary:  Although numerous studies have concentrated on epigenetics of psychosis, the epigenetic studies of antipsychotics are limited. Here we present epigenetic mechanisms of various psychoactive drugs and review the current literature on psychiatric epigenomics. Furthermore, we discuss various epigenetic modulations in the pharmacology and toxicology of typical and atypical antipsychotics, methionine, lithium and valproic acid.

  13. I’ll suggest a few of my thoughts.

    Study the “sch” family of words (school & schizophrenia are probably the two most popular). There’s a word, I can’t remember it, but it has something to do with oceanic life. That makes me think of …Cerebral Fluid.

    Quick look on wiki introduces to me another “sch” word: ischemia

    Good luck to the schientists. Heh.