Every Drink Spiked

This post is written anonymously (see Petra’s story).

I outlined how my daughter Petra came to take Cymbalta on this blog a few months ago (see Petra’s story; also see Symbolta of Sorts). This post tells of events that led to her coming off the medication.

Petra is an enthusiast for motor sport events. She has been on track days, hill climbs and driver training events. She is a member of an Italian car club. She is a safe, smooth and confident driver, who has held a driver’s license since age 17 – for over six years now. She has had no disqualifications or accidents.

Shortly after starting Cymbalta, she noticed that alcohol seemed to affect her judgment while driving. So she stopped driving if she had had any drink. This was easy because at the time she would tend to drink quite heavily or not at all.

One afternoon she had two glasses of beer (8 oz each) while listening to music at a city venue. The event ran for most of the afternoon. She felt happy to drive home. On the way home she was stopped for a random breath test and to her horror recorded a 0.05 Blood Alcohol level on the police breathalyzer. Fortunately, the police officer decided that since the reading was exactly 0.05 and probably falling, she could wait in her car for a while and then continue home.

This was very close to a disaster. In Australia a reading of 0.05 or higher means that your driver’s license may be suspended pending a court hearing, which is likely to result in a fine plus automatic license disqualification for a minimum of 3 months. The loss of independence and convenience and the loss of something that she takes pride in would have been a real blow.

I purchased an alcometer. A standard drink for Australian purposes is one that contains 10 gm (about 12.5 ml) of alcohol. One such standard drink can be expected to raise Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) by about 0.025 grams per 100ml of blood. BAC levels are commonly thought to fall at the rate of about 0.02 per hour.

We confirmed on several tests that Petra would return a reading of 0.04 per 375 ml of beer (this was 1.4 standard drinks). This was the first problem. The second was that the reading didn’t fall at the expected 0.02 per hour and her BAC would consistently show 0.08 for 2 beers and 0.12 for 3 beers consumed over 2-3 hours.

Petra’s friends, brother and myself all had much lower readings. The consistency of the tests was good. I also tested our device against a police roadside check and obtained the same result as the police device. Finding that Petra returned readings in excess of 0.2 after the consumption of several alcoholic beverages over quite long periods of time was a shock and a big concern. Clearly alcohol was going to be a serious problem for her under these circumstances.

Petra raised this with her doctor, whose response was dismissive – your device was ‘probably inaccurate’. A local pharmacist observed that some young women return much higher readings than expected and that this was probably ‘normal for them’. Our solicitor said that ‘Magistrates are not interested in young women who claim to have only had 2 drinks’.

Petra has now stopped Cymbalta. She says that alcohol does not now seem to affect her anywhere near as much.

So we ran the test again, with the same device as before. This time she returned a reading of 0.03 soon after the consumption of 2 x 375 mls beers, where the figure was 0.08 for the same drinks while taking Cymbalta. This is almost the same as her brother’s reading of 0.02 for the same consumption.

She then had one 375 ml drink with lunch and we checked how quickly her levels fell. She returned a reading of 0.00 1 hour and 35 mins after the start of lunch.

Conclusion: Cymbalta more than doubles the effect of alcohol for some people at least. This could lead to and probably has led to regrettable consequences including harm to self and others, loss of driving licenses, fines, and other losses.

Eli Lilly’s prescribing information for Cymbalta is as follows:

7.16 Alcohol

When Cymbalta and ethanol were administered several hours apart so that peak concentrations of each would coincide, Cymbalta did not increase the impairment of mental and motor skills caused by alcohol.

17.10 Alcohol

Although Cymbalta does not increase the impairment of mental and motor skills caused by alcohol, use of Cymbalta concomitantly with heavy alcohol intake may be associated with severe liver injury. For this reason, Cymbalta should not be prescribed for patients with substantial alcohol use

There is no mention of the risks Petra ran and others seem likely to be running.

DH Comment:

It is difficult to explain this finding but if valid there is no reason to think these risks are confined to Cymbalta. The testing that drugs undergo does not test for this possibility. There are routine drug and alcohol driving simulation tests which an hour after alcohol often show better performance on the combination of drug and alcohol than on alcohol alone – but no-one tests what might be happening several hours later.

Cymbalta and many other drugs can have an effect on liver function. At present this seems the likeliest way to explain this effect.

In the meantime, anyone on any medication who thinks they might have been affected should check themselves out. Anyone who has ever had a driving conviction may have a case to have their conviction overturned on the basis of company negligence. The same may apply to anyone who has ever lost a job or had an accident at work.

Anyone paying increased premiums on their insurance as a result of a drunk driving accident or offence may have a case to reclaim their insurance payments.

There is an urgent need to establish the genetic bases behind effects like this. It is likely that not just Petra but others in her family would be similarly affected, and so it is not just the affected person who needs checking.

The implications for employers of possible accidents at work apparently linked to alcohol but not primarily caused by alcohol are immense.

The already high risks of birth defects and miscarriages in women of child-bearing years stemming from antidepressants, and possible mental handicap in their children, would be compounded in this case by additional increased risks from alcohol. A woman taking a single glass of wine, of which several a week should be harmless, might be exposing her child to riskier concentrations than she thought.

There are clearly issues here for health and other insurance companies covering occupational hazards at large corporations such as General Motors.

We are interested in every report we can get of people having problems that might be attributed to intoxication by alcohol and drugs as well as all possible reports of drug induced cravings for alcohol – See Out of my Mind: Driven to Drink. Please add your accounts to these posts to help get recognition for these issues

Readers can also view my blog posts (see Every Drink Spiked) and find further information at www.davidhealy.org or visit my Facebook page.


  1. Kermit,

    And while I’m at it, I’m happy to see that someone is making sure that the whole truth and nothing but the truth is told with regard to certain critical issues like ECT. I have found there hasn’t been any great need or urge for me to post since those doing so have been doing a great job addressing the usual critical issues of fear, force and fraud in “mental health.”

    However, it would be nice to see the Benthall and other critical recent studies posted here showing how ECT causes so much brain damage, loss of memory and cognitive dysfunction with no real benefit that its use cannot be justified in any way. Maybe I will post them in the near future. I certainly hope Dr. Healy becomes aware of these crucial studies soon.

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    • On his Twitter feed Healy says he is aware of Benthall and Read’s highly critical ECT literature review and finds it “flawed”.

      I underwent ECT because I believed the doctors that it was safe and effective and that it was the only way I could get some relief from the torment my broken brain was imposing on me. Healy and Shorter’s ECT book played a large role in convincing me that ECT was my best option. I had been very impressed with Healy’s books on antidepressants which had not helped me and I figured he was a reliable source.

      I take full responsibility for my decision to do ECT. I am not blaming Healy and Shorter or the doctors who couldn’t or wouldn’t provide truly informed consent. I let them fool me. 5 years post-ECT I still have major memory problems and ongoing cognitive deficits, but at least I have learned to trust myself and not the experts.

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      • Sonia,

        I’m so sorry to hear about your experience with ECT. This is why I think it is important that people know the truth about this barbaric treatment and not be fooled by those making large profits from it regardless of the great harm it does to its victims.

        Here is a hyperlink to Amazon to the highly acclaimed book, DOCTORS OF DECEPTION, by a woman who was greatly harmed by ECT. As you can see, this book is highly recommended by Robert Whitaker.

        I believe that Dr. Breggin has tried to warn people that Dr. Healy is now one of the major advocates of ECT, or what Dr. Breggin calls one of many barbaric brain disabiling treatments, so that people won’t be misled by Dr. Healy’s work exposing toxic drugs and other perils of psychiatry to trust him about ECT.

        I believe that you more than deserved full informed consent about the full risks and dangers of ECT that have been hidden and denied by psychiatry like its other brain damaging treatments all too long.


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        • Donna,

          Thank you for calling attention to Linda Andre’s book and for saying that I deserved full informed consent for ECT. Simple acknowledgements like that mean a lot. I thought I was well-informed when I chose ECT because I had read a lot of positive things about it as well as what the doctors told me.

          I have learned a lot since then and hope to make better choices in the future.

          I hope a lot of people will read Linda’s excellent book. I have a copy but wasn’t able to read very far because I found it too distressing. I’m hoping to heal more and read it next year.

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          • Sonia,

            I have read your comments elsewhere and here and you seem to be coping well in spite of your ECT ordeal. At least you, Linda and others caught on and stopped these damaging “treatments” so that you can make better choices after finding that one can no longer trust the medical profession either complicit or duped by BIG PHARMA/BUSINESS for the most part.

            Most if not all of us had to learn the heard way about “TOXIC PSYCHIATRY” (book by Dr. Peter Breggin) after being “shocked” to find we had been betrayed by so called doctors from whom we sought help and trusted only to find we or our loved ones had been given bogus life destroying stigmas from the junk science DSM for the purpose of pushing lucrative toxic tortures like neuroleptic drugs or ECT causing chemical or electrical lobotomies respectively.

            I realize this information can be upsetting, but it also helps to validate one’s reality after being invalidated all too long. Have you looked into ways to promote brain health naturally like eating healthy foods containing lots of Omega 3 fatty acids like salmon, walnuts, flax seed and others? Dr. Mark Hyman has good books like THE ULTRA MIND SOLUTION and THE BLOOD SUGAR SOLUTION for brain/body health. Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s great books like EAT TO LIVE promote eating lots of different vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Exercise is always helpful for brain/body health.

            Thanks for sharing. You are doing a tremendous service to others by sharing your own story about ECT to steer them away from it and/or validate theirs and your reality about it.


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          • Sonia,

            Addendum to my comment below since I ran out of buttons:

            Don’t forget B vitamins like niacin, B12 and others critical for brain/body health.

            Also, fish and flaxseed supplements in addition to eating fish is great for the brain.

            Every human has some kind of handicap and often people do self destructive, brain/body damaging things like street drugs, drinking too much alcohol, smoking, eating too much junk food and getting obese/diabetic/ill and on and on!

            So, if you focus on pursuing the best healthy life style for maximum mind, body and spirit, you may surpass many others taking their health for granted by destroying it!

            I recently read that high fructose corn syrup used as sugar for lots of processed and/or junk food makes people stupid while eating foods with Omega 3 fatty acids protects the brain from some of this damage. Now, just think if you skip the sugar and just eat the Omega 3’s and other good stuff along with more healthy habits. It seems you would be able to do as well or better than many people harming their brains and bodies due to their own toxic habits.

            I don’t pretend to be a doctor here. What I have said comes from some of the best doctors I’ve known or read. Your library can be a good source of information. Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard wrote EAT, DRINK AND BE HEALTHY and many web articles, and is one of the foremost nutrition experts in the U.S. I believe in checking lots of the best experts and make sure to keep up to date.

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      • Kermit,

        I know you posted that information in your news section and I had posted information about ECT before too that pretty much disapears into oblivion as new articles are posted. That’s why Anonymous has pledged to include a warning on each new article by Dr. Healy.

        Therefore, I think it’s a wonderful idea to have a resources section with critical information and studies on important issues like the brain and other damage caused by neuroleptics, ECT and other psychiatric “treatments.”

        I have also said that Dr. Healy is a very brilliant man who has made great contributions to psychiatric survivors by exposing the harm and fraud of BIG PHARMA/PSYCHIATRY’S toxic drugs and related neverending new DSM stigmas like bipolar that change like the wind depending on the latest drugs on patent as Dr. Heally exposes in his excellent book, MANIA.

        Therefore, I am the last person who would want to undermine Dr. Healy’s credibility as I believe is the case with Dr. Breggin if you read his article. Yet, Sonia is a perfect example of why Dr. Healy’s amazing support for ECT despite all the evidence that it causes brain damage must be exposed as a great inconsistency and danger compared to his all too credible attack on toxic psych and other drugs. People deserve full informed consent about dangerous treatments as Sonia and all too many ECT survivors make clear.

        Finally, Dr. Healy’s huge advocacy for ECT despite all evidence that it is deadly and brain damaging even by a major lifelong shock promoter undermines his credibility about his critical important exposure about psych drugs. Therefore, it is my sincere hope that Dr. Healy will give up the barbaric practice and promotion of ECT and fully join the reform movement of psychiatry because it badly needs him.

        My comment about the need to post recent ECT studies was not directed at you Kermit. I simply tried to make the point that the latest ECT studies would be helpful for better informed consent about ECT given Dr. Healy’s ongoing denial of such evidence leading to the consequences suffered by people like Sonia as she makes all too clear. The same is true of the author of DOCTORS OF DECEPTION.

        Have a nice day. Your posts have been great and very enlightening as usual.

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        • Thanks. I was merely happy for the opportunity to say that I had put the study up. It’s nice when I get to say that.
          Also that I’m hoping for there to be more fora, blogs, etc., available for the discussion of ECT. Somehow it persists as an almost more intransigent topic of conversation than medication, as many people who are inclined against medication seem to say; “however, for the most intractable depression, it seems…” So I do believe this is a conversation that needs more and better space than as merely a sidebar and distraction.
          It is our hope and intention to bring psychiatrists to this watering hole. I think the conversation that is evolving among the few that are here is proof of the benefit of that; as the initial, and predictable, points of difficulty are reached and dispensed with, there is room for deeper reflection on personal as well as academic and professional dimensions. I believe I see this happening and, if we can maintain, we can hope for more professionals, medical and otherwise, to join the conversation.
          I believe this is all happening. But threads that stay on topic, and civil, will help it to happen more.

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          • Kermit,

            You may have missed my other brief comment on the “Coercian” blog when you cited the dangers of Miss Ratched analogies when responding to bullies who target certain people for constant nit picking, unfair criticism, attacks on their credibility and esteem, dismissive, insulting remarks in the guise of facts and honest disagreement, and other nasty tricks that occur over a long period of time until the target has had enough and confronts the bully. Unfortunately, observers see the target’s reaction as over the top because they are not familiar with the long term covert tactics of many highly aggressive people described in Dr. George Simon’s highly acclaimed book, IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING. Such long term bullying can lead to mobbing by a group under the influence of the bully as was the case with infamous bullying/mobbing of Phoebe Prince.

            Needless to say, I felt targeted by your comment about Nurse Rached since you ignored a great deal of actual insulting name calling by others. I repeated there that I felt your take on this issue was quite one sided. I repeat this here because you have brought up the issue of “civility” again with me and due to our latest one sided critique of my past comments on the Coercion blog. Nobody here has a monopoly on objectivity.

            Some have found analogies to Nazi eugenics with the tactics of modern psychiatry offensive because the truth hurts.

            If you check out the review of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST on Amazon, you will see that the Nurse Ratched character is merely a metaphor for those in power and how they maintain their grip on power. I think when psychiatry claims that their bogous DSM stigmas are genetic, they are making the most uncivil, vile, violent, evil, eugenics, cruel, abusive, deadly, dangerous, insane, psychopathic, narcissitic, self serving, covert and most sadistic name calling and human rights violations ever.

            So, again, civility is in the eyes of the beholder.

            When you talk about remaining on topic I’m not sure if you are agreeing with the other critic here about responding to the current article rather than the fact Dr. Healy advocates ECT.

            Sadly, the information is all the more relevant here as Dr. Breggin points out because Dr. Healy has gained a great deal of credibility or at least acceptance by many in the reform movement as his dark ECT side has been ignored and/hidden to the huge detriment of many as Sonia aptly demonstrates above.

            CAVEAT EMPTOR!

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          • I think of the Stanford prison experiment, wherein those placed in a position of power took on roles and attitudes in relation to those without power, and vice versa, that were in no way present prior to the experiment. The effect was so swift and extreme that the experiment was halted in less than a week. All involved returned to their pre-experiment states, identities, and roles unharmed.
            I like to think the same can happen here (if we will grant that there is an analogy). I do believe that everyone does the best they can in the circumstances they find themselves in, as they see them. For something different to happen, the circumstances have to change, or the perception of them, or both.
            But when people are angry or afraid, it takes longer or becomes impossible for any of that to happen. Choices become limited and absolute. I’ve always found that if the anger or fear is ferreted out, amazing changes can and usually do occur; much more so and much more quickly than they do as a result of anger.
            This is not meant to say that people do not have good reasons to be angry or afraid. I certainly do not mean to say that.

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          • Kermit, This is an addendum to my comment below this. Note, ECT played a big role in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUKOO’S NEST FOR DEADLY POWER AND CONTROL AS IT DOES TODAY. So, the Nurse Rached analogy was quite apt with regard to psychiatry’s abuses of power with special emphasis on barbaric brain damaging treatments like ECT just like NAZI eugenics theories are also applicable to psychiatry’s human rights abuses today.

            Editorial Reviews

            One of the key movies of the 1970s, when exciting, groundbreaking, personal films were still being made in Hollywood, Milos Forman’s One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest emphasized the humanistic story at the heart of Ken Kesey’s more hallucinogenic novel. Jack Nicholson was born to play the part of Randle Patrick McMurphy, the rebellious inmate of a psychiatric hospital who fights back against the authorities’ cold attitudes of institutional superiority, as personified by Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher). It’s the classic antiestablishment tale of one man asserting his individuality in the face of a repressive, conformist system–and it works on every level. Forman populates his film with memorably eccentric faces, and gets such freshly detailed and spontaneous work from his ensemble that the picture sometimes feels like a documentary. Unlike a lot of films pitched at the “youth culture” of the 1970s, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest really hasn’t dated a bit, because the qualities of human nature that Forman captures–playfulness, courage, inspiration, pride, stubbornness–are universal and timeless. The film swept the Academy Awards for 1976, winning in all the major categories (picture, director, actor, actress, screenplay) for the first time since Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night in 1931. –Jim Emerson

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  2. Here is an article about long term prominent promoter of ECT, Harold Sackheim, finally admitting great decline in memory and cognitive function or brain damage from ECT from his long term studies funded by government grants. He denied such damage throughout his career blaming the victims’ so called “mental illness,” typical of psychiatry. He has recanted this lie and admitted he had long term ties with an ECT Device maker, which he illegally hid from grant and other authorities per the article below.


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  3. Many thanks to Dr. Healy for innovating a means for addressing the major symptom of ‘bad medicine’ in our vastly unchecked over-medicalized society. Providing a data base for health care consumers seems promising. In the U.S., this strategy was used to determine best outcome protocols for cancer treatment, used widely by oncologists, it is cited as the cause for both an increased survival rate and a cure for some types of childhood leukemia. The difference. of course, is that the cancer protocol data base was created for and used by physicians in both clinical practice and research.

    It is vital that health care consumers- have access to the information that physicians have failed to demand as prerequisite for prescribing a broad range of drugs that are marketed to the public and to them by the industry that defines, ‘bad science’, the pharmaceutical industry. As we know, our government institutions seem unconcerned about the slap shod studies that bring these drugs to market. Amongst the category of drugs known as psychotropics, metabolic and cardio-vascular adverse effects are the major cause of early death. In addition to concerns about alcohol use when taking these drugs, I think there may be cause to suspect that the possibility of liver toxicity- and other potential metabolic damaging effects of drugs like, Cymbalta could further compromise patients undergoing chemo therapy, or long term antibiotic treatment for chronic Lyme disease. Unfortunately, many Lyme patients are prescribed antidepressants as a panacea for mental, emotional and physiological symptoms of this poorly understood disease.

    While neuroscience has yielded promising, and quite amazing information about our mysterious brain’s capacity for healing and regenerating itself, many of these studies point to the still more mysterious and elusive aspects of the human condition, called, mind. Neuroplasty is the scientific term assigned to this brain function, and often correlates with the practice of meditation, positive mental outlook and even cognitive remediation therapy.
    so, jolly good that we have science behind claims that ‘the mind can remake the brain’- consciousness acting organically on our behalf!

    Quite possibly, all accounts of self healing- in all categories of physiological disease and impairment, is a spiritual/mind phenomena. This said, I feel somewhat compelled to point out that the creation of a patient/health care consumer generated data base, Dr. Healy’s innovation is a rather astounding breakthrough – not just in the realm of gathering crucial information about dangerous side effects of drugs, but in validating a sort of collective unconsciousness; a wonderful means for affirming the human potential to transcend all threats to our survival. This becomes all the more validating as factual, personal experiences are shared and then evaluatetd by the foremost authority on data based medicine!

    And, dare I suggest that those who post on Dr. Healy’s blog, do us all a huge favor and offer comments on what is actually presented in the blog post? Of course, that would entail reading the material presented – a simple display of respect for the blogger, perhaps, but also a demonstration of respect for readers who wish to engage in discussion about the material. Thank you for considering this.

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      • Thank you, anonymous! I hope you will continue to post this very important warning label. As I said, I figured the author of books like “Let Them Eat Prozac” would know what’s really going on in psychiatry. Sadly, in the case of ECT, Healy is either fooled or complicit.

        I still greatly admire Healy’s pharma books–I just wish I could have my pre-ECT brain back.

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      • How fortunate for you, then- that your keen sense of social justice and your capacity for poignant self expression were not impaired by ECT. How reassuring!

        I suppose you are making a jolly good case for damage in the area of the brain that perceives social cues, thus rendering respectful discourse or self restraint rather difficult to mediate.

        Thank you for helping me view your “shilling” notices from a more humanistic, compassionate perspective.

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          • Sonia,

            Don’t let anyone silence you ever!! You have a crucial, important story to tell about ECT and how people like you are deceived by those advocating for this barbaric “treatment” causing people much harm, fear and regret not to mention the usual invalidation of negative effects.

            I have taken much heat for sharing the truth exposed by Dr. Breggin above that Dr. Healy is a great ECT advocate. Your story shows how crucial it is to warn people about ECT in such sheep’s clothing.

            Therefore, I thank you for sharing your story and letting me know that my concern that vulnerable people could be misled by Dr. Healy’s seeming role as a reform psychiatrist with regard to psych drugs while pushing dangerous ECT is all too true!

            I have nothing to gain by this since my loved ones were never threatened by ECT, but rather toxic drugs. I see both brain damaging treatments as an equal threat to all.

            Again, I am glad you saw the light before it was too late. We all had to be enlightened by someone willing to speak the truth. You are very brave!

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  4. This article peaked my interest. A friend I knew in college claimed that his alcohol tolerance increased when he was on Prozac- like he could drink more before feeling effects of drinking. Now I wonder what his actual BAL was when he drank more, as well as whether or not it was just his sense that he wasn’t affected? I’ve also heard people on these antidepressants say that drinking worked well for occasional bouts of restless irritability. Wondering if they were medicating the side effect, akathisia. All very disturbing. Points to a real need to sort out the effects of alcohol and antidepressants since so many college aged people are taking them.

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  5. Kermit,

    I had commented on the prison experiments you cite and Milgrams’ shock experiments showing that seemingly normal humans could do horrible things when led to believe they could be absolved of responsibility by those in power in an email to you. Yet, people did react differently in these experiments in that some were more aggressive than others in the prison experiments and some refused to shock others to seeming death in the shock experiments in spite of the so called authority. So, the experiments DO NOT prove that all people are evil or will react the same under certain diffcult circumstances or when ordered by so called authorities as you seem to imply. And I disagree that all people are capable of the same evil given those whose behaviors fall under those labelled psychopathy per Dr. Robert Hare, the world’s foremost authority on psychopaths.

    I hardly think unfairly blaming one person in a dispute is a way to bring about civil, fair, safe dialog, which I think happened to me and more recently another person on the “Coercion” blog. Others seem to get more favorable treatment due to their credentials or ties with more powerful people. Perhaps as the moderator it is difficult to follow the long thread of not so subtle abuse to the target that may lead to a seemingly sudden harsh response or reaction from the target coming out of nowhere. Certain people posting seem to bring out anger in many people since they are very generous with their harsh criticism to all.

    Anyway, I guess we will just have to agree to disagree here. I still appreciate all the great things you do here too!

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    • It is true that, as I have said, I really can’t read every word that everyone writes here. I just don’t have the time. And I also wouldn’t want to respond to every example of less-than-ideal civil discourse even if I could. So I will admit that when I’m pressed for time, and not reading for pleasure, I might skip over some posts by people with whom I’m generally familiar and zero in on some about whom I’ve received complaints or otherwise am aware I should keep notice of. I apologize if this means I’ve missed posts that should have been noted; but since most of the conversation is about trying to find a generally understood and accepted tone and standard, not necessarily ferreting out every possible candidate for deletion, I hope that’s okay. You, for instance, write extremely interesting things that occasionally become somewhat bellicose. So I hope you can note the uneven attention, if in fact it has been so, for both its positive and negative implications.

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      • Kermit,

        Again, “bellicose” comments are in the eyes of the beholder. Thank you for letting me know I’ve been singled out for special attention. It’s been quite obvious ever since I was the one who first exposed that Dr. Healy is a great ECT advocate per Dr. Peter Breggin’s article above. That’s what started the neverending bullying, undermining and targeting by a great defender of ECT and Dr. Healy who came off like his twin for which I was blamed. I find that very interesting. And some things are black and white and not debatable like the fact that ECT and neuroleptics DO cause brain damage!! No point in having lots of so called experts to explore these issues in a great one sided debate with would be victims here. But, that’s my humble opinion.

        As I said, I haven’t done a great deal of posting since I was chastised again because others have been doing an excellent job of seeing through and exposing the fear, force and fraud typical of psychiatry and in far more “bellicose” ways than I would ever dare to use. Perhaps that’s why they didn’t get yours and others’ attention; they didn’t expose Dr. Healy’s ECT advocacy.

        Despite the above consequences, given stories like Sonia’s and Linda’s above, I am still glad I shared that Dr. Healy is the latest, greatest advocate of ECT. It also makes me admire and respect Dr. Peter Breggin all the more for his neverending complete and honest advocacy for psychiatric survivors and/or would be victims.

        Thanks for the input. I think you have still missed many of my points in that one can make very dangerous “bellicose” statements in the guise of technical, scientific and medical language.

        I regret that I have apparently upset you, but I must be as honest about how I see this situation as you believe you have been here.

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      • Kermit,

        I am all too well aware of the source of those complaints about me, most of which stemmed from my exposing the truth about Dr. Healy’s ECT advocacy and getting stalked and bullied as a result from then on. Like Dr. Breggin, I was left shocked and blindsided when a seeming reform person viciously attacked psych drugs and prescribers only to reveal herself as another ECT advocate. Now, I know exactly how Dr. Breggin felt when he learned about Dr. Healy’s ECT advocacy after inviting him into the reform movement. For those who judge Dr. Breggin harshly, I can assure you this feels like a huge betrayal and that you have been made a total fool. Most people on this site were not aware of that history I felt needed to be exposed. Like others, I was censored for a comment during the heated debate in response to Dr. Moffit’s first post, but don’t know which comment. Having dealt with sexism all of my life I do not like double standards.

        I feel like I am in grade school with tattle tales running to the teacher. I have not come running to you about comments to me or others I found offensive, so I guess it is different strokes for different folks. I think running to you with complaints is just another from of bullying.

        Anyway, I was maintaining my right to remain silent until you brought up this past debacle implicating me again as as the only one at fault on the recent “Coercion” blog. I will continue in that silent mode unless I feel a compelling need to set the record straight again where I or others are concerned.

        Thank you again for your efforts.

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  6. Dear Readers,

    For those who wish to participate in the discussion or simply gather more information pertaining to the topic of this blog, please visit: http://www.davidhealy.org

    After conducting a personal survey- I found that it may be an erroneous assumption that readers of Dr. Healy’s posts on MIA are trying to decide whether or not to have ECT- or whether or not he qualifies as the gold standard psychiatry reformer.

    I have a suggestion: Since comments on this blog reflect an agenda to discredit Dr. Healy. Perhaps a NEW blog could be created for this purpose on MIA. Readers would then know that the contents (blog and discussion) will enlighten them regarding the views of any particular faction of the psychiatry reform movement. Until a purposeful outlet can be created for the criticisms of Dr. Healy and other psychiatrists who blog here, I would suggest closing the comment section on Dr. Healy’s posts on MIA- with referral to his web site for discussion.

    I offer my viewpoint with respect for the area of expertise Dr. Healy is well-credentialed to provide. The urgent need to safeguard both health care consumers and caring providers from the horrific effects of pharmageddon is surely a worthy enough cause…

    No slight intended to those with other more personal agendas –

    Thank you.

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  7. I do not believe the goal is to discredit Dr. Healy here. I think it is understood that Dr. Healy is an expert on psych drugs and has made a great contribution in this field. Since he has exposed many of the dangers of psych drugs and dubious everchanging DSM labels like bipolar, this has given Dr. Healy a great deal of credibility and influence in the reform movement and the medical profession in general.

    On the other hand, it has not been well known that Dr. Healy is a major advocate of ECT, another brain damaging treatment like many of the psych drugs he criticizes along with others. As evident from Sonia’s story above, this inconsistent approach by Dr. Healy on the two brain damaging treatments of psych drugs and ECT can put vulnerable people at great risk due to the lack of full knowledge or informed consent.

    Dr. Healy’s expertise and excellent reputation regarding psych drugs, the role of BIG PHARMA in medicine and related issues is not in dispute. Rather, it is this very expertise, credibility and renown in this main area of drugs in psychiatry that puts people at risk to believe that Dr. Healy’s credibility about ECT is equally valid.

    I find Dr. Healy’s mainly drug articles at MIA very informative and interesting and I read them avidly all the time. I understand that Dr. Healy does not tend to respond here, but rather at his own site, so I have limited my comments here.

    The truth is I believe Dr. Healy is better off if people know he advocates ECT. If his followers invest a great deal of trust in Dr. Healy due to his drug expertise only to find out his position on ECT is not consistent with that of psych drugs, they can feel very betrayed and even suffer harm as is the case with Sonia above when they discover this inconsistency the hard way.

    Again, Dr. Healy’s work on psych drugs is very much respected and appreciated by the reform movement, so I would deeply regret having his credibility in this area undermined because people felt betrayed or that all of his work lacks credibility due to his position on ECT. That’s why ECT has been treated as totally separate issue here in my opinion.

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  8. with regard to:

    >The truth is I believe Dr. Healy is better off if people know he advocates ECT. If his followers invest a great deal of trust in Dr. Healy due to his drug expertise only to find out his position on ECT is not consistent with that of psych drugs, they can feel very betrayed and even suffer harm as is the case with Sonia above when they discover this inconsistency the hard way <

    Having stated what you believe to be true and defending your beliefs thoroughly, how do you reconcile the absence of Dr. Healy's endorsement of your actions, and the discomfort- and reservations of readers who feel that your actions are disrespectful to and disrruptive to the purpose of Dr. Healy's articles here?

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    • Ms. Manners,

      Regarding your response to Donna’s comment above, I would be curious to know how you reconcile your recommendations with those of readers who appreciate Healy’s pharma critiques but are disturbed by his views on ECT.

      In addition, I fail to see why anyone would need Dr. Healy’s endorsement of their actions to comment on his blog in a credible way.

      It seems to me that the point of this site is not to grant any one contributor absolute credibility but to discuss psychiatry openly and honestly. I find Healy’s work on Pharma credible and admirable, and I find his work on ECT dubious at best. In my opinion, this strange inconsistency is not something to be suppressed but something to be examined.

      I would love to hear from anyone here who currently finds Healy’s ECT views reliable. I used to find them reliable myself. Ms. Manners, I can’t tell if your objections stem from the fact that you support his ECT views or if you merely find them a distraction. I would be genuinely curious to know.

      You suggest above that I am unable to participate appropriately in this debate because ECT has damaged the part of my brain which interprets social cues thereby making respectful discourse difficult for me to mediate. You also state that in fact I make a “jolly good case” for such damage.

      I trust that you will interpret my remarks in light of these difficulties.

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      • Sonia, you ask:

        > I would be curious to know how you reconcile your recommendations with those of readers who appreciate Healy’s pharma critiques but are disturbed by his views on ECT. D r. Healy is better off if people know he advocates ECT.<

        That is her presumption, opinion. The ability to know what's in another's best interest- when the other is personally unknown-? I think Dr. Healy has written other blogs that reflect his views on ECT. Opportunities for commentary exist there- I presume that he is capable of disclosing his views, author of several books, articles. There is no evidence that he is with holding his views. And equally little evidence that Donna knows what is in his best interests.

        If the one who’s views you want to examine is not participating in the dialogue, then all that is being examined are the personal opinions of the examiners- Whatever your conclusion, it is still presumptive speculation. When it comprises the whole thread of a discussion following a pharma issue article, it reads as self serving. It comes off as disrespectful to the blogger. Could you not just compose an op-ed piece? or lobby for another blog spot on the webzine for this examination of each other’s feelings and opinions?

        I apologize for not realizing the comment I responded to contained a quote from you. My sarcastic remark was meant as a rhetorical comment to the poster, anonymous- I do not believe you are incapable of engaging in debate or believe myself capable of assessing damages to anyone I respond to on line. And I certainly am not discounting the validity or significance of your personal experience with ECT. In the context of a discussion thread for a pharma article- one that asked for input from readers pertaining to experience with alcohol and antidepressants- the merits of this ECT discussion/examination are lost, in my opinion.

        I hope you will read the same article on Dr. Healy’s web site- There you will find a most interesting discussion of the topic. Judging from the limited responses here, I imagine most of Dr. Healy’s readers are avoiding his MIA posts.I’ll be joining them from now on!

        All the best!!

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  9. there should be a special post about ECT. All the carry-on on this one is totally beside the point AGAIN!.The interaction between psychotropic drugs and alcohol is interesting in itself. Although the harm caused by ECT is important, some people are a bit one-track minded.

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  10. I agree with ms. manners, in that Dr. Healy’s blog post has nothing whatsoever to do with ECT and every comment discussing ECT here is completely off-topic.

    This grandstanding shows a lack of respect for those who would like to discuss the topic itself, disrupting what could be an interesting conversation about yet another unrecognized adverse effect from antidepressants.

    For some people, Dr. Healy’s name has become synonymous with propounding the use of ECT. I believe this is related to a section in a scholarly book he wrote, which I haven’t read and none of his MIA critics have, either.

    Whenever Dr. Healy’s name is mentioned on MIA, a similar reflexive repetition of his ECT thought crime occurs. His posts here are reposted from his own blog, davidhealy.org; he doesn’t seem to be reading or responding on MIA.

    If you wish to discuss ECT with Dr. Healy, rather than derailing discussions on MIA with your own possibly faulty interpretation of his opinion, posts on his own blog, davidhealy.org, would be more productive.

    He has responded to ECT comments here http://davidhealy.org/shocking-the-homeland#comments , on an article that ACTUALLY DOES MENTION ECT.

    As for ECT itself, I consider it one of the many crimes of psychiatry, so don’t be jumping all over me with accusations of lack of orthodoxy or sympathy for those who have suffered from it.

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  11. Altostrata says:
    For some people, Dr. Healy’s name has become synonymous with propounding the use of ECT. I believe this is related to a section in a scholarly book he wrote, which I haven’t read and none of his MIA critics have, either.
    In my case, the above claim that Healy’s MIA critics have not read his ECT book is untrue. I read his Shock Therapy book as well as his pharma books as part of my search for answers in 15 years of dangerous and damaging psychiatric treatment.

    For those who don’t have the time to read the whole book in question I recommend the following review from a pro-informed consent ECT website:

    I assume that I am implicated in the charge of “grandstanding” made above. I just meant to share my experience of trusting Healy’s ECT information in the form of his book because I greatly admired his work on pharma and considered him a reliable source. I went on to have a lot of ECT and now have major memory loss and permanent cognitive deficits. I do not want others to be similarly fooled. In his ECT book Healy denies that such claims are real and blames them on the psychneuroticism of the patients who experience them. Sound familiar?

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      • Ah-h-h manners; ways of behaving with reference to polite standards-

        Grandstanding? hmm-m-m -to conduct oneself or perform showily to impress onlookers- That doesn’t sound polite, does it?

        Censorship? an act of suppressing or deleting parts deemed objectionable on moral, political or other grounds. Might not the ,*other* grounds be *polite standards* ?

        So it could be said the two are opposite in that grandstanding reflects *bad manners* and *censorship* of objectionable parts of a comment thread reflect an effort to promote *good manners*

        So many facts, articles, studies, experts to read and ponder. Formulating personal opinions on a vast amount of conflicting or divergent information is what we all do. When personal opinions on the importance of or the absolute nature of information are expressed in an authoritative manner, – repeatedly, we call this indcotrination- it suppresses thoughtful discussion, it oppresses those with other opinions or ideas.


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  12. Try this thought experiment. Every time the name “Peter Breggin” is mentioned, in whatever context, 15 lengthy, impassioned posts appear decrying his right-wing political views.

    Should MIA simply stop publishing David Healy and ban mention of his name and Peter Breggin’s name from all discussions?

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  13. Getting back to THE TOPIC, which is the very first blog post by Dr. David Healy, from patient reports it seems Cymbalta is a heinous drug right up there with the top withdrawal offenders Effexor and Paxil.

    Here and there, people report that they were not drinkers prior to taking antidepressants; something happened that made them more inclined to drink and alcohol had strange effects on them.

    That antidepressants screw with blood sugar is a fact, they almost double the risk of diabetes. I wonder if the adverse effects on sugar metabolism affect this alcohol phenomenon?

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    • Alostrata, I find it interesting that the only time you think anything is “on topic” is when it revolves around you and your pet cause of antidepressant harm and withdrawal. You always seem to get this into whatever is the topic on almost every blog while others are very tolerant of this imposition. Once again, like many others, I find your harsh criticisms of me quite offensive to say the least while you remain blind about your own actions. ECT is mentioned in this article and several others by Dr. Healy in this blog and I noted it was included and discussed on his other blog too with no such fallout and attack as is the case here.

      I find it ludicrous that certain people here feel they have the right to dictate to other posters and define policy for comments unless you have some special moderator assignment of which the rest of us are unaware? The same question was asked of you on Dr. Moffit’s blog.

      Further, this whole web site is about harmful treatments for emotional distress that includes drugs, ECT, lobotomy and others as well as helpful treatments like WRAP, Dialogical therapy, etc. Thus, the “topic” of this web site and the blogs is quite broad in my opinion. Also, a doctor’s or expert’s personal ethics and adherence to FIRST DO NO HARM in all cases is very important with respect to all of his/her views rather than mere situational ethics as convenient or profitable or not.

      But, if one limits the topic to their own particular pet personal problem like SSRI damage and withdrawal, naturally, the discussion can only be very limited.

      I suggest that those pretending to teach others about manners while being very rude themselves should actually read Miss Manners’ real excellent books to learn about real acceptable manners before preaching to others. Dubious claims of survey results to silence others (especially those harmed by the issue in question) is equally questionable with regard to ethics. Threatening the blog should be shut down to silence others is really over the top. And Miss Manners does exactly what she accuses me of doing by speaking for what is best for Dr. Healy when I only cited my opinion about the best interests of would be victims being misled by his opposite views on ECT and psych drugs. Obviously, Dr. Healy can take care of his own interests quite well.

      And Miss Manners did attack Sonia for purported ECT deficits to discredit her though she denied it when confronted and used this to further attack me. I think the words of Miss Manners and others here who have been my constant critics speak for themselves.

      As I said before, I personally have no ax to grind with ECT never having had my loved ones or myself threatened by it, but I think ALL psych survivors and reform experts are in it together and should be concerned about everyone’s safety, rights, informed consent and welfare rather than their own narrow personal agenda that may include only certain psych drugs. Ironically, those with such personal agendas that ignore the welfare of others are the first to accuse others of having a negative personal agenda when nothing could be further from the truth.

      I truly hope that all can get along in a safe, fair, ethical manner. Frequently, other issues come up on other blogs that everyone takes in stride, so I find it ludicrous that certain people here want to silence others from speaking the TRUTH about dangerous psych “treatments” like ECT promoted on this blog in some articles.

      Nobody is stopping anyone from commenting on the articles here regarding drugs, but those commenting on drugs are trying to bully those commenting on the ECT comments in the articles in this blog into silence. I think those doing this should look at themselves rather than pointing the finger at others here.

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  14. Not that anybody is interested by this time, but Dr. Healy would like people to report cases of

    – carbohydrate cravings induced by antidepressants

    – alcohol cravings induced by antidepressants

    – combination of alcohol and prescription drugs resulting in a higher blood alcohol reading than expected

    – Have you had a conviction for drink driving whilst taking an AD or indeed any prescribed drug?

    Post your response on Dr. Healy’s blog in the Comments section http://davidhealy.org/every-drink-spiked/#comments

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