Carrie Fisher: Bipolar Meds and Heart Disease


Carrie Fisher recently died of a heart attack at age 60. There’s an important question here. Is she one of the cases in point to explain why our community has a 25 year lower life expectancy? How likely was it that her heart attack was caused by her psych meds? Or that her psych meds increased her risk of death once the heart attack happened? Well, the answer is, she had at least a 5 times greater risk of death during myocardial infarction than the general population.

Data from the European Heart Journal shows this:

18-fold-chartSo, we can look more carefully at her risk factors, and how this data affects anyone else on psych meds. Start with the NASMPD morbidity and mortality report. This is the famous report that explained that people with “severe” mental health labels die 25 years younger. Have you ever actually read that report? You should. It’s 87 pages of really solid data. A lot of it is actually good news that shows that very small lifestyle changes make a big reduction in risk. Like if you are 80 pounds overweight, just losing 10 pounds cuts your risk in half. The changes don’t have to be huge, which is very encouraging. Just 10 minutes a day of very moderate physical activity cuts your risk in half.

This “good news” is important for people with mental health labels, but we also have to be honest about the risk of psych meds, too. We have spawned a whole generation of Wellness Campaigns like SAMHSA’s 10X10 campaign which was supposed to increase our community’s life expectancy by 10 years within 10 years. But they ignored the psych med problem, which is the huge elephant in the room.

Even the original NASMHPD report gives a nod to the fact that psych meds might increase the risk of death. On page 6, it says

However, with time and experience the second generation antipsychotic medications have become more highly associated with weight gain, diabetes, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome and the superiority of clinical response (except for clozapine) has been questioned. Other psychotropic medications that are associated with weight gain may also be of concern.

For those not used to reading Administrator Nice Nice talk, this is what the quote says:

  1. New antipsychotics cause weight gain, diabetes, and a bunch of other risk factors associated with heart disease.
  2. The new antipsychotics don’t even work better than the old ones; any difference claimed has basically been marketing BS.
  3. Some of these drugs cause huge weight gains, the NASMHPD report shows up to 70 pounds in a year that comes off as soon as people stop taking the drugs:


Info on psych med weight gain that may be connected to Carrie Fisher's death

So the data shows that psych drugs increase 4 of the top 5 normal risk factors for cardiac disease: Weight gain, diabetes, high cholesterol, and even smoking (because it helps to relieve some of the numbness caused by the meds). But even more compelling is a study showing that in addition to all the the traditional risk factors caused by the drugs, taking the drug itself is a risk factor.

This is a very clear research study published in The European Heart Journal that took a large pool of people who had cardiac incidents and looked to see if they lived or died, and what drugs they were on at the time. This study confirms that combining antidepressants and old school antipsychotics causes an 18-fold increase in death during a cardiac event. Combining antidepressants with any antipsychotic causes an over 5-fold increase in relative risk of death during a cardiac incident.

We can compare the traditional five risk factors with the additional drug-induced risk factors by merging the NASMHPD data with the European Heart Journal data, shown below:

PeopCombining antipsychotics and antidepressants is more dangerous than smoking plus diabetes plus having a high BMI and high cholesterol. In other words, the medications Carrie Fisher talked freely about taking, could have given her almost double the cardiac risk than all the traditional risk factors for cardiac disease. Combined.le who take both antidepressants and antipsychotics are 16 times more likely to die of a cardiac incident
People who take both antidepressants and antipsychotics together (like possibly Carrie Fisher) are 16 times more likely to die during a cardiac incident

To put this in perspective, Vioxx was pulled from the market for a 2 fold increase in relative risk factor of strokes and heart attacks, and it may have killed 50,000 to 80,000 people during its stay on the market. How many heart attacks are being caused by psych drug combos? Well, let’s crunch the numbers using some back-of-the-envelope calculations or rounding estimates.

According to Medico, 17% of U.S. adults are now on psych drugs (26% of U.S. women!), nearly 10% of U.S. children.  To make rounding easier, let’s say this is 20% of the US population, and 1/3 of them take multi-drug combos. We start by factoring in the standard risk factors caused by the medication use, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high BMI. Each single risk factors roughly doubles the risk of heart attack, and combining them is worse.

  • 1 risk factor = double the risk
  • 2 risk factors = 4 times the risk
  • 3 risk factors = 6 times the risk
  • 4 risk factors = 10 times the risk

So, let’s assume for the sake of calculation that of the 7% of the US population taking psych drugs combos, they have two risk factors each, and one is caused by life sitatuions, and the other is caused by psych drugs. According to the American Heart Association, The incidence of OHCA per 10,000 adults is 10.1 among blacks, 6.5 among Hispanics and 5.8 among whites. Since blacks are 12% of US population, Hispanics are 16% of US population, and whites are 65% of US population, Aggregate cardiac risk is:

(.12 X 10.1) + (.16 X 6.5) + (.65 X 5.8) per 10,000 = 6.022 per 10,000

So if 20% of the US population taking psych drugs X 2 fold increase in risk caused drugs X 308 million population X 6.022 heart attacks per 10,000 =

74,191 extra heart attacks per year

But wait, there’s more; there’s not just extra heart attacks, there’s extra death during the heart attacks. We are looking at 5-fold and 18-fold increases in death during cardiac events here. Now, the American Heart Association reports about 326,200 people experienced out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) in the U.S. in 2011. From that site, Based on the Resusciation Outcomes Consortium data, Survival after bystander-witnessed cases with a first recorded rhythm of VF was 53.3%. But these numbers are 5-18 times lower for people on psych drug combos. So let’s say 10% survival rates, or 90% deaths for those on med combos.

From the first calculation, 74,191 heart attacks X 90% death rates X 50% of people on med combos =

33,386 extra deaths per year

Like all good back-of-the-envelope calculations, we can verify this number with a different data set, For instance the NASMHPD report (p. 13) lists a Massachusetts study that shows that people with “severe” mental health diagnoses had a 6.6-fold higher mortality rate from cardiovascular disease than the general population. The percent of people with “severe” mental health diagnoses is roughly 2-5% depending on which evaluation you use.

So, again,

308 million US population X 2% “severe” mental illness X 6.6 fold higher or excess mortality X 6.02 per 10,000 normal death rate = 24,474 extra deaths per year (by a different data set)

Either way, we are talking about a lot of people dying from their psych meds. And Carrie Fisher could well have been one of them.

The European Journal research article talks in depth about why this risk is so much higher. It talks about how the drugs themselves cause arrythmias. They mention that people taking benzos, which do not cause arrhythmia, did not show an elevated risk of death. They mention that people taking psych meds are much more likely to have heart attacks at night rather than during the day when fewer people are watching with defibrillators handy. Or, in the case of Carrie Fisher, who had a cardiac incident on an airplane, with delayed access to help.

The study even discusses that it was probably the drugs, and not the “mental illness,” that causes the increase in death rates:

The use of cardiovascular drugs, such as aspirin, beta-blocking medication, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, was less common among the victims of SCD. However, the difference in the use of psychotropic medication, which was  The main focus of the present study, remained significant after adjusting for the use of other medications and other confounding variables.

Previous studies have shown that mental Disorders increase the risk of cardiovascular mortality, 3 – 7 but it has not been clearly established if  Psychiatric disorders, such as depression or schizophrenia, predispose to the occurrence of cardiovascular events or whether they modify The outcome during such events. The present results support the latter proposal, Since it was found that the subjects using psychotropic drugs had a higher risk of dying during an acute coronary event, with fatal arrhythmia being the most probable cause of SCD during the ischaemic event. This concept is also supported by studies showing that depression increases specifically the occurrence of SCD but not non-fatal cardiac events.

There are other important lessons to take from this data:

  1. Smoking carries only a two-fold increase in cardiac risk, whereas any of the drug categories carries a two- to eight-fold increase. In other words, smoking is four times safer than the older types of antipsychotics. And it’s twice as safe to smoke as it is to take any antipsychotic, including the newer ones.
  2. None of the traditional risk factors (1.5 to 2.5) is as high as the risk factor of taking any kind antipsyhotic (4.5)
  3. Combining antipsychotics and antidepressants is more dangerous than smoking plus diabetes plus having a high BMI and high cholesterol. In other words, the medications Carrie Fisher talked freely about taking, could have given her almost double the cardiac risk than all the traditional risk factors for cardiac disease. Combined.
  4. In general, psych med use (which no one has been willing to address as a risk factor) is much more dangerous than the traditional lifestyle based factors. Yet which one has the mental health system been willing to address?

We need to address this data much more carefully if we want to stop cardiac deaths among people with mental health labels. You can’t just run “blame the victim” wellness campaigns that look at lifestyle stuff. If you really want to address life expectancy discrepancies and untimely deaths, you need to look at reducing psych drug use.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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  1. Thanks for this article, Corina. Really, on target. So many people let this kind of thing slip under the radar because it is happening to people in the mental health system, but it is real, and it is tragic. When it comes to early mortality, typical neuroleptic drugs are bad, but atypical neuroleptic drugs tend to be worse. The problem isn’t lifestyle so much, the way it is often presented by the system in the media, the problem is these drugs that take control of one’s lifestyle away from one. The 70 pounds weight loss after going off an atypical is representative of this loss of self-control. Drug research and development is often blind-sided on these matters. Do something about one averse effective, and you can wind up with half a dozen other averse effects. A little bit of thought could tell you that more drug research and development is not going to allay those half a dozen additional averse effects. Psychiatric drugs are not the answer to peoples’ ‘problems in living’, and they should be used sparingly if at all. What’s more, and obvious, is that people need safety conscious and drug-free treatment options. When the treatment is killing people, the way it is today, whoever says the treatment is not worse than the “disease” is lying through their teeth. The way to good “mental health”, so-called, is never going to be through destroying physical health. It’s bad enough when you’ve got an artificial invalid; turning that artificial invalid into an actual invalid is no sort of improvement.

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    • Thanks Blake, with one correction. Averse effects should be, as they are in your quote, adverse effects.

      One problem though is that the psychiatric authorities would also correlate physical with “mental health” but to a bad end, that is, according to them “mental illness” is “brain disease”, and “brain disease” would, in their eyes, justify neuroleptic drug use. The problem, as I see it, is that neuroleptic drug use causes numerous ill health conditions when there is virtually no evidence of a neurological condition, or actual “brain disease”, to begin with. Given long term neuroleptic drug treatment, people are facing an early grave as well as much non-psychiatric medical treatment that they wouldn’t be facing if it wasn’t for the excessive use of neuroleptic drugs. In other words, rather than calling in physicians to help with their mess, it would be more helpful if they ceased using neuroleptic drugs to excess, and, therefore, spared people of the physical ill health conditions that come as a consequence of their excessive use. Physical health may lead to better “mental health”, but as it is, good physical health is not likely to come of “mental health” treatment so long as that treatment is psychiatric drug treatment alone.

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      • There has been much talk of the need to integrate “mental health care” with general “medical care” by psychiatry. The problem is that if they had another strategy for “mental health” besides the typical drug, drug, drug approach, you’d be getting better physical health in your patients, and there would be less need for physicians. Psychiatric drugs have created a problem that is under acknowledged, and it is a good thing, when posts such a Corinna’s recognize the problem for what it is. If it were any other population, people would be up in arms, and outraged. As it is the mental patient population, you’re usual scapegoat population, no public skin reaction is registered until somebody makes an issue of the matter.

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        • Exercise is good for prolonged sadness (“depression”) while also helping the body. It also helps people suffering from hallucinations or irrational ideas (“psychosis.”) If people ever realized this, most shrinks could easily be replaced with fitness trainers! 🙂

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  2. Thanks for this work
    During the beginning of the Plague years in Europe the doctors used a phrase usually in Latin that said “patient gets worse with treatment”
    It took many years to discover the cause was due to rats but by that time many many folks had died.
    It might be a good time to read “The Pied Piper of Hamlin”
    Food for thought.

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    • In many cases, cancer patients get worse with treatment, but can emerge cancer free. Not all the time, but the power of positive thinking and exercise don’t make a dent in the disease.

      Certainly patients have the right to choose their treatment. Steve Jobs initially treated his cancer with diet and “natural” methods. He later regretted it, but it was his choice to make.

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      • But “mental patients” seldom if ever have any choice in the matter of having to take the toxic drugs. You can talk all you want about informed consent but it doesn’t happen. I know for a fact that it never happened in my situation when I was held in the “hospital”. And I still do not see it happening for people on the units in that very same hospital, where I work. There is no choice once the system gets it’s hands on you.

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        • While in hospitals it is true that doctors have leverage and power, as far as I know in the US people are rarely forced to take meds they don’t want to be on. The laws in the US have changed considerably over the decades. In the past, during time of institutionalization, no doubt patients were forced meds. Today, the vast majority of clients are seen on an outpatient basis and they can chose to take meds or not. I work with 80 clients currently, and none of them is forced into taking meds. It just doesn’t happen here. And yes in extreme cases the courts can place a certification on an individual to receive treatment, but even then the client does have rights. I find that many people on this comment section are over exaggerating the current realities in the mental health system, particularly around “forced” or “coerced” treatment. Yes, professionals like myself offer ideas for treatment, but it is up to the individual to make the choice that best suits them.

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          • shaun,

            That is simply not true that people are not forced to take meds on an outpatient basis. Even ECT is forced.

            You might want to contact Sera Davidow, an MIA blogger, who has worked in alternative mental health in Massachusetts. I am sure she would be happy to give you the facts of what goes on.

            You also might want to contact Mind Freedom who has worked with people in this situation. And just you know, they are pro choice medication wise.

            With all due respect, I am finding that many mental health professionals like yourself are sadly misinformed about this issue and really need to educate yourself. And I fear with the Murphy bill that passed, that things will only get worse.

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          • Bullshit Shaun! You write “as far as I know ….”. You don’t know. You are pathetically misinformed. Both drugs and ECT are routinely forced. If patients try to refuse, family members are coerced to sign for forced treatment.

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          • I don’t know what alternate and wonderful reality you are living and practicing in, but it’s not the world that I live and work in. I have sat in morning report and heard a psychiatrist say, when told that a certain patient refused to take his “meds” the night before, say, “Well, I guess he’s going to be here a long time then isn’t he!”. I was a former “patient” in this same hospital and when I refused to take the drugs my psychiatrist would appear and tell me that I “really needed to take the medications”. It was all very subtle but I knew exactly what he was saying. Where do you live that people supposedly are not forced to take the drugs?

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          • Stephen, I agree with you that in hospital settings what you describe happens. However, doctors don’t have this power in an outpatient setting. It is illegal for docs to force meds on anyone who doesn’t want them. And even people on certs can refuse meds and take the issue to court. I am in Colorado which isn’t a terribly progressive place for MH treatment, but we do follow the laws which are pretty clear. Again the vast majority of people receive treatment on an outpatient basis, where they chose the level of treatment they want. I am sure it doesn’t always work out this way across the US, but frankly the laws are pretty clear that we cannot just force treatment on everyone–they have to be deemed to be an immediate risk to self or others, or so disabled they aren’t taking care of their basic needs such as eating. Even when people are placed on holds they usually aren’t held for longer than 24 hours in Colorado. We have very few psych beds, and often they are filled by people who choose to stay voluntarily after the 72 hour hold is over. That has been the case time and time again with my clients.

            Amnesia, please educate me. How many people in the MH system are forced to take meds that they don’t want to or have no choice but to do ECT? What percentage of all people served falls into this boat? I’d really like to know. I have yet to see this happen in my near decade of experience and I’ve worked with hundreds of clients.

            AA, I agree that the Murphy Bill is concerning around the issue of family involvement in treatment. I find it a violation of confidentiality that family members could impose themselves on any of my clients who don’t want family member involvement. Seems a clear violation of client autonomy. There are plenty of good reasons my clients wouldn’t want their family members knowing about their diagnoses, treatment, appointments, etc. If the client wants their family to be involved, then great! But the other side here is that some family members are the cause of trauma for my clients, and how can the system protect clients from avoiding further abuse by allowing these family members to have access to confidential records? I find this disturbing.

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          • as far as I know in the US people are rarely forced to take meds they don’t want to be on.

            Your utter lack of information and contact with day to day reality in the world of “mental health” continues to be so astounding as to be dangerous, and makes me doubt whether you actually work in a clinic.

            Further I suspect that if some of your clients had the chance to read these “discussions” without your knowledge they would be cheering us on as we deconstruct your illusions and pretensions.

            It is shameful that in this Age of Murphy you would make such an outlandish claim. And now I see you’ve changed it to

            However, doctors don’t have this power in an outpatient setting. It is illegal for docs to force meds on anyone who doesn’t want them.

            No, it is the law of the land. How can you even mention Murphy and say this kind of shit at the same time?

            So what’s your next backtracking revision?

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          • Old head, your experience obviously is different from mine. Out of curiosity, when were you in formal mental health treatment? I can tell you that it has changed over the years to be more focused on client empowerment and choice. That is the framework I use in my work and I see it in action every day at our clinic. My clients get jobs, get married, have kids, develop new friendships, etc., all the while choosing to remain in treatment. Now some of them choose to just see a therapist, and guess what? We support that! If they want to see an PNP or psych doc, they can do that too! They can also see a vocational counselor, education counselor, nutritionist, attend a social group, attend a DBT full program, all on their own accord if they want to and are appropriate for the service. My agency provides a wide range of services that go well beyond “drugging” people.

            I am sincerely upset that people like you, Rebel, AA, and others have been harmed by the MH system and psychiatry. That is wrong.

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          • Sounds fine on the surface, if I needed a babysitter. Resourceful people can get that info without “medical” assistance or the threat of such. However, those things could absolutely be valuable to some.

            You miss the point however if you think I’m still personally worked up over things that were done to me 40 years ago. Far worse has been done to many more, and continues as we speak. Confronting one’s oppression is the best “therapy” of all, and I’ve done that all my life to the best of my ability.

            You will learn that there are many levels to this struggle. One is the level of individual abuse. The socio-political level is probably more significant, and that is the level where psychiatry is used to support the prevailing political infrastructure by defining the problem as individual pathology rather than systemic oppression. In other words, there are two primary arms of domestic repression: one is the police/military/”justice” system, which deal primarily with external restraint and imprisonment; the other is the “mental health” system, which, while also using external restraint (couched in medical terminology), primarily exerts its control by habituating people to the notion that their fears, pain, rage and other unavoidable reactions to daily oppression are personal “weaknesses” to be ashamed of, rather than collective problems requiring revolutionary solutions.

            Not expecting you to internalize any of this soon, but there.

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  3. Cocaine and alcohol is by far the worst combo that leads to heart attacks and sudden death. Mixing the two creates a third substance in the body called cocaethylene, which can build up over many years and cause sudden death at any point, potentially, even years after last use.

    Cocaethylene is massively more dangerous than either cocaine or alcohol on their own. I believe the risk of having a heart attack is 40x greater when cocaethylene is active in the body.

    Not making any apologies for other drugs but it’s a teeny bit blinkered to overlook the dangers of mixing cocaine and alcohol, especially when pointing the finger of blame over a celebrity Hollywood death.

    Also, call me old-fashioned. but I think it is more dignified to at least wait until a person has been buried or cremated or whatever before one starts to publicly play the armchair pathologist about what led to them becoming a corpse.

    My partner tells me that Carrie Fisher freely admitted to gulping back huge amounts of alcohol and insufflating huge amounts of cocaine during her life.

    This is not unusual for people with problems of mood that also have access to a bit of cash. And especially not unusual for someone from the hollywood set.

    To write a whole article without mention of cocaine, alcohol or cocaethylene is bizarre. Even if you think such speculations about fresh corpses are civilised.

    Happy New Year!

    (additonally, with respect, she appears somewhat medically obese in the photo. obesity is also a major factor in heart disease. it’s important to factor everything in, if you’re going to play the armchair pathologist. was her mother also on psychiatric drugs?)

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  4. Eye opening. Thank you for the article. This is something I need to think more about since I do encourage some of my clients (as a therapist) to seriously consider psychotropics as a treatment option. Since these meds increase risk factors for heart attack, stroke, metabolic syndrome, is it worth it?

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    • Shaun F,

      I am glad you see this as a serious issue.

      By the way, if god forbid your clients develop metabolic syndrome, can you refer them to this site?

      Unfortunately, the American Diabetes Association seems to think there is nothing wrong with eating carbohydrates even though they drastically shoot up the blood sugar. And yes, this includes the “good” carbohydrates like oatmeal. They claim that it can be covered with meds even though the extreme blood sugar fluctuations will eventually cause organs to wear out whereas going on a high fat, low carb diet keeps blood sugar extremely stable.

      Even type ones who needs medication, find they need alot less with this type of diet.

      And contrary to popular belief, this type of diet does not promote heart attacks or increase blood pressure. It actually usually normalizes everything.

      Sorry, I didn’t mean to go off on a tangent but I feel passionate about this issue. I have been pretty negative towards psychiatry but have almost as much contempt for the ADA because of what I feel are extremely harmful practices that hurt people with diabetes.

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    • Sean F,

      I don’t think the risks are worth it but obviously, that is a decision for your clients to make. Unfortunately, most people who take psych meds have not been provided the necessary facts to enable them to make a fully informed decision.

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        • Not sure I understand your point.

          Comparing harmful effects of foods to antipsychotics is a horrible comparison. And side effects of prescription meds can be worse than ones from illegal drugs.

          The issue again is that when doctors are prescribing psych meds, they are neglecting their ethics in not providing a fully informed choice.

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          • AA, my point is there are many potentially harmful things we put into our bodies. I agree docs could do a better job telling their patients about negative SEs. And anyone taking pills should also educate themselves.

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      • AA, even when the prescriber doesn’t provide enough information on a drug, a good pharmacist (or pharmacist’s computer) will catch things like potential drug interactions and, if asked, will counsel you on the drug.

        When I go to the pharmacy, I have to decline counseling for a drug EVERY SINGLE TIME I pick up a refill. That’s 12 times a year for the last 20+ years.

        There are also numerous online resources online.

        If you’re an outpatient, there are plenty of resources if you care to use them. Of course, the final stop is the patient saying “nope. not gonna take that.”

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        • Yes but the doctor is the one that should be telling you about the side effects and be responsible for knowing the percentages for each side effect, which should be stated in all conclusions in the drug trials. I’ve never heard any statistics from any of the so called “patients”. I’ve only heard that kind of data from whistle blowers from the pharma industry and people who have been present at the lawsuits against some of the trials of these pharmaceutical drugs.

          The pharmacist will just give you a list.

          The doctor will then blame the side effect on the patient saying it’s the “illness” which has never been scientifically proven.

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        • Aurora: “a good pharmacist (or pharmacist’s computer) will catch things like potential drug interactions and, if asked, will counsel you on the drug.”

          According to the Chicago Tribune, those “good pharmacists” are in the minority, with the best pharmacies making errors 30% of the time. That’s ONE IN THREE!

          And that was the best chain pharmacy. There was only one pharmacy which got 100% score, with the average score among all pharmacies had a 52% failure-to-report rate. Half.

          So don’t count on your chemist to save your life either.

          This test was taking 2 scripts in at the same time, to see if it was caught. What if, you are already on one of the drugs, and just come in with a single script – does the pharmacist have time to look up your current drug history in order to dispense with the correct warnings – or clear it through the doctor?

          The corporate model is not dispensing health.

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          • “AA, even when the prescriber doesn’t provide enough information on a drug, a good pharmacist (or pharmacist’s computer) will catch things like potential drug interactions and, if asked, will counsel you on the drug.”

            This is an illogical appeal to authority.

            “According to the Chicago Tribune, those “good pharmacists” are in the minority, with the best pharmacies making errors 30% of the time. That’s ONE IN THREE!”

            I have to concur. The severe interaction that I had was the direct result of a suggestion by my pharmacist to try a specific Rx-OTC drug combo. A friend was accidentally given a chemotherapy drug instead of the correct drug for her MS by the same pharmacy at a different location. Another friend’s daughter refilled a script for Concerta and was handed Seroquel instead. That was caught when a family friend asked “Is she psychotic?” at which point, the parent noticed the mistake and had it corrected. There is zero evidence to suggest that one should trust their pharmacist not to counsel you incorrectly or not to make mistakes. One recent study of pharmaceutical error claims, 75% of mistakes were due to either the wrong drug being dispensed or the wrong dosage being filled and 11% of the mistakes in the claims study resulted in the death of the patient. Pharmacists are just another tool in the Pharma-to-Patient drug pipeline. Moreover, their human mistakes could cost you your life.


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    • Shaun F: one of my close friends just died from prescripticide – the drug citalopram could have caused sudden cardiac arrest but in her case it led to suicide. Her depression was the adverse effect of a drug given to her by her doctor for a condition which could have been treated with modification of diet and stress reduction techniques. Since you follow Mad in America you are most likely familiar with the website and its interaction feature.

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    • Shaun, you would be well served to read Robert Whitaker’s Excellent “Anatomy of an Epidemic” to learn the difference between Neuroleptics (anti-brain: the original name of this class of “antipsychotic drugs.” – the latter is a marketing term) and food or even recreational drugs.

      There was a symposium in the UK which addressed the debate: Are these drugs doing more harm than good?

      Many of the videos can be found here:

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  5. Corinna,

    I was prescribed 25 mg per night of Seroquel in 2005 to replace 25mg per night of mellaril (which had been dicontinued in the UK because of its heart rythm risk). After some time I noticed my chest and ribcage area in the morning was a soft red and the rest of me white. I had also developed intermittent very scary heart beat ‘drops’.

    So I quit the Seroquel and my symptoms disappeared. At the time 25mg of Seroquel on patent was about 50 times the price of 25mg mellaril off patent.

    Seroquel at 25 mg per day was also completely non prescriptive for any ‘mental disorder’.

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    • Fiachra, your experience with Seroquel is interesting. My shrink prescribes it for me as a sleep aid. She told me it was a crappy antidepressant but good for sleep.

      I have absolutely no Circadian rhythms. I take a Seroquel at night and can fall asleep. I don’t have morning drowsiness or impairment.

      Even in elementary school, my parents would put me to bed and I’d lay there staring at the ceiling well past when everyone else went to bed and my parents were snoring. I tried just about every non-medication method of falling asleep everyone suggested. Nope. At least with Seroquel I can get a good night’s sleep.

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      • Reactions vary. Our neighbour was prescribed seroquel for sleep. I begged her daughter not to give it to her. The ambulance came a few hours later. My clients get magnesium – pico-ionic magnesium developed by Carolyn Dean MD ND homeopath, intuitive, etc.

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      • Princess Aurora,

        This is OT but I am wondering if you were a night owl growing up. As a result, if you have been allowed to go to sleep when your body preferred, you wouldn’t have had insomnia.

        In another post, you asked about my quality of life. Unfortunately, while tapering off my cocktail of meds, I developed narcoleptic like issues that have still not abated. When I described this as pseudo narcolepsy on David Healey’s forum, he didn’t disagree with my description.

        Anyway, I can’t give you pub med citations but I suspect psych meds severely disrupt sleep cycles and that is what happened to me. I never had these problems prior to going on psych meds.

        So far, the doctors I have seen have no clue as to how to help me. So I am working on arrangments to see someone who supposedly has had experience with complex sleep issues. Hopefully, he will provide the answers.

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        • AA, That is really scary and I hope you get a solution.

          Yes, I’ve always had sleep problems. As far back as elementary school, I remember my parents putting me to bed and I’d lay there staring at the ceiling for hours. Everyone else would be asleep and I’d hear my parents snoring.

          Then of course I’d have to be up early for school. The cycle really hasn’t changed. I’ve always gravitated to later work schedules when I can. Sadly, the world has its own ideas of when you’re supposed to be up and about and I have to conform to a certain degree.

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      • Princess Aurora,

        Seroquel is a first class sleeping ‘medication’ at even a fraction of 25mg. Not only would I fall asleep in seconds but I would wake up sharp and refreshed. The only thing is it could have killed me.

        It is banned in the US Army (as far as I know) because young fit soldiers were being found dead in the morning.
        I believe it also has a black box warning.

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  6. I read a `eulogy’ for Carrie Fisher written by a psychiatrist, Sally Satel. It was more a `eulogy’ for psychiatry. Dr Satel states:
    “Fisher spoke publicly and truthfully about her condition and in doing so, offered many lessons from which we can all learn. First, she promoted the best treatments that psychiatry has to offer.” An indictment that reads differently for the informed than it does to the general public. The `best treatments psychiatry had to offer’, drugs and ECT, destroyed her brain (see any interview of Fisher in the last few years and you will see the neurological aftermath of ECT) and ultimately killed her at 60. I’m reminded of a friend who died following a cardiac arrest at 59, after some 30 years on neuroleptics. NO ONE except me, suggested this was possibly the result of the drugs. The woman was ill from an infection that was opportunistic and recalcitrant, but while otherwise healthy 59 years olds may die from infections (organ shut down etc), a cardiac arrest is suspicious. Until the dots are joined, thousands more will die, with authorities doing nothing because the medical profession generally, not just psychiatrists, refuses to jeopardise its covenant with big pharma – and anyway `mental patients’, who cares? That diagnosis on the record is a licence to ignore and despise.

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      • AA you hit the crux of the biscuit for me. That is why I am active in these places.

        I escaped – but – I’m watching irreversible damage all around me…

        Something’s gotta give, and I deeply fear that it will be the little people, crushed under the wheels of profit.

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  7. Hi All,

    I encourage others, both professionals and laypeople, to post comments on the following mainstream article about Carrie Fisher’s bipolar being supposed caused by a “chemical imbalance”:

    Somehow the chemical imbalance myth causing bipolar got revived here, and then the author (a psychiatrist) suggested that childhood trauma has nothing to do with bipolar disorder.

    I posted the following public comment )recopied) below, with some research from Noel Hunter:

    Anyone can make a comment on the article via a Yahoo account, Google account, or Facebook account.



    “As someone who was once in a psychotic state but recovered, I find it sad to see that Carrie Fisher, one of my favorite actresses, bought into the “chemical imbalance” myth. It’s also regrettable to see Sally Satel deny that childhood stress can be one factor (among many) raising the risk for becoming distressed in a way that gets labeled as bipolar. Recent research that I cover in the article below shows that childhood trauma and later trauma are some of the biggest risk factors correlated with receiving a label of bipolar and schizophrenia.

    I wrote below about my own struggle with psychotic states, and how I took a different path than Carrie to recover, in my article “Rejecting the Medications for Schizophrenia Narrative”:

    I share this as an example that there is no one size fits all; and people do not have to accept the disempowering narrative that they have a lifelong brain disease and must take drugs. Some of us who were (formerly) severely mentally ill find another way that works better for us.

    By the way, here’s a sample of the research (which applies equally to bipolar), that Satel denied when discussing the causes of such distress:

    “In the model of severe psychosis I favor, adverse environmental experiences are frequently (although not always) involved in leading to psychotic breakdowns. In support of this position, a number of psychologists and psychiatrists, such as John Read, Colin Ross, and Richard Bentall, have done research showing a powerful link between being labeled “schizophrenic” and having experienced physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.

    An article by Noel Hunter reviews this research and provides references to the literature:
    “Read et al. concluded in 2005 that child abuse is a causal factor in “schizophrenia.” Read et al., after identifying similarities in the brains of traumatized children and adults who were diagnosed with schizophrenia, demonstrated the neurodevelopmental pathways through which childhood adversity may cause psychosis. In 2004, Janssen et al. established a strong dose-response relationship between childhood abuse and psychosis after following 4045 individuals from the general population for two years. Bentall et al. also found a dose-response relationship between childhood abuse and psychosis (meaning that the greater number of adverse experiences and/or the higher the severity, the greater the risk), wherein those who had a high-severity of childhood abuse were 48.4 times more likely to develop psychosis as an adult. When specificity and dose-response relationships are demonstrated, a causal relationship is strongly probable. In fact, Bentall et al. stated that “experiencing multiple childhood traumas appears to give approximately the same risk of developing psychosis as smoking does for developing lung cancer.” And, lastly, in the same month as the Sekar study was released (January 2016), so too was a nationwide cohort study out of Denmark and Sweden which found that experiencing the death of a first-degree relative before 18 years of age, especially from suicide or accident, resulted in a 39% increased risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia.”

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  8. Don’t forget the ECT – people have flat-lined during ECT. I witnessed a woman being resuscitated post ECT. A young woman developed an erratic heart rate post ECT and died a few months later. A woman’s brain showed evidence of multiple mini-strokes – multiple – post ECT. Someone emailed that Carrie Fisher consumed 10 or so soft drinks a day – that itself is damaging – either the aspartame or the sugar. Trying to find the source – the Oprah show perhaps. Good article.

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    • During the Nov. 28 interview, DeGeneres referred to Coca-Cola as Fisher’s “drink of choice” after pointing out that the 60-year-old actress put the soda in her mug instead of coffee or tea. Fisher told the talk show host that she drank “maybe 16” Coca-Cola beverages daily.

      “But I don’t drink all of them. I start them, but then it starts to get warm. And then you have to get another one … They have to (have) that sharp, sharp cold taste,” she said.

      Fisher went on to say that her father, singer Eddie Fisher, was a representative for the brand in the 1950s.

      But the actress didn’t drink as much of the beverage during filming for “Star Wars,” when she lost weight for the role.

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    • Weird how so many of us on those psych drugs crave soda pop all the time. I include myself. Now when I’m truly thirsty I prefer water. I still drink soda, but I find a 12 oz can 3 times a week quite satisfying. Sort of like drinking wine occasionally as opposed to being a lush. Used to guzzle 10 cups of coffee a day. Now I drink 1 or 2. This change wasn’t even conscious–it just felt like I didn’t need that stuff anymore when I quit abilify.

      Btw, psychiatric control tactics like caffeine-free psych wards and therapists/social workers wagging their fingers at us saying “Naughty! Naughty!” didn’t help us at all. Didn’t help the smokers either; they would go out for cigarette breaks immediately after the sermon. 😀

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      • Our dietary choices are ultimately up to us, as are the choices to smoke or drink.

        I absolutely admit I love sugar! Always have, even as a child. I don’t think my meds have changed that in any way.

        I DO know that I often have a dry mouth so I drink a lot of water. When I work outside, I get hot and sweaty and often drink Gatorade.

        I used to drink diet Coke a lot, but due to my migraines I had to completely give up artificial sweeteners because the excess caffeine and aspartame are migraine triggers. I don’t drink alcohol either because of the migraines. Migraines are a great reason to give up a lot of things.

        (The migraines are a result of a figure skating accident. My husband had me up in a lift and fell. I hit my head. I wasn’t on my psych meds yet. No sinister link there.)

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  9. It is a tragedy about both Carrie Fisher and Her mother, Debbie Reynolds. Yet, I am way too inclined to believe that her “meds” or “toxic drugs” contributed to her massive heart attack and premature death than “Coca-Cola” or any soft drink or tea or even coffee. In My part of the nation, people drink massive amounts of sweet tea and coca cola, but it does not necessarily lead to such a massive heart attack and death. Usually, those who do suffer heart problems from perhaps, these drinks, encounter it slowly, have other health issues, and the heart attacks, although awful and debilitating, are not this massive. You also are forgetful in remembering all “psychiatric” drugs like many other drugs cause excessive thirst. After going off the drugs, you could not imagine how less I was drinking of anything non alcoholic. I think the problems with sugar are overrated and are used by the “medical/bigpharma” people to deny what is really causing these horrible sicknesses and premature death; these toxic drugs. Although, I believe do need to moderate our sugar intake like anything else we eat or drink, or anything at all; we must remember sugar is naturally rendered (for the most part) and these toxic drugs are toxically made of synthetics.

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    • Rebel,

      If people develop diabetes from these drugs as many sadly do, sugar is extremely harmful. Even “good” carbs like oatmeal can spike blood sugars very high. No sugar isn’t the direct cause of heart disease but uncontrolled diabetes can definite result in heart issues.

      Sadly, the American Diabetes Association, instead of advising people with diabetes, to eat a high fat, low carb diet that normalizes blood sugars, believe in eating lots of carbs because they can be covered with drugs. Sound familiar?

      Anyway, this is relevant to the psych med issue because not only are people’s health’s in jeopardy taking these meds, if god forbid anyone develops diabetes, the diabetic educator that the person will be assigned to will most likely add gasoline to the fire by promoting a diet that will make things alot worse along with the meds they are told to take to cover the toxic high carb diet.

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      • You are right. The American Diabetes Association, like many other medical groups in our country, just wants to keep their clientele so they have money in their pockets. Have you ever wondered why we are no nearer a cure for Diabetes than we could be given all our alleged scientific and technological knowledge?
        As far as my comments on sugar, I am neither advocating or nor advocating its use in any situation or person, I do feel that it has probably given a worse rap than it should, partly as a cover-up for all the other faulty medical and psychiatric stuff.
        High fructose corn syrup is questionable. It is everywhere, it seems, even in some of the juices we drink. I think for some it could be very harmful, for others, maybe not. It would be wrong to blame the entire obesity epidemic on high fructose corn syrup or even a sedentary lifestyle. I think there are complex causes, but, I can not help to think that these toxic drugs are involved at least somewhat.

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    • Rebel,

      We also shouldn’t ignore the fact that Fisher also used cocaine and other drugs. Cocaine in particular can weaken the heart muscle. The truth is we don’t know, and may never know, what ultimately led to her heart issue. My guess it is a combination of trauma, stress, drug use (both legal and illegal), possible lifestyle issues (diet and exercise).

      Regarding sugar, most of us don’t consume it in it’s most natural form. Typical Coke beverages use high fructose corn syrup. There are real health impacts from excessive sugar intake:

      The bottom line is that adverse health outcomes have a mix of likely sources. One thing I can say is that much of the food we eat is genetically modified in some way and we are eating basically a lot of chemicals. If you look at the ingredients in many foods in our grocery stores, you won’t know what it is unless you are a chemist. The only area of most grocery stores which actually has healthy foods is on the perimeter. We should just ignore all the crap in the middle of the store because it is full of preservatives, additives, unneeded sugar and salt. All of this impacts human health. This is one reason why we do have an obesity epidemic in America. There is a reason why southern states in the US have extremely high rates of obesity–a combination of lack of exercise and poor diet. We also just eat too much for how sedentary most of us are.

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      • She still died more than 20 years younger than her mother.

        If a person takes a bottle or two of soft drink per day and maintenance levels of neuroleptics – it’s likely to be the Neuroleptics that do the fatal damage.

        A packet of cigarettes/day is more harmful than a bowl of “popcorn”/day.

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        • Heck, I’d be willing to bet that what they do in Swiss clinics where they inject heroin addicts with heroin twice a day (so-called heroin assisted treatment) is much safer than daily neuroleptics.

          Wasn’t it Szasz who said that moderate doses of opioids are probably safer than these new complex compounds?

          Either way, the causal link between neuroleptics are heart disease is now becoming more and more established.

          ‘The risk for cardiovascular disease in people with psychosis increases after their first exposure to antipsychotic drugs, according to new research published online February 7 in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

          “This change in risk is evident early in the course of treatment, within several weeks of continuous use, but may continue over years,” study investigator Debra L. Foley, PhD, of the University of Melbourne in Australia, told Medscape Medical News.’

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      • Please you are only partially right, Shaun F. Have you not recognized that as the usage rate of “psychiatric drugs” went up, so, also did the “obesity rates?” Also, like all statistics and body descriptions, the BMI was literally changed overnight and included more people in the statistics than would have been included. In addition to the fact that these “drugs” do have significant side effects that cause obesity and metabolic diseases like diabetes. (Zyprexa has risen patients’ weights by 100 pounds in a month!) These drugs are mostly so sedating and cause great fatigue that all one can do is sit and watch tv and may be eat and gain weight. I have also known patients on these drugs who do the right things, they exercise almost obsessively, eat healthily, and can not either maintain a “healthy weight” (whatever that is) or lose weight. Finally, please you live in Colorado. You know nothing about southern states. Like all states in the US, The diets and lifestyles are as varied as the people who live here! Southern states have all ethnicities, all religions, all creeds, all nationalities as any other portion of the country. We are not monolithic. I am not sure why some states do have higher rates of obesity than others and some are not “southern.” If anything in the South, it has been some who have moved to this region from outside the region who are “drugging” the vulnerable.

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        • Well, in southern states people typically eat more fried foods than in other parts of the country. Also, because of the weather, fewer people exercise. I have visited southern states and know enough to look at statistics.

          Over the last 50 years Americans food consumption has risen and our activity levels have gone down. Just look at the size of McDonalds food over time to see a perfect example of how our expectations of what we can eat has changed. We spend too much time doing sedentary activities such as watching tv, playing video games, and typing on the internet like I’m doing right now. I can tell you that when I was in my twenties I was 40-50 lbs overweight for two simple reasons: I ate too many calories and didn’t consistently exercise. My blood pressure was high no doubt due to my poor lifestyle. While everyone’s bodies are slight different, this basic truth is generally consistent. I will gain weight if I’m not mindful of what I eat. It is pretty simple. I wasn’t on meds when I was overweight. It was simple biology. My body didn’t burn more calories than I was eating.

          I will also add that economics has something to do with this. Wealthier people have access to healthier foods and lifestyles (such as gyms), so they are less likely to be overweight. This is certainly the case if you look at wealth by state and rates of obesity. Now not always the case but often so. Poor people tend to eat more fast food and don’t tend to eat as many fruits and veggies. There are many food deserts in the country where people only have access to unhealthy foods.

          Again, it is simplistic to say that psych meds are main cause of all these health problems in the public. It is no doubt a contributing factor but there are many other likely causes that I’ve discussed.

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          • No. I never did say that “psych drugs” and they are “drugs” not “meds” caused all the problems in society. You, as usual, misread what I said. I did say they were very much a contributing factor and should be looked as such. This is not being done and that it is ironic that as the obesity rate went up, so the rate of psych drug usage.

            As far as you going to the South and seeing “poor people” who can’t afford to eat anything but bad foods that cause obesity. This is a problem for society and yes it happens, but it is not endemic to the South alone.

            As far as Southern people, typically eating more fried foods than other people. THIS IS PURE PREJUDICE AND I RESENT THAT. That is like saying “African-American Men typically play more basketball or have more rhythm that white folks.” As far as the weather and we don’t exercise. I don’t see people where they have a lot of ice and snow going out to walk or run, either. Actually, we are like all people. We have those like to exercise and those who don’t. If you cast. for instance, a whole of people into a group, in this case Southerners and not see as Individuals just like anywhere else; how can you see your clients as individuals. Also, if you can not go to another area of this country or even of this Earth and you can not see the beauty of the people and the beauty of the land and cities, then please adjust your eyes. Even, in the most raggedy corners of this country and the world, there is beauty. Even those people, you feel have eaten too much fast food, there is beauty. I imagine to return to South someday. You will see we not only eat fried food, but all kinds of food. You will also see there is no typical Southerner. Like everywhere in this great and wonderful world, each one of us is unique; like they say a snowflake is. And I am sure you have some false statistic about snowflakes or scant evidence or what not.

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          • Rebel, I was unable to reply under your message so I’m doing it here.

            You can resent my comment if you want to, but it still doesn’t discount the fact that southerns eat more fried foods on average than in other parts of the country, which partially contributes to obesity there. Not a judgement. I love fried food myself but try to eat it infrequently in order to avoid high cholesterol and weight gain. Chicken and waffles is awesome! Also, I know that southerners are unique just like the rest of us. My point is statistically speaking, there is more obesity in the south of the US on average than other parts. That isn’t a judgement just a fact. Regarding exercise and weather, Colorado has some of the most fit people in the US despite harsh weather in the winter. We are outdoorsy in general and find ways to exercise in most weather conditions. However, we don’t have high humidity, which is pretty oppressive and makes exercising more difficult. That again is a fact and not a judgement against southerners. I will add that most of the poorer states are also southern, which effects access to a wide array of food options. Now I fully agree this is a national and worldwide problem around access to healthy foods. I think in the US, however, the south is an example of where a combination of facts adds to these health problems I have mentioned. I have enjoyed southerners in general when I have interacted with them (except the anti-LGBT and racist ones).

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        • Technically, most of the foods we eat are genetically modified. For example, corn (maize) occurred in very small ears. Now we have multiple varieties of high producing corn, many of which were created long before anyone discovered gene splicing.

          Humans figured out certain things increased productivity and disease resistance centuries ago. Why else do we have dairy cattle and beef cattle? Different varieties of crops such as potatoes? (the Irish potato famine taught us that one)

          Dogs are a particularly good example. They started out as wolves. Over time, they became domesticated and humans began selecting specimens for certain jobs. A Chihuahua can breed with a Mastiff can breed with a coyote can breed with a wolf. They are all the same species. Many of them are genetically modified due to humans.

          We have been selectively breeding and hybridizing for centuries. Gene splicing has led to a new set of issues, but as far as genetic modification, that’s been around since humans quit hunting and gathering.

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          • oldhead, how is it harmful? And exactly what sort of GMO? The genetic modifications we’ve carried on throughout history or modern gene splicing?

            I can’t say I’m convinced that gene splicing is evil. Geez, now they’re starting to create 3 parent babies so they can eliminate certain genetic diseases. Not sure how I feel about that, but to many people, if they can prevent a disease such as Huntington’s or Tae Sachs (sp?) it’s worth it.

            If a particular gene splice allows a crop to grow in previously inhospitable areas, and thereby stops hundreds or thousands of people from starving, then I admit there can be a place for them.

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      • I don’t think the obesity epidemic has much to do with psychoactive drugs. It has to do with our sedentary lifestyles and overabundance of food.

        Over the years, consumers have demanded more in terms of enhanced flavor, texture, and so on. Food producers have delivered these calorie rich foods.

        At the same time, we’ve become more sedentary. Check out the number of children glued to their video games. My niece and nephew are great examples. My nephew is glued to his ipad. They aren’t even allowed to play in the front yard by themselves at 10 and 12 years old. My niece only sees her friends on “play dates.”

        Does anyone else remember when we were allowed to eat our fill of Twinkies and junk but managed to run off the calories?

        I’m 54 now, and I’m amazed at the number of people I know who are my age yet are so sedentary they can’t even walk a mile. In fact, I’m able to wear out my 10 year old niece! There’s no reason a 54 year old with a long history of broken bones and joint surgeries should be able to wear out a healthy 10 year old. THAT is the reason for the obesity epidemic.

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          • Kind of chicken and the egg, isn’t it? I’d never consider myself athletic, but I am active.

            At various points I’ve had nasty side effects and had to adjust my meds.

            I honestly believe that being physically active is extremely important. I’m fortunate enough to have a lot of things I really LOVE that need my attention.

            I think there is much to be said for therapy animals. Being responsible for another living being can make all the difference in a person’s life. A dog requires being walked, played with, and general affection. Cats don’t require walks, but they can be quite demanding of time and affection.

            In cases where a person can’t handle a pet of their own, there are visiting therapy animals. (check out the Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses….love them!)

            If someone doesn’t care for animals, perhaps an activity like bicycling, hiking, running, or tennis can be fun. We all need something we LOVE.

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    • There’s no proof that Patty Duke’s meds caused her intestinal problems. That’s speculation. It’s possible, but since so many people develop the same problem who have never taken a single psych med in their lives, it’s totally possible that she developed the intestinal condition independently of her mental illness.

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  10. It would be of immense value if each coroner (UK system) routinely recorded date, dose, “chapter and verse” of every prescription medication taken during the preceding months, days, hours before death in any, and every unanticipated death.

    Re any unexpected death: –
    Both prescription and non-prescription drugs can have fatal adverse reactions.

    An illustrative example of the former: —
    Ventricular tachy-dysrhythmia ——> Ventricular Fibrillation —-> Sudden Cardiac Death – may be directly caused by SSRI cardio-toxicity exacerbated by the enhanced cardio-toxic impact of one or more “antipsychotic” drugs.

    Has prescription psychotropic drugging caused this sudden cardiac death?

    Has this sudden cardiac death also been precipitated by the metabolic, endocrine and other life threatening ADRs of psychotropic drugs, about which many prescribers appear so profoundly ill-informed?

    Such meticulous, publicly available data recording, and diligent prescriber awareness of the reasons why psychotropic drugs cause sudden death (as well as premature death) is currently missing, but vital epidemiological evidence.
    Recording and publishing this critical epidemiological data must become mandatory in each and every unexplained, sudden and/or violent death investigation or inquest.

    C.D.C. had a track record of excellence in this field.
    Why not resolve this compelling question of public health and death with time honoured “shoe leather epidemiology” and hard, basic scientific method?

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S.A.

    “CDC is the nation’s health protection agency working 24/7 to protect America from health and safety threats, both foreign and domestic”.

    “CDC increases the health security of our nation”.

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    • A close friend died recently of prescripticide – the coroner intends to look at all deaths in our province where the ssri citalopram was one of the pharmaceuticals involved. He himself stopped prescribing the drug to his patients when he saw the Health Canada warnings. My warnings to my friend and her doctor (who is/was an acquaintance) did no good. The police detective has made sure all the officers in his division are aware of the role of pharmaceuticals in suicide – the son of his close friend took his own life a few days after being put on an antidepressant. This is a first step.

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      • Amnesia –

        This is indeed an encouraging first step and a great encouragement to all U.K. AKATHISIA AWARENESS ADVOCATES.

        If you have not already done so, please read and share the invaluable RxISK Website 2016 monograph on Akathisia.

        “Significant symptoms of akathisia occur in: –
        Around 20% of people on antidepressants.
        At least 50% of people on antipsychotics,
        on higher doses, this rises to 80% or more”.


        Akathisia is associated with profound changes in personality and behaviour, as well as the more familiar intense agitation, pacing and the wretched, overwhelming inability to be still.

        Akathisia is the SSRI/SNRI/Antipsychotic induced precursor of aggression and iatrogenic violence against self and others.
        Akathisia is the precursor of SSRI induced suicide.

        I am so very saddened to learn of yet two more precious lives lost to these profoundly toxic and over-prescribed drugs.

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          • Amnesia,
            From SSRI Stories, I understand that – ? Tuesday, 3rd January 2017: –

            “An Afghanistan war veteran, his wife, mother and young daughter have been found shot to death in a house in rural Nova Scotia”.

            “The male’s gunshot wounds appear to be self inflicted”.

            He is reported to have been diagnosed with PTSD and it is believed that he had been “put on medication”.

            It is painfully hard to read of these ever increasing,-
            (apparently, and importantly, – in this case UNCONFIRMED) annihilations of families where there are circumstances compatible with SSRI/Psychotropic drug induced AKATHISIA and akathisia related violence to self/others.

            If the events are psychotropic drug related, might testing for Cytochrome – CYP 450 Genomic Variants predisposing to restlessness,
            akathisia and toxic hallucination be of fundamental importance in investigating this tragic situation?
            (CYP 1A2. CYP 2B6. CYP 2C9. CYP 2C19. CYP 2D6. CYP 3A4.)

            Reference: –
            Eikelenboom-Schieveld SJM. Lucire Y. Fogelman JC.
            The Relevance of Cytochrome P450 Polymorphism in Forensic Medicine and Akathisia Related Violence and Suicide.
            Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine. 2016. doi 10.1016/j.jflm 2016 -04-003.

            ( I have checked reports and have noted a reference to January 2016. It does appear that the news report relates to January 2017)??

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          • Fiachra, thanks for the link: – Family Homicide/Suicide Ireland.

            This is a very valuable analysis, but there is more evidence which requires inclusion.
            Clearly top-quality investigative journalism has to be a major factor in preventing these prescription drug-induced annihilations of previously integrated families via murder-suicide.

            The mother’s tragic message – “This is hell, this is hell” – is a typical description of the agony of akathisia.

            We know the toxic psychosis caused by SSRI’s and preceded by akathisia is the common iatrogenic factor behind these deaths.

            Tragically, it appears that those who advocate these drugs have lost, or abandoned, their professional duty of care to differentiate a toxic psychosis from a functional psychosis.
            This means that the UK system fails just as miserably as that criticised in Ireland.

            Akathisia is undiagnosed, unrecognised and not recorded as the primary initiator of these lethal act/s.

            SSRI induced toxic psychosis is labelled as a functional psychosis.
            The typical, “blame the Patient, exonerate the pills” explanation which immediately follows, means that the truth is missed by the inquest.

            This enhances and publicly reinforces the powerful marketing myth of the dangers of “psychiatrically ill” patients as potential murderers.
            In turn, increasing the power, pseudo-prestige, command and control of the psychiatry – psycho-pharmaceutical axis of evil

            The compulsory epidemiological data collection appealed for above would appear to be the only hope of truth and justice for these desperately suffering families.

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          • TRM123: AKATHESIA.

            “…This is hell, this is hell. ..”

            In 1986 I wrote to the same Psychiatric Unit (as this lady) describing my Akathesia experience as the ‘worst experience of my life’ and to send Warning over to the UK concerning the offending ‘medications’ :-



            This 1986 handwritten Warning Request Letter was to be found at the very back of my (FOI requested) Irish notes.

            The Psychiatric Unit in 1986, did send ‘an account’ of me, over to the UK – BUT without the Requested Adverse Drug Reaction Warning.

            They also sent me a Personalised Letter of False Reassurance (copy included in my FOI requested Irish Notes).

            (Base Records Entry 1980 :-
            “… destruction of hospital property .. for ECT tomorrow morning….”)

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        • Thank you for this TRM 123:
          ““Significant symptoms of akathisia occur in: –
          Around 20% of people on antidepressants.
          At least 50% of people on antipsychotics,
          on higher doses, this rises to 80% or more”.”

          The question I have, when I read stats like this is – what about the time factor?

          Is that 20% of people on antidepressants right now suffer akathisia?

          What about the person who has been on them for 5 years? 10? 20?

          How does the time factor change these stats?

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          • I would read this statement from the RxISK monograph on akathisia: –

            One in five of those taking SSRI’s will experience significant symptoms of akathisia.

            This RxISK guide to akathisia states:-

            “Akathisia may occur within hours of starting treatment or it may take weeks or months to appear”.

            In 1989, Robert E. Burke et al reported:-

            “In recent years there has been an increasing recognition that akathisia not only occurs as an acute, self limiting complication of dopamine antagonistic treatment, but also as a persistent form called tardive akathisia”.
            (“–mean 4.5 years. — 34% within one year”.)

            It would seem reasonable to consider that psychotropic drug induced akathisia may be sub-acute, acute, and chronic.

            With regard to the PREVENTION OF AKATHISIA, and having regard for the frequency of non-recognition, or false interpretation as the onset of “first episode psychosis” (i.e. the failure to differentiate Toxic Psychosis from Functional Psychosis) :-

            Lucire and Crotty have stressed the critical importance of the clinical differentiation of neurotoxic “pseudo-psychosis” – from functional mental illness. (My terminology in italics.)

            Antidepressant induced akathisia may be predicted by means of understanding the interplay between the subject’s CYP450 genotype, substrate drugs and doses.
            Those developing SSRI induced akathisia are more likely to be slow metabolisers.
            Lucire et al stated:-
            “It is the authors contention that prescribing antidepressants without knowing about CYP 450 genotypes is like giving blood transfusions without matching for ABO groups”.

            Antidepressant-induced akathisia-related homicides associated with diminishing mutations in metabolising genes of the CYP 450 family.
            Pharmacogenomics Pers Med. 2011. 4. p65 – 81.


            A wider awareness of, and an ability to recognise, correctly diagnose and effectively manage acute SSRI induced akathisia is urgently needed.

            In the meantime, is it not an ethical requirement that all SSRI prescribers should hand over their prescription with the words? –

            “This medication may cause extreme and unusual psychological and behavioural changes, dominated by overwhelming agitation.
            This may result in your suicide and/or violence to others”.

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          • Thank you TRM.

            Though in case studies I’ve read –

            CYP450 interactions might prevent most akathisia, but not all akathisia is caused by CYP450.

            It’s hard to say because not everyone is tested.

            I’m seeing CYP450 testing becoming more common to “tailor” drug treatment, which will make all the pharma companies scramble to have a drug that doesn’t hit on CYP450 enzymes.

            But – akathisia can strike, even when there is no conflict on the liver enzymes, at least in my experience.

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          • Responding to, and agreeing with your observation, JanCarol.

            The absence of detectable, or currently recognised CYP 450 genomic variant vulnerability to ADRs does not mean that akathisia cannot occur.
            Nevertheless it is essential, and surely better ethical practice, to develop further and utilise any scientific methodology that may protect the “consumer” from devastating toxicity.

            The fundamental failure of drug dominated psychiatry is due to the fact that prescribers are clearly incapable of differentiating SSRI/neuroleptic drug induced akathisia and its sequalae from “Serious Mental Illness”.

            The cost to the individual, to their loved ones, to society, and to the sustainability of entire Health Services of the toxicity of SSRI’s – (and psychotropic drugs in general) – misinterpreted as “psychiatric illness” is beyond quantification, as well as professionally unforgivable.

            Because a psychiatric “diagnostic label” – falsely applied, where the intense and bizarre behavioural changes are misinterpreted as mental illness, leads to incarceration, and to the extended loss of all human rights;

            Because errors of diagnosis lead to further enforced multiple drugging with exacerbation of the mis-interpreted symptomatology;

            Because these profoundly toxic enforced “medications” cause devastating injury and death;

            Surely we must demand and expect a greater understanding by prescribers of the vast individual metabolic variation and vulnerability to this current, appalling over-simplification in prescribing practices?

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          • (reply in wrong place) – I agree TRM, that is a start.

            It is a start to test a “diagnosed consumer” for severe reaction to the metabolism of a drug.

            That’s kind of a bare minimum.

            But that “diagnosed consumer” may not be served by the alternative drugs, either.

            The way I’m seeing it CYP450 testing rolled out in Community Mental Health Centers, appears to be a Cover Your Ass application of prescribing. It is surely better than the haphazard prescribing I see daily at

            I’d like to stop it before – as you say – the “consumer” becomes “diagnosed” with an “irreversible disorder” which gets blamed for all future health problems.

            It’s difficult, because problems in living can be so severe, so extreme, so disruptive, and not everyone can just drop off the hamster wheel and work on things like I have.

            “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

            Our society is surely very sick, very insecure, bordering on enslavement. Not every slave can walk away. I recognize that. So hurting the slaves less is a starting point.

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  11. shaun f
    I give up on you. If you would quit the garbage and apologize about Southerners eating more fried food than the rest of the country that would help. As my father would say, “That is a MYTH!” And that you love fried food, but eat it infrequently because of the cholesterol really makes me feel “patronized.” In fact your whole tone in all your replies to me and to others has been very patronizing. You write as if know of us know nothing and come back with a retort. You are even stereotypical in describing the state where you live in that you describe Colorado as “outdoorsy” and the people as “outdoorsy.” Like all states, you most likely have people that do prefer the outdoors and you have people that prefer the indoors and you have people that like both. Actually, there are many areas in the South with excellent state parks and greenway systems that people enjoy all year round. We have skiing, hiking, camping, spelunking, etc. So, please quit your stereotypes. Oh and by the way, although I would like everyone to not be racist or anti-LGBT-Q, I interact with everyone on a polite basis, because I have no idea what one is really thinking and I know what one appears is not one always is. I am also aware that none of us Earth at this time is without prejudice of one kind or another. It is you might say the “karma” each one of us just have to work through. And “Golly” I was born in the South and I know about “karma.” Would you…. Could you…. And what do I usually eat; Stir-Fry. Now, that my appetite has mostly returned from the toxic drug withdrawal and detox. Thank you and Bless your Soul this New Year’s Day!

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    • Yes, we do see the world differently. I would say to those who feel they are benefitting from the psych drugs to read everything they can about the drugs, to monitor the dosages, and to watch for adverse side effects, etc. I would also tell them that they are taking a risk and hope and pray they do not end up like I did; so asleep I could not be awaken and was almost taken for dead. I did end in the hospital. It was the beginning of a two or more years wake up call. I would also hope and pray that they do not end up like Patty Duke or Carrie Fisher. Finally, I would tell them it is their choice to take the drugs or not take the drugs and they have every right to say no and to be respected for it and have their wishes respected. If not, it is time for them to just leave. Each person really needs to make sure their diagnosis does fit them. Many are diagnosed that have no mental illness at all. If any of your clients do become aware of this or other websites or of Robert Whitaker’s great, life-saving work in this area, it would behoove you to listen and allow them to make their own choices. If they choose to stop taking the drugs, please find them the help they need, not ply them with further drugs that are alleged to help, but only hurt. Please be always usage of these drugs is as dangerous or more dangerous than most of the illegal drugs and alcohol. I do hope someday you awaken to this like so many of us on this site has and I also hope you learn to grant others their right to speak, even if you disagree which means admitting they may be right and their experiences count for something, most probably more than statistics. Except, for that one brief period with the SSRIS, you are only receiving second hand information from your clients.

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      • Rebel, I agree with you on many fronts regarding your comments about people taking psychotropic meds. I fully respect their decisions and I’m not the one impacted by taking meds–they are. Regarding my own experience with SSRIs, I know that withdrawal symptoms are real, as I experienced brief arrhythmia. I don’t see meds as completely safe but in some cases, as others have said on this website, meds do at least sometimes make peoples’ lives better. We are interested in the same things ultimately–we both agree that people shouldn’t be harmed by the medical community, that we want people to be respected and educated about their treatments, etc.

        I do think it is unfortunate that you dismiss statistics. They do tell us about how groups of people are impacted by various things and give us more knowledge, which is something we all should want. I do fully believe in both quantitative and qualitative data. One thing I can say is that we ought to be asking clients what they want from treatment and what they don’t like. As a Mh system we don’t do that near enough. That is wrong.

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          • I am aware of the book, Old head. One think I can say is that society has also changed in innumerable ways since Thorazine was introduced. Now people live farther away from their families of origin (people are more mobile than we’ve ever been in history), which of course means that more people are lonely, isolated, and often relying on strangers for finding support (e.g., therapy). Also, the rise in technology, while it has been beneficial to a certain degree, has also increased anxiety and depression, particularly social media. I believe that in the past, before psych meds, families and communities took care of people displaying symptoms. Today, we have alternatives. Also, today we have more awareness of mental illness, whereas in the past, at least at times, was highly stigmatized so people didn’t talk about it. We know more now than we ever have around mental health issues.

            I will say one positive development is we have a much better understanding and appreciation for the connection between trauma and mental health. I can say that the vast majority of my clients have had serious trauma, usually multiple incidents, in their childhoods and in many cases adulthoods. This is why society ought to devote more resources to prevention efforts. If we can prevent certain traumas, I no doubt believe that mental health symptoms would decrease or never show up at all.

            Humans are both fragile and resilient, and treatment ought to focus on further developing and harnessing peoples’ strengths. I do believe in strength’s based treatment philosophy, which is why I believe therapy can and is useful to clients who are willing and able to do the hard work. CBT, DBT, MI, ACT, EMDR have all shown to be very effective in helping people to heal and cope in more effective ways. The most important variable, however, in therapy is building solid rapport and the therapist showing compassion, unconditional positive regard, and authenticity. These variables can lead to healing. I believe that medications have enabled my clients to have the energy, focus, motivation, etc., to cope more effectively with their emotions and disturbing thoughts.

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          • I am aware of the book, Old head.

            No, you don’t get to evade the question and change the subject. I didn’t ask if you were “aware” of the book, I asked if you had READ it. So I will assume the answer is “no.”

            I will assume the same about your familiarity with The Myth of Mental Illness by Dr. Thomas Szasz.

            So your education is apparently sorely lacking.

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        • Shaun, again, the time factor is not taken into consideration.

          I believe these drugs provide “functioning” on a certain level by robbing the future health of the patient, and that the longer they are on these drugs, the more depleted their enteric brain (gut), endocrine, and mitochondrial systems are.

          When you tell them it will decrease their life span by 10-20 years – is that worth the ability to function now?

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  12. That’s cool. You have dismissed or ignored much of what I’ve had to say. That’s fine. We see the world differently. I’ll just ask you this: what would you say to my clients who are grateful and find benefit to psychotropics?

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        • I do need to say something about “placebo effect.” When I was a veterinary technician, the vets would occasionally prescribe psychoactive drugs for animals with behavioral problems.

          Yes, animals can have anxiety disorders, OCD, and self mutilation issues. Sometimes psychoactive drugs like Elavil are used to control pruritus.

          Sometimes the drugs worked beautifully. Sometimes not. I’m sure that, as for humans, there are different causes for the same behavior.

          For example, I remember a certain Westie who chased his tail constantly. He had to wear an Elizabethan collar so he wouldn’t see it. The second he saw it, he would glare at it an attack it. He’d chase it for as long as you let him and he was awake. In some cases, meds worked. In others, it didn’t and amputation cured the problem.

          Did the dog chase his tail because of discomfort or OCD? Good question, and he couldn’t tell us.

          In cases of extreme anxiety, meds generally help. There is no way a dog or cat can have a placebo effect.

          Unlike in human medicine, there are double blind longitudinal studies conducted on animals. Yes, I know……I don’t like animal studies either. But there’s no way to carry out this type of study on humans.

          I’m pretty sure now many of you will express shock and horror at the idea of giving animals psychoactive drugs. Remember, there is no talk therapy for animals. If a pet goes into an extreme state of fear at the sound of thunder, many times you can’t talk them out of it. If a pet with separation anxiety routinely destroys your home (including ripping out doors and plasterboard in addition to damage to furniture, belongings, etc) and “training” doesn’t help, then many owners turn to doggie drugs. In many cases, this works. Keep in mind that many dogs injure themselves while destroying the house. They might eat sofa stuffing (intestinal blockage!) or cut themselves on broken glass or furniture, or suffer electrical burns by biting power cords. Any of those disasters can result in thousands of dollars in veterinary bills or euthanasia.

          My point is, pets do not experience the placebo effect. Either the dog stops destroying your home or he doesn’t. Some argue it’s wrong to “drug the dog.” When the dog is clearly suffering extreme stress that harms its quality of life without the drug, and can tolerate storms and separation WITH the drug, there is no placebo effect.

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          • Princess Aurora, my cat had difficulty adjusting to other cats in the house when she came. At the vets request, we drugged her and another cat on a tricyclic.

            It was when she was 6 months old. Her brain was still forming.

            6 months treatment on a tricyclic, and this cat is not very intelligent (she used to be quite bright). She is reactive (also mentioned in Whitaker’s book – which you need to read, as well), spooky, and just not as good a cat.

            I kick myself. I didn’t know better at the time, I listened to the vet. I believe she would’ve adjusted without the drugs, and not suffered the brain & personality changes which have hampered her long term quality of life.

            To see how antidepressants are equal to placebo in effect, please see Irving Kirsche’s work, and Joanna Moncrieff’s excellent, “Myth of the Chemical Cure,” where she takes apart drug companies’ studies to adjust for “placebo effect.”

            You are stating your case as a case. I study hundreds of cases, maybe up to a thousand of them. Naturally, most of the ones I see are because of problems, but I also have noted that over time, the longer the drug is taken, the percentage of problems increase.

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          • Dogs are PACK ANIMALS. They are SOCIAL animals. When ANY dog “destroys the furniture”, etc., it’s ONLY because they have been LEFT home ALONE! Have you ever heard of a dog who “destroys the furniture” when their pack/family/people are present? No, of course not. So “destroying the furniture” is a stress response to abandonment. It’s a SOCIAL reaction to an abandoning pack/family. The problem is the pack/family. It’s NOT the dog that’s the problem. The dog is the victim. The pack/family is the problem. Same as with people. That’s the reason the so-called “medical model” of so-called “mental illness” has such a low recovery rate….
            (Also, you’re neglecting consideration of the “No-cebo” effect….)….

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          • Your comments remind me of the “Rat Park” experiment. It’s always been accepted in addiction research that rats given a choice between pushing a button for food and one for cocaine will eventually choose cocaine over food to the point of death. This is supposed to prove that the substances themselves are the problem. But when the Rat Park guy put the rats in a healthy environment with lots of stimulation and socialization opportunities, the rats were no longer very interested in the cocaine, and didn’t become “addicted.” When we see lots of addiction, we’re seeing people whose needs are not being well met in their environment. Yet we want to blame the drugs, because it lets our social leadership off the hook.

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          • Steve, there is a political ad out right now against a housing proposition, and one of their arguments is:
            “This measure has no provisions to TREAT homelessness.” [emphasis mine] Is there a social problem/crisis they will NOT try to medicalize??

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    • Shaun, you see the world differently because you don’t have the same set of information that people in here do.

      Go away, read “Mad in America” and “Anatomy of an Epidemic” and weep.

      Realize the harm that has been done in the name of creating jobs for psychiatrists, and profits for pharma. While you’re at it, if you like scholarly stuff, read Whitaker & Cosgrove, called, “Psychiatry Under the Influence: Institutional Corruption, Social Injury, and Prescriptions for Reform.” It’s a short read.

      If you want to go more in depth, please consider Peter Gotzshe of the Gold Standard Cochrane Collaboration, and his book, “Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime.” Or look up some of his & Whitaker’s talks on YouTube.

      Your expressions here are uninformed of the issues we are discussing. Learn some of this stuff (not just be aware of it) and come back – and we’ll engage you some more.

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      • JanCarol,
        Emphatically commend your vital basic reading list.

        Prefer to advocate that they commit to serious study, rather than to merely reading.
        (Mandated by the knowledge of this literature achieved by those who feel the shared experience of the scale, intensity, duration and extent of injury and suffering caused by coerced/enforced psychotropic drugging, and those grieving for their loved ones who have died).

        Also : – Advocate —> Read selected full text references from each chapter.

        These extensively researched books are meticulously evidenced and afford insight into gifted academic endeavour and achievement.
        Recommend also: – Professor Peter Gotzsche’s Deadly Psychiatry and Organised Denial. 2016.

        For a little less academic, but invaluable further insight: – the superbly written
        The Pill That Steals Lives. Katinka Blackford Newman. 2016.

        Finally, it would be valuable to critically scrutinise some of the original, manipulated and falsified clinical trial publications that were ghost-written, then compare and contrast with the current, highly disciplined and also meticulous, deconstruction research publications.

        For example:-
        The Citalopram CIT-MD-18 Paediatric Depression Trial.
        Deconstruction of Medical Ghostwriting, Data Mischaracterisation and Academic Malfeasance.
        Jon N Jureidini. Jay D Amsterdam. Leeman B Mettenry.
        International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine, 28. (2016) 33 – 43.

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  13. I’ve been on meds for bipolar disorder for 25 years. Yes, I figure they’ll eventually shorten my life. I’ve always thought that. On the other hand, I’ve lived 25 years longer than I would have without the meds, because I was suicidal.

    SOOO…….which is better? A happy life with meds (possibly cut shorter) or death by suicide at age 30?

    I’m grateful there are ways to help me. I lead a happy, productive, active life. I’ve been married for 33 years. I have some ups and downs, but some things have to be felt. Like the death of my mother, pets, etc. Sometimes life is sad. Sometimes it’s fantastic. At least my highs and lows are within the realm of normal.

    I have a small horse farm. I ride, do outdoor work, and the other day helped load and unload 60 bales of hay (60+lbs a bale). I’m HAPPY.

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      • Once again, they aren’t “medications”, they are “drugs”, many of which have been proven to be neurotoxic, shrink the brain, cause diabetes and metabolic syndrome, while also having a link to both suicidal and homicidal behavior.
        Psychotropic drugs that I ignorantly praised for 12 years destroyed my life. That has been my experience and that of countless other “patients”. There is never true informed consent given about psychiatric drugs. The few people who claim they improved their lives won the lottery….

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        • – hope this gets you to the Continuing Education Section where you will be able to view presentations by David Healy – Psychiatry Past and Present – and Peter Gotzsche – Why Few Patients Benefit from Psychiatric Medications. Wouldn’t hurt to view the presentation about nutrition by Bonnie Kaplan, either. Another thought: Abram Hoffer was a Canadian Orthomolecular psychiatrist who treated more than 5000 schizophrenics with micronutrients and not pharmaceuticals – most were restored to health. It is possible. And I’m off this week to a funeral for a victim of a psychiatric drug- induced death.

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        • I think the bottom line is that there are a LOT of people like me who benefit from psych drugs. I’ve never deluded myself that they might not eventually harm my health. However, what’s worse, being dead at 30 or living well for 25 more years?

          My father neglected his health and died at 60. My mother neglected her health even worse and died at 85.

          I am a happy and active person. I ride my horses at least twice a week. I’ve broken over a dozen bones since 2009 and, while I’ve needed pain management, I’ve still remained physically active. I realize my cognition isn’t quite what it was, but I’ve also had two severe concussions. The first one, from figure skating, created long term headaches and migraines, as well as impeded my ability to do math. The second one, from getting bucked off a horse, caused speech problems. I had aphasia, stuttering, and slurred speech. I’ve had a couple of minor whacks to the head too.

          I can load and unload up to 30, 60lb bales of hay in a day. Not bad for an old lady.

          I’ve gone ZIP lining and have recently decided that sky diving is probably NOT something I’ll try.

          If I die “early”, it’s probably going to be because I was doing something I shouldn’t have. I refuse to give in and be a “patient.” I’m not a “patient”, I don’t need or want sympathy. What I need is assistance in living life on my own terms. My meds do that.

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          • Well, I think there are a LOT MORE people who have NOT benefitted from, and in fact have been seriously harmed, permanently disabled (or become victims of suicide or homicide) or died as a result of ingesting psychiatric drugs. We read about them and their experiences on this website, see stories about them in the papers, and on YouTube. These victims include children and teenagers. What are some of the “side effects” listed for these drugs? Akathisia, agitation, increased anxiety, increased depression, insomnia, mania, suicidal ideation, emotional blunting, abnormal thoughts, psychosis…and the really COOL part is that it’s anyone’s GUESS just who will develop these “problems” AND, if the patient reports the symptom it is quite likely the drug will be increased or another 2 or 3 added! The lunacy doesn’t stop there…

            So LUCKY for you, not so much for a LOT of other people.
            Strange how so many school shooters (and, apparently a number of suicidal pilots…)were on these “quality of life giving” drugs…probably just a big coincidence or a conspiracy theory….

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          • I work with many people like you, Princess Aurora, who live a more fulfilling life due to medications and other helpful treatments. I wish you continued success.

            To Truth I’d say this: school shooters have histories of being disturbed, usually that is the reason their parents brought them into treatment to begin with. To assume psych meds are at fault is a stretch to say the least. You are right that some of the SEs from meds are terrible as you mention, but most people don’t get them. If SSRIs were so horrible, for instance, we’d have a lot more violence in society than we do since they are heavily prescribed. But guess what? Violence is down statistically and has continued to go down since the 70s.

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          • Sounds like your mother was doing something were doing something right, Princess — and without psych drugs. So I wouldn’t be so judgemental. Saying psych drugs prevented you from committing suicide is a ridiculous as you saying they stopped you from robbing a bank. Ever hear of free will?

            Shaun F is coming close to giving you medical advice with his dangerous and unfounded pronouncements, I would advise him to watch his words.

            And FYI there are no “side” effects, just effects.

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      • Until their health starts to suffer, as none of these drugs were trialled for long term use.

        Over time, they start to cause paradoxical effects, mysterious health ailments that often get called “Chronic Fatigue” or “Fibromyalgia” or insomnia, chronic headaches, etc.

        In my own story, I waited until my health started to fail (kidneys, endocrine, 2 surgeries on thyroid & ovaries) and once it gets to that point, often (especially in my case, as organs were removed – I can never get them back) then it is not just “side effects,” it is damage.

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        • JanCarol,
          The multi-focal brain toxicity resulting from neuroleptic drugging and the iatrogenic, toxic psychoses (apparently misdiagnosed almost routinely) – understandably dominate the appalling injuries caused in those who are coerced/forced to be medically abused by psychotropics.
          The endocrine pathologies caused in parallel, are of great importance.
          Thyroid tumour/s presumably?
          The exquisitely painful, disfiguring, massive breast hyperplasia due to (apparently often unmonitored) elevated prolactin levels appears often ignored?
          Also the disseminated and disfiguring skin pathology which destroys any residual self esteem.
          A severe, pustular painful “pseudo-acne” even producing lesions on the lips, again intensely painful.
          These drugs are causing multi-systems toxicity in addition to the inarguable, increased risk of sudden cardiac death.
          No wonder those “treated” die some twenty years prematurely – which is where Corinna’s post started.

          Then add the destruction of self worth and societal rejection which follows the casual application of these “pharma focused” and often funded, “diagnostic labels” squabbled over by self-serving committee beneficiaries:-

          Destruction of mind, body and soul. Termination of hopes, dreams and aspirations.
          The basic tenets of medical practice abandoned.
          Catastrophic intensity of iatrogenic “patient” destruction.

          This is indeed, not Medicine.

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    • Aurora, in your case drugs could have been and apparently were very useful. However, individual anecdotes are not a substitute for data from quasi-experimental studies of large numbers of people across a range of settings and timeframes.

      The facts remain that long-term compliance with these brain-dampening drugs is quite poor, that the adverse side effects are often severe, and that on balance these drugs encourage pessimism and a lack of agency via indoctrinating people into believing they have a brain-based illness called “bipolar” that is out of their control.

      I wrote about this topic below, and it’s quite relevant to “bipolar” and drugs, since drugs are one of the prime agents used by many psychiatrists to convince clients that their distress represents a biologically-based illness:
      The problem with using primarily biological models of psychosis is not only that they are unevidenced, but that (not unlike antipsychotic drugs) such models can have serious “side effects.” These include:

      Harsher judgments from people who believe “the mentally ill” have biological brain diseases –

      More prognostic pessimism from both laypeople and professionals endorsing biological models –

      Increased stigma and less ability to regulate mood in those told they have a chemical imbalance –

      Less motivation to explore what one can do to change problems in those given “mental illness” labels –

      Worse outcomes for so-called “mental illnesses” compared to outcomes of physical diseases –

      Greater fear of people given mental diagnoses (and interestingly, as this talk shows, the majority of the public rejects psychiatry’s narratives about a primarily biogenetic cause of mental health problems in most countries outside the United States) – – and

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      • Aurora, in your case drugs could have been and apparently were very useful.

        This is an irresponsible statement, Matt. You don’t know this person and have no demonstrable basis for saying this. It could encourage someone who trusts you to take psychiatric neurotoxins.

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        • Well, you’re a tad late for that. I’ve been quite open about both my diagnosis and my treatment. I have no problem suggesting to someone that they seek professional help, but since a lot of my friends don’t live anywhere near me, the specifics are up to them. If someone chooses to take meds, that’s their choice. As I said, if they prefer large doses of cayenne pepper or diatomaceous earth, that’s fine as long as they’re helped. I even know people for whom coconut oil is the panacea.

          Why are you so inflexible? I’m quite willing to accept that there is more than one answer to a given problem, but you do not. At this point, no one has total understanding of the brain. Even with diabetes, there are a myriad of ways to treat. Diet, diet and meds, or diet and insulin. There’s no cure. Control, yes, but no cure. Why is it so improbable to view mental illness this way? There are different degrees and causes, and different therapies. Your approach just stigmatizes certain choices when in fact you should be open to all choices and support everyone who seeks treatment, even if their choices don’t match yours.

          Your assertion that my mom was right in her attitude toward mental illness is really pretty funny, since not only did you never meet her, you didn’t see what her denial did to her. Her “genes” were not “strong” enough to help the extreme depression that darkened her final years. Ending up completely incontinent, immobile and unwilling to help herself was the result of her “right” approach, then I’m incredibly happy to NOT take her advice. She spent 25 of her 85 years merely existing. Mere existence is not living.

          And why do you doubt my ability to compare the “before” me and the “after” me? I’m the judge of my treatment’s effectiveness, not a few people I’ve conversed with in cyberspace. You labor under the misconception that your way is the only way, which is a sad sign of a closed mind.

          Let me ask you this: what can you do? Build something? Cut brush with a chainsaw? Make basic home repairs? Make 1100 lb animals obey you? And if you DO get injured, do you get back up and about the second you’re able (which is not always what the doctor says you’re able)? All of those examples speak to your desire to try new things, risk failing miserably, then trying again.

          The success or failure of any treatment rides on the person’s willingness to stick with it and never give up. I have a persistent streak common to horse people and many athletes. No matter what the situation, I’ve made my own decisions and prognosis. Sometimes I’ve had to adjust for realism. (Like deciding not to ride the horse who almost killed me twice. I didn’t want to “give up.” I just got tired of breaking things.) We’re a special kind of crazy. A catastrophe happens, then we fight our way back to our horses. I ride with a 71 year old woman who was nearly paralyzed by her horse, but after 6 months got on again…’s a special kind of crazy.

          Our special kind of crazy is the reason we can set our minds to something and stick with it. I wish more people had it.

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          • Princess

            The fact is that people were “cured” of their “mental illness” in the old days before the drugs made their appearance. Prior to the advent of thorazine and Haldol there was about a 60% recovery rate, even for those labeled as schizophrenic. About 30% recovered and never came back into the system, to go on with their lives. They went to school, raised families, and worked jobs. About 60% recovered but might spend another turn in the so-called “hospital” before they too took off, never to be seen again. About 35% never recovered and we don’t know why. The recovery rate today with the drugs is 16%.

            And then there were the places in the 1970’s and early ’80’s where people with schizophrenia were helped to recover and all without the “help” of the drugs. These places were named Diabasis House, Soteria, and I-Ward. They are famous because they achieved recovery without the aid of any drugs. And of course, since you couldn’t market this kind of “treatment” they were driven out of existence. They lost their funding and disappeared. The drug companies were not great fans of these places nor were psychiatrists.

            Emotional and psychological pain and distress are not “illnesses” like the drug companies and psychiatry want us to believe them to be. I agree with you; if people want to take the drugs and have been given true informed consent (which hardly ever happens), then more power to them. As a peer I must support the choices of the people that I work with. I am not there to convince them to believe the way that I do. I will never, ever touch the damned drugs ever again. I had a heart attack because of the citalopram that I was forced to take in the “hospital” where I was held and where I now work. But if others want them then let them have them.

            But, you must realize that not everyone has the success that you seem to have. For you, your choices seem to be the right and proper choices.

            I watch people drugged into submission and compliance each and every day as I work with the people on the units in the “hospital” and watch people in the courtyard outside my office window. I watch them lose their lives slowly, in tiny increments over weeks and months and sometimes years. I watch them go from vibrant people to obese people who shuffle along looking at the ground, drooling down their chins and onto their shirts and blouses.

            I suspect that half the reason that you are successful is that you are stubborn, at least that’s the feeling that I get from the way you write and the words you use. Stubbornness can often be a great gift and talent that keeps us going when nothing else can.

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        • Oldhead,

          I have to vehemently disagree with you that Matt’s statement was irresponsible because you think it could encourage people to take psych meds. The free will you talked about in another post applies here. If someone decides to take a psych med based on someone’s positive review, that is on them.

          Look, if I can help it, I will never take another one as long as I live. And personally, I think they cause more harm than benefits. But I also have friends who seem to be doing very well taking them. It would be quite arrogant me to tell them otherwise.

          I am just baffled by comments like yours. We don’t like it when people question our disasters with meds but yet we feel free to do the same when folks post a different perspective.

          Shaking my head.

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          • It is irresponsible to validate the use of psychiatric neurotoxins, period. This is different from having the “right” to take them.

            If someone decides to take a psych med based on someone’s positive review, that is on them.

            Pretty harsh.

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          • AA

            Have *you* read “Anatomy of an Epidemic” or looked into any of Peter Gøtzsche’ work? His book, “Deadly Medicine and Organized Crime” is worth looking into for anyone taking psych drugs or contemplating such.


            I think this ‘free will’ thing is all well and good if a person is *truly* informed about the DRUG they’re consuming. But the prescribers aren’t even aware of the harms caused and they’re ignorant about how to discontinue their drugs safely.

            That’s my beef. There is no true informed consent when it comes to these substances.

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          • Oldhead,

            Anyone who surfs the Internet is responsible for their own actions and for deciphering what information is valid and what isn’t. That is just common sense.

            Human Being, I have read Anatomy of an Epidemic. I haven’t seen Peter Goetze’s video.

            Actually, I question when there is truly informed consent in any med being prescribed. When my former PCP insisted I needed blood pressure meds, she never mentioned that white coat hypertention can provide false readings. Thankfully, I asked for a 24-hour blood pressure test and realized I didn’t need the meds.

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        • Oldhead,
          People can make their own decisions. In this case I was merely repeating what the poster themselves had said. Some people do report being helped.

          Besides, no one who knows and trusts me would take psychiatric drugs without being aware of the risks, at least not for any length of time. People know what I think about this.

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          • If you put yourself out there as someone as someone who is informed about this stuff you don’t know who is doing what on the basis of your statements. People have the “right” to suicide, too.

            You were not just repeating what someone said, you were implicitly agreeing with her that the drugs were “helpful” in her case (though reading it again you did couch this in such terms as “apparently”). Just saying you should be more aware of the possible consequences of such statements.

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  14. I think it’s worth noting that the article in Slate was written by an ‘resident scholar’ at The American Enterprise Institute, which is described as … ‘an influential right-wing think tank that advocates for lower taxes, fewer protections for consumers and the environment, and cuts to the social safety net.[1] AEI describes itself as “committed to expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening free enterprise.”[2]
    In 2014 The Washington Post wrote that under CEO Arthur Brooks, AEI had emerged as “the dominant conservative think tank,” becoming more influential than the Heritage Foundation.[1]
    During the George W. Bush administration, AEI was regarded “as the intellectual command post of the neoconservative campaign for regime change in Iraq,” Vanity Fair noted.[3]
    AEI had approximately 225 staff and an annual budget of more than $50 million in 2015.[4]

    … so taking that political stance into account, it’s a wee bit UNsurprising that the author writes as she does. After all, it’s not ALL psychiatrists who believe unquestioningly in the biomedical model but those wth a right-leaning perspective are more likely to,

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          • It proves the exact point you just made, as the person I was responding to basically described biopsychiatry as a Republican plot. Have you not by now seen me point this out a zillion times? It’s a bipartisan form of oppression, just like the Patriot Act and Zionism.

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          • E. Fuller Torrey has been blaming Ronald Reagan for a lot of the problems in psychiatry today. That isn’t exactly a right wing position. This is the same E. Fuller Torrey who was the founding member of an organization dedicated to forcing treatment on people who don’t want be treated. The problem, as I see it, is the problem of paternalism, and when it comes to paternalistic attitudes, the democrats are typically worse than the republicans, but paternalism has its bi-partisan forms, too, which is to say, the republicans (Tim Murphy, for example, is a republican) aren’t past taking paternalistic social control to another level on occasions. Big brother and big sister are out there, and watching you, thanks largely to the corporate owned two party system.

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  15. The author seems to conveniently forget the enormously heightened risk of death when one doesn’t take one’s medications and commits suicide because of uncontrolled depression or has a hyper-manic episode and engages in risky behaviour with fatal consequences. She also forgets that Ms Fisher was an uncontrolled Bi Polar sufferer for many years, and engaged in plenty of said risky behaviours including drug and alcohol binges, which have risk factors that are probably just as high as, if not higher than those from some medications. In fact high levels of cocaine use – and Ms Fisher used a lot of cocaine- is especially risky from a cardiac point of view. There is definitely a heightened risk of cardiac issues from anti-depressant/anti-psychotic medication, but leaving out genetics, lifestyle choices and other appropriate statistics makes for a flawed theory. In balance, quality of life for many people on medications for their mental health disorders is better and safer than life without medications.

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    • Where is the data supporting that there is an enormously heightened risk of death without drugs, i hate wellness?

      Tragically, about 10% of people – more or less depending on the study – eventually suicide who are also labeled bipolar (unlike diabetes bipolar is not a discrete or scientifically valid disease condition, so how and by whom the label is applied also matters tremendously, but that’s another issue).

      Even if 0% of people suicided who were on drugs for supposed bipolar – something that is obviously not true – the difference between 0% and 10% would still be small compared to the 90% of people who suffer greatly and never suicide either on or off drugs (and let’s not kid ourselves that there are many, many, many people who don’t take their prescribed drugs reliably, or stop completely due to the side effects).

      So in other words, you are probably blowing the protective effects of drugs out of proportion, and you didn’t present any data regarding mortality to stand on in the first place. If you want make a real argument, please come up with a range of studies showing that drugs significantly reduce mortality in people given this arbitrary label “bipolar”. I don’t think you have this data.

      And let’s be clear – these drugs are tranquizilers, not medications. Antipsychotic drugs damping down people’s feelings are not medications treating any coherent illness entity. No wonder they are used for so many disparate problems apart from “bipolar” (if that even makes sense…), given their generalized nonspecific damping effects on the ability to feel and think.

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      • I truly believe that any one set of symptoms can be the result of more than one set of causes. We really don’t know enough about the brain to make a concrete assertion.

        What I DO know is that I’ve been completely compliant with my meds for 25 years. I’m happy and have a productive life. You can have any opinion you like about my assertion. I know what works for me and I’m fine with it.

        I think the biggest problem is the stigma associated with mental illness. Carrie Fisher and Patty Duke did a great job of showing that mental illness doesn’t mean you have to sit in a corner drooling and picking at scabs.

        I think it’s a mistake to believe that only one treatment is the possible correct one in all cases. Personally, I don’t care whether someone eats diatomaceous earth every day. If it’s effective for them, great.

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    • My response to the Slate article: Dr Satel states:
      “Fisher spoke publicly and truthfully about her condition and in doing so, offered many lessons from which we can all learn. First, she promoted the best treatments that psychiatry has to offer.”
      The best psychiatry offers is drugs, shock, and brain surgery PERIOD. Unfortunately Fisher didn’t embrace any of the therapies that may have saved her a lifetime of drugs and ECT brain damage.

      “I have a chemical imbalance that, in its most extreme state, will lead me to a mental hospital…I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that.”
      No one should ever say that anyone should be ashamed of having a `mental illness’ or of being emotionally overwhelmed, But that she was led to believe that she had a non existent `chemical imbalance’ borders on malpractice on the part of her doctors, and she propagated this probably without understanding that it was a lie. This claim was and is purely a marketing slogan perpetrated by the drug companies to sell product. It has NO substance, NO scientific validity and was publicly discredited years ago and the fact that Dr Satel is also publicly supporting today is scientifically irresponsible. “..when her condition was at its most intense, Fisher turned to electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT…
      ECT is still overshadowed by its One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest reputation as a damaging procedure.”
      I am getting very, very tired off seeing this lame excuse for ECT’s bad reputation being trotted out as a PR statement in every proECT propaganda piece. NO! ECT has a bad reputation because in order to believe that 450 volts pulsing through someone’s head for 8 seconds does NOT cause damage, is suspending disbelief to a delusional degree and the public are NOT that stupid!
      Unfortunately Carrie Fisher (and Kitty Dukakis ,30/12/16 New York Times article) have been constantly used as spokespersons by the $5 billion a year ECT industry for many years. There are NO other celebrity spokespersons because nobody else will say anything other than that it causes serious injury. Both Dukakis and Fisher admit serious memory damage from it, and when I recently saw Carrie Fisher as a guest on a well known panel show in the UK I was appalled. It would have been obvious to anyone who has ever worked with neurologically damaged people that Ms Fisher had serious problems. That she continued to be `open’ about ECT indicates several possibilities; a) she had anosognosia (brain damage that prevents the person being aware that they are damaged); b) that she was apathetic and compliant, (a result of brain damage) saying whatever was asked of her; c) that she made these comments when acutely injured by ECT and possibly suffering from post-ictal and concussion euphoria, both acute symptoms of brain injury; d) that she, and/or her entourage were paid to eulogise ECT.
      I’m afraid that for many years, I saw Carrie Fisher as a dupe in the ECT PR machine.
      Dr Satel’s claim that ECT is an effective, let alone the most effective treatment for anything is not supported by any science whatsoever. The claim that it is a substitute for equally useless drugs has no science behind it all.
      There has never been any evidence that show ECT is anything more than a brain injuring placebo that has a short lived positive effect in less than 50% of people, most of whom would have responded equally well to `sham’ ECT (Placebo) and extra caring and attention, with NO injury.
      “To be sure, a chaotic childhood is not a risk factor for bipolar illness. (There is a genetic factor, of course, and other biological vulnerabilities….)”
      Dear me Dr Satel, what planet do you live on? YES, a chaotic childhood IS a risk factor for all kinds of `mental illness’ including bipolar AND the PSYCHOSIS you mention Carrie Fisher suffered from!
      I agree that “Bipolar illness is devastating. The symptoms can be terrifying: paranoid hallucinations, delusions (she had those), a black abyss of demobilizing depression.”
      But to say that the best one can hope for is `treatment, which can be quite effective at managing symptoms’ is a denial of the possibility of hope for recovery that is, very often, with the right help, achievable.
      Sadly, for Carrie Fisher, in the hands of psychiatry, it wasn’t.
      Oh, and by the way, there are very few psychiatrists who are either trained or inclined to step away from the prevailing bio paradigm – after all that’s where the money is.

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    • How do we know that it wasn’t the drug abuse that caused Carrie Fisher’s mood swings and erratic behavior, rather than an alleged “chemical imbalance” naturally occurring in her genetically inferior brain? (The president of the APA has published an article stating that no “well-informed” psychiatrist believes in a biochemical imbalance. It was only a metaphor.)

      She needed to become clean and sober. She would have benefited more from joining a twelve-step program and taking steps to make better life choices than just substituting street drugs with the patented kind.

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  16. I do not know about Carrie Fisher and her allegedly risky behaviors. I do know she has now passed away and at the very young age (by 21st century standards) of sixty years and additionally, we have lost her mother, the great talent of Debbie Reynolds. I can say that like John Donne any time a person “dies” each one of us is diminished. What I do know is me and I believe there are probably others out there like me. I was put on these “drugs” and Sort of forced into “therapy” mostly and only because I was really “looking for my real place in this world.” Every time, I went to Vocational Rehabilitation for help, I ended up in the mental illness center. The second time was due to the loss of my sister, of whom I guess, it’s now an abnormal behavior to grieve. I will admit my faults, though. Like others, I, too, looked up to psychiatry and psychology for the answers. After all, I had a Bachelors Degree in Psychology. I know that many suffer and many believe these drugs help them alleviate their suffering and improve their lives. I thought that, also. I am not here to tell anyone what to do or how to live their life. That is a decision that must be left up to each person. However, I will tell what I have learned. I looked to psychiatry and psychology for the answers, but the answers were never to be found in these “fields”. These answers could only be found in my heart, spirit, and soul. However, each person is here to find their own way and if there is any real “sin”, the “sin” would be to interfere.
    And, to Shaun f. Yes, I totally distrust statistics; because like so many “alleged tangibles” in life they can be manipulated to fit any conclusion desired. Only that which is truly “intangible” can not be manipulated. And my Father, who was brilliant enough to be a “Mensa” member and had two graduate degrees, one in Sociology, always told me that there were three kinds of lies; “Lies, ‘damn’ Lies, and Statistics.” My father is gone now, due to an illness resulting from Agent Orange, as he was A Vietnam Veteran. And, with that, I honor my father’s legacy. Thank you.

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    • rebel, you dad had a lot of good points. Not only are there lies, damn lies, and statistics, there are three sides to every story. His, hers, and the truth.

      My father in law was a professor of biostatistics at the graduate level. And he belonged to Mensa. He was, unfortunately a very unhappy man who viewed everyone else as less intelligent and therefore not worth listening to. Not to mention his alcoholism. When he died, his house looked like something out of Hoarders.

      My brother has a Master’s in Electrical Engineering and is quite proud of his Mensa membership. Too bad he’s a lazy drunk who almost killed his son in 2015.

      My husband is smarter than the rest of them combined. He could easily get into Mensa, but simply doesn’t see the point. He’s in good company. Stephen Hawking isn’t into that either. What I love most about my husband is that he’s so GOOD. He doesn’t go around angry, doesn’t carry grudges, treats everyone respectfully whether they’re the garbage man or a professor, and treats every living thing as precious and irreplaceable.

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      • It occurs to me, P, that you are doing so well *because* of your charmed position and circumstances.

        Owning horses isn’t for anyone less than ‘comfortable’. I love horses, and have cared for them for years for others, but know that my ‘station in life’ and responsibilities elsewhere and my adverse life circumstances would keep me from enjoying an equine companion for purely financial reasons.

        Shit happens to people. Sure, I made the decision to marry the abusive spouse who took me to the cleaners and removed my children from my care via the CORRUPT family court system, but the set up happened when I was an innocent child, unable to defend myself or remove myself from adversity.

        Psych meds added another 20 years of hell to an already *challenging* life…and I’m still recovering from the brain damage after quitting them all 3 years ago. My life has forever been ruined by obtaining a psych diagnosis, as result of my grief and poverty after finally getting free from a manipulative man who spent our whole marriage telling me who I was and what I was thinking.

        I am happier now, med and psychiatry free, than I have been since forever. I’ve learned skills to self-soothe and developed a way of seeing the world and a new appreciation for life on this planet than I otherwise would have.

        Psychiatry is a tool for social control. To fail to see this and to ignore the history of the field is not ethical.

        Just as an aside; as a former ‘health care’ professional, it seems to me that those interested in psychology as a field have some unresolved issues their own selves. As my psych instructor in nursing school said on our first day of the rotation, “most psychiatrists are crazy”…

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        • it seems to me that those interested in psychology as a field have some unresolved issues their own selves

          Hard to generalize but often hard to avoid seeing. Also an interest in “how people’s minds work” for purposes of learning to control them.

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          • No doubt therapists and doctors have unresolved issues, but so does every other human being on the planet.

            Well me as a therapist I don’t have any interest in controlling anyone. If a client believes medications are helpful, I support their decision. If they don’t and want to do counseling only, I’m good with that, too. It is their life and they get to chose what they want it to be.

            It is simply wrong that we want to control people. Me and my colleagues simply want to help clients be safe and feel the best the can under the circumstances.

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          • Me, as a therapist? Don’t you mean therapest? That’s kind of like a Therapod, and I don’t go there. I just say, the kids are alright. The kooks, too.

            If I were a client, I’d hope bad circumstances didn’t come with the role, and I rather suspect they do. So much for clientism.

            Paternalism is a big part of the problem. It’s one thing to protect a person from the actions of others, it’s another thing to presume to protect a person from their own actions. Both sorts of “protections” can be confused, too, and often to a bad end.

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        • Sometimes things are obvious and the ability to extrapolate from the information offered doesn’t make me a bad person, as you are inferring, P.

          Can’t own a horse without some significant financial resources in my world.

          To deny that economic status is correlated to stability and safely is dishonest.

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      • Princess Aurora, You patronize my family and my father, Vietnam War Veteran and Army Chaplain. I have read your posts, Shaun F’s posts, and Shook’s post and I am going to speak my peace. After this, I will metaphorically kiss your other cheek.
        Over and over, the three have not only been repetitious, but self-righteous, mean-spirited and close-minded. You have shown sarcasm and have acted as if your way is the only way and those of us who have been through “hell” because of these drugs do not and can not know what we are talking about. You refuse to consider that maybe the construct of mental illness is a falsehood and you may have been tragically duped. I do believe each person must make his or her own personal decisions and follow his or her own path in life without interference. Your very words show me that you are clearly not comfortable in the decisions you have made. And Shaun F. you made have visited the Southern United States, but have you ever lived here. My people settled here almost ten generations ago. I have lived out of the South. I lived, went to high school, college and worked in the Southwest. It seems that every word, many of us write, the three of you have to come in and put “garbage” in the game about it. Good for you, the drugs worked. After twenty or more years on them, I almost died. Good for you Shaun F and Shook, I am so very happy that you are helping your patients, but, some of us have suffered at hands of allegedly well-meaning therapists. Please think about this little word thing tonight before you sleep; if you disassemble the word, “therapist” you get the two words, “the rapist.” Just a little word play in the English Language word game. Also, please don’t patronize me with “you’re angry, you have every right to be angry.” No, I am not angry. I am standing up for myself, my family, and the South. I realize many in your profession would consider that “anger” But, standing up for one self is nothing but pure redemption.

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  17. To all the posters who think they know what killed their friends, how do you know psych meds were the culprit? Did the autopsy indicate this was the reason? Or is it your own interpretation of the situation? Human bodies are complex and we often will never know why any individual passes away. I feel for anyone who has lost a friend or family member, as I have, but I find that on this site people are blaming psychiatry and med mgmt without having the full facts. Yes, prescribed drugs can and do kill people, but so does bad genes, poor lifestyle choices around diet and exercise, drug abuse, etc.

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    • Your previous comment puzzled me. So WHY are all these people who are leading HAPPY and FULFILLING lives because they are drugged (“medicated”) spending their valuable but as Aurora said “perhaps shortened lives/time seeing a “therapist”? To chat about how happy and fulfilling their drugged lives are?

      Oh, and that is the other really COOL thing about psychiatric drugs- it is so difficult to PROVE they are the reason people had that stroke or heart attack or developed diabetes or hanged themselves (after taking the drug for bladder incontinence) or killed their neighbours or strangers or children….but strange that the drug companies paid out and settled or were found culpable in some well publicized cases…

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      • Truth, mental illness is complicated. Many of my clients talk to me about their struggles. The “truth” is that life is stressful, difficult, and challenging for all human beings.

        Regarding meds, there aren’t any conclusive tests I’m aware of which clearly determine the cause of death is due to some medication a doc prescribed. Yes, companies sometimes settle with claimants to lower the expense of fighting cases. It is pragmatic but doesn’t necessarily mean they are “guilty”. This is complicated and there is still a lot we need to learn. Meds can be harmful and we should continue to challenge pharma companies to ensure accountability and transparency.

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          • No, I have mentioned capitalism. I do think that big pharm.’s main goal is to make as much money as they can. Doctors are pretty much the same way. This is why people shouldn’t be paid extra to dispense meds. Docs should be paid the same regardless of medications being prescribed (I don’t know exactly how they always get reimbursed, but I know that med mgmt is profitable due to the demand.

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      • Sorry you couldn’t follow my statement. We all die sometime. In my case, I was suicidal and had it well planned.

        Since I started meds I no longer have the compulsion to harm myself.

        I’m not stupid enough to believe that taking any kind of meds couldn’t cause harm in the long run. Still, I have lived 25 years longer than I would have otherwise. Maybe there’s a trade off….quality of life vs quantity of life.

        On the other hand, as they say, “s–t happens.” I was taking one of those slow nose to tail mule rides in Yosemite in 2009. My mule FELL. I broke my ankle, had a 3 mile stretcher ride, and a 50 mile ambulance ride. Two surgeries later, my ankle is partially fused. A lot of things COULD have gone wrong here…..a fat embolism, blood clot, etc. but they didn’t.

        So, I enjoy every day that I have and live it to the fullest. Things can and do happen, but that’s a risk I have to take. There are no guarantees in life.

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        • Well Aurora, I became suicidal as a RESULT of the drugs – was on life support 3 times from extremely well planned suicide attempts, as a result of Prozac, Lithium, Quetiapine, Lexapro and Abilify along with PTSD from ECT. Since stopping all of these I have NO COMPULSION TO HARM MYSELF WHATSOEVER. 15 years of ODs, significant brain damage, a life truncated – BUT, now 2 and a half years drug free, symptom free, I too “enjoy every day that I have and live it to the fullest.” I don’t know how old you are, but I’m now 74 and because of psychiatry I lost 15 years of some of the most productive years of my life – I doubt I can make that up. So good for you if that garbage does it for you, it kills and destroys far too many others.

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          • deeeo42 I follow along the same lines as you. I was on most of the same drugs as you and more you did not list at various times. I was more suicidal and more likely to harm myself under the use of the drugs. Before the drugs and usually, except for a several years in college, where I went to the student counseling center and met with graduate students receiving degrees in “counseling and guidance” not clinical psychology or social work, I was not in any therapy and was able to reason myself out of these thoughts. Then the drugs came and I could no longer think, write checks, and eventually do all the normal adult things like drive. Finally, my mind/body just shut down and I could not wake up; which was the beginning of my real wake up, as I continually went through lie after lie about my condition. At that time, they took me off all the drugs but lithium. I was suffering, but, according to the doctors nothing was really wrong with me, except was already diagnosed by them. The last drug I took was in the Spring of 2015; when I realized that stopping these drugs was like stopping alcohol. I knew instinctively that something was really wrong with me; as I felt “clean inside again.” just like after I stopped the alcohol. I told the psychiatrist how I felt and I wanted no more drugs. She preceded to write me a prescription for Risperidal, because “she was ‘afraid” I would ‘relapse.'” I took one or two pills and threw them up. That was it. It is January 2017. Well, I’ll be!—no Relapse. Sometimes, I do have my bad days and my tired days. I probably take more naps than I did years before the drugs and I have to pace myself. But, my mind is crystal clear and I can reason myself into a positive mood. I still have my challenges like trying to keep a “clean house.” And I lost anywhere from ten to twenty years of my life. But, most importantly I am alive and joyful and at peace. I relearn and rediscover myself daily. As opposed to being on the drugs, I am no longer a zombie and would rather live than die! Thanks to no longer being on the drugs, when an issue or problem comes up I can use my imagination, my intuition, or my reason and see a real live solution to any problem. If it works for Aurora, all well and good, but, for those of who almost died and lost part of our lives, our voices are very valid and we need to be heard also. Most magazines only tell stories like Auroras. To the Auroras of the world, I wish them luck, health, and happiness. However, those of us who suffered need to tell our stories, also. Otherwise, how else can anyone make a conscious, informed decision. Also, our suffering needs to be validated and “recorded.” All I know is that now I want to live. On the drugs, I did not; because I was not living any way. I was just barely surviving as a “walking corpse.”

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          • deee042 and rebel, I am very sorry for your experiences. I am 54 and very active. I’m pretty sure I’m healthy.

            As I’ve said, we don’t know enough about the brain to understand all the nuances of mental illness. The same set of symptoms could be caused by a variety of things. We have no way of knowing all the mechanisms at this time. For that reason alone, I’ve always believed that there is more than one effective treatment.

            I really don’t think I’m that unusual. It’s that so many people hide what’s going on because of the stigma. I’ve never had a problem talking about my manic depression. I never hesitate to suggest to someone that they seek professional help. What form that help takes is their decision. What I DO know is that there are a lot of really complex problems out there and I’m not qualified to help. (Especially in the cases of many of my FB friends.)

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          • deeeo42 and rebel, my experience resembles yours. I had bouts of prolonged sadness since I was a child–though looking back I see there were reasons for them other than a genetically inferior brain. Like a Sunday school teacher telling me I was wicked and regaling me with tales about Hell. Almost being homeless several times and constantly relocating due to my dad’s inability to keep or find a good job. Being bullied and sexually harassed on a daily basis at high school. But hey, the depression was my fault, right? All those other people are blameless since I’m the genetically inferior monster with the broken brain. (As are you, Princess Aurora, according to the psychiatric model you buy into!)

            Being officially diagnosed as schizoaffective at age 20 and put on massive amounts of Haldol which caused daily mini-seizures was the final straw. I suddenly developed horrible obsessive thoughts and behaviors I never had before. I got kicked out of college, accused of not taking my “meds.” This simply wasn’t true as my daily seizures should have proved.

            Feeling it was somehow my fault that the “meds” weren’t working despite my religious adherence to taking them exactly as prescribed, I fell into a severe depression. The main reason I decided to kill myself is my friends and family could no longer endure my drug-induced personality changes. I thought it was right and moral to unburden them of my diseased, monstrous presence.

            Taking Effexor produced a temporary high that ended my depression for a month or two. Never had such a positive drug experience since. For a long time I went in and out of hospitals.

            Was on a “cocktail” many years since. Miraculously my “brain disease” that I would have for the rest of my life was transformed into an entirely different one when I saw a new shrink. Imagine a doctor who can transform breast cancer into leukemia at the stroke of a pen! Cancer is real, therefore that scenario would be impossible.

            Now that I have reduced my drugs–from the full course “treatment” of mood stabilizer, antipsychotic, and antidepressant to just 60 % of effexor and 0% of the former poisons–I feel greatly improved. I no longer suffer low-grade depression continuously, with frequent bursts of suicidal desires and fantasies. Things like exercise, cleaning house and eating right were practically impossible before. Now I find it amazing how doable they are now.

            Besides going off the drugs, part of this comes from perceiving myself as a real human being. A real human being who is responsible for her choices and behaviors. Taking a pill won’t make me a moral, ethical person (quite the opposite.) As a free moral agent I must accept responsibility for my actions. I find this idea highly empowering!

            Psychiatry discourages moral responsibility being materialist in its origins. It also encourages a mechanistic view of humans and social Darwinism.

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      • Truth, I have to say, this is the most insightful statement I’ve read in a long time.

        “our previous comment puzzled me. So WHY are all these people who are leading HAPPY and FULFILLING lives because they are drugged (“medicated”) spending their valuable but as Aurora said “perhaps shortened lives/time seeing a “therapist”? To chat about how happy and fulfilling their drugged lives are?”

        I have to say, very profound and very true. Thanks for that

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        • Anonymous2016……how do you determine whether someone’s life has been shortened? Maybe mine has been. I don’t know.

          We have a friend in her 30’s who has been diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer and given less than a year to live. I think it’s reasonable to say that her life is short, but not that an external force shortened it.

          We keep talking about diet and big money, etc etc etc making people ill. That is certainly true to some extent. Then you see someone like my great grandfather who made it into his 80’s eating suet pudding every day. (Clearly one of the grossest things I can imagine.) I don’t know if he smoked, but that was a very common behavior at that time.

          My father was meat phobic and died at 60. He also survived cholera and typhus during his childhood in India and suffered a recurring tropical fever for the rest of his life. He later tested positive for TB antibodies. He also smoked and neglected his high blood pressure and diabetes. In his case, I can argue that he lived an extremely long life given his childhood illnesses. On the other, I can say he cut his life short with his behavior.

          In fact, cancer has been around for thousands of years. There have been cases where cancerous tumors have been found ancient bones. Mummies have been found to have atherosclerosis.

          We all die sometime. Did my great grandfather shorten his already long life? Did my dad live a tremendously longer life than nature intended, or did he shorten his? Who’s to say?

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          • I’ve already sited the articles for the fact that 25 years ON AVERAGE is taken off each individual life. Yes you can have your outliers you recall, want to go through your family history. But overall given the mean, 25 years on average are taken off any individual that takes psychotropics. Take for instance, Carrie Fisher who died at 60 and the average lifespan is 81. Well, I guess you can say she lived on 4 years of borrowed time, according to the statistics.

            Please refer to the USA article and the consequential study. There is also a study from the New York Times, if you want to check out the “conservative” news source. They are both listed on Google.

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          • Dear Ms. Aurora,

            How about drug watch database? There was an instance where Vyvanse was given to a 10 year old, I believe. That little girl gave it to a 3 month old and then continued to suffocate her. It was found by an IT individual whose son had a bad reaction to a psychotropic. You can go listen to the whole interview on and his newscast archives. Quite frightening. And then when he sued for the file under the freedom for information act, it was redacted from the database.

            I’d say that was a life taken too soon.

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          • To the best of my knowledge, autopsies can determine the cause and manner of death. ie, cause-blunt trauma manner-homicide, accidental, or even suicide.

            Toxicology results will show what chemicals are circulating at the time of death, but unless toxic levels of a particular chemical is present, it’s not accurate to blame a particular chemical for a death. For example, a very high level of alcohol, cocaine, heroin, or prescription drugs.

            As for physical brain changes, since many of them occur at the microscopic level or only present as chemical changes, it’s impossible to attribute them to a specific medication. At our current level of technology, we can’t state whether a brain was “different” to begin with, thus causing problems or whether the problems caused brain changes.

            Scientists can only look at donated brains and report on their observations. Again, they can’t make an assertion as to cause and effect. In some cases, an MRI, CT, or other test can show gross abnormalities, but not microscopic ones. I’ve had numerous MRIs and CT scans over the years for my migraines…..not one has shown a gross abnormality.

            Since no one is going to dissect the brain of a living person, that’s all we have at this time. I believe technology will be better able to make these determinations at some point.

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      • Very interesting amnesia.

        On a related note, many people with narcolepsy have found that their condition greatly improves with a gluten free, low carb/ketogenic diet. Even if they can’t get off of the meds, they find their dosage decreases.

        Actually, doctors generally know zilch about nutrition. So I would be shocked if psychiatrists did.

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    • Sean F,

      Do you ever believe that psych meds can cause homicidal or suicidal ideation in people who wouldn’t have committed the acts if they hadn’t taken the meds? Just wondering because of some of your posts.

      Report comment

      • AA, I do believe that yes this does happen. I have never seen it in my work, though. None of my clients have ever presented with increased SI/HI that seem anything to do with meds. Usually they talk about increased stressors, difficulties managing emotions, new trauma, etc. which is clearly impacting their moods and state of mind. Stress is a major factor that we cannot ignore.

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        • Not be sarcastic Sean but my friend and I joking call your reply, the I have ever seen it response.

          How do you know that what your clients may be attributing to stress may not be the result of the med? Maybe your clients aren’t telling you their feelings out of fear you will think they are crazy

          By the way, I would have never believed drugs could do this until I took Celexa several years ago and became severely agitated. I was filled with rage which is totally unlike me. I also had no reason to be since I had a good paying job that I liked.

          Even though my psychiatrist advised staying on the med, I disregarded his advice which was one of the smartest things I have ever done.

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          • For AA: Tomorrow’s agenda – cemetery – mausoleum – ashes – lawyer. When a close friend told her doctor that citalopram (Celexa) was making her suicidal her doctor told her it was impossible and upped the dose. I tried but couldn’t do anything to stop the events – the doctor is/was an acquaintance. I arranged for decontamination of her apartment after her decomposing and mummifying body was found and removed. What was left of her was a large thick stain on the floor and pieces of scalp and hair – forever in my memory. Too furious to grieve. Who best knows the effects of a drug than the person taking it? Certainly not the doctor. Thank God, AA, that you were non-compliant.

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      • FeelinDiscouraged, out of curiousity, NOT being a smartass because I really am curious, did your friend have a history of seizures? Head injuries? Brain tumor?

        My husband had a friend who developed a brain tumor in his early 20’s. He had it removed, but afterward suffered personality and ability changes and began having grand mal seizures. Ultimately his death was related to that tumor.

        Another friend of his had a brain tumor removed, and her personality and academic abilities changed considerable after the surgery.

        Did your friend experience any problems leading up to the fatal seizure? Again, I’m just trying to understand the whole picture.

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        • Princess Aurora,

          I am curious why you are expressing doubt when the psychiatrist admitted the drugs caused the seizures? Usually, they don’t admit anything about drugs causing horrific side effects.

          On a related note, when I told a nurse I was seeing that Wellbutrin had caused tinnitus, she had the arrogance to say it was completely harmless and that it couldn’t have been the cause. Even my then psychiatrist agreed it was the culprit.

          I just don’t understand why it is so hard for people to believe that drugs can cause side effects, even horrific ones. Obviously, causation doesn’t always equal correlation but prior to my going on Wellbutrin, I hadn’t experienced any tinnitus. Now, it is permanent which I realize doesn’t qualify as horrific by the way. But just trying to make a point.

          I can’t remember if I mentioned this here but several years ago, when I started using Listerine, it caused a loss of my sense of taste. As soon as I stopped using it, it returned.

          Interestingly, the dentist took my report very seriously even though according to dental literature, this was a rare occurrence. I have never understood why if the dentist could take my complaint seriously even though there was a financial connection since it had been given as a sample, why doctors react completely different when patients report adverse effects.

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          • It was a perfectly legitimate question. I just wanted to know whether she had a history of seizures. It’s a basic medical history question.

            In your case, it was Wellbutrin and Listerine. I’ve known other people who develop tinnitus from aspirin or viruses. In general, side effects are unpleasant but not fatal. If there was an underlying medical condition, the could be a complicating factor.

            A lot of people have seizure disorders. I was in Wal Mart recently and a cashier had a grand mal seizure. It was pretty scary, but the paramedics got there and took over. The woman could easily have hit her head on the concrete floor, fractured her skull, and had major complications or death. Fortunately that didn’t happen. Her coworker said the woman had mentioned her history of seizures, but hadn’t had one at work. When it DID happen at work, her coworkers had a reasonable idea of what to do.

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  18. I don’t think of myself as an anomaly at all. I think there are many people who, like me, benefit from psych meds. You just don’t hear from them on this site. In fact, when I related my experiences, it seems like there is a definite bias against meds. This is really a shame, because we have so little understanding of the brain that I doubt any one theory or treatment is the “only” one.

    I know what works for me. I’m sure I’m not alone. I’ve always been honest about being bipolar and the fact I take meds. Some people get it. Some don’t, and I’m okay with that. My own mother thought I was defective. I’ve gotten great at listening, answering questions, and going on my way. I got very good at ignoring my mother when she showed her lack of understanding.

    I’m disappointed by the attitude toward meds that I see here. My belief is that one set of symptoms can be caused by a variety of conditions. The set of symptoms I have could easily have a variety of causes. I don’t believe we have a good enough understanding of the brain.

    I do know that talk therapy was useless to me. I’ve been on the same types of meds for 25 years. I haven’t been suicidal since. Naturally, I have ups and downs. Life is full of them. I doubt I’m alone, but I cope. I suspect that there are a lot of people like me. We take our meds and go about our lives.

    If someone gets relief from suffering, especially if it allows them to live a happy, healthy life, then it doesn’t really matter to me whether it’s through meds, talk therapy, or eating cayenne pepper. The most important thing is whether someone gets the help they need.

    I do know what works for me. I’m also positive that I’d have killed myself without the meds, because I definitely had it all planned. When my mother couldn’t understand why her genes weren’t strong enough to ensure my mental health, I just shook my head and carried on. I realized she was born in 1919 when Freud was the best thing going. I didn’t let it bother me. I think I answered the same questions a thousand times. I accepted that she was always going to have a problem with my diagnosis. It was her problem, not mine.

    What I do know is that I’m happy and healthy. I know what works for me. I understand it’s not the only solution, but I know it’s my solution and I accept the risks. Maybe you all get my viewpoint, and maybe you don’t. No one’s going to convince anyone here.

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    • I do appreciate your perspective, Aurora, as many folks on this site do tend to focus their rage on psych meds and don’t want to acknowledge that many benefit from the treatments psychiatrist provide.

      Because I am a therapist, I am curious if you’d share why talk therapy was useless to you? I wonder if you didn’t find a good fit? I am sorry to hear therapy didn’t help but what ultimately matters is you found something that did. I don’t believe that therapists can help everyone, and I want to learn what us therapists can do better to improve client experience.

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        • Old head, I was skiing today so I wasn’t at my computer all day. And regarding dispensing advice, I will only give general advice on the internet, like that patient should probably talk to their doctors or pharmacists about any concerns they have about SEs or their med treatment. I also will gladly say that many of my clients have found tremendous benefit from medication management. It has nothing to do with taking advantage of what Aurora says…she has a valid story worth sharing and I applaud her for openly talking about her health and experiences in the MH system. It must be hard to believe that there are so many of us who support our current treatments, because like others said, the treatments provided are the best doctors and scientists have come up with, and because they improve the quality of life of many folks, like Aurora, family members, and friends. My near decade of experience in mental health informs me of these things.

          Feeling discouraged: Is it so hard for you to believe that there is more than one of us who can defend the use of psychotropics?

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      • Thank you, shaun f. Talk therapy just never seemed to connect with me. I had my first experience with it as a teenager. Personally, I think THAT psychiatrist was a quack. At the time, I was dealing with a lot of things….a terminally ill father, depression, trauma from being molested by a teacher, running away, basically a laundry list of things. He really never helped me constructively deal with any of my issues. I talked, he took in money.

        Later on, in my 20’s, I tried talk therapy again. That therapist had a Master’s. I did pretty well with her. She did a good job of listening to me and helping my understand my feelings and actions. The trouble was, the way I felt inside just never changed.

        All of my life, there was an inner core of anxiety, restlessness, and a whole lot of other emotions inside me. I used to tell my mother I felt frustrated even as a young child. This “feeling” never left me. On one level, I was gaining an understanding of my actions and even some compulsions. Unfortunately that understanding did absolutely nothing to change what was happening inside me. It was always there.

        When I started lithium, I think I slept for 3 days. When I woke up, I was CALM for the first time in my life. That knot of emotion that had been digging at me for years was gone. For about the last 10 years, I’ve seen a nurse practitioner. I see her about 3 times a year. (I really hate going to the doctor!) It’s always the same……it’s a big practice, so a medical student usually interviews me before I see her. I’m so dull. I’m not suicidal. I don’t hear anything. I don’t see anything. I’m not delusional. I joke that I’m a really dull nut job. I’ve been on the same meds, more or less, for a very long time. My nurse practitioner checks in with me, makes sure nothing is going on, and I’m gone for another 4 months. did I mention I hate doctors? (Too many surgeries and broken bones.)

        I’m fortunate enough to have a fantastic husband of 33 years. He and I talk to each other about what’s going on, especially if there’s some sort of conflict or problem. We both have a very low drama approach to life, and I think that helps.

        I think that because of my meds, I’m finally able to work through things on my own. It’s amazing what being CALM will do for you. I’m also a physically active person. I know I feel better when I go outside and do things. I LIKE to be physically tired at the end of the day. Being able to do things for myself only reinforces that I’m intelligent and capable. I don’t NEED anyone to tell me that I’m competent. Once you’ve gotten used to viewing yourself that way, you don’t need a therapist to help you process things.

        I think my love of animals has helped, and not in an “animal therapy” sort of way. I worked as a veterinary technician for 12 years. It’s a difficult job and there’s no room for mistakes. I took it seriously and took pride in following instructions to the letter. It was great to see pets go home. If they didn’t make it, then at least I knew it had been given the best chance possible. And yes, I even assisted with euthanasias.

        When I started riding again (I rode as a child but started again in 2001), my confidence improved. There’s much to be said for getting an 1100lb prey animal to listen to you.

        I think what enabled me to finally internalize the talk therapy and life experiences really was the meds. I also decided early on that I was in charge of my own prognosis. Horse people are also a special kind of crazy. We all have a long list of broken bones, concussions, internal injuries, and so on. We talk about them in our FB groups frequently. As soon as we’re out of the hospital, surgery, whatever, we’re talking about when we can ride again. None of us see these things as more than a painful inconvenience. Like I said, a special kind of crazy.

        I think what has really made the difference for me is the inner calmness I have. That has enabled me to do the variety of things I have that have led to me being confident and happy in my own skin, not to mention my ability to wave my hand and say “whatever” and walk away when necessary.

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        • Thank you for writing this eloquent and thoughtful reply. Your story is very familiar to me in my work with people who suffer from symptoms like suicidal ideation. I think animal therapy is an area that the MH system could really invest more resources into. Most people are calmer and healthier around animals. Many of the clients I work with have an emotional support animal. Unfortunately due to trauma, many of my clients have a hard time trusting other people but they feel safe with animals.

          I am glad to hear that you at least had a good experience with a therapist. One thing I’ve found is often master’s level therapists are better at empathy and listening than doctors who offer the same service. Many doctors are book smart but often lack people skills. I was once told by a head psychiatrist that there is no proof that many of the clients we serve struggle emotionally with the holidays. They sometimes lack basic common sense…

          Happy new year to you! Stay safe riding those horses.

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          • I don’t need one of your bloodsucking cohorts to teach me the value of a loving animal. It’s not “therapy,” it’s life, and you demean animals by portraying them as “adjuncts to therapy” or whatever.

            You seem intent on believing that I’m sitting here fuming at your comments, but in fact there’s nothing new here, just doing my job. For free.

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        • At the time, I was dealing with a lot of things….a terminally ill father, depression, trauma from being molested by a teacher, running away, basically a laundry list of things.

          Ding, ding, ding — and this had nothing to do with your obsession with suicide? Sounds like you had no support at a key time in your life. Maybe except for the physical dependency you’re in a better place now and could do without the drugs. Unfortunately there are precious few drs. who can get you off them, it’s much easier to put people on them. You should check out the site Recovering from Psychiatry.

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          • oldhead…..ding ding ding……….I wasn’t suicidal until a over a decade later.

            Here’s the thing. Life isn’t fair. Bad things happen to good people. I became pretty darn tough. I’m still tough. I’m probably one of the least dramatic people around.

            When my mother died 12 years ago, I had no support from my brother….he was off the deep end. I knew better than to expect it anyway. Fortunately Mom had a no-drama hospice nurse. On Dec 23, I made pre-need funeral arrangements the way Mom and I had discussed. I bought her a dress to be buried in. She didn’t want to see it, but was glad I got it on sale. Her response was “If I die over Christmas, put me in the fridge. I’ll keep.”

            At the end, my brother wanted to put her in ICU and turn her into a pincushion with tubes and machines. Since I had power of attorney, I vetoed this. In fact, I told the nurse to keep her out of pain, even if the meds shortened her life.

            I was not traumatized by this at all. It was actually a series of logical decisions. The rest of the family understood. My brother was off in his own little world. The fact is, it wouldn’t have mattered to me what “they” thought. Mom and I were on the same page and it was up to me to ensure she received what she needed.

            Twelve years later I’m still good with my decisions. My mother needed to be kept comfortable and I made sure she was.

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          • I wasn’t suicidal until a over a decade later.

            Unresolved trauma can last a lifetime.

            Good to see you didn’t let your mother become a medical victim btw. Doctors can’t accept “death,” even in others, it’s a challenge to their professional egos.

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          • oldhead, trauma is only unresolved if you choose not to resolve it.

            Actually, Mom’s doctors were very supportive of hers and my decisions. She was in assisted living and the nursing staff was truly wonderful and supportive. The hospice nurse was, and still is, a hero. I really appreciate and admire all of those who helped Mom. Every one of them was compassionate, realistic, and truly GOOD.

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    • If you want to take drugs that’s your right, but you seem to realize they’re bad for your brain. If that’s the trade-off you want fine, but I don’t see any reason to be effusive about it.

      Further I believe shaun f is enabling your drug use by helping you rationalize it. He is obviously using you to defend his career interests.

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      • Seeing as without the meds, I was well on my way to having NO life, I’m totally okay with it. No one is ENABLING me to do or not do anything, especially not a bunch of anonymous people in cyberland.

        I absolutely believe that we don’t understand the brain well enough to have a good grasp on why one therapy works for one person but not another. Does it REALLY matter how someone achieves a good result or that the person HAS a good result?

        I’d say my major concussions have had a more negative effect on my brain than my psych meds.

        I’m stating a simple fact when I say it’s better to live on psych drugs and risk side effects than it was to have a 100% chance of a bullet to the brain.

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        • It’s a false choice. You seem to have little sense of your own power, and to believe that your well-being is due to drugs, which is unfortunate. The reason I keep responding is not to change your mind but to guard against your unknowingly encouraging other people to go down this path. The same with shaun f, although he presumably should know better.

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          • Get over yourself Oldhead. Hard to believe that some people actually find themselves better off being on meds? Did you read when Aurora said she thinks she would be dead without meds? Why do you suppose she would say this? Maybe it is because it is her experience which you seem to want to reject for some strange reason. Again, if any of my clients or anyone in the general public finds benefit from psychotropics, who are you or I to say that they are wrong? That is their experience, not yours!

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    • Aurora,

      I will never argue with someone like yourself who claims meds have helped. But you don’t seem to understand that being on them for many people has caused their lives to be hell. I am not sure why that is so hard to understand.

      One of the worst decisions I ever made in my life was to go on psych meds. When I think of all the money I wasted on psych meds when it could have been going for more productive things, I want to cry. So I try not to go down that road. But it is tough at times.

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      • AA, I am very sorry for what has happened to you. I do not CLAIM the meds have helped. I KNOW they have.

        As I keep saying, we don’t know enough about the brain to be certain one set of symptoms is always caused by the same thing.

        I’d like to know, not being a smartass here, but I’m genuinely curious, what you do for yourself now and how full a life you lead?

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    • Aurora and Shawn,

      I think we need to be honest that psychiatric drugs are not targeted entities treating an illness called “bipolar”, but are instead tranquilizing, depressing, or upping substances that have a generalized effect upon neurotransmitters. They may still help people by numbing them for shorter or longer time-frames, but what they do not do is treat any life-long brain disease, contrary to what psychiatrists say about so-called bipolar and schizophrenia.

      Regarding the reasons why certain people reject the validity of labels such as “bipolar”, and think of psychiatric drugs as general tranquilizers rather than as medications treating a specific disease process, please consider the views of the leading American psychiatrists of recent years about DSM diagnoses including bipolar…

      In 2013, discussing psychiatric diagnosis, the psychiatrist and former National Institute of Mental Health director Steven Hyman stated:

      “The underlying science remains immature…The molecular and cellular underpinnings of psychiatric disorders remain unknown… psychiatric diagnoses seem arbitrary and lack objective tests; and there are no validated biomarkers with which to judge the success of clinical trials.”

      Hyman went on to call the DSM model of diagnosis, which includes labels like “schizophrenia,” “Totally wrong… an absolute scientific nightmare.”

      Hyman’s successor at NIMH, psychiatrist Thomas Insel, followed up this criticism by saying:

      “At best, [the DSM is] a dictionary, creating a set of labels and defining each. The weakness is its lack of validity. Unlike our definitions of ischemic heart disease, lymphoma, or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure. In the rest of medicine, this would be equivalent to creating diagnostic systems based on the nature of chest pain or the quality of fever.” (emphasis mine)

      David Kupfer, the DSM 5 chair, while trying to defend the new DSM, admitted that the discovery of biomarkers for supposed illnesses like schizophrenia remains “(D)isappointingly distant… unable to serve us in the here and now.”

      And former DSM-IV head Allen Frances went so far as saying, “There is no definition of a mental disorder. It’s bullshit… these concepts are virtually impossible to define precisely.”

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  19. February 16, 2011 Medscape— The risk for cardiovascular disease in people with psychosis increases after their first exposure to antipsychotic drugs, according to new research published online February 7 in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

    “This change in risk is evident early in the course of treatment, within several weeks of continuous use, but may continue over years,” study investigator Debra L. Foley, PhD, of the University of Melbourne in Australia, told Medscape Medical News.
    Schizophrenia is associated with a reduced life expectancy, and most early deaths are due to cardiovascular disease.
    patients with bipolar disorder have a higher prevalence of cardiac risk factors, such as obesity, glucose dysregulation and dyslipidemia.(fats in the blood)
    many of the medications that treat bipolar disorder may have cardiac side effects or toxicity
    lithium toxicity may be associated with sinoatrial block, AV block, AV dissociation, bradyarrhythmias, ventricular tachycardia, and ventricular fibrillation. T-wave flattening or inversion
    – Several antipsychotics have been documented to cause torsade de pointes and sudden death…
    PLUS – cocaine and some prescribed neuroleptics are very chemically similar – so…
    When was Carrie’s last ECT course? – Cardiac complications may exist for a period of weeks or even moths following ECT.
    Another tragic loss to the scandal of the last 60+ years of modern psychiatry.

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    • There is a lot of cherry-picking going on here. Read the paper in the article people. People with serious mental illness also have the following issues:

      “Higher rates of modifiable risk factors
      ƒ Smoking
      ƒ Alcohol consumption
      ƒ Poor nutrition / obesity
      ƒ Lack of exercise
      ƒ “Unsafe” sexual behavior
      ƒ IV drug use
      ƒ Residence in group care facilities and homeless shelters (Exposure to TB and other
      infectious diseases as well as less opportunity to modify individual nutritional practices)
      • Vulnerability due to higher rates of
      ƒ Homelessness
      ƒ Victimization / trauma
      ƒ Unemployment
      ƒ Poverty
      ƒ Incarceration
      ƒ Social isolation
      • Impact of symptoms associated with SMI
      ƒ Impaired reality testing
      ƒ Disorganized thought processes
      ƒ Impaired communication skills
      ƒ Impulsivity
      ƒ Paranoia
      ƒ Mood instability
      ƒ Decreased motivation”

      You don’t think any of the above has anything to do with early death?

      The worse thing you could do here is hop on the Scientology bandwagon deeeo42. ECT is one of the safest procedures and a gold standard when it comes to treating severe depression. It is all over the literature.

      “To put the mortal risk with ECT in proper perspective, it is only necessary to note that ECT is about 10 times safer than childbirth, that approximately 6 times as many deaths annually in the U.S. are caused by lightning as by ECT, that two complications of psychotropic drug therapy in younger women-fatal myocardial infarction and fatal subarachnoid hemorrhage-virtually never occur with ECT, and that the death rate reported for ECT is an order of magnitude smaller than the spontaneous death rate in the general population.”

      Take a look at another paper:
      J ECT. 2004 Dec;20(4):237-41.Paperpile
      Morbidity and mortality in the use of electroconvulsive therapy.

      Cocaine and neuroleptics work in completely different ways. Saying they are chemically similar doesn’t do anything for your argument.

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      • shook, you make a lot of sense. I wish we as a society had better mechanisms to deal with the severely mentally ill left to their own devices.

        Every time I see someone standing alone having an animated conversation with themselves I wonder how they survive. I also realize that could easily have been me.

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        • When I walk and start thinking out loud, I appear to be talking to myself. But that doesn’t make me mentally ill:) even though I think it looks that way to people walking by. They always say good morning:).

          All jokes aside, how you decide if someone is mentally ill? If you think it is because they are dressed poorly, there was a story about someone who assumed someone was homeless based on that premise and it turned out he wasn’t.

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        • What term do you prefer? People who believe the government has listening devices implanted in their eyeballs and they need to enucleate themselves are clearly not capable of functioning in society. If the voices in their head tells them that they have to murder someone, then they’re not functional.

          Mental illness is a perfectly legitimate term. Our mental processes take place in the brain. Seriously messed up mental processes also take place in the brain. Thoughts and emotions originate in our brains, not our big toes.

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          • Old head, and you are an anti-psychiatry zealot. Strange how Aurora never got a reasonable answer which has been my experience here as well. All the people in your boat just ignore the obvious facts that mental illness is real and we can’t just sweep certain conditions under the rug or give them yoga to cure their ills. Have you ever interacted with people who think the government is watching them, or that they think their clothes are burning them so they strip naked? I have directly worked with such people who are dangerous to themselves or others and have no sense of reality. Sorry to tell you but that is an illness in most peoples’ books.

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          • Shawn,
            To give one example of where the “mental illness” notion fails, being in a state of chronic terror and rage – a frequent precursor to having paranoid thoughts and delusions – is not an “illness”, but is a state of experiencing usually resulting from years of adverse stressful experiences, in which the brain / epigenome is profoundly affected by experiences of fear, horror, deprivation, frustration, etc. Here on MIA many people have discussed these connections carefully, including the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences study).

            Being in extreme mental states is not usually explained well as an “illness”, as with diabetes which relates simply to lack of insulin.

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          • For you “mental illness” is a legitimate term. This does not mean that it’s legitimate for all the rest of us who do not believe that psychological and emotional distress and dis-ease is an illness. There are many different ways to look at something. I don’t care if you want to call it mental illness but don’t expect me to feel the same way about it.

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        • The idea of “mental illness” came about long before there was even a specialty devoted to it. Remember Bedlam hospital? It was a warehouse for the “mad” and mentally deficient. Or King George? Now we suspect he suffered from porphiria (sp?)

          Back in the day, people were believed to be posessed or “delicate”. They were locked in the attic or killed as witches.

          Mental illness has always been around.

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          • Old head, and you are an anti-psychiatry zealot.

            I try. Check your grammar though.

            I should probably give you a chance to read the books I recommended so you don’t keep putting your foot in your mouth.

            All the people in your boat just ignore the obvious facts that mental illness is real

            One of those books was The Myth of Mental Illness. A very basic read.

            Snowden has shown that the govt. IS watching all of us. As they used to say, “paranoia is heightened awareness.”

            If “most people” jumped off a cliff would you join them?

            (This is a response to Shaun btw.)

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          • This is not the case in indigenous cultures where the medicine people were chosen from those who’d gone through the process of what you call “mental illness” and come out the other side in recovery. Not every culture looks at this as a horrible thing; they see it as something unfortunate but they support the person and keep them in the community until they regain stability once again and can continue forward.

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          • Princess Aurora: So-called “mental illnesses” are exactly as “real” as presents from Santa Claus, but not more real. They are ONLY “real” because YOU BELIEVE them to be real. They are “real’ in YOUR mind, but they are NOT real in MY mind. So-called “mental illnesses” ONLY exist in YOUR mind, but they do NOT exist in MY mind.
            Yes, there ARE “crazy people”, but that’s another subject….

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      • Scientology? Yes, let’s blame that for the fact that ECT is a lunatic bogus “procedure” that is simply repetitive closed head injury concussion provoking damaging grand mal seizures and causing brain injuries/trauma. Gold standard? What a joke. According to the spin and propaganda generated by the ghouls who make money on this procedure. The Journal of ECT? Yes, fabulous source of information. ECT causes petechial hemorrhages in the brain, breeches the blood-brain barrier, destroys memory and causes cognitive dysfunction.
        I, like Deeo42 am an expert on ECT by virtue of having ECT. I am brain damaged and suicidal BECAUSE of ECT, given bc a “doctor” could not figure out my severe depression and agitation was caused by toxic psychiatric drugs.
        Why do you think there are multiple “survivor” groups around the world dedicated to saving other poor vulnerable people from being injured by ECT??
        Google “I got brain damage from ECT”. Read the stories, educate yourself, and stop buying into the lies and propaganda of the ECT lobby.

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        • Shaun says (sorry, this is slightly out of sync, due to no “reply” button where I want it):
          ” If someone thinks that bugs are crawling all over their body, or thinks that it’s a great idea to drive across the country on a whim without their wallet, or runs down the street naked yelling the FBI is coming, or actively cuts their wrists and has had 20 hospitalizations for suicidal thoughts, etc….they are probably ill”

          All of these. Bugs crawling over body. Lowered impulse control, paranoia, alarmism, self injury – all of these can be found as symptoms of effects of SSRI and neuroleptic drugs.

          They get treated as “mental illness” because that’s the dominant paradigm, and so a drug condition is drugged. Withdrawal effects can last up to 6 months to 2 years after discontinuation – so it’s not “original condition coming back,” as so many in the field claim.

          These are common drug effects, and here you are calling them “mental illness.”

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      • Shook: All of these factors your list may indeed contribute to early death. But it is highly likely that many if not ALL, list the overall consequences of suffering diagnosis and treatment for mental illness in western societies.
        Impaired communication skills and social isolation: Withdrawal and social withdrawal because of being poor and on Welfare, and because of the socially disabling effects of drugs such as Tardive Dyskinesia, drooling, slurred speech, slowed thinking processes, repetitive movement disorders, Akathesia, somnulence etc – ALL effects of the drugs NOT the purported “illness”.
        Paranoia: It is easy to think people are talking about you, avoiding you, laughing at you when they see what you do in the mirror.
        Mood instability: Apart from the physiological brain disabling effects such as cerebral atrophy and disturbance in the neuro-chemical imbalance caused by the neuroleptic drugs, and brain damage from ECT which cause depression and many other disturbances (see psychological effects of Traumatic Brain Injury – TBI, in any neurological resource), it is very easy to become distressed, depressed and want to withdraw when you realise a) how physically debilitated you’ve become. and b) when you’re told over ad infinitum that you have no future but more of the same by those who are supposed to `know’ –
        I suggest you have a look at the raft of information about the organic effects of antipsychotic drugs, which of course are nothing of the kind. They are simply and solely “tranquillisers” and were always called so before the Pharma/Psychiatry Alliance in the mid 1970s PR/marketing campaign. I was a psychiatric professional before that time and watched as progressive sociopsychological programs that did away with drugs were systematically shut down by aggressive, mainly inept and certainly greedy doctors who saw their power being drained by the success of these programs that threatened to do away with them as well.
        Under all these circumstances your list is accurate. Mood instability, social isolation and decreased motivation are a given. Poverty, unemployment, homelessness, illicit drug use, smoking & alcohol consumption have far more to do with the treatment for the diagnosis that has no scientific validity or reliability whatsoever.
        In other words you’ve described the lifestyle of millions of western victims, often forced on them by a venal & corrupt psychiatry that peddles pseudoscientific rubbish as its creed – all of which lead to a stunted, shortened and miserable life. Poor Carrie didn’t stand a chance.
        Now let’s take you up on the ECT issue. Your assumption that because I am against ECT I must therefore be an associate in some way with another anti ECT organisation e.g. Scientology. But this is actually an ad hominem fallacy, and says far more about your critical thinking skills than anything about me. This form of the argument is as follows:
        Source S makes claim C.
        Group G which is currently viewed negatively by the recipient, also makes claim C.
        Therefore, source S is viewed by the recipient of the claim as associated to the group G and inherits how negatively viewed it is.
        An example of this fallacy would be “My opponent for office just received an endorsement from the Puppy Haters Association. Is that the sort of person you would want to vote for?”
        “Shooting the messenger” (an associated reasoning deficiency) may be a time-honored emotional response to unwanted news, but it is not a very effective method of remaining well-informed.”
        ECT is not only not safe it is dangerous. I see that you’ve read David Healy and Ed Shorter’s book that was liberally sprinkled with Max Fink quotes on the History of ECT. Unfortunately you don’t appear to have seen the extremely detailed and well credentialed critiques of that book. A pity you haven’t read the most scientifically applauded, and definitive article by John Read and Richard Bentall in 2010, `The effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy:A literature review”. There are many, many books, articles and reviews as well as testaments by highly respected psychiatrists who are among the 70% who NEVER prescribe it. A few names for you to catch up on, Colin Ross, Breggin, Burstow, McLaren, Browne, Johnstone, Johnson.
        Now for a few actual figures where they’re not hidden out of sight. Hard to find because accountability is thin on the ground in ECT. A few instances – Texas 1992-1996 – deaths in the over 60 years olds (the highest single user group) 1:200 within 2 weeks; a 1996 survey of matched elderly, deaths within 12 months, with ECT 25% – non ECT 2%. Texas 2014-15 1:400 within 2 weeks. Suicide prevention, apart from the APA’s outright falsehood of saying the 1976 survey by Avery & Winokur showed ECT prevented suicide when the survey clearly stated it did NOT, has no scientific support whatsoever.
        This death rate in new mothers would raise the roof and I don’t think lightening comes even close. If you’re going to quote from the APA handbook, make sure you say so then we’ll all know that what you’re saying are the words of vested interests dedicated to maintaining their highly lucrative and expansionist views.
        As for the Journal of ECT, I might say that after several years of looking, I have yet to read a single scientifically sound article from it. That more reputable publications rarely publish this junk speaks for itself.
        But let’s put the mortality issue behind us as according to the experience of neurologists electrical injury has a strange effect in that it is rarely fatal but has a very high and permanent post injury morbidity rate closely related to other Traumatic Brain Injury. So perhaps the real fear of ECT isn’t that one will die of it but that one will be permanently disabled.
        Oh and I might say that as a woman of 59, in 2002, I suffered a stroke during ECT. It wasn’t recognised at the time because the aphasia and paralysis were such common reactions to ECT that no one did anything. The scar was found later in a brain scan, along with the patches of dead cells and the marked cerebral atrophy that could not be accounted for by anything else. According to the specialist neurologist, that is. And issues found in the detailed neurophysiological tests include executive cognitive function difficulties, lowered intellectual capacity, `working’ memory disfunction and, of course, the admitted complication of years of retrograde memory loss including major job skills, education and my children growing up, were also attributed to ECT. None of these were ever recovered in the 14 years since.
        NO Shook, I don’t need the bandwagon of Scientology, I have more than enough data without ever having to go to their well.
        Please don’t insult our intelligence with the specious garbage published by people like Charles Kellner and his CORE group, or more dishonest PR releases from the APA. Shall we look at logic again?
        1. A Traumatic Brain Injury occurs when an external force applied to the head causes a disruption in normal brain function
        2. ECT is the application of an electrical force (450 volts for 8 seconds) to the head and causes a grand mal seizure and a coma. Serious disruptions to normal brain function.
        3. Therefore ECT causes a Traumatic Brain Injury. (Check neurological outcomes for Repetitive Traumatic Brain Injury)
        For anyone to take your claims seriously they would have to suspend disbelief to a delusional degree and frankly the public don’t buy it when they hear these facts, hence the protracted PR campaign by the APA.
        I will take you on every single point you can bring up on ECT –

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        • Deeeo42,

          Great response to Shook. I was horrified at his/her posts claiming that ECT was safer than childbirth but just didn’t know how to respond.

          Can I share your post in the future on other internet boards if I run across similar posters to this person? If you don’t want me to, I will understand.

          I am so sorry for all your suffering, particularly in suffering a stroke as the result of ECT and not having it recognized by doctors until years later.

          Thanks again for this post.

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          • Absolutely AA – in fact please do. Thanks for your concerns but the stroke was the least of my problems – the stress problems of being forced to have the treatment, the loss of my skills as an artist and writer which destroyed my livliehood, and most of all, the loss of my memories of my children were all far worse. But because I had what is known in legal circles as a `high cognitive reserve’ I came out reasonably okay. That means that I started at a high level of functioning so while my loss of capacity was significant I remain relatively competent. If I had been functioning at an average level, as of course most people are, the deficits from the brain injury may have reduced me to being intellectually and cognitively handicapped. These are the people who are silent, not the Carrie Fishers, or the Kitty Dukakis’s, but the vast numbers of severely handicapped people who are the hidden victims of this scourge. They are sitting in rooms, apathetic, without volition, insight, emotions or hope. No dreams, no future, no past.
            While Carrie and Kitty extoll the virtues of ECT here are a few celebs who weren’t quite so happy about it:
            Ernest Hemingway – blew his brains out after ECT destroyed his memory, his `capital’ – `it was a great treatment but we lost the patient’.
            Judy Garland – “I couldn’t learn anything. I couldn’t retain anything; I was just up there making strange noises. Here I was in the middle of a million-dollar property, with a million-dollar wardrobe, with a million eyes on me, and I was in a complete daze. I knew it, and everyone around me knew it.” The studio soon suspended her from the film.
            Gene Tierney – “Pieces of my life just disappeared…[like] what Eve felt, having been created full grown out of somebody’s rib, born without a history. That is exactly how I felt.
            Sylvia Plath – “she really hated to go…sometimes Aurelia [her mother] had to force her to go…glimpse after a treatment…she was uncharacteristically lifeless…it was almost as if the life had been sucked out of her”. (Mother’s friend.)
            Vivien Leigh – “She was not, now that she had been given the treatment, the same girl I had fallen in love with.” (Lawrence Olivier, husband)
            Antonin Arnaud (poet) – “Anyone who has gone through the electric shock… never again rises out of its darkness and his life has been lowered a notch.”
            Janet Frame (author) – I dreamed waking and sleeping dreams more terrible than any I dreamed before – [if] only I had been able to talk about my terror…
            Emil Post (mathematician) – died of heart attack at 57 following ECT –
            The claim that ECT is better now is rubbish. There have been NO new developments for over 40 years. It is cosmetically easier to watch because the body is paralysed by drugs (introduced 1950s and which has its own extra risks) but the seizure in the brain is still the fiercest seizure known in all of medicine, and the power used today is 4 times greater for 8 times as long. In fact with “modern ECT”, a group of ECT anaesthetists (who make as much as $30,000 a week), found that 1:6 ECT patients suffered a life threatening complication during the treatment. SAFER than childbirth? Don’t be ridiculous!

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          • Hi deeeo42,

            Thanks for letting me use your post. You are really killing it with all your points in refuting Shook’s claims about ECT.

            I am so sorry that you experienced the loss of your skills as an artist and writer and the loss of your memories and children. I can’t imagine what that must be like.

            Great examples of people in which ECT was a total disaster. Very tragic.

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    • What? for fun? No. ECT is for SEVERE depression. There is a subset of the Mentally Ill that do very well with the procedure. This means you need to choose who you are going to give it to carefully. It is not a panacea.

      I am assuming (which is perhaps a bit of a dangerous proposition given the trail of comments left above) that you mean would I consider having the procedure or recommending it to a family member if severe depression were in the mix? Absolutely.

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      • Why the sarcasm as it was a serious question? I feel that if someone is recommending something they claim has zero side effects, they should be willing to have it themselves or subject their family members to it.

        By the way, have you ever suggested sleep studies to people whose depression doesn’t seem to be remitting before recommending ECT? You do know that there is a certain percentage of people diagnosed with depression who turned out to have sleep apnea, right?

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        • Your language needs to be more precise.

          Your first paragraph doesn’t even make sense. If someone claims that ECT has zero side effects (which I haven’t seen anyone do BTW), that ignorant person should be willing to subject the procedure to their loved ones? How the hell does that solve anything?

          Did you know that sleep apnea is screened for when evaluating for ECT?

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          • Shook,

            If someone tests positive for the possibility of having sleep apnea, do you refer them for a sleep study to see if they have it before administering ECT? I am asking since many cases of depression can resolve with proper treatment or at least enable medication to be more effective?

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          • Shook, perhaps you could be more precise in your language. “There is a subset of the Mentally Ill that do very well with the procedure. This means you need to choose who you are going to give it to carefully. It is not a panacea.”
            Please define which subset of the Mentally Ill `do very well’ with ECT. What does `very well’ mean? Which subset are you talking about? Severe depression has many manifestations, are some more deserving than others? What would your criteria be? Can you describe the short and long term outcomes statistically? What are the observable manifestations in those who have done `very well’? How long do these last? You imply side effects, what are these?
            I tend to stick to the science and not get involved in personal diatribe but you are tempting me, Shook.

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      • Shook
        “a subset of Mentally ill who do well with this procedure.” How absolutely so callous?
        I think you have explained all this treatment of people who just need a little more help with life than others or perhaps just need a friend in a “nutshell.” As long as you look at people or even animals as “subsets” of anything, you will not see real human beings with dreams, hopes, desires, and a life purpose to live out. I am appalled that you would even used the word, “subset” in relationship to any human being. If you lose the humanity of the person, you lose the desire to love, care, and have compassion. And over and over it is this lack of compassion that is fueling the “pills for personality” movement rather than spending time with someone and actually compassionately helping them with what is bothering them. Also that list you have is a direct “playlist” of the results the person must deal with when put on these “drugs.”

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        • Umm, okay. Instead of “subset”, I will go to the thesaurus and use “a portion of.” A portion of the Mentally Ill. Seriously, your issue is with the word “subset”? This isn’t a mathematics discussion. I would hope, through the process of ratiocination, that you could apply it correctly in this situation.

          How callous of me to use a word as it was intended. Forgive me. In the future, could you perhaps provide a list of words that I can avoid using so that I don’t make humans appear less human in your mind?

          Oh, I see your final point! If they didn’t take the psychotropics, then they wouldn’t have to deal with all the things that I had listed. Those are all direct results of the drugs. What a fool I have been. It is all so easy. Person is put on psychotropics; person suffers from said list; person dies early. Got it.

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          • Anecdotal of course, but my great-aunt had a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Lived to 89 (no suicide!) and took no psychiatric drugs. Early death of people with “mental illnesses” is a recent phenomena. John Nash also lived to a ripe old age, but he was only on antipsychotics for a year.

            It would be interesting to see research done comparing the longevity of drugged versus undrugged people with psych labels. But I don’t expect this in the near future; seems psych professionals have some ETHICAL issue with surveying folks who are “treatment naive.” How convenient.

            I used to wonder why the severely “mentally ill” died so young since the “chemical imbalance” is supposed to be located in the brain, not the heart, kidneys, etc. Since I learned how these “magical medicines” screw up the entire human body it does make sense (sarcasm from Shook notwithstanding.) 😛

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          • FeelinDiscouraged,
            I think there are a lot of factors at work in situations like your great aunt’s. first, I’m curious as to how happy and a productive life she lived. I’m not being a smartass…..I’m genuinely curious.

            I think it’s hard to equate definitions of mental illness from 90+ years ago with what we observe now. For example, Victorians believed women suffered from “hysteria” and they went to “doctors” who physically manipulated them into orgasms. Freud even thought cocaine was beneficial.

            What we’d really need to assess the effects of psych meds would be a longitudinal, double blind study. Obviously that isn’t going to happen. That forces us to rely on case studies.

            It’s not fair to attribute certain problems to meds. Some people just get sick and die younger than others. My dad totally neglected himself and died at 60. My mom neglected herself even worse and died at 85. Could my father’s childhood in India and surviving cholera and typhus be a factor? Or the unknown recurring fever he had for the rest of his life? Not to mention his heavy smoking, sedentary life, and uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension. Kind of a miracle he lived as long as he did, isn’t it?

            My mother spent most of her life in the US. She was hugely obese and sedentary. She had a variety of problems due to those factors and lived to 85.

            Then there was my great grandfather in the UK….the man ate SUET PUDDING every day and lived until his late 70’s.

            What I’m saying is we’re all different. We can’t attribute mortality rates to something as simple as medications or lack thereof.

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  20. I think it’s a bit unfounded to speculate as to whether Debbie Reynolds was given any sedatives after her daughter’s death. There’s absolutely no proof of that. Apparently she had suffered more than one stroke in the years prior to Carrie’s death. AND the woman was 84.

    There have been cases where elderly couples have died within hours or days of each other. I suspect this is the same sort of reaction. Ms Reynold’s blood pressure certainly would have been elevated in the preceding days while Carrie was on a ventilator.

    Previous strokes + incredible stress = high probability of a serious medical event.

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  21. Take me off this blog post! The comments are getting way off base from the original article. Carrie Fisher lived her life the way she wanted and so do the rest of us with or without meds / drugs / poor life choices. I am grateful that Carrie and Patty Duke lived as long as they did and it was sad to see them go too soon. ALL OF YOU OUT THERE NEED TO STOP COMPLAINING AND GET ON WITH LIVING. Time is short for all of us.

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  22. Please, you, who are “sarcastic” Please stop. I think it is my American right to consider the word “subset” in relationship to the human community as highly objectionable. It all breaks down to reductionist science, social Darwinism (as mentioned earlier) and the fact that humans are considered human beings, but human doings and therefore machines and their brains, computers. Thus, it is easy to drug a computer; just like we take our computers in for repair to eliminate all “viruses.” I am sorry, but I am not a machine or a computer. I am SOUL who happens to be living in a body of whom I am trying to take the best care of it; body, mind, soul, and spirit; the very best I can for the moment. And yes, that list, shook listed has been attributed to those taking psych drugs and also that those taking psych drugs do die twenty-five years earlier than the general population. Please see Mr. Robert Whitaker’s extensive work on these matters.
    It should be noted the human body and mind are complex and also very malleable. It is extremely easy to convince yourself or be convinced that the “pill” you take for whatever reason will cure you or make you feel better. However, time could probably catch up with you and that “pill” like what you once thought was a good friend could turn on you. It is a chance you take.
    After having read these posts, all I see is people digging deeper and deeper into what they think is correct and not really being respectful or mindful of the “other side.” This seems especially true for those who are advocating the “pills for personality” approach. We should realize that in many cases especially involving medical and psychiatric “sciences” we do not know fully the consequences and ramifications of what choices we have made. Yes, it is a personal decision to decide to take a pill, a medication, a drug for any reason; but, we also must remember that we do not only affects us, but, others on this planet and as the Native Americans reminds “seven generations” into the future (at least.) Also, there really are cases where people have been cured of cancer and other terrible diseases from things other than chemotherapy and other drugs. And, that man or woman, you see talking to him or herself on the street corner may and probably is not “mentally ill.” at all The person in question might be creating a poem, a musical composition, a great breakthrough scientific formula, talking to God, or just sorting things out in his or her mind. We jump to conclusions to quickly. For instance, my late sister worked in a bank. The wealthiest contributors in the area acted and looked like they had no money and had not taken a bath in a week or more; but they not only had money, they were kind and compassionate. We all jump to conclusions to quickly. I am guilty, also. Perhaps, there is something “good” to be said for both sides. I mean to steal no one’s thunder. However, as for me and my both short term and long term health, I choose to say no to these and all drugs if humanely possible. I especially no to the psych drugs, because like alcohol they are poison to me. Please respect my right to take care of my self and be me and only me. As e.e. cummings, said it is the greatest and most courageous battle and to me the absolutely most important.

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    • The person in question might be creating a poem, a musical composition, a great breakthrough scientific formula, talking to God, or just sorting things out in his or her mind.

      Very good. Also sometimes the people in one’s environs just aren’t as interesting to talk to as one’s self. 🙂

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    • Yes, I know you want this to be about you. Your journey, your pain. But you see, the thread was hijacked to attack ECT and psychiatry at large with anecdotal evidence and “expert” opinion. The only response I have to this is sarcasm. Because the real answer is anathema; that it is somewhere in the middle, and god forbid it be in such an unoffensive position. God forbid patients seek help and doctors and nurses and therapists try their best to help. And both sides are human and conversations are flawed and the best solutions are partial solutions that take two steps forward and one step back or one step forward and two steps back.

      You want the truth? The DSM-5 is based on expert opinion which is the lowest form of evidence. Psychotropics can be horrible medications with horrendous side effects. But guess what? That’s all we’ve got folks. There are tens of thousands of people working to improve it — such is the desire to help a fellow man or woman in pain. But progress is slow. Hell, look at the AIDS epidemic. How much blood and treasure went into making the current medications for AIDS. How long did it take? And that was one virus. All of these labels put forth by the DSM-5 describe a broad spectrum of diseases. Take one, Major Depressive Disorder. You know what? There are probably hundreds of different root causes for Major Depressive Disorder. The label addresses none of that. They are not there to describe the human being. That is why there is a relationship. Schizophrenia? This one is already being teased out by recent genetic map studies. There are 20-30 different gene combinations that increase risk for Schizophrenia. And this is hard math people. Schizophrenia isn’t a state of mind. Hell, it is described in every culture across the world with the same incidence rate. Is it all just being made up? Come on. Think a little. A whole branch of medicine is inching along struggling to help real people who are suffering.

      And I don’t say this in support of Psychiatry. Far from it. Be a Skeptic. Look at the papers, read the data. Be critical. This is not a thing to be taken lightly. Critical thinking is hard and takes a lot of work.

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        • You caught me. I admit to being sarcastic. And since you seek a label, I will give you one. Yes, I would consider, no wait, I admit to being a “mental health professional.” There, you can now invalidate everything I have typed.

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          • You can do that on your own. Some of the most prominent anti-psychiatry folks historically have ben “mh” pros, so that doesn’t mean anything by itself, it just indicates a vested interest in a certain perspective.

            However you sound like you also have problems with cynicism and hostility which you could well be projecting onto your “clients” if you have any.

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      • I appreciate and honor what you say, Shook, but, I disagree in that it is not all we got. We do not have to resign ourselves to this present day treatment, drugs, therapy, etc.
        What I am going to say almost seems way too almost out of line and almost ironic, considering that we are talking about our very mind and what we do to it. But, that is what we have to defend ourselves against this psychiatry, etc. and we have ourselves, that inner being or core that we can rely on anytime. Most of us have allowed our mind and our being to be “hijacked.” This is not easy, but, we must take control of our minds and our being. If we do not, someone else will take control. This happened to me and to others. I know many will disagree, but, I sincerely believe no matter who you are, you have that power to say NO to the thoughts, NO to the horrible emotions, NO to whatever hurts. And, there are hours and days, that it will ne harder than usual. We have to realize that we must be able to stand being uncomfortable for awhile. I know for a fact; it is very difficult. If you have a religious or spiritual belief that can help. If you consider yourself, “atheistic” or “agnostic” you can do it, too. You will as the saying goes, take one step forward and anywhere from two to ten steps backward. And, there might be many days all you want to do is cry or just give it all up. But, all these emotions despite psychiatry’s claim are normal. And I am not perfect. I have not achieved this perfectly and most likely I never will. But, the truth is we must do our very best to control our minds, our beings or the government or psychiatry or who knows what will control us. To those of you, who disagree that is quite fine, but please think before posting your disagreement. Thank you.

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  23. For all interested I believe my great-aunt’s life was at least as high quality as the “consumers” I have interacted with. Her brain did not rot like a “schizophrenic’s” is supposed to either. At least she didn’t stare off into space vacantly as she drooled like some zombie. She was quiet and kept to herself–lived with her brother and his large family. Sort of like Emily Dickinson, but instead of writing she knitted and crocheted. Really no worse than SILP and a whole lot better than a group home.

    I wonder–though no one can know–if she might have fully recovered if she hadn’t been traumatized through imprisonment in a “hospital” and several rounds of ECT for a few years before they released her into Grandpa’s care. He hated psychiatry ever since and warned my family how dangerous it was. He also warned me about the dangers of all the drugs I had been put on; somehow he knew they were harmful.

    You were right, Grandpa! We should have listened to you!

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    • Thank you, FeelinDiscouraged. I’m glad your great-aunt had a comfortable, hopefully happy life and your grandfather was a loving brother and took her in. She was a very fortunate woman.

      I don’t think there’s any single cause of mental illness. Who knows? Maybe she would have been fine without the hospitalization. Maybe she would have been infinitely worse. What really matters is that she lived out her life in a loving home where she was part of a family. I think that’s what you should hold on to.

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  24. Shaun f:
    It is clear that the behaviors, thoughts, and feelings derive from the mind/brain.

    So what is it, the mind or the brain? They’re different things, you know.

    Funny how people can’t demonstrate all these “clear” and “obvious” things, and think declaring them such is sufficient.

    And for those of you who think meds are for social control, I find that laughable in today’s outpatient mental health world. How many of you have spent time in a MH clinic in the last decade? I don’t see too many people walking around looking like zombies.

    Maybe you have preconceptions about how zombies look, or have difficulty identifying them due to your need to believe you’re helping them. But is it really helping someone to facilitate their accommodating themselves to the machine? Maybe you should be helping them resist it. That’s where capitalism comes in.

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    • Oldhead, the world doesn’t really care about an individual’s issue (and I use that word because there’s so much fighting about labels). You go to school to learn stuff. If you don’t learn basics like reading and writing, you’ll be stuck doing unskilled labor.

      With any job you have, you have to show up on time, satisfy certain criteria, and hopefully outperform those criteria. Hopefully you get raises and promotions based on your merit.

      Every single person on the planet has their issues. For some, it’s finding enough food and water to stay alive. For others, it’s surviving in a war zone. For us and our first world problems, we sit around debating our “issues.”

      If you want to survive in the First World, you need to function on its terms. No one cares why you’re late for work. You have to be there. If you spend your shift crying and not working, you aren’t doing your job. If you can’t perform certain functions as a parent, you lose your kids. Darwin is alive and well.

      If you choose to take a different path, that’s okay too.

      It doesn’t really matter if you think the current way society functions is wrong or callus. The truth is, there are a lot more social programs and financial assistance available now than there was even 100 years ago.

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  25. First to shaun f. I never considered or called myself a victim. It would be very wrong and unethical to put words in my mouth that do not belong there. I do not think I am a victim, so why do you?
    As to having sat in waiting rooms of “mental health clinics” in the last ten or so years; that I have done. It is a sad wasteland where once productive individuals now so heavily drugged can hardly stay awake to hear their name called for their appointment. You can also see how out of tune they now feel with their bodies as they have gained weight while on these drugs. If they talk, it is because they are worried their medical providers will complain to them about the weight they have gained. This is true also in day hospitals, psychosocial rehab places, anywhere, people undergoing these “treatments” must gather. Finally, I agree with oldhead, what is normal life is now considered a symptom. Probably, you do not realize that “normal” people actually do have delusions, hallucinations and think of suicide at times in their lives. In fact, it probably is a “normal” reaction to the strange, unavoidable events of life that can not really be understood. I know already that you will come out with some “clip” remark that shows disagreement. But, who cares. Just to reiterate about being a victim, I know myself better than anyone and I am no victim. I am just me who has had some life experiences that I would like to sound the caution warning on so others do not have to live through it as I did.

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  26. Princess aurora, I have an honest question? If everything and everybody is so GOOD and WONDERFUL,
    except probably, some of us who are challenging you here, why do take the “drugs” or “meds” as you call them? Is there something underneath the good and wonderful, you might fear?

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    • Nope. I don’t recall using the words GOOD and WONDERFUL, but if that’s how you perceive my life, that’s fine.

      I take my meds because they work. Period. You’re the one who seems to have a problem with that.

      We’re all a mass of cells that communicate with each other. If certain cells aren’t doing what they’re supposed to, there’s nothing wrong with treating the problem. Our brains are nothing but bunches of neurons held together by our skulls. As I’ve said about a dozen times, a given set of symptoms can be caused by a variety of different causes and we just don’t understand all of them.

      Actually, the only thing you’re accomplishing is proving you aren’t paying attention to what I’ve said.

      The simple fact is that the world is a harsh place. It doesn’t care what an individual’s problem is or where it came from. You can either function in the world on the world’s terms or you can’t. Life is much tougher when you can’t.

      Thanks to my meds, I can function in the world on its terms. No problem there.

      Do I have fear? Sure……my dog’s protein losing enteropathy could regress and kill her. My old mare’s laminitis and arthritis could flare up. I could give you quite a list. All I can do is my best and hope it’ll be enough to stave off the inevitable for a while longer.

      Do I care about what people think of me? Only the ones who matter.

      I’m fine, thanks for asking.

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      • shaun f…true, and disagreement really grinds their gears, doesn’t it?

        I don’t mind talking about my experiences a bit. Maybe at some point it’ll open someone’s mind.

        When I was a teenager, it was about running away. Did that. No matter where you go, there you are.

        Suicidal ideation came later. When I say “well planned,” I’m not talking about a genteel handful of pills. I’m talking about a shotgun shell to the brain.

        I’m very glad that I didn’t do it and even gladder that there has been meaningful help for me.

        Some people are okay with me….others aren’t. What really matters is that I’M okay with myself. Once you’re comfortable in your own skin, outside approval is nice but not expected or necessary.

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        • Aurora I don’t think most people here have a problem with you or ultimately care how you choose to live, and in fact wish you well. We are challenging are the misinformed platitudes about psychiatry and psychiatric drugs you post, which could adversely affect others and their own were they not corrected.

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        • oldhead, from the general tone of the posts the message appears to be “you wrong. me right”

          Given my belief that the brain is a bunch of neurons held together by some membranes and a skull, I have no problem with the idea of using meds. It’s nothing more than adjusting a series of chemical reactions.

          My approach is no less valid than yours and no more in need of correction than yours.

          Since you believe in free will, then you should have no problem with the view that people are entitled to all opinions and can then make their own choices. No, I do not need to be “corrected”, as in insulted and greeted with closed minds, referred to as a plant from “big Pharma”, or accused of being a troll.

          I’ve always maintained that a single set of symptoms can be caused by a variety of causes. That means that there are a variety of treatments.

          I’m showing my age here, but my education was geared toward teaching HOW to think, not WHAT to think. Therefore, my views are no less valid than yours.

          There is no reason for me to “correct” you than for you to “correct” me.

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        • No, I do not need to be “corrected”, as in insulted and greeted with closed minds, referred to as a plant from “big Pharma”, or accused of being a troll.

          I didn’t make those insinuations, in fact I challenged them.

          However, there are more objectively based inaccuracies in many of your statements which are not “opinions” but misstatements; those I try to correct.

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      • Interestingly Shaun F, I think alot of pro psychiatry folks are quite arrogant. I guess it is all perspective, right?

        What really irked me is on another board, several of them thought it was wrong to speculate on Carrie Fisher’s death and actually took great offense to this. But these are the same folks who don’t have any problems speculating that someone killed in a shootout with police had untreated mental illness.

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        • AA, No doubt doctors in general are quite arrogant and sometimes don’t listen or hear feedback too well. Some do but I have gotten along much better with NPs.

          Regarding Fisher’s death, we can speculate all we want about her demise, but the truth is we don’t know what killed her (what caused the heart attack) and may never will. She had many risk factors for early death which has been well documented.

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        • AA, from what I’ve seen on the news, statements that someone who died in a police shootout had a mental illness usually comes from that person’s family.

          The family and friends of the dead person generally maintain that the person had a mental illness, PTSD, etc etc.

          The police generally say “we’re investigating” because they intend to carry out an investigation, followed by sensitivity training in how to diffuse situations.

          I’m pretty sure that’s going to start a whole lot of indignation, but you need to realize that I live near a very large Southern city. The police are under a huge amount of scrutiny and if necessary have been charged with murder.

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    • rebel, I don’t understand why you can’t comprehend my statement that any given set of symptoms can be the result of more than one possible cause.

      Let me break it down for you. We are a mass of cells. Our brains are a bunch of neurons held in by the skull. Sometimes everything works well and sometimes it doesn’t. When this becomes a problem for the organism, it needs to be treated. If the organism is able to survive and reproduce, that’ all that evolution really cares about. at this point, we need to do more than survive and reproduce. If a set of cells (in this case neurons) aren’t doing their jobs right, there needs to be an adjustment.

      The other big point is that the world doesn’t care about our problems. If you can’t function in the world on its terms, the world doesn’t care. If you can’t take care of yourself, no one will do it for you.

      My meds allow me to function in the world on its terms.

      Do I fear anything? Sure. My dog’s protein losing enteropathy could relapse and kill her. She could get an infection due to her immunosuppression. My 27 year old mare’s laminitis could flare up and her coffin bone could go through the sole of her foot. Have we set aside enough hay to make it through until the first spring cutting?

      Do I worry about what people think of me? Only the ones who matter.

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  27. shaun f whether people benefit or not from modern treatment is no longer the issue. As for me, I almost died from modern treatment. The arrogance and hubris you are seeing from “anti-psychiatry advocates” is only that which is reflecting from you. From what I can tell, it is not pro or anti psychiatry, it is those who have been hurt by psychiatry and those who seem to say they have not. All these people who have been hurt are doing is telling their stories. That is all. It is telling our stories that we can heal ourselves and that we can communicate. It is telling our stories that we reflect the light that is our humanity to the world. How can that be arrogance and hubris? You are rather picking on Oldhead and me. Perhaps, it is because we say things that make you do something you might be afraid of; think and question?
    Princess Aurora; I respectfully differ with you. I am not just a “mass of cells” with “neurons speaking to each other.” I am soul, a spirit, a human being, a child of God, who just happens to have a body that I have been given to take care of and to use to give the gifts God gave me back to the world.
    Perhaps, this is where psychiatry and maybe much of modern medicine is failing or fails. They only see a brain or a body with “symptoms” that need to be stopped, maintained or cured. They only see a mechanistic, biological view of the human being, but each human being has and is both soul and spirit. And at present and there will be a drug to heal the soul and spirit, If the soul and spirit are not healed, the body will die. Drugs, if they work, will only work for a short while because of this very reason. These drugs even at the beginning of their existence were never meant to be taken for a long term basis, but that is what happened. The pain of the body while taking these drugs and in the withdrawal and detox is only reflecting that the soul and spirit have been completely lost and forgotten. I can hear your objections. “Oh, but, in my counseling sessions, we talk.” and “Oh, I ride horses. . .” Yes, that is true for both of you and the very few others. But, yet , if that were the case, why are the drugs being taken by your clients? Drugs will never heal the spirit/soul and that is what is hurting for many people. Also, oldhead is no extremist. It is impossible to be an extremist when speaking raw truth or was Jesus Christ an extremist, also. He, too questioned the “system.”

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    • Rebel, yes people have been injured by psychiatry, no doubt. On this site what I find is that reasonable responses from people like myself are often ignored or minimized. Just realize that prescribed drugs were never meant to “heal the spirit/soul.” I do believe that trauma is at the heart of what we call mental illness. I do believe that certain genes within humans become activated when trauma, especially repeated trauma, occur. I have heard and continue to hear horror stories around trauma. I have no doubt this is the likely cause of “symptoms.” If we could eradicate trauma, I believe the mental health field would have many fewer clients. Unfortunately trauma continues in it’s various forms. I do believe that people like yourself feel that the system has traumatized you. I don’t discount that. I understand your desire to tell your story, and it is valid in it’s own right. But so are others’ stories which differ from yours. You think meds are basically evil. Others don’t. You can continue to treat yourself as you see fit, but it doesn’t mean it is wrong for others to take meds from their docs because they find them helpful. There is nothing wrong with challenging the system. I agree with many of the critiques of the system, particularly around capitalism. I think capitalism often puts profit over people.

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      • “reasonable responses from people like myself are often ignored or minimized”

        Maybe because these ‘reasonable people’ have harmed us? And we don’t want anyone else to get caught up in the trap of a bullshit field based on shaky ‘science’ dispensing bullshit diagnosis based on ‘opinion’ . Just guessing…

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          • Because I actively want to prevent more people from being sucked into the system like I was and the subsequent hell of the drugs, the impact on my life, and now the brain injury that I’m trying to overcome from the drugs. Simple. As an RN part of my job was patient education, and I like to think, in my small way, I’ve given folks another option.

            The founder of this site, Robert Whitaker’s book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic”, opened my eyes to what was happening to me…and inspired me to get off the drugs I was prescribed for my ‘bipolar’ disorder…allegedly I needed to be medicated for life. I was astonished to find out that the ‘chemical imbalance’ explanation was a myth, and the well researched, footnoted and gastly mini-history of psych drugs was an eye-opener. And learning that those who inject these ‘drugs’ die on average 25 years sooner than the general population. The basic premise of the book is this: if “mental health” treatments are all that during these *modern times* why is it there’s so many people on the disability roles for ‘severe mental illness’. Psych meds/pharmaceuticals are billions of dollars businesses, screenings are literally *everywhere*, we’ve got ads on television telling us that if we’re not perfectly happy, there’s a pill for it….Pharma has a bigger lobbying presence than *any other* industry. Read the book. Or are you afraid to find out facts that would run counter to the truth you tell about yourself? Go on, read it. I dare you.

            I would ask you the same question — why are YOU here? Your vigorous defense of your chemical cure makes me think you doth protest too much…princess.

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        • That’s fine, but what makes you think people are running around being “sucked in”? If a person has the initiative to spend time on sites like this, they are certainly searching out the right approach for them.

          There’s more than one answer, and every one of us has the right to decide on the correct treatment for them.

          People will do their own research and decide on their own courses of action, and that is exactly what they should do. My approach is as valid for me as yours is for you. Everyone is entitled to view and weigh both ideas for themselves.

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          • *I* didn’t have ACCESS to the internet when I was dealing with my “issues”…I lived in POVERTY. I had no CAR. Your assumption that everyone is equal when it comes to information, and they are just lazy dumbasses for not finding out about the awful truth regarding psychiatry/psych drugs is ignorant. I ACCIDENTALLY read a review for “Anatomy of an Epidemic” in the New York Review of Books and here I am — off all the brain changing drugs and trying to get my life back.

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          • Humanbeing, so tell me this, didn’t you get meds from a pharmacist? When you pick up meds there is a sheet that goes with it which tells you more info about the med, including side effects to watch out for. I do agree that doctors should better inform their patients about SEs and the drugs they are prescribing.

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      • Treating people with drugs without an honest INFORMED CONSENT is just *wrong*, shaun f. Neuroscientists and psychiatrist/psychologists know *so little* about the brain, and yet pretend that they know *so much* — causing HARM to those who find themselves in distress and turn to the ‘professionals’ for HELP. THe hubris is shocking. The vow ‘first do no harm’ has been subsumed by profit and quackery.

        (again I notice that the comment are out of sequence–annoying)

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    • Rebel, you shouldn’t ask a question if you’re not prepared for an answer you don’t agree with. You asked. I answered. You wanted to know why I take the meds and feel comfortable with them. I told you.

      You asked what I’m afraid of. I told you.

      You have a spiritual take on the world, and that works for you. I have a very Darwinian take on the world, and that works for me.

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  28. Shaun,

    I’m starting this comment in a new thread here, because your idea about there being “no cure” for “severe mental illness” is wrong on a number of levels and needs to be called out.

    I hope other commenters will check out the links below and see why they don’t have to give Shaun’s pronouncement the time of day.


    Regarding this,”With a wide range of treatments and behavior changes, people can stabilize their symptoms. But there is no cure, that is for sure. Not one science has figured out yet anyway.”

    Don’t be so sure my friend.

    It seems like you don’t know much about how to cure bipolar or schizophrenic conditions.

    Let me share a few stories with you:

    My story:

    Caleb’s story:

    Lois’ story:

    Daniel’s story:

    Eleanor’s story:

    “Rethinking Madness”; Six case studies here:

    “Treating the Untreatable – Healing in the Realms of Madness”; 13 case studies:

    “Weathering the Storms – Psychotherapy for Psychosis”; 12 case studies:

    So much for the “no cure” idea, huh Shawn? If you actually read these you’ll see there’s a lot you don’t know about how to intervene and transform with what are called bipolar and schizophrenic states. It takes a lot of work and time, but it’s doable.

    I advise you not to think you can tell everyone whether or not their experience can be “cured”… such a position is rather hypocritical, given how you were earlier advising other commenters not to make hasty assumptions about psychiatric drugs. And as you’ll see in the link, I’m not someone making assertions without having lived the experience and done the research. I have recovered from distress that others labeled as “serious mental illness.” And I believe it can be cured because I lived that experience.

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    • With all due respect, “curing” major mental illness, the kind that is chronic and debilitating, is extremely rare (symptoms can and do change over time; schizophrenia, for example, tends to calm with aging). You can also find many stories of people on the internet who say they are no longer gay because of conversion therapy, but anyone who has any knowledge on the subject knows it is likely impossible to change what sex(es) one is attracted to. I have heard many peoples’ stories who don’t feel they have been cured but rather have developed tools and ways to cope so they are no longer disturbed by symptoms when they arise. I hope one day we will be able to truly cure all medical and mental health diseases, but until that day comes I believe the best we can realistically aim for is remission of symptoms, processing trauma, and developing a healthier sense of self esteem and self worth.

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      • Shaun,
        It seems like you didn’t look closely at the resources I posted.

        So here are a few more, from a broader group-level study perspective. These links show that with sufficient resources, and outside of the mainstream psychiatric system, the potential for full recovery from severe distress can be quite good. Unfortunately, and this probably illustrates why you have the beliefs you do, Shawn, adequate resources to help people are something we often lack here in America, and awareness of alternative approaches by American mental health professionals such as yourself is (obviously) quite limited. But that ignorance doesn’t permit us to make generalized statements about the potential for full recovery from “major mental illness”, as if we had any power to predict how they will do. Ok here are my studies:

        The Empirical Evidence about Recovery: Many People with (Serious) Mental Health Problems Recover – – This looks at recovery rates of major depression and schizophrenia to show that both full recovery and/or major improvement are surprisingly common.

        Revisiting the Developed versus Developing Country Distinction in Course and Outcome of Schizophrenia –

        This shows how a large proportion, sometimes more than half, of people labeled schizophrenic in developing nations recovered fully. In developed nations the proportion was smaller but still significant, much more than “rare”. Shawn, if you look at the recovery rates in India and Nigeria, it should give you pause about the statements you made.

        Open Dialogue five year study – – This showed how five years down the road, about 75% of initially psychotic people were symptom free and functioning well under the Open Dialogue approach.

        The Vermont Study – – about half of the people in this study had no significant level of distress and functioned fine, long after being diagnosed with “schizophrenia”.

        Empirical Correction of Seven Myths about Schizophrenia –

        And Bruce Levine says, “I have spent time with hundreds of treatment reform activists who were once diagnosed with schizophrenia but who have recovered without medication, and my experience is that they consider themselves lucky to have had family and/or friend support for their choice to resist psychiatric authorities. They tell me that overwhelming anxiety is often a trigger for relapse, and having family or friends with confidence in the possibility of recovery and in their treatment choices is a great anxiety reducer.”

        Source –

        So Shawn, just because you have lower expectations for people with a certain label, doesn’t mean others have to set their sights accordingly. Here again I’ve shown you up with actual data, whereas all you’ve put out is opinion.

        If you want to provide some data to counter mine – to support your point that the type of stories I’ve linked to the first post, and the broader study data I’ve linked in this post are rare, impossible, mistaken – please be my guest.

        Otherwise, you’ll just look like you’re holding onto outdated pessimistic beliefs. Anyone can say anything on the internet; we have to back our statements up with more than opinion.

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        • Matt, I don’t hold onto outdated or pessimistic beliefs. I consider myself a realist. One thing I can say for certain is that every single person and their situation is unique, so I don’t stereotype my clients or assume they can’t improve and eliminate their symptoms. They can and do improve, both with and without meds. I just don’t believe that there is a “cure” that can show, definitely, that mental illness has a clear cause, clear resolution point, etc.

          I have found that the following are most effective to ease and improve the symptoms of SPMI: sense of community/belonging, acceptance, connection, sense of meaning, feeling loved, being cared for as an equal person who has the autonomy to make decisions for themselves. I view treatment through the lens of attachment–many people who come to MH clinics have not had caregivers who treated them well and often in very destructive ways. One of my roles as therapist is to provide a safe space and model “loving” behavior of acceptance, unconditional positive regard, and authenticity. I think relationships are most powerful healing forces and can also be some of the most destructive.

          I am convinced that medications cannot solve mental illness. At the best it can manage symptoms but it is dealing with the problem rather than the solution. Many people in these studies you cite who have good outcomes have more protective factors and fewer risk factors. This doesn’t surprise me. My clients who have done the best have more financial, intellectual, social, and interpersonal resources/skills. The ones who struggle the most tend to be more isolated, poorer economically, have more legal problems, etc…. They aren’t set up for success. We need a system which treats the whole person and currently we are only partially there. Maybe someday.

          No doubt outcomes with such diseases as schizophrenia are impacted by culture. It is clear that human development is influenced by a combination of genes and environment. I do believe that certain environments are more positively suited to help people who hear disturbing voices than others. Western society is stubbornly individualistic which produces more isolation, stigma, etc., than communities which place high value on communal values. I think it is true that communal cultures are better suited to help people with mental health symptoms. Finally, I want to be clear that I promote and believe in recovery. I am optimistic in my view that all humans are capable of quite a bit, much more than most of them believe is possible. Thanks for sharing the articles and resources. Certainly I need to continue to challenge my own beliefs. I teach that with my clients, and so I should do the same for myself.

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          • Ok thanks Shaun, that is a fair response, and I appreciate your taking the time to write this, and appreciate the sentiments you said.

            I am quite aware that full recovery from “severe mental illness” – what I would call presymbiotic or symbiotic psychotic states – is not currently a practically attainable goal for many people due to lack of finances, lack of supportive friends and family, lack of depth intensive therapy, lack of job and housing resources, lack of hope, and so on. But I view this as a matter of a relative lack of resources and support, not a lack of potential for recovery in people given a certain label.

            These social and systemic deficits of resources are larger cultural problems particularly here in our individualistic culture as you said. But at the same time I think it is good to be careful not to make essentialist, deterministic statements about simplistic labels like “schizophrenia” or “bipolar” and how people given that label will do, since these tend to reduce agency and hope and encourage undue pessimism.

            And as you must know, there is more than enough pessimism out there about labels like borderline, bipolar, and schizophrenic. Severely distressed people have enough challenges without us telling them they can’t achieve whatever their goals are…

            Shaun, you might also be interested to read my favorite quote from Smedslund about why the outcomes in one or even a few quasi-experimental study of human beings should not be used as a basis for predictions; I think you’ll understand it:

            “Why Psychology Cannot Be An Empirical Science”:

            “The main conclusion to be drawn from irreversibility is that empirical research in psychology… can only be seen as mapping temporarily stable statistical tendencies at the aggregate level. These mappings must be evaluated on pragmatic grounds, i.e. as yielding possibly useful knowledge in limited domains for a limited time…The regularity that is nevertheless observed cannot be taken to reflect permanent laws, but only temporarily stable feedback-loops. These are like whirls in a stream which are stable only as long as the total flow of water does not vary and the stones on the bottom maintain their positions… The findings in psychological journals may superficially appear to be of the same order as those reported in physics or chemistry and, hence, psychology may superficially look like an empirical and accumulative science.The conditional and transient nature of psychological findings is rarely acknowledged, perhaps because the publication and preservation of empirical findings will then appear unjustified since they cannot be taken to be useful in the future. The scarcity of attempted replications also allows psychologists to avoid thinking about this problem.” End quote…

            So it’s my position that you can’t really make valid statements about what certain labels of “patients” mechanistically do in general, but instead should speak about what people can do in certain settings, with certain resources, with certain therapists, over particular timeframes etc… whirls in particular streams at particular points of the river.

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          • Thank you Matt for your thoughtful reply. I think many of the studies you cited used the terms I do. I will continue to challenge my own notions and understanding of mental health. I believe society has a long way to go before we are fully strengths based and optimistic about outcomes within marginalized groups. I find that humans too often have narrow views of others, which frankly harms us all. I was angered time and again when my clients, who happened to be homeless, were judged as being lazy or apathetic. They were traumatized people who deserve compassion and love. We all deserve that. It is easy to judge and much harder to show real compassion and understanding. Thank you again for being unemotional in your responses and looking to further a rational conversation on these issues. All too often on the internet people attack each other which doesn’t move humanity forward in any healthy direction. Keep up the fight.

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          • Thank you again for being unemotional in your responses

            Hmmm…several ways to take that. Lack of emotion and analytic acuity are not automatically the same. Certainly Matt rarely loses his cool, as you have done here repeatedly. But you seem to have a problem with emotions in general, especially anger. As well as with people challenging your assumptions. So this response, while relatively on the level, also contains a passive-aggressive element which yearns to dismiss these challenges as “irrational.”

            Most quality psychotherapists have analysts of their own, so maybe you’re working on this already for all I know.

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          • Shawn,
            This is true – many of these articles use mainstream medicalized terms out of necessity; i.e. because the authors feel they cannot get published or be accepted in mainstream journals (a prerequisite for advancing a research psychology career) without using terms such as “mental illness”, “schizophrenia”, “symptoms” etc. It is a difficult chicken or egg thing. Speaking to some of these authors myself backchannel, they would actually prefer to use the terms “human suffering”, “extreme states of mind”, “distress”, etc, but these would not be accepted as scientific, so they can’t get started using those…

            You might like to check out the group ISPS – – on which these debates go on. People can get a free 3-month trial to our messaging listserv ( and there are some interesting discussions and resources about alternative ways of understanding people commonly labeled “bipolar” and “schizophrenic”. Please come check it out. That goes for anyone else reading this too.

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  29. Jeez, this entire discussion feels “bipolar,” or whatever. At the very least, makes me feel a bit seasick. I guess I don’t have the constitution for this–or the desire to convince of/persuade/prove to another my personal reality, to be perfectly honest.

    I’ve shared quite a bit over the years, and very publically, including on YouTube, my own story of healing from bipolar diagnosis after releasing the psych drugs, to help encourage others who want to take that path. And I specifically say “healing from the diagnosis,” along with the medical malpractice, social abuse and flagrant discrimination from the system that accompanied this. I actually don’t believe in the “bipolar” label, I find it very misleading. I think that is entirely something else happening, on a few different levels. In any case, naysayers are part of life.

    I think that’s what really drained me the most going through my own personal “mental health system” disaster, needing to explain myself and prove my reality, repeatedly. That, alone, is demeaning and terribly patronizing. It’s also extremely and chronically stressful, feeling like one is always on trial–not just distrusted, but always trying to be proven wrong. Horrible doesn’t even begin to describe it. That is some serious mental, emotional, and psychological abuse.

    And worse yet, it was always to no avail, that is a bottomless rabbit hole. Getting away from all that was extremely freeing and grounding. I call it “therapy brain,” incessant chatter, never a resolution, constant endless rumination; and ultimately, needing to be “right” in order to feel resolved, kind of black & white thinking–as if there were ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ when it comes to personal realities. That’s what it felt like to me, anyway, until I broke those habits and found some sustainable mental peace. Biggest relief of my life.

    RIP Carrie Fisher, a brilliant talent and extremely courageous human being.

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  30. All those letters, shaun f mentioned as “therapy” They are alphabet soup, but alphabet soup is better for you. It has a certain wholesomeness and attention to your well-being that can never be found in the coldness of a clinical office, no matter how personally and lavishly decorated. I tried CBT. What I can say? On the one hand, it does possess the danger that the “drugs” but with a different and unique set of side effects and long term effects, probably much less obtainable and measured. However, what I gained from CBT was this. I had been “used” but this time and for the final time; it was my “present” psychiatrist. So, the gift of CBT of giving me the truth.
    I do think for many people “animals” are great as friends and companions and can be helpful in lieu of what think is therapy. “Animals” listen without judgement, criticism, or unwanted advice, pressure, etc. And they would prefer you stay off the “drugs.” Trees and flowers and other plants are also great by this. In fact, all of Nature can return a person to their natural state of wholesome well-being. John Muir, President Theodore Roosevelt and the originators of our National Park System saw that. This was probably the best idea of any government and has been copied worldwide.
    Finally, let us not forget. Yes, these are “drugs”, not “medications. And, I have a question? For those of you who advocate the usage of these “drugs?” Would you advocate the use of marijuana, LSD, heroin meth and all the others? And there are very dangerous others killing people right and left. These operate on the brain and mind and some of these can make you feel better, change your outlook, calm you? No, probably not and you would rationalize (a good psychological defense mechanism) that no there is no relationship, at all. These are so different. These drugs we give help people, while those drugs hurt people.
    I have been wondering on this one. There was a study showing that “benzos” and “SSRIs” do lead to an increased probability for alzheimers. My mother’s generation were probably the first to use Valium and her little friends. Today, every time I turn around; she tells me so and so went to school with “has lost her mind.” Question?
    Finally, I would like to say I am not anti-psychiatry. There is no ant-psychiatry and pro-psychiatry. I am pro Earth, pro Humanity and pro all creatures great and small.

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    • Easy on the marijuana there, rebel. As we said in the 80’s, “pot is an herb, Reagan is a dope.” 🙂

      Finally, I would like to say I am not anti-psychiatry.

      Why not? Because it sounds “negative”? If so, hope you change your mind on that one — would you feel the same about the term “anti-war”?

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    • Ant-psychiatry would be a curiosity, wouldn’t it? I’d think the ants might get a little pissed there, Rebel. Go lord it over another ant’s anthill, why don’t you, fellow?

      I’m not selling talk, psychiatric labels, nor psychiatric drugs. I’m not promoting the selling of talk, psychiatric labels (or dismal prospects), nor psychiatric drugs. I’m not selling abduction, imprisonment, assault, brainwashing, and torture, and calling it therapy. I am anti-abduction, imprisonment, assault, brainwashing and torture. I don’t mind saying so. I’m also anti-psychiatry. I can live without it myself, and I do. Here’s the question, without locked wards could psychiatry endure. I think we ought to try it sometime, that is, get rid of all locked mental institutions. Could psychiatry survive without a captive clientele? It would certainly be interesting to find out, would it not? I prefer to be pro-freedom. As psychiatry is anti-freedom, we tend to be at odds.

      After ending forced treatment, then we could try another experiment, say, let’s boycott psychiatry, and see what happens to it. I imagine if, without forced psychiatry, every single one of us boycotted psychiatry, “mental illness” would disappear, just like that. “Mental illness” would become a thing of the past. I think we should try it sometime. The “cure” to “mental illness”, well, there it was all this time, staring us in the face, in my back pocket, being synonymous with the remedy for psychiatry.

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      • Actually, Mr. Blankenship; that was just a typo. I did mean anti-psychiatry. I honestly don’t like to be “anti” anything as it is known that that which you are “anti” seems to find you in some way and it is part of my life purpose to stay as far away from psychiatry as I possibly can.
        Psychiatry is not and possibly might never have been a science or even a medical specialty. It is really “smoke and mirrors” It is “stage magic” attempting to be a religion and trying hard to bypass our inherent religious freedoms as guaranteed by the Constitution to be a “state religion.”
        The big difference in “stage magic” and psychiatry is that psychiatry kills. I am upset with anything that takes a life for no reason. No, I am not anti-psychiatry; I am just very determined to live.
        And as far as being angry or feeling wronged. No, I was not wronged. That is what happens to you when you go to the store and find out your catalog order that had you had sent to the store to avoid the shipping charge was given to another customer. No, I admit my complicity and that fact that I relegated my own personal authority to those I should not have. The upshot is I now rely on myself as my own authority; not on those who only think they know me. I am smarter, wiser, and the quality of my life has very much improved and is improving daily. And the areas of my life that are an “issue” I figure them out on my own through prayer, meditation, instinct, intuition and whatever works that is “ethical.” The difference in my new way and the psychiatrists. Unlike the psychiatrists who don’t follow the Hippocratic oath; which is “Harm none.” Amongst the many precepts I attempt to live by, I do my best to “harm none” especially me. Love begins at home.

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        • I don’t patronize psychiatry. I consider not doing so anti-psychiatry. I’m not a customer of “mental disorders” and psychiatric drugs. I figure I will live a lot longer that way, and without regrets. I can’t take a neutral position on the matter. Like you say, psychiatry kills. Well, let it kill other people, it’s not killing me.

          Psychiatry is fake science. Fake science, as far as I’m concerned, is fraud. I’m not going to be a party to such fraud. It is fraud, not real medicine, that is killing people. I’m not going to be an apologist for it. If you want to purchase your own death, fine and dandy, don’t call me in to be an investor in that death. Psychiatry is over there, far away from anything pertaining to me and mine.

          Is psychiatry the enemy? As far as I’m concerned it is certainly no friend. I would be perfectly content to stay forever free of psychiatry. You won’t find any anxiety, major depressive disorder, or schizophrenia on me. I figure I don’t need the excessive baggage. Any psychiatric history I’ve ever you can consider cast to the flames.

          Psychiatry and me are quits, and I, for one, don’t have a problem with that.

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          • Shook, I can describe what is NOT science, that which is epitomised in psychiatric quasi/pseudoscience:
            1 – Hostile to criticism, rather than embracing criticism as a mechanism of self-correction

            2 – Works backward from desired results through motivated reasoning
            3 – Cherry picks evidence
4 – Relies on low grade evidence when it supports their belief, but will dismiss rigorous evidence if it is inconvenient.
            5 – Core principles untested or unproven, often based on single case or anecdote
            6 – Utilizes vague, imprecise, or ambiguous terminology, often to mimic technical jargon
            7 – Has the trappings of science, but lacks the true methods of science
8 – Invokes conspiracy arguments to explain lack of mainstream acceptance (Galileo syndrome)
            ( The hostile Anti-psychiatry movement and Scientologists.
            9 – Lacks caution and humility by making grandiose claims from flimsy evidence
            10 – Practitioners often lack proper training and present that as a virtue as it makes them more ‘open’.
            As they say – “psychiatry is to medicine as astrology is to astronomy.”

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    • “On the one hand, it (Cognitive behavioral therapy) does possess the danger that the “drugs” but with a different and unique set of side effects and long term effects, probably much less obtainable and measured.”

      It’s pretty hard to take you seriously, Rebel, making an absurd comment like this one. CBT, as I’m sure you know, focuses on the connection between thoughts, emotions, and actions. Specifically, it is focused on helping people to identify unhelpful thoughts and replace them with beliefs which are more beneficial; instead of thinking, “I can’t handle it if my boss doesn’t like my work”, a more helpful thought might be “I will not be destroyed if I am criticized by my boss. It might even make me better at my job!”. It’s basic premise, which is quite obvious, is that people’s thoughts about events, not events themselves, that can be quite disturbing. In any case, CBT has been around for a long time and is a gold standard for treating a whole host of issues. You obviously have disdain for therapy and psychiatry, which by the way are very different fields. Many therapists can and are helpful and the best part is that we don’t prescribe pills, so you should like that. Yes therapists can be harmful if incompetent, but so can cops, dentists, and lawyers.

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      • All therapy is basic manipulation from what I’ve studied. Make yourself the expert and then lecture to the patient. It’s nothing more than a pavlov’s dog experiment. Not many can administer this kind of therapy without becoming manipulative. The professional needs empathy and listening skills which are hard to find.

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      • CBT can be a blunt instrument to whack-about-the-head of a traumatized individual.

        “If only you thought correctly, you would feel better…..”

        can lead to deep rumination and a sense of hopeless, helpless failure. “I can’t think correctly therefore I must be a broken human being.” “OMG, I can’t think that, it’s bad CBT!”

        CBT is called a gold standard because it can be measured with a ruler, and developed as a “program,” and funded by grants, etc. etc. CBT fits neatly in the capitalist model that you are so quick to denounce, Shaun. Maybe you are subtle enough to wield it without causing injury, but –

        It is no more gold than any other flavor of the month, and I can list a number of people who have felt bludgeoned by CBT, punished by the practitioners of it, and found it didn’t help their distress at all. Especially if their distress was compounded by drugging.

        Yes, I can find people who have found it helpful; perhaps half of those who have been exposed to it have found something useful about it. I use parts of it in my own practice. It is one tool, in a whole world of toolkits. But it ain’t the “be all and end all” of therapy.

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  31. I, for one, am glad that Carrie Fisher and Patty Duke had the courage to talk about their struggles and that they found ways to continue doing the work they loved. Whether you agree with their approaches or not, they lived happy, fulfilling, productive lives. They had family, friends, and fans. I suspect that family and friends meant the most.

    Let’s face it….we all die sometime. We don’t know their medical histories, genetic makeup, or any other personal information. I’m glad they were willing to be open and honest about their lives because they were NOT obligated to be. They shared because they were willing to share their personal details because they wanted to help others. I, for one, am grateful for that.

    What we should NOT do is run around “correcting”, insulting, or being nasty to each other because we really all want a better life for us and others like us. All of us have valid ideas. As they say there are 3 sides to every story. His, hers, and the truth.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have a trench to dig.

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    • Amen, Aurora. Exactly. We all have valid points of view and we are entitled to do what works for us as individuals. We also have the responsibility to do our own research about what treatments we receive. We can’t assume that our doctors will always educate in every possible way. We need to do some of that work ourselves.

      Of course this all assumes that we as individuals have choice in our treatment. Many people on this site are convinced that a large percentage of clients continue to be “forced” or “coerced” into taking meds they didn’t want to take. Aurora, I am sorry if that is the case for you, but for some reason I think nobody is twisting your arm to take meds. Correct me if I’m wrong…. 😉

      And regarding Fisher no doubt this site doesn’t have access to her medical records or genetic makeup to make a clear determination as to what killed her. We also don’t know if Fisher’s drug use played any part in weakening her heart muscles. We don’t know if her meds had any part to play in the story. To make assumptions about her would be pure hubris.

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        • You make no sense, Frank. I am referring to genes, you know the thing that makes us human and is unique to each person. It seems like many folks on here just want to focus on terminology being used as an avoidance strategy.

          So can we agree that nobody on this site knows what led to Fisher’s death? Other than a heart attack, which we don’t know what caused it.

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          • Did you actually think you were going to dismiss Anatomy of An Epidemic — after evading my question about whether you had read it — then move on to another topic unscathed? Guess what — I noticed!

            (Matt — See how he’s polite to you when you’re being nice to him then goes back to the same old same old?)

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          • My actions are what make me unique, Shook. Not my genes. They just make me another human being in a crowd of human beings. Do I think genes are what make a rich boss a rich boss? No. I think it is more likely to be a bunch of other people, mostly suckers, who make a rich boss a rich boss, and if you make a rich boss a rich boss, you can unmake a rich boss. If you will notice, there’s a lot of unmaking taking place all the time, too.

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        • Well, you see, Frank, we humans are biological organisms and as such are made up of genes. They are coded in DNA which is turned into RNA and then to proteins. Your “genetic makeup” is another way of saying the DNA that your parents passed down to you. It is the genes that made you.

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          • Learn a new word, Shaun & Shook.


            The trauma of a pregnant woman can be expressed in genetic alterations in the granddaughter (or grandson) of that woman. How does that fit into the myths of “mental illness” and “chemical imbalance”?

            You are expressing an outdated model. If you think Whitaker falls short, try Gotzche. There’s a gold standard for you, called the “Cochrane Collaboration.” Even the medical profession calls it a “gold standard.”

            If that doesn’t thrill you, be sure and catch Ben Goldacre’s TED talks. Less than 20 min commitment to understand the ****deep**** corruption in the medical industry.

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  32. Yes, we all free will. Yes, we all have a right to our own opinion. Yes, this is a free country. And I am the first to admit that I basically do as I choose and make my own decisions. However, and this is the “caveat” I although I make my own decisions, I must also realize the decisions I make and even the opinions I have do affect others and do affect future generations, even though I have no children.
    This is where it gets very important when considering any drugs and especially these drugs that we discussing. These drugs affect your brain and affect your frontal cortex. The frontal cortex is the seat of the mature decision making abilities. If your front cortex “goes” you basically return to helplessness. This is the effect of these drugs and this is why I consider the drugs, not the people evil. When I took these drugs, I was no longer trusted with even making almost any “adult” decisions. I could not write a check, drive a car, etc. It did not start out this way. The effect is cumulative. If Shaun f you have been working about ten years you may not see it as yet. And, you never ever know when this will effect you. There are specific timelines. It could happen tomorrow or who knows when. And then one day you can’t wake up. No one can wake you up. No loud noises. Not even when they call your name. and you sleep for days, nearly comatose or in a coma. Finally you wake up. Deep down you do want to live, but you have an uphill battle to undergo. And they put you in the hospital. This is dangerous. If as Aurora says, we are all a bunch of “neurons and cells” then why even risk taking something that could affect them negatively. The brain is deceptive. I think of that famous ad where the man scrambled the eggs and said “this is your brain on drugs.” If I did an ad against these drugs, I would have to bust the pan into a million pieces that hurt and add them to the scrambled eggs. I am sorry folks, disagree agree with me until the creek rises and it will rise. But, take these drugs and your brain gets scrambled and hurts in a million pieces. Is that really the way you want to live your life? Is this the price you want to pay? Each day I take a breath, I am so thankful, because I know I Live and have been spared for many reasons some unknown to me as yet, but one small reason is to act like the lighthouse in the storm. The storm brews and if you don’t heed the light in the lighthouse, you may be lost at sea forever. . .

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  33. Shaun f, Princess Aurora and shook,

    You know the game bullshit. I call bullshit:

    You have never seen coercion in any form it seems but you know what a 27-10 is but nope, no one has ever been forced to take drugs against their will. No one it seems, has ever complained to you that the drugs don’t work and that you have a compliance issue with your patients. All of them seem to lead VERY productive lives and for-filling family live. That just seems wonderful, doesn’t it. Does it seem too good to be true. You bet it is and from the Pence scores from the psychotropics alone, an idiot can figure it out since most of them are at about 5 to 6 when to be effective, they are supposed to be at about a 15. And that’s from the Cochrane Institute if you have any questions on that.

    That tells me one thing. Princess Aurora seems to be a statistical anomaly. She thinks it works just great. In fact, she’s the most productive person ever to exist. She also has never had to bear the normal 10 years of finding the right medication. You know the one that they let every patient know when they lure them into their web. Nor do they tell you about the 10 year span if you take these drugs that you will most likely become permanently damaged by said treatment. Again, read Whitaker’s book, it’s enlightening.

    And then we have Shook, who seems his agenda is to sell the ECT treatment. Oh yea, where can I sign up? I need some brain damage. Any electrician will tell you that getting shocked is a bad thing. Since when do you listen to a field of medicine that thinks it knows about electricity because it knows how to plug in a lamp. This is the same area of medicine that is trying to sell Ketamine for depression, has investigated LSD, and approved drugs that can only turn on or shut off one serotonin or dopamine while everyone knows that there are many different things controlled by those two chemicals. Let’s take dopamine, it controls the reward center, sexual pleasure, monitors sleep cycles, higher learning functions, etc and all the drugs do is one thing, turn it off. Does anyone see a problem with this method? It’s like trying to do heart surgery with a spoon. Could it get the job done? it’s possible. Is it probable? Well no. And then the doctor is surprised when they don’t work or don’t show efficacy.

    And the whole sad part of the matter is the most evident statistic that we see here. That life span is shortened by 25 years for patients like Carrie Fisher. She was 60. Too bad the average lifespan is 81. Yes, she said how great her treatment was and so do a lot of other celebrities and I believe they are forced to or paid to. It’s obvious to everyone here but the three of you.

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    • Anonymous, yup my clients at times do complain about side effects from meds. I don’t pretend this doesn’t happen. I also know that forced treatment has and does occur (today only occasionally despite what people insist here); it was much more of a problem in the past.

      Princess Aurora isn’t a statistical anomaly in my experience. Again, like I’ve said repeatedly, the vast majority of my clients have told me similar things about their experience with treatment, which interestingly ignored by most on this site (because it doesn’t fit nicely into your narrative of the evils of modern treatment).

      Do you know why people with mental illness die early? Please point to data. Until then it is nothing more than conjecture. By the way, the same statistic is true for people who are chronically homeless, most of whom refuse legal prescribed pills (I worked with them for years). Many of these same folks struggle with addiction. You want to know who also does?….people with mental health issues. Also know what else they have in common? I’ll tell you. Often poor access to medical care, few financial resources, being stigmatized by the general public, frequent sense of isolation, lack of meaning and purpose. I could go on but you should get my point if you are listening. The truth is that both groups have major challenges and aren’t well treated by society. That is plenty reason for dying early.

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      • And you fail to mention that fact that there are no laws that all trial data be public. All side effects need to be stated with a percentage as required by the scientific method, in the conclusion of the report. Doctor’s should be required to state these percentages. Notice I’m not saying parts per million, which should be a given in the pharmaceutical industry.

        We’ve already been blown out of the water with the financial disclosures that now can be hidden since the new 21st Century Cure Act was passed. No more following the money.

        And as far as I can tell Shaun, you’ve shown me no studies or declared any statistical data.

        Please SHOW me the numbers. You seem to have a lot to of opinions though. I am personally finding that insulting because you are on the side that has to prove to me that your product works, not the other way around.

        And I find it disrespectful, talk is cheap. Show me ALL the data.

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      • shaun f

        I am sorry but you really don’t know what you are talking about when you state that forced treatment happens only occasionally. Where in the world are you living and don’t tell me Colorado. Coercion and force takes place every day across this nation and it will happen even more now that Murphy’s bill got passed by that crazy Congress that we supposedly elected. You need to get a grip and move in to the real world and not some make believe place where everyone sits around taking their psych “meds” and extolling the virtues of the wonderful treatment that they get while everyone holds hands and sings Kumbaya together. Give me a break. I know what I know when it comes to forced treatment. For some reason you resist admitting that it is a reality for far too many people.

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    • Please, show me the paper you are so eloquently citing about Pence scores?

      Hey, I ain’t selling ECT. I’m just stating it is one of the safest procedures. Giving child birth is 10 times as dangerous. If you think otherwise then show me a paper that says such. I talk in science. Show me the papers. Studies supporting your view. Otherwise you are just stating an opinion. And your opinion is uninformed until proven otherwise.

      Whitaker sold an agenda. There are so many holes in that book. I am debating whether or not to post an example. But it takes time and energy and I’m not sure any of you want to understand it anyway. Even if you are against Psychiatry and preach “Anatomy of an Epidemic,” who do you think did these studies that Whitaker cites?? These studies are science done by psychologists and psychiatrists. You are citing science done by the field because it conforms to your agenda and then calling the field a religion. Hypocrites.

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      • Dr. Mengle thought he was doing god’s work, too.

        Psychiatry has a obvious historical links to eugenics and social control.

        And as I keep saying, who gets to decide who is ‘mentally ill’? Subjective bullshit wrought by those in power and with economic interests, that’s who.

        Blood letting used to be big, too. Your field is harmful to human life. Period.

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      • ECT is not harmful? Where did you get your electrical engineering degree? You don’t think it’s harmful, go ask an electrician. They’ll tell you they feel extreme pain and then euphoria when they get zapped.That’s the brain cells dying. It’s common sense, same as getting drunk. I’m sure you can try to rewire your house if you feel like it. You’ll get what I mean.

        I’ve seen the studies and I’ve set up experiments myself. I know how to play with the statistics and how those studies are run. Yes, I’ve seen the studies and ECT has not done a damn thing to help get closer to eliminating depression. If it did, everyone would be running out to get a battery and trying to complete the circuit. That’s life, sometimes it just stinks. Read some Shakespeare.

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      • Excuse me, before you claim ECT is safe, I’d like to see the proof. I know you don’t have any proof because the shock industry doesn’t want any investigations done into possible harm done by shock. Such an investigation might cut deeply into the profits shock docs take in. There is every reason to believe, that given a serious investigation into the damage produced by shock therapy, doctors might be compelled to stop resorting to it. As long as there is no real look at the physical consequences of shock treatment, there will be no proof. Who is going to conduct any investigation exploring the possible harm of shock treatment? Certainly not shock machine manufacturers and shock docs. They claim it “safe and effective”, not because it is “safe and effective”, but because, as far as they’re concerned, it pays the bills.

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      • Please Shook, hold the insults, it merely shows up your weaknesses. Can you please cite the evidence that ECT is less dangerous than childbirth? Sure it only causes death in 1:200 elderly, 1:400 Texans – an estimated world wide 1:600 – 1000 average, BUT it cause brain injury in 100% of recipients. Amongst my acquaintance, my women friends, I don’t know of ANY who have suffered brain damage as a result of childbirth. Perhaps we differ on what is dangerous in this world.
        I might add that Charles Kellner, ECT proponent extraordinaire, wrote in January, 2015 in the Psychiatric Times, “The amazing structural detail that can now be seen with high magnet-strength MRI has resulted in a re-thinking of the old dictum that ECT (SHOCK) does not cause structural brain changes.” Of course, back in the early 70s when I worked in psychiatry, we knew that. ECT was designed to cause brain damage, which was considered therapy alongside such procedures as lobotomy and insulin coma – Moniz 1938)”…to cure these patients”, it was necessary to “destroy the more or less fixed arrangements of cellular connections that exist in the brain, and particularly those which are related to the frontal lobes” AND IT STILL DOES.

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    • As an addendum — I just read all of Shaun’s posts again. With about five or six exceptions EVERY ONE has something to do with defending pharmaceuticals, and the others seem primarily concerned with sucking up tp Matt or Aurora. Not sure what that says, but certainly something.

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      • Oldhead, no I simply repeat what my clients with bipolar, depression, schizophrenia, ptsd, ocd, and add have told me about what they find helpful.You continue to be dismissive of this. I haven’t sucked up to Matt or Aurora. They have engaged in respectful dialogue. You, on the other hand, I have seen are aggressive, sarcastic, and dichotomous in your arguments. You aren’t improving anything for anyone. I hope god works out for you. He or she certainly hasn’t helped protect any of the clients I work with from trauma.

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    • Oldhead,

      On another board, a mental health professional also claimed that forced treatment rarely occurs. It seems to be boiler place language in the industry just like the denial of med side effects by doctors or the “I have never seen this before” claim.

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      • There are more than 40 hours in a week….And yeah I get on here in between clients and during lunch. I do find this website and it’s participants educational. Believe it or not it has reminded me to reconsider some of the ways I talk with my clients about med mgmt.

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  34. Shook, No Genes did not make us. God, the Creator made us in His image and in with great uniqueness for His Purposes which unless we forget agree to even before conception and birth. Sorry, Shook, yes we have “genes” but they are not who and what created us.
    Shaun f- To say one of my comments is “absurd” just shows if you really are a counselor working with people, you surely do not show it on this site. All I said is that CBT can be as dangerous as drugs, but it can not be measured. Think, Shaun f, think. If you are a counselor, is it not what people say to each other that seems to cause the most pain and that can not be measured or have you found a way?

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  35. shook you are just rude “put a little thought into this.” I have thought about this and I have read books on this. Please read a new book on how to be a nurse. I am sorry but it seems you forgot that nurses are supposed to compassionate and tolerant. And the Books that tell me this Are not just “Christian” books. And my heart and brain tell me this, too. I am created by God in His image Uniquely with Unique Gifts, etc. For his Purposes and His will. There are millions and millions of people who know this with variations to culture, creed, etc. No one says you have to accept to Jesus Christ as your Savior. And I honestly don’t care how you think were created. If you want to believe all you are is bunch of genes cells, that is your business,. but it behooves you to treat me and the others with the courtesy and respect we deserve as fellow human beings. And that goes for you, also, shaun f and princess aurora. Thank you.

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    • You are not understanding what I am saying. The data is sound. As a matter of fact, the studies illustrated by Whitaker in the book have immense importance to the field and have helped in all kinds of ways. Whitaker’s conclusions on the data are wrong.

      What Whitaker did to his credit, is he started a conversation that needed to be had, but the book is fatally flawed in terms of the evaluating the science.

      See, what people tend to do is they regurgitate what other people have said about studies. And it makes sense. These studies are difficult to read, especially if you don’t have the background on study design and mathematics to be critical. So most of the people on this blog take Anatomy of an Epidemic on face value…that everything Whitaker says is true. Why? Because it falls in line with their world view and it is a whole lot of work to look at the actual studies.

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      • O my, we are too *uneducated* to understand the studies…hmmm guess all that science I took for my nursing degree makes me an idiot…o wait–the brain damage that I’m still trying to recover from by taking the DRUGS that were made available to me (not therapy, not help with my financial situation, not help with childcare with 2 under 5 and a 2 teens and an alcoholic husband) without INFORMED CONSENT that was ACCURATE. The docs have zero clue how to discontinue the drugs safely, and when *many many many* people do try to get off their prescribed drugs, *symptoms* pop up which are then DRUGGED some more!

        Silly me…just a stupid sheep bleating in the field waiting for the big, awesome, smart *PROFESSIONAL* to set me straight.

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      • Oh I don’t. Well then do tell me exactly what I do need to evaluate experiments and please be specific. I don’t know how to design studies or experiments. Well, what do I need to evaluate them.

        So my education is sorely lacking is the mathematical field. Okay then, well do tell me what the criteria of level of mathematics that I do need.

        I had no idea that I was so ignorant.

        Do tell……..

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  36. Shook, you might have missed my previous post on this. You mentioned patients are screened for sleep apnea prior to ECT. In response, I asked if there are positive indications that they have it, do you suggest they hold off having shock therapy and get a sleep study to see if perhaps sleep apnea is an issue. My reasoning is that frequently when people don’t respond to depression treatments, it is because they have sleep apnea. Obviously, when one stops breathing several times while sleeping, that degrades the quality of sleep and can cause depression.

    Here are two links by a psychiatrist on this issue as an FYI.

    Sean F, I would also be interested in knowing if you take sleep histories of clients and refer them to sleep specialists when indicated.

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    • The answer is it depends on the patient. If the person is otherwise healthy, then the procedure would be put off until the sleep apnea was addressed and treated. But I think if the person had a questionable history of sleep apnea and came in catatonic, refusing to eat, drink, talk, etc, then ECT would be an emergency treatment as the patient’s life would be at risk.

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      • humanbeing, when a person comes in with catatonia, all medical conditions are ruled out — as in they are given a complete workup to make sure it is not from something else. At this point, you can wait and watch the patient deteriorate and die or you can try giving Ativan and/or ECT if an Ativan trial fails. You are talking about someone who has shut down (FMRIs have been done on these patients and their brains have literally shut down). I have seen it on multiple occasions where they are given ECT and they come out of anesthesia awake and ready to go back to living their lives.

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        • Shook, if I’m reading your post correctly, a catatonic person is unable to eat, drink, speak, or otherwise communicate. If you do nothing they die. Therefore, it’s up to “them”, like medical personnel to make decisions for the person. If there’s family available or willing to assist, I imagine you talk to them.

          If the person has some sort of legal document telling you NOT to treat them, that’s one thing. Otherwise, you’re obligated to treat them. Unfortunately, if you elect NOT to treat them based on a legal document, it’s possible the person’s family will later sue you for NOT treating someone who wasn’t in their right mind to make that directive. It’s enough to make your head explode.

          Once the person is able to communicate, at that point you can discuss treatment options.

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    • As usual on this site, Stephen, my posts are being mischaracterized. I actually said in a recent post that I believe the “chemical imbalance” theory isn’t strongly supported by science yet. We do know that mental health issues derive from the brain, but actual science is limited in telling us what happens in peoples’ brains when the experience such symptoms as mania, voices, or depression. I do suspect it has to do with neurotransmitters, but as far as I know there is limited evidence to know what is happening inside the brain. One thing we certainly don’t know is why there are variations in the results of taking specific meds with patients. People clearly metabolize meds (and food) differently, so again we still have some learning to do about the human body.

      Like I’ve said before, I find that many psychiatrists are arrogant and unhelpful. I have seen it firsthand at my clinic. I don’t dismiss what people on here have said. And I also think it is irresponsible to argue that psych drugs should never be used, since they do make a huge difference for many of the people I work with. My family and friends take these kind of meds and they tell me the same thing. I wouldn’t support the use SSRIs, antipsychotics, stimulants, etc., for my clients, friends, and family (and myself) if I felt they were convincingly harmful. Sorry you don’t like that answer but that is where I stand. Just because you don’t like what I am saying it doesn’t mean I’m being disrespectful or condescending.

      I highly doubt you’ve read over all my posts, otherwise you would have seen some of my criticisms of psychiatry and also my empathy for people who have been harmed by the system. Like I’ve said, I don’t blame anyone who decides meds are for them. You should get to decide what treatments you receive, if any. I believe in autonomy and choice. I am sorry that many people on this website have been harmed. That is not what the field of medicine was meant to accomplish.

      Out of curiosity, can you at least admit that many people do find benefit from psych meds?

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      • Sean F,

        The chemical imbalance theory will never be supported by science. It was a big pharma creation.

        I am not going to argue with people who claim that meds are beneficial. I was also one of those folks who made the same claim while they were destroying my life. My mother begged me to get off of them as she could see I was deteriorating. I blew her off as clueless about mental health issues.

        I cringe big time when I think of that conversation. The only consolation is if I had tried to get off of them at the time, I would have been tapered too quickly which would have been a disaster. I didn’t yet have internet access so I wasn’t aware of slow tapers.

        So how do you determine if meds are benefitting your clients like they claim they are? Do you do functional life assessments or how do you measure the progress?

        What about neuropsych testing?

        What if your clients feel the meds aren’t effective? What do you advise them to do.?

        I don’t doubt that meds can benefit people but just like folks like you tell us that anecdotal experiences don’t prove anything, the same applies to your experiences.

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        • AA, Hi. Thanks for the article. I do agree with the general ideas mentioned and don’t tell my clients we know what causes their symptoms. I do repeatedly say that I believe TRAUMA is the number one cause of mental health symptoms and that they aren’t broken or at fault. I normalize that life is stressful, and particular life events can be very scary and difficult to cope with (e.g., loss of a child).

          I will say that my own theory is that much of the benefit people get from medications has to do with being cared for (relationship building) as an equal human being and the placebo effect. Do I think meds magically fix messed up chemicals in the brain? No. I think much more of the improvements we see in treatment has to do with environmental factors.

          We do neuropsych testing in my organization. It is tremendously beneficial and has helped us to properly diagnose certain conditions. I’ve been involved with situations where we thought a client had a mood disorder/personality disorder, but it was actually a form of dementia which accounted for the presenting symptoms. Mental health treatment still has a long way to go (we still rely on interviews as the primary way to diagnose, which has obvious problems in inter-rater reliability). I believe we ought to be ruling out any medical problems, such as hyperthyroidism, before prescribing psych drugs, because it is too often the case that some undiagnosed medical condition is causing the symptoms. Of course sleep apnea is another classic example of a medical problem which produces MH symptoms such as irritability and depression. Also, I think we should try therapy first before ever dispensing meds, but there aren’t enough social workers and counselors to do this and many “patients” wouldn’t be happy with that arrange either, at least until they got used to it.

          Regarding your question on meds, I will always advise clients to speak with our nurses, their doc, or pharmacist about any med concerns. I will also explore with clients who want to get off of meds what a safe approach would be (e.g., titration, talking with their doc before abruptly stopping meds which could produce some dangerous w/d symptoms). Our docs are good at helping clients wean off of meds if they want to. Again, like I’ve said repeatedly, we do not force people to be on meds they don’t want to. We believe in client choice and autonomy.

          I can tell you that I’ve seen the terrible things meds can do to a person, such as TD, akathesia, weight gain, diabetes, etc. No doubt doctors and clinics need to do a better job educating clients about psych meds SEs.

          And no doubt big pharma is the biggest culprit. They earn their billions by convincing us that drugs are the answer and that we have a medical problem, when sometimes at least we are simply experiencing life. Unfortunately our culture and thus many clients who come to our clinic DEMAND certain drugs and will be very angry if we don’t give them to them (particularly benzos and stimulants). It isn’t helpful when people feel their only option to get better is medication/drugs.

          I will say that in our culture of instant gratification, getting clients to be patient with the process of therapy is hard. I fear that many of my clients get frustrated when they don’t start feeling better very soon and thus will prematurely drop out of therapy because the results aren’t what they expected. Healing from trauma and general life can and usually does take time and isn’t easy. I commend anyone who has the courage to face their fears, demons, challenges head on. Many people in America also have been taught to believe that they are weak if they ask for help, so many people delay seeking help. Nobody wants to be considered “crazy” or “schizo”, but many people unfortunately believe these stereotypes around MH treatment.

          Thanks for reading.

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      • I don’t dislike your answer about the drugs, I beg to differ and refer to them as drugs and not meds. If people want to take them then by all means give them the drugs. It would make me feel better if they actually were told the truth about the effects of the drugs. I will not play word games and talk about side effects. Whatever the drugs do, one way or another, is an effect, period.

        I do not find it a problem that you want to post here and I’m glad that your aren’t who I thought you were. In my line of work I don’t see many people who seem to benefit from the drugs. I work in a state “hospital”. I do know that some people seem to benefit from their use and I don’t dispute that. My greatest problem with the drugs is that people are not given a real choice as to whether or not to take them. When you are locked up in my facility you don’t leave until you become compliant with taking the drugs like the psychiatrists demand that you do.

        So, I reported my own comment about you being someone else since I trust AA’s observation that you are not the person I felt you to be. I think that there are many people here at MIA who respect the decision that some people make to take the drugs. We would never take them ourselves but we’re not going to call others into question for making their own personal decisions. What I think that many of us rebel about is the fact that there is little choice for people, many are forced to take the drugs by the staff in the facilities where they are held. The force takes many forms. They are also not given informed consent. I was never told of the effects of the drugs I was given while held in the very place where I now work. I had a heart attack and suspect it was the citalopram I took while in the “hospital”. What does surprise me is that you seem to be out of touch with the fact that many people have no choice about taking the drugs. Could I ask just exactly what your profession is? You state that you are not a psychiatrist and I believe that since psychiatrists don’t have the slightest clue as to what therapy is.

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        • And when I talk about people being forced to take the drugs in the facility where I work I am not talking about those who are mandated by the law and the courts to take them. No one gets out of where I work until they take the drugs the psychiatrists demand that they take. We have more than court mandated people on our units.

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          • Stephen, thank you for sharing your experience. I agree with you that it is wrong to force anyone, hospitalized or not, to take prescriptions they don’t want to be on.

            I do believe the experience of inpatient vs. outpatient treatment is quite different. I would never work for a facility that forced anyone to do a treatment they don’t feel comfortable doing. The nurses, doctors, etc. will not have to deal with the ramifications of that treatment….it will be the person on the receiving end who might not get the desired outcome of the treatment and might very well be harmed in the process.

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        • Stephen, I agree when you say:
          “My greatest problem with the drugs is that people are not given a real choice as to whether or not to take them. When you are locked up in my facility you don’t leave until you become compliant with taking the drugs like the psychiatrists demand that you do.”

          In fact, it is greater than coercion. The individual is in a state of distress, fear, crisis, loss of control of the last bastion of self-hood – their “mind” and “emotions.” In this state of panic, most people would do anything -anything – to stop it, and when the “good doctor” says take this (or when he just administers it), the suffering individual not only has no choice, but it is as if that person has been tortured to achieve this result – drugging.

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    • Stephen — I also notice that shaun & co. have concentrated their coordinated assault in this particular article on C. Fisher (out of three), which has the overwhelmingly highest no. of views, i.e. with more of the uneducated public to influence with their distortions of fact regarding pharmaceuticals.

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        • I am a firm believer that individuals are the expert in their lives, not professionals. The arrogance to believe that we as professionals knows what is best is patronizing and frustrating. This is one reason I try not to make any decisions for my clients, because they have to pick up the pieces if it doesn’t work like I think it will.

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  37. Oldhead,

    While you may not like posters like Shawn or shook (who I disagree with quite a bit also), do you not think we can discuss heated issues with them in a respectful tone? I think both you and I would like more people to be involved in the discussion here at MIA. But by responding to them as if they were idiots or little children who should automatically see things your way, you are not promoting a healthy dialogue.

    Please remember some of the things we’re meant to abide by on the Posting Guidelines (I’m saying this not as a moderator, just as a participant pointing out that they’re there):

    “Keep comments civil. This includes refraining from posting personal attacks, threats, sarcasm, spamming, hyperbole, misrepresentations of oneself or others (including strawman arguments), illegal material, profanity, hate speech, disparaging assertions about a person’s character, discrimination based on a person’s identity or occupation, and calls for violence against any people. We ask for good faith and the benefit of the doubt in our effort to allow anybody who wants to join the dialogue to do so without fear of abuse. Please respond to and criticize ideas, not character.

    Honor differing viewpoints. This website intentionally brings together individuals with varying backgrounds and values. We believe civil, inclusive dialogue to be crucial to finding solutions to our current paradigm of mental health care.

    We are a shame-free zone. Language that primarily exists to disparage, shame, dismiss, taunt, bait, exclude, or otherwise diminish another person is not allowed on Mad In America.

    We are a certainty-free zone. Benefit of the doubt will be given in all cases. Commenters are asked to refrain from assuming or inferring anything about another person’s position. Errors of omission or misuse of terms are always assumed to be made in good faith. A person’s choice not to acknowledge or respond to specific arguments will not be assumed to be malicious, or a sign of a character flaw, or otherwise held against them.”

    Oldhead I think we can do better regarding some of the above. I recognize that I myself have in the past done some of these things, and I’m trying to do better also.


    To Shawn, while I disagree with some of your positions, I respect that you have generally argued in good faith about contentious topics and not stooped to personal attacks. I hope you will not take being attacked by a few commenters the wrong way and choose not to return to the site. A few people are not representative of everyone.

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      • Matt

        Guess what? I don’t give a shit. THis site seems to have adopted a meeker position with the recent changes; maybe their strategy is smart. I KNOW from working for change in political groups in the past that as soon as you start dressing in suits (figuratively) and piping in elevator music that you’ve lost your way.

        I’m looking for the undoing of a false god that is killing and neutering millions of creative, unique humans who but for the grace of god (so to speak) could have what it takes to lead our world to a better place. This culture kills the diverse. Diversity is the key to survival…and at this point, what’s the use. I don’t need this place. I was loyal to it out of respect for RW…as it was him and his book that set me free.

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      • Good job, Matt. Thanks for pointing out these issues. Unfortunately, you are being attacked for trying to keep the conversation respectful and reminding posters that there are certain rules we ought to be following, like basic respect. Rage rules the day here.

        It is clear that posters like you, me, Aurora, and shook are the target of aggression because we don’t fit into their all-or-nothing expectations and because we clearly say things which cause them to try and belittle and attack. I am amazed at the hostility towards people who don’t agree with a certain perspective.

        As someone said it seems that some folks might need to create a new site where they can rage to their hearts content, changing nothing about the way treatment is provided (since nobody with a differing opinion would be allowed to chime in). These posters seem to think anyone who disagrees with them must be colluding or are being disingenuous. I think it is reflected in the larger world that we live in that feels ever more polarized and angry. I think that is sad.

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        • Stephen, that hospital is still around. We don’t have many inpatient beds life in Colorado. Pueblo is where most folks go and we still have a smaller facility open in Denver. I can’t speak to their practices, but my hope would be they don’t force feed meds (I fear, based on your experience, that they might).

          I wish more “patients” would sue or challenge these things in court. I was once on a jury where a man was challenging his cert. It was interesting. He obviously had delusional beliefs but I’m pretty sure I recall that we said he shouldn’t have to be forced into ongoing treatment he clearly didn’t want.

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    • “We are a shame-free zone. Language that primarily exists to disparage, shame, dismiss, taunt, bait, exclude, or otherwise diminish another person is not allowed on Mad In America.”

      I addressed this specifically with Mr. Whitaker a few years ago, before I even got involved here, just from reading, given the issues discussed on here, especially trauma from the psychologically violent chronic social abuse that occurs within the system. That conversation went nowhere. So, I dove in, trying to address the bullying on here, myself, including the cultish-like group bullying that I think goes on, and I got beaten up for it. My point proven.

      It has degenerated even more since then, and I’m not sure what this is resolving in society. It is hard for me to reconcile that “social justice” is part of the MIA tagline, and yet, I see people demeaned, baited, shamed, marginalized, and called all sorts of disparaging names on here constantly. Seems to be built into it, somehow, just like in the system. This is terribly unsafe, especially for a lot of survivors. Not all of us are callous.

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      • Safe for tools of abuse and torturers?

        I can read about mainstream anywhere in the MSM, but to have it invade *here* so blithely, and ‘trigger’ so many of us SURVIVORS. I’ve been bullied all my life by people like these and I don’t need and won’t put up with it ANYMORE.

        I’ve lost years of my life because of people like these.

        Kumbaya, Alex.

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        • human being- GO FOR IT! stand up for yourself! We do not have to be abused and tortured anymore for someone’s else’s benefit that “could be evil” in its motivation.
          Also, I have found that society no longer respects and appreciates pure old-fashioned, righteous anger, especially if you’re female. They think you have a “disorder” and must be “drugged.” They act as if they are afraid of you and you have no right; but, it is really themselves they are fearful of and their right to their own feelings and emotions. You see, they are afraid of their own feelings because they are not logical, scientific, mathematical, or graphically designed; not artistically designed. This is because pure art is pure emotion. Science is art. These people, therefore are afraid of their very own science.
          Oh, by the way, shook I have thought this through and shaun f what is absurd is the reality of the truth. Absurdity is the way of God. Oh, how unfortunate of me, I mentioned God. I meant to mention your mother. Not even my mother would claim creation of me; only that she birthed me. How sad of me again! That I believe in the truth of God, not the falseness of modern science that has lost its way and that I know God protects me, even from people like you. It though is incredibly clumsy of me in that I almost meant to mention how close to God you really could be. Peace be with you. Vaya con Dios, I say, that is “go with God.

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      • It is hard for me to reconcile that “social justice” is part of the MIA tagline

        “Social justice” no longer means social justice; it has become a neoliberal buzzword, something I didn’t realize till it was pointed out to me.

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          • I’m saying that the term has come to reflect a certain elitist and classist agenda that has little to do with the actual, and admirable, goal of social justice. (An example of this would be the recent so-called “anti-racism” blog.)

            None of this is meant to reflect on RW, for whom I continue to have much respect; I don’t hold him primarily accountable for the day-to-day operations of MIA.

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          • Thanks for clarifying your perspective. Regardless of where the accountability falls (and why not with the owner?), the social dynamic here is still a repeat of the system, which to me translates to status quo, no change.

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    • Sooner or later Matt you’re going to have to decide which side you’re on, not just teeter on the edge with your finger in the wind.

      It takes two to tango, and you need to step outside your ego when people try to manipulate you through flattery, as it seems to be succeeding right now.

      You have no reason to believe this guy is really a therapist. If he were these posts would be prima facie evidence for him to be dismissed.

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      • Please Oldhead, enlighten me. What have I said that should indicate I can’t ethically practice psychotherapy? I hope to get a cogent response from you but call me skeptical. You’d rather attack me to discredit. I will happily defend my positions.

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      • Oldhead, I honestly don’t see why anyone has to take “sides.” I came here to share my experiences in a hopefully supportive environment. Obviously I came to the wrong place.

        I had really hoped that we could all discuss our views politely and without recrimination.

        I don’t understand why there’s so much hostility. I know what works for me, you know what works for you, and I’m sure we have a lot of common concerns.

        Posters keep saying I’m an anomaly. I’m pretty sure I’m not. It’s just that people like me who have done well on meds take one look at the tirades on sites like this, roll their eyes, and scroll on. That’s a shame, because if we all accepted the validity of each other’s concerns we could all learn things.

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        • There’s plenty of sites that would welcome your views on drug therapy. What you’ve stumbled upon, is a site that has an alternative narrative to the psych/pharma party line. We are SURVIVORS of the drugging and the labels, and have found support and camaraderie here. WHat you and shaun and shook? offer is the same old same old, and seems to me to be *planned* so that when someone comes here QUESTIONING their diagnosis or their ‘treatment’ they are baffled by the bullshit, just as the media and their ‘health care’ providers do, pulling out their ‘credentials’ and their degrees. Some of us are also credentialed and have degrees but because there were no other options for us when we found ourselves in distress, we ended up in the system. A system that kills those on psych meds on average 25 years sooner than those who never venture into the world of psychiatry.

          Which is what this article is about.

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          • I don’t care if she posts here, it’s a free place for everyone. I don’t care that she thinks the drugs are helpful, for her they may even be because she sounds as if she is an anomaly. It does happen for some people.

            There has to be some way to enlighten people about the wider realities of what really happens with all this. I suspect that Princess has not been exposed very much to the other side of the story about all this. So how do we help people see that side?

            What gets me is the arrogance, not so much from Princess but from the other two, Shook and shaun f. It’s very difficult for me to deal with the arrogance because it was what I had to deal with in most of the psychiatrists that I was handed over to when I did my little stint in the system.

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        • No, you are pretty much an anomaly. How much do you mingle with ex-patients, survivors, people still in the system and on the drugs? Where I work I see very few people who are like you. Most of the people that I work for on the units are sent to group homes where their lives are managed and overlooked by someone else and the people in charge particularly are intent on making sure that people take their drugs. It’s very much of a forced situation with the people being managed having very little say over what happens to them. The drugs incapacitate people; most don’t sit drooling in the corner but they lack any drive to do anything with their lives. They are separated from their emotions and feelings and are very much like zombies in this respect.

          It’s so easy to assume that everyone experiences everything just like you do. But this is a very bad assumption.

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          • Stephen,

            Excellent response to Princess Aurora by the way. You nailed it precisely about these meds being motivation depleters. After I had been on them long term, that was a side effect I definitely noticed.

            On a related note, several years ago, I had a chance to interview for a peer support position working in a group home. When I asked what would happen if someone didn’t want to take meds, I got the strangest look from the person who told me about the job. That told me everything I needed to know and I never followed through with interviewing.

            I really admire your ability to work in the hospital. I would have such a hard time keeping my mouth shut.

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  38. I consider the original post to be sound science describing the general problem of early death caused by therapy for mental distress based on drugs and ECT. But moving from a general population to a specific example is typically problematic; as critics have argued, speculating about the cause of Carrie Fisher’s death is merely speculation.

    The critical issue about psychiatric drug therapy is whether the drugs are medicines treating biological dysfunctions or drugs masking symptoms of natural emotional suffering (or problematic behaviors). Since I consider mental distress to be a direct function of distressful experiences, I consider drug therapy generally problematic. Physical fatigue, reduced mental acuity, and problematic side-effects from drug therapy are obstacles to solving the real life problems that cause mental distress.

    There is no hard science to support the popular contention that mental distress expresses a biological dysfunction. The DSM categorizes behaviors it considers “anti-social” and thereafter tags them as medical problems rather than social problems without any biological (medical) support. The elitists of the APA have never experienced the distressfulness of the experiences of the disenfranchised; they cannot imagine their natural emotional pain. Moreover, they are heavily vested in a medical perspective of emotional suffering.

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  39. To Shaun f; As far as thinking unicorns as real. Did you ever think they might have been at one time, but are now very extinct. This could be possible, as they did seem to have survived into our collective and personal unconscious for many centuries and do show up in our mythology, literature, art and even as toys for children.
    To aurora: Yes, I admit I am appalled that “animals’ would be given these types of “drugs”; as they are perhaps the most vulnerable of us all. And, I know from being around these “four-legged kin” all my life, they will tell you what they need and want, if you just listen. They just don’t seem to articulate in English or some other language as humans do.

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  40. aurora Your world is cold and callous. Is that why you feel the need for drugs? Actually my heart does go out to your suffering.
    In truth, probably the majority of people who end up in the “mental health/illness places” do so because they are doing “drudge work”, are going against their natural talents, gifts, and strengths and probably performing duties and such that are not their strengths, but their “weakness” So, of course they get “moody” anxious, sad, frustrated, angry, etc. Therefore, they are not able to live out their life purpose and their is that “nagging feeling” they are not living as they are supposed. They are unhappy and don’t know why.
    it is a struggle in this culture to learn the truth about yourself, that you are worthwhile, gifted with special talents, personality, individuality and uniqueness; but it is worth it to truly invest in yourself and not be a cog in a machine. Someday, I hope you realize these truths about yourself before it is too late.

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  41. I thought I just posted this but maybe forgot to hit “send”:

    I feel sorry for anyone who has had the pleasure of being bullied by you. (shaun f)

    The moment I read this I flashed back to several of our annual Conferences on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression, because the mentality reflected here is so similar. No one who attended these conferences can easily forget the endless late-night emergency anti-sexism meetings, which were generally necessitated by an egregious act of sexism against a woman participant by a male participant. When male privilege or oppressiveness was called out, a man would invariably claim that “women oppress men too.” when this was explored it usually turned out to refer to situations where women didn’t provide men the emotional or sexual support they believed they were entitled to. Women who resisted this agenda were considered “oppressive.”

    Since I presented not a hint of a threat to “shaun” I can only see this accusation of “bullying” as a similar cry of “reverse mentalism/sanism” in response to my refusing to stroke his professional ego.

    Finally, to gain some perspective, I explored the idea that only “a few posters” had big issues with the “shaun” entity. Of the 16 people who responded to him directly, 14 were highly critical of his contentions (many of them offended by his attitude as well); 2 (Alex and Matt) were ambiguous. Aurora and the other guy whose name I forget were supportive.

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    • Not sure what I was ambiguous about, but for the record, I’ll be as clear and direct as I know how—

      I do believe that humans suffer from all sorts of life trauma, inner conflict, and energy-draining events and people. I believe that when we have good examples of unconditional love, self-responsibility, and boundaries when we are kids, then these traumas and conflicts integrate in a natural way as we go along in life, and we grow and evolve as we do, according to how our hearts and spirit nature dictate, because I believe this is where our inner guidance resides, what I would call our “spirit voice.” When we connect with this, we relax entirely because there is a kind of clarity that is extremely reassuring, and it doesn’t go away.

      However, when we grow up in chaos, confusion, isolation, and neglect in a stigmatizing, bullying, or gaslighting environment, then our stuff doesn’t integrate, but more so, it fragments us, because our processes have been misguided. I believe that is when extraordinary anxiety bubbles up, and this can be debilitating in many ways professionally and socially.

      I do believe that there is a condition which exists in our society, which some refer to as “mental illness,” which to me, would amount to chronic and never-ending internal conflict which is powerful enough to distract us from our life path and personal creative goals, and which can also easily cause self-sabotage.

      I also believe that most peoples’ perceptions are distorted these days, because of all the brainwashing and social programming that has taken place due mostly to media, I think, and also thanks to academia. I think the academic world is rife with brainwashing and programming, and it pits people against each other, so it’s more about personal professional agendas than social well-being. I come from a very academic family, and they drove me nuts with their oppressive way of thinking, all focused on “being right,” as opposed to getting clarity on truth, which is a humbling endeavor.

      I’ve awakened to some things, having worked hard to deprogram from all the falsehoods I had taken on as “truth” (like the fact that I had a “chronic illness” and needed these “meds” for the rest of my life, that turned out to be utterly false, which I discovered only after they caused me life catastrophe, from which I’ve recovered, thank God); but still, one never knows the false programs they are carrying around, we’ve all been duped, so I still work with this, but guided by my own information, not on what others tell me is *their* truth. I find the truth of others interesting, sometimes, but it is easily not mine, and I think that’s natural diversity.

      I think we’re in a collective process of waking up to all this, and it is causing tremendous anxiety in a lot of people, even panic. That can be the result of facing hard truths, and not wanting to accept them. That can also cause profound internal struggles and enormous fear/dread.

      I think it’s fitting that you lumped me in the same category as Matt in your statement above, because where I wholeheartedly agree with Matt is that whatever you want to call these conditions, they are curable. One can heal, grow, and move on from these by resolving these inner conflicts and shifting one’s self-perception. It’s very hard work, and hardy, too. Pays off big time, from what I’ve experienced and witnessed in others.

      As I’ve said repeatedly, I was on these drugs for 20 years and accepted my diagnosis for a long time, believing in this programming, although I was totally active, social, and I had a successful career, got two degrees, lived a successful mainstream life, even though I was on a lot of drugs for different things by then. The first drugs I was given went on to create all sorts of other issues inside of me, which I did not realize was happening until I as almost 40. I had started taking these when I was 21.

      So right after graduate school, I chose to come off them, and that is when the real adventures in the system began for me, followed by spectacular healing and very positive and fulfilling life changes, part of which included suing an agency and speaking my truth about discrimination. Winning that legal mediation gave me the confidence that my truth was being heard, so aside from getting me out of the system, it began my journey as an activist.

      While I have nothing personal against psychotherapists and psychiatrists as individuals, I have disdain for the entire “mental health” field because I feel it is sorely misguided and based on severe power differentials, economics, gaslighting, Munchausen by proxy, and is inherently dehumanizing. I say this from my own education and training, followed by being the client of many therapists while in social services and group therapy. I saw it across the boards, over and over again. I think this field largely makes people sick and keeps them sick, because that is how they get business.

      My healing came from an entirely different perspective, far and away from “mental health” anything, and it was amazing the difference between what I learned in graduate school, and what I learned in a real healing environment, like night and day. So I continued my training in this direction, as I healed by leaps and bounds.

      Today, I take no drugs, I haven’t been in therapy for almost a decade, and I am on my own with my health and life now, creating tons, including films and music, as healing tools and community service. I’m grounded, healthy, happy, productive, and fulfilled. I love my life, and I never thought I’d be able to say that.

      In addition, I am teaching what I learned to others, including presently to the Board of Directors of a social service agency that wants to be as unlike as the system as they possibly can. They want to learn how to actually heal what some people call “mental illness,” and have contracted me to work with them and to teach them how this works, which I am currently doing. I also have a second group, having nothing to do with “mental health” anything—mostly a group of artists and teachers—and they are learning to manifest what they desire, from this very same information.

      Other than that, from all that was said on here, I would never, ever challenge anyone about their healing path, I think that is their business, and if they feel good about it, there is nothing to address. I feel strongly about that. Otherwise, I see that as a violation of personal space, and can be really detrimental to a person, in very subtle ways, to challenge their own sense of self and their reality.

      It also makes me angry that people are falling through the cracks and suffering every day, while others are fighting over who is right vs. who is wrong. I think in this movement, or whatever it is, there is more emphasis on activist ego than on resolving these issues. I also think a lot of activists here are merely jet-setters, out for their own gain, and to be hot shots.

      So while I continue to post here on occasion, it is only to offer alternative perspectives from the mainstream, and also to get some clarity for myself, for my benefit and that of my clients and students. I don’t see a lot of power here to create change, as a unit, as it is too fragmented and in disarray, I see no cohesion, and therefore, diminished power. We teach by example, not by forcing others to believe what we believe. That will never work.

      Although simply by virtue that some people, like me, can get further clarity participating here, then that is beneficial to society, in the long run. But I personally got off the drugs and changed my life about a decade before I even heard of Mr. Whitaker and his work. I came on here referred by someone, because of my story, and it has been educational as far as group dynamics go, and internet communication.

      That’s where I am at present with all this, more learning to come, I’ve no doubt. I hope this clarifies unambiguously my position.

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        • That’s ok, felt good to write it out.

          Regarding Shaun, out of curiosity after all this speculation about him, I googled “shaun f psycotherapist Colorado,” and a linkedin account matching this and all that he has stated–80 patients, skiing–did come up, exactly as he said. So unless he is committing identity theft, which I very seriously doubt, I know he is for real. I really had no reason to believe otherwise, but like I said, the speculation made me curious, and it was easy enough to find this information.

          Regarding Shaun’s statements and attitudes, that’s his truth, not mine to judge or to argue with. That’s my position. Other than on a few days of internet, I don’t him at all.

          Although I do make it clear that I’m no fan of “mental health” anything, and one of those people who are dubious about psychotherapy, based on not only having been a long-term client before I realized it was leading me down a big rabbit hole, but also on having been a psychotherapist myself, before defecting from the field, because I thought it was bullshit, and it served only to screw me up, in so many ways, which I had to fix going another route entirely. So that’s my truth of the matter.

          I do feel that anyone is entitled to what they feel helps them the most, so on that I agree with Shaun. If someone is going down the “wrong” road (which I’m not sure that can really be, so maybe if he or she going down a road that would wind up being harmful to them in the end, would be a better way of putting it), then that is up to that individual to discover on his/her own. I cannot judge accurately another’s path, that’s impossible, and I’d feel extremely presumptuous and arrogant doing so.

          Otherwise, I think he is honest and transparent, and I respect that, regardless of anything. Fwiw…

          And to Shaun, please forgive me for talking about you in 3rd person, and we never have interacted. But I’ve been reading, and I wanted to answer oldhead’s question, out of respect.

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        • Interesting. Though I’m not sure he would appreciate you outing him; I guess he did leave sort of a bread crumb trail.

          I believed him at first but after seeing his easily-triggered defensiveness and emotional volatility I became more open to the possibility that he had more than a personal agenda in so desperately trying to absolve Pharma from responsibility for Fisher’s death.

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  42. Wooha, the thread just got seriously pruned. I wanted to respond to a couple of requests that are now absent.

    Here is a good place to start:
    Efficacy and safety of ECT in depressive disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
    UK Lancet, 2003.

    It is a bit old, as are some of the studies. But I think the conclusions drawn from it and the discussion are sound.

    Second, a discussion on studies and mathematics and maybe an analysis on a couple of conclusions drawn from “Anatomy of an Epidemic”. This will take some time for me to find in the book and write-up. But I will make the attempt.

    Also, forced outpatient treatment varies depending on state. So the difference in conclusions previously stated may come down to the fact that you are living in different states.

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    • If you believe that shock “treatment” is so wonderful and helpful how do you explain that all other specialties of medicine work as hard as they can to keep people from having seizures while psychiatry believes that inducing seizures on purpose is a great thing?

      I can give you the very same kind of results that you get from shock “treatment” by taking a baseball bat to the head of someone so that they end up with a traumatic brain injury.

      Why do you insist on supporting such a barbaric procedure? Would you support lobotomies where they take an icepick, insert it in the corner of someone’s eye, then shove it up into the person’s frontal lobe of their brain and twist it around and around to scramble the brain matter? Have you ever had to watch someone who was give your wonderful “treatment”? I had to watch it done during the days when they didn’t use anesthesia. It was horrible. I was required to watch through a one-way mirror as part of my training and it disgusted and appalled me like nothing else ever has.

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    • Shook, Re `Efficacy and safety of ECT in depressive disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
      UK Lancet, 2003.
      Here is a review of the review by another mega review, one that I mentioned above, “The effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy: A literature review” J Read & R Bengal 2010
      `The UK ECT Review Group (2003) included six studies in their meta-analysis, including three which had
      found a significant difference during treatment. One of the three positive studies was, again, the West (1981)
      study in which ECT was given to some of the SECT group during the treatment period.(therefore invalid). The meta-analysis excluded four…studies…(Brandon et al.,1984; Brill et al., 1959; Fahy et al., 1963; Harris &
      Robin, 1960), three of which had found no benefit for ECT even during the treatment period. They report that
      only one study met their inclusion criteria for follow-up studies and found no significant difference. The study
      (West et al.) (the invalid one) had not, in fact, reported any follow-up data.

      There have been ten studies comparing ECT and SECT for depression . Five found no significant outcome differences. One of these found identical response rates for ECT and SECT and concluded “The results suggest that the ECT pre-treatment procedure has an important therapeutic effect. This casts some doubt on
      current views of the effectiveness of electro-convulsive therapy” (Lambourn & Gill, 1978).
      Of the five studies that did produce some significant findings, two invalidated their work, (see the UK ECT Review Group review above) in terms of any lasting benefits, by giving real ECT to the SECT group after
      the first (Freeman et al., 1978) or third week (West, 1981). What these two studies can reasonably claim is
      that the ECT group improved faster than the SECT group (which also improved) early in the treatment, at least on some measures. In the Freeman et al. study there were no differences on the Beck Depression Inventory…The third was the famous Northwick Park study (Johnstone et al., 1980). A prominent ECT advocate described it as “the most thoroughly designed and extensive trial of ECT’s efficacy ever to be conducted in this country”
      (UK) but conceded that the “modest” difference found was “restricted to patients with delusions” and was “short-lived” (Kendell, 1981). There were no significant differences for two of the three subgroups of depressed patients: ‘agitated’ and ‘retarded’ (Nortwick Park ECT Trial, 1984).
      Furthermore, the positive finding for the ‘deluded’ subgroup was only perceived by psychiatrists. The ratings by nurses and by patients produced no significant differences for any of the three subgroups.’
      The Northwick study was listed much later by an independent research assessment team as being of poor quality and having significant reporting bias.’
      I might add that nowhere do we see any assessment of the placebo effect of REAL ECT itself. Add this to the poor showing and my contention that ECT is merely a brain damaging placebo must be considered.
      Your move I think…
      I don’t expect to change your mind but I do intend to present the science for anyone who might be considering that this useless, destructive procedure has any place in the treatment of anything.

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  43. “Humanbeing, so tell me this, didn’t you get meds from a pharmacist? When you pick up meds there is a sheet that goes with it which tells you more info about the med, including side effects to watch out for.” shaun f way upthread ^^^

    As a *former* RN, I tell/told patients that the pharmacists were untapped treasures troves of real information about the drugs; unfortunately, their business is to (guess what?) sell drugs. My pharmacists actually gave me advice as to which of my cocktail of drugs to wean off of first. He did not, however, know *anything* about the nightmare that the benzo has been, and still is for me 36 months later, HELL ON EARTH. And on bad days, I wish that hell could be experienced by every prescriber who has told their patients that it’s ‘just their mental illness/anxiety’ coming back. When people get off the meds, very often too fast and with zip for guidance, they DON’T KNOW what’s happening to them…hell, I didn’t know what interdose withdrawal was until after my year and a half taper off of a 9 year 0.5 mg of Klonopin routine (you know, for my ‘chemical imbalance’–which the pharmacist totally believed in) and I was lucky enough to have an internet connection and discovered the other 30,000 people who take part in BenzoBuddies.

    So yeah, I did that. My only real concern with the Klonopin in particular, was addiction. But I was reassured over and over again that I was taking “such a small amount” and I NEVER increased my dose, and it *seemed* to be working for my (originally situational) insomnia (until the interpose withdrawal experiences which my provider/s were CLUELESS about and did not ADDRESS).

    It’s been HELL ON EARTH. THe akathisia the days/weeks without sleep, the cognitive loss, the loss of my creativity and my stamina, my food intolerances, my ability to tolerate *life* (and ever so much more)…my nervous system has been thru the wringer, and you *wonder why* I’m so ANTI PSYCHIATRY. I only wish those of you who so enthusiastically recommend/prescribe these drugs experience that hell. Those of us who have lived or are still living thru it are the some of the strongest, the bravest people on the planet…The CIA could not invent a better torture technique…and who knows? As far as the ECT enthusiast goes; you know, it struck me while in nursing school just how *barbaric* modern medicine is. I was offered ECT at one point and I’ve ever so glad I had the option of refusing.

    People commit suicide *all the time* as a result of psych med withdrawal…I have *lots* more stories (like when I had a bad reaction–major hostility, which is also part of benzo PAWS, if you get my drift except this time I won’t end up in JAIL–to a newly prescribed anti-depressant and the shrink wanted me to UP MY DOSE!!!) But I’m firing on 2 cylinders and it’s time to calm down so maybe maybe maybe I can get a coupla hours of sleep tonight.

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  44. Rebel, I am moved by your posts that teem with love, compassion and bravery. And shout out to oldhead, Frank Blankenship, human being and others educating the silent majority who may not comment, but observe the debates nonetheless. People need to know that alternatives options and voices do exist.

    Rest in peace, Carrier Fisher. You were truly taken too soon.

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  45. royalperidot, Thank you for your kind words that you are moved by posts. I also appreciate your shout out to oldhead, Frank Blackenship, humanbeing and others. I am very sure they appreciate your vote of confidence.
    It seems one of my posts yesterday is “under moderation” and I have not received any “post” notifications since about 735pm yesterday. I do notice the posts are beginning to slow down. Whatever “side” we have taken, perhaps we are “all spent out” asleep or just busy. I would like to think I do not take sides; except that I am on the side of what good not only for me, but, all humans and all other creatures and such on live on this planet. To me, a long, happy, fulfilling, and “healthy” life means you MUST say no to drugs, especially psych drugs, but, maybe other so-called “medical” drugs, too, if possible. When I reviewed my life in the best way I could, I noticed that most of could be termed “questionable or possibly abnormal” behavior occurred while taking “drugs” and I would say “prescription drugs” primarily. Not even OTC drugs like “Tylenol” caused me so much trouble (which I did take a lot) for headaches I had when younger. However, at present, I can not even take so much as a “Tylenol” without experiencing serious effects. But, when I look back those “headaches” came from my being a “fish out of water” or a “bull in the china shop.” Somehow, I was not where I was supposed to be. It is said, “Bloom where you are planted.” I say you better make the place you are planted is where you are supposed to be. Most Cacti die in rainforests. Most tropical wildflowers will die in a dry desert. Dear People, Please find where you are meant to be and do what you are meant to do, and be who you are and not anyone else and you will not feel the addicting desire for any drugs and basically almost all drugs are “1-800-bad-drug.”

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  46. AA

    Couldn’t respond to you at your post because the thread ran out.

    I will tell you that working in a traditional institution as a peer is almost impossible. It’s much like working for the French Underground in Paris during WWII! Some would say that I’ve gone over to the Dark Side for even working there but that’s ok, I can deal with that.

    The one good thing is that I also work in the educational part of the “hospital” and this gives me a platform to chip away at the “chemical imbalance” lie. I am trying to instill some doubt into people’s minds in little ways here and there. None of the psychiatrists have called me down yet and when they do it will give me a chance to bust things wide open and reveal to them how even Bio-Bio-bio psychiatrists like Pies are backtracking and denying the lie. It will give me a chance to ask why they’re not aware of this, but you have to be careful how you form that question so that you don’t tread on their egos. It probably won’t make much difference but you have to use what comes to you.

    Yes, it is terrible to watch what is done to people in the name of “good treatment” without being able to challenge things outright. The psychiatrists have such a strangle hold on the power in that place that you have to watch very closely how you go about challenging them. This is why my hackles rise when some people post here that there’s no such thing as forced treatment and that everything is rosy and wonderful in the area of “mental health” and people get to skip down the road holding hands together and singing the praises of the drugs and psychiatry and kumbaya.

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  47. trm123 and JanCarol;
    All you said is on the money and I know there is way more physical symptoms and challenges that are caused by all these toxic “drugs” and last into the withdrawal and detox. To say they are not “addictive” and only those who are “allegedly sick” will use them is a BIG LIE. Because, 99% of us were not or never “sick” and got forced to use them; maybe a full 100% plus.
    But, you add into it the “therapy sessions” and the adjunct “crap therapy” like Psychosocial rehab, vocational rehab, group therapy, sheltered workshops, supportive employment, day hospitals, “inmate” hospitals, and etc. etc. etc. and your self-esteem, self-image, your thoughts and abilities to achieve, your motivation and goals, your dreams (day and night disappear) and you become not only a shell of a person; but a zombie; you are the real “walking dead.” And they ask you, “why are you not happy” and this is a really good one, “I hope you feel better.”
    Now, I learned to “feel better” is not only say no to their toxic drugs, but all of their “crap” which seeks to diminish and destroy, rather than uplift and elevate. All are guilty of violating the Hippocratic oath, “do no harm.” I am not angry. I am just eternally grateful to God for “waking me up just in time” before I was lost forever. And I thank Him for every morning I awake and every breath I take. You do not have to subscribe to any specific religion. You just have to embrace your true humanness which is completely denied by the present Mental Illness conglomerate.

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    • The injuries are far more extensive than the gross physical, drug induced multi-systems pathology.

      The deception and incarceration, denigration and abject absence of empathy and compassion permanently destroy trust.

      The serial cascade of “diagnoses” to accommodate and deny increasing brain toxicity.

      Each accompanied by withdrawal of, and introduction of (multiple) drug combinations.
      These “labels-for-life”, – leading to excommunication from a world previously known and treasured before prescription drug toxicity was misdiagnosed as “mental illness”.

      How can anyone fantasise that a beneficial doctor-patient relationship can be established or maintained in such humiliating, de-humanising and soul-destroying, degrading circumstances.

      The whole anti-therapeutic process and environment destroy mind body and soul. Physical, psychological and social devastation.

      Hippocrates advocated “First Do No Harm”.
      He also taught (concerned about unrecognised injury to the brain) : –
      “No Head Injury, However Trivial Should Be Taken Lightly”.

      Harm upon harm, and unrecognised brain injury is their standard modus operandi.

      For so many, what life can there possibly be when dreams, hopes, aspirations and ambitions have been so callously and casually exterminated?

      Why can’t they ever apologise when so many catastrophic errors are made?

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      • I hear you say “callous” is an understatement. I remember when I first complained that I was “losing my short-term memory” and complained to my “therapist” that I could not remember the questions I received in job interviews. This bothered me greatly as my memory had always been superior. She laughed it off and said “take a notepad” to the interview. I thought to myself that the person who interviewed me would already think I was deficient and not qualified for the job. Additionally, I would feel very embarrassed and shamed. I guess I should have paid attention to that. Eventually, I left this therapist and moved to another town. My mistake was that feeling stressed and dealing with a horrible job mismatch and my sister “dying” from cancer, I found my way back to this “abuse” in the false belief I was getting help. I got dropped from another psychiatrist while being on “drugs” and “allegedly needing to be monitored” because she was afraid she would not get paid for her “services.” I then stayed away from these alleged “helpers” although I was still on the “drugs” getting them through my PCP. Then, my sister sadly passed away and vocational rehab “kindly” thought I needed help and a diagnosis. I, went back, knowing no better and not quite thinking right in my grief. I guess grief is now a “mental illness diagnosis.” (that way, they do catch everybody, since you hardly get out of life without losing someone or even a “pet.”) My mistake, of which I have gravely paid. But, in my sister’s legacy, along with reclaiming and restoration of my gifts and my real self, I speak as the Lighthouse on the shore and at times I hope that I am the light that helps others not get lost and almost drowned at sea like I did or even prevent their drowning.

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  48. This is the 4th or 5th attempt to post on this article. I am a psychiatric survivor who has posted on this site about my struggles with psychiatry, psychiatric drugs and then the healing process once I came off the drugs. I do not want start any kind of argument with the posters who are adamant the drugs have made their life more livable. When I was on the psychiatric drugs I did not realize how messed up I was or how I appear to others. I trusted my psychiatrist because he was a doctor and I thought that he knew what he was doing.. Every time I ask the psychiatrist about perplexing symptoms he said he’d never heard of them or I was becoming increasingly more mentally ill. I went from specialist to specialist trying to find out why I was having these physical symptoms and guess what? When I went off the drugs all the horrible physical side effects disappeared.

    I know in my heart if I was still on the multitude of psychiatric drugs I would either be in a nursing home or dead. It was with a chance consultation with a neurologist I found out I had Akathisia. He said it was the worst he had ever seen. I had no idea what Akathisia was? I’ve always wondered how in the world I could have seen my psychiatrist every month and he had no idea the drugs were poisoning me? Unless you have gone through what some of the other posters on this site have gone through it’s very hard to understand. And with this I will end my comment.

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    • Many psychiatrists seem to be very “blind” to what is going on with their “patients”, things caused by the drugs themselves. Of course, they can’t admit that the drugs are harming people since being able to prescribe the drugs in the first place seems to legitimate them as real “doctors”.

      Am glad that you made it through all these terrible difficulties.

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      • Stephen gilbert I know that you were responding to aria and are glad that she made it through all her difficulties. So I am; very much so.
        However, the tragic part is there are way too many “arias” out there who have been forced/coerced to suffer for absolutely no reason; except that these “doctors” are so full of thinking they are “god” or they are the closest thing to “god” they forgot the Hippocratic oath; “Do No Harm.” I do not consider myself, but, we do have certain “ethics” put in place throughout all human societies that are helpful, protective, etc. Like others of these “precepts” in our societies, the “doctors” have totally forgotten this.

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        • I need to point out I had very perplexing what is called emotional issues like hysterical crying for 6 hours, out of the blue panic attacks, strange perceptions, behavior and great difficulty articulating what I wanted to say. The pharmaceutical inserts said report any unusual or changed behavior and I did only to be told, “Aria, you are just becoming more mentally ill by the day”. My inability to be able to sleep, to sit still, to not be able to stop pacing were caused by the drugs (Akathisia) and my psychiatrist decided it was Mania.

          One of my good friends said recently I was so vulnerable when the psychiatrist started drugging me and she’s right. For all the people who come to this site wanting validation for what they went through I think the majority of it find it. I still have friends from back in the old days who will never stop their psychiatric drugs (even though they have liver damage from lithium) and they accept that they are limited, they are damaged, they will never reach their potential. They certainly don’t want to hear from me about possibly lowering their psychiatric drug dose. And I want many people who come here and read to know you can reclaim your life psych drugs free because I feel I have done a pretty good job of it. I wondered many times what it would be like to actually be in a room with people who have gone through what I have?

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          • aria, humanbeing—yes, for now MIA is our room. But, I would be honored to be in a “real room” somewhere and discuss what happened to us and how we were able despite all the odds, overcome the horror we had to go through. We are wiser now and we know now that we really are worthwhile people, who have something to contribute to this Earth, and above all else deserve to live and not be “thrown away into that metaphorical trash can.” Thank you for sharing your stories. Please do not stop! This is way too important. I shall not stop, either.

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        • rebel

          Tell me about it. I work in a state “hospital” and see the results every day of the “good treatment” that the psychiatrists force upon people. Yes, there are way too many aria’s out there, even one is too many. Yes, all of us must keep telling the stories and be witness to the harm done to people because psychiatry and the drug companies have made such an unholy alliance.

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  49. amnesia: I am so very sorry about your friend. All of these toxic drugs will kill you unless you say no to them and stop taking them. These are toxins, just as much as we read about in the media, that pollute our water so we can not drink it or pollute the earth under our homes so we have to move. Why can’t they see that? Like the old saying, “it is as plain as the nose on my face.” These people lost their noses, it seems.
    aria: I think I would end up like you thought you might end up in a nursing home or dead. I know so many that have; been in a nursing home on the way to a premature death. The sad thing is they don’t know why. They are told all the lies and they believe them. So many generations lost to this evil science.
    And to anyone who thinks it is just being sedentary and drinking soft drinks with high fructose corn syrup is the cause for the increase in “obesity” (another made up disorder) Please think about this: In addition to these toxic drugs that cause unneeded and abnormal weight gain. ( I say abnormal because due to the toxins in the “drugs” the weight gain can be substantial in a short amount of time and very difficult to lose) How many people all across this country are subject to polluted water; polluted water that is filled with toxic substances like lead and other substances that we don’t even know. This causes the water to at the least be unbearable to drink, to being deadly to drink or even take a shower in. If, other than the toxic drugs anything is causing “problems of behavior or thinking” look to these toxins, also. They are everywhere and like the toxic drugs, the people are being lied to and many think all this “horror” is the result of some falsehood called “mental illness.” A falsehood to make an easy scapegoat, so the truth is never revealed, and the true accountability and responsibility never happens. But, like the sun that rises to bring light to the truth each day, we shall rise and bring back our true selves and our beloved Earth and all that lives here. So, it is written.

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  50. Rebel, you said, “obesity” (another made up disorder)”

    I know you understandably distrust the medical system but this is simply inaccurate and in fact, is a dangerous claim. By the way, do you seriously think that my friend who is morbidly obese (thanks to long term psych med use) has a made up disorder, particularly when she needs a cane to walk due to the extreme excess weight on her body?

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  51. I was in a verbally abusive marriage. Did that require pyschotropic type drugs and being gaslighted? What about the doctor who prescribed them off label for another issue? I don’t know where the side offects of one began or another ended. Did it matter to them that my children were growing up when their Mother couldn’t give them all the focused attention she would have otherwise? The psychiatrist at the mental health facility that I was court ordered to go to, told me there was nothing wrong with me, my civil rights were being violated, and I was in a disfunctional marriage. Just what I needed? Therapists need an understanding of trauma based control and the hold it has on the one victimized. Drugs are not the answer – being out of that atmosphere was. My children grew up while this Mother’s attention was elsewhere. Now I have to wonder about weight gain and the possibility of overcoming diabetes? I didn’t choose to take these drugs. Time to treat people humanely because next time it could be you –

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