Wednesday, May 25, 2022

What’s the Harm in Taking an Antidepressant?

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We know that all drugs have side effects. That’s just part of the deal right? But is it really possible that an antidepressant can cause a sane person to act like a cold-blooded criminal?

Allen Frances and the “Overdiagnosing” of Children

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What Dr. Frances calls "massive mislabeling" is not the assignment of psychiatry's spurious labels as such, but rather what he calls the overuse of these labels. This notion of conservative, careful and accurate diagnosis is a common theme in Dr. Frances's writing, but in fact, it's an empty exhortation, because the criteria are inherently vague and ill-defined.

ADHD Diagnosis Based on “Illogical Rhetoric,” Analysis Claims

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In a philosophically rigorous article, Spanish researcher Marino Pérez-Álvarez examines the logic of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

New Study Finds Brain Changes in Newborns Exposed to Antidepressants

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A fist of its kind neuroscience study, published this month in Cerebral Cortex, found changes in the brain electrical activity of infants exposed to SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy.

Common Off-label Drug for Autism No Better than Placebo

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The Alzheimer's drug memantine (also known as Ebixa or Namenda) is being regularly used off-label in the treatment of childhood autism, Asperger’s, and Pervasive...

Bright Light Therapy More Effective Than Medication Alone for Bipolar Depression

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A new randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial has found bright light therapy to be a powerful intervention that could provide an alternative to medication for people with “bipolar depression.”

Study Suggests Long-Term Antipsychotic Use May Result in Poorer Cognitive Functioning

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Association found between long-term antipsychotic use and poorer performance on cognitive tasks in adults diagnosed with ‘schizophrenia.’

The ADHD Drug Epidemic: Addiction, Abuse, and Death

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A new analysis of FDA data, published on September 10th by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MedPage Today, reveals the dangers of the common prescription of...

Deconstructing Psychiatric Diagnoses: An Attempt At Humor

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Based on my experience both as a therapist and client in the mental health field, I have learned that when therapists or psychiatrists give you the following diagnoses all too often here is what they really mean:

Update: Massachusetts Benzodiazepine Bill Hearing

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The hearing for Bill H4062: Informed Consent for Benzodiazepines and Non-benzodiazepine Hypnotics took place on Monday – in the middle of an April snowstorm! The discussion clarified some important points in the legislation and gave survivors an opportunity to tell their stories. I was so proud to be there and witness the courage, camaraderie, resilience, advocacy, and vulnerability of fellow survivors. This legislation is our chance to be heard. As one survivor said, through tears, to the committee, “Do not let my suffering be in vain. I beg you to pass this bill.”

Antidepressants Actually Reduce Serotonin Levels

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Common scientific beliefs about serotonin levels in depression and how antidepressants act on the brain appear to be completely backwards.

Study Deems Support, Not Drugs, Best for Youth at Risk of Psychosis

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Research by five U.K. universities across multiple sites for up to two years divided 288 young adults (14-35 years) deemed at risk for psychosis...

Largest Meta-Analysis of Antidepressants Finds Doubled Risk of Suicide in Youth

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The largest-ever meta-analysis of antidepressant trials appeared yesterday in the British Medical Journal. Researchers from the Cochrane Collaboration reviewed 70 trials (involving 18,526 subjects), to find that - counter to the initially-reported findings - antidepressants doubled the risk of suicide and aggression in subjects under 18. This risk had been misrepresented in the original study reports, the authors say, and suggest that the risks to adults may be similarly under-reported.

Did the No Child Left Behind Act Boost ADHD Diagnosing?

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The increasing use of psychiatric medications in toddlers, particularly of stimulants for ADHD, is explored by journalist Josiah Hesse on Substance.com. Looking into possible...

Antidepressants and Pregnancy:  Who Says They Are Safe? 

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Depression during pregnancy is an important issue. Depression should not be ignored and depressed pregnant women deserve good treatment and care. Part of that good care, though, is providing them with full and correct information. I care for pregnant women taking antidepressants on a daily basis and too often they tell me that the only counseling they received about the medication was, “my doctor told me it’s safe in pregnancy.” This post will review the evidence in this area and address the counterarguments.

Valproate Linked to Decreased Brain Volume in Children Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder

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Researchers find that valproate decreases brain volume in a region associated with emotion processing across all participants.

The Role of Racial Bias in the Overdiagnosis of Schizophrenia

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Researchers detect disparity between white and African American patients diagnosed with schizophrenia when symptoms of a mood disorder are present.

The Genetics of Schizophrenia: A Left Brain Theory about a Right Brain Deficit in...

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In recent months, two teams of researchers in the UK and the US published complementary findings about the epigenetic origins of schizophrenia that have scientific communities who indulge in ‘genetic conspiracy theories’ abuzz. While these results are intriguing, and no doubt involve pathbreaking research methodologies, this line of thought represents a decontextualized understanding both of the symptoms that are typically associated with schizophrenia, and their causes.

Researchers Set the Record Straight on Controversial Zoloft Study

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An issue of Lancet Psychiatry is devoted to clarifying the lack of efficacy for Zoloft (sertraline).

Exposure to Antidepressants in the Womb Linked to Autistic Behavior in Mice

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Researchers experimenting on mice found that exposure to fluoxetine (Prozac) in utero resulted in behaviors considered in animal studies to be analogous to autism in humans.

Mediterranean Diet Improves Mental Health, Study Finds

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A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and fish has repeatedly been found to improve mental health.

Robert Whitaker Missed the Mark on Drugs and Disability: A Call for a Focus...

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Robert Whitaker extended one of his core arguments from Anatomy of an Epidemic in a blog post last week. His argument revolves around the claim that psychiatric drugs are the principal cause of increasing psychiatric disability, as measured by U.S. social security disability claims. But does this really explain the rise in recipients of these SSI & SSDI benefits?

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

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From The Atlantic: The pattern of constant smartphone and social media use among post-Millennials may be leading to a public mental health crisis. Research shows that...

The Road to Perdition

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The recent research scandals out of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Psychiatry may be alarming, but they are not new. Back in the 1990s, when the university was working its way towards a crippling probation by the National Institutes of Health (for yet another episode of misconduct (this time in the Department of Surgery), the Department of Psychiatry hosted two spectacular cases of research wrongdoing, both of which resulted in faculty members being disqualified from conducting research by the FDA.

Quotations From the Genetics “Graveyard”: Nearly Half a Century of False Positive Gene Discovery...

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In a 1992 essay, British psychiatric genetic researcher Michael Owen wondered whether schizophrenia molecular genetic research would become the “graveyard of molecular geneticists.”1 Owen predicted that if major schizophrenia genes existed, they would be found within five years of that date. He was optimistic, believing that “talk of graveyards is premature.”2 Owen now believes that genes for schizophrenia and other disorders have been found, and was subsequently knighted for his work. Despite massively improved technology, however, decades of molecular genetic gene finding attempts have failed to provide consistently replicated evidence of specific genes that play a role in causing the major psychiatric disorders.

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