Forced Treatment Ineffective: Advocacy Essential

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Most Americans would agree that we have problem with mental health in this country, but what many do not know when they consider that people who are in distress are not getting the help they need is that hospitals in this country are not giving people a choice when they are in the most need. This is based on laws that currently exist in 45 US States, which allow individuals to be petitioned into an inpatient psychiatric unit against their will if they are deemed to be a “danger to themselves or others.” I have worked for 3.5 years as a Peer Support Specialist within my local public mental health system, where I see this happen to the individuals I serve, on a regular basis. I myself have been forced.

Study 329: Psychiatry’s Thalidomide Moment, Part 2

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Nobody has retracted or apologized for a study that was an academic disgrace—but a marketing coup for GSK—which may well have caused untold numbers of deaths, suicide attempts and irreversible anguish to myriad families. Can we stand idly by when we’re told that it “accurately reflects the honestly-held views of the clinical investigator authors who do not agree that the article is false, fraudulent or misleading.”? What is the current market value of the honestly-held views of people who tell lies?

The Right to Profit vs. The Right to Know

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For years, drug companies have sought to boost sales by hyping the benefits of new drugs while downplaying their risks. A couple of years ago the European Medicines Agency (equivalent of the FDA) set up a program to grant public access to all clinical trial results used in the approval of new drugs. The program was hailed by activists and researchers around the world as a big step forward for patient safety. Now AbbVie, along with another U.S. drug firm called Intermune, has filed a lawsuit to stop the release of clinical trials on their drugs, effectively shutting the whole program down.

The Hallucination in the Room

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I recently read Rachel Waddingham’s excellent post (Me & the Meds: The Story of a Dysfunctional Relationship) on how she eventually managed to get off meds and take control of her hallucinations. This particular piece struck home with me because it illustrates that the biggest problem with the direction psychiatry has taken in the past fifty years is not the meds (acknowledging that meds are a big problem) but the refusal to deal with the obvious: Hallucinations.