We Need to Encourage People to Make Advance Directives
In this piece for STAT, Jennifer Adaeze Okwerekwu describes the value of psychiatric advance directives for those at risk of experiencing an emotional crisis. "'It’s something that can...
The Rotted Fruit
In the law if one falsehood is uncovered in sworn testimony, all of the statements made and the actions that follow are suspect. If...
PTSD and Psychiatric Medication Linked to Dementia in Older Veterans
Veterans diagnosed with PTSD and taking SSRIs, novel antidepressants, or atypical antipsychotics are more likely to develop dementia.
Over 1/2 of Autistic Children take Psychotropics
"... Absence of clear practice guidelines for psychotropic medication use in children with ASD" leads to a range of drugs for depression, anxiety, psychosis...
Benzodiazepines May Double the Risk of Pneumonia
An editorial in Thorax reviews the evidence for an association between mental illness, benzodiazepine use, and pneumonia. The authors find an equally augmented rate...
Social Justice and the Benzodiazepine Death Camp
Anne Hull and Dana Priest, of the Washington Post, received a Pulitzer prize for breaking the story of the horrid conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center where men were “afloat on a river of painkillers and antipsychotic drugs” Each morning, they were expected to rise at dawn for formation, though most of them were snowed under by benzodiazepines, opiates, alcohol – anything that would push Iraq and the pain away. A year later I too would be snowed under and would fight an invisible war of my own. It wasn’t until months later, deep in withdrawal tolerance that I realized my slide into disability was caused by the drugs.
Experiencing emotional pain is a necessary part of life. Emotional pain often contains valuable lessons to help us on our journeys. We need to make sure we are not numbing our hearts to those that are hurting. We need to de-stigmatize the struggles, joys and pains that come with being human. We need to not just mindlessly pursue happiness - though we might think of that as an inalienable right - and avoid pain. We need to do the only thing that brings true joy: embrace all of life and each other, as we experience together all that makes us human.
The REST Project Support Service for Benzo and Sleeping Tablet Dependence: My Story
As a service user of the REST project at Mind in Camden, I want to celebrate World Benzodiazepine Day 2018 by telling the world a little bit about what REST has done for me. I’m now 18 months off benzos, but I still attend REST regularly to process the anger and grief I feel about what I went through, and to support those who are still tapering.
Who and What Killed Prince and Michael Jackson? Will the Role of Benzos Ever...
It is the deadly cocktail of benzodiazepines and opiates that is most responsible for the rising rate of opiate overdose deaths... and benzos may actually be THE decisive deadly component in the lethal drug combination. Yes, fentanyl and propofol can be dangerous drugs, but to focus the main attention in this crisis on these rarely used drugs is deliberately misleading...This minimizes the critical role of benzos and rather conveniently lets certain institutions and their leaders off the hook as the main suspects in such a vast number of cases that should be labeled as crimes of negligent homicide.
Benzos & Brain Tumors
Researchers in Taiwan found a 3.33x greater risk of benign brain tumors in patients who had been prescribed benzodiazepines for at least 2 months....
Benzodiazepines: Dangerous Drugs
When the benzodiazepines were first introduced, it was widely claimed, both by psychiatrists and by pharma, that they were non-addictive. This claim was subsequently abandoned in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and the addictive potential of these products is now recognized and generally accepted.
Benzodiazepines: Our Other Prescription Drug Epidemic
From STAT: Although benzodiazepines are some of the most commonly prescribed psychiatric medications in the U.S., few people realize how dangerous and addictive these drugs can be. "Highly...
Update: Massachusetts Benzodiazepine Bill Hearing
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.”
Playing the Odds, Revisited
It is hard to believe that a year has gone past since I posted Playing the Odds: Antidepressant Withdrawal and the Problem of Informed Consent. The feedback I received underscored the more controversial aspects of SSRI toxicity. Common themes concerned the abrupt onset of new symptoms 3 to 12 months after stopping the drug, reinstatement of the drug failing to help withdrawal related symptoms, the possibility that withdrawal-related symptoms can persist indefinitely and concerns about using benzodiazepines to help with tardive akathisia.
“Benzo Blue”: a Song of Protest and a Search for Liberation
In commemoration of World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day coming on July 11th, I am providing an early first time debut at Mad in America of a new song and music video titled “Benzo Blue,” along with a brief commentary on the evolution and significance of this song.
A Text Therapy App Plans to Start Prescribing Drugs to Users
From Business Insider: Talkspace, a text message-based therapy platform, is bringing on a team of psychiatrists to prescribe medications to patients. The app is also...
Dr. Andrew Weil Says We’re Taking Too Many Medicines
From The New York Times: According to Dr. Andrew Weil, who is best known for popularizing the concept of integrative medicine, the problem of overmedication...
Editorial Takes On Conflicts of Interest and Propaganda in Psychiatry
In a scathing editorial in this month’s Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Dr. Giovanni Fava takes aim at prominent medical experts who have downplayed the role...
“Survivors Push for Withdrawal Hotline and Change”
“Two Scots whose lives have been ravaged by prescription drugs are battling for recognition of the devastating withdrawal issues as well as proper support for victims,”...
People Are Hacking Antidepressant Doses to Avoid Withdrawal
From New Scientist: Some organizations are helping people hack their dosing regimens so they can taper off psychiatric drugs without severe withdrawal effects. One Dutch organization...
Tiger Woods Told Officers During Arrest He had Taken Xanax
From STAT: Last month, when Tiger Woods was arrested for driving under the influence, he told officers that he had taken prescription medications including opioid...
Psychologist Rethinks Psychotropic Medications, Calls for Renewed Dialogue
Psychologist and Professor Amber Gum has published the story of her personal journey of rethinking psychotropic medication in a special issue on "The Politics of Mental Health" in The Journal of Medicine and the Person. Influenced by Mad in America and the work of Robert Whitaker, Gum became aware of evidence that “suggests that psychotropic medications are less effective and more harmful than most believe” and now hopes to encourage other mental health professionals and researchers to engage in open-minded, critical self-assessment of standard practices.
We Have Seen the Evidence Base, and it is Us
Anyone who has used benzodiazepines and sleeping pills knows how difficult it is to get off them (worse than heroin!) and how much time it takes to recover. Although there is a lot more helpful information on the web these days, a lot of it is based on anecdotal accounts, personal stories and theories rather than “real” evidence.
Researchers Address Dangers of Polypharmacy and Inappropriate Medication Use
A new special issue brings together articles exploring the harmful effects of simultaneous multiple medication use.
Call To Action: Massachusetts Bill H4062 for Informed Benzodiazepine Use is Official
On February 24th, 2016 Bill HD4554 - An Act relative to benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepine hypnotics was filed by Representative Paul McMurtry in the Massachusetts State House. The bill received 47 co-sponsors during the seven-day open period in which legislators can co-sponsor. This is an impressive and promising turnout.