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.”

Psychologist Rethinks Psychotropic Medications, Calls for Renewed Dialogue

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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.
bipolar drugs good bad ugly

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: An Infographic on Bipolar Drugs

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Bipolar drug therapy is a balancing act of benefits vs. harms. Odds of attributable benefit cluster in a 15-25% band, so 75%-85% don’t see substantial benefit. Stated differently, if five people take a bipolar drug, only one is likely to see substantial improvement due to it, but all five will have side effects.

Study Explores Meanings of Bipolar Disorder to Those Diagnosed

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The narratives about Bipolar Disorder promoted by drug companies may influence how those diagnosed understand themselves.

Information on PRN Medication Practices is Lacking

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The authors of an article in Journal of Psychosocial Nursing reviewed the literature on psychotropic PRN medications in order to respond to a request to...

Pfizer to Pay $325M for False Neurontin Marketing

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After ten years of litigation, Pfizer has agreed to pay $325 million for marketing its anticonvulsant Neurontin for unapproved purposes.  The settlement comes six...

Call for an Investigation Into Psych Meds and Violence

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The killing of 20 children and six adults in Newtown has triggered a search for some way of preventing these kinds of tragedies.  The...

Long-term Use of Lithium Can Cause Kidney Failure

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A third of patients who have taken the common psychiatric medication lithium for over ten years have developed "chronic renal failure" from the drug.

Jury Awards $4M for Topamax Birth Defect

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After an hour of deliberation, jurors decided that the anticonvulsant Topamax (topiramate) had, in fact, caused April Czimmer's son to be born with a...

Multiple Medications Associated With Poorer Outcomes

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Research from Germany finds that people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective diagnoses given multiple medications - an antipsychotic plus a benzodiazepine or more than one...

Infants Exposed to Psychotropic Drugs During Pregnancy At Risk

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New research published in the July issue of The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that the use of mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, antidepressants, and hypnotics during pregnancy is associated with increased health risks to the infant.

Antidepressants Associated with Increased Risk for Manic Symptoms

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An analysis of medical records in the UK reveals that the use of certain antidepressants for depression is linked to a heightened risk for mania and bipolar disorder. The research, published this week in BMJ Open, found the strongest effect for serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and the antidepressant venlafaxine.

Psychiatric Drugs: an Increasing Portion of Prescription Costs

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Rising prescriptions for psychiatric medications are partly a result of longer-term treatment and increasing population, according to an article by Joanna Moncrieff and Stephen...

Nevada Legislation Aims to Curb Psychotropics in Foster Children

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A touching article in the Las Vegas Sun follows one child from abandonment through foster placements, polypharmacy, suicidality, delinquency and homelessness to stability off...

The Issue of Over-Diagnosing in Psychiatry

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From The Concordian: On October 30th, Dr. Joel Paris, a professor of psychiatry at McGill University, gave a lecture about the dangers and consequences of...
lithium salts

Lithium: A Survivor’s Guide for Parents

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When I was a young adult, I was misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder and placed on lithium. I am 61 years old now, living on the edge of end-stage kidney disease. If I could undo everything, by all means, I would not have taken this drug. It is not safe for anyone at any age.

Michael Samuel Bloom

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by Chaya Grossberg July 25, 2012 He also told me the shrinks were changing around his drugs and adding more.  They added an antidepressant or two to the Lithium and increased doses and eventually he seemed to have very little life left in him.  Our phone calls became trying for he was so down, practically dead sounding a lot of the time, and I felt unable to do anything or say anything to make a difference.  To even try felt futile and I wondered if talking to me at all was becoming the burden of yet another person he couldn't connect with. In the early years, he liked to think of us as being in the same boat, both mentally ill, since I'd also had a meltdown and I also am extremely sensitive and go through extreme states.  But as the years went by, especially towards the end, I seemed to be in the ever growing “other” camp in his eyes, which meant I was yet another person who didn't get what it was like to be him. And at that point I can confirm I did not, and perhaps did not want to.

ï»ż”Broken Brains” and “Beautiful Minds”

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When I first interviewed Brandon Banks, in the spring of 2008, while researching Anatomy of an Epidemic, he had recently entered Elizabethtown Community College...

Childhood Bipolar Disorder More Rare Than Previously Claimed, Study Finds

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Re-examination of meta-analytic claims finds the prevalence of pediatric bipolar disorder is close to zero.

New Research Documents Widening Mortality Gap for Bipolar and Schizophrenia

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Analysis of longitudinal data from 2000-2014 demonstrate mortality gap is widening between persons with a diagnosis of bipolar or schizophrenia compared to the general population

Assessing Increased Mortality Risks of Antipsychotics and Mood Stabilizers in Dementia

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An article in January's American Journal of Psychiatry weighs the relative risk of mortality associated with various antipsychotics and mood stabilizers used in the treatment of...

Lithium May Cause Sexual Dysfunction — More Research Needed

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Lithium appears to reduce libido and sexual function, and more research into the problem is needed.

Prenatal Valproate Exposure Linked with ADHD Diagnosis in Children

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Children who were exposed to anti-seizure drug valproate in utero were 48% more likely to develop ADHD, according to a new study.

Drug Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder Not Supported By Evidence

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New research published in the August issue of Psychiatric Annals evaluates the results of randomized control trials on the use of various psychotropic drugs for patients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Despite the “American Psychiatric Association’s practice guidelines endorsement of SSRIs as first-line therapies for BPD,” the results of the meta-analysis reveal that pharmacotherapy in BPD is “not supported by the current literature,” and “should be avoided whenever possible.”

Freud in the Scanner: A Revival of Interest in Introspection

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From Aeon: For the past several decades, mainstream mental health professionals as well as the general public have dismissed Freud's ideas, turning instead to neuroscience...