Sunday, July 22, 2018

Comments by kindredspirit

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  • I thought this was very well articulated. I think some of the angry comments come from a place of incredulity that such validation of grieved parties even needs to be made so explicitly. But if the gaslighting of survivors wasn’t such a regular occurance maybe you wouldn’t have to explain why survivors are justifiably angry.

    I’m so bitterly tired of being told to lower my voice.

  • I believe I may always be in recovery from psychiatric abuse. I’ve long since put the things that happened to me when I was young into a trauma-informed perspective and learned how to be okay but I’m still bitter from losing 15 years to psychiatry and extremely disturbed that I will have to defend my sanity for the rest of my life due to the legal implications of having been found to be a mental defective and the perpetual nature of electronic medical records.

  • I can only recall with bemusement in early January 2006, staying with a friend the night before flying out of Dulles when, just before bed, I pulled out a two gallon ziploc bag full of prescription bottles and starting making a pile of my nightly pills. I can still vividly see in my minds eye the expression of horror on his face. Looking back, the bigger surprise was how I was even able to function at all on all those poisons. You have to laugh at these kinds of memories because otherwise the anger and despondency at a wasted life can become overwhelming. With medical error being the third leading cause of death, I can only hope the western world wakes up to the dangers of modern medicine before it’s too late.

  • I’m absolutely astounded that there isn’t more public outrage about this aspect of the juvenile immigrant detention scandal. First traumatize the kids then drug ‘em – that’s sure starting to seem like the American way. Why isn’t this drugging on the mainstream news? Is it perhaps because we’ve been so brainwashed as to believe these drugs are medicines? And why aren’t more citizens and journalists pointing out that these private contractors have no reason to want the kids out of their care when they have lucrative government contracts hinged on full beds? (Eerily similar to our private prison problem…)

    Welcome to America, kids. Deepest apologies from this very ashamed American. *smdh*

  • It’s no surprise that parents with high ACE scores struggle to raise their own children. When the children do not remain in their natural home, that adds more trauma to the already traumatized parents. And I have yet to see an example where the removed children were substantially better off. Mine weren’t. Their adoptive home ended up in multiple years long child abuse investigations and both girls have documented their horrors in writing and verbally. As a result, instead of celebrating their happy adoptive lives, my husband and I have spent thousands upon thousands of dollars since reunion unsussccefully attempting to help them get their lives back on track as chaotic young adults. A little investment in their natural mother would have gone a lot further but we don’t actually help young impoverished and often traumatized mothers in this country, we shame them.

    And it isn’t just parenting skills at stake here. There’s evidence of epigenetic changes after trauma that are passed to the offspring affecting their future health as well.

  • “At any given time, about 30% of my practice is actively suicidal. They know that I am comfortable with this. They know that I never have called 911. Never put them on a patronizing suicide watch. Never have drawn up some promissory note-type contract. I have never implied for one second that they don’t have what it takes to move through this.”

    Some of your other points resonated as well, but this is the most important piece of this article that every mental health treatment provider (and concerned family member) needs to grasp. I was so used to being instantly (and reactively) locked up for ever bringing up suicidal thoughts, that it was shocking when my therapist allowed me to talk about this subject in therapy and be honest about how much I was struggling with the desire to die (and active urges and thoughts of how to do so). Ultimately, his decision to allow me to be the one in control of whether or not I kept living gave me the strength to keep living even when I could hardly see through the pain and fog of drug withdrawal.

    Nearly a year after I was off all meds, when I said I’m moving in a few months so I’d like to set an end date for therapy, he said you don’t need to keep coming anymore. But I said I wanted to come for three more months, he agreed to let me set a specific end date to work up to. He also agreed to let me see him long distance if things went south for me after my move. About 8 months after I moved, I called up and asked to see him and he said I hear you say you’re struggling but you sound pretty good and I don’t think you really need to see me. He was right. I liken this to a parent telling a kid to get back on the bike after they’ve fallen off. They may have a banged up their knees and bruised their ego but they aren’t injured. This gentle encouragement to get back on track was such a refreshing change to the normal psycho-go-round that is so ordinary in mental health treatment. No control on his part, just a simple willingness to sit with me in my pain, acknowledge that pain without taking the privilege of action away, and then gently encourage me to take the next step, and the next and so on until I realized I truly didn’t need him anymore. I wish everyone who was in crisis could experience this kind of assistance. I would not have moved beyond that chronic suicidality that I felt for so many years with the heavy hand that ordinary psychiatry and psychotherapy wield.

    Of course, I have still the existential angst that seems typical of these times. When there are so many things to worry about: constant threat of war, political division, social media madness, 24 negative news cycle, climate change, it can all feel pretty pointless. We’re all going to die after all. But that is different from active suicidality.

    Thank you for being one of the “good guys”, for being willing to take this risk professionally, for your clients and not just covering your a**. I always thought those ridiculous safety contracts were the biggest waste of my time and served mostly to absolve the treatment provider of any responsibility to actually help.

  • I don’t know if you have personal experience with chronic childhood trauma, but I certainly would not argue with someone who said I’d been traumatically injured because that would at least acknowledge that I was not genetically inferior or brain diseased and that reacting poorly to abuse is expected. It’d be pretty heartless to tell someone who scored a 9+ on the ACES scale like I have that they hadn’t been traumatically injured.

  • Well I’m not talking about biochemistry but rather the extinction of species of gut bacteria due to modern influences (antibiotics, chlorinated water, more calories but less nutrition) that have for a relatively short period of time expanded human lifespans (roughly the last hundred years) but which are beginning to catch up with us.

    I’m sure you wouldn’t argue that the animals of the earth are going extinct at a relatively rapid pace, as are insects, plants, etc. And so it turns out the same is happening in our guts. And processes that were previously thought to be taking place in the brain, for example neurotransmitter production, appear to actually be happening on a far far greater scale in the gut. This is why it’s somewhat laughable when I see so much pushback against nutritional therapies here on MIA. It’s hard to believe people don’t think they have to nourish themselves to be healthy, both in body and in “mind”. But for those of us even remotely educated on the microbiome, it’s unthinkable that we wouldn’t actually have to nourish the ecosystem living within us.

    There haven’t been a lot of articles on the gut-brain-axis here on MIA but I believe it is something we will see more of as the field becomes better known. And it is going to turn psychiatry and the “mental health” field on its head because it’s the first hard science to show any promise in helping people recover from the distressing “mental” symptoms that have been so long attributed to the “mind”.

    But a major roadblock to that ever being possible is the current runaway socioeconomic inequality and the rapidly approaching and irreversible climate change and the resulting actual resource scarcity.

    We all loved it here when the article was published about the UN’s resolution on the treatment of people with “mental illness”, but I wonder how many of the authors and readers here pay attention to the U.N. climate change warnings, and the repeated calls for the entire planet to immediately shift to a plant based diet void of meat and dairy in order to curb methane emissions severely enough to actually save the planet and the humans and nonhuman animals that inhabit it. I suspect very few, because like anything that first requires a change in behavior and attitude, it’s not going to happen willingly.

    As I said on Bob’s article, humans are notoriously bad at gambling. We have a pervasive, won’t happen to me attitude. Despite the dire warnings from all corners, from climate scientists, from nutritionists, from agriscience, from sociologists, maybe it’s just that we’re all so stressed and there are too many warnings now but by and large people make very little in the way of concrete changes. Most of the ills in the world can be traced back to humans doing what is easy instead of what is smart.

    So to go back to your assertion that science shouldn’t be used to assert that people can’t restore their physical integrity, well that’s exactly what I’m doing. There’s a lot of junk science out there; industry funding, researcher bias, publication bias, and institutional pressures, but that doesn’t mean that science is useless in guiding and informing our lives and that we should sit around singing kumbaya in our little feel good sessions wringing our hands because we don’t know whom to trust anymore and don’t know what to believe. There probably is very little that can be done on the small scale at this point, on the individual level, and that’s part of why it’s so damn depressing.

  • There is very little evidence that mental suffering is due to a brain disease. And, in fact, quite strong evidence that it isn’t. There is strong evidence that our gut microbiome effects our mental state and that modern medicine, modern agriculture, and modern living styles have destroyed a great deal of the diversity of our guts – some scientists say permanently. Three cheers then for “civilization”!!

    Calling mental suffering a brain disease and drugging people has been shown to be very ineffective. A doctor’s sympathy does not mean he knows how to make you better. A doctor could be sympathetic to diabetes but unless he offers the diabetic person insulin or blood sugar regulating drugs, he won’t be helping the diabetic. Offering a mentally suffering person neuroleptics or anticonvulsants in the name of treating ”mental illness” is akin to offering a diabetic an antitensive or cholesterol drug. Maybe it’ll make you feel better at first because your doctor has “done something” to help. But when you die from low cholesterol or blood pressure, how will you feel then? (Don’t answer that!)

    So let’s be clear, a doctors sympathy is NOT REQUIRED. Unless that doctor can offer the patient a medication or lifestyle changes that will actually fix the problem, why do you insist on sympathy for your suffering from him?

    Furthermore, it’s been well established that the method of diagnosis in the DSM for hundreds of so called separate afflictions is essentially picking a handful of symptoms out of larger groups of symptoms. Any five out of nine will do. This is so sloppy that you can have a room full of patients all with the same “disease” and no two are alike in their suffering. This is absurd! We would have never found the causes of actual diseases if doctors had all acted this way toward the physical body.

    I understand that we live in a culture that cannot make space for those in pain and those experiencing realities differently. But attacking the people who are attempting to change that makes you no better than the oppressor. And you may scream to the hills for your right to be considered diseased, but all that has brought the mental disability community is agreement from the wider community and hence talk of bringing back institutions to lock up the crazies, and other violations of individual rights like the Murphy Bill and state and federal databases of the crazy. How has that helped anyone in distress?

  • Should patients receive informed consent about the potential harms of medications? Yes. Should the decision be left up to the patient in distress? No. Why? Well, here’s the rub: Humans are notoriously bad at playing the odds. Humans in distress are worse. Even when something has a high chance of harm, people in distress are willing to try it in case they might be one of the few people who benefit.

    Take the lottery as one easy example. Poor people buy the overwhelming amount of lottery tickets. Even if they understand the millions to one odds that they will lose. Even when they’re hungry and spending their last dollar that they should spend on food. Even with all the warnings about the odds they will be broke again (or in jail or dead) within a short period of time (one to several years). We as humans are just really really bad at gambling.

    Now you’re talking to someone who’s super depressed or experiencing psychosis and suggesting that they’ll have a 1 in 6 or 1 in 8 chance they’ll receive some benefit from the medication. In the mind of the person in distress, those are fantastic odds! Even in the face of almost certain odds of experiencing adverse effects, I think most people experiencing severe distress would take that in a heartbeat. Especially since we have a pervasive societal attitude now that we can eat whatever we want, not exercise, not make any personal effort at maintaining our health because there is a pill for everything and anything goes.

    Given this massive cognitive dissonance on the part of the average citizen then, I think this needs to be a regulatory issue rather than a case by case issue. Guidelines need to change so that no one ever is given these medications on a first episode basis. And for those who experience episodic distress, there needs to be a cost benefit analysis done not between the doctor and patient but by a medical board to decide what other therapies would be likely to help more. Those therapies need to be low cost or free to the patient and easily accessible. Then only in the cases of absolutely intractable suffering does the medical board decide that the patient be allowed to choose to risk these dangerous drugs.

    As we’ve seen with some cancer therapies, people will try absolutely anything even when the odds they will die from the treatment are greater than receiving any benefit. Psych drugs cause a living death for so many people that they need to be treated as an absolute last resort and should not simply be a matter of allowing a patient to gamble at will under the pretense of informed consent.

    As an aside, I know the tortilla chips I’m eating aren’t healthy. I know they’re high in fat and calories and I need to only eat a few and then add in more activity to counter the additional calories. I know I’ll probably eat the bag while sitting in front of my TV or computer. When I gain weight and go to the doctor with my weight related ailments, he’ll advise me I need to eat healthy and exercise more. I know I can then take to the internet and accuse him of fat shaming and a legion of angry obese people (and their thinner defenders) will mob the doctor via nasty online reviews, messages, phone calls, and social media posts. All while the cost of medical care is skyrocketing and fewer and fewer people can afford it.

    How do we get back to the understanding of personal responsibility and taking care of ourselves? Humans are terrible at playing the odds and doctors aren’t allowed to dispense common sense anymore, which is one of the things that led to them just writing scripts for everything. This goes way beyond the need for informed consent to really the need to relearn societally how to make wise decisions for ourselves and those around us. (Sorry for the tangent, but I feel like it’s a necessary part of the conversation.)

  • Ok, we can agree on that much. Although I have no doubt that if posthumous psychiatric “treatment” were possible, it would be attempted. And since it is the labels that lead to the “treatments”, I can live with neither, but I’m quibbling at this point.

    I have a problem with the labeling of “celebrats” as well. Though I know you hate victim language and identities, it is clearly a crushing and reductive existence to live constantly in the public eye. I can hardly think of anything worse in modern times than to become a celebrity or internet sensation. The luxuries we are instructed to envy are really the only upside to that lifestyle. And it’s no wonder celebrities so often fall victim to drink, drugs, and excess in an attempt to cope with living in a fish bowl. I would never ever wish to exist in such a way and not because I am humble or possess excess humility but because it must be truly awful. What we are taught to envy comes at a very extreme cost to individual liberty – something I know you value to an extreme. I understand your point of view but I think some empathy is in order. They live differently but they are still human with very real human needs for love, affection, empathy, community, and privacy, and I suspect they get precious little of any of that, at least not authentically.

  • Steven, sorry but I have a point of contention with your suggestion that we should search for contentment rather than happiness. It is a mark of privilege for anyone to be content with their own lives while holding the knowledge of what it looks like to live at the bottom. And considering how rapidly the middle has been shifting into the bottom, and how more and more of us are losing status, while fewer and fewer hold the vast majority of wealth and prosperity in the world, I cannot imagine how one would become content without at the same time having to completely ignore the vast suffering of the majority of those you’re surrounded by. ( I could probably word this better but I’m in a hurry. I hope you get my gist.)

  • “Nobody was ever labeled “mentally ill” for committing suicide.”

    Sorry, I have to call bullshit on this. People are labeled mentally ill posthumously as a matter of course these days. It is one of the points the author makes. It is one of the most common ways to dismiss any collective responsibility for the deaths of those who take their own lives. On a societal scale, from the government to media, to the mental ill health profession, to our families and friends and community structures, we cry boohoo about the tragedy of mental illness rather than do anything constructive to change the power imbalances that our “civilization” is built upon. Honestly, having followed your commentary for quite some time now, it seems that (most of the time, at least) you do fully grok the power structures that keep the masses in misery. And yet, you present this totally dismissive, damn near sociopathic response to those who ultimately succumb to these unrelenting pressures. Your inconsistency is utterly bewildering to me.

  • It has come to my attention privately that this comment has caused some concern. Please forgive me for speaking too frankly about my own experience of late. Please don’t send help – I’m not jumping off anything. I’ll try to be more clear about that in any future comments. I was simply commiserating with the idea that (what I call) positivity bullying is harmful. Again, sorry for any confusion.

  • Well, no, I don’t think you’re quite presenting my viewpoint correctly for a simple reason: I completely agree with you that we should be free to choose our associates and that if people don’t want to be around me because I often have a negative attitude, I’m fine with that. I have a negative attitude because we live in an upside down world with clear winners and losers and a ridiculous amount of competition in a society that values individualism and an economic system that promotes the idea of false scarcity of resources rather than acting together for the common good. But, besides that, I honestly can’t stand being around incessantly cheerful people and I think that should be my prerogative. I don’t like spin doctors and would prefer to make space for those in deep pain and grief than to listen to someone talking about what they learned from x or y painful experience. I’m absolutely sick to death of the “inspiration porn” genre and I’m nearly always tempted to deck people who reduce my suffering by calling my survival story ‘inspirational’. (In just the last week, I saw someone use Viktor Frankl’s seminal work Man’s Search for Meaning used as a weapon to shame someone to stop talking about their suffering.) So to reiterate, I don’t think it’s about tolerating any and all behavior (short of abuse) or personalities that you find grating but more about stopping the shaming and blaming of those who dare express their suffering. And for goodness sake we’ve got to stop telling people to reach out and then turning around and shaming them when they do.

    Your meditation instructor has clearly got a chauvinist streak. What a pathetic way to dismiss you in the moment. I’m sorry that happened to you. I hope you were able to either express how inappropriate that kind of commentary is to the instructor or else find an instructor with an actual understanding of how meditation can effect survivors of abuse. In my class, we were told in the first intro session to expect that we could have overwhelming feelings come up or cry and not to be embarrassed or ashamed if that happened.

  • Thanks for your reply however, I think we are talking past each other here.

    No one would suggest that abuse be tolerated. Or that someone actively being abused should humanize their abuser. The context of the article isn’t about abuse and that’s what I was attempting to point out. The context was the tendency for negative people to be labeled as toxic and dumped. When in fact, those negative people are usually the victims of abuse or otherwise tragic circumstances and that labeling and dumping is tantamount to abuse. And it’s done on a very wide scale.

    “Don’t be a negative Nancy.” “Look on the bright side.” “Find the silver lining.” We are conditioned from birth to suppress negative feelings and this is especially harmful when the negativity is the direct product of abuse. This was the point of my post and my comment about humanizing people was specifically about the labels we put on people. Again, not to dismiss or make excuses for people who are actively being abusive because abusiveness and a negative attitude are two very different things. I hope that clears up any confusion you may have had about where I was coming from.

  • Context is important and I don’t think the author is referring to abusers when she says it’s wrong to label people with negative attitudes as toxic. But even in such instances as an abusive person, we have a tendency to stick labels on people and condemn their entire being “abusive”, “crazy”, “bipolar”, “moron”, “lazy”, and it would behoove us to relearn how to see the whole person. Yes, there are people who will be nasty and abusive and overwhelmingly harmful but we can often see the rest of the human being behind those labels with a little effort. And even among those people who have committed atrocious acts, we understand the human ability to grow and learn. If we didn’t, what would be the point of prison for murderers (or those guilty of other unthinkable crimes?) If we adopt the position that humans are incapable of repentance and change, we might as well simply execute violent felons immediately upon conviction. In my own path to healing, I’ve learned to find ways of humanizing those who have hurt me. I think that’s something most of us need to make a harder effort to do.

    Your link, by the way, references Michelle Carter, whom many of us understand to have been a victim herself – of psychiatry, of the boyfriend she was accused of driving to suicide, and of an overzealous prosecutor who tried her in the court of public opinion with much vitriol (and through distorting the evidence) long before she had even had her day in court.

  • In my experience recently it doesn’t matter whom one reaches out to – a family member who pretends the phone line is staticky and hangs up as soon as anything distressing is mentioned, the friend who only responds to good news, the fellow psychiatric survivor who says “it sounds like you need someone to talk to” with the implicit (just not me), or the acquaintance who responds to your distress with “when will you just be happy?” This isolation is what drives suicide. You don’t have to be actively suicidal or even depressed to contemplate what the point is in continuing a life that is completely meaningless and bereft of anything approaching personal significance and belonging.

    I think the most shocking statement I hear when someone successfully takes their life is “if only they had reached out for help”. I don’t think my experience is particularly unique and so I’ve come to believe that for the majority of those who suicide, they did reach out and the rejection was so profound that they were actually driven to suicide by the collective responses to their pain.

  • Hey Julie, that’s exactly how I lost my friend group – Facebook posts about my struggles. My friend group even ostracized my boyfriend (now husband) for dating the crazy girl. Luckily he dropped them and kept me. He helped me get off the meds and away from psychiatry. They would have let me rot in an institution. I’ve since decided with friends like that I don’t need friends.

  • I had this experience after having a naproxen script filled last year while on vacation. Prescribed by an urgent care doctor, only ever took two of them, for a temporary injury, but I got calls for months reminding me to fill them. I got around it by blocking CVS 800 number on my phone.

    Further, this is quoted verbatim from my mother:

    “I knew this from personal experience, though it wasn’t connected to psychotropic drugs. When I was released from the hospital in January after surgery, I was given multiple prescriptions. (Nephew) arrived so late to pick me up that the only place I could get them filled was at the all-night CVS near the hospital. I started getting almost daily telephone reminders that I needed to renew my prescriptions. I finally got fed up with it and called the pharmacy to tell them to stop already. They said that the calls didn’t come from them but from ‘headquarters,’ and gave me a long distance number to call. That took care of the calls, but at my next doctor’s visit, the nurse commented that I had not had my prescriptions refilled, even though she must have known these things were only for temporary post operative use. It has taken me all of the five visits I’ve had to this practice to remove from my records the multiple drugs that were prescribed either for temporary use (10 days) post surgery, or to use as needed. One of them is available OTC and so I never had the prescription filled at all. But CVS kept yammering at me to get it ‘refilled’ and notified the doctor’s office when I didn’t. Your sister asks why I put up with the local pharmacy’s inconvenient hours. Because they don’t share my prescription information with anyone, for one reason.”

  • I was with you until you trotted out the drug war propaganda. Thank you for actually using the word poison to describe psychiatric drugs. Few people, especially doctors, possess the cajones to call psych drugs poison, so kudos.

    Cannabis on the other hand is not only neuroprotective, it’s extremely useful in easing the withdrawal symptoms caused by a range of neurotoxic legal pharmaceuticals such as psychiatric drugs, opioid painkillers and Zdrugs. http://norml.org/component/zoo/category/cannabis-and-the-brain-a-user-s-guide

  • Excellent analysis and rebuttal of the book. The last paragraph which mentions questioning his voters’ mental health requires addressing. Repeated surveys from Gallop report that Republicans have higher rates of mental wellness than Democrats. Even when demographic factors like race, income, and educational level are controlled for, right-wingers report being happier than lefties and utilize psychiatric services at lower rates. So which side is crazier? Can’t we just admit that different folks have different values and that doesn’t make them crazy? Selfish perhaps but not crazy. Trump’s voters voted for the guy who said he’d bring jobs back, bring God back, and make America great again. They looked beyond his behavior and voted in what they believed were their best interests. FWIW, a lot of Clinton voters overlooked all the flaws Bernie Sanders illuminated about her/establishment Democrats during his campaign and they voted for her in their own self interests. It’d be nice if we could focus on the fact that Trump is a bad man instead of maligning him as a mad man. It’d be nice if this means to an end crap would stop. Anyone could be psychiatry’s next target. It’s up to all of us to stop the stigmatization of those with altered experiences and instead focus on holding individuals accountable for bad behavior.

  • Somehow this topic (risperdal-induced male breast growth) is new to me and I’d thought I’d heard it all. The images are shocking. What’s even more shocking is that the effects of the drugs are called ‘side’ effects. Can we just call this one of the actual effects of intentional poisoning once and for all? If J&J knew this was an effect, why do doctors and parents need to be warned about the risk? Why hasn’t the drug simply been withdrawn and acknowledged as a dangerous substance with no value except to those whose only goal is a zombified “compliant” child? When are the doctors and researchers going to acknowledge that in many cases, changing the parents behaviors would have more desirable long term effects than pathologizing the child’s reaction to trauma and dysfunction?

  • No, not medicating, and not drugging. Let’s call a spade a spade – these substances are nothing short of poisons. The antipsychotics originated from the pesticide industry with phenothiazine – in fact, it is this antiparasitic action which made it effective against malaria. It’s derivatives include Thorazine and Mellaril among others. Phenothiazine’s discovery as an antipsychotic came during human toxicity testing by the pesticide industry, and is what led to the development of Thorazine. So let’s be very clear that these substances we call “drugs” were originally intended to be poisons and the neurotoxic effects are to be entirely expected.

    Thorazine never treated a medical illness, and it took decades of research to discover how it “worked” to disturb the sensitivity of D2 dopamine receptors. All it has ever truly done is tranquilize people and therefore produce acceptable behavior on psychiatric wards. These drugs – all of them – have never increased any objectively measurable outcome of success in people’s lives – stable employment, independent living, good social connections – they simply made them more compliant patients – at one time making them more manageable in institutions but now making them more manageable by families, most of whom are the source of the traumas that caused the initial distress. This is much to the chagrin of the NAMI Mommies who want to claim they aren’t responsible for their children’s “illness” because it let’s them off the hook. Fake families pretending to be concerned about their family member, often said person turns out to be the Identified Patient whom the family dysfunction is blamed on.

    The whole industry is sickening when you break it down, but to call these poisons medicines or even legitimate drugs really takes the cake and is sadly what keeps the whole carnival show running. The researchers, doctors, and treatment providers handing out the magic pills don’t want you to see what’s behind the curtain. Don’t be fooled by what is essentially modern day sorcery masquerading as medicine. They’d have better results with laying on of hands or speaking magic incantations over us than they have by drugging us.

  • Cat there are times when I agree with you, and I’m certainly alarmed by Public Citizen advocating for more forced treatment. But I don’t want to live in a world without regulations making sure that large corporations don’t harm me and others. I am sympathetic to the libertarian position up to a point, but regulations exist for a really good reason. I don’t ascribe to your viewpoint that leftists are responsible for this. If libertarians got their way, we’d have no protection at all from corporations (and individuals) who do serious harm.

  • Hi FD, I hope you will take a look at some of the research regarding the brain-gut connection and bacterial imbalances in the gut. 80% or so of our neurotransmitters are actually produced in the intestines, not in the brain. This is the enteric nervous system. I have found enormous benefit from months of probiotic and prebiotic loading – both in the form of daily supplements and lactofermented foods, which are expensive to buy but can be cheaply and easily made at home. I believe it would go a long way toward helping you prepare for your next taper. Let me know if you’d like more info.

  • These stories are incredibly sad and in some ways mirror how the drugs often made me feel. I’ve tried to warn others. I don’t know how better to do that than to be a shining example of recovery after ditching the drugs. I get told so often “you are a totally different person and doing so amazing”, I’ve been called “unrecognizable” from just a few years ago, and then they tell me what new psych med they’re on or offer me some of their xanax. One woman I know recently started a sentence with “all the researchers and psychiatrists agree that…” I’m at a loss as to how to get through to these dear friends how dangerous these drugs are. I’m afraid most of the people I am in close contact with worship at the alter of science and medicine and see me as some sort of statistical outlier or miracle case rather than having been injured by the drugs, and the drugs being harmful. I’m sure a few of them are still waiting for my inevitable fall, as it was so kindly described before I began tapering, in order to welcome me back into the fold. The warnings seem to go in one ear and out the other. Rather than steeling my resolve to keep speaking out against these drugs, it just makes me so very sad.

  • I took gabapentin for well over a decade for supposed fibromyalgia. While it does cause physical dependence and I became very ill trying to withdraw – several attempts resulted in gabapentin withdrawal syndrome -, I *never* got high. I can’t even imagine it making someone high. I’m trying to but drawing a blank. In fact, my doctor bent over backward telling me how benign it was when he first prescribed it. What are they doing, snorting it? I’m still struggling to see how it could make someone high.

  • Agreed. I too had a very easy time getting off benzos and pretty easy time compared to others getting off the rest of the drugs. But the horror stories I’ve read of people experiencing withdrawal for years on end have shown me how lucky I was.

  • “It seems wrong to abstractly judge who has more of a right to suffer emotionally”

    That certainly wasn’t what I said so I’m confused by your comment. Everyone has a right to suffer when they experience trauma. My comment wasn’t about people suffering, but about the statistical outcome of cumulative traumas, and poverty compounds traumas by keeping kids in a daily struggle for survival that more affluent kids don’t have to deal with.

    To say that a child victim of physical and sexual abuse who starts out with educated parents, healthy food, and a good education, and exposure to healthy parent child interactions will have the same outcome of a child victim of abuse who lives with food insecurity, inconsistent housing, poor education, exposure to violence and little to no nurturing is naive.

    The statistics on poverty bear this out. Childhood poverty affects all domains of lifetime outcomes including long term health, educational attainment, wealth accumulation, and even life expectancy.

  • Take two kids and two toys that come unassembled. For the first kid, give him most of the pieces, tell him where to find the rest of the pieces and demonstrate how to assemble the toy. For the second kid, give him half the pieces, smash the rest, and give him no instructions. Then make a grand announcement about how smart the first kid is and put the second kid in jail.

    This is about how screwed our current culture is, and how we set some children up for a lifetime of failure.

  • This is a subject that’s obviously near and dear to my heart so I have a little more to add. There are other ways, if people cared, to help these kids besides the educational setting. Quality childcare and after school care. Subsidized summer camps for respite outside of adverse living environments. Parenting classes that teach nurturing skills and age appropriate interaction and expectations for behavior. Access to neighborhood gardens and nutrition courses. Instituting a minimum income so parents have the resources to care for them. Expanding USDA school lunch programs to include free breakfast and lunch during the summer. Rooting out and harshly prosecuting the adults who harm them. Vastly expanding mentoring programs like Big Brothers/Big Sisters. While I think the concept of playing to their strengths is good for the kids who have already been exposed to adversity, it seems equally, if not more important to me, to do something concrete and constructive to prevent the child ever encountering these situations to begin with.

  • While this is an extremely watered down version of the things that happened to me, it’s important to realize that its hard to ask people to put things into perspective if their perspective had always been from the bottom looking up. And it’s hard to ask them to have sympathy for people who’ve also had trauma but grew up in more privileged environments when they have experienced being downtrodden in every aspect of their existence. And while I realize that there is less sympathy for those who are traumatized but considered privileged, it may help those who have been privileged to understand how much of a leg up on others they actually have.

  • Actually, I’m in a pretty good position to address this point as I did come from a mixed background. My parents started off middle class. Both well educated, both descendants of college educated folks. We didn’t start out poor. My dad was an employee of the federal government with an extremely good income. Mom was a business owner. Both were abusive in different ways. But the things I dealt with before their divorce (physical and sexual abuse inside the family) were very different from the things I dealt with after they separated and my dad moved to a very poor, high minority neighborhood. For one thing, the school system I went to was a much higher quality in the upper middle neighborhood I started in. Until third grade, I was in a much more rigorous educational setting. The other city’s schools were more than a year behind what I had been learning when I switched schools. Additionally, the adverse experiences I had were all inside the home. My friends mothers were stay at home middle class ladies who had snacks ready for their children when they got off the school bus. My friends had toys (some of them had entire playrooms!) and sleepovers and hugs! They had clothing that fit and food on the table and got regular baths and bedtime stories. So even though I was growing up in a hellish situation in my own home, I knew what other homes could be like. I knew what parental nurturing looked like.

    On the other hand, when my dad moved out, and I moved with him shortly after, I was exposed to things that no child should ever see. There were drunken fights in the street All. The. Time. Routine and severe domestic violence. Hungry children who were lucky if they had cold cereal for supper. Regular police presence. The trashy women my dad brought home would beat me for any perceived slight. Child molestors were rampant and everyone knew they had a taste for little girls. A sister’s boyfriend attempted suicide in front of us.

    My parents eventually remarried when I was 13 and we moved back to a lower middle class suburb and that was the end of being exposed to that stuff. I’ve kept track of some of the kids in that neighborhood though and except for one, their lives have not followed the same, relatively positive, trajectory mine did. If you can call being psychiatrized positive – I at least did not end up in jail or dead. Only one person I knew from that place went to college. Similar to me, her family got out a couple of years after I did and she has spent the rest of her life in relatively better circumstances. One person I know from that time has been in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison for the last decade for committing murder. Several are dead. One has been gang affiliated for years. One has had several children that she’s passed down her family’s dysfunction to.

    On the other hand, while I was psychiatrized, and that had some pretty devastating effects in itself, I also had access – once back in good schools – to advanced placement classes, good teachers and mentors. I always had health insurance and healthcare. I had a mother, who for all her faults, which are legend, taught me good nutrition and exposed me to things that broadened my horizons. We hiked the Appalachian Trail, went sailing and camping. I always had books and because my parents owned a computer business and had an engineering background, access to the internet from literally before the internet as we know it existed. I had an email address before the majority of homes had computers.

    There is literally no comparison between me and the kids in that poor neighborhood because they never had the opportunities that I did. It’s unfortunate the things I grew up with. It’s unfortunate that really bad things happen in “rich” families. But there is no comparison when you add in the horrors of poverty and the things kids are exposed to in poverty-stricken neighborhoods. None whatsoever.

    As an adult, when I moved to Maryland, I lived for years in a pretty run-down neighborhood in Baltimore and once again was living in a high conflict, majority-minority neighborhood. The four year old down the street sat with his mother’s dead body for several days before he sought help. She had died over a heroin overdose a decade before the “epidemic”. There were several shootings on my block. Constant gang and drug activity. In the decade I lived there, I watched one sweet innocent child after another turn hard and become hardened by the streets. I watched them drop out of school, join the gangs, start wearing their colors, and some of them died.

    I am incredibly lucky and I will never not acknowledge that fact. You may bristle at the idea of privilege, perhaps some liberal dogooder beat you over the head with the concept, but I am acutely aware of how privileged I am despite all that I’ve survived. I don’t know if this personal account will make any difference to your feelings that we focus too much on poverty, but in my experience – anecdotal, I understand – poverty and class are major determiners of life outcomes. I can only be a witness to how powerful they are.

  • Evolution is grand until it’s interpreted in the greater cultural context as disordered. The social order of the day favors compliance and punishes what it sees as being ‘maladaptive’. In other words, kids who grew up in chronic adversity, like me and so many I know, struggle to find their way in a world that prioritizes getting along for the sake of getting along and punishes those who call BS when they see it. ‘Keep calm and carry on’, practice gratitude and be greatful you don’t have it worse, etc. It’s how revolutionaries are kept in line…

    I think another way to harness the strengths of those who’ve grown up in chronic adversity is to emphasize their innate capacity for compassion for others. Evidence has repeatedly shown that poor folks routinely give a greater percentage of their income to charity than the most well off. That’s because those who grew up in hardship are able to empathize with others who are struggling moreso than those who’ve never experienced things like food scarcity, homelessness, or witnessing violence. Kids who have experienced these things have an enormous capacity to be part of social change and rather than emphasize their lack of complex reasoning or academic skills, we could be tapping them to be the next generation’s helpers, to come up with innovative ways to help others.

  • These adaptive strengths have long been referred to colloquially as “street smarts”. Kids exposed to repeated dangers learn survival skills in order to have their needs met – it just comes with a big dose of fight or flight reactivity. They are less trusting but are also more discerning. They understand body language and vocal tone/inflection in ways different but valuable to them as it is adapted to their situation. Not mentioned by these researchers, but a skill that I’ve witnessed is the ability to barter and negotiate. Those who grow up in poverty have to find alternative means to acquire resources and, believe it or not, stealing is not the first method of most. The sharing economy, barter and trade was around and being employed successfully by the poor and those living in adversity long before the middle class started its downward slide.

    It’s nice to see researchers looking at these kids in a new light and not simply as being broken. Those who have experienced chronic adversity have unique survival skills that can serve them very well in life if, either through luck or hard work, they manage to find their way into better circumstances. Some will continue to struggle even if their circumstances change. I’d suggest research explore ways they can be helped to hone these skills to better serve in more diverse environments.

    One specific deficit that many I’ve known run into when they grow up is not knowing how to behave in different social environments, resulting in increased interpersonal conflicts. Social skills could be integrated into the learning environment in subtle and overt ways to prepare them for survival outside of their primary home and school environments. These don’t take complex reasoning as much as learning how to interpret others behaviors and motivations outside of the harm context and skilled observation of environmental cues.

  • That was a shockingly good performance, lovely tune, and surprisingly well produced video. I’ve often heard that the difference between the protests of the 60s/70s and my generation’s protest movements has been the current lack of quality protest music. Music and art remain uniting forces even after dialogue breaks down. We need more of this. Thank you.

  • Oldhead, I believe we’re pretty simpatico on this issue. When I speak of some total abolitionists, I mean those who believe that all forms of therapy/counseling are always harmful and just as tainted as psychiatric “medicine”. And that genuine help should only come in the form of freely offered friendship support. I’m not going to call anyone out, but taking a look back at Bonnie Burstow’s recent post on anti psychiatry should make it clear. Totally agreed that “therapy” being couched in terms of medicine needs to go. I also think some of the people portraying themselves as “life coaches” are scam artists as well. I don’t think a good counselor necessarily comes from a trained program. Oddly enough, a priest I saw for a while for marital counseling years ago comes to mind.

  • Cultists? Despite his shortcomings, Bernie Sanders remains the most well-liked and respected politician in America. He won Vermont by such a high margin that Clinton wasn’t even viable – she got no delegates. Clinton on the other hand supported the giant corporate giveaway to insurance and pharma, she called black children super predators, she supported the expansion of the drug war and mass incarceration, she supported welfare reform which thrust many more children in deep poverty, she supported the ban on gay marriage, taking until 2011 to “evolve” once it was politically expedient to support it, she supported Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, she pushed the ouster of Libyan President Gaddaffi – a dictator for sure but one that had pretty darn good socialist policies in place, she hasn’t met a war she didn’t support, she has a “public” position and a “private” position on everything so you can never tell what she really believes and supports. I’m honestly sick of the Hillary cultists making excuses for her absolutely undemocratic platform. She is a Barry Goldwater Republican masquerading as a Democrat and has personally worked toward the destruction of everything the Democratic Party used to hold sacrosanct! She should go back to the woods and never come out. And she can take Debbie Wasserman Shultz, Nancy Pelosi, Madeline Albright, and the rest of the pretend lefties so-called feminists with her. Her only goal is to suck up to Wall Street and the ruling class who have paid her so far over 22 million dollars in public speaking fees. Oh yeah, there’s also that pesky issue of her using slave prison labor while First Lady of Arkansas… For all I can’t stand Trump I was RELIEVED she lost the election because after all the cheating involved in her campaign and the collusion between her campaign and the DNC, I don’t want my daughters to get the idea that cheating is how women win.

  • I’m done addressing this in terms of genetic drug testing. And in terms of psychiatric drugs. Did you know you can have a psychotic response to statin drugs like Lipitor and Crestor? These are among the most prescribed and most profitable drugs in the world. There has been a push in the last several years to dramatically increase the number of people taking them. Have you heard of antibiotic-related delirium common to drugs like Cipro, Levaquin and Flagyl? The deadly rash you speak of is Stevens-Johnson Syndrome – a known reaction to drugs as wide ranging as Lamictal (an anticonvulsant) to Tylenol/Paracetamol.

    To my knowledge, simply being able to metabolize a drug won’t tell you definitively whether you will have an allergic reaction or severe side effect. However, knowing whether you’re able to metabolize a drug will give you valuable information *before* risking taking a drug that you definitely shouldn’t take. It would absolutely prevent a number of severe drug reactions. Would it prevent them all? No. And no one here arguing for the merit of such testing has made any claim whatsoever that knowing your CYP status would prevent all reactions. Again, baby meet bath water.

  • But I’m not advocating for psychiatric med tests as I’ve said several times. I’m advocating for knowing your CYP status. Regardless of whether the doctors know the mechanism of action, if the doctor doesn’t know your genetic status and ability to metabolize the drugs they prescribe, they are still taking chances with your health. In fact, a large majority of people do not possess the enzyme function to metabolize the majority of drugs on the market. Additionally, a lot of medications designed for medical issues are prescribed off label for psychiatric use. Think of the anticonvulsants and blood pressure medications. The medication my psychiatrist made me sick with (one of many actually) was not a psychiatric medication and knowing my CYP status would have been useful. I get that you’ve read that psychiatric genetic tests are worthless. I don’t get why you’re throwing the baby out with the bath water on knowing whether or not you can metabolize the vast majority of other drugs you might be prescribed based on that small amount of information.

  • We are certainly in agreement against the use of force. My perspective on coercion seems similar to yours in that it goes beyond the use of legal force to include public attitudes toward the need for medical treatment whenever one admits to any degree of psychological distress whether it be garden variety anxiety and situational depression or the extremes of paranoid psychosis-induced violence.

    Beyond that, there has been a cultural shift away from “we’re all better off when we’re all better off” to “screw you, I’ve got mine, fend for yourself buddy”. People who reach out for support are not comforted, but rather asked if they’ve seen a doctor, or told to call their therapist. We’ve got more connection now than we’ve ever had before in terms of the internet. And yet we are so disconnected from our own responsibility to truly help one another. The idea of community has been eroded. Neighbors turn on neighbors, families are divided, and we have a generation of young adults who’ve grown up in the “if you see something, say something” culture of suspiciousness. We have more connection and treatment than we’ve ever had, and yet we’re, on the whole, isolated, lonely, and suffering. At least from where I sit and observe.

    And so we also need a cultural shift away from the idea that needy folks are burdens, and back toward the idea that we are each our brother’s keeper, in the very fundamental sense of shared burdens being lifted for the benefit of all. I think that talk about coercion without discussion of the underlying cultural attitudes that push people into psychiatry’s open arms is somewhat hollow and lacking.

  • I find I have common ground with the reformists in the arena of psychology. I do not believe in burning the entire mental health system to the ground. I don’t think all the helpers are doing harm. I have a therapist I’ve seen intermittently since 2008. I like him. I trust him. When I’ve felt like I wasn’t getting what I needed, he referred me elsewhere, always offering that I could come back and that he wasn’t offended I was looking for another kind of help. So I believe in the power of having a good counselor. And unlike some of the complete abolitionists, I don’t see any issue with counseling being their paid vocation if they are truly good at relating with others and building respectful collaborative relationships for the benefit of the person seeking help and change. Where I clash with treatment providers, and where I am an abolitionist, is in the medicalization of human struggles in the face of adversity. If I were to try to work with reformists, it would have to be in the arena of ending the biomedical model of mental illness -abolishing psychiatry as a medical field – and returning to a structured compassionate caring supportive framework for helping those experiencing psychological distress.

  • Additionally, I have no vested interest in calling my senators and begging of them to vote for a better different version of the mental health czar they both voted to install in the first place. My senators – Ben Cardin and “Pay to Play” Chris Van Hollen, are directly responsible for this mess. The vote was held *after* the election. They knew Trump would be making the nomination. Do you think they, or any other senator who voted for the Cures Act thought Trump was going to nominate someone who would advocate for psychiatric survivors or individual rights? What makes anyone think that another choice would be better? As far as I can tell, we might actually be lucky in this case that all of Trump’s appointments want to defund their own agencies. At least whatever horrific policies they try to install won’t go anywhere because they won’t have the funding – unlike if the Democrats had been in power. No, I have no intention of calling my senators because I don’t see that anyone who would be nominated by either side as having my rights at heart.

  • ” but I think it’s two things to talk about ideology on one hand and strategy on the other. ”

    This is a fair point, Hildegard. I only want to add that talking about strategy without understanding the ideology that has led us to this point is somewhat short-sighted. In discussing strategy, there needs to be a place for debating the ideological perspectives that allow the disease model and pharma/medical to remain in control.

    Otherwise, I agree with your comment completely.

  • With all due respect, as my comment was not meant as a criticism of your entire blog post, but merely the parts I pointed out, I see little point in arguing semantics. In real world parlance, calling someone “crazy” is synonymous with other harmful adjectives such as “mentally ill”, “unhinged”, “nuts”, “cuckoo”, etc. Further, your assertion was that it was “pretty clear” Trump has “severe and dangerous mental problems”. Your exact words, not mine. It is you who is furthering the belief that mental problems equals dangerous. So I stand by my comment. Nothing about it was a straw man, thanks I’m aware of logical fallacies.

    What I think equates with dangerousness is unchecked power. What keeps people with spoiled, entitled behavior – like Trump – in power, is that other unscrupulous people ignore his bad behaviors, or make excuses for them, so as to continue to curry favor with someone who will help them achieve their agenda.

    Yes, Freedom Lovers comes from all political persuasions, but ignoring the rightward political shift this country has taken in favor of not “arguing politics” is frankly sticking your head in the sand.

  • Well I have something to add. Our new “mental health czar” wouldn’t exist were it not for our previous Democratic Vice President Joe Biden personally campaigning and lobbying congress to pass the 21st Century Cures Act. And suggesting that Libertarians are good because they oppose forced drugging is like describing the nature of the universe while looking through a telescope at one corner of the night sky. Let’s not forget that the main tenet of the Libertarian Party is to abolish the federal government and return to state rule. Oh, except for during natural disasters because everyone wants FEMA money when nature comes calling…

  • Trump’s problem is not mental illness and though I respect your work, Mr Oaks, it bothers me to see those formerly accused of being mentally targeting others as being mentally ill. Trump’s problem is the greed, selfishness, narcissism, ignorance, and power that is common to those who have grown up and spent their lives having their every whim indulged. He’s immature and spoiled but he’s not crazy. He’s not disconnected from reality. He’s not hallucinating, talking to angels, or manic. We can point out the folly of giving such a man-child so much power, we can mock his immature propensity to tweet nonsense 24/7, his desire for attention, and his tantrums without calling him crazy. Is the wrong man for the job? Yes. Would Clinton have been better? Would more neoliberalist policies have been better simply because the person espousing them lulls you into a false sense of complacency with their measured tones? Not in my mind.

    I waited eight years for hope and change with Obama and all I got was a Wall Street bailout, a giant giveaway to insurance companies and pharma in the name of healthcare reform, and endless wars. We could have, should have, had Sanders. As it stands, we got the “pied piper” candidate and Americans will get to see just how bad things can get under a president and congress whose mission it is to destroy the government that employs them. Maybe, just maybe, if it gets bad enough without starting WW3, we’ll have a political awakening in 2020. With any luck, the DNC lawsuit will be successful and political parties will learn they can’t screw over their constituents by tipping the scale in favor of the establishment candidate.

    What were suffering from right now is the culmination of nearly 40 years of eroding the social contract and blaming those at the bottom of the pile for the state of things. Medical bankruptcies, home foreclosures, endless wars, skyrocketing student loan debt, crumbling infrastructure, the dumbing down of K-12 education, massively increasing income inequality, let me just remind you that since the Reagan era, BOTH parties have contributed to this. The Republicans are only more blatant in their efforts to destroy the system when it’s in their charge. Democrats, the new neoliberal, Third Way, centrist party are equally responsible. They simply couch their conservative policies in terms that the populace can swallow. So please, don’t try to tell me everything would be better if Clinton were president. Some of us know better. Millenials and young folks are smart enough to know they’re getting screwed. And those of you who call those of us with a soul, a conscience and a moral compass ‘snowflakes’: winter is coming.

  • Did you see the study that showed people’s symptoms improve even when they know they are taking a placebo? This suggests to me that taking a pill makes people feel like they are doing something positive, it’s empowering in a way that may be the only way they have to change their life. If you have no resources to utilize and you have little to no support, but here medicine comes in and says you can take this pill and feel better, well people are going to do that. Especially if the state pays for it – as is the case with 75% of psychotropic drugs that are covered by either Medicare or Medicaid. What I’d like to see is these funds – that is essentially stealing from hardworking people and diverting it to multinational pharmaceutical and medical delivery firms – diverted into social projects that will make a real difference in people’s lives and lift up communities rather than tranquilize the troublemakers. In other words, we are all better off when we’re all better off.

  • I think if you look at this from an evolutionary and anthropological sense, psychiatry has very much filled a human need. Throughout history, those who did not conform have been ousted from “society”, the family or the pack. The reasons for this are pretty clear when viewed from the lens of survival of the species. While there is need for genetic variation, when there is strife in the community, that community becomes more vulnerable to outside forces – predators, rival tribes, etc – and so there has always been a strong social deterrent to being different. The modern form of quashing differences is psychiatry as we know it. And it has worked extremely well in the nefarious ways it has been used to silence dissenters who would otherwise disrupt the status quo. So to say that psychiatry has not fulfilled a human need is not quite right. But it is very true that psychiatry does not cure illness and it is very much not for the individual’s benefit. It is for the benefit of social harmony – for the family and community.

  • Further, a Google search using the terms “feminism antistigma mental health” returned a first page of results exclusively aimed at articles that reduce the stigma of taking medication. And that’s what I find almost exclusively talked about in feminist circles when it comes to mental health stigma. The suggestions for improving mental health all focus on getting more and more people into professional treatment rather than improving the socioeconomic, social and living situations of the afflicted.

  • Gary, have to take exception with this last bit.

    “I would, however, defend the right of anyone to ingest anything if they so wished, whether that be alcohol, cannabis, or psychotropic drugs.”

    I don’t support the right of anyone to ingest anything they wish when the ingestion is based on lies and feeds corporate pockets. It’s not unheard of for the FDA to rescind approval for drugs that cause harm. I believe that is what is warranted in the case of most psychotropic drugs that cause far more harm than benefit (NNT) and in the case of SSRI’s the benefit is almost entirely due to placebo, but the harms are very real. We aren’t talking about people’s right o put whatever they want into their body. We’re talking about greedy corporations making mega bucks off lies that drugs will cure an “illness” in the person. If the drugs were sold with caveats that they are placebos, and the profits diverted to paying for the very real medical illnesses they cause, I could get behind that. Otherwise, consumer protection is in order. Making it sound like freedom of choice is disingenuous in my book.

  • I had a female friend as a teenager who thought everyone should be euthanized at the age of 70. I haven’t spoken with her in over 20 years but I have to wonder as we find ourselves solidly in middle age, if she has changed her tune. 🙂 This place sounds amazing. I fully plan on being an independent and outspoken, thorn in everyone’s side, spunky old lady.

  • If by “breaking” you mean taming in the sense of wild horses, then I’d completely, wholeheartedly agree. I think this is what my old psychiatrist’s aim was when she deliberately withdrew me from Lamictal over a three week period and then, when in a hellish withdrawal I begged her to represcribe, she made me “admit” to needing medications to function. I’m here to say her attempt to break me was unsuccessful.

  • No, it’s not what they found but you’d only know that if you read the article. They did not find that there was no difference between withdrawing rapidly or gradually in those withdrawing completely. They found that there was no difference – statistically, over the entire class of drugs – when switching from one drug to another. And even then, if you read deeper into the study, you’ll see that with some of the neuroleptics, they found no difference and with others they found significant differences. Only when it is averaged over the entire class of available neuroleptics, and only when transitioning from one drug to another in a short term trial, did they find no difference. It’s an irresponsible misleading headline.

  • I’m really not sure how much stock can be put into a study of such a short nature when the goal was to transition to another drug, not to withdraw completely. In other words, this study doesn’t seem applicable in any way to withdrawal, but may have application to those merely changing drugs. Since it’s not applicable to withdrawal, I’m not sure why it’s front page news on MIA. I also agree that the headline is misleading. Given the percentage of people who only read the headline and don’t read articles, I think this was not the best reporting job that could have been done on this study, as the takeaway from reading only the headline is essentially “Cold Turkey Withdrawal From Antipsychotics Perfectly Fine”. I’m not one to generally criticize the editors, but this could have been better presented.

  • Someone, there is a school of thought currently emerging that enzyme deficiency – particularly the digestive enzymes – leads to leaky gut syndrome, and that that is responsible for a great number of autoimmune diseases and allergies. The two are not unrelated. Being rude in return is not helpful.

  • Someone, I’m not advocating for psychiatric drug testing, I’m sorry you took that away from what I wrote. I was simply replying to your assertion that genetic testing was useless or overhyped when that is very much not the case. I pointed out the side effects of the SSRIs only as an example because my reaction to the SSRIs (and to another drug I didn’t name which is not a psychiatric drug but is used off label for such) are what was used as justification for my being supposedly severely mentally ill. As for whether I should have used the side effects as a reason to go off, let me explain that every single person in my life from friends, family, doctors, and support personnel battered me over the head with the “you’re severely mentally ill” nonsense. Until I went to college, I’d had a very spotty education which included two months of sixth grade, two days of seventh grade, and two months of eight grade. With what knowledge do you think I was supposed to use to magically divine that bad side effects meant I shouldn’t take a drug? Ill educated people are pharma’s biggest target. The only thing that has saved me in my life is my intelligence and my ability to continue learning new information despite my early $h|tty education. Even then, most of what was left of my support system fell through the floor when I went off meds. So you can just say I should have gone off the meds but you have no clue what I’ve been through or where I’ve come from and your words are meaningless and laughable. Had I had some medical information right there on paper saying I couldn’t metabolize the drugs I was being given, I might have been able to get off them sooner.

    Additionally, my position on the usefulness of genetic testing for drugs remains unchanged. A lot of people are told they need a certain drug, be it for high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, seizures, or depression, and when they experience side effects – subtle or emergency – they are told it’s normal and expected and they have to put up with them because they need the drug. Psychiatric drugs are not the only drugs where doctors play Russian roulette and essentially guess until they get a combo that works for the patient. The role of CYP enzymes is well known and not in question, except by those who don’t want to see their drugs become unprofitable.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cytochrome_P450

  • “That said – your genes are not your destiny – they do get triggered, though.”

    Yes and no, while most genes do interact with the environment in ways epigeneticists are only beginning to understand, some genes are in fact, your destiny. This is especially true when it comes to genes that regulate enzymatic activity and cell metabolism. If you have variants that cause impaired regulation, you will most likely experience less positive effect, and possibly a greater number of side effects of certain drugs. Being a homzygote of a gene that causes metabolic impairment will mean you don’t make certain enzymes at all. The current Baby Charlie case in the UK is a good example of the type of disability that can result from inheriting two impaired genes – being homozygous. In his case, the impaired genes effect cell metabolism. So, genes can very much be your destiny if you are homzygotic for genes that influence metabolism and methylation. Other examples of genes that are fine if you’re only a carrier, but screwed if you have two copies would include diseases like Tay-Sachs that runs in the Ashkenazi Jewish community, and Sickle Cell Anemia is certain African communities.

  • I’ve been too busy to comment much around here lately, but I wanted to chime in with this.

    Recently, while discussing with my counselor my history in the mental health system and all the damage the massive overdrugging did to me – which he agrees did enormous harm – he asked me if I agreed that my ex-psychiatrist (a long-time colleague of his) had had good intentions. He also wanted to know if I thought those good intentions were enough.

    I agreed that she had good intentions, with some caveats. But I have thought long and hard about the second question, and my answer is no, good intentions are not enough. She had a decade to witness the effects of the drugs she was prescribing to me. She was a very smart doctor, graduating at the top of her class from the medical school of a highly respected elite private educational institution. She had ample opportunity to assess the criticisms of psychiatry and with an undergrad degree in chemistry, she certainly had the knowledge to understand how the drugs effect the human body and brain. She certainly understood that the so-called “mood stabilizers” and “antipsychotics” did not function in the way they claimed to, and that they were simply major tranquilizers. She was old enough to have been practicing before Prozac was released, and to have witnessed the massive drugging that has taken place in America over the last three decades and the nonsense of type 3, so-called ‘latent’ bipolar. She is culpable of harm. Plain and simple. Though I believe she wanted to help, I also believe she ignored the knowledge she had, and lied to her patients, believing that “the ends justify the means”. Not only that, she purposely caused me to experience a horrible drug withdrawal reaction and then blackmailed me into “admitting” that I “needed” the drugs before she would represcribe the medication I was addicted to – one of her “mood stabilizers”.

    I used to believe that the doctors just didn’t realize the harm they were doing. I no longer believe this is a matter of stupidity. I think these doctors are intentionally lying to patients because they know that their very livelihood will go away if they abandon the biomedical/chemical imbalance/drugs cure all model. That’s what we are fighting. A profession who realizes it will be eliminated if the truth gets out. F&ck their livelihood. These are our lives.

  • The biggest obstacle I see in my daily observation of Mental Health, Inc is that the fourth wave feminists have bought into the biomedical model and are screaming it from the mountaintop in the name of “mental health parity” and “anti stigma”. I’m starting to understand why some people call feminists ‘feminazis’. No attempt to reason with this group is successful. On social media, attempts to explain the downsides of biomedical mental health results in blocking at best. I’ve also been doxxed, had accounts suspended by Facebook for simply disagreeing politely (if enough people report your comment, it results in automatic termination of your account), and had these (mostly women) post links to my accounts on their personal social media pages calling me ‘crazy’ and calling on their posse to also attack me. Honestly, if we were only dealing with doctors and researchers, it wouldn’t be as difficult to counter the biomedical narrative.

    I honestly don’t understand this either because in nearly every other arena, the feminists are the first to point out the effects of environment and inequality on human suffering. And yet, they don’t seem to understand that blaming the brain results in increased stigma. I wish everyone pushing the biomedical narrative would read the ‘Breaking Free From the Stigma Paradox’ that was recently published on this site, to get a taste of the effect of the biomedical model.

  • You know, I really wish I’d had the testing done a long time ago. I am a poor metabolized of certain drugs. All my doctor did was blood levels. My blood level was always low despite being on a high dose, so she increased my dose, leading to unnecessary side effects – including severe light sensitivity and symptoms similar to Multiple Sclerosis. Had I had the genetic testing and realized I didn’t possess the enzymes necessary to metabolize the drug, I could have gone off it or tried something else. As it stands, I still have not healed from years of taking this drug and believe at this point that I have permanent optic nerve damage. Genetic testing is not folly, but you’d better believe that when more than 50% of drugs go through a certain metabolic channel and there is evidence that an enormous number of people lack the ability to properly metabolize them, that the media companies – who receive billions in advertising dollars from pharma – are going to be pressured to downplay the significance of genetic testing. Same with the researchers who should be independent but in fact receive most funding at this point directly from pharma. If you want to believe the naysayers, fine, but I follow the money. And the chemistry is not that hard to understand either.

  • Makes sense. 23andMe’s major downside is that it isn’t a whole genome sequencing, which is still very expensive – in the $2-3K range. And they’re legally only allowed to tell you certain information about your results. This is why I followed up with Promethease analysis.

  • Hey someone, while I agree that buying into specific medical company’s psychiatric genetic testing is overblown, knowing your CYP variants is extraordinarily useful in predicting which drugs will make you ill. You’re right that it can’t say which ones will definitely work, but it will give you useful information for which drugs to avoid, as it did for amnesia and her husband. This idea is not new as you can see from the citation below from 1988. The only thing that is new is the ability to affordably test individual patients for their genetic carrier status to determine whether or not they will be able to metabolize certain drugs.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S000991208880002X

  • Additionally, if you have it done through a medical channel using insurance that info is now in your medical record and can be used against you for insurance coverage (life and health) and other nefarious purposes. If you go through 23andMe, you can opt out of sharing your data with researchers or anyone else and keep it completely private. You can even use a fake name, they don’t check.

  • If you want to knOw genetic information like CYP450 status (of which there are multiple variants you can be a carrier of) or other CYP genes that effect drug metabolism, its far cheaper and easier to have your genome analyzed by a company like 23andMe ($199.00) and then use Promethease (4.99) to analyze your results. I should not take SSRIs, for example. And I have some weird CYP variants that effect other drugs and foods I like through impaired methylation processes. It was useful info but I would not go to a branded medical company for the tests. Too expensive. Not enough additional useful info that I could tell.

  • Hey HSN, You should make a conscious effort to be more interactive with your cat. Even if you don’t feel an immediate reward or don’t think it’s helping. There are numerous studies showing that petting a cat helps with depressive symptoms. It may take a while so you may have to think of it as exercise – something you do for long term benefit even if the immediate feeling isn’t fun. Try it as an experiment for a while. It’ll be good for you and kitty. Hang in there!

  • Surprisingly, my mother saw an ethical surgeon in the 1990s when she had a disc injury from falling off her boat and pretty severe sciatica. He refused to operate and told her she’d have back problems for life if he did. He told her to get a couple of canes and walk every single day. So that’s what she did. And she healed. Everyone I know who has had back surgery has ended up with either repeated surgeries or permanent sciatic nerve pain, or both.

  • “It’s the whole medical system, not just the shrinks who are quacks.”

    Hear, hear!

    The number of people I’ve known who have been harmed by medical treatment is staggering. My dad had a reaction to Lipitor that landed him in the hospital, where he acquired an infection that killed him – but not without an eight month long battle on life support.

    A friend developed osteopenia after taking PPIs for years. Didn’t know anything was wrong until she started having repeated bone fractures from no-impact injuries. She was only in her 40s.

    Another friend went for a knee replacement. Was told before surgery NOT to mark which leg was the surgical leg and which non-surgical. She ignored that advice and marked her legs as “THIS KNEE” and “NOT THIS KNEE” and was later told by both the surgeon and surgical nurse (privately and separately) that had she not done so, they would have operated on the wrong knee.

    My mother has been dealing with chronic Lyme disease for over five years and has been dismissed by doctors as it being all in her head. Now dealing with Lyme related cardiac issues and psoriasis with little help from doctors.

    I’ve had repeated surgeries to repair the damage from my hysterectomy. Thank ALL THE GODS that I refused the mesh surgery my doctor had pushed me to have as an alternative to hysterectomy now that the pelvic mesh lawsuits made it clear what a disaster that has been for women.

    And then there was the recent experience of being treated VERY differently from my fiancé when we presented to our doctors (in the same practice) with the same symptoms. I was dismissed without so much as an exam, while his doctor wanted to do surgery. They – his doctor, the surgeon, and the radiology place – pursued him for about a month. We’re getting better slowly with a drastic elimination diet. I asked his doctor during the visit if this could be diet related and was told emphatically no.

    Yeah, I’m so SO over western medicine. Doctors are bullies and western medicine does at least as much harm as good. I don’t know of a medical school that requires the hippocratic oath anymore. The new oath seems to be “do more benefit than harm”, and that is a distinctly different approach than “do no harm”.

  • Interestingly, and not to dispute your points at all, the folks at Johns Hopkins Mood Disorders Unit were the first to say they didn’t think I was bipolar at all. After 11 years of bipolar treatment, they diagnosed me with MDD. I thought they were nuts at the time but I was still fully indoctrinated as seriously mentally ill and genetically bipolar when I saw them in 2013. Took another two years to get off the SSRI, and three years to get off drugs entirely. At eight months “clean”, I’m starting to feel like a normal human again, of course, with lingering paranoia of being dragged back into the system and drugged.

  • Uprising, I don’t even think there are very many people who feign disability. But our disability system is basically an all or nothing kind of deal. Especially for those who receive SSI rather than purely SSDI. Working a small number of hours would be beneficial to a large number of people, if only for the increased human contact and feeling of contribution to the community. But for those on SSI, every dollar you make takes a dollar from your check and for low income folks, they risk losing Medicaid coverage, and other social services. A minimum income and Medicare for All would go a long way toward getting people out of the disabled mindset because it would no longer be an issue of keeping your benefits intact for basic survival.

  • I’d like to know why the people writing our welfare laws thought it was better to force me to work an exhausting, minimum wage labor intensive job and to pay more for my daughter to attend daycare than my job paid me, setting me up to be stressed and depressed. Wouldn’t a minimum income or at least a maternal income for the first few years that supported low income mothers and allowed them to stay at home and nurture their children be a better way to prevent maternal depression? I didn’t need job finding skills, I needed enough resources to not be homeless and to feed my child. Our home didn’t suffer from a lack of love, it suffered from a lack of money.