Monday, October 16, 2017

Comments by Alix

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  • Other questions spring to mind- about patient confidentiality for example and communication between doctors and airlines. Also Lubitz could have committed suicide without killing other people, why did he have to take other innocent people with him? Something to do with his character? About Lorazepam and his eyesight problems which seems to have worried him. While on Lorazepam my mother went blind now and then out of the blue etc..

  • I am so happy I live in your neck of the woods and not in Canada. My niece has been currently incarcerated against her will in Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital in Toronto because she dared cutting down her medication after reading Peter Breggin’s books and Robert Whitaker’s “Anatomy of an Epidemic” . She has been and still is treated very shabbily there – she has been cut off from all her friends and the outside world, she was denied an advocate at her tribunal, all her money has been taken away from her, she is beeing tied down and forcibly injected with medication and she has been repeatedly thrown into solitary confinement: I find it despicable in this day and age. We wouldn’t even know where she is being held, had she not managed at one o’clock in the morning to sneak out a cry for help on Facebook. Not that we are able to help her much. Instead of getting better she is deteriorating by the day thanks to the treatment she is receiving and becoming confused and paranoid. It is not surprising after what she has been through. What century are they living in – in Toronto?

  • In my son’s case he would have never ended on benefits if he hadn’t been forcibly drugged and rendered totally incapable to fend for himself or to think for himself thanks to olanzapine and other antipsychotics. Once he had managed to get off those drugs behind doctors’ backs, he became his normal intelligent self but had lost totally his self confidence thanks to the treatment he had received at the hands of psychiatrists.
    My niece in Toronto had a very similar experience. She took herself off the drugs but instead of supporting her, her mother went squealing to the psychiatrists and had her hospitalised and put back on drugs against her daughter’s will. And guess what, her mother wants her back on disability. So yes, I think Robert Whitaker is absolutely right in what he is saying concerning psychiatric drugs.
    Also mothers, fathers, the family are often to blame in their children’s breakdown. My husband was certainly to blame in my son’s so called mental illness and my sister-in law is definitely to blame in my nieces predicament because she is a bully and has never allowed her daughter to have any say in anything

  • If you have never had to deal with psychiatry, you think that psychiatrists know what they are doing and naively ask for their help.
    Once you are trapped, it is jolly difficult to get away from them again. They have powers they shouldn’t have to pursue you, detain you, drug you against your will and to traumatise you for life. They don’t listen. They think they know better. After all they have been to medical school. They believe unquestioningly what they have been taught. Then there are the NICE guidelines the psychiatrists have to follow. They can be a bit of a trap for the psychiatrists themselves. Lastly they are terrified of being sued and losing their job and they lie through their teeth to protect each others backs Never mind the poor patient! That is my experience of psychiatry in Britain

  • I have seen it happen again and again where I live in the East Midlands: the parents who can’t deal with their disruptive kids actually want them diagnosed and medicated and put pressure on doctors to label them. Then they feel better: it is not their fault; the kid has a mental problem. The same probably applies to teachers. They are not allowed to discipline the children in their care, so meds come in handy. I don’t envy teachers in this day and age. I wouldn’t want to be one today. I enjoyed the job 35 years ago though.

  • What worries me is the fact that psychiatrists, all doctors that they are, are unable to distinguish psychosis caused by infection or sleep deprivation from mental illness. Also, when patients report physical problems due to the medications, the psychiatrists don’t check what the patient is saying. My son was reporting all the symptoms of NMS after taking olanzapine and the psychiatrist never checked on him and refused to lower the dose. My son had to do a runner from the hospital, helped thankfully by one of the nurses and myself. All this happened in good old merry England. I soon discovered that I knew more about psychiatric meds than the psychiatrists who should have known how the endocrine system functions and what happens to it when you stop dopamine histamine, adrenaline and serotonin from functioning normally.

  • May I ask yet again: what role do parents and governments play in this ADHD epidemic, and our society in general. Parents are often more bothered about their career than their offspring. Mothers who want to stay at home and bring up their children are laughed at and put down….Often there is no place where children can safely let of steam…Sure, psychiatrists are a right pain but why is there such a demand for those drugs?

  • I love your piece. Sadly things are rarely that straight forward in real life and some times it must be difficult for a psychiatrist to decide what is the right thing to do. We are only human. Once my son recovered – and he could have been easily dead had I not found him in time – I went to confront the psychiatrist who failed to answer my calls for help. I expected him to apologise but to my surprise the poor man started falling apart in front of my eyes and believe it or not I felt sorry for him and thought: you could really do with some counselling yourself and thank heaven I am not in your shoes.

  • Here you go! I was just going to point out that some people like diagnoses and it makes them feel better knowing that their problems have one because then it is not their fault and there is nothing they can do about it but take maybe some magic pill. You have the proof right here. Personally I despise diagnoses and I think that they do more harm than good and they mark a person for life – in a negative way. That does not stop a lot of psychiatrists from being well meaning and kind people. My son’s psychiatrists were all kind people, nevertheless they nearly killed him with their diagnosis.

  • I am so with you on this. What are these learned men and women thinking of?
    But then there are the parents to consider too. Why do they want their children drugged? Because they are tired and can’t be bothered to give them their attention? Here in Britain our government instead of supporting the mothers who want to stay at home and bring up their children, wants to force them all into work as if bringing up your children weren’t proper work. Teachers’ hands have been tied when it comes to introducing discipline. It is a vicious circle created by governments and “experts” psychiatrists, some psychologists, and other theorists.

  • Psychiatrists are not the only ones to blame. The depressed people are as much to blame themselves. They want to believe in the chemical imbalance theory and they want a magic pill to cure their problems. My very own husband is one of those. He keeps pestering our GP for some antidepressants. To be fair to our GP she has been resisting him valiantly and advising him to change his way of life instead.

  • Wise words. The most aggravating is that a lot of people don’t choose to solve their problems with a pill. They are forced into it and have to hide and lie to get off those meds

  • I am pretty much anti-pill for myself and all my nearest and dearest although I agree that it is a personal choice. Psychiatric medication has done a lot of harm in my family. Ativan damaged my mother’s last ten years; she tried desperately to get off it but never succeeded. In the process she drove my family up the wall. Olanzapine nearly killed my son; he wasn’t even told by the doctors that he had been put on an antipsychotic while he was hospitalised for septicaemia. Had he known, he would have refused. He found it impossible to get off it and nearly killed himself during his attempts to withdraw. In my opinion doctors prescribe psychiatric drugs very light-heartedly and haven’t got a clue how they work and the damage they cause.
    I read your book and found it very interesting. It could easily happen today in the UK where I live

  • What exactly do people expect from psychiatrists when they go and ask for their help? I expected them to be experts not only in easing the symptoms of psychosis – in my son’s case – but also in the underlying causes of that psychosis, be it physical or emotional. I also expected them to know how their meds worked, why they had those horrible side-effects and how to get off them safely. They didn’t know any of it. They pretended that there was no such thing as side-effects and refused to discus ways of getting off them. When I mentioned that my son had been emotionally bullied by his father since he was a toddler, the psychiatrist asked me why I was telling him this- he thought it was irrelevant. I think we need psychiatrists but their training should be changed.

  • My son was one of the people who was never offered any talking therapy in the East-Midlands. He was sectioned and coerced into taking antipsychotics. I found that the medication was actually stopping him from thinking things through. Once allowed home, he came off the medication behind the psychiatrist’s back. He was able then to rationalise and leave all his fears behind. The meds did hinder him, not help him. It would have also been nice to see a friendly face while in hospital interacting with the patients and not speaking to them as if they were children. The staff weren’t engaging with the patients at all. May be they should be trained into how to relate to patients. I suspect that there are not enough clinical psychologists going around. I sat there just listening to him and I think it helped.

  • The problem is: people are traumatising other people without even being aware of it. Grownups are traumatising children in particular and think they are doing it for their own good, just like psychiatrists who use coercion. My daughter was traumatised by her teachers and turned into an elective mute; my niece was traumatised by her well-meaning, bossy mother who didn’t allow her a say and organised everything in her life without inquiring what her daughter wanted. When she became a teenager she started smoking cannabis, just to spite her mother, and became psychotic. She was diagnosed mentally ill. Her mother was shocked but the label suited her nicely. It cleared her of blame. She hasn’t got an inkling that she might be to blame at least a little bit. To make things worse, she sided with the psychiatrists and my bright, clever niece has been forcibly drugged now for 10 years. My heart bleeds.

  • My son developed NMS on Olanzapine and the “experts” didn’t take any notice of it and didn’t check on him during the night. He had to run for his life because the psychiatrist refused to take him off the meds. He could have easily been one of those unexplained sudden deaths. Luckily he had the support of one of the nurses who helped him to escape.

  • People in distress wouldn’t mind going into hospital and talking to doctors. My son went in voluntarily but sadly the treatment he received shook him badly and was not what he expected. Nobody listened to his problem; he was sectioned and forcibly treated, there was no explanation about what was going on. He had never had anything to do with psychiatry. Doctors don’t have to behave in this way. They should stop treating people as if they were stupid and take the time to listen instead of jumping to conclusions. What needs changing is the way psychiatrists are trained.

  • As a mother of 6 grown up “children” and as somebody who has just finished reading “January First” by Michael Schofield and “When love is not enough” by Cherry Willoughby , I find your article extremely interesting. I pity the children of today mainly because of the lack of freedom and all the pressure they are under. They are not allowed to develop freely on one hand; on the other children have often become little gods and they know it. Very unhealthy in my view.

  • Excellent post, if only psychiatrists and other staff would take heed! My son definitely needed medication to settle him when he arrived in A&E and to help him sleep. But medication is all he got-no emotional support whatsoever. All staff did was twiddling their thumbs, filling in forms and dishing out tablets. Even when he recovered his senses, he wasn’t allowed a say in his medication. If he reported side-effects, he was laughed at and once out of hospital, doctors refused to help him off the medication. He had to do it himself behind doctors backs. Nobody ever inquired what caused his breakdown. It was a mental illness, no need to look any further. That’s what the young psychiatrists had been taught at medical school it didn’t occur to them that they should question what they had been taught. I was labelled an EE mother and a pain in the neck.

  • This is my experience while watching my son tapering of antipsychotic medication: he found it impossible to come off olanzapine, no matter how slowly he tapered because of extreme insomnia and akathisia which lead to a breakdown and rehospitalisation. The psychiatrist in charge of his case moved him on to Risperdal on which my son had severe side-effects but at least he was able to come off it in about six weeks and he hasn’t been on any medication since- for 5 years now. His life has been ruined though by his experience and the labels which follow you thanks to your medical notes.

  • I think that denying our emotions is unhealthy but I also think that it is absolutely essential to take and feel in control of them and not let them lead us down the wrong path which can happen so easily: not all emotions are positive; they can be destructive.

  • My first contact with my son’s young consultant psychiatrist was first class. My son nearly managed to commit suicide thanks to the drugs and its side effects another psychiatrist had put him on without even telling him the drug was an atypical antipsychotic. As soon as I pointed out that I blamed the antipsychotic for what happened, the atmosphere in the ward changed and all psychiatrists closed ranks and promptly labelled my son “severely mentally ill”. My son’s friendly psychiatrist stopped discussing anything with me. He actually went on three weeks unexpected leave and returned once my son had been discharged. Somehow I suspected that my son’s psychiatrist had been told by higher powers not to discuss what had happened with me but deep down he knew what I was telling him was true. The therapeutic alliance was nipped in the bud.

  • What happened to self-discipline and self-control? We were taught both by our parents and teachers when I grew up in the forties and fifties in refugee camps in Germany and later on in France. Nobody ever thought there was anything wrong with our brains when we misbehaved. I was quite a loose cannon at the age of five and my grand mother spent a lot of time to get across to me- lovingly- that this will not do and it is up to me to take control of my behaviour. One of the problems is that parents haven’t got time to bring up their children: they have their careers to think of. Mothers are actively encouraged to go out to work in the UK and those who decide to stay at home and bring up their children are looked down upon. I don’t envy the modern child. We had much more freedom to run around when I was a child

  • I agree with everything you are saying. Having been through a breakdown at the age of 17, heard voices in my head and recovered without any medical intervention, I certainly never considered myself “mentally ill”. I have always had a good insight in what was going on into my inner world. I realised immediately that the voices were just different sides of my “Self” in conflict with each other. Also I came quickly to the conclusion that most of my problems were due to my own attitude and behaviour and that I needed to change. Nevertheless there was also a physical aspect to my breakdown due to sleep deprivation, too much caffeine, anxiety and panic attacks and these were much more difficult to handle.

  • I certainly agree with what you are saying about “rules regulations and guidelines” and how they are stopping therapists and psychiatrists communicating properly with the person seeking help. It certainly is the case if you are working in the NHS in Britain.

  • When my son ended up in psychiatric care he was paranoid and totally out of touch with reality. He was coaxed into taking haloperidol and within 15 minutes he was back to being his real self. Two days later he wanted the psychiatrist to help him off the medication but he refused and my son was forcibly drugged with Risperidone. So my son had to pretend that he was getting better to get out of hospital. Nobody took seriously the side effects he was having either. Getting discharged was the only way of getting off the meds, behind doctors backs of course. He developed all the symptoms of Parkinson’s, hyperprolactinimia, couldn’t stop eating, was permanently dizzy etc. and not one doctor took him seriously, they were saying that he was doing. fine. Nobody inquired where his paranoia came from or discussed it with him. They weren’t interested.

  • Thanks for writing this. It is exactly what I was trying to get across to my son’s psychiatrist. He looked at me puzzled and asked “What exactly do you want from me?” he had prescribed the Risperidone and as far as he was concerned, his job was done. My son had been sectioned, so he had no say in any of this. The GP too thought her job was done. Neither inquired why my son had broken down in the first place. The psychiatrist was still young and inexperience but the GP was in her late fifties: she should have known better.

  • I know from personal experience that the advice you give here is excellent. It is not always possible to put everything in practice though when you are dealing with a family of 6 growing up teenagers wrestling with problems of their own. Tolerance and resilience can be in short supply in these circumstances and yet what do you do if no other help is available in your area. I had to battle on and hope for the best and luckily I succeeded.

  • In my experience the atypical antipsychotics are just as neurotoxic as Haloperidol. Olanzapine and Risperdal in low doses had horrendous side effects in my son’s case. These drugs are extremely potent and disrupted all his endocrine system as well as his neurotransmitters of course.He didn’t get any placebo effect from them whatsoever. It took him over 2 years to recover from the physical effects of those drugs once he managed to get off them.

  • This was my experience when my older son had a breakdown and nearly took his own life here in the UK. My family fell apart and no help whatsoever was offered to us. My son was sectioned and forcibly medicated. I tried to tell the psychiatrists what happened but no one listened. My husband sided with the doctors and made himself scarce. My daughter and my second son who tried to support me developed insomnia and collapsed physically after a bout of flue. Son number 3, who had stopped his brother from jumping, failed all his university exams and went spare because he couldn’t stop blaming his brother for this failure etc. As you can see everything fell apart and a lot of healing, forgiving and forgetting had to be done. We are half-ways there. I hope we will get there but no, we didn’t get any help at all from the Mental health services. All they were interested in was that my oldest son continued to take his medication. He didn’t: the medication was only harming him. The attitude of his father and the resentment of some of his siblings weren’t helping either. Ultimately he had to get away to allow himself to heal.

  • I am the mother of a son diagnosed by psychiatrists as “severely mentally ill”. Luckily I never believed any of it. “Leave it to the experts” said the doctors. They sent my son home incapable of thinking clearly, shuffling instead of walking, depressed and totally traumatised. I took him off the medication behind doctors’ backs following Dr Breggin’s advice in one of his books. He is back to his normal happy, healthy self now but it took 5 years for him to get over the trauma caused by his experience and 2 years to get rid of the physical side-effects caused by the antipsychotic medication he was forced to take in hospital. The most shocking thing is that his doctors genuinely believed that they were doing their best to help him because they are blinkered by what they have been taught at medical school.

  • Anger is a good and necessary thing but then one has to work through it and move on or else it might damage you. I am currently watching my son wrestling with it, unable to move beyond it. His anger was constructive to start with but now it is getting in his way and he is stuck with it.

  • I so agree with you and I think that a lot of so called “mental illness” is brought about by the constant rushing about, by the incessant demands we and others put on ourselves. I certainly brought my own breakdown upon myself by not giving myself a rest. I have read a lot of real stories about depression, psychosis and manic depression and in every of these stories I found too much ambition, too much pressure, not enough sleep, sometimes too much pride etc…

  • I truly appreciate you writing openly and frankly about this subject. When my son was put on antipsychotics against his will in 2008, I found it difficult to believe that psychiatrists didn’t have a clue how to get him off them. “Just stop taking them” they said and we listened to them and it nearly killed my son. “There are no withdrawal symptoms from antipsychotic medication. Leave it to the experts”. Luckily I found Dr Breggin’s books and got him off those neuroleptics behind doctors backs. We had to hide so they would not section him and medicate him against his will. It was a nightmare!

  • I agree with Ed about the medication withdrawal. My son found it impossible to come off 2.5mg of zyprexa. He developed such withdrawal symptoms (extreme akathisia and total insomnia) that he was rehospitalised and moved onto Risperidone and than taken off it in about 10 weeks. Even then he went through hell and had to shave of slowly bits of a 1/2 mg tablet before he could come off the antipsychotic all together. Luckilly I had read Peter Breggin’s book warning of all the pitfalls. Otherwise he would have given up in dispair.

  • People, including doctors and psychiatrists, seem to concentrate only on how antipsychotic medication affects dopamine supply in the brain. They totally ignore the noctious effect they have on histamine and adrenaline receptors in the brain. Because they disrupt histamine supply, people get sleep problems as well as metabollic problems and suffer from constant hunger. Histamines regulate appetite and play a role in sleep cycles. Antipsychotics also disrupt adrenaline supply, hence all the cardiovascular problems and insulin problems. The patients get blaimed for all these. I think doctors who prescribe antipsychotics should go back to their endocrinology books. I did just that and was surprised.

  • In some circumstances the question comes down to: what is better the padded cell or a tranquellizer when a person who has “completely lost it” and is trying to kill himself or somebody else, arrives in A&E. I am talking about my son here. I am glad they coerced him into taking Haloperidol at the time; what I object to though is that the psychiatrists continued to tranquellize him against his will afterwards instead of talking to him and helping him to solve his psychological and emotional problems that brought him to his knees in the first place.I think that people break down for a good reason and psychiatry is ignoring this. I am looking forward in reading more of what you have to say.

  • My mother was one of the many victims of Ativan. When she was prescribed those pills to help her get over my father’s sudden death, she was told that it was this marvellous non-addictive drug. Stopping it was like stopping taking aspirine. Actually the doctor believed his own story at the time. My mother spent the ten last years of her life trying to get off it but never made it completly. She found it impossible to get off the last 1 mg of it. Ativan spoilt her life and turned her into a gibbering wreck and, as a consequence, it turned also my life up side down and had a lasting effect on my children. The doctor blamed her and not the Ativan for all the withdrawal effects. I found it difficult to grasp that doctors were prescribing medication you could not come off again.

  • Haloperidol, olanzapine and risperidone did definitely NOT help my son as far as cognition was concerned. These meds actually stopped him from reasoning out his problems. Once he took himself off the antipsychotic medication, he could see straight away the absurdity of his assumptions: that the whole British police force was after him and that spies were lurking everywhere. These meds actually kept him trapped in the delusional world he had created during fever and infection.

  • I wish I would have had somebody to talk to when my son tried to commit suicide. It left all the family in a terrible turmoil and badly traumatised with no psychological help whatsoever.
    On the other hand I owe a lot of gratitude to the police, the ambulance people and the A&E doctors and nurses who saved his life.The young psychiatrist who came and talked to me and gave him some medication to calm him down was a lovely person too.
    Sadly things changed once he was out of danger. The authorities sectioned him, medicated him with antipsychotics against his will and caused him untold trauma. It took him years to get over the “help” he was metted out afterwards

  • There is a link between violence and depression-that is my personnal experience. Not all depressed people turn violent but if people become violent it is because they are deep-down terribly depressed: depressed about how they are being treated by society, by their nearest and dearest, by what gready governements are doing to our world, to animals etc. etc.

  • I am affraid parents often traumatise their children and most of the time they don’t mean too. Often parents want the best for their children but they forget to ask their children what they want and don’t allow them to have their say. I had very good parents and yet my father whom I loved very much was directly to blame in my breakdown. Luckily he realised it and “picked me up” and helped me back on my feet and we stayed close until he died. My mother was a gentle person who didn’t understand a wild child like me but who always tried her best. We just weren’t born on the same wave-length: it wasn’t her fault. The best thing about her: she was never judgemental.

  • personally I am very grateful to Dr Breggin and his books. Thanks to him and his advice I managed to get my son off antipsychotics that were driving him mad when nobody else would help and I have been spreading the word. Thanks to him a friend has managed at last to get his wife off olanzapine and another one her daughter off clozapine. In both cases their own doctors were totally useless.

  • I know how lucky I was and I shudder when I think of what could have happened had I ended up in the mental health service. I agree that things need to be changed,that people need safe havens not forced treatement etc. All I am saying is that families are sometimes at fault, sometimes unwittingly, and psychiatrists are not always wrong: it depends on what they are saying.

  • Just because something has been written in a journal of psychiatry by some psychiatrists doesn’t mean that it is wrong. Some people automatically assume so. My personal breakdown occured during my adolescence and I blame it on all sorts of circumstance and yes, my family had something to do with it, as well as all the stupid rules and regulations of my school.It had also something to do with my oppositonal confrontational character and my desire to understand how the world worked and what life was all about. To add to this, I was shocked by the two-facedness of society and adults in particular.Last but not least, I started carrying on like a “proper porc chop”,burning my candle at both ends, thinking I was immortal, until I collapsed, started hearing voices in my head etc. What would have helped in my case? The open dialogue approach where people sit down and talk properly. May be a sleeping tablet now and then. Looking back I can see how I brought it all onto myself. Luckily my parents never asked for any psychiatric help. They sat me down and talked to me and assured me that they were there for me. It took me about six months to recover.

  • My son was given olanzapine when he became delirious because of an infection. He developed NMS on it and nearly died yet the doctors continued to give him the antipsychotic and I had to take him off it without their and permission or help. I have read a study on the Internet that giving an antipsychotic for delirium is not recomended because of the fever and the danger of developing NMS. The doctors don’t seem to be aware of it.

  • The important thing is talking and listening-comunicating. Psychiatrists nowadays have forgotten how to do it. Not only that: they don’t seem to be interested to know the full story. In my opinion it is the main reason why people get stuck in limbo and become chronic patients. The root-cause is not addressed. In the olden days psychiatrists were not just pill-pushers. They knew about psychology and trauma.

  • Dear Alice, I agree with most of what you are saying and yet, and yet I have some misgivings: your children will have to live one day in the real world and they will have to be strong to resist all the temptations they will come into contact with. Although I didn’t always agree with what they were taught at school, I still decided to send mine there so they would get used to the challenges they will have to face when they grow up. I made sure though that I always stayed “friends” with them through thick and thin and that there would always be a safe haven for them wherever I was. There is nothing wrong with going out and earning money as long as one does it in an honest way.

  • My son was not only told that he was mentally ill, that there was no cure, that he will be on drugs for life and that he will get worse if he stops taking the meds, he was literally taken aside by the medical staff and brainwashed into believing it behind my back, because the doctors and nursing staff knew that I disagreed with them.I had to painstakingly undo their “good” work every time he came home from an appointement.

  • I can only speak from experience. The daughter of a friend of mine was put on clozapine during a breakdown. She had never been violent before. She attacked her mother with a knife. She didn’t blame voices for the attack but a strange compulsion. I believe she blamed her mother for getting her trapped in the psychiatric system. Once taken off the clozapine the compulsion disappeared and she has been able to talk things through with her mother. She has moved out of her mother’s house mainly because her mother believes in the label of schizophrenia.

  • Corinna, you are a great person! I love your posts, your openness and your enthousiasm. I have some idea of what you are talking about. I agree with you about things going around in circles and how stress and not getting enough sleep can propel one into a strange world. I have watched it happening to my son. I find he reaches a point when he is totally unable to fall asleep no matter how much he wishes to. When he reaches that point he needs the help of a sleeping pill. Once he stsrts sleeping, he is right as rain again in a few days. Like you, after his experience with the mental health services, he is very wary of pills and I find it very difficult to talk him into taking just one until he starts seeing flashing lights and every noise becomes very loud. Once he gives in, he recovers pretty quickly and is able to deal with what was stressing him out in the first place. Like you he experiences the spiritual side of things too.

  • I can confirm that some people are very sensitive to a tiny amount of psychiatric drugs: my mother and my son were both a good example of this when coming off ativan and risperidone respectively. Doctors didn’t believe this and insisted that such a tiny amount couldn’t have an effect but my son had all sorts of physical simptoms when trying to completely stop the risperidone like jerking legs and being unable to sleep. He was only on 2mg of risperidone when he developed full-blown Parkingson’s and total sexual dysfunction.

  • It seems to me that mother and son could benefit from “the open dialogue” approach and not psychiatric meds and labelling. These two don’t communicate.The mother is behaving just as badly as her son: all she does is antagonise him. He obviously will resent a mother who drags him to psychiatrists and treats him as “mentally” ill” I certainly would have in his shoes.

  • I know exactly what you are talking about.I grew up in Europe just after the war in a village. We had so much freedom! I pitty the little children of today. After university, I worked for two years in Austria. People had time for friendships,contemplation and meditation after work.Then I went to Canada and I was shocked by the way of life in Northamerica. it was all run, run, run, work, work, work, no time for friendships or philosophising. There was money, much more than in Europe but money was not enough for me. Mind you the american way of life has moved over here. Luckily I am a pensioner by now so I can take my time and sit in the garden, listen to the blackbird, feed the robin, smell the honeysuckle, tend my garden. One doesn’t need much to make life worth living!

  • This is a very powerful story and so true.Something similar happened to the daughter of a friend of mine. Her problem was that her mother sided with the psychiatrists and believed what they were telling her instead of helping her daughter to taper off the antipsychotics which were driving her crazy. Luckily she found support with her father who is divorced from her mother,she is now off all medications and rebuilding her life.

  • being a “golden oldie”, I know exactly what you are talking about.I remember well the days when our family doctor was a caring friend and didn’t mind popping in if one of the children wasn’t feeling well. Had such a GP been around when my son collapsed delirious because of a badly infected toe, he would have never ended up in psychiatric care, drugged with antipsychotics and labelled mentally ill. I can remember the days when the same doctors and nurses looked after you if you ended up in hospital. They had time to talk to you. You didn’t have to wait for hours in A&E either.Hospitals were small friendly places, not huge technical monstrosities. Doctors are much better payed nowadays but I am not so sure about their job satisfaction. It has all turned into an impersonal rat-race and can technology and fancy drugs compensate for a friendly, human approach?

  • That is what a lot of “Mentally Ill” people have been trying to tell psychiatrists fo decades without being listened to. I tried to tell my son’s psychiatrists that his psychosis was due to sleep deprivation and that as far back as the sixties and seventies, there had been studies done about this. They had never heard about it. I know it to be true from personal experience. I slept only four hours or so while cramming for exams and a couple of months later started hearing voices in my head. These people don’t need to be put pronto on antipsychotics but to be given the chance to reestablish a normal pattern of sleep and a lot of peace and quiet, not a locked ward with all sorts of frightening and noisy goings on

  • I just went through the schizophrenia report again and it got me thinking. The glass is still half empty, I think, and will stay so until some of these recommendations get implemented. A lot of them were already there when my son got sucked in in the Mental health system in your neck of the woods four years ago but none of the professionals took much notice of them. Did anyone listen to the carer? No, they were shoved to the side and considered a nuisence. Did the psychiatrists listen to the patient when he begged the psychiatrists to get him off the olanzapine because he could not take the side effects any longer? No, they prescribed him more antipsychotics and antidepressants which he wisely put straight in the bin. Did the psychiatrists think that he was a pain in the neck and just pretending that he suffered from side effects? Yes, so they forcibly drugged him and nearly killed him. I think what needs badly doing is changing the training psychiatrists get in Medical School. They are doctors aren’t they? Why then are they unable to recognise side effects of their meds and why don’t they know how those meds work and how they disrupt the whole body? Why are they not taught to look for the root-cause of the problem and just look at the symptoms etc…No therapy was ever offered to anyone during my son’s illness. His CPN was hell bent into brainwashing him into believing that he was suffering from incurable serious mental illnes. Luckily he is well now but it is not thanks to the mental health care system or any of his doctors: psychiatrists and GP were totally useless. He definitely did not get well thanks to the medication. By the way, what is happening to the respite care some people need so badly? The authorities just closed down the respite homes in Newark (Notts). A friend of mine used to recharge her batteries there now and then and, since she has nowhere else to go, she has ended back in hospital being drugged: is that a cheaper option? Did she ever get any counselling or emotional support at home? NO! Did her husband? NO! THE GLASS IS FAR FROM HALF_FULL in your neck of the woods, Dr Middleton: there is still a long way to go.

  • The comission seems to have overlooked one thing in the report: the harm caused by the antipsychotic medication. Patients die early BECAUSE of the antipsychotic medication and if you have some idea of how the antipsychotic medication works, it is not surprising. Patients kill themselves because of the antipsychotic medication, its terrible side effects the doctors don’t take seriously and the withdrawal symptoms some doctors laugh at. My son’s endocrine system was so disturbed by the medication he was forcibly and unnecesseraly fed with that it took two years to get his thyroid function and his testosterone back to normal. he is still traumatises by what happened to him. What the carer had to say nobody took seriously.Certainly nobody tried to work with me. And yes, it all happened in your backyard.

  • It all depends on the child, the problem, the circumstances doesn’t it? Sometimes it is helpful, even for the child, to understand “why”- I was one of those children: I could not change if I didn’t understand “why” I should or “why” I was acting out. Luckily my grand-mother was a very astute person when it came to child psychology- at least for achild like me.

  • I am glad somebody is at last writing about how olanzapine and clozapine are actually pushing people to commit suicide. I have first hand experience of this. My son was force-fed olanzapine. When he came home from hospital he developed deep depression and suicidal thoughts. He tried to get off the drug but just could not. He developed severe akathisia and could not stop walking day and night. He developed also a strange sleeping pattern; he could only sleep 10 minutes at a time. Doctors did not believe what we were telling them and refused to help. After 6 weeks of this he could not take it any longer and tried to kill himself. It was pure luck that I found him in time and the emergency services saved his life. When I told his psychiatrist what had happened, he looked at me incredulously and told me to leave it to the specialists. My son had entered the hospital with a severly infected toe and delirium, he came out diagnosed “severly mentally ill” and traumatised by his experience.He came off all antipsychotic medication behind doctors’ backs. He had been put on risperidone. He hasn’t had a suicidal thought since and is actually enjoying life. The daughter of a friend has had a similar experience on clozpine.

  • I so agree with you about the healing powers of nature. I recovered from my breakdown by sitting on a rock above the river feeling the warmth of the sun and the caresses of the wind.It gave me a sense of belonging and brought peace to my battered soul. My son came out of hospital in Nov 2008. Wandering all day through the snowy woods with his photo camera and watching starry skyes at night helped his recovery.To be fair to the NHS mental health unit he was in here in Britain,the hospital had a nature trail in its grounds and the patients were allowed to feed birds and hedgehogs and just sit outside- watched through the window by the staff.

  • If anosognosia in schizophrenia is due to a brain defect how come people diagnosed with schizophrenia recover from it? Is it because lots and lots of people get misdiagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia when they are not and get then subjected unnecessarily to the full harmful treatment for it. And then why is it so difficult to get the label removed when they recover? Because psychiatrists don’t like to be wrong? If the anosognosia is caused by a brain defect, how come medications are supposed to work. The thing is: psychiatrists are much too quick to diagnose and medicate, by force if needed. And yes, coming off antipsychotics can cause psychosis and then you get labelled schizophrenic because the psychiatrists think you are having a second “episode” a sure proof that you are suffering from a “serious mental illness” and yet they have caused it themselves with their meds.

  • It all sounds so great on paper. My experience in real life was totally different. Nobody inquired what happened prior to my son’s breakdown or what brought it on. Doctors are only too keen to pathologise and diagnose. They did their best to keep me out of the picture. They loughed when my son reported the terrible side-effects of the antipsychotic medication and refused to lower the dose. There was no therapy of any kind offered to him. Nobody talked to his brothers and sisters who stopped him from killing himself. They had to cope the best they could with the trauma of it all and three of them experienced a break-down themselves a few months later. And yes, the antipsychotic meds did nothing for my son because they stopped him from thinking and dealing rationally with what had happened to him. Once off the meds he started putting two and two together and understanding what had happened to him.

  • I don’t know why psychologists blame mainly mothers for their dysfunctional children.Fathers can be as much to blame. My husband used to terrify our children when they were little. He thought it was the best way to keep them on the straight and narrow. It has definitely affected their nervous system and their anxiety levels. It has also affected the way they react to other people. They don’t trust and are affraid of close relatioships

  • I can only speak from my own experience but yes, cities drive me mad. I can’t tell if it is genetic or not.As someone who had been traumatised by war in my early childhood,I grew up in small villages, at the heart of nature, in Germany and in France. Then after teaching French in beautiful,friendly Austria for 3 years I ended up in Canada. It was a horrendous shock; the endless ratrace: people driven non-stop by their ambitions, work, commuting, no time for friendships, hardly seing any daylight during the winter, no time for oneself, always exhausted. I was earning 10 times more than in Europe but I soon decided that it was not for me and returned to Europe because the american way of life was driving me crazy and my sanity was important to me. I am not surprised at all that city-living, without the possibility of escape, is driving some people insane: it all depends on what one wants from life: is that genetic?

  • I know exactly what you are talking about. A well-meaning doctor prescribed Ativan to help my mother to come to terms with my father’s death. The doctor assured her that it was a marvellous new drug you didn’t get addicted to. She would be able to stop it whenever she wanted. When just a month later she tried to stop the Ativan, she couldn’t. She was just on 0.5 mg. The doctor thought she was having him on and being difficult. I didn’t know what to think: I couldn’t believe that doctors prescribed pills you couldn’t get off again and that they didn’t have a clue how they worked.Her withdrawal symptoms were horrific.

  • You haven’t read Patrick and Henry Cockburn’s recent book “Henry’s deamons” -a father and son’s journey out of madness. When Henry gets hospitalised he is in the habit of tearing off his clothes and escaping through windows. The book has been written in 2011.

  • I helped my son come off antipsychotic meds because no doctor was willing to help. To start with he was on 5mg of olanzapine. We tried to go slowly but we did not go slowly enough. He developed severe akathisia and was unable to sleep more than 10mn at a time. After 4 weeks of this he tried to kill himself. Luckily I found him in time and the A&E saved his life. He was put back on meds: 2mg of Risperidone, developed full-blown Parkinson’s and his prolactin went through the roof. Nobody cared. He came off the meds behind doctors’ backs in about three months. I doubt it if he would have made it on his own. The withdrawal symptoms were terrible: akathisia, terrible muscle and chest pains,jerking legs, twichy eyes and mouth,severe panic attacks. He would have been unable to sleep without Zopiclone. I held him tight like a little child to help him through the worst of the withdrawl, telling him: “no, no you are not mad. It’s the withdrawal. Peter Breggin says that in his book. The toxic drugs are leaving your body”. The other thing that helped him was that we sat during the day going over and over the painful things that had happened to him in hospital. The last bit of meds was the most difficult to come off, no doubt about that. He kept shaving off tiny bits of risperidone and it was the only way he could stop his legs from jerking and his heart from going haywire. He has been off all meds for 4 years now and he says that he would rather die than take an antipsychotic again.

  • I totally agree but the problem is that in real life people who come for the first time in contact with psychiatry don’t know anything about psychiatric medication or how psychiatry works. Most people tend to trust psychiatrists and they get told an awful lot of lies. They are not told about side-effects or how difficult it will be to get off the drugs once on them. If you ask too many questions or resist the psychiatrist’s advice, you get forcibly medicated. The person who comes into contact with psychiatry for the first time has never heard of Robert Whitaker or “Mad in America”, Will Hall or Peter Breggin. You become wise afterwards once you have experienced the whole horror of it.

  • I have no good word to say about psychiatric medication. My mother was prescribed Ativan when my father died unexpectedly. No matter how hard she tried to get off it, she just couldn’t. She was told by the doctors to just stop taking it if she didn’t need it: it turned her into a jibbering wreck although she had been only on it for a couple of months. It turned her life as well as mine into a nightmare. My son developed NMS on olanzapine and doctors did not recognise it. He nearly died. After a breakdown at university because she was overdoing it, my niece was put on clozapine. She turned violent on this drug and nearly killed her mother with a knife. So no, I would NEVER advise anyone to solve their emotional problems with psychiatric drugs. Keep of them if you can! If you have been put on them be ever so careful when coming off them. It can drive you to suicide: my son nearly did when coming off olanzapine.

  • Clozapine definitely turned my niece into a violent person. She had never been violent before. When on clozapine she was taken over by the urge to attack her mother with a knife. She was frightened by these violent thoughts and asked her mother to hide all the knives in the house. As soon as the doctor agreed to take her off clozapine these violent urges disappeared and she has been ok since.

  • I am not surprised at all. Psychiatrists are very quick at diagnosing schizophrenia left, right and centre without looking closer to what brougt the psychosis on. Diagnose and medicate! The medication paralyses the brain, doesn’t allow the patient to deal with his/her problem rationally and prolongs the situation…I read on the Internet that 62% of delirium gets misdiagnosed as schizophrenia. The same goes for chronic sleep deprivation. my son is a good example of this. But once diagnosed, you have had it. Saying “sorry, I did get that wrong” is not part of the psychiatrist’s vocabulary.

  • toxic shame is at the root of a lot of psychiatric problems. Not evryone suffers from it though. Some people are immune to it or, may be, know better how to deal with it without falling apart: how come? How do you get rid of toxic shame? I have been told by someone suffering from it that you can’t. Being rational is not enough because that toxic shame has blended in so deeply that it has become inextricably part of him.

  • The medical model won’t go away because it is not entirely wrong: there is some truth in it. Our emotions and our fears upset our brain functioning. Insomnia disregulates our brain chemistry etc, if we “overdo” it our body stops functioning properly. There is a biological side to a mental break down We might not like it but it just is.It is all part of the ” mens sana in corpore sano” thing. That’s probably where medical doctors come in and why people ask for their help.