Sunday, February 25, 2018

Comments by JanCarol

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  • Aye Stephen, but they do get enough (too many in fact) of people who buy into this helplessness.

    Someone here mentioned how many people are begging for someone to “tell them what to do…” and here is someone waiting, willing – in fact, insisting on telling them what to do.

    The hard part, as Feeling Discouraged has mentioned – is learning to stand on own two feet, make own choices, and tell the negative nannies to stuff it.

  • Hey Dr. K – there’s the “institutionalised” thing, but there’s also a lot of conditioning.

    Sometimes starting with parents who tell someone, “you’ll never amount to anything,” or “Nothing you do will satisfy me,”

    Moving up to teachers who make reports like, “failure to pay attention in class’ “restless” “disruptive,”

    Moving up to doctors who start in on the “broken brain,” “diseased personality” “disordered” and “give up on your dreams.”

    Then there’s the institutions, “You can’t take care of yourself,” and “You need us to keep you safe,” and “the monsters won’t stop until you submit”

    After a few decades of this, it’s really challenging to believe otherwise.

    The dominant paradigm is oppressive! (I know, I’m stating the obvious here)

  • I reckon I’m in pursuit of adaptability.

    Or resilience.

    Or coherence.

    I think it quite futile to pursue a mood. Much better to pursue a skill or refinement of personality – or better yet – to grow beyond personality so that it matters less.

  • And who will pay for the studies to prove it to you? Even the scientists are scrambling for those grant dollars – and nobody really wants to look at the drugs as causes.

    I’m sorry that all of my knowledge on this one is anecdotal (okay, let’s all make fun of JanCarol for listening to anecdotes again) –

    everyone I know that ever went on any heart medicine never got better, whether it was blood pressure, statins, blood thinners. What happens at that point, is that the person goes into “maintenance” of the condition and decline from there on out.

    I have no direct measures of dementia, other than – the trends similar to the one that Whitaker points out in MIA – that as people go on the drugs, dementia numbers seem to be rising. Correlation. There are likely other factors involved as well – the endocrine disruption of glyphosate and drugs in our water as well, for example. The increase in income disparity (and resulting decline in self-care) as well.

    But I’ve never seen someone on BP or statins get smarter, healthier and better at that point. Maybe you have? Maybe you believe they saved someone’s life? I will suggest – like I would with the psych drugs – that it’s probably still the “honeymoon period.”

  • Hey oldhead –

    I know – new thread (what, in forum?) – but really I’m on my way out the door, a week away in a rugged paradise. So sorry for using this forum.

    All medications stop or hinder a metabolic process. I recommend looking at John Bergman (yes, he’s a chiro, but he’s a smart one) and Blood Pressure on YouTube. There are easily a dozen videos. Another resource is the Paleo Cardiologist, ( has interventions (like beet powder) that are drug free.

    Blood pressure medications slow your heart down – but the reason your blood pressure is high (it’s an adaptation, not a disease) is because of heart damage. To slow the blood, lower the pressure counteracts what your body is trying to do to stay alive. In Germany they treat blood pressure if it’s UNDER 140 and have 100’s of ways to raise blood pressure.

    Again, blood pressure medications and statins are money grabs by pharma. The guidelines – much like “depressions screening” are meant to create new profits, new patients.

    I have posted my email addy in the forum (not sure where but I know it is there) if you wish to talk further.

    Most non-drug people recommend a device for blood pressure, called a RespErate. The best blood thinner is water (so no on the aspirin, too). Supplements include fish oil and magnesium.

    And the “low fat diet” – also starves the brain. Dietary and medicinal advice for the last 50 years contributes greatly to the waves of dementia (and depression).

  • Yes, dementia can be seen on an MRI, but nobody seems to be looking to pharma for that one, and there is evidence that mama’s little helper (xanax) fcontributes to it massively, and nobody is looking to the way that statins starve a hungry brain, or at the blood pressure drugs that everybody is on that reduces oxygenation of the brain….

    So – hence – it “looks like” dementia. But it is as iatrogenic as “mental illness.”

    I’m not saying there is no such thing as dementia – but I reckon the numbers are massively inflated by pharmaceutical interventions.

  • Um, actually Sman1109 you might enjoy reading Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States,” where he postulates that it was the rich landowners who machined the war, the constitution, etc., and points out that the constitution was carefully crafted to keep the top on top.

    Yes, the grunts were, as usual, the poor Americans – promised land ownership for their efforts.

  • madincananda it is so much more than bad choices.

    It’s the whole picture, trauma and stress, learned coping mechanisms, diet *and* choices.

    The best way out of the extreme states is through them, but our society spends a lot of time, effort and money in suppressing these states because they are scary – scary to the person, and scary to everyone around him/her.

    Instead of the word disability, how about the words, “different ability?”

    I am not as productive as most people, having only 4-6 hours a day of average active productivity. Is it enough to hold a job? No. That 4-6 hours includes feeding myself, exercising, keeping my house clean and the vital social connections that keep me well and alive. Some days that productivity might amount to 0, some days it’s better.

    I am differently abled, but not DISabled. I seem to recall that this model is used in other medical fields as well. Someone who is paralysed might be a brilliant statistician, writer, etc…

  • Or, as I’ve been exploring – the HeartMath version, which is

    the Heart decides, and instructs the brain.

    If your Heart is steeped in negativity, pain, and doesn’t see a way out, that’s how it will instruct the brain.

    If, however, your Heart is open to hope and possibility, the instructions to brain are different.

    I’m oversimplifying excessively (I’m still learning this stuff) but recommend a look into HeartMath.

  • Yeah. It may help with social skills and adjustment, but on the whole metal is not good for the nervous system. It’s rhythms are energy draining. Anytime energy moves it feels blissful – and feeling anything when you are depressed is a blessing – but if the energy is moving out (instead of in and up) – the long term effects are diminished.

    Think of it more like a crutch than a cure. (Flame-retardant armor up!)

  • Well, Julie, you may have noticed that if you have “high blood pressure” or “high cholesterol,” you are told by your doctor that if you do not submit to their treatments you will die a rapid and horrible death.

    I’ve conquered the psych’s control over me – now I must battle my way into old age with the doctors. Going to a doctor is like arming for engagement – knowing what the labs mean, understanding the treatments and presenting alternatives before they nail me with bad drugs and bad ideas (like surgeries or intervention).

    Just last week (back pain) I was bullied by a neurosurgeons office for refusing to meet with him. He sent me a letter of refusal and cc’d it to the referring GP. “This is to inform you that JC has refused to meet with me regarding her back pain.” This letter followed about 4 calls – which I interpreted at harassment – to schedule the appointment.

    So – beware – your doctors are “out to get you,” too. Cardiologist, surgeons – they all have a “better plan” for you. Sigh.

  • rasselas.redux – niacin can have some uncomfortable and risky to the liver consequences when taken in very high doses. There are no queues at the hospitals for niacin overdose. Hoffer would use up to 20 g per day with good effect. Most doses are lower than this.

    Water is toxic, too, if you want to look at the possibility of extremes.

    The grain in breakfast cereals, and the sugar are mood altering as well, perhaps that – not the niacin – is why it is a popular “schizophrenic snack,” and starts a spiky cycle of mood alteration. The grain and sugar are immediately felt, and I would postulate – if your theory of “common snack” is true – that is the craving that is being addressed.

    The niacin in cereal is not quality, and you cannot eat enough of it to get a flush. A handful is less than 100 mg of niacin, 10 handfuls is still under a therapeutic dose. Ergo, you cannot eat enough fortified cereal to get a therapeutic amount of niacin.

    I’m not the orthomolecular specialist here, but what you are claiming is beyond the pale.

  • Hey Lady Blue –

    I’m a moderator on We have a benzo section for help with tapering.

    What was done to you to get off the xanax (clonazepam + Remeron + gabapentin) is criminal. 3 drugs to get off of one? Didn’t anyone notice this discrapancy?

    There are other forums available for getting off your benzos (BenzoBuddies comes to mind, but I understand it can be a bit of a free-for-all). Naturally, I’m partial to

    Getting you off your drugs is outside the scope of MIA. Please come to Surviving Antidepressants. We’ve tapered off of all kinds of drugs, and are familiar with the symptoms of withdrawal as well as non-drug methods to help us survive the withdrawals.

    I don’t know your time frames – but some of these effects could be from how you got off the other drugs, too. You will be asked for detailed information at SA.

    I hope this helps.

  • When I read Anatomy of an Epidemic, I thought that was a really solid treatise that the drugs were causing problems. I thought, “Wow, this will change things!” When I presented that treatise to others, I was stunned to find out that it was easily dismissed.

    We have tons of evidence, and yet nothing is changing. The last election was proof that facts are not important any more. How does one make an evidence based, scientific argument in a “post factual” world?

    Whitaker’s second book – again, I thought – this will change something. Gotzsche’s book – I thought – this will change things, surely, maybe in Europe.

    But the corruption just builds, and still the drugs are the “go-to” practice. And that doesn’t even address the horrors of forced treatment. People believe in the TV and what it tells them. People believe in the drugs. This one will be as difficult to overthrow as religion.

    In the face of belief, the facts haven’t had much sway. That seems to be happening here, too.

  • Alex Jones been screaming about it for years, perhaps even decades. Sadly, it only makes our movement seem more fringe, like the “Scientology effect.” I even believe the Resident of the United States has proclaimed anti-pharma things – but – hasn’t said a peep since taking office.

    I have learned this, my tree-hugging friends on the left are Pro-Treatment. To “help” the downtrodden and suffering with “treatment.” Ugh.

    The Right wants to abandon the downtrodden to the streets. It’s not “treatment,” but it’s not very helpful, either.

  • Hey Daniel,

    The group dynamic – among friends – has an equilibrium, or a homeostasis that prevents the worst, and protects from extremes. I don’t have any reference other than my special group of friends, a nature based organisation. I’ve heard about the Healer’s Tent at Burning Man, and it involves a sober companion, like you mention. In our group, we would go out into the woods together in love and trust, and what happened was meant to. Like has been said before: it was spiritual.

    There was ceremony, rituals to ensure that all were kept safe. Set and setting. Keeping good company. When someone had an extreme state – many of us were capable of functioning in the moment. It wasn’t about “sobriety.” It is about functioning, caring, opening to another. Trust. Of putting personal trip aside and holding a person in safety until they came to a place of well-being again. There was always a place to go if things got frightening. There was scary stuff – but experience taught how to deal with it, and if you couldn’t deal with it alone – there were always friends around to offer you tea, a hug, a blanket, and a listening ear.

    I remember someone who thought the planet had fallen away, that if she left the nature sanctuary, she would find nothingness, void. Surely it was frightening! She was held in a circle of friends who reassured her that all was well – “See? None of us are worried,” and, “We’re your friends.” That circle of friends brought her back to equilibrium. She had experienced some sort of trauma, but it was unclear what (it still is unclear). Now, over 30 years on, I ought to ask her how she feels about that night – if she learned something, if it helped her to grow in any way.

    I can think of individuals that I would – with ceremony – choose to experience an event like this with as a dyad (though I’m much older now, and less likely to pursue any events). I cannot think of a single therapist that I would want to dyad with, however. Especially not if they were “sober.” And I like nearly all of the therapists I’ve ever had.

    Additionally, while I can think of lightning bolt insights I have had (mostly while psychonavigating alone or with one other), most of the gains were made with training through multiple experiences. The more you went, the more skilled you became at manipulating your being, your experience. With that skill, you can become aware of just how vital perception is to reality.

    And there’s a thing called “synchronicity” which clarifies what is right and wrong. In a group, this synchronicity is far more obvious, because it comes from a more random place. When someone you barely know walks up and addresses something you were just thinking about – it’s stunning and affirming.

    I feel my words here are falling far short of the event. It’s like explaining G-d to someone who has never met Him/Her. Or describing a colour to someone who is blind. A lot of this awareness happens in non verbal space, and it takes special skill to describe the non-verbal in words. I feel I am falling far short of that skill.

    But to me, the sober healer of any stripe – is less likely to hit that synchronicity, and will find themselves left out of the discussion, no matter how empathic they are. Go with me, show me the way. Don’t sit in your chair and listen to me while I go. That, right there, is the power differential. If you won’t go with me, then I don’t want to go with you.

    And if you are not skilled enough in the event to go with me – and put your own trip aside as needed – then I don’t want to go with you.

  • I was in LA, and there was a tattered (not naked) man accosting all of the people in the parking lot. Not the best neighborhood. There might have been street drugs involved.

    He was loud, obnoxious and quite scary. He may not have been harmless, but I was afraid. It challenged all that I write about here concerning extreme states and alternatives.

    If I knew him, if I were not a tourist (like I was in LA) I would consider telling him, “hey, man, you’re scaring me,” and listen to him for a bit.

    In shame and guilt, I got in my car and drove away, leaving him to his fate. I had to think about it. I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Mental diversity doesn’t include behaving in an aggressive or frightening manner.

    Sometimes from the perspective of extreme states, a person doesn’t know how scary they are.

    This is the cutting edge, isn’t it? I’m hoping that someone here has a better answer than me. I ran away. I couldn’t do it, on the ground, face to face, in person with a stranger.

    Maybe someone else could do better. But that’s just it, isn’t it?Communities always pass the buck. “Someone else” always ends up being cops and ambulances and restraints and drugs.

  • But first – have you ever been Experienced?

    Have you ever really been Experienced?

    I go back to my description of psychedelics as an event, not a chemical.

    How do you manage an event to make it transformative? This, too, is an art, and there are protocols which could be called science or even Ritual or Ceremony.

    But yes. This is spiritual work, as LavenderSage states.

  • I work at Surviving Antidepressants, and we find people on a lot of duplication in categories. So someone on 5 meds might be on 2 mood stabilizers, 2 neuroleptics, 2 antidepressants – and don’t forget benzos and sleep aids. Additionally, when someone is polydrugged, they get foggy and listless, so often an amphetamine is added to the mix.

    Stan, I am so sorry for your loss, and it is laudable you are writing here. Yet another reason to be quite grateful that we have a place such as MIA.

    I am curious – when someone is on 5 drugs – remember 5 + 5 = 120 possible interactions (an estimate) – how was it determined which 2 caused the cardiac and other problems? Yes, these symptoms will be listed on the drug information pamphlet, and might even be in a Black Box – but the synergy of all of these drugs would have to make the 2 “baddies” far more dangerous.

    In other words, by calling out the 2 “baddies,” again, the doctors are overlooking polypharmacy as the direct cause of your son’s death. There’s still a blind eye here.

    You have addressed it in your fine article, but somehow I don’t think that the doctors have resolved their cognitive dissonance.

  • I think a lot of these voices here stridently opposed to this – and other psychedelic research – are thinking of MDMA as more of a *drug* and less of an *event.*

    MDMA, psilocybin, LSD – these are events. Yes, they are chemically induced events, and can be extremely useful for starting the process of healing. They do not replace the hard work, and they may not even make it easier, once a shift takes place – often that shift causes the “client” (insert your favourite word here) to have a more realistic perspective of the scope of the work and what needs to happen, and hopefully an open, eager heart to engage in the work. 20 years ago, I would have said, “Right on, man!”

    I do not want this “event” in the hands of psychiatrists. Unlike the neuroleptics which can be used to torture, psychedelics can be used to re-form the mind. If it were coupled with, say, light/sound/neurofeedback and brainwave therapy (I almost regret saying that, because someone might pick it up and do it) it can be a form of mind control. Remember MK-Ultra’s use of LSD. Remember – that we don’t really own the country right now, and rabid dogs can be “put down.”

    It is unlikely to wind up in the hands of therapists – psychedelic therapists I might trust more, but there is still a power gradient there. (the group event I mentioned – because it is a group – a caring group of friends – if someone gets power mad, the rest of the group can steer things away). And the office IS important, it’s called “set and setting.” If the only time I can legally explore “inner spaces” is on someone’s couch – even with sweet music, or a beautiful window opening onto trees and birds – I’m not sure that’s helpful to me.

    I can think of a few friends whose traumas are so “carved in stone,” that the event of MDMA might loosen things up a bit. There are breathing techniques which do this more slowly and under control. BUT – some of those friends are drugged.

    OMG – what about that? Is it wise to perterb neurotransmitters for someone who is already on a cocktail of mind drugs?

    Even the ones who are not drugged would be terrified of the prospect of “losing their mind” for a few hours, especially at the hands of a therapist. There is stigma involved here, too. MAPS is working on that arena.

    MDMA is not exactly a “chemical solution” like drugs are a chemical solution. Because there is only money to be made in paying for the event, the sessions – I don’t think it will have a long life, or, at best will be a fringe practice.

    The prospect of getting it rescheduled is expensive. If this is not beneficial to someone’s balance sheets – it is extremely unlikely to happen.

  • Thanks Ron.

    But I think you misunderstood. I wasn’t talking about “heaven and hell” as places whether in another dimension or on this current planet.

    I was talking about the dichotomy of either / or, and using Heaven/hell, good/bad, in/out as examples. In reality – are you all good, or all bad, ever?
    Is it a particle, or is it a wave?

    This is a form of global thinking, and to reject “bad” and be “good” is a reaction, not a response, and will lead to imbalance.

    Likewise, to reject spirit for matter, because “religion” effed you over – is a reaction, not a response.

    Yes, there is a lot in this world that is binary, and a lot that can be reduced to binary application. But even matter itself – particle or wave – points to a continuum of existence, not an either/or choice.

    That was the point of my apparently vague examples.

  • It’s interesting, to be sure.

    I think one of the problems I have with this protocol (and many of the MAPS studies, though I suppose it is a step away from this totalitarian war on drugs, er, racial war on poverty) – is the therapist’s office.

    Let’s take someone, for example, who has trauma from psych treatment (Monica Cassani talks about “Psych Drugs as Agents of Trauma” That person goes to the therapist’s office, and in this office, even if it has been set up like a hippie haven with a painted parachute on the ceiling, tea lights all around, and Enya playing calming, emotive music, this office represents a room of control.

    In that place of control, the “client” (whatever word you want here) takes this drug which will cause them to lose their inhibitions and get in touch with their emotional self. Except their emotional self is traumatised. And there is a huge power variance between the “client” going into this altered state, and the therapist, who is not going with them. This is similar to my objections of the medical uses of psilocybin.

    In my experience, psychedelics/entheogens are best experienced in nature with a group of like minded, caring individuals, preferably friends. There are always people around to help coddle you through the rough bits, and there is not this power variance, nor is there a reliving of the therapist’s office in trauma. And even though it’s not “therapeutic,” in my experience it has always been beneficial and transformative, when handled with care and respect, as a sacrament should be, and if the intent to transform and connect was clearly pursued.

    When I heard in the 80’s that it was being used in relationship therapy – I did try it in my own marriage, the two of us together. That day is still memorable to me, spent in a public park – talking, opening to new hope. There were glimpses, moments of opening and sharing – but – and here’s the other caveat – when the drug wore off, the gates slammed shut, and I was left with a very distressed, repressed and locked-down husband again. And we don’t know what it did to his neurotransmitters in the long run. (He committed suicide in 2008, another polypharmacy case.)

    Of course, my experience was illegal, horribly illegal, and currently the state of “Molly” on the streets does not even resemble the pharmaceutical drug. It’s terrifying – so terrifying that the smart kids take test kits to their raves to make sure they don’t get the bad ones, which are cheap and plentiful, and so terrifying that I advise all to not take anything without a test kit.

    So on the one hand I applaud that MAPS is getting the government to release the better entheogens, I’m not sure that the therapist’s office is where I want these things to end up. (and yes. the change in neurotransmitters is a strong issue, and why I only tried it a few times in the 80’s. The last attempt was a “bad dose” – the beginnings of what is available on the streets today, and that, coupled with the reports of brain damage which didn’t seem like propaganda at all, ended my experiment in “freer emotions and communication.”

  • Richard “In my mind there are two separate definitions of “spirituality.” One is the unscientific belief of a spiritual world separate from the material world (God, Heaven, Hell, The Devil etc.)”

    Only two?

    What about a continuum of synthesis between these two definitions? Something like – spirituality which is based on human connectivity AND connectivity with the Universe AND connectivity with the collective unconscious, AND belief in a higher power which orders, disorders and guides these things?

    It is a spiritual exercise to eliminate the words “But” and “Or” from your vocabulary for a time in order to refine your viewpoints and expand your awareness. Other practices, more extreme, consider the elimination of all verb forms of “to be,” in order to emphasise the present moment. I’m sorry, I cannot recall the source of these exercises, but I found them valuable.

    However, when you say either/or – I am reminded of the dogma of religion that I was hammered with in my youth. You are either a sinner or a believer. You either go to heaven or hell. Either you accept the canon as interpreted by your church-God-man, or you are outcast. It was when I started saying “AND” that I realised the rainbow of possibility.

    What I hear in your either/or scenario is someone who rejects Jesus by embracing the Devil, or Atheism with the same fervour that was betrayed by belief in a specific religion. It’s a reaction, and still a belief.

    Then, there are the possibilities that we, in our finite ability, haven’t conceived of yet.

    I like Ron’s suggestion about the role of love. I’ve been exploring the spiritual value of Emotions – perhaps emotions are direct messages from that part of us which is immortal, divine. Perhaps it is the highest guide we have – and when we ignore it, that’s when our lives dissolve into distress and disorder. I’ve been exploring the purpose of Art in living well – that the best truth is Art, whether it is writing, dancing, painting, calligraphy, knitting, child rearing. I write about Art as Truth, here: Is Art a form of worship or communication with that higher order – whether it is communication and connectivity with other humans, or an expression of appreciation to something which might be called “divine”?

    I’m more writing for the general audience than you, Richard. You and I have gone round this bend before and I don’t anticipate influencing your beliefs. If, however you can consider replacing “or” with “and,” I would be deeply honoured.

    I am reminded of some music I heard earlier today:
    “We’re all Jesus, Buddha and the Wizard of Oz!”

  • As someone who has been on the internet since its inception, I’ve seen a lot of flame wars, and then met the warriors over dinner and we got on fine.

    I reckon that’s what it’s talking about.

    Though – lily.c. – I, too find the phone extremely exhausting, being present and listening carefully – and basically being a captive polite audience. “Excuse me, I hate the telephone” just doesn’t seem to go over well with the girlfriends. I’d much rather meet in person – or – write, where I have the time to choose my words.

    But – lily – do you find that your friends take as much care with their words, or honour the effort you put into your written communications? Because I often feel my efforts are dis’sed, or what I was trying to communicate is missed – because the care I put into writing, was not present in the person reading.

  • Look at prisons and police procedures in Norway.

    They still have crime, but the methods of approach to criminals – they consider it more skillful to talk before shooting.

    It is the culture of police in America to shoot first (kill the dog, even) and ask questions later. The Norwegian cops find this shocking.

    Additionally, the military-industrial complex, in order to keep the American military buying newer better equipment – have a special program (tied in with the “war on drugs”) to hand down old military equipment to police forces.

    We used to never see the SWAT teams, busted doors, military style police operations. That has become de rigeur, now that they have tanks and armour. Is busting crime really more violent than it was before they got this equipment?

    Put a man (or woman) in armour and he tends to act more like a soldier. The uniform does have an effect.

    The other bottom line – Norway (for example) has greater equality between citizens, while the US is stricken with vast variance between the bottom 99% and the top 1%. It is a given that greater inequality equals more violence in trying to get your needs met.

    These are just a few factors (I haven’t even touched on the race button).

  • Nobody has answered you?

    I don’t know about the klepto stuff – but I do know that benzos and other neurotransmitter fiddlers will lower impulse control – or worse, drive compulsions up. I’ve heard of serious gambling addictions caused by SSRI’s and SNRI’s.

    Your cocktail is a dangerous one, and a difficult one to come off of. If you wish to reduce your drug load, please come to for information on how to reduce or eliminate drugs safely.

  • I’m sorry littleturtle, I wish I had something good to say. My work is about getting people off of these drugs – and so – I see the ones who have trouble. I don’t know anyone who has augmented ANY neuroleptic (marketed as “antipsychotic”) who doesn’t regret it, but that may just be the field in which I work. And the longer term they are on it, the worse it is.

    From where I stand, the risks are greater than the rewards. Peter Breggin calls them neurotoxins, and I’m inclined to agree. Rewards may be short term – but the longer you are on a drug, and the more drugs you are on, and the more drug changes you’ve been through – the harder it is to come off of them.

    And when I say harder – think about how hard it is to come off your Celexa. Make it worse by a factor of 3-10. Heroin addicts have found that a heroin withdrawal was a piece of cake compared to antidepressant and / or benzo withdrawal. And the media isn’t reporting this, they’re more concerned with the “opioid crisis” than the people dying and disabled from these drugs.

    If I were you, I’d learn how to taper the Celexa carefully and safely, and take up running or aikido or dancing or painting to express your emotions safely, and become friends with your emotions. Then at least you will be authentic, and off the rollercoaster.

  • I agree – having the Shaman shake a rattle over you and blow smoke into you

    Or having a Priest swing a censor over you with an Exorcism prayer –

    Or even having someone lay their hands on you and pray and shake the demons out of you –

    Will not have long lasting damaging side effects. It might be weird, it might even have a trauma element to it – but has the potential to be extremely cathartic. But no brain damage, no damage to nervous system or endocrine system.

    Ergo, Witch Doctory is more scientific than what the psychiatrists do. And potentially more helpful, too.

  • What this does not address is the difficulty in coming off “atypical antipsychotics” like Abilify, Zyprexa, and Seroquel. I have helped people with all three.

    All of them hit a shotgun spray of neurotransmitters, depending on the level of drug. For example, at low doses, Seroquel hits histamine receptors, then serotonin receptors, then dopamine receptors.

    At an equivalent dose, Zyprexa will be heavy on the dopamine and serotonin receptors, and Abilify will be also hitting norepineprine receptors.

    What receptors they hit are dose dependant. So here’s the rub – when tapering, all of a sudden at 75 mg of Seroquel, the dopamine action drops out – and the dopamine receptors go into full blown withdrawal. You can still sleep (because the histamine receptors will still be hit), and there may be a mild serotonin effect – but – you’ve just gone all the way off your dopamine drug – even though you are still on the drug.

    This is worse with Zyprexa, and worse still with Abilify, which hits on 11? neurotransmitter sites.

    (though, the chart here, says Seroquel is the most complex, and Abilify the simplest – but – in my work with helping people taper, the opposite seems to be true. I am not a biochemist: )

    Additionally, some of them are agonist and some of them are antagonist – complicating the neurotransmitter soup significantly.

    These drugs are hell to come off of.

  • I’ve been thinking about this for the past hour (editing too late)

    I’ve had medical catheters for surgeries – and I believe (nobody believes me) that my ureter hasn’t been the same since, that it “damaged something.” “Oh poo,” say the docs, “we do this all the time and have no complaints.” (I guess I’m just a cranky Yank in an Australian system, then). I don’t think highly of the procedure, even when it is medically necessary.

    But what I’ve been thinking about most about the **forced** catheterisation is – what is driving this?

    Apparently it is drug testing. Hello drug wars. Hello war on the poor and marginalised. Even more so.

    Recently in California I had a urinary tract infection. The California doctor, who took a urine sample, seemed to feel it was well within his rights to drug test my urine, just because. I only caught him running the test because they didn’t have a hand-washing facility at the toilets, and I had to go to a lab sink – where I found him with a chart and my urine, and he looked up and asked me, “What are you on?” (oh I had forgotten to report the Low Dose Naltrexone, was that it?) I didn’t raise a stink because I needed antibiotics in order to travel. But I was angry, and felt violated. And I imagined how violated I would’ve felt if there had been something else – something psych – or if I were a minority to begin with (this was a Spanish speaking neighborhood).

    What if I had tested positive for codeine (which was still legal in Australia) or cannabis (which is legal in California)? What was the purpose of his “fishing”? Why did he even think it was his right? I was not asking for narcotics, but antibiotics. I was a white, middle-aged tourist, from Australia, with my husband in the waiting room.

    So – now – drug testing is more important than the dignity and human rights (and privacy, in my case) of the individual?

    Is forced catheterisation a recent phenomenon? Or is this something which has been going on for 40-50 years, and folks have been to ashamed to speak of it?

    I’m sure you can’t show statistics of increases in this new form of human violation (only of the rare **reported** cases) – but I’m suspecting that it is more common now than even 20 years ago. Because we have to stop the “illegal drugs,” right?

    Do we have reports of it from the 90’s? 80’s? 70’s?

    You are both young people – and what I’ve seen from reading the comments is that the older survivors are APPALLED! Many of us have been wheeled in, restrained, shot, drugged. But this? How new is this?

    One of those rare instances where I want an emoticon on MIA, with my frowning angry red faceand steam rolling out of my ears!

  • Stephen says: “All of the famous men who sexually preyed on others and who’ve been revealed for the predators we now know them to be will be held accountable for their actions against others. ”

    That’s optimistic. A few will be paraded out. Many of them will be convenient (we wanted to get rid of him anyway). A tiny percentage will be “caught.”

    This is so obviously a culture, and the boys protect the boys. But in this you are right – at least it is something.

    Those who are buried in “mental health” get blamed for being harmed.

  • This reads like ad copy!

    When it comes to psych drug withdrawal, I have seen as many people harmed by “integrative approaches” – like rapid detoxing, use of “herbs” and “natural supplements” that agitate serotonin (tryptophan, St. John’s Wort, 5HtP). As many harmed as helped, in my reckoning. (I use “natural medicine” but I only consult with my practitioners to make my own choices – but not everybody can do the level of research that I do)

    But – I guess 50/50 is a lot better than Psychiatry’s record. I agree with all here that as long as you’re using DSM you’re causing harm. If they can provide safe, drug free places to be extreme, that would be good. In fact, that’s my BASIC CRITERION for a good “integrative mental health centre.” Safe drug free space for emergencies.

    I seem to recall that the NHS in Britain and places in Europe went this way – and it resulted in tighter regulation of supplements (some of this is good, some of it is just plain stupid, like the way Australia has “practitioner only” herbs and supplements, because they are “too strong” for the general public to handle, when they are non-toxic – especially compared to the drugs they hand out like lollies). Eventually, Britain and Europe found that the health system was being rorted by homeopathy and other “edgewise” practices, and stopped paying for them.

    I see Emma’s comment on flower essence as a first go-to in Cuba. That’s interesting, and difficult to run trials on, as, like homeopathy, the formulas are very individual. N=1 doesn’t make for a good study. Australian flower essences are very interesting – but also very subtle. Someone in a full crash emergency might find them “nice” – like eating a good meal is nice – but not a solution. If you could help 30% of people with these, and prevent drugging – that’s a start.

    Since 30% get better within a few months of their event with no intervention, however, I’d be hoping that the numbers of people kept out of “the system” could be higher.

    But – egads – God reached out and “saved me from schizophrenia?” Oh dear.

    Additionally – who pays for this? Is this a free clinic for the poor and downtrodden? Or is this a pay-for clinic for the rich and famous? Or – after reading a few links – is this just a “Clinic for Spreading the Gospel?”

  • Actually, the “vampires on the dark side of the moon” is an example from one of Jung’s case studies that I found to be curious.

    It says nothing about me.

    My point was that anyone who wants to cram their truth down my throat – like the pills – is committing a violence, too.

    Having come from a family religion which did exactly this – and their truth was consensual – they had the Bible, the congregation, and the Preacher to back it up – and then realizing that there were other truths, alternate views, was quite the culture shock.

    It is arrogant to believe that fact is the only truth. It is also arrogant to confuse “what you believe” with “what you know.” And one last arrogance (the one I suffered from) – is combining these two to believe you know what is G-d’s Will and Desire for the purpose of inflicting it on others.

  • That’s not a very big dose. Hoffer talked about GRAMS of niacin, and while NADH is better absorbed, this dose could just be a drop in the bucket.

    Good article here:

    I’ve seen a chart – maybe here in a comment in Mad In America – which compares the doses of NADH to Niacin, but I cannot find it.

    Though I do agree – if someone doesn’t want to empower themselves regarding mood and functioning, they will not be able to.

  • And their solution? “Mental health teams” who spy on you at work…funnel you into the system. Okay, maybe “spy” is strong, but knowing what I know about psychiatry, I do not want to talk to a “counselor” at work.

    The times I’ve participated in “workplace mental health” programs (I’ve always been open about my diagnosis, as my sleep patterns go askew) – they’ve been 6 sessions of CBT “think positive!” programs…worthless.

    I’m with Nomadic. I reckon that my emotional and mental state is nobody’s business. Not a doctor’s, and not my boss.

  • Likewise then, curiosity helps to engage.

    You can be curious from a neutral place, as well as non-judging.

    Curiosity is non-judgemental, and opens up the possibility of exploration.

    This discussion between Alex and Ron is one of the clearest communications of “mental and emotional diversity” and what it means for individuals and society that I have read here at MIA.

    Great writing!

  • I was drugged at the time, it’s my only excuse.

    I had a half-feral kitten, and wanted to have a home where the kitties get along. But it wasn’t possible with this fearful cat. All the natural methods – catnip, Feliway, toys, feeding routines – didn’t work.

    Additionally, the other cat, a fairly well adjusted male, couldn’t figure out what the little cat was so afraid of, so he became a behaviour problem, too – spraying and dominating to compensate.

    So we put both of them on amitryptaline.

    It didn’t do much to the big fella, except make our life hell when we wanted to give him a pill. The little cat took the pills just fine – but she was only 6 months old – the time of her life when her brain is forming. She took the drugs for 6 months, which was when the big cat went to a new home (nobody would have this freaky little cat)

    She became apathetic, would not play (she was afraid to play before the drugs, so – at least she was calm about it now), was disengaged an non-interactive. She never got properly socialised.

    I don’t know how to measure IQ on cats, but I’ve had some pretty smart cats over the years. This cat isn’t quite “dumb as a box of rocks” – but she’s nowhere near a smart cat, either. Now that she’s 11 years old, she is more interactive and communicative than ever before – but I look at her, and see what the drugs have done to her, and regret regret regret it.

    It was part of what made me look at my own psych drugs, and wonder what happened to me. It made me angry at the people who put children and adolescents on these drugs, because those formative years are so important.

    My cat is still a stress-kitty, and will jump at her own shadow. But she’s undrugged now, and I am too. The vet was just trying to help what was an untenable situation. We changed the situation, and the drugs were no longer “needed.”

    It’s hard to apply this lesson to people – but maybe we should.

  • The algorithm to tell them when to interrupt.

    To remind me that there are pills for that emotion.

    They already know what you think, they’re working on how you feel – so that they can hit the sweet spot every time! And “correct” the sour spots.

    This is some scary stuff when you look at the long term marketing / control implications of this technology!

  • This is a great article, Sarah. Thank you for sharing your stories, CatNight.

    It reminds me of times in the 80’s. Neighborhood domestic violence. Do you call the cops or not? Does she want him there or not? Is this violence? Or just another knock down drunk shouting match?

    There was hardship in making this decision. It would affect lives, someone would get hauled off to jail (still, better than the 72-hour forced “hold for observation” option, and more deserved).

    Now – in our impersonal text message era, one can call the cops on a whim, and one’s un-comfort is eased but someone else’s life is ruined. The impersonality of this era enables people to anonymously soothe their own discomfort by ruining someone else.

    And the cops are more likely to come in full riot gear. I remember when I finally called the cops in the above domestic disturbance. I said that I thought he had a gun (he had bragged as such). They surrounded the house (not in riot gear, they didn’t have riot gear in the 80’s) and approached very carefully. It was SCARY! Now – I hate to think what it would look like, with door smashers, helmets, and riot gear.

    A request – maybe this only works in Australia, but if you know someone in distress – if you can choose to call an ambulance instead of a cop – that’s always a better alternative. Medics are (somewhat) more compassionate.

    Better still – can you talk face to face? “I’m sorry you’re upset, but are you okay? Would you like a cuppa tea?” Or is that solution too 1950’s?

  • Oh YetAnother, that’s awfully young.

    If it’s “anxiety” it is likely to be: 1. Mood stabiliser (anti-seizure drug), 2. Antidepressant (really gonna be hard for him to reach sexual maturity), or 3. Neuroleptic (“anti-psychotic”) which is life destroying.

    If you can tease out the drug name, you can name the horrible side effects in the young. Only Prozac is approved for people so young, so this is bound to be off-label prescribing.

  • I find it is harder to be fat – not only for the social reasons (fat shaming) that you mention.

    I find I have to fight harder for medical treatment – because after all, my BMI is the source of “all of my health problems” according to doctors.

    The endocrinologist brought out a tape measure and humiliatingly measured me to tell me that my belly was too big. Well, duh! The reason I was seeing him was the difficulty I have losing weight, in spite of a fairly good (not perfect) diet and 3x exercise weekly with daily walks.

    I think that about 30 kilos would make my knees and hips hurt less. I think that carrying around 2 big bags of kitty litter makes it harder to climb stairs, and makes my heart work harder.

    I do believe that how fit I am is more important than how fat I am. But I do believe it would be easier on my body and my social settings to be thinner.

    This has nothing to do with eugenics, and a lot to do with iatrogenic damage. I was always so skinny before the drugs and surgeries…

    I shudder to think how damaging and difficult it would be to have this struggle from the age of 10, instead of the age of 40.

  • It really rakes my heart over the coals to see all of the media storm about “opioid crisis” when the dangerous epidemic of psych drugs is not addressed.

    It thrilled me to see this German study – I have made a note of it for when my own doctor tries again to inflict amitriptyline or duloxetine instead of the poppy.

    I’d love to see a similar study (including withdrawal effects) for gabapentin and pregabalin, which are the new “wonder drugs” that doctors seem to be fond of. After all, they can’t be bad since “they’re not opiates.”

    This study was conservative. What numbers I read and could understand did not seem to account for the suicides. Withdrawal effects were mentioned, but were skewed – possibly because of the short-term nature of these studies? (I have seen more trouble with Cymbalta and Effexor, for example, than any tri-cyclic.)

    At Surviving Antidepressants, we have people who were put on these drugs and left on them for 10-15 years. When the drugs stopped working, or the side effects become unbearable – coming off of them is incredibly difficult. While we do have people who struggle with tricyclic drugs – the suffering caused by Cymbalta (one of the most challenging) and Lexapro (escitalopram) are the worst.

    This is the first study I’ve seen that begins to address the problems which are out here in the real world.

    I was hoping to see escitalopram in this study, as it is being handed out left and right as the “best thing since sliced bread.”

  • Ouch but what an education. I had to give chlorpromazine to my husband for a physical symptom (a reaction to a steroid gave him permanent hiccups). A low dose didn’t work, so I increased the dose to maybe 1/2 of a “neuroleptic dose.” It knocked him out for 3 days, he had trouble walking, going to the toilet. He commanded me to “NEVER do that again!”

    It’s comforting to see we are on the same page, thanks for responding.

    But I do wonder – if you’ve felt akathisia, how can you call the toxic effects of SSRI/SNRI (“antidepressant”) drugs as placebo? People are fighting to get out from under these toxic drugs – and you had a 3 day understanding of them. Imagine if that had gone on for years, decades? Still placebo?

    Again, we agree that the original stressors need to be addressed. I would go one step further – these drugs NUMB one to the problems at hand, and intensify and delay the recovery from them. So – while I agree with Irving Kirsch that “recovery from depression via antidepressants is about as successful as placebo” – I do not think these drugs *are* placebos.

    I believe, with Whitaker, that they make the distress worse and more chronic.

    Have you read any Joanna Moncrief? Her expert opinions on how to view the drugs and their effects is excellent.

  • Ah. I don’t know why I thought it was you. So sorry. (think twice post once!)

    Now who was that guy? mjms?

    I’m glad to know you’ve got Whitaker’s evidence behind you. Sorry that your welcome to MIA was a little strident – but there are people who have been seriously, irredeemably harmed.

    To hear that “placebo is the main cause” of our distress was a shocking thing to hear. It’s excellent that you are thinking outside the square.

    I still hold that it might benefit your knowledge of these drugs to experience them first hand, but I truly wouldn’t recommend that to even an enemy, so – I hope you could benefit by listening to the many stories and voices here on MIA (and also on Surviving Antidepressants) before you decide how much is “placebo” and how much is chemical toxicity.

    There are a lot of survivors here. Please be gentle with us – we have been denied our truth in so many arenas, this is one of the havens we have.

  • I don’t know why, in this day of modern medicine, people still insist that a mental or emotional state is an “illness.”

    If it’s a nutritional deficiency that affects mood, then let’s call it that.

    It’s the dismissing of people’s lives under the umbrella of “illness” which is causing so much suffering.

    There is, as Richard says below – a capitalist cause for choosing the “expensive” drugs (they are not medicine) over the simples. There is also a power play involved, as people (maybe even people like you) try to tell those of us who suffer “what to do.”

    These simples also include sunshine, bare feet on grass, seeing the trees in the forest, exercise, breathing, walking, pets, gardening, and having healthy relationships. This list is not comprehensive.

    Please, if you are going to post in MIA, do not call these horrific drugs “medicine,” and do not call our suffering an “illness.” I’m even on the border when I call it “suffering,” because many of us are gifted with our differences, and wouldn’t trade them to be “normal” for anything.

  • Doctor, as someone whose thyroid was “subclinical” before the psych drugs, and whose thyroid was destroyed by lithium – I respectfully disagree.

    The doctors at are excellent at discussing the value of these labs, and how to respond appropriately to **symptoms** of subclinical thyroid, like doctors did in the days before these charts and graphs and numbers (labs). Of course the med schools don’t want you to seek a natural or inexpensive solution to a “subclinical” problem.

    With the fluoride in the water and the destruction of these drugs – more and more thyroids are being destroyed like mine.

    I had doctors who tried to treat my “treatment resistant depression” with natural thyroid – but – they also gave me antidepressants at the same time (cancelling each other out, in my book).

    Now that my thyroid is subclinical (I have none, but it is hard to get my thyroid doses “correct” and my symptoms managed) it is extremely difficult to get correct treatment, including co-factors, absorption, diet, exercise – to eliminate symptoms.

    Once a thyroid is destroyed, it’s gone. The website I referenced is full of doctors who disagree with your treatment protocols. There is a real epidemic of thyroid problems as well. (and we don’t know how much of this is caused by fluoridation, pesticides & GMO, and psych drugs – which are also in the water supply).

    Placebo is not the primary cause of this distress. Fred Abbe said what I’m going to say again: try 2 months on Paxil, then try to quit. See if you think that is placebo.

    There is no difference in what these drugs do to healthy (read: off-label) people who take the drugs, or those buried in life stresses.

  • I do agree that in order to come off the drugs successfully, one needs to address the stressors that drove them to the drugs to begin with. This is part of the reason people have difficulty withdrawing from the drugs.

    Until you’ve experienced homeostasis (which you are calling placebo) and downregulation and upregulation of these monoamine systems, you can never say how much of the horrors of withdrawal are the drug, and how much is life stressors.

    They are both vitally important. As someone whose (volunteer) job it is to help people come off of the drugs – there is more at play here than psychological factors.

    I suggest you read a few personal stories, such as Katinka Blackford Newman’s excellent, “The Pill That Steals Lives.” In it, she tells her own story of how a liver enzyme conflict caused her to go completely psychotic on the drug (not a placebo effect), tells the stories of people around the world whose lives have been damaged by these drugs, including committing homicide and suicide, as well citing studies and stories about the worldwide, largely untold catastrophe these drugs are causing.

    Oh, but those are just anecdotal, not “proof.” It is time for doctors to, as David Healy proclaims, listen to the patients, not the drug companies. Your arguments reek of ivory towers, not practical knowledge. Take the drugs, doctor. Try and withdraw from them. Or – just take ONE neuroleptic drug at a D2 hitting dose (e.g. for Seroquel, at least 150 mg). Find out the truth.

  • Richard: “Your blog denies the harmed caused by perturbing the sertonergic, dopamanergic, and/or the gaba receptor system etc. in the brain. Do you not accept the principle of “homeostasis” and “down regulation” and then acknowledge the harm caused by the alteration, disruption, and possible damaged created by the long term use of these psychiatric drugs affecting these brain systems?

    How do you explain the ENORMOUS problems millions of people are having with withdrawal problems related to these drugs, where these withdrawal symptoms are often protracted, including some lasting for years, and some residual effects that never seem to totally abate?”

    Aye, thank you for that Richard.

    I was shocked that he talked about the “horrible opiate withdrawals” (which are over in a month) and didn’t even touch upon the life changing horrible antidepressant withdrawals, which can last years, and that’s if one is successful getting off of them!

    The “bad effects” from these drugs are more than placebo effects. People are not just blaming their problems on the drugs – the drugs have real effects. If you want call them “active placebos with side effects,” and then please note that those “side effects” are damaging to brain, nervous system, endocrine, gastrointestinal, and in many cases, liver and kidneys. These effects are not placebo in nature – or else people would be quitting the drugs no problem.

    I agree with the author that we need to get away from the biological model. But his views on “placebo” and the effects of these drugs lacks understanding. Have you considered the possibility that psych drug users turn to opiates because the pain of the ****side effects**** is unbearable?

    And there is a reason that most opiate users are on the psych drugs – doctors hand out psych drugs like candy – because they claim they are “non addictive” (read: unpleasant) like opiates, and psych drugs are now the first port-of-call for chronic pain. This practice will be causing even more long term damage, and that 16% of population figure will be growing, as these drugs are thrown at every problem, without understanding how they work.

    “The opiate crisis” is a thinly veiled excuse (yes there have been deaths, but I would hazard a guess that the psych drugs have caused more deaths – epidemic, as Mr. Whitaker says, but unreported) to get more people dependant upon a different form of pharma: the psych drugs.

    The author asks Richard for “proof” and “evidence.” I believe that a prerequisite for posting here is at least familiarity with Robert Whitaker’s excellent book. THEN, with the other side of his mouth, the author claims: ” Just for the record, anyone can steer statistical data to prove any point that they like. In other words, it’s not written in stone nor is it black and white.” So – what kind of “proof” would you accept?

    I am a peer support volunteer on a patient advocacy website called Surviving Antidepressants. I have exposure to the costs of these drugs personally, and in my dealings with friends and family. But onsite, I gained experience in listening to hundreds of cases with different stories, with the same theme, all starting with the sentence: “I went to my doctor and he gave me a drug….” Does that make me an “expert working in the field?”

    Are my statistics (which are not collated, published or peer reviewed, but are “estimates” of what I see on a peer support website) any less valid? Or are they twisted by the pain and suffering which I witness on a daily basis?

    It’s convenient to blame suicide rates on “the economy.” Yes, that is a factor – but – look up the word: akathisia. Just reading the definition doesn’t give you insight into the condition, but it is so horrible that ending your life seems a blessing. These drugs cause akathisia – when you go on them, when you change them, and when you go off them. This is far more significant than a “placebo effect,” and that is just *one* side efffect; also consider chronic insomnia, agitation, restless legs, irritable bowel, cardiovascular disturbances, obsessive thoughts, sexual dysfunction, Alzheimers and Parkinson-like symptoms. In history, economy and suicide ride hand in glove. But now there are thorns in the glove, and they are psych drugs.

    Sadly, this is another case of someone telling us what is good for us top down. Take the drugs, doctor, for at least 6 weeks, then try and quit them. Then I believe you will understand better where these “statistics” are coming from.

  • Don – right! Art is the only Truth we have left.

    I don’t just mean paintings and sculptures to buy and sell – but banjos and posters, speeches and knitting circles, book clubs and fiction writing, journalism and orchestration.

    Any time you are compelled to put a piece of you – out into the world – to share. Even if that’s just whistling a tune, or doodling on a napkin – art is Truth.

    That’s why what Auntie has done is a highest Truth. All this and actual science, too!

  • Please, a name? I have friends in Bloomington Indiana, and I would like to help them. There are a lot of docs in Bloomington Indiana, most of them are in one of 2 stables: IU Medical (lots of pharma funds) and Premier Healthcare (hands tied corporation). There is only one doctor who is not in the stable – the ones in the stable have to use insurance protocols, and I lived there for 10 years and had to fight to advocate for my own health care to be “minimal.”

    Is this Lambrecht? I thought she wasn’t taking new patients.

  • Kalina, this is a most heartfelt and beautifully communicated story.

    I’d like to hear it read aloud – by you. I wonder if you can podcast it? I have friends in distress who could hear your story and benefit – but they cannot read very well. (withdrawal).

    Let us know if you do! (link on this page: “now available as podcast”)

    Your journalling shows in your writing. Those things which I have felt, too – but could never sort the threads of the feeling out enough to say – like you did :

    watercolor splash across the DM and
    he listened to me without knowing the answer (like the others had)

    This is a beautiful journey, with all the hallmarks of someone who will get better (and better!) and help the rest of us, too.

  • No studies. But I did it. And I know I’m not the only one. If you wait for the studies it won’t happen – lithium has been around for decades – and there are still no studies like this.

    And you should do it too, because while lithium can protect against alzheimers and has mood benefits in microdoses – in medical doses it destroys kidneys.

    Maybe it will take 3 years, maybe 5, maybe 10 – or maybe it will wait until that hot summer’s day when you take a long hike and get dehydrated.

    For getting off, it’s the same as any drug, really. Taper 10% of previous dose per month. If you have symptoms, stop tapering and hold until symptoms subside. It took me 2 years to taper lithium and an antidepressant. It helps to have doctors support (I gave my an ultimatum: you can help, or I will find someone else. I’d rather it be you, since you know my history, but I will do this, and I’d prefer your help to anothers. She caved.). If your tablets are XR, be prepared to take them 2x a day as trimming your doses eliminates any XR coating..

    I became interested in life again. I developed hobbies which became passions which rolled over into helping others. I could read books and retain information better (still cognitively slow from the other drugs, but much much better). Lithium had wrapped me in cotton wool, and as I gradually came out from under it, life became brighter and more worthwhile.

    I’m still probably “bipolar.” But I take responsibility for my moods, words, and actions, and don’t need to get caught by the system ever again. I rest when I’m down, I act when I’m up. I enjoy both. to help you taper.

  • Here in Australia, they have a medical measurement for cigarette smoking damage called “pack years.” How many packs for how many years.

    I think that any mention of dosage should also include time on the drug, number of switches between drugs, age when the drugs were started, and other drugs being taken.

    All of these are factors. A 13 year old started on 150 mg of seroquel and on it for 10 years will have a different profile to a 30 year old started on 150 mg of seroquel for 10 years.

    Then there’s polypharmacy, like madmom suggests. There’s no testing for polypharmacy, all we have is the anecdotal collective evidence of this gigantic experiment loosed upon the general populace.

    When someone says to me, “My drugs are working,” my first question is: how long have you been on them?

    Usually, it is less than 5 years (more often, less than a year. Sigh). After that, they are starting to get sick, or having sleep problems, or unexplained symptoms that may not be connected to the drug. My next question is, “how many other drugs have you tried?” When that starts to get up in the 3-5 drugs (not polypharmacy, but switching), then there are often problems.

    How many other drugs are you on? I include statins, PPI’s, blood pressure medication, blood thinners as possible contributors to major problems. For me, statins were as deadly as the psych drugs (even though the lithium was starting to deteriorate my kidneys)

    How old were you when you went on them? People who were put on the drugs before fully forming in adulthood often have a lot of learning to do – in order to come to healing.

    It’s complicated! We are each an experiment of N=1.

  • Samruck, that is a thorn in my side too.

    I am not a professional, I am a peer support and caring friend, with my own madness experience.

    In my work at Surviving Antidepressants, I have seen as many case studies (anecdotes) as some doctors.

    After seeing someone accelerate at 70 mph towards a brick wall, it becomes easy to predict how that crash is going to unfold. This isn’t the best example because it’s pure physics instead of the weaselly chemical actions of these drugs.

    But in general, I have noticed that people who cling to their diagnosis stay diagnosed. People who insist that doctors (or others) “fix” them, do not take responsibility for their own wellness. People who take charge of their self education and healing find ways to get better. People who cold turkey from the drugs and feel well at 1-3 months out, tend to have more experiences waiting for them, some of which will be so extreme as to send them flying back to doctor or hospital. People who bounce their doses and change drugs get destabilised / symptoms. People who carefully taper generally do better (but not always).

    These are generalisations based on an aggregate of anecdotes. But like bcharris says, I don’t have a lab (or white coat) or blood tests, clinic, MRI’s, or any “scientific” evidence to prove it. Just years (and possibly decades) of experience.

    The shocker for me is this: if I, in my limited experience, can see this (anecdotally, and in the aggregate of anecdote after anecdote after anecdote) – why don’t the doctors?

  • Hey the_cat –

    I reckon I would never have been diagnosed by psychs if there had been recognition of my Delayed Sleep Cycle. That was always listed as a “symptom of bipolar,” not a “cause for erratic behaviour” or “depression.”

    Owls and Larks – and I ain’t a lark!

    Currently, have work that I can do on my own time, but the struggle to mesh with other people’s schedules is stressful.

    I recognise that my delayed cycle sleep can contribute to diabetes, metabolic, endocrine and cardiac problems. And I’m wondering about the cardiac problems, starting a new round of diagnostics for that. That’s how stressful it is to change my sleep.

    But I moved to Australia – which is largely a daytime country. Up with the birds, down with the sun. I’ve never seen such healthy people! It’s stressful trying to keep up with them! But the stress of changing my sleep is greater….

    There’s a clinic in Chicago which does sleep deprivation. They keep you awake and “fix” your circadian rhythms. It is for “bipolars” and people like us. I reckon if I still lived in the US I might give it a go, to see if it worked.

    I do know that extreme jet lag (like flying halfway across the planet for three weeks and then flying back) – can correct my sleeping for about 1-3 months.

    I kept my Seroquel – given to me just like in this article: 25 mg at night (now I have to go look and see – how many years did I take that? Egads, gonna have to call the Chemist). The Seroquel sits in its box by the nightstand like a security blanket. I haven’t taken one since I quit.

    When I think about my brain, and think about – how little it helped my delayed cycle sleep (ah yes. So maybe I could shift it back 1 hour? And sleep 3 am – 11 am instead of 4-noon?) – I don’t miss it.

    But now I want to know – was that 3 years? or 5? That I took it every night, sometimes up to 75 mg on a “bad night.” I was a cognitive mess when I came off my drugs. Different drugs contributed different effects. I’ve always wondered – as I have watched friends fall into neuroleptic symptoms and states – how much I lost on Seroquel.

  • Please, do “drama queen cutter chicks” a favour and find an alternate way to discuss these traumatised people.

    First, using the word “cutter” or “cutting” is activating to those who want to do it. Just reading the word is enough to set a self-injurer into a tailspin.

    Second, I understand that some people do experience extreme states and exhibit borderline strategies for getting what they need. In my experience I’ve found that it is generally BECAUSE THAT’S HOW THEY GOT THEIR NEEDS MET in a situation that was traumatic, or far less than optimal.

    Yes, I agree with you the_cat, (and Breggin) it sounds like medication spellbinding/anosognosia. But I have a feeling this woman is going to wake up at some point in her life, and the weight of what has happened will be punishment enough.

    Here is an interesting phenomenon of self injury – everyone I have experienced this with – goes completely numb just before it happens. How much easier would it be for that to happen – if you were on emotionally numbing drugs?

    When are we going to pay attention and be kind to each other? This is about cyber-bullying as much as it is about drugs. In our society it’s considered fashionable to shoot from the hip in a quick, cruel text and laugh about it with your friends. This is starting to have consequences. This may be a landmark case, but it’s not the first time it’s happened. The last time I saw something like this in the news, it was done by a mob – and was not prosecutable.

    I’m mixed about the verdict. I would like to see some measures to make it less popular to be so cruel to each other in faceless texts. I agree with Breggin and most people here – the drugs – always the drugs. Look at the drugs first. I expect that – someday if she ever gets off the drugs – she will be punished enough for what she has done (if she can ever recognise her culpability).

    Until then, serving time will do. Keep in mind, the police and courts exist to put people into the profit making prison industrial complex. Mind your manners.

    And how can we better learn to be kind to each other?

  • Oh, that’s a slippery slope.

    You gonna use your truth to treat my psychosis?

    Listening to psychosis practically requires a suspension of consensual reality.

    So where is truth? What is more true – that I see vampires on the dark side of the moon? Or that a traffic light that is red means stop?

    Both are symbols or representations of truth – one agreed upon (the traffic light) one not (the vampires). But the vampires are important too, and to integrate and resolve that shadow, it needs to be acknowledged as truth, as well.

    In the safety of that truth, yes, there is resolution. But to impose objective truth upon another is to deny the reality for that person.

    There are many paths up that mountain.

    Nietzsche: “The search for truth begins with the doubt of all truths in which one has previously believed.”

  • 1. The statistic was quite conservative. There might – MAYBE be 10% of people who are drawn in to psychiatry by honest means, and are kept there without pressure or coercion. But once they take those drugs, that is questionable. The reality is probably more like 99%

    2. The source of this is my personal experience, combined with the experiences in my peer support for withdrawing from psych drugs, and reading myriads of case studies over the past 5 years.

    I include marketing in coercion. I include pressure, “You’re not cool if you don’t,” or – more likely “You’ll go crazy if you don’t.” This is coercion too.

    So – perhaps the thing you are against is violent coercion? The worst of the worst – the restraints & needles & confinement & humiliation of forced incarceration. Does that also include Treatment Orders “for the safety of the community?” Is the court a violence?

    Where does the violence end and the coercion begin?

    I reckon all psychiatry is coercive. I spotted you 10% for the benefit of the discussion.

  • It is the job of a tribe to make sure you are unsuccessful in your efforts to be free of it. That’s why conformity is such a powerful control on behaviour.

    Even worse when, as KS says, they are financially dependant upon the system for their very survival.

    FD I like your idea of iatrogenic damage payments. As a “cost of doing business,” right? Like the lawsuits?

  • Except that 90% of “treatment” is coercion.

    Coercion by the ads which drove you to the doctor – “I’m sad, I’m out of sorts, my life sucks” Try Dammitol!

    Coercion by the schools, Johnny isn’t performing very well, let’s get him some speed to stunt his growth and create a bipolar patient.

    Coercion by ignorance as the psychiatrists hold all the cards, and “know best” in the realms of “agnosia” caused by these coerced “illnesses.”

    Show me non-coercive psychiatry. I don’t think it exists.

    By “coercive” or “forced” treatment do you mean only by violence?

    What about the pressure of the poor, doctor knows best for them, too. Or the pressure to perform in a mindless corporate soul sucking job? Is that forced treatment to get help so you can still be a good worker? Is it forced treatment to take drugs to stay in a toxic marriage because you need to “save face” among the deacons?

    Oh, look – your cholesterol numbers are high. Reckon you need a statin!

    I’m even in the realm with Julie where most medicine is coercive. I hit the books before visiting a doctor, lest I be bullied into procedures, drugs, and even surgeries, without knowing what I’m in for. I have to fight with all of my doctors – even the “good” ones – for the good treatment for my health that I deserve.

    I choose to fight my doctors because I was so ruined by the drugs and surgeries that I still need care. Without pharmaceuticals (thyroid) I will die. I have to interact with them, and fight their control (coercion) at every step.

    I am a salmon swimming upstream, and you are telling me that treatment is voluntary?

  • As someone who was too poor for insurance in the USA (and was “too rich” for Medicare or Medicaid or Disability because I could work 20 hours a week) – and who has moved to Australia –

    I don’t think that medical insurance is the road to hell quite like you pave it.

    I have choices in my treatment. My private health cover that helps with acupuncture is cheaper, because there is a base which is covered by the single payer system here.

    Yes Australia has abuses just like the USA, and people are locked up and force treated. Yes, Medicaid and Medicare patients are milked and it’s criminal – scraping the bottom of the barrel so that the fat cats at the top have a bump in share price. It’s evil!

    But now that I have escaped the USA, I have choices here – because of the single payer system – that I would not have in the USA. Choice is a good thing.

    The problem in America isn’t health insurance (or lack thereof) it’s inequality. Anything which levels the playing field – like single payer health insurance – has got to be an improvement.

    Studies show that it is inequality which drives emotional distress and spikes the rates of “mental illness” and violence in a country. And the USA is one of the most unequal in the world.

    I haven’t acted pro or nay on the repeal. I see people suffering at the bottom of the barrel – like my mother, my little sister. Medicare and Medicaid take away your choices. Universal health care, single payer systems, open up choices.

    I am pro choice, when it comes to healthcare, even though I’m terrified of doctors. Maybe ESPECIALLY because I’m terrified of doctors, I want the freedom to choose which doctors and under what conditions I will see them.

  • Julie, your comment about MISUNDERSTOOD above is SO RIGHT! (sorry, I’m a little behind in time-line)

    The reason adolescents are so susceptible to crisis (besides the trauma factor) is that our Western society has no “coming of age” initiations.

    The Rite of Passages are now – drive a car (16) – go to college (18) – learn to drink (21 and, um, before), have sex (whenever??). But they are not formally acknowledged by community and society, and in fact – many of these initiations must be done on the sly, they are forbidden in our society. So they are not formal, socially acceptable initiations.

    Even the Amish have the Rumspringa, after which they are formally accepted into the community.

    Adolescence is a vital and important time, and too many people have been medicated from the “crisis of growing up” where there could have been a “coming of age initiation” to prepare them.

    There are so many things we are not taught – how to express feelings, how to communicate, how to resolve conflict – and all of these skills come into play as we try and navigate our way through college. Our initiation is like the parent who taught the kid to swim by throwing him in the river – here ya go, pup, now swim! Some of us can survive that – many of us need more support as we make the transition from childhood to adulthood. From supported (if you had it) to responsible.

    For me, college was my first time free of an oppressive religious home, and I had the equivalent of “breakdowns,” but didn’t “get caught” until much later in life. If I’d been caught then, I might still be babbling in restraints somewhere.

  • Okay anonymous case study.

    Someone with a drinking problem self-injured, took too much Zoloft and ended up in Psych Ward. There, was referred to “dual diagnosis” where the first thing they did was rip said person OFF benzo (Ativan) cold turkey because now that s/he is “dual diagnosis” no addictive drugs will be supplied.

    I guess this is happening a lot in the USA? How to help? This person is poor & without resources – all medical care etc is provided by Medicaid. Person is already sick from decades of Seroquel and antidepressants, but is too afraid – and too dependant upon “system” – to find a way out.

    This is draconian, and negligent medical practice. But s/he doesn’t have options in the medicaid system. Housing, food, also under threat from government policy.

    Just die young? Is that the answer?

  • Marketing: I would go so far as to say it’s not just psychiatry, but pharmaceuticals.

    There are pharmaceutical cascades that are killing people which have nothing to do with opoids or psych drugs.

    It often starts with a statin. Then, muscle pain – add NSAID. Stomach trouble, add PPI. This might cascade into heart drugs, or it might cascade into psych drugs, as depression sets in and sleep gets worse. Someone who was feeling fine, but had a blood test run & came back with “hypercholestemia” ends up very sick in a few short months by just listening to their doctor, who listens to Pharma.

    What about the 50 years of fluoride in the water? When will the science court decide that there is no one dose for all people, determined by levels in water?

    I think that psychiatry is an extreme symptom of a very sick system. Decisions are made for the benefit of share price, not for the benefit of anyone’s health or well-being.

    The innocent who “go along” with what they are told – are participating in a huge social and chemical experiment. For share price.

  • It’s positive that you recognize the spiritual components to distress and suffering.

    Your most astute observations were around who got well and who didn’t – how much they bought into the fatalistic psychiatry story.

    However if I were in distress and I were approached with a branded ministry geared towards a certain doctrine, I would find that just as intrusive as psychiatry.

    To me, spirituality is divorced from religion, it is something that must be discovered within, not imposed from without via proselytization. You say that the spiritual component of your working farms was optional, but there is always an element of peer pressure, and those who have been incarcerated in hospitals are acutely aware of “fitting in.” This pressure would be subtle, and not always available to the observation of those who are running the programs.

    It’s a tough line between helping the vulnerable and preying upon them. From your voice here it seems that you walk that boundary cautiously and carefully. But I have to express that I felt trepidation when I heard the phrase “faith-based residential recovery working farm.”

    On the other hand, I know people with the long term “need the meds” mindset, and what you say is very true. And the Quakers did it in the 1800’s and 1900’s with compassion, so perhaps “faith based” could help where psychiatry has failed.

    There are many of us who have been traumatized in the name of “faith” and “religion” however.

  • Hey Julie – actually there could be a connection between drugs and apnea. My occupational therapist and I were looking at why so many people on the psych drugs came up with tendon injuries. The occ therapist reckoned it was collagen. Other problems from collagen would include prolapses, apneas, and aging.

    If you think about what the drugs do to digestion and endocrine, this actually makes sense (though I can’t prove it).

  • Sadly, most nutritionists and homeopaths are as clueless as the docs, and can cause damage of their own. I was talking to a friend who is now discovering the amazing benefits of sunshine and exercise, fish oil and magnesium on mood – and we talked:

    “If you had been told this before all the crisis went down, would you have believed it?”

    Both of us answered, no. That there was something about the crisis we both had to go through, and come out on the other side. Now, sunshine is very effective – but it might not have cut through the drama in my previous state.

    PS – Mensah Medical is in Chicago. I don’t think they have the whole picture, but they can help a lot. Problem is – how rich are you? 🙁

  • I was just listening to some Peter Levine who pointed out that “medical procedure trauma” is a real thing, too. And he wasn’t talking about psych drugs, just – invasive stuff affecting our boundaries and subconscious safety – like the dentist, could set up this kind of trauma for later seemingly unrelated anxiety.

    I reckon – as GiaK says on BeyondMeds – Everything Matters.

  • Whoa Julie, I didn’t come after you at all.

    I think you’re talking to AA.

    I agree that it is an industry, but it is worse for me when hubby doesn’t use his noisy CPAP, when I lie awake listening to see if he’s breathing.

    I also agree about the addiction thing – once you start treatment, like anything, homeostasis seems to set in and the only way to keep it working is to adjust it up, just like a benzo. I don’t know ANYone who – once treated successfully on them – has gotten off.

    I do, however, know that many people with apneas can be treated with Vitamin D – as it affects the sleep paralysis balance of sleeping. See Stasha Gominek:

    Sorry you felt attacked.

  • Hey Rossa –
    I am not a medical practitioner of any sort, and can only talk about my personal experience. My research has led me away from niacinamide, which was stabilizing, but not the miracle that niacin was.

    Niacin, of course, has those awful flushes. Hoffer says at some point they go away, but they never did for me.

    I use it more for a mood stabilizer than an “anti-psychotic” effect, so take just under 1g per day. When I was more unstable, I was up to 2g per day, and have been able to reduce it over time.

    Non flush versions which “pass muster” for me are NADH (don’t have to take as much of it, as it goes directly to brain), and inositol hexanicotinate.

    Niacinamide was not used in Hoffer’s tests, nor has it been used in cardio or other tests. Based on my experience, I’m guessing it’s about 10% as effective as pure niacin.

    The other version I list here feel more like 80-90% of efficacy of pure niacin.

  • That’s the way my ortho-doc speaks. There is no way her supplements will do to me what the psych drugs did. (see below, as I address “chemical imbalance” from orthomolecular perspective).

    We have all of these blatant effects from the drugs – the akathisia, withdrawal problems, over-stimulation, emotional distress – but my problem has been with the hidden effects: internal organs, endocrine, cardiac.

    No way that niacin or fish oil could begin to do to me what the psych drugs did.

    BC I’m glad you are doing what you do – and I wish there were more of you. Orthomolecular may not be the whole answer (I also believe that trauma must be addressed) – but by golly it’s a terrific start!

  • Hey BC – yes, 40-60 years for turnover, except that this orthomolecular stuff was so suppressed upon discovery that I suspect it’s 40 years ago (as you note about Carl Pfeiffer below) – now.

    Sorry I cannot match your optimism. This technology will be buried under profit.

    They did a similar study on aggressive Australian prisoners and fish oil, reducing incidents by 50-75%. By the end of the study, they gave the placebo group the fish oil, it was so successful. So – forced fish oil for the imprisoned? Or just the violent ones?

  • Hey Desi, now that you are down to the pointy end of the taper, you might slow down.

    It takes 3 weeks for your neurotransmitters to adjust to a change, that’s why at www. we recommend changes monthly, not as often as you are doing.

    And many people react to Sam-e, as it fiddles serotonin receptors. Visit Surviving Antidepressants for more information.

    Yes, Effexor is an evil one, because of it’s multi-neurotransmitter approach and deadly short half life.

  • @desi12 – What a brave and valuable comment!

    How do we heal from the past? Maybe looking at the past helps you understand why you are how you are – but then there comes a time to let go and move forward. The past has made you who you are – and the present is bearing down on you trying to make you more, again. How can you protect your future hope? I think Letting Go is key. And you are so right – that thing called G-d – however you may perceive It – is the essence of healing.

    What is the fine line between your native stress and condition, and what have the drugs and psychiatry done to you? I do think that those of us who have been through the diagnosing and drugging are more sensitive to the life which we engage with. The “killing lifestyle” may not go away all at once, you might need to replace bits of it a little at a time. Some of my bad habits are hard to break, and we get so easily addicted to what is expected of us in society and family. After all, that’s what we’re “supposed to do,” right?

    I have taken a lot of peace from a myriad of little Practices. Right now, I like Natural Breathing, by Dennis Lewis (which might help with your digestion and cough) I have some energetic practices, as well as practical physical practices like tai chi/chi gung for pain, yoga for balance and stillness, karate for expression of anger, mental and social skills, and weightlifting for strength and rehabilitation. I walk in the sun for melatonin and vitamin D. I listen to music to uplift and feel, and heal. I love to read and learn from books and internet. I try to eat clean to prevent inflammation. I manage my daily stress to keep from getting overloaded (it happens altogether too easily sometimes!).

    NONE OF THESE stop the depression, the rumination, the palpitations. ALL of them combined – help, and the more of them I can do, and – (this is key) – express gratitude for – the better I get.

    I still “crash,” I still get depressed, and have my moments of hopelessness and helplessness. It’s probably very realistic in today’s world when we realize that it’s going to get very hard to be human very soon. So I rest, and wait until I’m able to do again. Then, as I re-engage my Practices, and my gratitude for every millimetre of growth, I find I’m growing again. The downtimes are less dramatic, less powerful, and shorter lived.

    There’s a lot to be said for the do-be-do-be-do of the Frank Sinatra School of Enlightenment.

    But I will not submit to doctors again for my emotional well-being.