Sunday, September 20, 2020

Comments by evanhaar

Showing 47 of 47 comments.

  • Caroline,
    Just wanted to mention that I’ve been on a number ‘antidepressants’. Most were trivial, mediocre, and/or harmful. In terms of legally prescribed pharmaceuticals, microdosing a generic, affordable, liquid solution of ketamine has been the only one I have found much benefit from. Of course, it, like all of this, is controversial and fiercely debated. Will my use of it decompensate me and cause long-term health problems, its efficacy vanish, and lead to withdrawal, etc? I guess I’m going to find out…..because I was on the BRINK despite my other modes of operations, which all now synergize with my ketamine use, creating a more robust system.
    I too find tapering strips needed and would like to try them with my major tranquilizer. Cutting pills or (wafers in my case) is more than imperfect, although it saves money.

  • Sam, good point. I always wonder how to form a judgment that relates to ‘well, 5-15% of people will benefit in some form, but (let’s say) 50-75% will be harmed, and the rest nothing.” In many cases, it seems a potential disability or adverse effect is being chosen over the originally perceived disfunction, in a kind of ‘risk/benefit’ scenario. A great deal would happen if the mental health system became EFFECTIVE, in whatever ways that really means. Holism is relevant in that regard.

  • I agree. Although, I wonder if ‘chemical’ is even better than ‘drug’. But that’s another shift into the unaccustomed. In the mean time, drug is more important than medicine in many contexts. In a college Drugs & Society class, we learned that ‘drug’ is anything that could enter the body and change it physiologically. So foods & beverages could be drugs. This complicates the picture. So we get into complexes, or something, of drug(s) or chemical(s). What do we call a drug that consists of dozens or hundreds of compounds together?
    I’m trying to think how this relates to psychiatry other than drug ‘cocktail’ or ‘combination’.

  • Hi Larry, one last thing. I couldn’t edit my last post. I wanted to leave you with this:
    Having said all that, I believe this will be my last comment in this section. I welcome your response, and I will consider it seriously. If you do respond, please help us both end our discussion with some reconciliation and peace. This is all taxing, and I’ve tried to make my points clear. Take care.

  • Larry, I agree and resonate with much that you say. I’m sorry I didn’t make it clear that I too feel there are systemic human right’s abuses throughout the mental health system, and that all immoral, incorrect, and misleading parts should be redressed–politically, legally, socially, financially, etc. I don’t like to group the entire profession together, and I have tried to point out that there are examples that I trust and respect. Even if the ongoing approaches of ECT, antipsychotics, forced commitment and drugging, etc. are similar to models of 50 to a hundred years ago, I don’t believe it is accurate to simply equate eugenics, sterilization, and lobotomy to how all things are done today, even if they sometimes share similar outcomes. And I don’t believe that all ongoing approaches are always immoral. We can’t claim that these are criminal in the sense that they are against the Law, even though we both recognize that very often they should be considered so and held criminally liable. These things are shared across communities, professional and societal (who are just as under the spell), and in order to change it, education and political pressure will have to be remedied, one step at a time. When you have a hospital of doctors, nurses, social workers, administrators, chaplains, etc. that all are interconnected along what is standard treatment in the in-patient clinic, then this education and change is certainly extremely difficult. We seem to agree on most of this.
    There’s simply no way to convey to you my entire position and ongoing relationship with these things in a short format as this. It is easy to make many assumptions in this context.
    I personally don’t reject the entirety of using chemicals–substances, drugs, macro and micro nutrients, and other physiological techniques–to influence the mind and spirit. I believe we are made of drugs (bio/chemicals), and that it is often an appropriate avenue to navigate psychology. But society is so used to a broken, corrupt, misguided, etc. use of drugs (so often called medicines) that many people reject them outright and conclude that they should be completely abandoned and have not done a spot of good for anyone at anytime. I support all withdrawal support groups, real informed consent and freedom of choice, a complete reimagining of how drugs are FDA approved, researched, and given as treatment. I also support the alternatives you mentioned such as Open Dialogue, nutrition, leaving people alone, religious freedom, as well as personality development through active imagination, mind-body work like yoga and exercise, and many of the other diverse approaches to getting right with ourselves and others. I personally think that, in general, a kind of all of the above approach is fully appropriate. In terms of being immortal beings, I will mostly leave that to you. As someone who has experienced a deterioration of personality/voice/etc., it becomes questionable and luxurious to me to assume that we are immortal, at least on this side of the transcendental fence. I advocate for quality of life at every level, including people with dementia, Parkinson’s, and Down’s syndrome. If immortality is part of that, then that’s fine with me.
    I believe we have many areas where we overlap here, although obviously we have differences. I would point out that Mad in America does not appear to me to be all-encompassing group-identity that forms an ‘us vs them’. The ‘remaking’ of psychiatry posits not only not deconstructing it into a void, but also not only focusing on the abuse of conventional forms, but as you say allowing a furthering of health from all aspects. Your note that mysticism, the paranormal, and traditional’ practices are a minor focus is a little surprising given your previous emphasis on your ‘spiritual’ approach and your comment on being ‘immortal’. Perhaps I have misunderstood something. I have read articles on this website that have dealt with all 3, even though it may not have been the main focus. For example, how traditional Jewish worldviews influence present-day medicine, the commonly associated psychotic symptoms of telepathy, astral travel, speaking with entities, or more normalized subjects like dreams and voices. I do agree that overall the focus is on problems with mainstream psychiatry of the past and present and a collective effort and dialogue on how to proceed. These are many of the reason I have recently given $5 as a donation to this organization and have bought 2 books by Whitaker. I am glad you have tried to clarify your orientation. I’m not exactly sure why you think I’m focusing on psyche and personal experience, or that I have strayed from the themes of this website (other than unfortunately not referencing this article enough), except for the fact that your responses are based on only 3 of my comments. Frankly, focusing on psychiatric abuse and what can be done about (in all those components you mentioned) would be meaningless without dipping into psyche and personal experience. I mean, this entire site is chalk-full of expressing personal experiences and dealing with the ‘psych’ of psychiatry and the structures constellated around it. Surely you didn’t quite mean that. Or perhaps I expressed some things that were not strictly about the abuses and had something positive or neutral to say about psychiatry. I am sorry if I offended you, and if I could edit my long previous post, I probably would, as I was at first offended at some of your accusations and provocative questions.
    I would appreciate you not trying to delineate what I can and can not say, and how it does or does not relate to your particular program. If the mediators would like to critically examine my posts and recommend that I tighten them up somehow, then I will definitely take that into consideration, as I ultimately don’t want to go against the grain unnecessarily of such a fine organization. I do hope to remain relevant and part of the process.

  • I_e_cox and sam plover: Not sure why I couldn’t directly respond to your comments, but I will try this and leave it at that. To both of you: If I could edit my previous comment, I would delete my statement about duct tape etc. I think this website, overall, is so bada&%, and is such a great resource. It allows people from all over the world to transcend their locality if necessary and find avenues of expression that are often delegitimized, overlooked, and forgotten by ‘standard’ care and ‘standard’ society. Sam’s comment that one doesn’t need to agree with my every word is so true for everything. I edit my website a lot, for awhile there constantly, and am so glad because life needs a constant EDIT. I read the Commentary Guidelines for this website, and I was so impressed by the mindfulness and thoroughness of it. Anyways….

    sam plover: Thank you for your response. I’m glad you found value in my comments. See you around on the forum. I’ve noticed you post a lot, and I appreciate that.

    I_e_cox: It is easy to talk past each other. I will try not to. I don’t know about ASPD, and that’s one reason I didn’t respond. I will try to google it sometime. There are so many nooks and crannies in diagnostic/labeling. I tend to speak more for schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety because they’re what I’m most familiar with, although I try to keep up to date on everything. I’m a little confused on your position on ASPD. Do you want it to be removed from the DSM? Do you think it is a legitimate label or will you be glad to have it removed?
    I relate to your caution of leniency of many of these things. I have not familiarized with the 3 historical areas you mentioned. I know a tad about MK-ULTRA, and its experiments with LSD for mind control by the CIA. But really beyond that sentence, I know nothing. I’m very interested in psychedelic history and research, but admittedly, I have focused more on other areas that aren’t as explicitly evil as MK-ULTRA. I am prescribed microdoses of affordable generic ketamine, and it has been a blessing. It also resonates with my original interests with psychedelics, which conventional psychiatry always and only pathologized, etc. I don’t want to go into my particular use of this, so let’s set that aside, although I’d say my generic version transcends the expensive, time-consuming, and clinical over-control of the patented nasal spray and the IV routes, which though interesting, are impractical, nowhere nearby, and rub close against many of the typical ‘Big Pharma’ problems. I hope to have another full psychedelic and spiritual experience before I die. Your spiritual bent is so necessary even though I don’t know your particulars.
    I’ve been reading Robert Whitaker’s books, Mad in America and Anatomy of an Epidemic, and I find them quite good. He doesn’t go over much of Jung’s personal and collective unconscious nor Hoffer’s psychedelic and nutritional work, but there’s so much density in his writings that he can’t possibly review everything. I’ll be looking out for your comments, I’ve noticed you post a lot, and I appreciate that.

  • I prefer the terms neuroleptic or (major) tranquilizer over antipsychotic even though neuroleptic is somewhat masking unless you know what it means, and tranquilizer betrays a sense of tranquility which is often not the case. But psychotic in ‘antipsychotic’ should not be casually used by doctor or service-user. It becomes habitual and a casual term thrown around. Affects identity and constantly puts it in a never ending, not only negative, but as you say one of the worst description that can be placed on someone. Only the simple minded and imitators agree on an easy definition of psychosis and schizophrenia. Both words that can be devastating when applied, and both words that society casually uses as if they know exactly what they are.
    Carl Jung experienced psychosis, but maintained his daily life, created a book about his reactions (voices and visions) insured for $50 million and read by over a million people. The editor claims it wasn’t a psychosis, but most definitions would identify it at that. In no way was he unable to communicate. His ‘psychosis’ was full of magnified communication; but with his soul and in private. Just thought I would mention this.

  • Nice digression. I hope to have another full psychedelic experience before I die. I rather like acid, but it’s liquid draino for the nervous system and is so damn taxing.
    I relate to this. When I got what I consider an effective antidepressant, generic cheap ketamine, along with my other modes of operation, I reduced over time my Saphris from 20mg to 2.5-5mg. (I only take it once a night, usually prescribed twice daily). I am unable to sleep without it or feel very comfortable with even lower doses. I have to cut the wafer too which is difficult and imprecise but seems to save me money too. Unfortunately I also take a xanax and large dose melatonin. These things are much better than what I was dealing with before. I hope to get off everything including Saphris, but I have to find the trail that leads to freedom but still allows me to sleep. Without it, I stay up all night and morning. Even with a fairly slow taper. It would help if I could get precise amounts of the lower doses. I don’t think a compounding pharmacy could do that for Saphris. Admittedly, it would have been far better to never start. But I’m so far from that. Coming off Zyprexa to Saphris was like a revelation. My microdosing ketamine and nutrient therapy were also revelations.

  • I_e_cox: Let me see if I can thoughtfully respond to your comment without you criticizing me to death. Hopefully, it is relevant to this article because I tend to not like straying too far. I have a feeling like I have here.

    First of all, I’ve had the habit of saying about most psychiatrists I’ve seen, about 12 and especially the hospital ones, that “they are dead to me”, “they are not the brightest apples in the basket”, that “I regret having to be at their mercy”, and that “they should be ripped a new a$%hole”. That it’d be a joke if it wasn’t so serious. That I’d simply be disappointed and embarrassed if it weren’t so dangerous. I don’t consider them my colleagues and definitely not my friends. Does that give you sense of my opinion on most psychiatrists? Does that resonate with your agenda and allow you to see me as an ally and not an enemy? By the way, I believe the enemy is intrinsic to human nature and the universe. If we, what?–kill?, all our enemies, we will still have to look into our own void and the great dying and betrayal of nature. My goal is to replace a greater evil with a lesser evil. Are you suggesting that we DO dehumanize people, or more particularly, monstrous people? Even murderers who have spent 30 years in prison can act sanely and with repentance, if not morally and purely good. Even they are more likely to become that way with a certain amount of dignity and as humane a treatment as possible. Are you suggesting we lock ALL of psychiatry in prison for life or inflict the death sentence? I know you mean ending their career and holding them accountable, but…..Perhaps we agree that some of the most mentally ill people run the mental health system, and some of the most criminal people run the criminal justice system.

    I have spent over 20 years studying many of these issues, as a person labeled and as a researcher, and I learn things every day. I do think these things are worth discussing, and while I won’t spend a weekend workshop with you on this, I will try to be open to dialogue. When you say you are comfortable labeling an entire body of thought as criminal, I find that very familiar, as I’ve spent a great deal of time in the mental ‘health’ system and some in the criminal ‘justice’ system, and I saw first-hand how that tendency goes both directions in a tragic way. My drug court judge was one of the most angry, controlling, sadistic people I’ve ever come across. (I can’t say I really MET him). He doesn’t feel what he’s doing. He always finds the enemy outside, so very easily found, and only knows how to put his weapon in other people, doing so by the thousands. Do I think he, and psychiatrists, need to get a dose or 500 of their own medicine? Yes, I do.

    I also don’t wish to mince words, and I try my best to be clear and concise in such a limited format as this. Now here’s where you and I seem to radically disagree. Two of my favorite authors were psychiatrists. Abram Hoffer, and Carl Jung who was a psychiatrist before psychiatry became more physical. Neither one is well integrated into the monolithic profession you are tying all together into a bow. They both had major blind spots, frank mistakes, and probably hurt some people along the way. I don’t intend to blur those distinctions. There is a place for physiological and psychospiritual shamanism and healers of the tribe. These doctors tried not to abuse civil rights, tried to work with people, whether patient or otherwise, and were both pioneers. When they died, thousands and thousands of people gave their condolences. Millions have bought their books. Hoffer did use ECT early in his career–always using high dose nutrients and not recommending it without them–but abandoned it later, and in my opinion, had too limited notion of the psychology and the medicalization of schizophrenia. Jung believed schizophrenia was a valuable term, but tended to be unsuccessful, according to him, of treating what he labeled. Each doctor found what the other lacked in some ways.

    So do I think psychiatry needs to be ripped a new a$%hole and be forced to look behind its own mask? Yes, I do. Do I think there’s no room for soul-healing, psychic and neurological leadership, that enhances life and diminishes pain and lostness? Of course not. Destroying seems to be easier than reconstruction. And criticism should be as constructive as possible. I love Jung and Hoffer, and I don’t usually equate them with Nazis. Even if 20th century psychiatrists are ALL not your thing, perhaps tribal shamanism is? The guide, the healer, and the myth-maker that tries his damnedest to connect the dots, inspire his tribe with song, dance, and plant medicine, and listen to what the dreams are saying? I’m trying my best d$mnit. Please don’t make me feel like you want duct tape on MY mouth and cut the ground from beneath MY feet; and that I am not wise enough to be welcomed in a forum such as Mad in America. Perhaps these are not your intents. I am not a Nazi, nor do I have sympathy for them. I have no intention of becoming the chronic angry and sadistic control-freak like my drug court judge, or the more subtle tight-lipped psychiatrists that think they’ve seen my true nature within 5-15 minutes and hang me out to dry. I’ve had to fight very hard to not become my own worst enemy.

    I welcome your response, but like I said, I won’t get into the thick of it beyond a certain point. Have I made it clear to you that I want the abuses of human rights to stop too? And that I work every f*$&ing day to find freedom and health for myself and for others? If I have not, then I, you, or both of us have failed. I will wake up tomorrow and try again. Grateful for the fact that I am not suicidal, that I don’t have to deal with most conventional psychiatry anymore, that I have food and a roof over my head. And that I can use my voice in a way that I choose, rather than pray into the darkness for The God to kill me. Or with a voice that IS no voice, a voice that knows very well what dying is like. Take care.

  • @Whatuser: I agree. I’ve been chewing over this a lot: ‘Society‘ doesn’t know, doesn’t want to know, and will do whatever it takes to prevent from knowing, even if that means fighting, abandoning, or incarcerating.” I agree that people should be careful not to blatantly dehumanize psychiatrists and the culture constellated around them. But it’s so difficult not to outright reject it, or to tame a response when properly assessing or changing the culture, without being loud, angry, and demanding various forms of justice or dismantling.

  • @streetphotobeing: Although I don’t believe in a monolithic ‘psychiatry’, that is, there are many levels and boundaries, I appreciate all these points. I call it ‘conventional’ psychiatry, and ‘it’ dominates the field. But I know THAT is also not fully satisfying. You shimmied through many of the interviewee’s cracks; many of which I didn’t catch at first glance.

  • kateL,
    P.S.: with me, with my nutrients I was getting better & worse simultaneously, which is odd. I still ended up brutally suicidal until my cheap generic ketamine, and this had more to do with my brain & soul. The nutrients, though, helped heal my nerves & muscles, including brain just not enough, and I believe prevented me from going into a catatonic-like condition of painful rigid muscles & non-fluid painful nerves. It was very slow, painfully slow, but built up over time by micro-changes cascading into macro-changes. This was through the simultaneous slowly stopping of cigarettes and refining nutritional supplements usually 3xday, after meals. Programs can be tailor-made to be either cheaper or more practical—such as a modified program of cheaper or less supplements taken less often, but you can’t go too low or less often if following some of the usual standards. BTW, I talk on my website about how I believe B3 (as niacin) may have caused permanent Rosacea on my face from flushing beet red every morning for 4 years. For many, the flushing stops/lessons with large dose, continual use, but for me didn’t. Sometimes in the literature you get: ‘if flushing becomes intolerable, the person will have to switch to a non-flushing form of niacinimide or inositol hexaniacinate’, or ‘if flushing doesn’t stop, they will have to switch’. In my opinion, they don’t highlight these enough. For me I ‘tolerated’ it fine. But I wish I had switched a lot earlier bc it seemed to lead to permanently dilated capillaries in the face and cystic painful relentless acne. I now have to take daily antibiotics until I can feel comfortable risking side effects of Accutane. I’ve also had to lower my doses due to headache, but took non-flushing forms for years without a problem. Too high doses of niacinimide for example can cause liver damage. I also experienced that and overcame it. So….some things to consider with B3! Also, manganese is a tricky one and doses are small; I don’t have a lot of experience with it. In terms of working with a ‘practitioner’, I completely understand your perspectives on that. ‘don’t get it, talking down to me, ripping me off, like psychiatrist triggering PTSD’….I’ve felt each of those things over the years!!!! F&@$. To leave on a positive note: ;)….

  • KateL,
    Thx for responding. I wanted to try to assist one more time—quickly before breakfast. First, large amounts of vitamin C (I take sodium ascorbate from Nutribiotic, & some ascorbic acid, which is acidic) right before diarrhea occurs (through trial and error), can be enormously helpful for detox from all kind of things. There’s debate on dose & cheap synthetic C vs the C-complex that I talk about on my website, under the clinical nutrition section:; designed to make things more accessible. I take standard cheap synthetic but high quality from reputable brands. Whether or not my website interests you, I went ahead and searched ‘akathesia’ & ‘tardive diskenesia’(sp?) on the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine website: Unfortunately it wouldn’t link to the results, but you can scroll down a bit and enter the proper search term you’re interested in, from years of publications, including highlights of the B3 & manganese. There seem to be many items that come up. I really like that website. Hope this helps.

  • Dr Abram Hoffer used both moderate (still small) doses of manganese and high vitamin b3 to prevent and treat TD. Not sure about akathesia, I hope I’m not confusing the two. He thought if the drugs had a small amount of manganese combined in them, the TD would not occur. Actually recommended to a drug company, but of course nothing happened. I can see that as being a complicated thing even if it was legitimate. Hard to get data, but he was convincing.

  • Yes. And yes, rock on. While I don’t pretend to know the ultimate answers, I would like to highlight one of Hoffer’s notions that I find appealing, even though it is materialistic etc. I should add that another favorite psychiatrist of mine, Carl Jung, also used the label schizophrenia and had an enormous amount to say about ‘it’ and had a psychogenic theory that is well worth examining. He also theorized a metabolic toxin ‘X’. He himself had ‘psychotic’-like symptoms which played a role in his self development. Hoffer considered schizophrenia a syndrome whose common final pathway is the by-products of oxidized adrenaline. He said many different causes can lead to the final pathway, but perhaps a majority had to do with chronic pellagra and vitamin b3 dependency; dealing with too little NAD/NADH from normal amounts of vitamin B3 in the diet and a high turnover rate to oxidized adrenaline and it’s by products. He named a whole consortium of psychological AND physical symptoms that can come from this. Having simply summarized his hypothesis, he had a very limited perspective on the function and meaning of hallucinations (and dreams?) and tended to medicalize people who experienced these, and I completely understand if this type of thinking is a turn off; I’m labeled, have used nutrients, & find it all rather maddening. It is not proven and would be hard to get the funding, consensus, etc. But I find it stimulating. His hypothesis was developed in the psychedelic pre-illegal era and before the use of vitamins, which came as a response, not a cause. It is the first oxidative stress disease theory and led to treatment with antioxidants etc. If you’ve bothered reading this, thank you for your patience. I try to make psychology & the body complimentary, and these types of ideas help me with that. Now to the….Peace.

  • I agree and disagree and suspend judgment on much in the article and in comments to it. I’ll just say a couple things:
    To rehash what other commenters have highlighted or framed, speaking from my own experience, I find it odd they both didn’t include schizophrenia as a disorder of adversity (& iatrogenesis) and emphasized it’s genetic & developmental aspect after appearing to negate those earlier in the article. Did I misunderstand something? I tend to believe there can be aspects of all of the above & sometimes none, including schiz as a social construct and loose, if not completely misapplied, label, with its stigma, illusions, etc.
    Unlike many, I am interested in the biogenesis of schizophrenia a la Hoffer & Osmond’s aminochrome hypothesis (which apparently accounts for the dopamine & trans-methylation hypotheses). Also, their urine ‘mauve’, kryptopyrrole, or pyrrole disorder test for some, but not all, people labeled with schiz. Also it’s relevance for other ailments like cancer. It was said to be a marker for oxidative stress. It is an example, and there are others in their work, that there can be biological markers for mental illness though they may not always be only specific to the diagnosis, and also may not be proven. Because we have been so over-immersed in pharmaceutics and their related research & diagnosis standards, we tend to overlook the biochemistry of nutrients and how they directly or indirectly provide insight into health & sickness. Though I’ve made many mistakes, especially doing it mostly all on my own, I‘ve noticed how nutrients—diet & supplements—can have profound effects on mental & physical status and their interrelationships.
    Other commenters, please don’t make this a long debate on what I say. While I welcome comments, & will try to respond to some, I don’t want to get into the thicket and go down the rabbit hole. Of course, I’m still exploring and fleshing all this out, and I think we all know how damn complicated all this is. Thank you.

  • Thnx. I’ll say both positive shades & negative shades about this & asenapine. I’ve read Mad in America & The Zyprexa Papers, thoroughly appreciated them, & will add a couple comments about them at the end.
    I wish the author would have elaborated more on the use of the PANSS scale. For example, obliteration of voices & visions (example of positive symptoms) as a test for efficacy is of course questionable, even if they are painful, interfere with work, etc. They are not illegal. In this sense, the fact that asenapine is not ‘effective’ for schiz might be a good thing. An example of what I mean is Dr. Carl Jung’s ‘psychotic break’ that amounted to authentic religious experiences and production of a book, The Red Book, that insures for $50 million dollars, bought & read by millions of people. Though somewhat unique, this shows how crippling & wiping away voices/visions & the mythopoetic imagination can be counterproductive. I’m fully aware of the complexities here, like homicidal command voices and running in the street naked, but I’ll set that aside for another time.
    I’ve taken asenapine (as Saphris) for 5 years and was mostly unfamiliar with these details though not at all surprised. It’s the only ‘major tranquilizer‘ I’ve ever ‘liked’ or trusted, and moving to it from olanzapine (Zyprexa) was like a revelelation. One reason I am more friendly to it is I can take it once a night, instead of twice a day, which reduces ‘side effects’ like sedation during the day (after I can finally get up). Very unusual for this class of drug. Since starting (what I believe to be) an effective antidepressant, cheap generic ketamine, and along with nutrient supplements, I’ve been able to come down to 1.75mg-2.5mg from 20mg per day of asenapine since I was not brutally suicidal and ‘needed’ far less sedation. (I won’t highlight the psycho-social-environmental context right now). I cut the wafers to get these doses which is imperfect and tricky. I hope to get off completely, but right now, I can’t sleep without it. It’s hard to tease out these issues, as I’m basically addicted (habituated) to it. I’ve had various measures to get either free or lesser expensive supplies. Rarely my parents paid the $300 per month (at highest dose without coverage, it is $1500 per month). It is just now going generic, and they won’t be able to make as many billions of dollars off it. I’ve used their assistance program, Medicaid/Medicare coverage, and doctor’s request for free samples from their website. Of course, I would have preferred not taking it at all, but was long sucked into the rigmarole of conventional psychiatry.
    Having said all that, I hope the authors of Mad in America (Whitaker) @ The Zyprexa Papers (Gottstein) take some time to analyze & highlight clinical nutrition & psychedelic therapy, though I’m very aware that we find many of the same issues as Big Pharma. Also to elaborate more on the notions of the personal & collective unconscious in ‘psychotic’ symptoms a la Carl Jung. I have found great benefit from these areas, and I believe can constitute ‘less-intrusive’ physical & psychological methods for mental health.
    I’ve said a lot already, & I’ll leave it at that to very complicated topics. Thx again.

  • sam, this will be my last response as I don’t want to get into the thick of it. I welcome another response from you.
    If there’s anybody who sympathizes with your general feeling, it would be me. I don’t consider most psychiatrists my colleagues, and definitely not my friends. However, two of my favorite authors were psychiatrists, Abram Hoffer and Carl Jung. They agreed mental illness, or dis-ease, exists, and that something should and could be done. They of course had many blind spots, inconsistencies, and problematic outlooks. I also think there’s an honest role for shamanisn in tribal societies, and that there is a place for modern shamanism, including both physical and psycho—spiritual methods. I think you’re right that most psychiatry and related industry services are not and will not reform/change. That’s one thing I’ve learned: they Don’t change. To the degree that this is true, I am referring to new management that have new ideals and different ways of doing things. I don’t believe psychiatry, in principle, needs to be bombed into oblivion like they do to so many patients. Like police and courts, I believe we need both, but a radical reallocation of funds and purposes should take place. Right now all of the above far too often, make a mockery of justice, guardianship, and medicine. We can’t change it into a void. But I support a radical re-visioning and re-orientation. I believe there are doctors of the past that play a role in the soul-doctoring of the future. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so. I’ll leave it at that. Take care.

  • Thanks for highlighting that. Yes, I agree, although I’m not sure bending it toward rarely is correct or that taking the time is not worth it. But when dealing with so many variables/positions, and millions of people, it’s inevitable. I tried to suggest your point by putting ‘resolve’ in quotations and leaving it open-ended, where they go their separate ways but without a war breaking out (at the table). Each position tries to make a stab at it, and because each model can have a very real affect on people—the labeled, provider, researcher, and public—it is desirable to clarify and formulate reliable answers. We don’t want a jumble of competing illusions, although maybe that’s what we get. I know that sitting with the unknown and uncertainty is sometimes preferable, but not ideal. I’ll chew on this some more. I do think it would be a good and challenging class experiment to take varying positions and negotiate a plan of action that a ‘society’ could take. Maybe they will argue til they’re blue in the face and lead to civil war, or maybe it would lead to the kind of brain-storming, creativity, and negotiation that are so needed in the reformation of psychiatry. It would at least give students the multiplicity of views before they entered the field and crystallized into a specific decision. I assume as people in the field, they would have to take Some position, even if they differed from colleagues or even if it’s the formal position of abstaining completely.

  • One of your concerns seems to be your lack of the human connection, socializing, etc. I made a comment earlier that didn’t even address that, and I’m sorry. I tend to be an introverted and private loner so I bone-headily over-looked that I guess. I walk with family, masked, although a lot less with the Heat in Alabama rising. I zoom with family or organizations that I am either a member or curious observer/participator. I text and talk occasionally with friends. I still see my psychologist in person, and now we both wear masks (he wasn’t). I actually like him a lot, which is somewhat unusual and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Anyway. Ok. Thanks.

  • I was brutally suicidal for a long time for many reasons. For what it’s worth, if anything to another person in dire straights, the most profound change, ironically just at the very beginning of the virus epoch, was my new generic liquid ketamine treatment prescribed by my psychiatrist. It transformed me; of course with all my other modes of operation: nutrient supplements, privacy of funded apartment (by government and parents—I know, I know), art and website building, minor amounts of other pharmaceuticals, mainly to assist my sleeping, and there are others. But my ketamine really made an important difference. It is generic, $45 a month, 15mg per day, and transcends the expensive, time consuming, and clinical over-control of the nasal spray and IV.
    Maybe you didn’t/don’t want my input, and I can understand that. But I too have lived with the apocalypse, and only hold tight–now–what I can, and proceed from there. Take care.
    (p.s. I think this is not the place for criticizing my use of prescribed drugs, especially from other commentators. I’m fully aware of the complexities. That conversation can be had at another time.)

  • Both of your points of view are important and an intriguing re-framing of the issue. Each question, scientific or philosophical, both put the article’s conclusion in a different light. Combining all three is so damn complicated. Does each play a role or should ‘one’ be given precedent? I guess this is why we need a multi disciplinary approach. How do we resolve the irreconcilable if we Have to sit at the same table? Or do we Have to sit at different tables in order to comfortably ‘resolve‘ it? Anyways.

  • One last comment for me:
    I do agree that b vitamins can give energy and sometimes too much or in a jittery way. B-complex is often given to boost energy and mood…sometimes uncomfortably so. It is important to recognize the differences between what are at least 8 different B vitamins. B6, B12, & B3 are known for boosting energy in one way or another. But B3 also has anti anxiety effects, and I know a person who took 500mg niacin(B3) before bed that helped her sleep. B6 for autism is often prescribed with magnesium to help counter its activating effects. B1, B3, B6, B9, & B12 all have antidepressant potentials. I think B3 can give ‘energy’ but also calming effects. I believe it activates receptors in a similar way to benzos, but it’s been awhile since I’ve looked into it.

  • furies-

    I’ve yet to hear of a method that works for everybody: b vitamins, yoga, pharma, ect, neo-Freudian psych, retreats, et cetera. I’m glad you are mindful of your sensitivities, and we perhaps both agree/hope that your new trial B9 for MTFHR will be beneficial. Apparently it has not triggered & jacked upped your nervous system? I think it’s possible taking niacin and flushing for years gave me rosacae, too high dose niacinimide gave me liver damage, then eventually headaches though I took it for years at lower doses without a problem. But I continue to take inositol hexaniacinate, in high doses, and wouldn’t go without it. Even the niacin did a number of profound things for me. B vitamins can have undesirable effects too, but personalizing it and adapting is part of it. I’m trying to be comprehensive and honest while not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I maintain there is a place for all b vitamins—all nutrients—including methylfolate. Some rare individuals with a genetic disorder or sensitivities can’t take vitamin c even though it’s generally one of the safest substance known. And, yes, I’m keeping the diarrhea in mind.

  • I had a zoom call with a mental health group yesterday. A psychiatrist said we all need to learn from our mistakes and do a better job going forward. This is admittedly difficult. Suicide is no joke and could be a bold exclamation point or question mark to a very long sentence. It appears that everyone has a role to learn more, do better, and find a new way. The person most in need of education is the educator. I support Steve and Caroline’s responses and value their work. I’ve had enough of this. I won’t respond to any more.

  • You have reasoning there, and I wish I could do an email exchange with you. However, I have a feeling I’d feel like I was dealing with a psychiatrist (psychologist? hence your user name?) as a patient (client?) in a psyche hospital, and I have no interest in that. I should probably protect my email as well. But you seem to me like being someone who either needs a good long term debate, or someone who needs love and communication from someone who can competently communicate from lived experience-in this case from a person with a formal diagnosis. If I was treated by you-again as a psychologist?-neither one of those objectives appear possible from what you say. If you ARE a psychologist, I would have no immediate need for the prescriptions that you find so necessary. My guess is you’re so fond of them due to 1: having the appearance of nothing better and 2: from not ever having taken the drugs, I mean medicine—or your ‘treatment’—-yourself. Or are you including your special form of psychotherapy since your a psychologist? It’s hard to tell, and frankly, I don’t care to know. I must admit, human nature is terribly complicated.

  • Interesting article. I just want to comment on the author saying there’s too much emphasis on new therapies such as psychedelics. Though I partially agree, it should be noted that psychedelics are not new and go back decades in a medical context. They’ve had a resurgence especially over the last couple decades, and especially the last few years. They tend to be publicly seen as either sexy or a scourge. The sexiness is partly why they are getting attention, and their compensating conventional treatments is another. I personally have had revelatory benefit from generic classic ketamine for ‘treatment resistant’ depression and brutal chronic suicidal considerations. Not the fancy and expensive nasal spray that’s being marketed and been trialed I might add. Its use for depression, with psychotherapy, is nothing particularly new either, research dating back to the 90’s and really before. It’s a very old drug being cast in a new light, and I recommend it in some cases. Having said that, there’s a lowlier set of substances that often don’t get a new hearing of an old approach, by mainstream or ‘cutting edge’ and well-funded universities or non-profits, such as more diverse psychedelic therapy. And these lowly substances are micro and macro nutrients: diet & supplements. They don’t seem to be sexy enough or a scourge, although there’s plenty of dismissal and certainty of irrelevance to go around. Now I speak more for supplements than a ‘balanced diet’, but complex, specialized diets are hardly prescribed by psychiatrists, although they can be a pain in the ass to maintain, I must admit. Psychedelics and nutrients are not ‘new’ treatments. Their reappraisal and deepening research are emerging from past pioneers, coming ‘back to the future’, this time hopefully with a more durable, more aware, and broader appeal.
    Sorry I’ve not mentioned race. The topic of racial equality and justice is also revitalizing from past pioneers and is as necessary as it is complex. The author makes a good case for this.

  • My comments address both interviewees: I actually believe people are designed for drugs, namely chemicals or biochemicals. The usual suspects are of course micro and macro nutrients, which are typically viewed as obtained through food and beverage, particularly a ‘balanced diet’. I would broaden the chemical need/want to other non-nutritional substances. However, I find it interesting that Baylissa mentions she’s had a number of clients come in for magnesium withdrawal. This is interesting, and I won’t say much, but what I will say is this: Does she believe that the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for nutrients is a reliable guidepost for society? If so, does she believe people eat and, even with a so-called balanced diet, obtain the RDA for magnesium? Do people Really eat enough leafy greens to get 350-450mg of magnesium per day? The same applies to most nutrients, but especially vitamin e, iodine, and omega 3’s. Are people Really eating enough fish 2-3x a week, iodized salt and seaweed, olive oil and avocados, or leafy greens? If so, I solute them. But let’s be real. Therefore, if someone chooses to take a supplement, they are not stretching the envelope based on this consideration. And this is for the RDA, let alone optimal amounts for preventing/treating illness and increasing well being. Jim says there’s no supplements that can help withdrawal. I completely disagree, but I won’t elaborate, other than to agree with bcharris’, another commentator’s view on vitamin b3, in this case niacinimide. Taking higher doses of supplemental nutrients, and suddenly stopping, Can create rebound/withdrawal effects, for example high dose vitamin c when taken in large daily doses should not be suddenly stopped in the hospital, for example. But I guarantee you the hospital staff will not offer, let alone taper, vitamin c through controlled supplementation. Also, nutritional withdrawal is usually relatively mild—and also begs the question of removing effects that really can be useful. I didn’t hear her describe the undesirable effects of magnesium, just its removal, although of course nutrients can have undesirable, even harmful, ‘side effects’ too. Anyways, other than these remarks, I rather appreciate the interviewees’ work. It’s a complicated issue, and conventional medicine hardly bothers, so they are compensating a neglected area. For this, I also solute them.

  • Thank you for your article.
    I gather that my comment will not be welcome here, but I must speak, and I find Mad in America contributors to be open-minded and constructively critical. My diagnosis is schizophrenia with depression/anxiety. (I‘ve ‘drained the bath water’ of my personal and collective unconscious, so I don’t have those hallucination concerns like I used to, but that’s a separate story.) But draining the bath water through integration of the unconscious was not able to finally save me from a painful dementia and morbidity. So I have been taking ketamine (not esketamine) for 3-4 months, and it has been life saving and a game changer. Hear me out: I don’t take the nasal spray (way too expensive and fanciful marketed and I don’t have the in office IV’s (inconvenient etc.), but I take a compounded liquid of 15mg per day of normal, classic ketamine. It’s affordable, easy to use, and most importantly has dramatically helped my ‘treatment resistant’ depression and brutal suicidal considerations. I’ve been in this game for over 15 years, and I am not naive. I got the quagmire of pharmaceutical treatment and iatrogenic (treatment induced harm) of drugs, attitudes, and theories. All other antidepressants have been either trivial or with unbearable ‘side effects’, and of course, you have to wait weeks/months to see if they work. This time frame is crazy considering your immediate need for help. I incorporated nutritional supplements (and diet) 8 years ago, and though I made many mistakes, they too have been life transformative to the point where every day was a revelation for a few years. But unfortunately my trauma and abuse, my treatment induced harm from ‘standard’ psychiatry, and years of use and overuse of legal and illegal substances (including tobacco and cannabis, both of which can be medicine if not for their double edge of toxicity and risk of legal punishment), became way too complicated, absurd, appalling, and truly too much.). I’ve informed myself at every stage of this process. I’m in the process of weaning off my major tranquilizer (antipsychotic) and am hopeful for the future. This is partly due to my use of ketamine. It has actually worked. It had an immediate effect that built over a couple weeks. It boosts my mood and actually (and importantly) stimulates my thinking and speech, previously severely crippled. I use to have a gift for language and writing. It has been it’s own revelation. Could my main problem have been depression and not ‘psychosis’? Psychosis is a whole topic in itself. When you’re not writhing in pain and complaining constantly of the mental and physical pain, might it be less ‘necessary’ to sedate yourself into oblivion with tranquilizers? Slow down, silence down, become fatter, sleep more, mute finer details, and then the psychiatrists/physicians think they’ve accomplished something. Now , I might not get to sleep as early with ketamine and I’m sure weaning off it at this point would bring back my suicidal edge of the final abyss (and, really, how much would be withdrawal if the abyss was there prior to use?). I don’t doubt there would be possible withdrawals, but my dose is fairly low. I am thankful every day for it. Please consider all this when you’re trying to paint a comprehensive picture of ketamine (albeit esketamine nasal spray.). BTW, I feel the nasal spray IS another marketing hype to sell an old drug in a new patented, expensive way, and I find it unfortunate and typical of Big Pharma. Will you take my ‘anectdotal’ report in to your examination? I hope so. Thank you. I love Mad in America, even though I don’t agree with everyone on everything (who does?), and I plan to publish my paper on Jungian psychology, schizophrenia, hospitalization, and times of crisis.

  • I agree with the zinc recommendation for sexual disfunction. I believe it and other things helped mine. Higher doses can cause nausea, but 25-30mg per day is usually ok. If you wanted to bump it up to 50mg per you could try 25mg twice a day. I always used zinc citrate. It can take many months for this tactic to work. I don’t think b6 helps with sexual disfunction but it does increase dream recall though some have more anxiety dreams. They say p5p is the preferred form. My nutritional doctor doesn’t recommend going over 50mg a day. Again, I don’t think it helps with sexual disfunction. A complete nutritional supplement program probably helped me with many things beside sexual disfunction. Working with a professional is best. I emphasize the zinc too! Thank you for your article!

  • I agree with much of what you’ve said. However I disagree with your comment on the ineffectiveness of ketamine for ‘treatment resistant depression’. I have been taking it, and it has changed my life for the better, reducing depression and suicidal thinking. I believe drugs are needed for some, and my nutrients (and other pharmaceuticals) were life transforming but not good enough. Once I’ve experienced the iatrogenic and social abuse, and got hooked in the pharmaceutical quagmire, and overused legal and illegal substances like tobacco and cannabis, (which can have medicinal value), and used the either trivial or unacceptable side effects of normal antidepressants….all together led to an impossibly difficult situation. And once again, ketamine has (so far) helped tremendously. I wonder if I can’t get to sleep as early with it, but right now I compromise. I don’t take the insanely expensive nasal form or the inconvenient ‘in office’ form, just a compounded liquid with 15mg of ketamine per dose. And I’m glad every day for it. So please take this in to consideration.

  • I like to keep my comments short to reduce stress. I very much appreciate your article. I think what you say Abe would have wanted is precisely the summary many of us believe. Thank you for giving voice to your son. I’m very sorry that you had to fulfill that role, but I’m very glad you did, for it speaks for me as well.

  • Thank you. I liked your article.
    Here is an interesting book by Dr. Abram Hoffer on nutrition and childhood mental health including, importantly, supplements. I’ve found benefit from his ideas (I’m an adult with the diagnosis of schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety.). I finally found an antidepressant that works called ketamine (a pharmaceutical so I wanted to mention that too). It’s a newer way of using it for treatment resistant depression and suicidal thinking. My diet and supplements are in addition to that and helped heal me in remarkable ways even though I still became suicidal after everything I’ve been through (including much harm or triviality from psychiatry.) Thank you.