Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Comments by wileywitch

Showing 100 of 377 comments. Show all.

  • That was a good book. There is no line between nature and nurture, or mind and body. Using nineteenth century concepts and relying on fraudulent twin studies as an excuse to do yet more genetic research and to make unsubstantiated claims about heritability is a desperate attempt to prove that psychiatrists are real boys.

    Uh, scientists.

  • Uber psychiatrists like Lieberman and some blogging psychiatrists I have seen now openly admit that they’ve always known that mental illness wasn’t biological and the medications didn’t target a specific imbalance, they just told their patients that to get them to take the medication. Then they express outrage at not be given unconditional positive regard. What adult does that? They’ve brainwashed entire populations into believing that psychiatrists actually understand the brain, emotions, and psychic distress and expect people to understand that that was for their own good. I don’t even.

  • For people who suffer with real pain, an opiod can make their life worth living. I think it’s important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I suffered pain with MS that made it difficult for me to sleep and had me thinking that it wasn’t a matter of “if”, but “when” I would seek assisted suicide. Fortunately, I found another solution to lower the pain to the point that I could live with it and gladly stopped the oxy. I think it’s very important not to turn this problem into a witch hung.

  • The mirtazapine may have been keeping him awake and raising the dose may have made it worse. I used to say that I was prone to paradoxical reactions, now I know that psyche meds are prone to causing paradoxical reactions as any ad will illustrate; but the fact that the had chronic problems with sleep was sufficient to ground him. No diagnosis or mental health issue need be mentioned. We all need SLEEP— precious, precious sleep.

  • If your “depression” is actually an iron or B-12 deficiency, then yes it’s medical. If your psychiatrist diagnoses you with some endogenous depression assumed to be caused by some natural defect and prescribes antidepressants that he/she expects you take for life while your body is starving for oxygen, for instance, it’s medical malpractice and bulls*it.

    This ain’t rocket science.

  • I couldn’t read anything more complex than a Sue Grafton murder mystery and could not write a grocery list while on lithium. The dose I was on was way too high, and I didn’t even hear about blood testing for levels until I got V.A. care. I had payed private psychiatrists who didn’t bother with the testing and didn’t mention it, and were administering monster doses that made me a lump. Grrrr.

  • There is simply no separation between nature and nurture. Nurturing babies is in our nature. Babies with “mental illness” are most likely not getting their most basic needs met, and to not focus on getting that baby’s most basic needs met before considering anything else to be the problem is gross and criminal neglect in my book.

    I think the lion’s share of the problem with this false dichotomy of nature/nurture, is that we don’t have the vocabulary to speak without it. Brain/body/mind/society….— self? There is no operative word with which to speak of this casually or scientifically, so we waste a lot of time wallowing in an argument that shouldn’t exist.

  • Well, if you’ve been taking a cocktail, no one knows, really. I don’t think our brains know what to do on and while discontinuing. At least being informed of all the known effects of discontinuation can help so that we know that what we’re going through is not “our illness” but our bodies’ efforts to find a natural balance again. Patience can be hard when your body is in a confused uproar and your brain is wiggy. Support sounds good.

  • I WILL buy this book. Vindication and honesty is priceless. Thank you, Doctor Burstow.

    Everyone knows the secret; everyone knows that everyone knows the secret…

    And yet so many psychiatrists and other mental health professionals remain haughty and attack people who have been harmed by diagnoses and medications when they talk about it as if they were attacking the psychiatrists personally. Psychiatry needs to grow up, look at itself, and stop treating patients and ex-patients like they’re the ones behaving like children when they simply speak the truths about their experiences .

    Recently I saw an article asserting that the Placebo Effect is primarily a relic of RCTs, and the improvements are primarily either naturally occurring or the result of implicit biases in evaluations. I have no opinion on this, but find it interesting. Even the worst sort of depression— melancholia— generally lasts no more than three months for those who survive it. I don’t doubt that there are certain states that are worthy of the term “depression”; but the assumption that it requires constant and lifelong medication or other treatment is pure bunk.

  • Does anyone else here recognize rebound effects by their vengeful feeling? They’re mean.

    I need to get liquid amitriptyline and am now doing research to see where I can get it. Not Rite Aid. I’ve cut down from 150 mg to 45 mg and find myself up against electrical zaps, deep waves of pain, nausea, vertigo, and a feeling of mild existential dread that I’ve had with an allergic reaction to nortriptyline and with hyperthermia. I don’t know what to call that. If I didn’t know where it was coming from it would frighten me into going to an emergency room. Meanwhile, I’m holding at 45 mg, but still have to take an additional 10 to 20 mg during the day sometimes to stop the uproar in my body.

    It bites. Especially when the pills make ya’ psychotic or something near it. I cannot not thank psychiatry enough for desipramine and the bipolar II disorder that lead to a decade of useless drug cocktails. Now I’m working my way off the prescribing cascade that came with MS, which includes two antidepressants prescribed for nerve pain and sleep.

    The doses of psychoactive drugs available are not small enough, and that’s a problem with neuroleptics and benzos as well. It’s past time for pharmaceutical companies and doctors to make discontinuation less disturbing and symptomatic and to take the symptoms and conditions caused by these drugs seriously.

    The validation, vindication, information, and support I’ve gained through peer support and critical MDs and psychologists who know these experiences is priceless, and thus far is the most valuable resource for getting off useless and harmful psychoactive drugs and figuring out how to do so with the least punishment.

    Keeping people from getting on them in the first place, when they are of no benefit, is a much harder task. Why should we have to learn the hard way?

  • Electroshock is a closed head injury, and head injuries sometimes induce euphoria. There are some people, especially people with melancholia that swear by shock treatment, but I doubt they swear to being zapped until their memories are erased.

  • Yes, I think it’s undeniable that some drugs, even some that aren’t psyche meds, can essentially deprive a person of judgement and make them act out of character and do drastic and/or bizarre things that they wouldn’t have normally done. Whatever the personality or other problems of the person experiencing such an effect, they likely wouldn’t have acted on it without being in such a radically different altered state.

    That may not explain this one pilot, but it needs to be considered a very real possibility and the issue needs to be addressed truthfully. No one has a hard time believing that a person does things they wouldn’t have under the influence of street drugs; but people on street drugs KNOW they’re in an altered state.

  • I got a great deal of help from therapy, then it went bio-bio-bio and I got a lot of harm. I’m almost over it now, I think; but the fact that the marketing of the disease and medicate model has been so successful and is believed in so absolutely, I still have to keep pushing back.

    And, of course, spending time with others who are doing the same is a fine ingredient for recovery. Psychiatry can make you feel so crazy, ya’ know.

  • Getting off of the lithium I had been prescribed at a too high dose for three years, was like coming back to life. I had felt like most of my traits had been forever lost, but they all came back and I then managed to leave the only abusive boyfriend I’ve ever had. It was completely contrary to my nature to be in such a relationship for even a day, but on the lithium, I was unable to rally myself to do anything, even when in a dangerous situation. I felt forever stuck and permanently damaged by both the lithium and the erroneous belief that I suffered from an endogenous mental illness that needed to medicated with a chemical straitjacket for life.

    It took me a few more years to finally get it and stop ALL the psyche meds for the bipolar disorder I never had. Seven years later, I find that my moods are actually quite stable. PTSD, anemia, and drugs are the only causes of the “mood problems” I’ve had, and those were only “mood problems” because I and mental health professionals weren’t recognizing the causes of my unruly moods, which justify being disturbed and suffering, at times.

  • The V.A. has a problem with different prescribers not coordinating. For my MS pain, my GP says it’s my neurologist’s job, and I don’t have to tell you what my neurologist says.

    The V.A.’s own studies demonstrate that none of these drugs are effective for PTSD, but the V.A. uses the same general guidelines as everyone else. I got of oxy myself, and am down to 30 mgs of amitriptyline daily from 150 mg. After I’m done with that, I’m tapering off trazodone. Am also running my own personal campaign to cut down on unnecessary MRIs, other screening, and appointments. I’ve been through two prescribing cascades with the V.A. One for psyche meds, and one for MS. Before I started cutting down last years, I had amasses so many scrips that it was physically bothersome to swallow all the pills.

    Much better now. I have time to do a lot of research on my conditions and my medications, but the V.A. staff is swamped with so many patients and bureaucracy has always been its Achilles Tendon.

    I think the ruling guidelines need to be ironed out by pharmacologists and that they need to be involved with clinical prescribing to prevent drug reactions, risks multiplied by multiple drugs with the same risks, and unnecessary and inappropriate prescriptions.

  • There are many foster parents that are wonderful and doing the best by their charges with the resources they have (which are meager) but, to those who are working on the insider track, I think foster “parents” should be called foster “guardians”– not to be pedantic, but because they aren’t the children’s parents, they ARE guardians and the title should reflect their responsibility more than their power and status.

    Foster care systems need more money, and what’s being spent on drugs is a good place to start.

    Unfortunately, today’s foster children are likely to be tomorrow’s tale of unintended consequences on a large scale.

  • I just learned about the NNH (number needed to harm), and think it’s a great companion to the NNT (number needed to treat). It’s the best illustration I’ve seen of the numbers to help people weigh risks and benefits. Of course, population statistics rarely translate for the individual. You either suffer a harm or don’t; but populations like the elderly have always been particularly at risk. There’s a reason why geriatric medicine exists.

    We need to start spending money on adequate resources and training in care homes, instead of using drugs as social control.

  • It’s always good to see an MD challenging the status quo. More than one study has shown that doctors think they aren’t influenced by advertising (but others are) though their prescribing habits say differently. Even just using a pen with the drug’s name on it increases the number of prescriptions they write for that drug.

    Psychiatry has broken with psychology to the degree that there is a stunning lack of self-awareness among too many psychiatrists. Silly doctors, of course advertising and marketing works, otherwise, it wouldn’t be everywhere you turn and pharmaceutical companies wouldn’t be spending more on it than they do on R&D.

  • My experience with involuntary commitment in a private hospital was that the idea that I knew myself and experience better than anyone on that ward (or at all) was evidence that I was a problem child. Ignoring their prescriptions and diagnosis was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.

    I’m fine, thank you.

    But, the massive campaigning for bio-bio-bio psychiatry and the fact that so much of the public has bought into it makes it necessary for me to return here again and again to psychically fight it for my own good, though I know that I’m not bipolar and that I only had a brief reactive psychosis while suffering with very bad PTSD symptoms and a perfect storm of other stressors including an unprecedentedly long period of sleep deprivation.

    I’m still fine (thank you).

    It takes a continuing effort just to let myself know what I know about myself and my experience, and it wouldn’t tick me off so much if I were just a rare and unfortunate exception. Institutional abuse totally rubs my fur the wrong way; it’s the stuff of dystopian nightmares.

  • What strikes me about his tale of the Yale student is that most patients aren’t dropping out of Yale and the psychiatrist they see does NOT order “a battery of physical tests —blood tests, an EEG, MRI, and other neuropsychological exams—to rule out other possible causes”. They don’t test for so much as an iron or B deficiency or thyroid problems, and most of them don’t converse with the patient.

    It’s a very privileged tale.

  • The greatest anti-anxiety drug I’ve ever used is thousands of dollars in my savings account and still climbing. Living from paycheck to paycheck while buying luxury items or even necessities is stressful, if not horrifying. Living from paycheck to paycheck without savings is grueling, even when the threat is only on the periphery, the awareness that you could end up on the mean American streets is tortuous.

    Of course, if you’re working class, getting ahead can be next to impossible, but any savings is better than none. I’ve managed to save because I’m an in-home caregiver and don’t have to pay rent or bills. I also have a small pension on top of my part-time job.

    A soft cushion of money to fall back on is something I wish for everyone. It relieves and prevents stress like nothing else can.

  • There’s a lot of ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ in that arrangement. Too bad caregivers can’t raise their pay, we’re underpaid and considered to be “unskilled” when being a caregiver requires a lot of skills, including thinking very carefully about the patient and negotiating.

  • I think a lot of problems could be headed off at the pass if the Surgeon General declared problems of mental functioning and being emotionally overwhelmed conditions worthy of treatment without a medical diagnosis being necessary.

  • It cheered me up recently to see a recommendation to stop the routine yearly exam of people with no health problems. When you need urgent care, it may be either a long wait (so much for urgent) or you might have to go to the emergency room to pay over five-hundred dollars to have an infected hangnail lanced, because doctors are spending so much time on healthy people. YMMV according to your HMO.

    Specialists are making a mint on people they don’t need to see in the first place, and another pile of money on false positives.

  • Nicotine is a stimulant and a depressant. We unconsciously regulate it’s effect to get what we need to balance out at any given moment. If you have a crappy job and have to smile in the face of disparaging comments and behavior, the depressant effect can help to mask anger, for instance. There’s a reason why most people who still smoke are working class, and if psychiatry came up with a drug which is both a stimulant and depressant that only has an effect for seven minutes, can be used as necessary, has been very well studied so that it’s effects are known, and doesn’t cause health problems or addiction, I’d take it now and then to buffer the effects of having to deal with other people’s crap gracefully in order to avoid negative consequences.

  • After my brief reactive psychosis(thank you), that was like a long waking night terror with the flashback memory of a decapitating Soviet strike and the horror of it in real time; I did some searches and found studies being done on combat veterans and victims of political torture living in asylum that addressed the possibility of PTSD with psychosis. Of course, ever clinging to the fairy tales of eugenic and fraudulent twin studies, they used combat veterans with PTSD and a diagnosis of a psychotic disorder as “controls” as if many or most of those veterans might not be suffering from PTSD-P and have been misdiagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

    That was very early in 2011. Now there are articles on PTSD-P all over the web on “reputable” medical sites, with no acknowledgement that this diagnosis is new. This general lack of acknowledgment ignores people who have been diagnosed with psychosis and PTSD erroneously before the category was created. Most professionals lack a sense of the history of their field necessary to put new developments into an historical context, no matter how recent the history, but psychiatry is, in my opinion, one of the worst offenders. This makes labels too permanent and gives the individual who diagnoses entirely too much power and influence in a person’s life, legally, socially, and personally.

    I think it takes a lot of energy and effort to make the fact that a person can experience such profound and unmanageable (if not ineffable) pain that they break down. It’s one of the most universal human realities I can think of, and it used to be understood by most people who suffer great and/or chronic stress. Yeah, I’m hanging by a thread too, and I hope I don’t break, take it easy, get well. is a healthy response to someone who has cracked. Hanging a label on them and telling them they are forever broken and ignoring the reality and value of their suffering after one psychotic episode or more than one in ten year intervals, or the like, is preposterous.

    The system needs to be changed to allow treatment and payment for treatment without binding labels.

  • Yep, B.

    If the World Bank were to say, give a lot more money to Doctors Without Borders, help Liberia expand and integrate their medical services for basic care and containment, then pay for the development and testing of an effective Ebola vaccine, then things might start looking up for the foreseeable future for all of them.

    I fail to see how Western style mental health care is going to translate for Liberians. Doctors Without Borders is pretty good at helping locals find local help.

  • Not to be nit-picky, but yes, you were born with a brain, and that brain has been changing non-stop since before you were born. Whatever genes we have, the expression of those genes is determined by environment. I’m not denying that there are medical causes of unwieldy or unbearable mental states, it’s just that the idea that there is any separation at all between nature and nurture is old-school and faulty to a degree that warrants its abandonment, but we don’t have the language to speak or think without the dichotomies of nature/nurture and mind/brain.

    Sometimes, I think, we need some philosophical therapy to create our own new perspectives and paradigms to help us liberate ourselves from our past without dragging our parents into our psyche any more than we need to so that their traits no long matter, heritable or not. We we can stop being their children and take possession of ourselves.

  • Actually, medicine has been focused on lifestyle and ignoring environmental threats to health, many of which have been known for a long, long time. We are all ever and always inextricably bound to our environments. Cleaning up and preventing pollution and noxious contamination is as important to our health as personal choices, if not more so, in some cases. Consider radiation and other elements that we cannot be immune to, and go from there.

  • Our bodies have to process stress. Most of us, most of the time, do not have great difficulty processing stress because of organ damage, for instance, so we take for granted what an embodied phenomenon stress is— it’s not all in our heads, by any means.

    I worked as a caregiver for a transplant candidate, and saw him fall like a board and lapse into a comatose state after talking to his ex-wife on the phone. His liver could not handle the stress.

    And everyone has a limit. Contrary to popular opinion among many psychiatrists, anyone can be leveled by stress, especially when they are swept up into a storm of many stressful things intersecting and do not have the resources to soften the blows.

  • One name— Dr. Joseph Biederman— a man responsible for the fact that infants have been prescribed drugs for “childhood bipolar disorder”. There should be a special place in hell for this man. We will never be able to account for all the damage he’s done, even if someone were bother to try to do so. The fact that he has been able to make a career of promoting the drugging of children while completely ignoring the well established knowledge of child development is evidence of psychiatry’s obsession with becoming a real science, human reality be damned; and our society’s real feelings about children, especially the spite and fear of teens hiding behind romantic myths of the wonders of being and having been young.

  • A state of “low functioning” can be a time of meaningful personal evaluation and re-evaluation that makes later functioning more likely.

    I found my psychotic episode to be very productive, and for months after that I gained a renewed and more realistic perspective on a lot of meaningful issues in my life. I think this “high” and “low” functioning is especially pernicious for women who are expected to dedicate themselves to any number of others and are considered to be selfish when we focus on ourselves to the exclusion of others, and let them take care of themselves for a while.

  • Remeron made me ravenously hungry. Normally I have meals on a saucer. On Remeron I would eat plates full of food, four times my normal amount and still feel hungry as I was overeating. It was perverse. I had to stop it.

    And it stopped helping me sleep within a week. I trust if this Binge Eating Disorder was around at the time, that I would have rejected it, but often, drugs have the spell-binding effect that leads people to think that the drug isn’t responsible for new symptoms. I really do think that the idea that the last drug started or stopped should be the first thing to consider when new issues come up, and that EVERYONE should know that. All these “comorbid” conditions are hinky.

  • Oh, yeah. I discovered I had MS when I couldn’t stand or walk, after suffering symptoms for years, but not telling a doctor about my lack of energy because I did not want to be sent to a psychiatrist for “depression”. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew damned well it was physiological. After I was diagnosed I asked what I was feeling, because if it was “tired” I’d never been tired a day in my life. It was fatigue. It’s real. It’s physiological.

    There is a certain amount of vigilance about pain meds that may be justified, but women often have “complaints” in the man’s world of medicine that aren’t worthy of professional consideration because women just bitch all the time, right?

  • Speaking to a psychiatrist on a ward as an equal makes him very angry, in my experience. Failure to submit got me threats of being held for a 180 days. Telling him “threat to self or others, you can’t hold me for 180 days for disagreeing with you” made him furious. Childish people are the last thing that someone in crisis needs, especially after the crisis has passed. It’s been five years since my one involuntary commitment and I’m still amazed at the personal problems of some of the staff.

  • The bio-bio-bio model of psychiatry is an evil Pinocchio. The suffering that has been caused by psychiatrists wanting to be “real scientists” without real science makes them chronic liars.

  • Psychiatrists and the rest of medical doctors need to consider first that with any psychiatric symptoms they need to start with a list of all the medications a patient is taking. Of all the psychoactive medications I’ve taken for a bipolar disorder I don’t have, to prevent a harrowing “depression” that was an iron deficiency; the most mind-bending drug I’ve experienced (while taking it and discontinuing it (slowly)) was baclofen. Sensory distortion, depersonalization, anosognosia, hallucinations… It was horrible/ I’ve been off of it for seven months and am still reevaluating myself, my life, my feelings, my relationship with MS, and my past because of the years I spent not actually feeling connected to my life and having malfunctioning sensory experiences as the norm.

    Now I know that baclofen made the spasm and pain worse, too. Meta-analysis shows that there were no really good studies on the drug and that it doesn’t work for the lion’s share of people who take it. yet it’s a first-line medication prescribed first for MS spasm. Because of the mind-bending qualities of the drug, I could never tell if it relieved pain or not— that’s some deleterious effect.

    Next time I see my neurologist we’re going to have a talk about informed consent. When I was preparing to quit, I just happened to find a whole lot more information on it than when I first started taking it. Tapering off two 5 mg doses a day in ten weeks isn’t “abrupt,” but my brain/body thought otherwise.

    I was delirious.

    Do psychiatrists learn the difference between delirium and psychosis and other cognitive dysfunction or do they just reach for the DSM? They should, after being trained as medical doctors, understand all causes of what they consider to be the symptoms of mental illness.

  • The reason that pressure to abandon to DSM creates such ugly scenes of opposition from psychiatry, I think, is because that’s how psychiatrists get paid by people who have to use insurance to pay for their visits. At this juncture, I think it would be wise if Congress were to pass a bill defining psychological and emotional distress as a health issue worthy of treatment of subsidy– our bodies and minds are not separate, never were, never will be. And stress takes a toll on a lot of systems in our bodies, it’s not just some ethereal state in the brain or mind. It’s highly unlikely that a whole lot of people would see psychiatrists for no good reason, especially now.

    Before psychiatry became mindless, I benefited greatly from it, and read an article, near the end of my need for counseling and the limits of what it could provide, saying that most people were satisfied after seeing a psychiatrist ONCE. That’s not a steady income, but there are certainly a lot of people who could benefit from long-term or repeated as-needed confidential counseling, with perhaps some drug intervention (with fully informed consent and with vigilance).

  • That’s been known all along. Some people refused to take the check, and only one person— a Dutch man who had lived in the Netherlands during WW II— asked them who they were and what they were doing. Sadly, this experiment has been repeated with children in various parts of the world and the results were the same. Of course, children are generally required to obey adults, it’s just that few people seem to grow out of it.