Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Comments by ebl

Showing 138 of 138 comments.

  • The column here by Dr. Hickey is excellent, though I wish he had given some detail to the various ways that psychiatric “treatment” results in death. Having lost two immediate family members – one to electric shock, the other to profound hyperglycemia – I believe the statistics and details behind the vast numbers and types of deaths are both a compelling and shocking addition to the argument. As to what might replace the “myth of mental illness” should the full truth be known, we seem to be already there, as opioids and street drugs,tobacco, other prescription drug side effects, and corporate food-related deaths escalate in our apparently declining nation.

  • Believe me, we dealt with children who came to school hungry, dirty, poorly clothed – the gamut. We dealt with MS-13 gangs, Immigration and Naturalization coming at dawn to remove parents here as illegal immigrants, sixth grade girls who had been raped. You name it. We were a very close faculty for the most part, with a principal who spoke fluent Spanish.

  • Having worked in public, mostly poor and immigrant, elementary schools for many years – as a speech pathologist – I can tell you that the pressure to refer children for medication is strong. I fought back in many ways, giving out copies of “Anatomy of an Epidemic”, pointing out the origins and falacies of the Connors Scales, etc. The most effective thing I did as a member of the “special education team” was refuse to sign off on a referral for any sort of screening until we as a faculty had tried at least two in – school interventions. These were tailored to the child’s needs – move his/her seat, a different teacher, special recognition or a job to boost self-esteem, etc. Once the team became more thoughtful in this way, referrals practically dried up.
    This is not to negate in any way the pressures and difficulties present in our schools today. But there is room for thoughtfulness, and many teachers truly care despite the pressures placed upon them.

  • Ms. Cook, As a member of the “special education assessment team” at my public elementary school, this was my tactic – which cut referrals to the psychologist by over half: I said I would refuse to sign off on these referrals unless “we”, faculty at the school, had tried at least two “interventions” and proven that they failed. These interventions included such things as –
    1. Making more room around the child’s desk, thus giving him/her more “breathing space”.
    2. Switching classrooms, if the teacher – who had referred the child in the first place – felt that he/she was “burned out” on helping the student in question.
    3. Setting up a system that provided quiet time and a quiet space for the student, or established a way in which the student could receive special attention or rewards – taking attendance to the office, that sort of thing.
    I also said baldly that I didn’t believe that drugging children was the right thing to do – in most cases, it was harmful to the child and a black mark on us.

  • Unfortunately, it’s not just “mental health professionals” serving as drug pushers in our schools. In one IEP meeting I attended, the (not very good) preschool teacher was pushing a mom to put her wiggly little boy on ADHD drugs – the teacher! The mother was very eloquent, saying her older boy had already been placed on drugs and she wanted her younger son – age four – to have more time to develop, sans medications for his “growing brain”.

  • Meanwhile, there’s an article in the New York Times (written by a psychiatrist – a Dr. Friedman) that tries to cast doubt on CBD/THC efficacy (naturally – it might put a dent in the business model of BigPharm/BigPsych.) The hopeful part about it is reading the comments in the comment section….most everyone there is reporting anecdotal positive outcomes for pain/mood/seizures – you name it. And a number of them are bashing the author of the piece.

  • JanCarol – You are right about CCHR and Scientology. Though CCHR has a full-time lobbyist in Washington, it’s not a good idea to get one’s agenda conflated with theirs. Though the industry’s first response to what one says is “Oh, well, then, you’re a scientologist” (I got this from BigPharma types, psychiatrists, and their paid flacks and defenders, numerous times). Even CCHR people themselves, if they perceive you speak well and have a good story (that is “anti-psychiatry, anti-psych. drugs”) try to recruit you, with all sorts of blandishments, including free trips to their conferences. Friends of mine who lost two sons – one killed in the war, the other – home from the war with PTSD – killed by Seroquel – asked me if they should take the CCHR money, so as to be able to get transportation paid to some event. I advised that it depended on their goals. They were aligned with no group – just being advocates based on their pain and agony – took the money and spoke at the event. So, while it doesn’t really matter to them, they are forever “tainted” as being “part of ” Scientology and CCHR. It was important to me never to cross such a line…both for my own sense of self as well as for those I spoke for/represented.

  • Kindredspirit – I’m just surprised that there is no moderator here – to edit or delete openly hostile posts. I find it disappointing. That said, I agree that the dialogue is important. The “system” is an entrapping one, and there is way too much death and ruined lives. But, with so much money on the line (BigPharma, BigPsychiatry, BigMentalHealthSystems), it is a powerful force, and it seems a shame to tear down those who want to change it, whatever change means to them, to have a rigid dogma that excludes rather than includes.

  • littleturtle

    If I were you (and clearly I am not), I wouldn’t spend much time on these boards. This is not in any way to disparage the views strongly held here (many of which I share, having had two family members killed by psychiatry) but there seems to be little oxygen in the discussion for much else than getting rid of psychiatry; little room for ways to get there, little room for how to educate, or give a hand up, to those who have no knowledge of alternative ways of healing, little nuance at all.

  • See my post to Rachel.
    I worked in public schools alot – many serve as direct pipelines to getting little children on ADHD drugs. Once, when working in an immigrant school, this sweet little boy who had light in his eyes got put on them and the light went out. Another time a little boy put on the drugs had a seizure. I ultimately put my foot down and said that unless at least three interventions ( move the child’s seat, get a new teacher, etc.) had been tried there would be no referral for “ADHD screening” (the Connors scale). And the referrals trickled down to zero. Such prevention is fine but there must also be some other option for a family, or an individual, who is having a crisis of a “mental health” sort…some option other than drugs that kill and “care” that demeans, degrades, takes away rights, and gives a person a label at a young age – or any age. Not to help develop or support other choices may well be a death sentence for the individual.

  • Rachel777 – Yes,” suffering from treatments” is how my two family members died. I was able (with others) to get a warning on the label for the one drug because, of course, the FDA dragged its feet as always. As for not being pro psychiatry, of course I am not. But when the chips are down in a family and they have no knowledge of “the game” at all, what are their options….look online, the first thing that pops up is NAMI. Or the local mental health, or whatever psychiatrist they find in the “phone book”.So I am pro things like Soteria houses to help people get off the drugs, pro macro nutrients if that helps people get off or not get on drugs in the first place, pro Open Dialogue (I think …sounds good, anyway), pro the Voices groups (I think; no personal knowledge), pro art therapy, you name it….Just not coercive and no drugs. And the more publicity there is for and about them, the more there is a chance that that family might – just might – have heard of such options.There is always the danger (Will Hall was alluding to this) that with the rise of such new ways comes the turf battles, especially where there is money involved. Which is why I would never, ever consider (if I were young) going anywhere near being involved in helping others as my job…too close to home, too many trauma bells set off, no stomach for such power games.

  • Rachel – I am talking about everything that psychiatry’s ministrations (in the form of drugs and ECT) can do, including iatragenic damage. Two in my immediate family are dead from psychiatry’s treatments, while one more is still on psych. drugs….and many more people that I met during years of testifying before FDA committees in Washington – who lost their family members to psych. drugs -continue to grieve, as do I.

  • Oldhead – It will be great if/when we reach the happy day that psychiatry and its poisons go the way of the dodo bird. Meanwhile, I fail to understand the logic (if indeed logic is involved) of not supporting the development of non-lethal, non-coercive alternatives. The amount of death and wreckage (addiction, chronicity, ruined physical health) caused by the drugs demands such alternatives, in my humble opinion.

  • George Ochoa,
    The best of luck to you as you seek to shield others from the fate your Martha suffered. I did a similar thing after losing my child (to a psych. drug) many years ago. Our family “believed” in psychiatry, too, and we have suffered in addtional ways from its “treatments”.
    My one suggestion is to keep an eye on your own health as you enter this fray. I found it extremely taxing, demanding, emotionally draining, and finally had to “put down the sword”, reduce my advocacy, and move to a more peaceful place geographically so as to take care of myself. To me, there is nothing more difficult than losing one’s child, no matter what the cause – but this reason is particularly difficult.
    My heart goes out to you.

  • Yes – important to sharpen one’s skills for the “big fight”. As for the big fight itself, I guess the actual strategy discussions are taking place behind closed doors, not in this public space?
    One area that could use some attention is how to get “good guy” websites to pop up when one googles “mental health help” or some such in a particular city. It’s the NAMI and standard pharma-based stuff that pops up first. If anything else at all, such as “Rethinking Psychiatry”, it’s way, way down on the list. Perhaps there’s a tech wizard among the group that could look into the ins and outs of this.
    Be it yin or yang, “they” have all the power, all the cash, all the influence. So wily skills are called for.

  • Thanks for your response to my admittedly provacative post. If I seem impatient as to how to defeat the enemy, it is because there are already two gone (killed by psychiatry’s “ministrations”) in my immediate family and I’ve about exhausted myself from my own efforts in the “fight”.
    As for the remark about jobs, it is quite a question – when one looks at our planet in crisis, de-growth makes a heck of a lot more sense than creating ever growing mountains of stuff – hence, if followed, a big risk for jobs. I guess it’s a topic for somewhere else – though it was triggered by Will’s comment about his city in flames.

  • Yes, it’s what we should be fighting.
    But the roadmap is less than clear, when one side has all the pedigrees, cash, advertising budget, and weapons, er, drugs on its side.
    And, on the “other” side, people who nitpick at each other, ripping their arguments apart, on a regular basis.
    As for whether “mental health therapists”, whatever their self description, should be all castigated and thrown in a basket called deplorable – in a time of fewer and fewer jobs available, what could they do instead?

  • Bravo to you for making it throught the gauntlet, even with collateral damage along the way. One recommendation is that anyone planning to tape off should get some good bloodwork done, as the SSRIs deplete all sorts of essential and vital things such as Vitamin D, magnesium, etc. You could ask whoever is prescribing the drug to order such a panel for you, but I suspect most psychiatrists, as well as GPs, would just laugh, if not look askance. You can order the panel yourself (see “True Health Labs”). Jordan Fallis has a good list of tests to request. In this way, seeing what is askew – what can cause symptoms of depression – even without a doctor or naturopath on board – you can begin to supplement, yourself.

  • Yes, and yes on the taper off slowly advice, though, pray tell, what is a “wholistic psychiatrist”…didn’t know there was such an animal; seems like an oxymoron. The psychiatrist I was seeing, when I told him I was getting off the drugs I’d been put on – after 35 years – that I never needed in the first place (first anti-depressants and a benzo then later lithium and a benzo…after long-term anti-depressant use “flipped” me into a manic episode…see Grace Jackson’s book “Rethinking Psychiatry”), gave me this succinct advice – “Taper off slowly”. That was it. Suffice to say the withdrawal wasn’t so pretty, but after all the drama, I am fine.

  • Is the “I’m next to God” pediatric psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Biederman (he who invented the diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder so as to push Risperdol on innocent children) still practicing at Harvard?

    Remember little Rebecca Riley, dead of Risperdol and polypharmacy at age around four years old, medication given by a physician who learned under Biederman.

  • Thank you for this outstanding piece of research. l look forward to the piece documenting the increase in suicide (and suicidal feelings) in people having the misfortune to be placed on the newer neuroleptics. I believe there were thirteen unreported suicides in the clinical trials of Lilly’s Zyprexa, and many reported suicides in the FDA side effects reports on this drug – obtained with a FOIA request around year 2007. As an anecdote, I know of one individual who died from profound hyperglycemia from Zyprexa at the age of 39. He never had suicidal thoughts until placed on this drug. While on it, he asked to be admitted to the hospital three times to “stay safe”. Of course, at the time, no one made the connection between the drug and his emotions, instead stating that his manic depression was “getting worse.”

  • You mention needing all the help “we” can get from people who have sufficient status to be taken seriously. But sometimes it just takes persistence, even if one doesn’t have a “name.”
    I’ve been writing to a reporter my son knew (he was killed by Zyprexa) at the L.A. Times with supporting information about the various drugs that cause suicide/homicide, moved to do so by the various mass shootings. In return, so far, I got silence – which I am used to …however, today, Karen Caplan, Science Editor at the Times, wrote a column about drugs that cause depression and other behavioral changes including suicide. Whether I helped her look into it, I’ll never know, but I’ve sent her column on to a couple of people who do have “names”, asking them to follow up with her.
    Also, my persistence (and that of others) got a warning for diabetes/hyperglycemia/death on Zyprexa and the other atypical antipsychotics.
    However, I will say that the progress is so glacial as to be totally disheartening at times.

  • My son used to insist on telling potential employers (and universities) that he had manic depression. He felt he was being a stickler for honesty. One employer in the federal government told him that, while he’d done an excellent job as an intern (at the EPA) she was not going to hire him because of the “special category” manic depression put him in to, thus turning “equal opportunity” on its head. So, while it’s important to tell one’s story, it’s also key to remember the tremendous amount of discrimination of all sorts that exists in our dog eat dog world.

  • Kelli – Good that you are alive, for starters, and that you have worked to “process” what was done to you and gone on to help others in a humane and caring way. I will never forget what happened to little Rebecca Riley, dead at age 3 or 4 due to the ministrations of an acolyte of Dr. Joseph Biederman, who pushed Risperdol on children (for a hefty fee from its maker) while a pediatric psychiatrist at Harvard. I believe he is still there. He also invented “pediatric bipolar disorder”, a condition caused by psych. drugs and seized on by psychiatrists as one more reason for their existence.

  • john, your comments make me think of the lengthy article I just read about the burning of Grenfell Tower –
    “The Tower” by Andrew O’Hagan, in the 7 June London Review of Books. Reading this paper helps me see the clear comparisons between life in the U.S. and life in the U.K. and helps me understand the Brexit/Trump phenomena. Both countries feel like they are on death watch – we have thousands upon thousands of homeless out here on the West Coast. For Theresa May to prattle on about loneliness seems like just one more bandaid on the rot of capitalism gone amok.

  • I met a drug rep once (commenting on his Phillies hat in a bar). I didn’t know it at first, but it turned out he had promoted Zyprexa for Eli Lilly, the drug that had killed my son. I led him on a bit, and he confessed he had been uncomfortable touting the “party line” that the drug didn’t cause the “patient” to become obese or get diabetes, let alone profound hyperglycemia and death. When I told him about my son, he blanched, went speechless, and, making some small excuse, walked away. I was shaken to meet the tip of the spear in person.

  • “Big Pharma has never forced anyone to take anything against their will.” Well, yes, but they have mind bent the medical profession – bribes, falsified clinical trial and medical journal data, and so on, to prescribe potions that are often harmful, if not fatal. And the industry continues to work on “us” as well through endless and mind-numbing pharmaceutical ads.

  • And Biederman, self-described as one step next to God, got a mere tap on the wrist from Harvard, despite pressure to fire him.
    As for Risperdol, and all the atypical antipsychotics, they shouldn’t have been given to anyone. Looking at the range and type of deaths from this class, it’s almost surprising that no pharma execs were indicted.

  • Another potential political ally – the unions. I was in touch with the Teamsters in D.C., who were out and out challenging opioid manufacturers due to having lost so many members, or family members of members, to the drug(s). I don’t know where, if anywhere, these challenges have gone. The woman I spoke with had not heard of the connection between drugs and violence/shootings, etc.

  • Having worked in public elementary schools as a speech pathologist, I applaud this essay. The last time I worked on the East Coast, in a little elementary school by the Chesapeake Bay, I sat in on a parent IEP meeting in which the preschool teacher pressured the mom to put her little boy on ADHD drugs. With tears in her eyes, the mom, from a clearly disadvantaged family, said “well, he’s only a little boy and these drugs will change his brain. I’d like to give him a little more time to be himself.” I told the principal later that the teacher pressured the mom (teachers are not supposed to do this) and she said it wasn’t the first time she’d heard it. She also told me of several parents she knew who “made up” an ADHD diagnosis to get their child on the drugs so that they could take them themselves.
    Such collusion on our innocent children by more than one oppressive systems.

  • Dear Doctor,
    It’s good to hear of your restraint.
    Back when I worked as a speech pathologist in an mostly-immigrant children elementary school, we were serving as a factory farm for ADHD drugs. I refused to participate in any referral until we had tried at least two interventions (moving the student’s desk, changing teachers). Believe me, the willy nilly handing out of the Connors scale dried right up.

  • This is such a heartbreaking story. Once, upon tiring of the FDA’s lack of real vigilence of BigPharma, I looked into its regulatory role in the medical devices area and found that it was even worse – a wild west! I’ve just recently met up with an old friend whose life has been ruined by toxic metal hip implants – a Johnson and Johnson product now off the market. Though he had them replaced, the heavy metal poisoning has severely compromised his health to the point where he’s not all that sure he wants to live.
    If only we were beyond capitalism and into something more humane.

  • Dr. Kelmenson – Having experienced severe withdrawal effects getting off klonopin ( from being prescribed a benzo then left on it at the hands of psychiatry), I am well aware of this class of drugs and its risks. However, having also been prescribed lithium (off it as well now) and then never monitored for its effect on the thyroid, I later -once wised up- learned from an endocrinologist that the lithium had made relative mincemeat of my thyroid. I now see an endocrinologist regularly for the medication given me for hypothyroidism. By what evidence would you say this might be the wrong course for me? I am gratefully and happily off the psych. drugs I never needed in the first place, but left with this remnant of that unnecessary treatment – a small price to pay, really, considering the alternatives.

  • It’s a stretch, and a tough sell, particularly to this audience- many of whom (like me) have either lost relatives to this bitter war (for me – father killed by ECT and son killed by Zyprexa) or been greatly harmed themselves….to try to salvage any bits from the wreckage, Freud or any other. Nonetheless, every movement needs a “history”, and I guess – any narrative of the hoped-for abolishment of psychiatry as “practiced” today should rightly include Freud.

  • littleturtle – Don’t you think that even psychiatrists who are, as you say, ready to abandon ship and join the anti-psychiatry movement should be able to grasp why they get lots of “blowback”? Even here, the psychiatrist who proposes keeping that which was good of Freud is showing resilience against all the blowback – he/she should be strong enough, secure enough, in his/her decision to jump ship to know the waters he/she is jumping in to…

  • Richard – This discussion reminds me a little bit of the debate over the historical statues in the U.S…..should we abandon Washington on the dollar bill because he and his wife had slaves? Take down all the statues of generals on horses for the same reason? Or should there perhaps be an added, revisionist plaque nearby? Freud no doubt needs such an addendum….as for Scientology, though I would never have worked with them – despite their wanting me to during my advocacy days in D.C. – and despite being labelled a Scientologist more than once for the positions I took at FDA hearings, etc., I will say that when “we” worked to make prescription drugs safer (FDA PDUFA – 2006, for one example) and other mighty (failed) causes, there were usually only TWO organizations lobbying for “our” side – CCHR and Consumer Union.

  • People ask me what my caseload (speech pathology) looked like back when I started in practice – in the 1970s. I tell them I served a large cachement area (the preschoolers were brought in by bus) and had exactly one child with autism.
    Astonishing that physicians would say it’s okay for pregnant women to take medications for any circumstance at all.

  • oldhead – The discussion of Freud’s relevance is somewhat mitigated by the fact that only private pay “patients” can avail themselves of this sort of treatment – thus leaving out the vast majority of those who seek help. But I will say that, whether cherry picking his pluses and ignoring his minuses or not, at least his methods did not (as far as I know) result in death – unlike so many dying from the medications prescribed these days by psychiatrists who pretend not to know.

  • Dear Chris,
    Please accept my condolences on the death of your daughter. Losing a child is just the worst, for whatever reason, but to lose one in this way just compounds the grief, in my experience – having lost my only son to profound hyperglycemia from Zyprexa ( a side effect hidden by the company – Eli Lilly – for the sake of profit).
    Though these executives were never tried in a court of law, perhaps they will carry the burden of guilt in their hearts – if they have hearts, that is – forever.

  • Leighgage – Sorry to hear of the death of your daughter. So wrong.
    My family member died of profound hyperglycemia from Zyprexa – Eli Lilly lied, hid, and obfuscated about the side effects, for profit, of course. Finally, with many front page news stories, the FDA (which had been sitting on the evidence) required them to place a warning on the label for “diabetes, hyperglycemia, and death”…something two other countries had already required Lilly to do (Japan, the UK). Lilly was given the largest corporate fine in U.S. history ($1.4 billion) for criminal charges – off-label marketing of Zyprexa. And now, Trump has picked Alex Azar (from Lilly) to run HHS. Wrote both my senators to ask them to oppose, not confirm, his nomination.

  • Well, you could look in to orthomoledular, nutritional ways of helping out. Or help people taper off the toxic and often lethal drugs they are on….you could set up a booth outside the American Psychiatric convention and encourage your fellow psychiatrists to bail, too – a booth such as Lucy has in the “Peanuts” cartoon. All is not lost, except a lucrative living.

  • Your comments reminded me of when the Philadelphia public mental hospital closed down. Despite assurances from the Pennsylvania Department of Mental Health that all who were being discharged had homes on the “outside” , several of the discharged “inmates” – in there for many years and thus institutionalized – walked in to the Schuykill River and drowned.

  • Dr. Hickey – I agree that psychiatry does kill, having lost a family member to Zyprexa (profound hyperglycemia). And if/when the SSRI/SNRI connection to suicides and mass homicides is ultimately made (shushed up now by the media) it may well be the death knell to the” profession”.
    On another point, the whole “rocket” and “outer space” theme of this pathetic marketing ploy is a terrible insult to astromers, astro physicists and the like – real scientists as opposed to these bogus pill pushers.

  • Lawrence – How can we counteract all the misinformation about “ADHD treatment benefits”? I’ll tell you how I did it ….working in an elementary school full of first generation immigrant children, I knew that the parents were not informed and that many children within the school system had been given the ADHD label and medicated, based on the giving of the Connors scale. As a speech and language pathologist, I was able to put my foot down and say that I would not participate in discussing a particular child to possibly be “referred” for a Connors until at least three in-school “interventions” had been tried first. These interventions included such remedies as transferring the child to another classroom, where the teacher had not reached her wit’s end or had a different teaching style, making more room around the child’s desk, giving the child (always a boy) fidgets, frequent breaks, jobs that involved physical movement. The principal of the school backed me up, and – lo and behold – referrals for the Connors Scale dried up. This sort of information and strategy could be given to parents, teachers, and whoever, as an alternative to the factory farm system in place now.

  • “Psychiatry will never turn back; it is not interested in any “salvation.”
    Well put. Note in how many devious ways it reacts to any threats to its existence. Note what it attempts to do to Bob Whitaker, let alone David Healy, who is one of its own.
    Which does not mean that the effort to “take it down” is not a worthy one – it is.
    I envision thousands of us descending on the APA the next time it has its annual convention! Let ‘er rip!

  • Dr. Kelmenson – Can you suggest how psychiatrists, knowing all that you describe, then live with themselves? The same would hold true for the pharmaceutical company executives who, learning of the potentially lethal side effects of their upcoming “blockbuster” psyc. drugs (such as Zyprexa) from endocrinologists, go on to bury the truth – thus condemming thousands of future innocent victims to death. One ponders the nature of the evil here.

  • Good that the J and J continues to be sued for the devastation caused, though the real issue has not been addressed and that is justice. As others have said here on the thread, the behavior won’t change until the individual executives face prosecution. Over at Eli Lilly, Mitch Daniels, in charge of the roll-out of Zyprexa as head of North American operations, went on to become Governor of Indiana and is now President of Purdue University. And, because these executives make group decisions (in Lilly’s case, to ignore, deny, etc., the fact that Zyprexa causes diabetes, hyperglycemia, and death – even as they were told so by a panel of expert endocrinologists) they are able to sleep at night with a clear conscience. At least that’s how I imagine it.

  • Perhaps as a companion piece to this article, Mad in America might publish a list from the F.D.A. of all the various kinds of harm the worst of this class of drugs, Zyprexa, has done to countless Americans. I doubt if the F.D.A. records contain the number killed of people killed by it, but they number in the many thousands. Or, perhaps, an interview from a family member who lost a loved one….the article is fine in and of itself, but this sort of cold water slap of reality might bring the point home. Adults and children continue to be killed and maimed by these drugs.

  • Wonderful work! As a speech pathologist still working now and then in the schools, I’ve long seen schools serve as factory farms for Big Pharma, and have refused to participate. I will never forget one little boy from an El Salvadorean immigrant family who was put on ADHD meds due to being “all boy”. Prior to the drugs, he was a sparkly little thing. After being drugged, the light just went out of his eyes.

  • When the Obama Administration gave large fines to various pharmaceutical companies for civil/criminal behavior, off-label marketing, and so on, for such drugs as Zyprexa, there were a number of people calling for criminal prosecution of the executives who made the decisions that lead to many deaths and permanent ruined health states of those given the drugs. Even the FDA made some noises about prosecuting pharma executives whose behavior resulted in death/disability.
    But absolutely nothing happened, nor has anything happened to the opioid-pushing companies. This is despite all evidence and good investigative journalism.
    So much for the “hopey changey” thing (as Sarah Palin would say).

  • Jim – First off, thank you for making the clear distinction between terms – antipsychotic versus neuroleptic. I will try to remember this in the future and not ever say antipsychotic (“a marketing term”) again.
    As for Open Dialogue and Soteria House results, both bespeak a clear need for both humility and training on the part of those who work in them. These qualities are in very short supply in the “mental health” system we currently have here in the states. Many are poorly paid and poorly trained, if at all. And, over all, rules the Doctor and the Billing Department. How to turn this around, other than to make proof of it in medical schools and then force the Insurance Kings and Doctor Gods to adopt the model???

  • Julie – Many families do not hear enough of another narrative….how many “Mad in America” blogs make it to homes in “flyover country” ?
    I suggest that a book worth writing would have narratives from families such as mine who lost their family member, who lost their son or daughter or husband, to Zyprexa or another atypical antipsychotic. Let families read of the ongoing sorrow, the anger that there has been no justice. There has been exactly ONE book written by a mom who lost her son to Zyprexa, Kay Sexton’s painful “Not Just Another Mother’s Son”, encased in a deliberately black cover. She wrote it so that others would know; a cautionary tale. If you meet a family in which pills are the “desired” approach, even if the pills cause “early death” (in Kay’s case, her only child/only son died in his twenties), perhaps a copy of the book might make the family, and the person taking the drugs, think twice. Those dying young this way are usually exceptionally bright and shining stars, cut off at the knees before they ever really had a chance.

  • Dear Bob – Thank you for “sticking with it.” I view your work in some ways as a bit of justice for the life of someone close to me, which was taken by Eli Lilly executives for the sake of profits for their “blockbuster” drug, Zyprexa. There has been no other justice thus far.

    I envision this battle as like an ocean liner turning around slowly in a narrow space. Inch by inch, one day it will be headed in the right direction and vulnerable people will be fully valued for themselves alone, not for what worth they might bring to shareholders if preyed upon for their health care “dollar”.

    I’m glad you are like a dog with a bone.

  • Bonnie and Julia – Thank you for your work. Can you mention a few articles which summarize your general/basic supplement/vitiamin lrecommendations? I am well aware that no one size fits all, but would be interested in your general range of recommendations. Despite working at the healthiest diet possible, and usually being able to get adequate sleep, I’m always on the lookout for new ideas.

  • It is rewarding to me – very – to come on the Mad in America blog this week to see both Bob Whitaker and Phil Hickey holding the Kings of Psychiatry’s collective feet to the fire. While these kings may twist and turn with their spinning words, the patient logic of both Whitaker and Hickey applied against these same words represents the steady progress we need to eliminate their false (and so often devastating, if not fatal) practices and replace them with methods that are both humane and that don’t depend on a profit motive as their reason for being.

  • Robert – More power to you as you work to conquer the impact of benzo use and the other medications you were given
    I am here to give you a note of cheer and hope – I was placed on a benzo (Dalmane) and an early antidepressant (pre-SSRIs) back in the 1970s at the end of a love affair – my symptoms were that I was sad and haven’t trouble sleeping. The psychiatrist told me that because of family history I would have lifetime depression so I unquestionably stayed on them all that time.
    Fast forward to 2009, when I finally had time to assess my situation (single parent with two children, one killed by the psychiatric drug Zyprexa)….I tapered off what I thought was slowly from the drugs I was on at the time – lithium and a high dose of klonapin.
    Thought the withdrawal itself was just terrible, several years later I do not feel after effects, other than concern that I may fall victim to dementia. I have the confidence to know that everything I feel is truly me, unadulterated by any medication.
    I try not to dwell on any of this, however, rather trying to focus on being grateful for every day I am alive.
    I haven’t gone on the benzo withdrawal boards because I am afraid that my healthy and active imagination would kick in, giving me “symptoms” which I don’t truly have.

  • The other day, I spoke with a wonderful young man about this very thing. When he was a wiggly little boy, he was put on Ritalin and had to ride the “little, special bus”, and was stigmatized and teased by the kids who didn’t. As a young adult, he became a drug addict, addicted to meth, a result which he tied directly to early Ritalin use. Now a successful small business owner with two sons of his own, he is faced with his own wiggly little son’s school recommending a “special class”…
    Until schools stop being a farm team for the pharmaceutical and psychiatry industries, this epidemic will not end. Preschool children are being denied their right to move around freely – when my son was in preschool, his wise teacher let the boys gallop around and play cowboys until they wore themselves out and wanted to sit quietly to learn in a more academic way. Now, little children are forced to sit on little squares for hours, listening to teachers drone on. Just pathetic.

  • Ah, once again we find someone with his hand caught in the cookie jar – busy parsing words.
    Dr. Pie – I mean Pies – saying that he never took pharma money with intent to promote drugs is disingenuous at best. It reminds me of Hillary Clinton’s feeble defense at being called out for being at the bidding of Wall Street for the millions of dollars she has taken from it. As Bernie Sanders rightly pointed out – “let’s not be naĂŻve here”……all that money buys something.
    Whenever I see the words of testy, defensive psychiatrists like this, I automatically think – well, where there’s smoke there’s fire.
    Thank you for the excellent research, Dr. Hickey.

  • Steve Francesco is a rarity, a family member who has been able to act even while grieving forever the death of his son.
    My plan is to buy a number of copies of his books and send them with an accompanying letter to members of Congress and the Administration to work on educating them. It may well be a long shot, but not to try is just wrong.

  • I think oldhead is on the money to figure out to make this and other relevant things into right wing talking points. There is already a buzz in the right wing media world about how it’s not always guns that kill people, it’s the medication that the person is on plus the guns. I guess the NRA likes this – nonetheless it’s an educational tool.
    I also feel that Bernie Sanders needs to be further educated on these points. He is the first Senator I know of who has spoken out against the nomination of Robert Cahill to run the F.D.A. Friends of mine in Vermont wrote to him and he apparently listened. He has also consistently railed against the high price of prescription drugs, taking buses of seniors from Vermont to Canada to buy them cheaper. So, if anyone here has connections to Bernie, try to get his ear….and if this happens, Hillary is sure to follow, as she is terrified of his candidacy and trots along behind him, echoing his messages to try to get more traction and appear more “progressive”….

  • Paula, thanks for this information. Having served on Vera Sharav’s AHRP board, I was and am well aware of all the volumes of information that appeared on the website there that were never picked up by the “mainstream media”.
    When I think about Dr. Frances and his motivation, it reminds me a little bit of a late-life Come to Jesus motive, yet I don’t think this is it….I think he realizes that “our” voices are only going to get louder, and the shame heaped on the profession will only get greater, so the man is trying to escape his fate. Would that such infamy would also come to the pharmaceutical executives who connived to hide the truth for the sake of profits. But it hasn’t in any way so far. For example, Mitch Daniels, who was Vice President of North American Operations for Eli Lilly during its rollout of Zyprexa, went on to become Governor of Indiana and is now President of Perdue University. His role in what resulted in so many deaths certainly hasn’t held him back in his career, at least thus far.
    As for Risperdal itself, the bottom line for me is always to remember poor little Rebecca Riley, dead from it at age four.

  • First, as to Lieberman’s comment that Bob Whitaker was a menace to society, I have only one name to drop – little Rebecca Riley, dead due to the very Risperdal that Lieberman took so much money to champion for children. Harvard dropped the ball in giving the little man a little rap on the knuckles for all the conflicts of interest he incurred in his campaign to promote this dangerous drug.

    As for Carey’s article and its missing or troublesome pieces, I would agree except that there are so many articles for the general public (so often written by psychiatry’s “thought leaders”) that promote this or that drug, or polypharmacy, forced drugging, and all the rest, that I found it a welcome read.

  • Though the findings in Benedict Carey’s article are not news to Mad in America readers, it should be counted as a victory every time something like this appears in the “mainstream” press – to counter all the propogandanistic claptrap that so often counts as “psychiatric authority” put out there by mainstream psychiatry’s well-paid “thought leaders.”
    The article even quotes NAMI’s Ken Duckworth (NAMI’s on-the-payroll psychiatrist”) as saying that the finding will be a “game changer”….one wonders what he means, given that the bulk of NAMI’s money comes from Big Pharma….maybe he is envisioning a job change for himself, if NAMI’s funding from BigPharm ends up going down…

  • There was an excellent article today by Benedict Carey in the New York Times …reporting on a new study showing that people with schizophrenia did way better with talk therapy and support to them and their families than they did on psychiatric drugs.

    Kudos to Carey – a friend to those of us who believe that mental health doesn’t reside in a pill.

  • The toxicology report on the Connecticut school shooter apparently showed nothing, but from my understanding this does not necessarily mean that the SSRIs were not a causative factor. Check in with one of the leading world expert lawyers in this area – Karen Barth Menzies for the truth of this.

    Sometimes the toxicology work is not “deep” enough, for one thing….

  • Thanks for letting us know the latest news about Dr. Califf, who would be the worst Commissioner (based on current credentials) ever to run the FDA. Why have an FDA if drugs are rushed through to approval, and prescription drug safety was further minimized? Why not just save money for the taxpayers?

    I hope Mad in America readers will send emails to their respective Senators (especially those on the key HELP Committee) telling them to vote no on this candidate and asking them to hold out for a real champion of the Public Health – too many people die every year from the lethal , and often hidden (by the pharmaceutical industry bent only on profits) side effects of prescription drugs.

  • Bonnie – here in the states, the “mainstream media” is ignoring Bernie Sanders, hoping he will go away. So don’t feel bac.But with thousands upon thousands turning up for his events and donating in small amounts, he is NOT going away.
    The issues under discussion here are still under the radar for the general public. And, as I said on another blog, one way to draw attention is various forms of street theater – events that are dramatic that will draw selfies, television, and the like.
    Next time, wear a costume, bring your friends who are in a popular band, and use this sort of creativity (while informing every media outlet you know) and you may get more bang for your buck.

  • I just thank my lucky stars and the goddesses to be alive and out the other end of taking these (plus other psych. medications) given to me at the end of a love affair in the 1970s.
    Of course, the shrinks never spoke of short term – only that I had a “family disease”….
    Once I finally figured out the game, I tapered off – first the lithium – to deleterious social effects, and then the benzos….paranoia raging….thrown in a psych hospital for two weeks – terrifying….
    Here I am, out the other end. Fine. On nothing but a little red wine.
    This is a criminal thing.
    And it must end.

  • Preaching to the choir here – we are again talking to each other and hoping this will be covered by the MSM but there is nothing.
    There was a tiny blip last Spring when the co-pilot crashed that plane into the mountain.
    I used to put on events in Harrisburg, PA, around budget time that always drew the media….we had bagpiper bands, dozens of people in wheelchairs, all very photogenic – and the TV cameras always came….all in an effort to get some of the state budget to go for disability programs.
    Where is the sense of theater in this group?
    I will show up – just tell me where and when. In this era of selfies and things going viral, surely this is the way to go to get this issue the ink it more than deserves.
    The New York Times article this morning – comparing Sanders’ thoughtful (and Hillary’s opportunistic) positions on “gun control” – had not a word on this topic, nor did any of the hundreds of comments….though there were a few comments vaguely referencing “mental health.”
    Tell me when, tell me where – and I will be there….

  • Interesting informative article. Thanks.
    What’s not mentioned here is the fact that FDA employees themselves, some entrenched in that bureaucracy for many , many years, come to think of themselves as advocates for the pharmaceutical industry – doing whatever they can to get a drug, or a new use, approved and working to reduce black box warnings, or any sort of stronger warnings.
    Dr. Tom Laughren, head of the psychiatric section of the FDA, spent many years trying to maanipulate that advisory committee to approve the atypical antipsychotics for children and then many more years refusing to put a stronger warning on the label or set up any sort of registry for children. If you read the public documents of committee meetings, you will see that this is the case.

  • Do you think this psychiatrist is developing new syndromes for the next DSM>
    If so, what would so you suppose it will be called?
    Maybe an array of syndromes, from Dry Dread (draught) Syndrome II to Wet Flood Sundrome IV?
    I can see the ads on TV now?….”Parched”? “Full of Draught Dread?? Ask you doctor if you need wetzyntila, designed to dull this fear and lull you into happiness. Side effects include bhah, bhal, bluh, bluh ‘

  • Familiar tales.
    Long-term anti-depressant use (first tricyclics then SSRIs) – thanks to a psychiatrist who said I had an “incurable family disease” following a break-up with a boyfriend – caused me to do what Grace Jackson refers to as “flip” and have a manic episode.
    AHA! said the psychiatrist at the time! “A full expression of the family illness”!!
    So – lithium, along with the benzos.
    Wrecked my thyroid and almost wrecked me.
    Happy to report I’m drug-free (except for some red wine evenings) and psychiatrist-free, at long last.
    Having lost two family members (father and son) to the ministrations of psychiatry, I am grateful to be alive, despite the challenges of living with complicated grief.
    How these arrogant people get away with such practices is criminal, to me.

  • Excellent article.
    Having just spent two months working in an elementary school, I must say – as a longtime advocate for safer prescription drugs (having lost my son to Zyprexa) – that I was shocked by the amount of polypharmacy as well as the bold way in which a few teachers pushed parents of “busy” little pre-school boys to look into drugs. One particular note – it is not just psychiatrists prescribing. Many pediatricians are perfectly happy to whip out their prescription pads.

    The topper was today, when the long-time, sensible principal told me that some of the parents get their children diagnosed so that they have a source of psychotropic drugs for themselves – they push for higher doses for their children so that they can siphon them off for their own “highs”…

  • Nice to see a Dr. Bonkers column here. Old Bonk is one of the best!

    I’ve been wondering whether we could just divert the psych. drug aspect of the psychiatry industry. Have the “docs” charge, of course, but instead of giving a prescription for little pills that can kill you or otherwise mess up your life, give out (as some doctors do in the UK) prescriptions for exercise, or organic food, or meditation. There might be a problem getting “Thought Leader” fees for doing so, but hmm…

  • I don’t know when exactly it was that “first do no harm” went out of fashion within the “profession ” of psychiatry. Perhaps it can be dated to when the term “blockbuster” showed up in the 1980s. Surely by now the death toll from psychoactive medications has been noticed by prescribers. Any psychiatrists who do not use uber caution must realize it’s only a matter of time before prosecution by the law will follow?

  • Thanks so much for this analysis, which I intend to forward to a member of the county school board where I am currently working. At the elementary school where I work, I have witnessed meetings in which teachers push and urge parents of preschool children to “take them to the doctor”to get drugs to “help with behavior and concentration”, and watched parents basically try to weakly fight back, saying such things as “I’d like to wait until he is a little older – it is an altered state, you know”. Such scenes break by heart, and are almost as heartbreaking as hearing parents describe their young children now on polypharmacy, with primary care physicians prescribing psychoactive drugs in combinations, willey nilley. Perhaps you will consider writing a book covering all these drugs, for parents, teachers, schools, etc., to counter this tragic trajectory of pharmaceutical marketing?

  • This suit by Amarin is a stalking horse for what lies ahead. The FDA ITSELF has put forth two draft guidances that would let the pharmaceutical industry exagerate the benefits of a drug and downplay its risks – thus totally neuterizing FDA labels, all under the guise of “free speech”. It is up to the Administration to trash or approve these moves by the industry- influenced FDA. Secretary of HHS Sylvia Mathews Burwell has these proposals on her desk.
    Also in the wings is a nightmare bill called the “21st Century Cures” Act, introduced into the House by Rep. Fred Upton – he has taken more pharma money in campaign contributions than any other member of the House. Among other things, the bill will restructure the way the FDA reviews and approves drugs and medical devices as well as raise drug prices even higher.
    If you think the FDA is a paper tiger now, wait until one or both of these stick.
    If you care about prescription drug safety at all, these issues are pretty critical, according to Public Citizen.

  • This is truly a heartbreaking topic.
    I am currently working in an elementary school, and it’s clear that teachers are unwittingly serving as pushers of drugs. And, once pushed to pediatricians, the pediatricians are dishing them out in spades.
    Though I don’t know all the drug names anymore, I went to a meeting today in which the parent reeled off three or four drugs the student was on – a veritable cocktail that included an SSRI, an ADHD drug, and some sort of sleeping medication. And “still” – according to the parent – the child is having real problems with anxiety and behavior. She reported that the pediatrician, when listening to the concerns of the parent, blamed it on the child’s age.
    When will this cruelty stop and our society come to grips with this epidemic?

  • Olga – Thank you for speaking the truth in a bald faced way. Keep up the good work. Having had both my father and my son killed by psychiatry (one by ECT and the other by Zyprexa), I have had to work really hard to not let rage rule my life. It helps to know there are some within the helping professions who actually have hearts and who are taking stands, even if personally hounded and lambasted.

  • The elementary school where I used to work resembled a “factory farm” for ADHD drugs…a teacher would complain about a student (quite often a wiggly boy), the “team” would meet, the psychologist would give the student an ADHD screen (quite a bogus thing, in my opinion), then the parent would be called in and it would be subtly suggested that he/she should take the child to the doctor….(the unsaid part was to get a prescription for meds)…..I remember one little boy, formerly a spunky thing, looking – after getting the meds- always sad, with the light and sparkle in his eyes gone.
    Once I wised up, I refused to go along – and convinced the team that we needed interventions in the classroom – move the child’s seat, try a new and more tolerant teacher, etc. These referrals stopped because these interventions were successful.

  • “Code Pink type Actions”
    Good idea – this group has an element of humor in their seriousness – the very zany quality doesn’t scare people but enchants.

    Used to dream of some sort of street theater surprise (and peaceful) demonstrations in front of the FDA and other places.

    Once went to a one-week demo. aagainst psych. drug harm (by those of us who had lost loved ones) in Lafayette Park (across from the White House). Met a lot of friends there in this movement, but no press showed up – no coverage. So, a good mix-and-mingle it was, but that was all.

    I always admired the hunger strike at the APA meeting – and got to know Vince Boehm 0ver the years (one of the participants)….as its organizer says here, there is a need for persistent and imaginative, well thought-through actions.

  • Ginger – I must disagree with Dr. Breggin’s all-or-nothing position on ECT.
    I lost my father to ECT (I was a little baby)….in the early days (early 1940s) the machines and/or techniques could malfunction. My father had classic manic depression. Later on, so did my son, who did profit from ECT and never lost a brain cell of his brilliance, humor, and love. However, he did lose his life to Zyprexa (profound hyperglycemia) at the age of 39. So Dr. Healy’s point – that people ge wrecked and killed from drugs in ways that they do not from ECT – a valid point – holds here. I am sorry that ECT is so totally demonized though I understand the motivation, and cannot claim that others have not been harmed by it.
    I do not believe that any doctor, even one who might view him/herself as reform or rogue or whatever, should be a harsh judge of what a person or a family chooses – particularly in extreme moments. Would that we could get beyond anger, finger-pointing and defensiveness and develop compassion. I put my chips on the array of efforts being initiated and studied through the Foundation for Mental Health Care.

    Written with respect.

  • Excellent article. And yes, I do believe a cadre of “honked off” parents out there to give an alternative “hand of hope” to families (as opposed to NAMI’s “pill of hope”) really needs to happen, the sooner the better.
    Please contact Bob Whitaker to contact me – ebl

  • This is not the first time the FDA let Lilly off the hook for Zyprexa. Back in 2003, after Japan had already required Lilly to post a warning in that country (April, 2002) for diabetes, hyperglycemia, and death, and after front page stories in the Baltimore Sun, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times, for these very deaths from Zyprexa, the FDA made ALL the makers of the atypical antipsychotics place a warning on them – even though it was Zyprexa that was the culprit.
    Lilly seems to live a charmed life when it comes to this lethal drug.

  • hpostpsychiatry – Andrew White, one of the “Charleston Four” mentioned in the article you posted, was the son of friends of mine – Stan and Shirley White. The Whites lost two soldier sons – one killed in action and the other (Andrew) sent home with a diagnosis of PTSD and put on Seroquel and other meds – a witch’s brew of polypharmacy. He died of Sudden Cardiac Arrest – from the Seroquel .
    I met them at an FDA advisory committee hearing which was being held to consider expanding the patent of Astra Zeneca’s Seroquel, and I’ve been in touch ever since.
    They have been battling to get the VA and military to stop throwing lethal drugs at soldiers given the PTSD diagnosis – and instead to concentrate on methods that are humane and effective in helping vets back into their stateside lives.

  • Chaya – How wonderful for you…congratulations! Good that you had the will, insight, and maybe even bravery to be yourself, yourself.

    Hard to believe that I was on various psych. drugs for over 30 years….all blamed on the fact that it “ran in the family” I was started on them at the end of a love affair….you know, sad and having trouble sleeping….

    When I finally decided that this was a ridiculous thing, and tapered off (a mess, but, oh well, it’s over now…) , the BEST thing of all was knowing that whatever I felt, whatever I did, whatever I dreamed, whatever I hoped, was all me – with no chemicals or poisons addling my brain or emotions.

    It seems especially wrong that children and young adults are given psych. drugs in their formative years – how can a human being “form” when his or her basic abilities to think, reason, and feel (let alone his or her physical self) are impacted and affected by chemicals that alter these basic aspects of life, of a living organism?

    Here’s wishing for the day – sooner rather than later – that we will be able to look back at this sorry chapter being over and that our precious selves will be treasured and, if we hit a rough patch, be nurtured to health as opposed to being hit over the head with drugs.

  • What a disappointment that the Official APA was complicit in this awful thing.
    I naively assumed that the APA was part of the “white hats”, the good guys, because my own PhD psychologist supported me all through a painful weaning off of psych. drugs that I never needed in the first place.

    Not so my psychiatrist – when I had severe “withdrawal effects” he, who had said, when I proposed coming off these drugs, “Great idea, the less drugs the better”, had his office staff call me and urge me to come in and go on some different psych. drugs…

    For shame, APA.

  • Dr. Lawhern,
    You might want to take a look at some of the initiatives sponsored/funded by the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care. These might meet your criteria – a number of them are based in academic medical centers.
    Having said this, and having lost two family members to the current (what I view as) coercive. medication-based model of psychiatry, I am eager to see other approaches take the fore, approaches that value and respect the humanity and well-being of the person needing support.

  • markps2 – Huffington post seems to be deleting comments someone or other doesn’t approve of – mine showed up, and then it was gone. Hmm…

    As for tactics, we can agree and disagree but the overall picture is positive, and the movement is forward, though it feels oh-so-slow given the harm being done, the lives lost.

    I take heart from the words of Howard Zinn at the May 15, 2007, Spelman College commencement. He said, in part, “The lesson of that history is that you must not despair, that if you are right, and you persist, things will change. The government may try to deceive the people, and the newspapers and television may do the same, but the truth has a way of coming out. The truth has a power greater than a hundred lies.”

  • Sorry for being suspicious of the scheme, but perhaps it was Big Pharma’s idea, and they would take a little cut in profit to promote it?

    After all, they were the people who didn’t want Zyprexa to have a warning label (as it did in Japan) in 2002 – warning of weight gain, diabetes, and hyperglycemia – because, after all, in the words of Eli Lilly’s public relations person – Marni Lemmons, such a thing might cause people “not to take their medicine”….thereby costing Lilly a pretty penny.

  • Dr. Caplan,
    Thank you for continuing to speak the truth.

    Whenever I look at the men at the top of the psychiatry pyramid scheme, as I view it, I see successful-looking (tan, good suits, nice teeth) guys who have had, and continue to have, great material success and prestige, at the expense of so, so many who have suffered and died due to their utterances and non-scientific snake oil.

    I hope these views are not seen as personal attacks, because that is not the intent. The intent is to speak out, and also to urge that the collective “we” to determine ways that will subvert the psychiatry game and promote real, human caring and real relief, not promised relief that relies on coercion and that causes lifetime stigma, physical and psychic harm, and even death.

    Two in my family have died untimely deaths at the hands of psychiatry’s “ministrations” – one from an early (in its history) electroshock treatment gone awry and another from an atypical antipsychotic side effect.

    Both were given labels, and in both instances our family believed the doctors.
    Such tragedies can haunt families for generations but this will not be true in our case, because the times they are a’changin’. Psychiatry knows this, which is why they are buying larger and larger megaphones. But it’s not going to work anymore. The gig is up.

  • Dear Katie – Bless you. I have long followed Dan’s story and been in touch with Mary Weiss – we each lost sons to psychiatry. I am proud of the profession of nursing that Dan’s nurse has come forward and am touched deeply at this holiday time to read of your courage as well.

    It is important that all of us who can reach deep into our own humanity and knowledge of what is right and true and do the right thing.