Psychiatry Gone Astray

From: http://davidhealy.org/psychiatry-gone-astray/

January 21, 2014

Editorial note: We follow up the Guilty post last week with a piece written by Peter Gotzsche that has caused a stir in Denmark and provoked some of the Danish professors he critiques to respond.  

At the Nordic Cochrane Centre, we have researched antidepressants for several years and I have long wondered why leading professors of psychiatry base their practice on a number of erroneous myths. These myths are harmful to patients. Many psychiatrists are well aware that the myths do not hold and have told me so, but they don’t dare deviate from the official positions because of career concerns.

Being a specialist in internal medicince, I don’t risk ruining my career by incurring the professors’ wrath and I shall try here to come to the rescue of the many conscientious but oppressed psychiatrists and patients by listing the worst myths and explain why they are harmful.

Myth 1: Your disease is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain

Most patients are told this but it is completely wrong. We have no idea about which interplay of psychosocial conditions, biochemical processes, receptors and neural pathways that lead to mental disorders and the theories that patients with depression lack serotonin and that patients with schizophrenia have too much dopamine have long been refuted. The truth is just the opposite. There is no chemical imbalance to begin with, but when treating mental illness with drugs, we create a chemical imbalance, an artificial condition that the brain tries to counteract.

This means that you get worse when you try to stop the medication. An alcoholic also gets worse when there is no more alcohol but this doesn’t mean that he lacked alcohol in the brain when he started drinking.

The vast majority of doctors harm their patients further by telling them that the withdrawal symptoms mean that they are still sick and still need the mediciation. In this way, the doctors turn people into chronic patients, including those who would have been fine even without any treatment at all. This is one of the main reasons that the number of patients with mental disorders is increasing, and that the number of patients who never come back into the labour market also increases. This is largely due to the drugs and not the disease.

Myth 2: It’s no problem to stop treatment with antidepressants

A Danish professor of psychiatry said this at a recent meeting for psychiatrists, just after I had explained that it was difficult for patients to quit. Fortunately, he was contradicted by two foreign professors also at the meeting. One of them had done a trial with patients suffering from panic disorder and agoraphobia and half of them found it difficult to stop even though they were slowly tapering off. It cannot be because the depression came back, as the patients were not depressed to begin with. The withdrawal symptoms are primarily due to the antidepressants and not the disease.

Myth 3: Psychotropic Drugs for Mental Illness are like Insulin for Diabetes

Most patients with depression or schizophrenia have heard this falsehood over and over again, almost like a mantra, in TV, radio and newspapers. When you give insulin to a patient with diabetes, you give something the patient lacks, namely insulin. Since we’ve never been able to demonstrate that a patient with a mental disorder lacks something that people who are not sick don’t lack, it is wrong to use this analogy.

Patients with depression don’t lack serotonin, and there are actually drugs that work for depression although they lower serotonin. Moreover, in contrast to insulin, which just replaces what the patient is short of, and does nothing else, psychotropic drugs have a very wide range of effects throughout the body, many of which are harmful. So, also for this reason, the insulin analogy is extremely misleading.

Myth 4: Psychotropic drugs reduce the number of chronically ill patients

This is probably the worst myth of them all. US science journalist Robert Whitaker demonstrates convincingly in “Anatomy of an Epidemic” that the increasing use of drugs not only keeps patients stuck in the sick role, but also turns many problems that would have been transient into chronic diseases.

If there had been any truth in the insulin myth, we would have expected to see fewer patients who could not fend for themselves. However, the reverse has happened. The clearest evidence of this is also the most tragic, namely the fate of our children after we started treating them with drugs. In the United States, psychiatrists collect more money from drug makers than doctors in any other specialty and those who take most money tend to prescribe antipsychotics to children most often. This raises a suspicion of corruption of the academic judgement.

The consequences are damning. In 1987, just before the newer antidepressants (SSRIs or happy pills) came on the market, very few children in the United States were mentally disabled. Twenty years later it was over 500,000, which represents a 35-fold increase. The number of disabled mentally ill has exploded in all Western countries. One of the worst consequences is that the treatment with ADHD medications and happy pills has created an entirely new disease in about 10% of those treated – namely bipolar disorder – which we previously called manic depressive illness.

Leading psychiatrist have claimed that it is “very rare” that patients on antidepressants become bipolar. That’s not true. The number of children with bipolar increased 35-fold in the United States, which is a serious development, as we use antipsychotic drugs for this disorder. Antipsychotic drugs are very dangerous and one of the main reasons why patients with schizophrenia live 20 years shorter than others. I have estimated in my book, ‘Deadly Medicine and Organized Crime’, that just one of the many preparations, Zyprexa (olanzapine), has killed 200,000 patients worldwide.

Myth 5: Happy pills do not cause suicide in children and adolescents

Some professors are willing to admit that happy pills increase the incidence of suicidal behavior while denying that this necessarily leads to more suicides, although it is well documented that the two are closely related. Lundbeck’s CEO, Ulf Wiinberg, went even further in a radio programme in 2011 where he claimed that happy pills reduce the rate of suicide in children and adolescents. When the stunned reporter asked him why there then was a warning against this in the package inserts, he replied that he expected the leaflets would be changed by the authorities!

Suicides in healthy people, triggered by happy pills, have also been reported. The companies and the psychiatrists have consistently blamed the disease when patients commit suicide. It is true that depression increases the risk of suicide, but happy pills increase it even more, at least up to about age 40, according to a meta-analysis of 100,000 patients in randomized trials performed by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Myth 6: Happy pills have no side effects

At an international meeting on psychiatry in 2008, I criticized psychiatrists for wanting to screen many healthy people for depression. The recommended screening tests are so poor that one in three healthy people will be wrongly diagnosed as depressed. A professor replied that it didn’t matter that healthy people were treated as happy pills have no side effects!

Happy pills have many side effects. They remove both the top and the bottom of the emotions, which, according to some patients, feels like living under a cheese-dish cover. Patients care less about the consequences of their actions, lose empathy towards others, and can become very aggressive. In school shootings in the United States and elsewhere a striking number of people have been on antidepressants.

The companies tell us that only 5% get sexual problems with happy pills, but that’s not true. In a study designed to look at this problem, sexual disturbances developed in 59% of 1,022 patients who all had a normal sex life before they started an antidepressant. The symptoms include decreased libido, delayed or no orgasm or ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction, all at a high rate, and with a low tolerance among 40% of the patients. Happy pills should therefore not have been marketed for depression where the effect is rather small, but as pills that destroy your sex life.

 Myth 7: Happy pills are not addictive

They surely are and it is no wonder because they are chemically related to and act like amphetamine. Happy pills are a kind of narcotic on prescription. The worst argument I have heard about the pills not causing dependency is that patients do not require higher doses. Shall we then also believe that cigarettes are not addictive? The vast majority of smokers consume the same number of cigarettes for years.

 Myth 8: The prevalence of depression has increased a lot

A professor argued in a TV debate that the large consumption of happy pills wasn’t a problem because the incidence of depression had increased greatly in the last 50 years. I replied it was impossible to say much about this because the criteria for making the diagnosis had been lowered markedly during this period. If you wish to count elephants in Africa, you don’t lower the criteria for what constitutes an elephant and count all the wildebeest, too.

Myth 9: The main problem is not overtreatment, but undertreatment

Again, leading psychiatrists are completely out of touch with reality. In a 2007 survey, 51% of the 108 psychiatrists said that they used too much medicine and only 4 % said they used too little. In 2001–2003, 20% of the US population aged 18–54 years received treatment for emotional problems, and sales of happy pills are so high in Denmark that every one of us could be in treatment for 6 years of our lives. That is sick.

 Myth 10: Antipsychotics prevent brain damage

Some professors say that schizophrenia causes brain damage and that it is therefore important to use antipsychotics. However, antipsychotics lead to shrinkage of the brain, and this effect is directly related to the dose and duration of the treatment. There is other good evidence to suggest that one should use antipsychotics as little as possible, as the patients then fare better in the long term. Indeed, one may completely avoid using antipsychotics in most patients with schizophrenia, which would significantly increase the chances that they will become healthy, and also increase life expectancy, as antipsychotics kill many patients.

How should we use psychotropic drugs?

I am not against using drugs, provided we know what we are doing and only use them in situations where they do more good than harm. Psychiatric drugs can be useful sometimes for some patients, especially in short-term treatment, in acute situations. But my studies in this area lead me to a very uncomfortable conclusion:

Our citizens would be far better off if we removed all the psychotropic drugs from the market, as doctors are unable to handle them. It is inescapable that their availability creates more harm than good. Psychiatrists should therefore do everything they can to treat as little as possible, in as short time as possible, or not at all, with psychotropic drugs.

Psychiatry Gone Astray

Editorial note: We follow up the Guilty post last week with a piece written by Peter Gotzsche that has caused a stir in Denmark and provoked some of the Danish professors he critiques to respond.  

At the Nordic Cochrane Centre, we have researched antidepressants for several years and I have long wondered why leading professors of psychiatry base their practice on a number of erroneous myths. These myths are harmful to patients. Many psychiatrists are well aware that the myths do not hold and have told me so, but they don’t dare deviate from the official positions because of career concerns.

Being a specialist in internal medicince, I don’t risk ruining my career by incurring the professors’ wrath and I shall try here to come to the rescue of the many conscientious but oppressed psychiatrists and patients by listing the worst myths and explain why they are harmful.

 Myth 1: Your disease is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain

Most patients are told this but it is completely wrong. We have no idea about which interplay of psychosocial conditions, biochemical processes, receptors and neural pathways that lead to mental disorders and the theories that patients with depression lack serotonin and that patients with schizophrenia have too much dopamine have long been refuted. The truth is just the opposite. There is no chemical imbalance to begin with, but when treating mental illness with drugs, we create a chemical imbalance, an artificial condition that the brain tries to counteract.

This means that you get worse when you try to stop the medication. An alcoholic also gets worse when there is no more alcohol but this doesn’t mean that he lacked alcohol in the brain when he started drinking.

The vast majority of doctors harm their patients further by telling them that the withdrawal symptoms mean that they are still sick and still need the mediciation. In this way, the doctors turn people into chronic patients, including those who would have been fine even without any treatment at all. This is one of the main reasons that the number of patients with mental disorders is increasing, and that the number of patients who never come back into the labour market also increases. This is largely due to the drugs and not the disease.

Myth 2: It’s no problem to stop treatment with antidepressants

A Danish professor of psychiatry said this at a recent meeting for psychiatrists, just after I had explained that it was difficult for patients to quit. Fortunately, he was contradicted by two foreign professors also at the meeting. One of them had done a trial with patients suffering from panic disorder and agoraphobia and half of them found it difficult to stop even though they were slowly tapering off. It cannot be because the depression came back, as the patients were not depressed to begin with. The withdrawal symptoms are primarily due to the antidepressants and not the disease.

Myth 3: Psychotropic Drugs for Mental Illness are like Insulin for Diabetes

Most patients with depression or schizophrenia have heard this falsehood over and over again, almost like a mantra, in TV, radio and newspapers. When you give insulin to a patient with diabetes, you give something the patient lacks, namely insulin. Since we’ve never been able to demonstrate that a patient with a mental disorder lacks something that people who are not sick don’t lack, it is wrong to use this analogy.

Patients with depression don’t lack serotonin, and there are actually drugs that work for depression although they lower serotonin. Moreover, in contrast to insulin, which just replaces what the patient is short of, and does nothing else, psychotropic drugs have a very wide range of effects throughout the body, many of which are harmful. So, also for this reason, the insulin analogy is extremely misleading.

Myth 4: Psychotropic drugs reduce the number of chronically ill patients

This is probably the worst myth of them all. US science journalist Robert Whitaker demonstrates convincingly in “Anatomy of an Epidemic” that the increasing use of drugs not only keeps patients stuck in the sick role, but also turns many problems that would have been transient into chronic diseases.

If there had been any truth in the insulin myth, we would have expected to see fewer patients who could not fend for themselves. However, the reverse has happened. The clearest evidence of this is also the most tragic, namely the fate of our children after we started treating them with drugs. In the United States, psychiatrists collect more money from drug makers than doctors in any other specialty and those who take most money tend to prescribe antipsychotics to children most often. This raises a suspicion of corruption of the academic judgement.

The consequences are damning. In 1987, just before the newer antidepressants (SSRIs or happy pills) came on the market, very few children in the United States were mentally disabled. Twenty years later it was over 500,000, which represents a 35-fold increase. The number of disabled mentally ill has exploded in all Western countries. One of the worst consequences is that the treatment with ADHD medications and happy pills has created an entirely new disease in about 10% of those treated – namely bipolar disorder – which we previously called manic depressive illness.

Leading psychiatrist have claimed that it is “very rare” that patients on antidepressants become bipolar. That’s not true. The number of children with bipolar increased 35-fold in the United States, which is a serious development, as we use antipsychotic drugs for this disorder. Antipsychotic drugs are very dangerous and one of the main reasons why patients with schizophrenia live 20 years shorter than others. I have estimated in my book, ‘Deadly Medicine and Organized Crime’, that just one of the many preparations, Zyprexa (olanzapine), has killed 200,000 patients worldwide.

Myth 5: Happy pills do not cause suicide in children and adolescents

Some professors are willing to admit that happy pills increase the incidence of suicidal behavior while denying that this necessarily leads to more suicides, although it is well documented that the two are closely related. Lundbeck’s CEO, Ulf Wiinberg, went even further in a radio programme in 2011 where he claimed that happy pills reduce the rate of suicide in children and adolescents. When the stunned reporter asked him why there then was a warning against this in the package inserts, he replied that he expected the leaflets would be changed by the authorities!

Suicides in healthy people, triggered by happy pills, have also been reported. The companies and the psychiatrists have consistently blamed the disease when patients commit suicide. It is true that depression increases the risk of suicide, but happy pills increase it even more, at least up to about age 40, according to a meta-analysis of 100,000 patients in randomized trials performed by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Myth 6: Happy pills have no side effects

At an international meeting on psychiatry in 2008, I criticized psychiatrists for wanting to screen many healthy people for depression. The recommended screening tests are so poor that one in three healthy people will be wrongly diagnosed as depressed. A professor replied that it didn’t matter that healthy people were treated as happy pills have no side effects!

Happy pills have many side effects. They remove both the top and the bottom of the emotions, which, according to some patients, feels like living under a cheese-dish cover. Patients care less about the consequences of their actions, lose empathy towards others, and can become very aggressive. In school shootings in the United States and elsewhere a striking number of people have been on antidepressants.

The companies tell us that only 5% get sexual problems with happy pills, but that’s not true. In a study designed to look at this problem, sexual disturbances developed in 59% of 1,022 patients who all had a normal sex life before they started an antidepressant. The symptoms include decreased libido, delayed or no orgasm or ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction, all at a high rate, and with a low tolerance among 40% of the patients. Happy pills should therefore not have been marketed for depression where the effect is rather small, but as pills that destroy your sex life.

 Myth 7: Happy pills are not addictive

They surely are and it is no wonder because they are chemically related to and act like amphetamine. Happy pills are a kind of narcotic on prescription. The worst argument I have heard about the pills not causing dependency is that patients do not require higher doses. Shall we then also believe that cigarettes are not addictive? The vast majority of smokers consume the same number of cigarettes for years.

 Myth 8: The prevalence of depression has increased a lot

A professor argued in a TV debate that the large consumption of happy pills wasn’t a problem because the incidence of depression had increased greatly in the last 50 years. I replied it was impossible to say much about this because the criteria for making the diagnosis had been lowered markedly during this period. If you wish to count elephants in Africa, you don’t lower the criteria for what constitutes an elephant and count all the wildebeest, too.

Myth 9: The main problem is not overtreatment, but undertreatment

Again, leading psychiatrists are completely out of touch with reality. In a 2007 survey, 51% of the 108 psychiatrists said that they used too much medicine and only 4 % said they used too little. In 2001–2003, 20% of the US population aged 18–54 years received treatment for emotional problems, and sales of happy pills are so high in Denmark that every one of us could be in treatment for 6 years of our lives. That is sick.

 Myth 10: Antipsychotics prevent brain damage

Some professors say that schizophrenia causes brain damage and that it is therefore important to use antipsychotics. However, antipsychotics lead to shrinkage of the brain, and this effect is directly related to the dose and duration of the treatment. There is other good evidence to suggest that one should use antipsychotics as little as possible, as the patients then fare better in the long term. Indeed, one may completely avoid using antipsychotics in most patients with schizophrenia, which would significantly increase the chances that they will become healthy, and also increase life expectancy, as antipsychotics kill many patients.

How should we use psychotropic drugs?

I am not against using drugs, provided we know what we are doing and only use them in situations where they do more good than harm. Psychiatric drugs can be useful sometimes for some patients, especially in short-term treatment, in acute situations. But my studies in this area lead me to a very uncomfortable conclusion:

Our citizens would be far better off if we removed all the psychotropic drugs from the market, as doctors are unable to handle them. It is inescapable that their availability creates more harm than good. Psychiatrists should therefore do everything they can to treat as little as possible, in as short time as possible, or not at all, with psychotropic drugs.

- See more at: http://davidhealy.org/psychiatry-gone-astray/#sthash.0vADuNXx.dpuf

Is Psych Drug Causing Epidemic of Wall Street Suicides?

“To that end, many of today’s 20- and 30-somethings on trading desks turn to their trusted college friend, Adderall, to get running in the morning and then in the afternoon and again at night.”

Nidal Hasan gets death penalty for Fort Hood rampage

From: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-26856434

28 August 2013 Last updated at 23:38 GMT

It could be years, possibly decades, before Maj Hasan is executed because of the long appeals process in the military justice system.

A military jury has sentenced a former US Army psychiatrist to die by lethal injection for killing 13 soldiers and wounding 32 at a Texas Army base.

Maj Nidal Hasan, 42, was convicted last week of the November 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood.

The defendant had tried to admit his guilt but military law bans guilty pleas in death penalty cases.

The Virginia-born Muslim said he opened fire to protect Taliban insurgents from troops about to deploy to Afghanistan.

‘Never a martyr’

At the scene

Alastair Leithead BBC News, Los Angeles

Maj Nidal Hasan sat in his wheelchair and gave no reaction to the death sentence.

The Army psychiatrist had listened to the prosecutor go through the personal stories of each of the 13 people he killed.

He had seen their photographs as the jury heard about the impact his actions had on the parents, widows and children left behind.

The prosecutor described the way each family member of each soldier killed was visited by “two soldiers in Class A uniforms” knocking on the front door with death notifications.

Hasan shut his eyes occasionally, rubbed his unkempt and greying beard, and held his head in the one hand he is still able to use after being paralysed by the shots which stopped his shooting rampage.

And he again declined his final opportunity to offer an explanation for what he did.

The jury handed down its sentence after two hours of deliberations on Wednesday.

But it could be years, possibly decades, before Maj Hasan is executed because of the long appeals process in the military justice system.

His execution must eventually be authorised by the president.

On Wednesday before the sentence was handed down, prosecutor Col Mike Mulligan urged jurors to opt for a rare military death penalty.

“He will not now and he will never be a martyr,” Col Mulligan said of Maj Hasan. “He is a criminal. He is a cold-blooded murderer.”

“This is not his gift to God. This is his debt to society. This is the cost of his murderous rampage.”

“He will never be a martyr because he has nothing to give,” Col Mulligan added. “He will not be giving his life, we will be taking it.”

Maj Hasan, who represented himself, declined to speak on his own behalf, saying only: “I have no closing statement.”

The 13-member jury had to reach unanimous agreement in order to sentence Maj Hasan to death, otherwise he would have faced life in prison.

The US military has not executed a service member since 1961. There are five inmates on the US military’s death row at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, all at various stages of the appeals process.

Maj Hasan opened fire at a medical facility on the Fort Hood base where soldiers were being evaluated before deploying overseas.

The jury heard he had prepared carefully for the attack, during which he fired 146 bullets.

The shooting spree ended when he was shot by a civilian police officer.

He was paralysed from the waist down and now uses a wheelchair.

Mental Illness is the New ‘Normal’

An excellent article:

http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/mental-illness-is-the-new-normal/

 

Soviet Psychiatric Drug for Dissidents Used in the US

Soviet psychiatric drug for dissidents given to US patients

 

Jon Rappoport
No More Fake News
February 2nd, 2014

 

 

 

Haloperidol_Decanoate_A2011_lg

 

It’s called Haldol. The generic name is haloperidol.

 

It’s classified as an “anti-psychotic.”

 

You’ll read that Haldol is being phased out in the US, but “PM: The Essential Resource for Pharma Marketers” reports that Haldol accounts for 5% of anti-psychotic prescriptions handed out between 2010 and 201l.

 

That’s 2.7 million prescriptions for Haldol. In one year, in the US.

 

The major and frequent adverse effects of the drug? Akathisia (the irresistible and painful impulse to keep moving, the inability to sit still), dystonia (severe muscle contractions that twist the body grotesquely), and Parkinsonism.

 

In short, torture.

 

All three of these effects can indicate motor brain damage.

 

Here is a quote from a news-medical.net article, “Haloperidol—What Is Haloperidol?”:

 

“There are multiple reports from Soviet dissidents, including medical staff, on the use of haloperidol in the Soviet Union for punitive purposes or simply to break the prisoners’ will. Notable dissidents that were administered haloperidol as part of their court ordered treatment were Sergei Kovalev and Leonid Plyushch.”

 

From the same article, there is this blockbuster statement:

 

“Haloperidol has been used for its sedating effects during the deportations of aliens by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). During 2002-2008, federal immigration personnel used haloperidol to sedate 356 deportees. By 2008, follow[ing] court challenges over the practice, haloperidol was given to only 3 detainees. Following lawsuits, U.S. officials changed the procedure so that it is done only by the recommendation of medical personnel and under court order.”

 

In his landmark book, Toxic Psychiatry, Dr. Peter Breggin quotes Leonid Plyushch, a scientist and political dissenter in the USSR, who escaped to the US: “[In a Soviet prison, after dosing with a small amount of Haldol] I was horrified to see how I deteriorated intellectually, morally and emotionally from day to day. My interest in political problems quickly disappeared, then my interest in scientific problems, and then my interest in my wife and children.”

 

In the 1960s and 70s, Haldol was given to “angry black men” in America, after laying on the justification that they were suffering from schizophrenia.

 

Here is a quote from the 2012 edition of Virtual Mentor, the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics. It concerns a pharmaceutical ad that ran in the May 1974 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry:

 

“…in the ad, an angry African American man shakes his fist menacingly…the text above the image…’Assaultive and belligerent?’ ‘Cooperation often begins with Haldol.’”

 

Yes it does. Cooperation begins with thetorture delivered by Haldol.

 

Warning! Do not try to withdraw from Haldol or any psychiatric drug without proper guidance. The effects of the withdrawal can be more dangerous than the drug’s effects. See, for example, the work of Dr. Peter Breggin and his advice on withdrawal, at http://www.breggin.com

 

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple

 


 

Contributed by Jon Rappoport of No More Fake News.

 

The author of an explosive collection, THE MATRIX REVEALED, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world.

 

- See more at: http://www.thedailysheeple.com/soviet-psychiatric-drug-for-dissidents-given-to-us-patients_022014#sthash.IqxOpaAw.dpuf

 

 

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Duke wrongly sectioned, says Lady Hamilton

 

Though the problems associated with aging are sometimes hard, particularly for partners, it can get worse.  The psychiatric profession can always see the profit potential in a situation:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-24683451

Lady Hamilton said her husband was detained against his will Lady Hamilton said her husband was detained against his will

The Duke of Hamilton’s widow has called for a change in the law so people cannot be held in psychiatric hospitals on the orders of just two people.

It follows the detention of her husband in 2009 shortly before his death.

Under Scotland’s Mental Health Act, someone with a mental illness can be detained against their will if a doctor and a mental health officer agree that they suffer from a mental disorder.

However, this must be for the maximum benefit of the individual.

It should also respect the wishes of their relatives or carer.

In England two doctors have to sign detention certificates along with an approved social worker, the equivalent of a mental health officer.

Campaigners in Scotland have called for Scotland’s Act to be changed so that any forced detentions have to be approved by a panel of experts.

‘Calling for me’The Hamilton dukedom is the third oldest in the UK and the senior title in Scotland, dating from 1643.

In 2009, the Duke of Hamilton had been suffering with dementia and was being cared for at home by the duchess and her staff.

The Duke of Hamilton died in 2010 The Duke of Hamilton died in 2010

But a psychiatrist had suggested they go to hospital to check the duke’s medication.

Lady Hamilton said she was led to believe this would just be for a few days but after she filled in an admissions form she was told her husband had actually been sectioned for 28 days.

“He was really upset,” she said.

“I could hear him calling for me: ‘Kay’, ‘Kay’.

“I said, ‘It’s alright pet. You’re here voluntarily, you can come home if you want to’.

“Then a voice behind said, ‘No he can’t. He’s been sectioned for 28 days and he may not get out then’.”

When the Duchess returned the next day she noticed the duke’s speech was slurred and he was suddenly having difficulty walking, due to anti-psychotics she believes were unnecessarily prescribed.

A few days later, when she had to leave for the evening, she looked back to see him trying to escape from a first floor window.

“He rushed out into my arms saying, ‘home!’ and then they had to pull him away from me.

“I thought, if this can happen to the Duke of Hamilton, what chance has Joe Bloggs got?”

‘Hastened death’Lady Hamilton managed to have her husband discharged on a ‘pass’ on condition that she arranged 24-hour care for him at home.

She believes the whole episode hastened his death.

The chief executive of Scotland’s mental health watchdog, the Mental Welfare Commission, says Scotland’s mental health laws are internationally respected and the system for forcibly detaining people is fair providing it is properly followed.

“The most important thing if you’re detained under mental health legislation is that you’re given a proper explanation of why you’re detained and what your rights are,” said Dr Donald Lyons.

“It’s important you get an explanation in writing of why the doctor thinks the criteria for compulsory treatment have been met.

“There’s good argument that this should also be given to the ‘named person’ – your primary carer, nearest relative or the person you have appointed.

“We’ve made recommendations on that and we’re awaiting a response from the Scottish government as to what they’re going to do when they conduct a limited review of the act next year.”

The duke’s medication was never changed – despite this being the reason for his admission to hospital.

The duchess is calling on the Scottish Parliament to change the law.

“Please look at this act and implement something to prevent this happening,” she said.

“I know there are so many patients in these circumstances.”

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