Posts Tagged ‘psychiatry’

The Mind and the Brain

This is an excellent article.

I have never before come across an article disputing the dogma that ‘mind’ is simply a synonym for ‘brain’.  That they are entirely different was well understood until the early 20th century.

This is far from being mere semantics.  It is from the conflation of these two separate concepts that psychiatry has gained their stranglehold on government funding in the field of mental health.

They have used that monopoly to treat the mind by poking around in the brain – either chemically, surgically or electrically (ECT).  Let’s not even think about their icepick through the eyeball ‘treatment’.

It is the psychiatric industry’s promotion of the confusion that the mind is the brain that has caused so much damage and brought the field of mental health into such disrespect.

Consciousness does not reside in the brain.

The Illusions of Psychiatry

From: The New York Review of Books

July 14, 2011

Marcia Angell

The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth
by Irving Kirsch
Basic Books, 226 pp., $15.99 (paper)

Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America
by Robert Whitaker
Crown, 404 pp., $26.00

Unhinged: The Trouble with Psychiatry—A Doctor’s Revelations About a Profession in Crisis
by Daniel Carlat
Free Press, 256 pp., $25.00

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR)
by American Psychiatric Association
American Psychiatric Publishing, 992 pp., $135.00; $115.00 (paper)

angell_1-071411.jpgUnited Artists/Photofest

Lan Fendors, Louise Fletcher, and Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975

In my article in the last issue, I focused mainly on the recent books by psychologist Irving Kirsch and journalist Robert Whitaker, and what they tell us about the epidemic of mental illness and the drugs used to treat it.1 Here I discuss the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)—often referred to as the bible of psychiatry, and now heading for its fifth edition—and its extraordinary influence within American society. I also examine Unhinged, the recent book by Daniel Carlat, a psychiatrist, who provides a disillusioned insider’s view of the psychiatric profession. And I discuss the widespread use of psychoactive drugs in children, and the baleful influence of the pharmaceutical industry on the practice of psychiatry.

One of the leaders of modern psychiatry, Leon Eisenberg, a professor at Johns Hopkins and then Harvard Medical School, who was among the first to study the effects of stimulants on attention deficit disorder in children, wrote that American psychiatry in the late twentieth century moved from a state of “brainlessness” to one of “mindlessness.”2 By that he meant that before psychoactive drugs (drugs that affect the mental state) were introduced, the profession had little interest in neurotransmitters or any other aspect of the physical brain. Instead, it subscribed to the Freudian view that mental illness had its roots in unconscious conflicts, usually originating in childhood, that affected the mind as though it were separate from the brain.

But with the introduction of psychoactive drugs in the 1950s, and sharply accelerating in the 1980s, the focus shifted to the brain. Psychiatrists began to refer to themselves as psychopharmacologists, and they had less and less interest in exploring the life stories of their patients. Their main concern was to eliminate or reduce symptoms by treating sufferers with drugs that would alter brain function. An early advocate of this biological model of mental illness, Eisenberg in his later years became an outspoken critic of what he saw as the indiscriminate use of psychoactive drugs, driven largely by the machinations of the pharmaceutical industry.

When psychoactive drugs were first introduced, there was a brief period of optimism in the psychiatric profession, but by the 1970s, optimism gave way to a sense of threat. Serious side effects of the drugs were becoming apparent, and an antipsychiatry movement had taken root, as exemplified by the writings of Thomas Szasz and the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. There was also growing competition for patients from psychologists and social workers. In addition, psychiatrists were plagued by internal divisions: some embraced the new biological model, some still clung to the Freudian model, and a few saw mental illness as an essentially sane response to an insane world. Moreover, within the larger medical profession, psychiatrists were regarded as something like poor relations; even with their new drugs, they were seen as less scientific than other specialists, and their income was generally lower.

In the late 1970s, the psychiatric profession struck back—hard. As Robert Whitaker tells it in Anatomy of an Epidemic, the medical director of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), Melvin Sabshin, declared in 1977 that “a vigorous effort to remedicalize psychiatry should be strongly supported,” and he launched an all-out media and public relations campaign to do exactly that. Psychiatry had a powerful weapon that its competitors lacked. Since psychiatrists must qualify as MDs, they have the legal authority to write prescriptions. By fully embracing the biological model of mental illness and the use of psychoactive drugs to treat it, psychiatry was able to relegate other mental health care providers to ancillary positions and also to identify itself as a scientific discipline along with the rest of the medical profession. Most important, by emphasizing drug treatment, psychiatry became the darling of the pharmaceutical industry, which soon made its gratitude tangible.

These efforts to enhance the status of psychiatry were undertaken deliberately. The APA was then working on the third edition of the DSM, which provides diagnostic criteria for all mental disorders. The president of the APA had appointed Robert Spitzer, a much-admired professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, to head the task force overseeing the project. The first two editions, published in 1952 and 1968, reflected the Freudian view of mental illness and were little known outside the profession. Spitzer set out to make the DSM-III something quite different. He promised that it would be “a defense of the medical model as applied to psychiatric problems,” and the president of the APA in 1977, Jack Weinberg, said it would “clarify to anyone who may be in doubt that we regard psychiatry as a specialty of medicine.”

When Spitzer’s DSM-III was published in 1980, it contained 265 diagnoses (up from 182 in the previous edition), and it came into nearly universal use, not only by psychiatrists, but by insurance companies, hospitals, courts, prisons, schools, researchers, government agencies, and the rest of the medical profession. Its main goal was to bring consistency (usually referred to as “reliability”) to psychiatric diagnosis, that is, to ensure that psychiatrists who saw the same patient would agree on the diagnosis. To do that, each diagnosis was defined by a list of symptoms, with numerical thresholds. For example, having at least five of nine particular symptoms got you a full-fledged diagnosis of a major depressive episode within the broad category of “mood disorders.” But there was another goal—to justify the use of psychoactive drugs. The president of the APA last year, Carol Bernstein, in effect acknowledged that. “It became necessary in the 1970s,” she wrote, “to facilitate diagnostic agreement among clinicians, scientists, and regulatory authorities given the need to match patients with newly emerging pharmacologic treatments.”3

The DSM-III was almost certainly more “reliable” than the earlier versions, but reliability is not the same thing as validity. Reliability, as I have noted, is used to mean consistency; validity refers to correctness or soundness. If nearly all physicians agreed that freckles were a sign of cancer, the diagnosis would be “reliable,” but not valid. The problem with the DSM is that in all of its editions, it has simply reflected the opinions of its writers, and in the case of the DSM-III mainly of Spitzer himself, who has been justly called one of the most influential psychiatrists of the twentieth century.4 In his words, he “picked everybody that [he] was comfortable with” to serve with him on the fifteen-member task force, and there were complaints that he called too few meetings and generally ran the process in a haphazard but high-handed manner. Spitzer said in a 1989 interview, “I could just get my way by sweet talking and whatnot.” In a 1984 article entitled “The Disadvantages of DSM-III Outweigh Its Advantages,” George Vaillant, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, wrote that the DSM-III represented “a bold series of choices based on guess, taste, prejudice, and hope,” which seems to be a fair description.

Not only did the DSM become the bible of psychiatry, but like the real Bible, it depended a lot on something akin to revelation. There are no citations of scientific studies to support its decisions. That is an astonishing omission, because in all medical publications, whether journal articles or textbooks, statements of fact are supposed to be supported by citations of published scientific studies. (There are four separate “sourcebooks” for the current edition of the DSM that present the rationale for some decisions, along with references, but that is not the same thing as specific references.) It may be of much interest for a group of experts to get together and offer their opinions, but unless these opinions can be buttressed by evidence, they do not warrant the extraordinary deference shown to the DSM. The DSM-III was supplanted by the DSM-III-R in 1987, the DSM-IV in 1994, and the current version, the DSM-IV-TR (text revised) in 2000, which contains 365 diagnoses. “With each subsequent edition,” writes Daniel Carlat in his absorbing book, “the number of diagnostic categories multiplied, and the books became larger and more expensive. Each became a best seller for the APA, and DSM is now one of the major sources of income for the organization.” The DSM-IV sold over a million copies.

As psychiatry became a drug-intensive specialty, the pharmaceutical industry was quick to see the advantages of forming an alliance with the psychiatric profession. Drug companies began to lavish attention and largesse on psychiatrists, both individually and collectively, directly and indirectly. They showered gifts and free samples on practicing psychiatrists, hired them as consultants and speakers, bought them meals, helped pay for them to attend conferences, and supplied them with “educational” materials. When Minnesota and Vermont implemented “sunshine laws” that require drug companies to report all payments to doctors, psychiatrists were found to receive more money than physicians in any other specialty. The pharmaceutical industry also subsidizes meetings of the APA and other psychiatric conferences. About a fifth of APA funding now comes from drug companies.

Drug companies are particularly eager to win over faculty psychiatrists at prestigious academic medical centers. Called “key opinion leaders” (KOLs) by the industry, these are the people who through their writing and teaching influence how mental illness will be diagnosed and treated. They also publish much of the clinical research on drugs and, most importantly, largely determine the content of the DSM. In a sense, they are the best sales force the industry could have, and are worth every cent spent on them. Of the 170 contributors to the current version of the DSM (the DSM-IV-TR), almost all of whom would be described as KOLs, ninety-five had financial ties to drug companies, including all of the contributors to the sections on mood disorders and schizophrenia.5

The drug industry, of course, supports other specialists and professional societies, too, but Carlat asks, “Why do psychiatrists consistently lead the pack of specialties when it comes to taking money from drug companies?” His answer: “Our diagnoses are subjective and expandable, and we have few rational reasons for choosing one treatment over another.” Unlike the conditions treated in most other branches of medicine, there are no objective signs or tests for mental illness—no lab data or MRI findings—and the boundaries between normal and abnormal are often unclear. That makes it possible to expand diagnostic boundaries or even create new diagnoses, in ways that would be impossible, say, in a field like cardiology. And drug companies have every interest in inducing psychiatrists to do just that.

In addition to the money spent on the psychiatric profession directly, drug companies heavily support many related patient advocacy groups and educational organizations. Whitaker writes that in the first quarter of 2009 alone,

Eli Lilly gave $551,000 to NAMI [National Alliance on Mental Illness] and its local chapters, $465,000 to the National Mental Health Association, $130,000 to CHADD (an ADHD [attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder] patient-advocacy group), and $69,250 to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

And that’s just one company in three months; one can imagine what the yearly total would be from all companies that make psychoactive drugs. These groups ostensibly exist to raise public awareness of psychiatric disorders, but they also have the effect of promoting the use of psychoactive drugs and influencing insurers to cover them. Whitaker summarizes the growth of industry influence after the publication of the DSM-III as follows:

In short, a powerful quartet of voices came together during the 1980’s eager to inform the public that mental disorders were brain diseases. Pharmaceutical companies provided the financial muscle. The APA and psychiatrists at top medical schools conferred intellectual legitimacy upon the enterprise. The NIMH [National Institute of Mental Health] put the government’s stamp of approval on the story. NAMI provided a moral authority.

  1. 1See Marcia Angell, “The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why?,” The New York Review , June 23, 2011. 
  2. 2Eisenberg wrote about this transition in “Mindlessness and Brainlessness,” British Journal of Psychiatry , No. 148 (1986). His last paper, completed by his stepson, was published after his death in 2009. See Eisenberg and L.B. Guttmacher, “Were We All Asleep at the Switch? A Personal Reminiscence of Psychiatry from 1940 to 2010,” Acta Psychiatrica Scand. , No. 122 (2010). 
  3. 3Carol A. Bernstein, “Meta-Structure in DSM-5 Process,” Psychiatric News , March 4, 2011, p. 7. 
  4. 4The history of the DSM is recounted in Christopher Lane’s informative book Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness ” (Yale University Press, 2007). Lane was given access to the American Psychiatric Association’s archive of unpublished letters, transcripts, and memoranda, and he also interviewed Robert Spitzer. His book was reviewed by Frederick Crews in The New York Review , December 6, 2007, and by me, January 15, 2009. 
  5. 5See L. Cosgrove et al., “Financial Ties Between DSM-IV Panel Members and the Pharmaceutical Industry,” Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics , Vol. 75 (2006). 

Australian Model for Mental Health Slammed by Expert

PATRICK McGorry’s model of early diagnosis of psychosis, favoured by the federal government and the Coalition in their mental-health policies, has come under attack from a leading US psychiatrist, who warns that predicting psychosis is unreliable and could lead to patients being wrongly medicated.

Allen Frances, who chaired the committee that produced the current diagnostic bible for psychiatry, the DSM-IV, has warned that Professor McGorry’s Early Psychosis Intervention Centres do not have a reliable early diagnosis tool.

Professor Frances, an emeritus professor at Duke University in North Carolina, fears early diagnosis could lead to people without psychosis being put on medications that have serious side-effects, including massive weight gain.

He has also attacked the Gillard government’s plans to spend $222 million expanding Professor McGorry’s EPIC program by another 16 centres as a “vast untried public-health experiment”.

“The Australian experiment will be flying blind on an airplane that is not at all ready to leave the ground,” he said in a blog posted on Psychology Today in the US.

His concerns are shared by Adelaide University psychiatry professor Jon Juredini, who says the Gillard government should have shared mental-health funding around many different early intervention projects to see what worked best. “A lot of the evaluation of EPIC shows any advantages it has disappear over time, so that tends to suggest that in terms of intervention they are good while they are happening, but they don’t necessarily give long-term protection,” Professor Juredini told The Australian.

Their criticism came as the past president of the Royal Australian College of Psychiatrists, Louise Newman, attacked the $197 million the government will spend on expanding the number of Headspace youth mental health centres from 60 to 90.

“There have been certain statements about the efficacy of  the Headspace approach that have been overstated,” she told Australian Doctor magazine.

Early intervention to prevent mental illness needed to happen at a much earlier stage of development than adolescence, Dr Newman said.

A spokeswoman for Mental Health Minister Mark Butler said the government was making substantial investments in youth mental health and early psychosis prevention services. “We are confident these evidence-based models will be of benefit to young Australians,” she said.

Professor Frances’s arguments have been seized on by Scientologists, who argue against the notion of mental illness.

Although Professor Frances chaired the committee that produced the fourth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1994, he has been left off the panel developing the fifth version.

He has written extensively of his concerns about how strict medical definitions of mental illness can lead to misdiagnosis by non-experts.

Professor McGorry dismissed Professor Frances’s attack as a “beat-up”, and said no one received anti-psychotic drugs at his centres unless they had had a psychotic episode.

While Professor Frances agreed that Professor McGorry did not recommend anti-psychotic medication as a preventive measure, he feared general practitioners might overuse the drugs if they started using Professor McGorry’s diagnostic tool for early psychosis.

Professor Frances said in his Psychology Today blog that early intervention to prevent psychosis required first that there be an accurate tool to identify who would become psychotic.

“The false positive rate in selecting pre-psychosis is at least 60-70 per cent in the very best hands and may be as high as 90 per cent in general practice . . . these are totally unacceptable odds,” he said.

Professor McGorry agreed that false positive rates of diagnosing prepsychosis were high, but said the first line of treatment for people who had sub-threshold psychosis was supportive care.

Boy Who Killed Himself After Taking Ritalin


Child victims of the chemical cosh: Boy who killed himself after taking Ritalin

By Sue Reid

Last updated at 8:32 AM on 13th June 2011

Captured in a family video, Harry Hucknall gives a cheeky grin before whizzing off down the street on his new bike. His father, Darren, will never forget the moment — when Harry was seven — and often watches the scene again and again.

It is a precious memory of Harry who, one Sunday evening in September last year, kissed his mother Jane and older brother, David, goodnight before going upstairs to his bedroom and locking the door. He then hanged himself with a belt from his bunk bed.

He was ten years old.

Boisterous: Harry Hucknall was, says his father, a ‘normal kid’ whose problems were overstated

His father blames Harry’s death on two ‘mind-altering’ drugs that his son had been prescribed by a psychiatrist to cure his boisterous behaviour and low spirits.

An inquest was told in April that the boy had more drugs in his body than the normal level for adults suffering from the same problems.

Now, a distraught Mr Hucknall is to make a formal complaint to the NHS for prescribing his son Ritalin, a cocaine-like stimulant which, paradoxically, is said to calm down a child, and Prozac, a powerful antidepressant.

‘When I was growing up there were lots of kids like Harry — a bit over-active, a bit naughty, who didn’t always do as they were told. Now they are branded with a complaint called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,’ says the computer engineer at his semi-detached house on the outskirts of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

‘What is it? What has changed? Is there some weird disease in the air? Harry was just a normal little boy. But because we live in 2011 he, and many other kids, are on tablets.

‘It seems nearly every child has suddenly developed this ADHD. What a load of nonsense. It’s an easy get-out for parents and schools who can’t control children.’

Mr Hucknall is obviously grieving for Harry, and his words are spoken with anger. But they are close to the truth. Earlier this year, this paper revealed that 661,000 prescriptions are dished out annually in Britain to treat childhood ADHD — double the figure of five years ago.

Coroner: An inquest was told in April that the boy had more drugs in his body than the normal level for adults suffering from the same problems

These medicines are being given to very young children — one aged just 15 months, according to our investigations — despite official guidelines from the manufacturer and the fact that the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) prohibits their use for those under six.

Last week, educational psychologist David Traxson told me he suspects that in the West Midlands at least 100 three, four and five-year-olds are on Ritalin or similar drugs. If this is replicated around the country — as is likely — the number will run into thousands.

‘These young children are taking powerful, potentially addictive drugs and no one knows what will happen to their brains in the future,’ he warned.

The Association of Educational Psychologists last week demanded a national review into the use of Ritalin and similar drugs on children.

General Secretary Kate Fallon said: ‘The danger is that we rely on this “quick fix” for children with conditions such as ADHD, which frequently means a prescription for Ritalin.

‘No one’s certain what it will do to children’s brains’

‘We have significant concerns that the neurological impact of these drugs on the developing brains of children has not been fully researched. The potential damage they could cause needs further investigation.’

The psychologists’ call was backed by the National Union of Teachers, whose members have to cope with the huge rise in pupils being dosed with ADHD drugs — which act on the central nervous system to change a child’s behaviour.

In some state primary classrooms, one in ten pupils is on Ritalin pills, which have to be handed out by teachers at lunch or break times. In one junior school of 389 children in the South-East, no fewer than 80 pupils — more than 20 per cent — are on the medication.

It is a phenomenon across Britain, affecting families in every income bracket. The area with the highest proportion of children receiving the drug is the Wirral, a wealthy part of Cheshire which is home to millionaire footballers and business executives.

Meanwhile, sceptics question the very existence of ADHD as an illness. There is no recognised test for it. A diagnosis is made by a psychiatrist or paediatrician merely by watching a child’s behaviour.

‘Enough is enough’: Home Secretary Theresa May has warned of the dangers of the ADHD drugs

Some of the doubters argue the condition is really a politically correct creation, conjured up by the medical world for a child who finds it difficult to sit still or concentrate thanks to a combination of a fast-food diet, late nights and lack of exercise.

It’s easier for the medical world and its political masters, of course, to diagnose a syndrome rather than deal with the real causes.

Another worrying factor is that the parents of children receiving drugs for ADHD immediately become eligible for an array of generous state benefits, including a carer’s allowance and child-disability allowance, which can total thousands a year.

For instance, one family in the West Midlands has two children receiving medication for ADHD. They get £600 a month in disability allowances for each of the two children who have been diagnosed with the ailment.

A third child is being examined by psychologists to see if he is also a sufferer. If he is diagnosed, the family’s annual haul from the state will be £21,600 tax free.

No wonder thousands of families happily agree with child psychiatrists when they are told their son or daughter needs medicine to ‘cure’ their hyperactive behaviour.

Gwynedd Lloyd, an education researcher at Edinburgh University, has explained her doubts. ‘You can’t do a blood test to see if a child has ADHD. It is diagnosed by ticking a behaviour checklist — getting out of your seat and running about is an example. Half the kids in a school would qualify under these sorts of criteria.’

And, it appears, a lot of them do. In the four years to 2010, there was a  65 per cent increase in NHS spending on drugs to treat childhood ADHD, with a cost to the taxpayer of £31million annually. This does not take into account thousands of prescriptions paid for by parents who take their children to private doctors.

In America (where the term ADHD was first created 50 years ago), one in five children is diagnosed as having a hyperactivity disorder and is on Ritalin or a similar drug.

It is predicted that unless the craze for drugging children is not stopped in the UK, one in seven pupils will soon be diagnosed with the condition in many parts of the country, as is already the case in places such as the Wirral.

‘Doubters say it’s an illness conjured up by medics’

Meanwhile, the side-effects of the ADHD treatments are legion. Ritalin is a Class B drug, which is banned for recreational use. It was invented in the Fifties in the U.S. to combat the effects of illegal drug overdoses.

Alarmingly, it can stunt growth (doctors are asked to regularly monitor a young patient’s height and weight), while making children prone to heart problems, depression and insomnia.

At least 11 deaths of children while taking Ritalin have been reported to the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products’ Regulatory Agency since the drug became available 20 years ago. The official causes of nine of the deaths included heart conditions, respiratory problems and brain diseases. Significantly, two of the children ended their own lives just like Harry Hucknall.

Home Secretary Theresa May has said that enough is enough. As the Shadow Leader of the House of  Commons before the last election, she warned of the dangers of the ADHD drugs. ‘They are powerful prescription drugs and we don’t know what their long-term effects on a child will be.’

She related to Parliament the story of a six-year-old on Ritalin. ‘He experienced low moods and marked depression and tried to throw himself out of a window within two months of starting treatment. He only recovered once the drug had been withdrawn.’

Sadly, Harry Hucknall never had the chance to stop taking Ritalin, or the antidepressant Prozac. Now his father is asking difficult questions about why his son died. On the fateful weekend last September, Harry was staying at the home in Dalton-in-Furness of his mother, Jane White, 33, his brother David, and his two step-siblings.

In America (where the term ADHD was first created 50 years ago), one in five children is diagnosed as having a hyperactivity disorder and is on Ritalin or a similar drug

He would spend every other weekend and one day during the week with his father, who parted amicably from Jane when Harry was three.

Early last year, child psychiatrist Mr Sumitra Srivastava had prescribed Harry with Prozac for depression, and Ritalin for hyperactivity. He was having difficulty concentrating at school, was being bullied by classmates, and had told his parents he was feeling unhappy.

At an inquest in April, the coroner Ian Smith declared that Mr Srivastava had acted appropriately, but warned that doctors should be extremely careful what they prescribed to ten-year-old boys.

The coroner ruled out a deliberate suicide, but said that the influence of Ritalin and Prozac could not be excluded as a factor in Harry’s death. ‘What a child with ADHD is prescribed by his doctor is mind-altering drugs of a powerful nature,’ he added.

But Harry’s father believes drugs had a huge part to play in the tragedy. ‘Harry was put on Prozac first, and without my knowledge,’ he told me. ‘I only found out about it when he came to stay for the weekend and his mother told me what dose to give him: one in the morning and one at night. “Are you crazy?” I asked her. “That’s an antidepressant.”

‘I can go to work every day and pay for my child’s keep, but it seems I have little say when it comes to things like the authorities deciding to give my son drugs.’ At first, Mr Hucknall refused to give Harry the pills. But Harry’s mother said that if he didn’t dose his son, the child would not be allowed to visit him. She said the doctors had told her Prozac would stop Harry being depressed.

‘I think ADHD is a disease invented by drug companies’ – Darren Hucknell

‘I reluctantly agreed. I wanted to see Harry,’ remembers 37-year-old Mr Hucknall. ‘Later, I went with Harry’s mother to see the psychiatrist. I insisted on going along to tell him that I did not want Harry on any drugs whatsoever.

‘While I was there, he said Harry was going to be put on Ritalin as well. I said I did not want him on more drugs. I didn’t want him  on any at all.

‘I had never heard of Ritalin. I was told it was to help his concentration. I was never told a side-effect of Ritalin is depression. But the doctor said that if Harry took the Ritalin he would be off everything and drug free within a month.’

Mr Hucknall believed him, although this scenario was very unlikely. Most children remain on ADHD drugs for years. ‘In the end I agreed, because I thought I was doing the right thing. The next thing I know, a month or two later, there was a knock on my door and two police officers were telling me my son had  hanged himself,’ he says.

‘He was just a kid. There was nothing wrong with him. He may have had some problems, but they were overstated.

‘A lot of things that Harry’s mum complained about in terms of his behaviour, he did not do here. How can you have ADHD in one place and not in another?

‘I think Harry might have been playing up a bit by attention- seeking because there were three other children in the family.

‘I admit there were a couple of times I forgot to give him his  tablets. To me, he seemed quiet and subdued when he was on them.

‘I would have happily thrown them in the bin. Harry just took them, of course. He was a kid and he did as he was told.’

An emotional Mr Hucknall continues: ‘I think ADHD is a disease invented by drug companies. Nobody ever died of ADHD and it didn’t existed once upon a time. It’s too easy to hand out tablets. They are being over-prescribed to children.

‘A perfectly normal kid isn’t allowed to grow up without interference these days. I’m angry about what has happened because I have lost my son.

‘At the school meetings about Harry, his teachers said he was quiet. My son had just recently moved house and been put into a new school, where he didn’t know anybody. What did they expect?

‘Another teacher said Harry didn’t laugh at his jokes. I asked Harry about that. He told me they weren’t very funny.’

Mr Hucknall believes his son was ‘inappropriately medicated’ and has asked Independent Complaints’ Advocacy Service (ICAS) — which supports those wishing to complain about the NHS — to take on the case.

At the inquest, Mr Hucknall also took the chance to challenge Mr Srivastava again about why he had put Harry on drugs. ‘This doctor said at the inquest my son had a chemical inbalance in his brain. I asked him: “How do you know? Did you take chemicals from his brain?”

‘He told me it was a theory. So based on a theory — and seeing my son five times at the most — he decided to put him on this drug, Ritalin, which is as powerful as cocaine.

‘Harry ended up taking two drugs that work against each other — the Prozac that fights depression and the Ritalin that can cause it. How can that be right?’
Read more:



Big Pharma Profiting on Torment of the Elderly

“… 1,800 people with dementia die prematurely every year as a result of antipsychotic medication.”
9 June 2011 Last updated at 02:00 GMT

‘Chemical cosh’ dementia drug prescriptions concern

By Dominic Hughes Health correspondent, BBC News

Elderly womanThere are around 750,000 people living with dementia in the UK

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More than 50 health and social care organisations are calling for fresh action to cut the prescription of “chemical cosh” drugs.

Around 180,000 people with dementia are thought to be prescribed antipsychotic drugs in the UK.

But 80% of those prescriptions are said by critics to be inappropriate.

Long-term use of the drugs can make dementia symptoms worse, reduce the ability to talk and walk and increase the risk of stroke and even death.

The Dementia Action Alliance – which includes the Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK and the Department of Health – want all prescriptions for antipsychotics to be reviewed by the end of March 2012.

To help patients and carers, the Alliance has published a booklet giving information and advice about how to make sure antipsychotics are not prescribed inappropriately.

Powerful sedativeAntipsychotics have a powerful sedative effect and are often used when dementia patients become aggressive, agitated or distressed.

“Start Quote

It is unacceptable that 1,800 people with dementia die prematurely every year as a result of antipsychotic medication”

Paul Burstow MP Care Services Minister

They are most commonly given to dementia sufferers in care homes and hospitals.

Guidelines say they should only be used as a last resort and over a short period of time, but the evidence suggests that in some cases they are being prescribed for years.

A study published in January 2009 showed the medication nearly doubled the risk of death for many dementia patients when taken over a prolonged period.

Chemical coshJeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said it was unacceptable that people with dementia were having their health and quality of life put at risk because of antipsychotics:

“It is essential we bring an end to this chemical cosh and empower people with dementia and carers with the information they need to ensure they are not prescribed these drugs inappropriately. This call to action can do just that.

Michelle Fraser says two years on antipsychotics had “horrendous” side effects on her father Michael Rainford

“It’s not just about reducing antipsychotics but also about improving quality care. This means developing alternative treatments and finding better ways to manage pain and other medical conditions.”

Following an independent report for the government in November 2009 that found the drugs killed around 1,800 patients a year, ministers announced plans to cut prescribing rates by two-thirds within three years.

But new figures from the NHS Information Centre suggest prescription may have dropped by less than 20% over the past two years.

When in opposition, Paul Burstow, now Care Services Minister, campaigned to cut the use of the ‘chemical cosh’.

“It is unacceptable that 1,800 people with dementia die prematurely every year as a result of antipsychotic medication. That is why I’m backing this campaign,” he said.

“Reducing the use of antipsychotic medication is one of the Coalition Government’s four key priorities for dementia. With the right support, people can live well with dementia and continue to do the things they enjoy for years after diagnosis.”

Alternative therapiesThe campaign is also being supported by Dr Clare Gerada, Chair of Royal College of General Practitioners.

“Dealing with very agitated or aggressive patients can be distressing, and it can be difficult knowing what to do for the best of the patient, but antipsychotics should in most cases only be used as a last resort, and for the short term.

“Antipsychotics have potential to do real harm to patients, including an increased risk of stroke. There are viable alternatives – including behavioural therapies – that we should encourage wherever possible to ensure the care our patients receive is appropriate, in their best interests and does not cause them harm.”

Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, said:

“Action to reduce the prescription of these drugs and develop alternative treatments has lacked urgency.

“This campaign should renew that urgency and drive home the need to invest in more research so that safer, more effective treatments can be found.”

Martin Green of the English Community Care Association, a body that represents care providers, said: “ECCA really welcomes the commitment by the Department of Health to reduce anti-psychotic prescribing and we want to see all sections of the system – primary care, acute hospitals, pharmacists and care homes – working in partnership to reduce inappropriate anti-psychotic prescribing”.

Mental Illness as a Political Weapon

and by extension of course… psychiatrists continuing their long tradition of doing what it is that they really do, not curing people, but attempting to force them into the conventional paradigm of the times.  They should be renamed ‘The Mind Police’

I found this article in my files whilst cleaning out.  I have no idea anymore who wrote it but do not wish to leave such an illuminating piece lost in the dark forever.  So here it is, along with apologies to the author whom I am unable to credit…

Ann Coulter commented yesterday at the CPAC convention to the effect that she could not discuss John Edwards because those who use the word “faggot” are sentenced to “rehab.” The Dems have rushed in to defend their favorite constituency. Michelle Malkin has more.

But no one has questioned the underlying reference. No one has raised concerns over a major television star that has been required to undergo rehab because he used the word “faggot”:
Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington has entered a residential treatment facility in an effort to quell the controversy surrounding his anti-gay remarks – and save his job, Life & Style has learned exclusively.

According to an insider, Isaiah, who issued an apology for his statements on Jan. 18, agreed to undergo a psychological assessment after talks with ABC executives.

See also USA Today.

No one seems concerned that we are treating opinions as a mental illness in a fashion reminiscent of the Soviet Union. This is not an isolated incident. In February 2000, Joe Sobran wrote the following:

“Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has ruled that Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker must undergo psychological testing for his recent disparaging remarks about New York City. Among other things, Rocker said: “Imagine having to take the 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you’re [in] Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It’s depressing.” Rude, yes. And Rocker apologized. It should have ended there, but the Diversity Gestapo is demanding his head for his thought-crimes, and Selig, taking a leaf from Soviet psychiatry, is treating them as symptoms of mental illness. Rocker wouldn’t be in trouble if only he’d spewed a few normal jock obscenities. As things now stand, he may be on his way to Siberia. Under baseball’s Schott-Turner rule, only Christians may be insulted with impunity.”

* * *

Meanwhile, Al Gore has announced that if elected president, he will make favoring homosexuals in the military a “litmus test” for his appointees to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Nobody is demanding that Gore be subjected to psychological examination.

* * *

A Maryland judge, Durke Thompson, has given a 24-year-old man a sentence of 18 months for the statutory rape of an 11-year-old girl whose mother found him hiding in the girl’s closet at 2:30 AM with his trousers around his ankles.

Thompson explained the light sentence with the adage that “it takes two to tango.” Yes, some of these pre-teens are just begging for it. However, nobody is demanding that Thompson be required to undergo psychological examination. Liberalism is not yet recognized as a form of mental illness.

It is not secret, except among those who learned history from the MSM/DNC, that the Soviet Union used the “mental illness” card as a weapon against enemies of the state. The mental illness label often served as a prelude to brainwashing.

As long as those who hold unpopular opinions are at risk for compulsory psychological treatment, the rest of us should stand in solidarity with them, even to the point of using their terms. We cannot fear words, or else the establishment will criminalize more words. The point of the PC enforcement is not really to protect the actual “faggots”, but to create more thought crimes so that ordinary citizens can be kept in line. The inevitable result is that even members of the MSM/DNC are not immune to thought crime enforcement:
The latest forced grovel has been extorted from NBC’s Tom Brokaw, who, after stepping over “homeless” people on the way to an interview on the Today show, quipped on the air: “You feel great sympathy for them. But you also envy the extra hour of sleep that they’re getting.”

How insensitive! The joke police swung into action. Tom apologized, profusely. He had momentarily forgotten the first article of the liberal creed: Women and minorities never have a nice day. That goes for all the other expanding categories of victims, which include the “homeless,” as we’re instructed to call them.

When natural reactions are unnaturally suppressed, they often insist on sneaking back into view, frequently in the form of humor. Freud called this “the return of the repressed.”
. . . . .

One of the traits of the good old days was that you could call a guy who slept in the street a “bum” without getting flayed. In fact, “bum” was the word even liberals used, shamelessly, for guys who slept in the street, which may have had something to do with the fact that hardly anyone slept in the street in the good old days.
Joe Sobran – March 31, 1999

I believe that Washington was not actually placed into rehab by the government, but he had no choice if he was to keep his job. The old alleged military-industrial complex has been replaced by the government/media/entertainment complex, with the entertainment/media wing exercising broad powers to enforce the PC taboos. You can work in Hollywood or otherwise become a public figure, but if you violate the PC code, you will either give up the good life or receive psychological treatment.

The “mental illness” card is not new in the West, as it was used against those who blew the whistle on the Billy Sol Estes grain elevator scandal in the 1960’s and has been used in other contexts. J. Evetts Haley wrote about those who were placed in mental institutions when they refused to be silent about the grain scandal –

“Violent Madhouse”

Brooklyn’s Kingsboro Psychiatric Center a ‘violent’ madhouse with deaths linked to paperwork snafus

NY Daily News
By Jake Pearson
May 8, 2011

Kingsboro Psychiatric Center has failed four consecutive federal surveys by Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services. (Nicholas Fevelo for News)

A Brooklyn mental hospital is a violence-wracked, dangerous place, rife with assaults and at least two deaths linked to paperwork snafus, the Daily News has learned.

Federal surveys and court documents paint a disturbing portrait at the state’s problem-plagued Kingsboro Psychiatric Center.

“Violence has become a way of life at KPC,” an independent mental health expert wrote in a Kingsboro-commissioned 2009 report after the hospital was sued in federal court.

“Patient and staff injury are a matter of course – it’s an expected part of the hospital routine,” wrote Dr. Jeffrey Geller of the University of Massachusetts.

He said the culture at the Flatbush hospital had become about “providing room, board and medication; and doing one’s best to stay out of harm’s way.”

The hospital failed four consecutive federal surveys by Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services – and withdrew from the federal funding program, losing $22.5 million in Medicaid funds.

“This is the worst I’ve ever seen. Everyone’s complaining, from doctors to nurses to social workers. What we have is management that is grossly incompetent,” one hospital source said. “We lost a lot of money.”

The findings and allegations in a still-pending suit filed by the Mental Hygiene Legal Service include:

  • Two patients – called L1 and L2 in a January 2010 CMS report – may have died after paperwork mixups and “layers of bureaucracy” delayed their treatment. The patients had refused medicine or medical procedures, and the hospital dragged its heels in getting a judge to order the treatment.

A doctor for one of the patients told investigators the deaths were a “tough lesson” and demonstrated the need to “be more assertive and aggressive” in treating patients.

  • Mental Hygiene lawyers said a “frail, nearly crippled 77-year-old woman with paralyzed vocal cords” was beaten badly by her roommate and suffered severe facial bruising.
  • One patient, identified as Vadim B., was badly beaten by another patient, who then threatened to stab him to death.

A spokeswoman for the State Office of Mental Health insisted Kingsboro officials have taken steps since 2009 to quell the violence and improve care, like replacing clinical and leadership team members.

“Our reform efforts are ongoing,” spokeswoman Jill Daniels said.

Still, elected officials insist it’s time for new leadership at Kingsboro. “You have employees who are assaulted and patients with special needs – these are an extremely vulnerable group of people that are not getting the proper care they deserve,” said state Sen. Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn). “We are failing, but no one is willing to change leadership at the top.”

Fitzroy Wilson, president of the Civil Service Employees Association union local 402, said something needed to be done to end the violence at Kingsboro.

“Staff shortages and the lack of specific training are responsible for the patient violence and it interferes with proper patient care,” he said. “Violence at Kingsboro is rampant and widespread.”

Read article here: