Thursday, August 13, 2009

Psychology and Psychiatry - What's in Your Head? (Part 2)


Psychiatry has devolved from personalized therapy to shameless drug dealing
Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
(NaturalNews) Back in the day, psychiatrists used to actually consult intimately with their patients and provide some type of personalized, talk-based therapy as part of their practice. The modern-day approach to psychiatry, however, has become more like a series of drug dealing sessions in which psychiatrists will briefly consult with their patients and prescribe them drugs for their problems.
A recent report at explains that over the past several decades, many psychiatrists have abandoned the personalized approach to therapy partly because insurance companies will often not pay for it, and thus it is not worth their time. But another likely reason for the switch to drug vending is that it simply pays better than actually having to deal with patients and try to help them in a non-drug way.
The report mentions a psychiatrist who has been practicing for nearly 40 years. In his early days, he consulted with and treated, at most, 60 patients once- or twice-weekly, which included a 45-minute talk therapy session. Today, he sees roughly 1,200 people every week for quick 15-minute sessions, and sends them on their way with drugs. This approach has become the norm, not the exception. And this particular psychiatrist is even quoted as saying that he has had to train himself out of actually caring about people's problems, and instead focus on basically getting them out the door and on their way.
"It's a practice that's very reminiscent of primary care," said Dr. Steven S. Sharfstein, former president of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the president and chief executive of Sheppard Pratt Health System, to "They check up on people; they pull out the prescription pad; they order tests."
The entire field of psychiatry has been on a downward spiral for years, though, as the "Disease Mongering Engine" literally invents new diseases every year -- which are really just normal, everyday human behaviors that vary based on personality, by the way -- and comes up with drug interventions to treat them. It is a highly lucrative drug dealing business that profits at the expense of human health (
To see a psychiatrist in today's environment is like playing Russian Roulette with your health. If able to evaluate every person on the planet, the average psychiatrist would surely find a problem or two with each one. And within five-to-ten minutes, he or she would be able to prescribe a laundry list of medications to treat those alleged disorders. So in other words, if you value your health, stay far, far away from modern-day psychiatrists.
Now independent thinkers are considered diseased by psychiatry
Ethan A. Huff
Monday, May 17, 2010
(NaturalNews) Psychiatrists have been working on the fourth revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and, in it, they hope to add a whole slew of new psychiatric disorders. Unfortunately, many of these disorders are merely differences in personality and behavior among people.
The new edition may include "disorders" like "oppositional defiant disorder", which includes people who have a pattern of "negativistic, defiant, disobedient and hostile behavior toward authority figures." Some of the "symptoms" of this disorder including losing one's temper, annoying people and being "touchy".
Other "disorders" being considered include personality flaws like antisocial behavior, arrogance, cynicism or narcissism. There are even categories for people who binge eat and children who have temper tantrums.
Children are already over-diagnosed for allegedly being bipolar or having attention-deficit disorder (ADD), which results in their being prescribed dangerous antipsychotic drugs. To categorize even more childhood behaviors as psychiatric disorders will only further increase the number of children who will be needlessly prescribed antipsychotic drugs.
Each new revision of DSM has included controversial new additions, and this newest version is no exception. In fact, the manual has increased considerably in size over the years. What is most disturbing about the current proposed revisions is the blatantly brave, new way in which so-called medical professionals are viewing individual characteristics.
Children who exhibit unique eccentricities in accordance with their unique personalities, in general, would be categorized as having a mental illness. If this criteria had been used in past centuries to diagnose illness, there may have never been people like Mozart or Einstein who ventured outside the norm and came up with new or unique ideas.
A Washington Post article captured the essence of this concept perfectly in the following quote:
"If seven-year-old Mozart tried composing his concertos today, he might be diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and medicated into barren normality."
The perception that character differences are somehow a psychic illnesses not only absolves individuals of personal responsibility, but it takes away their unique personhood. It reduces people into subjects that cannot think for themselves, but rather have to be controlled through drugs.
Which brings us to perhaps the biggest thrust behind the DSM revisions: the drug companies. Pharmaceutical companies stand to gain a lot for having virtually every person categorized as mentally ill and in need of drugs.
A more accurate approach to the situation is to assess the psychiatrists and drug lords who are contriving such nonsense as being the true possessors of mental illness. Perhaps these people are the ones that need to be institutionalized.
The MOST Effective Treatment for Depression Isn't Drugs... But You'll Never Hear That From Your Psychiatrist
Posted by Dr. Mercola
May 08 2010
Here, medical journalist and Pulitzer Prize nominee Robert Whitaker discusses the widespread use of psychiatric drugs.
His first book, Mad in America, explains the history of the treatment of those with severe mental illness. His latest book, which was recently released, is Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America.
Robert Whitaker Transcript (PDF)
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Depression is a very pervasive health issue today, and it can be a terminal illness. People commit suicide, caused by depression, each and every day.
The traditional approaches have sought to use drugs to address this problem, but I believe there are far better alternatives. But before I get into that, what does the scientific literature show, in terms of short- and long-term effectiveness of the conventional drug approach?
In this interview, Robert Whitaker, who is a medical journalist and author of two books on this important topic, shares what he’s found after tremendous amounts of research.
How Effective are Antidepressants in the Short- and Long-Term?
When looking at the research literature, short-term trials show that antidepressants do NOT provide any clinically significant benefits for mild to moderate depression, compared to a placebo.
And as you know, all drugs have benefit-to-risk ratios, so if a drug is as effective as a placebo in relieving symptoms, it really doesn’t make sense to use them as a first line of defense. And yet doctors all over America prescribe them as if they were indeed sugar pills!
But what about their long-term effectiveness?
According to Whitaker:
“… that’s one of the things I looked at in this book and there are really two things that you find.
You find that even with major depression, in the pre-antidepressant era – and this is depression so severe people were hospitalized – they could expect to get better. The episode would eventually pass.
… So when antidepressants were introduced, the thought was okay, we really can hope to improve on this sort of natural recovery, but maybe we can help people recover quicker? So that really was the rationale for the use of antidepressants.
But it’s really interesting if you follow this course through, forward in history. The minute they start using antidepressants in any sort of large numbers, doctors start saying, “Well, you know, my patients may be getting better, the depression maybe lifting faster, but then we’re noticing that they’re also relapsing more frequently than before, back into depression.”
So right away you get this question: Does the drug treatment actually put people on a more chronic course than before?”
Long-term studies now indicate that of people with major depression, only about 15 percent that are treated with an antidepressant go into remission and stay well for a long period of time.
The remaining 85 percent start having continuing relapses and become chronically depressed.
“By the 1990s, this change in the long term course of depression was so pronounced that finally it was addressed by researchers,” says Whitaker.
“Giovanni Fava from Italy said, “Hey, listen, the course is changing with antidepressants. We’re changing it from an episodic illness to a chronic illness, and we really need to address this.”
Not only that, but the depression is sinking into people [on antidepressants] in a deeper way than before.”
According to Whitaker’s research, this tendency to sensitize the brain to long-term depression appears to be the same both for the earlier tricyclic antidepressants and the newer SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors).
Another famous psycho pharmacologist named Ross Baldessarini at the Harvard Medical School also began asking whether or not these drugs may in fact be depressogenic (causing depression).
Unfortunately, the evidence points that way, and the long-term prognosis when taking antidepressants is quite bleak, as this type of drug treatment has a whopping 85 percent chronic relapse rate.
It’s time for this trend to be broken.
Every year, 230 million prescriptions for antidepressants are filled, making them one of the most-prescribed drugs in the United States. Despite all of these prescription drugs being taken, more than one in 20 Americans are depressed, according to the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The statistics alone should be a strong indication that what we’re doing is simply not working, and that instead, these drugs are contributing to other serious health problems.
Fortunately, there are other, safer, more effective ways, and some countries are starting to pay heed to the fact that research is actually showing it to be beneficial, rather than bowing to the will of pharmaceutical companies.
What the Research Says about Alternative Treatments for Depression
One study conducted by Duke University in the late 1990’s divided depressed patients into three treatment groups:
Exercise only
Exercise plus antidepressant
Antidepressant drug only
After six weeks, the drug-only group was doing slightly better than the other two groups. However, after 10 months of follow-up, it was the exercise-only group that had the highest remission and stay-well rate.
Some countries are taking these types of research findings seriously, and are starting to base their treatments on the evidence at hand.
The UK, for example, does not routinely recommend antidepressants as the first line of therapy for mild to moderate depression anymore, and doctors there can write out a prescription to see an exercise counselor instead.
“With that prescription… you now get either a reduced rate or a free rate at a gym for six months,” Whitaker explains. “Part of the exercise might be “green gyms”… gardening outside, nature walks, repairing trails, hiking trails. And they are finding that people really like this. People comply with it…
People who have gone through this course and have been prescribed exercise, they say that rather than seeing themselves as a victim of depression, and helpless before it -- that they have this sort of biological problem they can’t do anything about -- they say, “Aha, I can make a change, I can do something. It’s in my willpower to do something that will help this problem lift.”
So it empowers the patient in a different way that drugs do not.”
Since 2007, when this new program was first introduced, the rate of British doctors prescribing exercise for depression has increased from about 4 percent to about 25 percent.
Studies on exercise as a treatment for depression are also showing that there is a strong correlation between improved mood and aerobic capacity. So there’s a growing acceptance that the mind-body connection is very real, and that maintaining good physical health can significantly lower your risk of developing depression in the first place.
Two Side Effects of Antidepressants You Need to Be Aware of
“There are two side effects or risks that really need to be addressed, and that everybody should be thinking about, that show up in the scientific literature,” Whitaker says.
“The first risk is that you’ll convert from unipolar depression to bipolar depression.
… One of the things we’ve seen with the use of the SSRIs is this incredible, extraordinary boom in bipolar diagnoses, and that is definitely tied to the widespread use of antidepressants.
Now, in kids, something like 25 to 50 percent of all kids placed on an antidepressant, who stay on that antidepressant for five years, will convert to bipolar illness. With adults, it seems like about 25 percent of long term of users that begin with a diagnosis of unipolar depression will convert to bipolar.
Bipolar used to be a fairly rare disorder but now it’s becoming much more common. Why is this so bad?
Well, when you convert from depression to bipolar, now you’re in a category where you’re often treated with a cocktail of medications including an antipsychotic medication, and long-term bipolar outcomes are really problematic in this country.
Only about 35 percent of bipolar patients are employed. So you see this risk of disability.
So my point is this, when you go on an antidepressant, you do have a risk of having a manic episode and that is a risk of becoming “a bipolar patient,” and at that moment you’re into a much more long-term problematic disorder that does not have a good outcome today.
The second real risk is that there is a lot of evidence compiling [showing] that if you stay on antidepressants for five, ten, fifteen years, there is some real worry with cognitive decline associated with that long term use.”
Most of you have probably heard that depression is due to a “chemical imbalance in your brain,” which these drugs are designed to correct.
Unfortunately for anyone who has ever swallowed this marketing ploy, this is NOT a scientific statement.
“The low serotonin theory arose because they understood how the drugs acted on the brain,” Whitaker explains.
“But it was just a hypothesis borne to try to explain why the drug might be fixing something. They investigated whether people had low serotonin…[But] in 1983, NIMH concluded that there is no evidence that there is anything wrong in the serotonergic system of depressed patients. And this was in 1983 before Prozac was released.
So there was never evidence that people with depression characteristically had low levels of serotonin.
As one doctor I interviewed about this who did some of this research said, “The serotonin theory of depression is comparable to the masturbatory theory of insanity.” It’s just not a scientific statement.”
Making matters worse, if you do not have low serotonin levels when you’re depressed, but you start taking an SSRI drug that blocks the normal reuptake of serotonin, you end up with the very physiological problem the drug is designed to treat –low serotonin levels. Which, ironically, is the state hypothesized to bring on depression in the first place.
In 1996, neuroscientist Steven Hyman, who was head of the NIMH at the time, and is today Provost of Harvard University, published the paper Initiation and Adaptation: A Paradigm for Understanding Psychotropic Drugs, in which he explains this chain of events.
According to Dr. Hyman, once your brain has undergone these compensatory adaptations to the drug, your brain operates in a manner that is “both qualitatively and quantitatively different than normal.”
“So these are not normalizing agents, from a scientific point of view,” Whitaker says.
Really they are abnormalizing agents, and once you understand that, you can understand why maybe they might provoke a manic episode; why they might be associated with sexual dysfunction or violence, acathisia, etcetera.
It’s because they in fact are abnormalizing agents.”
Whitaker discusses numerous other areas of confusion and shares many additional facts about the treatments for depression in this interview, so please, if you or anyone you know suffers from depression, do listen to the entire interview, or read through the transcript.
This is vital information that could very well save your life, or the life of someone close to your heart.
Finding an effective treatment for depression is not something to approach lightly, and having the facts about what actually works, and what doesn’t, is imperative.
In addition, below you will find the four cornerstones of healthy living that would be part of any successful treatment plan.
Other Key Factors to Overcoming Depression
Address your stress -- Depression is a very serious condition, however it is not a “disease.” Rather, it’s a sign that your body and your life are out of balance.
This is so important to remember, because as soon as you start to view depression as an “illness,” you think you need to take a drug to fix it. In reality, all you need to do is return balance to your life, and one of the key ways to doing this is addressing stress.
Meditation or yoga can help. Sometimes all you need to do is get outside for a walk. But in addition to that, I also recommend using a system that can help you address emotional issues that you may not even be consciously aware of. For this, my favorite is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). However, if you have depression or serious stress, I believe it would be best to consult with a mental health professional who is also an EFT practitioner to guide you.
Eat a healthy diet -- Another factor that cannot be overlooked is your diet. Foods have an immense impact on your mood and ability to cope and be happy, and eating whole foods as described in my nutrition plan will best support your mental health. Avoiding sugar and grains will help normalize your insulin and leptin levels, which is another powerful tool in addressing depression.
Support optimal brain functioning with essential fats -- I also strongly recommend supplementing your diet with a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fat, like krill oil. This may be the single most important nutrient to battle depression.
Get plenty of sunshine – Making sure you’re getting enough sunlight exposure to have healthy vitamin D levels is also a crucial factor in treating depression or keeping it at bay. One previous study found that people with the lowest levels of vitamin D were 11 times more prone to be depressed than those who had normal levels. Vitamin D deficiency is actually more the norm than the exception, and has previously been implicated in both psychiatric and neurological disorders.
Think They Don’t Electroshock People Anymore? Think Again–Even toddlers and pregnant women are being shocked
By Dr. John Breeding, author of The Wildest Colts Make the Best Horses.
January 24th, 2010
Ask the average person about the use of electroshock treatment in today’s society and 9 out of 10 will respond, “They still shock people?”
They do. It’s estimated that more than 100,000 Americans are electroshocked each year; half are 60 and older, and two-thirds are women. In Australia, it was recently revealed that psychiatrists had electroshocked 55 toddlers age four and younger. In the UK, three year olds have been brutalized with it. And one of the country’s leading mental health “patients’ rights” groups—the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI)—recently endorsed the use of electroshock on pregnant women. One would wonder why a patients’ rights group would endorse such an obviously harmful procedure if not for the fact that the group has recently been exposed as a major front for the psycho/pharmaceutical industry.
The FDA reports pregnant women miscarrying following ECT, while studies show that in addition to the risk of death, the fetus can suffer malnutrition, dehydration and violent injury. Electroshocking children, pregnant women and the unborn is tantamount to torture and should not only be banned but those administering it prosecuted.
Given the factual truths of sending up to 360 volts of electricity searing through the brain – the obvious question is why the “treatment” has not gone by the wayside like its psychiatric sister treatments during the 1940s and 1950s, insulin coma shock and lobotomy.
Electroshock was indeed challenged, and its low point pretty much coincided with the release in 1975 of the Academy Award-winning film version of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of the feisty Randle Patrick McMurphy. The horrible scene of his undergoing “unmodified” shock treatment, i.e., without anesthetic and muscle-paralyzing drugs, along with his reduction to a vegetative state was seared in the public’s mind. This, together with public exposure of the shameful state of psychiatric institutions, certainly gave electroshock treatment a bad name—so much so that the treatment was renamed Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). The bad publicity caused its use in public institutions to fall sharply, and its overall use was also considerably diminished. It would be naïve, however, to think that this curtailment was strictly due to increased public awareness about the brutalities of the procedure. The advent of neuroleptics (nerve-seizing drugs) was perhaps the major factor in this development. The indiscriminate use of these drugs replaced the indiscriminate use of ECT as the primary means of subduing and pacifying inmates who resisted incarceration and wouldn’t cooperate.
In the last two decades, however, electroshock has made a comeback.
Most electroshock is insurance-covered. ECT specialists on average have incomes twice that of other psychiatrists. The cost for inpatient ECT ranges from $50,000 to $75,000 per series (usually 8 to 12 individual sessions). Electroshock is a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry—yet its damaging effects are well known to those who endorse it.
Max Fink, a professor of psychiatry and the “Grandfather of American ECT” believed the “therapeutic” effect from ECT is produced by brain dysfunction and damage. “Effects on memory, common in ECT, come in two flavors,” wrote Fink in Psychiatric Times in 2006. “Delirium is common with each seizure and is well documented by immediate measurable changes in brain chemistry and physiology” and “the second complaint is of a persistent loss of personal memories…They do not recall the names of their children, family holidays, or personal events….Their complaints cast a public shadow on ECT practice.”
The Procedure
Electroshock is a psychiatric procedure that involves the production of a grand mal convulsion, similar to an epileptic seizure, by passing from 70 to upwards of 600 volts of electric current through the brain for one-half second to four seconds. Before application, ECT subjects are typically given anesthetic, tranquilizing and muscle-paralyzing drugs to reduce fear, pain, and the risk (from violent muscle spasms) of fractured bones (particularly of the spine, a common occurrence in the early history of ECT before the introduction, in the mid-1950s, of the muscle-paralyzing drug succinylcholine [Anectine]). The ECT-induced convulsion usually lasts from thirty to sixty seconds and may immediately produce disorienting, painful, and even life-threatening complications, such as apnea (temporary suspension of breathing) and cardiac arrest. The convulsion is followed by a period of unconsciousness of several minutes’ duration. Electroshock is usually administered in hospitals because they are equipped to handle emergency situations that often develop during or soon after an ECT session.
Brain Damage
The brain naturally operates in millivolts of electricity, and ECT administers on average between 150 and 400 volts of electricity to the brain, a force sufficient to induce a grand mal seizure, rupture the protective blood-brain barrier and incite glutamate toxicity (glutamate is a powerful neurotransmitter released by nerve cells in the brain and is responsible for sending signals between nerve cells.
In glutamate toxicity there is too much glutamate that leads to over-excitation of the receiving nerve cell, which can cause cell damage and/or death). It is prima-facie, common sense obvious fact that ECT causes brain damage. After all, the rest of medicine, as well as the building trades, do their best to prevent people from being hurt or killed by electrical shock. People with epilepsy are given anticonvulsant drugs to prevent seizures because they are known to damage the brain. The Electroshock Quotationary, a collection of quotations, excerpts, and essays about the history and nature of electroshock, by shock survivor Leonard Roy Frank, includes the testimony of Peter Sterling, a University of Pennsylvania neuroscience professor, describing the nature of ECT-caused brain damage, dated May 31, 2001, to the New York Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health at a public hearing on ECT.
Sterling affirms the obvious: that massive amounts of electricity directly into the brain cause profound damage.
Lack of Efficacy
Not only does electroshock directly violate the Hippocratic oath to do no harm, the practice has never been proven effective. There are no lasting beneficial effects of electroshock; sham-electroshock (anesthesia but no electroshock) has the same short-term outcomes as electroshock (Ross, 2006). Even leading shock researcher and advocate Harold Sackeim now provides a proof. In an article from 2001, he and his colleagues conclude, “Our study indicates that without active treatment, virtually all remitted patients relapse within 6 months of stopping ECT.” (Italics mine)
The battle against electroshock has been ongoing since its advent. The two recent chronicles by electroshock survivor activist leaders, Leonard Roy Frank (The Electroshock Quotationary) and Linda Andre (Doctors of Deception), tell the story best. Just now, the fight has centered on the FDA review of the “efficacy and safety” of ECT machines.
Many activists, including myself, have submitted testimony urging the FDA NOT to reclassify these devices from Class III (high risk) to Class II (low risk). I have worked with scores of electroshock survivors, and I can tell you the damage is consistent and terrible. I can also tell you as a psychologist that there are methods so much gentler, safer and more effective to help people with depression.
A Repackaged Product
The reason for electroshock’s endurance and resurgence is best described by Linda Andre, shock survivor and leader of the Committee for Truth in Psychiatry, in her masterful new work, Doctors of Deception: What They Don’t Want You to Know About Shock Treatment—it is simply the triumph of public relations over science. A concerted PR campaign has allowed electroshock to continue despite clear scientific evidence of its dismal and tragic record on safety and efficacy.
The industry repackaged the product to keep it selling. They touted a “newer and safer ECT,” bragging about improved equipment and the introduction of anesthesia and muscle paralysants, which actually came on the market in the 1950s. While the muscle paralysants greatly reduced the risk of broken bones from unrestrained convulsions, there was no lessening of permanent damage to the brain caused by the electroshocks. The drugs made the procedure appear much more benign because they suppressed the body’s natural, violent reaction to a grand mal convulsion. However, as Doug Cameron (1994) and other researchers have shown, the new machines, because they are more powerful than ever are capable of releasing greater amounts of electricity into the brain thus causing more damage than the older devices.
With the newer technique modifications there is also an added risk. The drugs used to prevent bone complications raise the seizure threshold so that more electrical current is required to induce the convulsion, which in turn increases brain damage. Moreover, whereas ECT specialists formerly tried to induce seizures with minimal current, they commonly use suprathreshold amounts in the belief that they are more effective. Again, the more current, the more brain damage. Proponents, and the public, have missed the point that the supposed “effectiveness” of ECT is in direct ratio to the amount of brain damage it causes.
In addition to the propaganda effect and the financial incentives, there is a less well-considered reason for ECT’s popularity among psychiatrists. Although electroshock is often described as psychiatry’s “treatment of last resort,” it is actually psychiatry’s “treatment of next resort.” Next resort after psychiatric drugs, which are the main “treatment”—a treatment whose lack of effectiveness and lack of safety are well documented. Like ECT, these drugs can damage and disable the brain. Like ECT, they can cause a fully justified resentment that goes with the experience of having been betrayed by one’s supposed helpers.
Activist and electroshock survivor Leonard Roy Frank’s recent letter to the FDA in regards to their review of ECT devices is one of the best. I end this blog article with his conclusion:
As a destroyer of memories and thoughts, electroshock is a direct, violent assault on these hallmarks of American liberty: freedom of conscience, freedom of belief, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom from assault, and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment. Tens of thousands of people every year in the United States are deceived or coerced into undergoing electroshock. The FDA should do everything in its power to discourage the use of electroshock by:

keeping ECT’s Class III, high-risk rating;
insisting that electroshock psychiatrists, manufacturers of ECT devices, and executives and administrators in hospitals where ECT is administered, substantiate with scientific proof their claims that the procedure is “safe and effective”;
and calling upon the Congress and the Department of Justice to investigate the fraudulent and coercive use of this cruel and inhuman procedure.
Given that ECT causes brain damage, memory loss, and other serious cognitive impairment, electroshock serves to cover up and impede any potential malpractice or personal injury litigation. It generally takes years for a shock survivor to recover enough to figure out what has happened to them, and most states have a statute of limitations (usually one or two years) on medical malpractice and personal injury suits. As a result, electroshock survivors are effectively prevented from pursuing litigation against those who harmed them, making electroshock psychiatrists almost malpractice-proof.
Creating the Perfect Marketing/Lobbying Machine: Mental Health “Advocacy Groups” Funded by Pharma
The majority of the public may or may not be familiar with these so-called mental health advocacy organizations, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) or the myriad of bipolar, depression or ADHD “support groups” that are inundating the internet.
But they need to be.
These are groups operating under the guise of advocates for the “mentally ill,” which in reality are heavily funded pharmaceutical front groups – lobbying and working on state and federal laws which effect the entire nation — from our elderly in nursing homes to our military, pregnant women, nursing mothers and school children. Presenting themselves as patient advocacy groups is highly disingenuous not only to their membership, many of which may have a sincere desire to help a loved one or a family member with mental problems, but to legislators, the press and the American public — for they have consistently lobbied for legislation that benefits the mental health and pharmaceutical industries which fund them, and not patients they claim to represent.
Certainly any organization claiming to be for the rights of patients diagnosed mentally ill would have as their primary goal, full informed consent in the field of mental health – including full and complete disclosure of all drug risks, the right to refuse treatment, the right to know that psychiatric diagnoses are not medical conditions (evident by the fact there is not one confirmatory medical/scientific test). Above all such groups would provide patients with an abundance of information on non-harmful, non- drug, medical solutions and options considering the dangerous and well documented risks of psychiatric drugs by international drug regulatory agencies.
These groups do not.
A patients rights group for the mentally ill would never endorse something as absurd and obviously dangerous as giving electroshock to pregnant women, nor condone schools being able to require children to take a psychiatric drug as a condition of attending school. Furthermore, they would never be opposed to the FDA actually doing its job and finally issuing long overdue warnings that antidepressants can cause children to commit suicide, or issue warnings that ADHD drugs have serious and even deadly side effects. Yet these are just some of the actions condoned and promoted by these so-called patients rights groups.
As another example take the federally proposed bill, The Mothers Act; a previous version of this bill called on using a method of “screening” pregnant women and new mothers called EPDS, a screening method documented to triple the number of women diagnosed with Post partum depression, according to a study published in Obstecrics & Gynecology. The Scandinavian Journal of Public Health stated that EPDS screening was unethical and should not be used. None of the so called advocacy groups for the mentally ill had any objections to this bill whatsoever, or endorsing such an unethical screening tool. They supported it. The bill would have passed with no objections from them whatsoever, if not for the dedication of real advocacy groups with no vested interests (ties to Pharma) opposing language in this bill that would have led to women being falsely diagnosed and put on dangerous psychiatric drugs to “treat” them, unnecessarily placing new mothers and their infants at great risk.
To put it simply, these groups are not what they appear to be. Yet their influence over legislation, lobbying, drug regulation (or lack thereof), and public relations campaigns is substantial and effects the entire nation. For they claim to be the voice of the “mentally ill.” But are they? Or are they the result of a brilliant marketing/lobbying campaign designed to benefit the Psycho/Pharmaceutical industry that funds them.
How It All Started:
In the late 1970s and 1980s, prominent American Psychiatric Association (APA) psychiatrists, directors and researchers with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) were in need of more government funding, and devised a plan to create a “growth of consumer and advocacy organizations” with the intention of getting these groups to help lobby Congress for increased funding for psychiatric research.[i] Several groups emerged first on the scene during that period: The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA), National Depression & Manic Depressive Association (NDMDA, now called Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, DBSA) and National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD).
In an incestuous relationship, many of these groups were formed by the directors or researchers from NIMH-the very organization that needed mental health advocacy groups to make demands on Congress for increased funding. All of them had board or advisory board members with financial ties to Pharma and the majority of them were heavily funded by Pharma. So this was a brilliant marketing/lobbying strategy – Set up patients rights groups to lobby for the funding needed for psychiatry and big Pharma while claiming to be “advocates” for the mentally ill.
Perhaps this explains why these groups which claims to be patients’ “rights” groups would so vehemently oppose such vital mental health reforms as:
Black box warnings to highlight how antidepressants can cause suicide in children and young adults.
ADHD drug warnings that the psychostimulants being given to millions of children should carry warnings that the drugs could cause heart attacks and strokes.
A federal law prohibiting school personnel from forcing parents to give their children mind-altering psychiatric drugs as a requirement for their inherent right to education.
Better informed consent rights.
Rather, these groups—while raking in millions of Pharma dollars each year—frenetically lobby Congress and state governments to channel billions more taxpayers dollars into mental health programs that benefit the industry that funds them — not the patients they claim to represent. Among the issues these groups have supported include forced drugging of patients, endorsement and promotion of psychiatric drugs documented to be dangerous and lethal, mental health screening of all school children, drugging and electroshock treatment for pregnant women. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. These groups have also done all they can to suppress and/or minimize any workable alternative non-drug method (e.g. Soteria House a proven and workable non-drug treatment for those diagnosed “schizophrenic”/psychotic) that threaten their multi-billion dollar psycho-pharmaceutical empire.
It is for this reason, and the disingenuous nature of many of these groups, that we are exposing their conflicts of interests because a patients’ rights group should be dedicated to patients—not the vested interests of the psycho/pharmaceutical industry. Big Pharma admits it gets more bang for its buck from funding these front groups than it does from spending on direct-to-consumer marketing (DTC).
Josh Weinstein, “a veteran pharma marketer” writing for the trade magazine Pharmaceutical Executive, in an article titled, “Public Relations: Why Advocacy Beats DTC,” said: “I have witnessed that the most direct and efficient tool for driving long-term support for [drug] brands has been, and continues to be, a well-designed, advocacy-based public education program….”[ii]
“Unlike DTC, advocacy-based promotion brings with it a cadre of allies…This factor grows in importance as the pharma industry becomes more of a political target,” Weinstein says. In such a situation, advocacy groups “can be counted on to speak out for [the company]” and “the media will view them as more objective sources than industry spokespeople.”[iii]
The pharmaceutical industry magazine Pharmaceutical Executive published a report by PR expert Teri Cox called “Forging Alliances, Advocacy Partners.” According to Cox, partnering with advocacy groups helps drug companies to “diffuse industry critics by delivering positive messages about the healthcare contributions of pharma companies to legislators, the media, and other key stakeholders.” And they help influence the decisions of policy-makers and regulators.[iv]
Jeffrey Winton, vice-president of global public relations for Pharmacia is even clearer about the role of these groups. “Gone are the days when companies just handed out big checks to groups with no discussion afterward,” says Winton. “Now, we seek opportunities with groups that not only help them achieve their goals and objectives, but also help us move our business along.” [v] [Emphasis added]
According to Dr. Peter Breggin, psychiatrist and founder of The International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology (ICSPP), the psychiatric-pharmaceutical company “advocacy” groups hold national meetings that bring together drug advocates to talk directly to consumers. They also put out newsletters and other information that praise medications. Sometimes they actively suppress viewpoints that are critical of drugs—for example, by discouraging the media from airing opposing viewpoints.”[vi]
The psychiatric-pharma cartel is able to conceal its covert advertising and uses these groups to bolster its poor reputation.
Sharon Batt of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, studied the behavior and funding of advocacy groups after years working herself in advocacy, where she noticed a general pattern. Organizations that accept pharmaceutical funding, she says, “tend to advocate for faster review and availability of drugs, greater insurance coverage, and they tend to see ‘direct-to-consumer’ advertising as a benefit to patients.” On the other hand, groups that maintain financial independence, she says, “emphasize safety over speed and are critical of direct-to-consumer advertising.”[vii]
Weinstein adds: “working with advocacy groups is one of the most accomplished means of raising disease awareness and enhancing the industry’s image as deliverer of new and tangible value to patients.”[viii]
Government agencies such as NIMH, NIDA, FDA and NIH should not have its officers or employee researchers sitting on the Boards or as advisers to any of these groups. All of these groups can and must disclose their pharmaceutical funding (of their own accord, not due to the fact that they are under Senate investigation as many of them currently are) they should also require complete disclosure of any vested interests of their board members and advisory committees. When you read each of their histories as we have provided, you will understand why.
And while several of these groups are now under Senate investigation for huge amounts of their previously undisclosed pharmaceutical funding, we want to provide the general public with more information about these psycho/pharma front groups, including some of the key players are who formed them, advise them or sit on their boards, and then links to each group listed at the top of this page and on the side bar. Note that this is only a partial list and it will be updated with many similar pharma funded groups shortly.
We would also like to point out that there are groups that are not funded by pharmaceutical companies, that truly do have the best interests of the consumer/patient and parent as their goal.
*******Despite the evidence of grievous harm and failure to help, electroshock’s proponents rave on; as an example, an electroshock psychiatrist told Washington Post reporter Sandra Boodman in 1996, that, “ECT is one of God’s gifts to mankind. There is nothing like it, nothing equal to it in efficacy or safety in all of psychiatry.”
Michael Jackson Superstar Drug Abusethere are millions addicted to prescription medication
United States, August 13, 2009
When a superstar as large as Michael Jackson dies, the world takes notice. The world knows the doctor who apparently was giving him prescription medication and the pharmacy where Michael's prescriptions were filled.
Hopefully as the doctor's home is searched and the pharmacy is raided, the public interest will be piqued as to how this could occur. With that question should come the realization that all is not well in our society – and in fact there are millions addicted to prescription medication – not just Michael Jackson. It has now been weeks since the death of Michael Jackson and the world is still waiting on official word on the cause of his death. However the tangled web of doctors and prescriptions he left in his wake is an all too familiar situation for many in the drug treatment field. It is unfortunate that it took the death of a giant to start a conversation in society that should have started years ago. Something is wrong.
Mary Rieser director of Narconon of Georgia a drug rehab in Atlanta says, “The sheer number of prescriptions and the numerous doctor’s Michael has been associated over the years would definitely fit the pattern of most of the prescription drug addicts I see on a daily basis.”
Prescription drug addiction is the illegal use of drug normally prescribed by a doctor. In some situation the drugs are obtained by “doctor shopping”, where a person goes from doctor to doctor trying to get as many prescriptions as possible.
In the case of Michael Jackson, a person with limitless resources and millions of adoring fans, it was even easier for him to obtain these prescriptions. Those close to Michael paint a picture which shows that Michael depended on others to feed his habit.
In an article in the Huffington Press, Chopra in part blames Jackson’s dependence on these drugs on medical colleagues who failed to realize Jackson’s growing addiction could lead to his death.
Prescription drug addiction is on the rise across the United States. Emergency rooms are seeing a rise in accidental overdoses stemming from prescription drugs abuse.
Intense marketing and a resultant 150% rise in the numbers of prescriptions written has resulted in a growing number of people addicted to prescription drugs.
More than 15 million Americans abuse controlled substances—double the amount from a decade ago, according to a report issued by CASA. This represents a clear problem for America because there is virtually no increase in drug treatment available.
Narconon of Georgia provides drug treatment and education for the entire southeast region. Narconon Drug Rehab of Georgia is a non-traditional drug abuse treatment program.