Diseased Babies Misguided Parents

Some institutions and staff have a great deal of trouble dealing with ‘the terrible twosomes’. Before anybody starts establishing a drug regimen for his or her toddler, maybe he or she should read the article Ritalin? But my son’s only two out of Great Britain. This article details the cases of two, maybe three, children who were saved from just such a fate.

An outsider would be forgiven for thinking, “Well, obviously there is something seriously wrong with this child. Why else would the doctor suggest drastic action?” And that’s also what I thought — for about five minutes. And then I thought: don’t be ridiculous. He’s your son, you know him. And he’s 2 years old.

As one psychologist put it, when speaking about a child whose school was trying to label him mildly autistic, some children need more parenting than others. Interestingly enough, the child’s behavior was transformed by a change in routine.

The Psychiatrist’s New Clothes

DEMYSTIFYING PSYCHIATRY: A RESOURCE FOR PATIENTS AND FAMILIES

Two psychiatrists, Drs. Charles F. Zorumski and Eugene Rubin, have a book out now called Demystifying Psychiatry. I think the title is very much a misnomer. More appropriate titles would be Re-mystifying Psychiatry, or The Mystique of Psychiatry, or something more along those lines. The Selling or The Reselling of Psychiatry as potential titles also come to mind.

Psychiatry for some time has been at pains to legitimatize itself as a medical science. This volume represents perhaps the latest effort on behalf of the psychiatric profession to hold its own ground next to real schools of medicine, and the exact sciences. On the surface it has a scientific look and feel to it, but just delve a little deeper, mirrors glint, and the smoke begins to dissolve.

The jargon is appropriately thick for the task these two have set out for themselves. You don’t, for starters, demystify people with a jargon as dense as that used in this book. Don’t be fooled, folks. This is a mystique; there is nothing matter of fact, or bare bones about it. Should you probe far enough, you will understand that much of this research detailed in this volume is based upon presumption.

What we do get is mainstream psychiatry’s evolving vision of itself, its impact, and its future, or to put it more bluntly, its illusions. What’s missing is the input from members of that profession who have a critical perspective on the profession. Psychiatry’s view of itself, as you’d imagine, is fraught with blind spots, and that’s why it’s always a good idea to get the input of more independent minded observers.

Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t read the book, nor have I any intention of doing so. If I have made any mistakes in my appraisal of the volume, please, by all means correct me. I would be delighted to find something in the book that was dead on target. I would love to find something in it that clicked with me. I don’t think such is likely to be the case, and so I’m not going to waste any more of my time with it. I certainly don’t need to read something I can see through.

Drugs Used For Treating Schizophrenia Kill The Elderly

Neuroleptic drugs have been known to cause strokes and deaths in the elderly being treated for dementia with these drugs. A new report claims these drugs could be responsible for as many as 1,800 deaths and 1,620 strokes in the United Kingdom every year.

According to an informational article, Antipsychotics Like Seroquel for Dementia Blamed for Deaths and Strokes, in AboutLawsuits.com:

The report, which was commissioned by the British government, found that the use of antipsychotics for dementia has been largely ineffective, resulting in improvement in only 20% of patients. As a result of the findings, the U.K. Department of Health has initiated plans to reduce the use of atypical antipsychotic drugs like Zyprexa, Risperdal, Abilify and Serquel for dementia in its own health system, and hopes that the reduction will be picked up by other nations as well.

Of 180,000 elderly people being treated for dementia with neuroleptic, or the so called antipsychotic, drugs, according to the report only 36,000 were found to have gained any benefit.

This is a statistic I would imagine needs further investigation as we know what the dangers of taking these drugs are, and the meaning of benefit is always open to some measure of interpretation. For example, is it really the patient who benefits from the taking of these pills, or is it a quick fix for the nursing staff who have to deal with patients who are obviously demented?

In the United States, many of the antipsychotics prescribed to treat dementia, such as Seroquel, are not approved for that use by the FDA. This means that drug manufacturers are not supposed to market the drugs for dementia treatment, but doctors are not restricted from prescribing them. However, ongoing litigation against AstraZeneca over Seroquel produced internal documents that suggested that the company was promoting the antipsychotic drug for off-label uses, including dementia, illegally.

A Chicago Tribune investigation has found evidence of similar over prescription problems taking place in nursing homes in the United States.

The Chicago Tribune deserves accolades for pursuing this matter. Let’s hope that other watch dog organizations, investigative services, law firms, and newspapers will be able to follow suit.

For people with relatives in nursing homes, you need to look into this matter, and make sure that your loved ones are not being ‘maintained’ on these drugs as they have a great deal of potential for lessening the quality of life, and even for cutting short the lifespan of such individuals.

Psychosis Increases Risk Of Dying From Heart Disease

Previously I’d written on a study of veterans with mental illnesses dying of heart attacks. Apparently the situation is a little more ‘complicated’ than I’d first indicated. Here’s what an article on the same study, Heart Disease A Killer in Psychotic Individuals, says:

Just 11 percent had never been diagnosed with a mental disorder, while 15.5 percent had schizophrenia, 10 percent had bipolar disorder, 5 percent had psychotic symptoms but hadn’t been diagnosed with schizophrenia, 24 percent had major depression, and 34.5 percent had other types of depression.

Within 8 years, 8 percent of the study participants had died of heart disease. Individuals with psychosis were nearly twice as likely to die of heart disease during follow-up compared to those who’d never been diagnosed with a mental disorder.

People with schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder also were at increased risk of dying from heart disease, but for individuals with depression or bipolar illness, behavioral factors such as smoking and lack of physical activity accounted for all of the excess risk.

Even with these behavioral factors taken into account people with schizophrenia were 17% more likely to die of a heart attack while people with other psychotic disorders were 30% more likely to die of heart disease.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Amy M. Kilbourne, blames the problem on the instability, disorientation, and shame associated with psychosis. She claims that psychosis, for some people, makes the health system difficult to maneuver.

Mental patients often tend to be poor people who are not given the best care that money can buy in the first place. Managing an incredibly bureaucratic health system quagmire is not one of the things they are particularly adept at doing.

While I say that, these patients were military service veteran’s and in the care of the Veteran Administration, and so their care was probably at a higher level than it would have been for others in the mental health system.

Is the head muscle really connected to the heart muscle? I seriously doubt that, by itself, psychosis is linked with heart problems.

I’d have to say that in a sense this approach begs the issue. We’ve managed to protect the drug companies, and cover up the fact that the chemical compounds they manufacture and market produce metabolic changes in the people who take them that result in health complications that include cardiac conditions.

Such factors need to be factored into any study being made of the matter, not out!

Next question: Do all researchers in matters psychiatric wear such blinders into the laboratory as the authors of this study seem to have done?

Related post: Mental health consumers more likely to die of heart disease

Newly Discovered Mental Disorder Strikes Doctors

There is an unseen epidemic rampant in the psychiatric profession of doctors suffering from ODPD, or Over Diagnosis Prescription Disorder. Unfortunately there is as of yet no mechanism set in place to catch and treat these poor demented devils. I have even heard it suggested that some of these afflicted doctors should be given a taste of their own medicine, but I’m not of that school of thought. I don’t think using medical pretenses to harm a patient is ever justified.

Nowhere is this evidence of ODPD more apparent than in the field of pediatric psychiatry. Apparently it’s more acceptable to stigmatize and drug to a stupor juveniles and children than it is to do so to fully developed and less impressionable adults. Once there were scarcely any children with ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, and Schizophrenia, but now such cases are cropping up everywhere. What the public is unaware of is that much of this increase in childhood mental illness is in direct proportion to the rise in doctors suffering from ODPD.

A recent article in Medscape Today illustrates how this condition can easily get out of hand. Titled Bipolar Disorder and ADHD in Children: Confusion and Comorbidity, in this piece one can sense the collusion between bad parents and affected professionals. Often the drugs used to treat an alleged mental disease have a great deal to do with increasing what are seen as the symptoms of that disease.

Mrs. K begins to cry. “I don’t know what to do anymore. We’ve had him on the medicine for almost 3 months, and he seems to be getting worse.” Mrs. K tells the nurse that her son’s ADHD “comes and goes.” Troy will be playing relatively quietly one moment, and then, out of the blue, he will start running around, breaking things, and hitting his brother. “If he doesn’t get his own way, he goes ballistic. The school calls me every day. He’s always talking in class, or acting like a clown to get a laugh out of the other kids. Or he’s throwing things on the floor or turning over his chair. We put him in private school, but that’s not working either. They said they would give him a few more weeks.”

Rather than attributing any of this child’s behavioral problems to environmental and social conditions, and correcting the source of his discomfiture, the easiest course of action to take is to assign another disease to the kid, and that is exactly the course of action that is taken.

The nurse could simply nod sympathetically, take care of Troy’s arm, and turn her attention to the next patient. But she remembers reading something recently about the overlap between ADHD and bipolar disorder in children, and she wonders if, because of his young age, Troy was diagnosed properly. She says, “It’s just possible that there could be something else going on, besides the ADHD. If so, he might need a different type of medication, something that might really help him. Would you consider taking Troy to be evaluated by a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist we work with?”

Whether they work in hospitals, clinics, or schools, nurses in all healthcare settings regularly encounter patients, including children, with diagnosed and undiagnosed mental health disorders. As many as 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 5 children may suffer from a mental health condition, and a substantial proportion of these individuals meet the criteria for multiple mental health problems. The lines between these disorders are often blurry, particularly in children. Children with anxiety disorders may also have mood disorders, and children with conduct disorders may also suffer from depression. Substance abuse and learning disorders frequently coexist with other mental health diagnoses.

Coexisting mental illnesses? How convenient for doctors and drug companies. We don’t have to worry about having misdiagnosed a patient, and having to leaf through our Diagnostic Statistical Manual IV for the correct disorder, if we can just attach another disorder to our initial diagnosis. You don’t have to change drugs then either, you just add another brew to the kid’s drug cocktail. We can ignore the fact that the drug cocktail is one of the worse courses of action to take, prognosis-wise with any patient, when it is a merely a matter of standard practice. That doing so may be symptomatic of ODPD we can ignore, too, so long as it hasn’t made its way into the DSM yet.

I submit that the problem is way too large for us to ignore. There are so many doctors out there who need the help that they are not receiving that the situation has grown quite drastic. Given that the patient to doctor ratio is always much higher, and this is especially true with doctors suffering from ODPD, this means that many patients are being harmed and abused by doctors suffering from this affliction. Doctors with ODPD are actually too sick to practice medicine efffectively, although a type of anosognosia that goes along with this disease may prevent them from being cognizant of the fact. This being the case, it is up to the public to get these diseased doctors out of the profession, and to make sure that they can inflict no more damage on anybody else.

Mental health consumers more likely to die of heart disease

A new study has looked at the high incidence of heart disease among people in mental health treatment.

As reports Medical News Today in an article entitled Heart Disease A ‘Silent Killer’ In Patients With Severe Mental Illness.

A large new study confirms that people with severe mental disorders – such as schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders – are 25 percent to 40 percent more prone to die from heart disease than people without mental illness are.

Moreover, smoking and physical inactivity – behaviors that individuals potentially can change – significantly contribute to this increased risk of death, found researchers led by Amy Kilbourne, Ph.D.

They looked at results from the 1999 Large Health Survey of Veteran Enrollees in conjunction with the VA’s National Psychosis Registry and the National Death Index of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Including responses from more than 147,000 veterans, the study is the largest of its kind to ever take place. Most of the respondents were men and about two-thirds were 50 or older.

The results of this study are reported in the November-December issue of the journal General Hospital Psychiatry.

Apparently a diagnosis of severe mental illness increases the risk of cardiac arrest even when such factors as obesity, diabetes, and lifestyle are accounted for.

The results of this study suggest people with serious mental illnesses are far less likely to receive medical screening and general preventive care. When the quality of care is brought up to the level that it is with other segments of the population part of the problem has been resolved.

The other part of the problem that this article barely touches upon deals with many of the drugs that are being used to manage mental disorders. We know that some of the atypical neuroleptic drugs used cause metabolic changes that invariably shorten lifespans. We need to be bluntly honest and realistic about these drugs, and we need to look for other, less deadly, methods of treatment if we are to prevent even more casualties of psychiatric intervention.

Florida Task Force Recommendations On Foster Child Drugging

The panel on foster children drugging is back with its recommendations. According to an article in a Jacksonville newspaper:

A task force investigating the apparent suicide of a 7-year-old foster child approved a list of nearly 100 recommendations concerning the use of psychiatric medications by foster children Thursday as the examination of the hanging death of Gabriel Myers continues.

I’m a little leery about all this feigned excitement, and I’m thinking de ja vu.

The panel called for several measures to toughen accountability in the dispensing of psychotropic drugs and making sure the medications aren’t the only part of a child’s therapy.

Members of the working group also called for the Legislature to devote more resources, including the creation of a chief medical officer for the Department of Children & Families, to keep an eye on treatment for foster children.

My feeling is that if you want to really get somewhere on this sort of thing you are going to need to punish law breakers. I haven’t gotten the idea that they intend to penalize anybody yet.

Here’s where it gets sticky:

[Jim] Sewell [task force head] said the panel’s recommendations, which are being put into final form after an hours-long meeting Thursday to hammer out the details, focus less on whether the psychiatric medications are over-prescribed than whether they are “properly prescribed.”

“We don’t say the drugs are completely bad,” Sewell said. “Medications are useful … when they’re part of dealing with the child’s overall issues.”

But Sewell said part of the solution is making sure the department employees follow existing laws and rules.

Suddenly the focus is on something besides what the furor was all about in the first place. Foster children were being prescribed drugs at a greater rate than children in general. The suggestion here seems to be that that’s okay as long as procedural matters are taken care of.

It isn’t.

If the solution is to make sure department employees follow existing laws and rules, the way to get them to do so is by arresting them if they break the law, and firing them if they can’t follow rules.

I get the idea we’re just waiting for the next dead child to turn up and send these folks back to Tallahassee.

Support Mental Health Recovery

I came across this article with the heading Support for Mental Illness. It was on the efforts of a branch of NAMI somewhere in Arkansas to achieve its objectives. This illustrates the difference between their point of view and that of certain others, including myself. I can’t support mental illness. I think it makes a lot more sense to support mental health. A person supports mental health by supporting mental health recovery.

As I have stated previously, I don’t advocate consuming mental health services. No. I advocate ceasing to consume mental health services. Mental patient is neither a necessary nor a good career path to pursue. When mental patient is pursued as a career path, other careers opportunities have a tendency to vanish into the thin air.

Now the mental health system in some places is hiring patients on as Peer Support Specialists. I don’t disapprove. I just think there should be other options open to people. There should be careers available to people who have had their lives disrupted by the psychiatric system besides that of worker within that same system. By way of analogy, why should the only decent employment available to an ex-con be that of ‘screw’?

The idea of chronicity is in large measure much of the problem. Chronicity, long term treatment, comes with a mental health system that is not working. Symptomatic of this dysfunctional mental health system is the fact that many people are not recovering, and the reason they are not recovering is because mental disorder is seen almost entirely in terms of disease.

You have to look at institutionalization to get a gist of why this is so. The institutions represent academies for learning helplessness, and symptomatic behaviors. Also one needs to look at the primary form of treatment, psychiatric drugs. In the short term, patients on these drugs may show some improvement; in the long term, drug treatment is always detrimental.

Spending money on maintaining people in psychiatric treatment is not the same as spending money on psychiatric treatments that actually work. When you look at those people who do recover, and you ask why they recover, you are beginning to get somewhere. The idea is to be somewhat discretionary when it comes to treatment practices because they are not all equal.

Rewarding Bad Behavior: Charles Nemeroff At The University Of Miami

Since when does losing the chair of a department at one University qualify you to chair the same department at another University? You have to wonder about a University that will hire a psychiatrist who has obvious conflicts of interest when it comes to the pharmaceutical industry, especially when those conflicts of interest got him dismissed by another University for that very reason. Next question: is this University subsidized by the pharmaceutical industry in other ways than through this one professor?

Emory University let go of corrupt psychiatrist Charles Nemeroff who was being investigated by the US senate for having lied about his drug company funding only to have him taken on by the University of Miami. The University of Miami, kowtowing to pressure from the good ole’ boy system of prominent psychiatrists, will ignore the instances of wrong doing that lost Charles Nemeroff the chair of the psychiatric department at the Emory University School of Medicine. Something is obviously amiss here.

There must have been many more deserving and dedicated young psychiatrists out there that were passed over by the University of Miami when it made the decision to hire the tainted and disgraced Nemeroff. Instead of taking on a fresh sincere new face and perspective as department chair, we get this kind of underhanded musical chairs going in our schools of high education. This circumstance reflects very badly upon the University of Miami. We are sending a very mixed message to our young people when we are saying that it is okay to do at one school what it is wrong to do at another.

Given the well known dangerous effects of some of the pharmaceutical products being dished out these days, some of these psychiatrists are literally getting away with murder. Were we to punish anyone in the psychiatric profession, this professional malpractice would be less likely to occur. Imagine Bernie Madoff being taken on by another company, after swindling so many people, rather than being sent to prison. The University of Miami certainly has better things to do with its time and its money than hiring people on the basis of their unethical behavior.

I have another message to relay. The message that I have to relay is that it is not alright to harm people in the mental health system in this country. This is not a message that the University of Miami is receptive to at this time. I will continue to voice this message until it is heard throughout this nation, even so far south as Miami. When psychiatrists care more about drug company profits than they do about the patients in their care, I want people to register this fact, and I want people voice their dismay as well. We should not, as a nation, have to put up with this sort of thing.

Take a long vacation, and call me when you return

Yikes! A sense of helplessness can feed itself, can’t it?

Here’s an article I’ve recently had an collision with entitled Getting Medical Help for the Mind as Well as the Body. This is the kind of thing I have to respond to by asking why would the mind need medical help.

Stressed? Depressed? Or worse?

You wouldn’t be alone. Unstable economic times can lead to unstable states of mind.

“As life become more unpredictable, levels of toxic stress increase,” says David L. Shern, the president of Mental Health America, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Alexandria, Va.

Toxic stress no less!

But when you’re worrying about money, it’s hard to spend money on getting help — as in $200-an-hour therapy sessions.

Were you ever wondering why some of us turn a cold shoulder to the whole racket (& racket it is!) of mental health treatment?

I will give you a few more clues.

In the past she would have gotten a recommendation from a friend or doctor and paid the going rate. “I used to think network therapists were not as good,” she said. “But I was wrong.” She’s delighted with her choice and the cost: just $30 a session, no matter how many family members attend.

Oh, alright. Just remember, $30 a session isn’t exactly total liberation.

BE PUSHY During times of high anxiety you need all the support you can get. Don’t be shy about using your mental health benefits, and don’t be shy about challenging your insurer if you are not getting the help you need. The new law provides people with mental health issues greater access to care — take advantage of it.

Yeah, there’s that trap, or you could just pour yourself a drink or two. Only do it just to unwind because we are not self-medicating here.

There’s a lot that’s wrong with the new law. For one thing, if the mental illness ends when the insurance runs out, the insurance doesn’t run out here, and thus you have a permanent emotional cripple subsidized by Joe Tax Payer.

One thing about vacations, they are stress busters for sure.

Vacations can cost money, sure, but not vacations from treatment, they don’t cost a penny.

Vacation around the house even. It could be loads of fun.

Try it sometime. It just might work.

You will have to excuse me as I have an imaginary symphony to attend. It is called The Desertion of The Worry Warts.