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Gabriel Myers Bill Shot Down

Florida Law Maker Endorses the Over Drugging of Foster Children

Florida legislators had a chance to strengthen the law after the law was not being enforced. Our legislators have fallen short of their duty to fix a broken system. The result of this negligence will certainly be additional dead babies.

The Miami Herald covered the story with an article, Effort to protect children from overmedication fails.

The measure flew through the Senate with unanimous votes in every committee. But in the House, Rep. Paige Kreegel, a physician, refused to even hear the bill in his Health Care Services Policy Committee.

“I don’t feel right now that we are in definite need of any additional regulation in the state,” said Kreegel, a Punta Gorda Republican. “There’s all kinds of regulation.”

Tell it to the next child you find hanging in a bathroom shower because those regulations were being ignored.

Kreegel said he didn’t know the particular facts behind the case of Gabriel Myers — who authorities say hanged himself with a shower cord in the bathroom of his Margate foster home. But he said [Sen. Ronda] Storms’ legislation would effectively have stopped psychiatrists from prescribing medicine to needy children.

This dumb ass doctor politician doesn’t even have his facts down, and he would stonewall the bill on the grounds that he doesn’t acknowledge the harmfulness of harmful drugs. I hope his constituency has the good sense to throw him out of office for encouraging more children in foster care to be damaged by psychiatry.

Kreegel called some of Storms’ statements about out-of-control doctors “baloney.” Storms was outraged that Kreegel was able to kill the bill — which was one of DCF’s highest legislative priorities.

Even the Department of Children and Families wants to protect children, but not apparently this lame brain.

This refusal to do anything about the lack of enforcement of those regulations this dumb ass doctor says there are enough of is going to mean more foster children harmed by psychiatric drugs, and ultimately it is going to lead to more dead babies.

If the Florida General Assembly refuses to tackle the matter in their next legislative session, this will probably mean waiting until another dead baby shows up before any action is taken.

Psychiatrist Disorders

Although I’ve dealt with Over Diagnosing Over Prescribing Disorder, or ODOPD, at other places in this blog, it is hardly the only disease that psychiatrists are prone to develop. I’m listing some of the diseases known to strike psychiatrists below.

Over Diagnosing Over Prescribing Disorder
Pre-Psychiatric Practice Risk Syndrome
Fraudulent Practices Denial Syndrome
Damaging Practices Denial Syndrome
Pathologizing Childhood Disorder
Pathologizing Behavior Disorder
Pathologizing Mood Disorder
Compulsive Shock Machine Sadism Disorder
Good Old Boy/Girl Cronyism Disorder
Prophetic Negative Prognosis Disorder
Supreme Deity Personality Type
Consumer Ventriloquism Disorder
Obsessive Disease Invention Disorder

Seeing Through The Facade

I was reacting, perhaps overreacting, to a paragraph from Tufts University associate professor Daniel Carlat’s New York Times article, Mind Over Meds, in my blog post yesterday.

Leon Eisenberg, an early pioneer in psychopharmacology at Harvard, once made the notable historical observation that “in the first half of the 20th century, American psychiatry was virtually ‘brainless.’ . . . In the second half of the 20th century, psychiatry became virtually ‘mindless.’ ” The brainless period was a reference to psychiatry’s early infatuation with psychoanalysis; the mindless period, to our current love affair with pills. J.J., I saw, had inadvertently highlighted a glaring deficiency in much of modern psychiatry. Ultimately, his question would change the way I thought about my field, and how I practiced.

Daniel Carlat gives a little bit of slack to the psychoanalytic approach to treatment, a very little bit of slack. This is to say that he can see the virtue of letting up on the drugging in some cases involving people with relatively minor psychiatric labels, it would seem, more than he might have done at an earlier time, but he’s pretty drug, drug, drug as a rule.

Well, before you can drug, drug, drug, you need a body to drug, and that leads to our next exploration, the pathologizing of irritating behaviors, as in the modified proverb, ‘children should be psychiatrically labeled, not heard’.

Here’s a snippet on a satire used as an introduction to another article, The trend toward pathologizing our children.

Many years ago, a satirical article titled “The Etiology and Treatment of Childhood” described the clinical symptoms of “childhood syndrome” as including a congenital onset, dwarfism, knowledge deficits and legume anorexia. The author noted that fewer than 20 percent of “children” had more than a fourth-grade education and that the condition was biologically based since it was usually present at birth. Many of the characteristic symptoms appeared to resolve with age. If nothing else, this “study” demonstrates how persuasive social science can appear, especially when it is augmented by statistics.

This is probably much truer now than it was then. Interesting, is it not, how non-fiction more and more comes to resemble fiction? The mental illness industry, through advertising, has its consumer base to create, expand, and manipulate.

1 in 4 people may pass through the psychiatrists’ revolving door every year, as the national mental sickness organizations like to claim, but most don’t make a habit of doing so year after year after year. It’s those that make a habit of doing so you’ve got to wonder about. They have managed to become a statistic of another sort.

Dictionaries Are Good For Something Besides Step Ladders

Generalized anxiety disorder, obedient defiant disorder, social anxiety disorder, I got news for some of you. Its not brain disease. Fidgety, rebellious and shy, plain English says so much.

ADHD only became a problem (disorder, disease, whatever) after academic accomplishment became so important to success. There wasn’t any ADHD when the population was by and large illiterate. Now that a college education means the difference between a 6 digit salary and working at McDonalds, ADHD is cropping up everywhere. Good students are not born, they’re made, but some not so good students need a helping hand if they’re to become good students.

Your juvenile grows up, coupled with not so good workers getting reported, and the result is adult ADHD. Our cowardly new world demands it. All sorts of people are out of work. Some of them are sleeping in parks and in the woods. Many people are pretty thin skinned.

Now if it’s only a hop, leap, and a skip from fidgety to ADHD. I imagine it’s also not so far from ADHD to stark raving mad. Has our bad student then developed a brain disease? No, definitely not. Our bad student has not developed some sort of brain disease until we can find something physically off about his or her brain.

This isn’t the only possibility that exists for that person. That person could get out of treatment alltogether, and join the working world of everyday Joes. Of course, it helps if that track is easier to take than the track that leads to being a perpetual burden on society, but be that as it may, you get my drift.

The distinction between “mind” and “brain” is the distinction between the subject matter covered by psychiatry and the subject matter covered by neurology, even if both professions seem to have lost track of this fact.

The Mad Folk Gloves Go On

Oh, no. Here we go again.

I just ran across an article about, get this, stigma on campus. Its called Mental Illness Causes Stigma On Campus.

The public today consistently views people with a mental illness cast in a negative light in media, music, conversation and more. A college campus offers exciting opportunities but can also present a harmful environment if others on campus unknowingly strengthen the stigma and indirectly segregate those with mental illness from societal norms. Supporting those with a mental illness and eliminating negative outlooks takes little effort and could dramatically improve the lives of others.

I’m confused. I thought you said mental illness caused stigma, here you seem to be suggesting that the media, entertainment industry, etc., causes stigma.

The disinformation machine must go on spinning out disinformation 24/7. This is The Disinformation Age after all, isn’t it?

An associate professor responded to the suggestion that society shuns and rejects those who think in ways “outside of the mainstream.”

Really? We used to call such people rugged individualists, non-conformists, free thinkers, libertines, and philosophers. I guess the term most used frequently to describe them these days is ‘mentally ill”.

“I think that’s quite a prevalent attitude even today,” associate professor Peter Wollheim said. “I’ve heard colleagues of mine, people with Ph.D.’s and really educated, make laughing references to Schizophrenia, to depression, to anxiety and to other types of mental illnesses.”

Uh, some people have a sense of humor then. Laughing at clowns can get old fast. Why not laugh at more natural buffoons, and believe me, some people in mental health treatment are naturals in the buffoon department. Ditto, some people with Ph. Ds.

“I think just as people go in for a medical check-up on a regular basis I think it would be good for them to go in for a mental health check-up on a regular basis,” Wollheim said.

I don’t think so. Going in for a regular mental health check-up is a good way to wind up in the looney bin treatment labryinth. These doctors are looking for ways to earn their keep, and you’ve just walked into their trap, er, into their office. Read the newspaper sometime. Didn’t you hear? Big pharma is pulling the strings of psychiatrists.

I can just hear the noggin doctor speak now, “Here, take a couple of these at 10 in the morning and at 3 in the afternoon for the rest of your life. Okay?”

My impression is that we’re dealing with one of those ‘us and them dichotomies’ here. We didn’t do it, they did it. They’re the problem. Funny thing though, and ignore it if you can, we’re also them.

Defining an era. Uh, or was it error?

The poet W.H. Auden characterized his age, given frequent visits with the psychoanalyst, as the Age of Anxiety. Now an assistant psychology professor at the University of Kentucky, in a Psychology Today blog, queries whether or not we have entered the Age of Mental Illness.

If, as C. Nathan DeWall suggests, we have gone from anxiety to mental illness, I wouldn’t imagine you could call that an improvement.

The blog post is Are We Living in the Age of Mental Illness? And in it he makes the following observation.

It’s not entirely new to talk about the decline of mental health. About 20 years ago, researchers showed that symptoms of major depressive disorder were on the rise. Whereas around 1 or 2 out of every hundred people born in the early 1900s suffered from depression, that number jumped 1500% for people born after 1950. That’s shocking!

Hmm. What could be making people “sick”?

I’ve made the same point about the serious mental illness label, of which major depression is but one ‘brand’. I can also find a few reasons for this sharp incline. ADHD, for instance, a virtually non-existent condition years ago has gained momentum as a diagnosis, and out of such diagnoses come other diagnoses. Label what once was typical childhood behavior ‘sick’, develop a drug to treat this behavior, and you’ve made your windfall.

Abuse of the stimulants used to manage the symptoms (childhood behavior) of ADHD can lead to psychosis, and yet another diagnosis. This ADHD diagnosis was further modified when certain mental health professionals decided not that long ago that some of these ADHD kids were not actually ADHD kids at all, but were in fact early onset bipolar disorder kids. The result of this change of label was that the rate of bipolar disorder diagnosis climbed 40 fold. This development in turn has led to an altogether new label being proposed for the revised DSM 5 set to be published in 2013, temper dysregulation disorder with dysporia, or TDD. It seems you can’t correct a mistake without further compounding it.

Mr. DeWall and his colleagues did a meta-analysis of college and high school students’ results from taking the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) test. MMPI results were compared from the years 1938 to 2007, and involving 76,000 participants. He credits the MMPI with “having laser accuracy in detecting mental illness”.

I would question whether there can be any accurate litmus test for whether a person is looney tunes or not, but then that’s me.

We were shocked at the results. 85% of current college students have worse mental health than college students in the 1930-1940s. The results were similar with high school students, suggesting that the changes weren’t due to shifts in college enrollment. You can’t duck the problem by not being in college.

I can’t be at all surprised by this result. It begins with a suicide or 2 in an area, an enterprise that is achieving increasing popularity. The public outcry over the media relaying of information involved in these deaths facilitates mental health screening. Mental health screening tests have notoriously high false positive rates, way up in the 80 and 90% range. This screening is going to mean a rise in the overall mental illness rate.

Add to this drug company manipulations and promotions, mental health centers seeking to drum up business, direct to consumer advertising, anti-stigma campaigns, and what’s a student to do? Become a poster child of the mentally ill generation? It happens.

The author of this piece offers his own reasons for the sharp incline.

One contributor to the problem is that people today feel more socially disconnected than ever before. Most people don’t know their neighbors, they believe having close connections makes you appear “weak,” and they focus on “getting ahead” at the expense of spending time with friends, family, or other close relationship partners. Feelings of social disconnection have risen 250% over the past 20 years alone. See a connection between generational changes in mental illness and changes in social disconnection? If you did, you’ve got a future in research. In our paper, we found that markers of social disconnection (e.g., the divorce rate) corresponded to generational changes in mental illness.

You can get ahead at the expense of your peers, yes, that was always a problem, wasn’t it, and now it’s getting worse. In the Not Only Department, now you’ve got successful career mental patient mental health advocates making the speakers circuit these days. On top of this factor of today’s environment, you have the many more non-successful mental patients unable to make a career out of “disability”. Oh, well. There are always thrift stores, mop buckets, and dish rags.

He ends his article with a cap off to Joe Cocker singing A Little Help from My Friends. Yep, I suppose that works, if you’ve got friends, and preferably rich and powerful friends. On the other hand, some of us manage the more heroic task of making a go of it alone.

I’m more than ready for whatever age should follow the Age of Mental Illness in advance.

One Way Not The Only Way

The monomania of some psychiatrists knows no bounds. My standard morning internet search brought me to one of these websites where the mental health professionals are talking down to their potential clients. This sort of website requires much reading between the lines if anybody is to get anything approaching a realistic take on the subject. The aim of the article encountered is compliance. Compliance involves the bending of a patient’s actions to the tyrannical will of the bullying therapist. The article is Drug Compliance a Major Issue for Psych Patients, and the assumption seems to be that people who have been labeled mentally ill must take harmful psychiatric drugs.

Antidepressants and antipsychotics can help mental health patients return their lives to some semblance of normalcy. However, the positive effects of these drugs can be negated if patients decide to stop taking their meds. Patients may feel so much better on medication that they eventually decide they no longer need treatment. They may forget, as patients on other types of medication do, to take their meds. They may also have difficulty dealing with the unpleasant or uncomfortable side effects of their psychiatric medications. Antipsychotics can produce side effects such as dizziness, restlessness, rapid heartbeat, and tremors. Antidepressants can cause drowsiness, insomnia, dry mouth, and constipation.

The first sentence of the above paragraph depends on the patient. What may be true for some patients may not be true for others. The second sentence reveals the true depth of bias behind the article. This bias presumes that there is one way to deal with the patient labeled mentally ill, and that way is through psychiatric drugs. I’m afraid that when the author of this piece says ‘treatment’, in all likelihood that author means ‘medication’, or psychiatric drugs. What are seen as the positive effects of the drugs is played off what are seen as the negative side effects of the drugs. The negative effects of psychiatric drugs are downplayed. People have experienced seizures, sexual dysfunction, organ failure, and all sorts of other problems on these drugs that get no mention what so ever. Long term use of psychiatric drugs causes neurological disorders, but there is no mention made of this little short coming to the doping method of mental health treatment.

Compliance is a vital part of managing mental health issues, considering the widespread use of psychiatric medications in the U.S. Antipsychotics were the top-selling class of drugs last year, and antidepressant use in the U.S. nearly doubled between 1996 and 2005. Companies such as Targacept, H. Lundbeck, Addex Pharmaceuticals, Corcept Therapeutics Incorporated, and Newron Pharmaceuticals are developing new psychiatric medications to compete with the old standards. Healthcare practitioners should educate patients on the importance of taking their psychiatric medications, how to manage or minimize side effects, and the consequences of noncompliance. Caregivers can also monitor patients, conducting pill counts and watching for signs that the patient has gone off his or her meds.

The danger here is thought to be that a patient will go off his or her psychiatric drugs. The presumption is that there are no other ways to treat people in crisis. Both presumptions are false. Psychiatric drugs are not safe. Psychiatric drugs create health problems for people that this article has hardly touched upon. Personal choice is important, and it is the expression of this personal choice that the author of this article has completely neglected to consider. People, who want a treatment option that doesn’t involve the taking of psychiatric drugs, should have that option. Putting a person on a psychiatric drug, for the duration of that person’s life, is not the only way for a person to deal with problems, however overwhelming.

One of the biggest secrets around is that there are studies showing that non-drug mental health treatments have better outcomes than those mental health treatments that rely so heavily on psychiatric drugs. Drug dependence is not recovery of mental health. Withdraw the drugs, and whatever problem a person was dealing with to begin with rears its ugly head again. I encourage anybody who is curious about the subject to explore these non-drug approaches to treatment. Mental illness need not be a lifelong condition. People can and do fully recover from what are characterized as serious mental illnesses. Complete recovery from a mental health condition cannot be found in a pill bottle.

Doctors Under Report Negative Effects Of Drugs

Psychiatrists are way up there when it comes to ignoring input from their clients. An example, as reported in a EurekaAlert article, Are doctors missing depression medication side effects?, is the extent to which they can overlook the number of negative drug effects reported to them by their patients.

A study from Rhode Island Hospital shows that patients report side effects from medication for the treatment of depression 20 times more than psychiatrists have recorded in the charts. The researchers recommend the use of a self-administered patient questionnaire in clinical practice to improve the recognition of side effects for patients in treatment. The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Volume 71, No. 4, now available online ahead of print.

This is to say that a patient has to mention a negative effect 20 times for it to register once with a psychiatrist. I feel certain that if the same kind of study were conducted on patients being treated for other mental illness labels besides depression, the results would be much the same, if not worse.

[Dr. Mark] Zimmerman and his colleagues asked 300 patients in ongoing treatment for depression to complete a self-administered version of the Toronto Side Effects Scale (TSES). The patients rated the frequency of the 31 side effects and the degree of trouble they experienced. Those patients’ charts were then examined to extract side effects information recorded by the treating psychiatrist.

The findings indicate that the mean number of side effects reported by the patients on the TSES was 20 times higher than the number recorded by the psychiatrist. When the self-reported side effects were limited to “frequently occurring” or “very bothersome” the rate was still found to be two to three times higher than recorded in their charts.

You’d think “frequently occurring” or “very bothersome” would strike a nerve, and maybe they do, but apparently not enough of a nerve. Psychiatrists, it would seem, are not very good listeners. The patient still has to bring up these more disturbing effects twice or thrice before it registers once with a psychiatrist. I have to be wondering sometimes if we don’t have the wrong people on the couch.

I have to take issue with calling any unpleasant effect produced by a psychiatric drug a side effect, too. The presumption is that these chemical compounds alleviate mental disorder, and that any unpleasant effect arising from these pills must be an effect for which they weren’t intended. The reality is that there is no magic anti-mental illness pill, and that what are referred to as the side effects of these drugs are actually direct effects.

Boy Killed By Psychiatric Drugs

A 12 year old boy, Denis Maltez, labeled autistic, in the Miami area, was drugged to death by his psychiatrist, Dr. Stephen L. Kaplan.

The story was covered by the Miami Herald in an article, Red flags overlooked in prescription drug death of 12-year-old.

Dr. Steven L. Kaplan solved the 70-pound boy’s problems with a prescription pad, writing orders for two different anti-psychotic drugs along with a tranquilizer and a mood stabilizer — three of them in the highest doses recommended for adults, records show.

Dr. Kaplan, following a 2007 visit to his office, had described young Denis as “hyper, needy, pesty”. Disturbing, yes, and then.

Two weeks after Kaplan last saw the boy, on May 23, 2007, Denis simply stopped breathing. The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office attributed the death to a life-threatening side effect of over-medication, records show.

The specific psychiatric drugs Denis was taking are detailed in the same article.

Denis was prescribed 20 milligrams of Zyprexa, 800 milligrams of Seroquel —the highest adult dose for both anti-psychotics, a reviewer said — one-half milligram of Klonopin, a tranquilizer and 2000 milligrams of Depakote, a mood stabilizer — also a high dose for Denis’ 70-pound frame. Neither of the anti-psychotic drugs has been approved for use with children.

Emphasis added.

Prescribing drugs for uses not approved by the FDA is a practice known as “off label” prescribing. Although illegal, it is a practice drug companies have tended to encourage.

Dr. Kaplan remains in a state of denial regarding his role in the death of this child.

Another article, in a later edition of the Miami Herald, dealing with Dr. Kaplan’s removal from Medicaid coverage, Controversial Miami psychiatrist dropped from Medicaid program, is more explicit regarding the boys death.

The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office attributed the boy’s death to serotonin syndrome, also called serotonin toxicity, which can occur when an excess of medications causes the body to produce too much serotonin, a chemical that helps brain and nerve cells to function.

Teachers, as well as mental health professionals, had complained that Denis was clearly being “over-medicated” prior to his death by psychiatric drugs.

The Struggle For Justice Continues