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The Number of Children Taking Harmful Drugs Doubles

Disturbingly and oddly enough film maker Louis Theroux recently did a television show for Great British audiences on America’s Medicated Children. Ironically, this over drugging trend hasn’t caught on so much in Britain as it has in the states. One wonders how entertaining the drugging of children here must be for inhabitants over there.

He doesn’t seem to be very critical in his reportage of the phenomenon. One wonders whether this trend could eventually prove more catching among Brits given this sort of exposure. Perhaps they want to export the over diagnosis of childhood ‘mental disorders’, and the over prescription of psychiatric drugs. I’m sure someone might be able to make a bundle preying on children and their families in the same fashion that they are preyed on in the USA in the UK if they were clever about it.

On a more serious note, an American writer, Leigh Donaldson, who is doing a series of investigative pieces for The Portland Press Herald, has done a story on the alarming rise of children in America taking psychiatric drugs, Psychiatric drugging of American children is cause for alarm.

Talk about dramatic; doubling in a period of 8 years or so I would call quite some incline!

According to a 2010 study of data on more than a million children reported by American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s journal, the use of powerful anti-psychotics with privately insured U.S. children, ages 2 through 5, doubled between 1999 and 2007.

These drugs cause metabolic health problems, movement disorders, and they have been known to damage the brain. They are not the sort of thing you should be feeding to children, or adults for that matter, if you can help it.

In the 2007 study, the most common diagnoses of anti-psychotic treated children were pervasive developmental disorder or mental retardation (28.2 percent), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (23.7 percent) and disruptive behavior disorder (12.9 percent).

All of the diagnoses listed above are for ‘off label’ or illegal and unapproved uses of these drugs. These psychiatric drugs are typically characterized as treatments for ‘psychosis’.

Poor families receive the brunt of this over drugging of children.

Just as tragic is the 2009 revelation in federally funded research that children covered by Medicaid were prescribed anti-psychotics at a rate four times higher than children with private insurance.

The data indicated that more than 4 percent of children in Medicaid fee-for-service programs received anti-psychotics, compared to less than 1 percent of privately insured youth. Poorer kids are receiving more of these drugs than richer ones.

Isn’t it curious that the ‘schizophrenic’ gene should be more prevalent in poor communities than in richer ones? I haven’t heard it suggested that poverty, too, is caused by bad genes, the way it is assumed that what are referred to as ‘mental illnesses’ are caused by bad genes, but I imagine that that suggestion has got to be on its way.

Psychiatrist’s License Suspended

Earlier I had posted a story about how Medicaid had removed Miami area Dr. Steven L. Kaplan as a provider from its program. His cases could no longer be covered by Medicaid. Dr. Kaplan is a psychiatrist who has come under scrutiny for the over drugging of his patients. An autistic child, Denis Maltez, died as a result of such over drugging at Dr. Kaplan’s hands. An autopsy in fact determined neuroleptic drugs to be the cause of death in Denis Maltez case.

Now Dr. Kaplan is back in the news. The Department of Health has filed an emergency suspension of Dr. Kaplan’s license to practice medicine. Health News Florida reported on this action in a story, ‘Emergency’ action took 4 yrs.

The emergency suspension order by State Surgeon General Ana Viamonte Ros released late Friday makes no reference to the warnings about Kaplan that it received from the Agency for Health Care Administration’s Medicaid unit in May 2006. The order says it received a complaint about Kaplan in November 2009 and began its investigation at that time.

May 2006. Yep, 1 finger, 2 finger, 3 finger, 4, now. 2010 is 4 years later.

The DOH’s emergency order does not name the patient beyond his initials, but the circumstances make clear it was Denis Maltez, an autistic boy who lived in a state-licensed group home for foster children called Rainbow Ranch. He was Kaplan’s patient for a year before dying at age 12.

Denis Maltez died on May 23, 2007

A foster child, on Medicaid, age 12, kaput. He might as well have been dumped into a dumpster. He’s worm’s meat currently.

Records provided by AHCA show that the Medicaid Program Integrity Office notified the DOH Division of Medical Quality Assurance in writing on May 12, 2006 about problems with Kaplan’s “prescribing habits” as they pertained to “antipsychotic medications for Medicaid recipients/patients.”

That it took the Department of Health 4 years to act on this matter makes Florida as a state a little ‘slow’. Unfortunately, being a little ‘slow’, in this instance and in that of the recently quashed Gabriel Myers bill, translates ultimately into what we’ve got, a tab paid in dead children.

3 Dead In Pineville, Louisiana

3 people dead, 40 wounded, at Central Louisiana State Hospital in Pineville, Louisiana. The suspected culprit in the matter at this point is food poisoning. The associated press reported on the incident with a story, Food poisoning suspected in 3 La. hospital deaths.

Lisa Faust, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Hospitals, says the patients had chicken salad Thursday night.

She says something bad could have been in the chicken, lettuce or mayonnaise.

USA Today filled in a few more details with a report of their own, 3 Die at Pineville hospital, 40 ill.

Forty patients at the behavioral health hospital showed signs of gastrointestinal stress beginning around 6:30 a.m. Friday with the three deaths a 43-year-old woman, 41-year-old man and 52-year-old man happening late Friday night or early Saturday morning.

State Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine told reporters Saturday that autopsies of the three patients are scheduled Monday, with lab test results expected in a few days.

Two patients remain hospitalized at Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville. A total of 11 patients and four staff members were treated there for possible food-poisoning symptoms.

I know that sometimes hospital food can be foul, but usually it’s not going to kill you. Hopefully this incident is not going to result in, always a possibility, a less delectable menu for its inmates and guards.

Close the hospital down, liberate its inmates, and you won’t have this kind of thing happening there in the future. Most parents, not all mind you, don’t want their children coming home from the looney bin in a casket.

Toronto’s PsychOUT Conference In The Press

The PsychOUT conference taking place in Toronto was covered by the Canadian National Observer recently, but nothing about the article on the conference could be said to be balanced and even handed. Peeved academics and mental health professions, chagrined that the conference is taking place in the first place, get all together too much attention in the article entitled, ironically enough, Mind Control.

In his [Molyn Leszcz, chief psychiatrist at Mount Sinai Hospital and a U of T professor] practice, he is “respectful of suspicion and concern and mistrust,” especially the justifiable fear of corporate influence on medicine, but he feared this conference would “isolate and shame people, and block people from care.” After all, if psychiatry is a corporate conspiracy to drug people into passivity, a patient who goes willingly is a pathetic dupe.

The article stated the dilemma succinctly enough, in some cases the patient is a pathetic dupe.

The organizers of the conference taking place at the University of Toronto are getting a lot of bad mouth from certain people who have nothing to do with this conference beyond not wanting it to take place.

Psychiatry historian Edward Shorter has more than his share of a say on the subject.

“They’ve had a toxic influence on public health by convincing many patients and their loved ones that psychiatric care is a bad idea, that it’s some kind of power grab, or an effort to incorrectly influence their minds and burn their brains, and they would do best to stay in the world of alternative care, which is terrible advice,” he said. “It’s curious to see this anti-psychiatry movement flicker back into life in Toronto at a time when it really has lost credibility everywhere else in Western society.”

As a member of that movement who lives elsewhere in Western society, I’m offended that Dr. Shorter should make such an unthinking sweeping statement. Those of us in the know, know that his arguments are just one more example among many of the concerted efforts being made by organized biological psychiatry proponents to legitimize psychiatry as a branch of the medical sciences, and to silence its critics.

Warehousing people in psychiatric prisons, and calling those prisons ‘mental hospitals’, is not good treatment. All sort of un and under reported human rights abuses take place in these psychiatric prisons. Using the term “care providers” as a euphemism for the warders of these psychiatric prisons would present an impression that is just far removed from the facts. If alternative methods allow any sort of semblance of a truly compassionate approach to therapy, vive la difference!

Ms. M. Ann Phillips, a woman who has developed a shamanistic approach to treatment, after her breakdown in 2002, was featured as one of the presenters at this conference.

Her theory is that mentally ill people are in fact spirit guides to alternative realities, and that a psychotic episode “is an indication of a traditional medicine or shamanic calling … [They] do not need to be medicated, but need the assistance and guidance of a trained shaman to bring them back from realms unknown and to teach them to use and control the gifts that their breakdown/ breakthrough has revealed.

Why not? It sure beats the incompetence, ill health, and brain damage that results from years and years of paternalistic ‘care’, institutionalization, and drug maintenance.

Talk about pulling out all punches, the piece ends with a conference bashing by Michael Kirby, the Mental Health Commissioner of Canada. When it comes to this celebration of difference, he equates such difference with destructive and self-destructive behaviors, and turns a blind eye to the destructive tendencies of the mental health establishment and the federal government. Well, being Canada’s Mental Health Commissioner he would, wouldn’t he?

I’ve got news for these critics of the critics. Our movement is not going away. Our movement is not dying out. How could it when the numbers of people labeled ‘mentally ill’ has doubled in the last two decades due to the efforts of the drug companies to sell drugs, and the psychiatric industry to treat people?! We’re sticking around, and our numbers are growing. You can spread your lies far and wide. We’re going to root them out and expose them. You will be hearing more from us in the years to come.

Update: May 16, 2010

As a matter of contrast, a much less biased account of the same PsychOUT Conference, referred to in the post about a National Post article above, can be found in the Digital Journal article, Anti-psychiatry conference aims to bring about the end of psychiatry.

How does one best respond to the statement, “I have a ‘mental illness’.”

Does your ‘mental illness’ have a name?

You do? Where?

I’ve never seen a ‘mental illness’ before. If you show me your ‘mental illness’, I will show you my ______.

(Sarcastically) Whoopee.

Is that so? It doesn’t show.

Oh. I had one of those, but I’m afraid I must have misplaced mine.

How can you tell?

Why don’t you just go and park it someplace else?

Where can I get a ‘mental illness’?

I assume your ‘mental illness’ is wanted, in which case, great; otherwise, that’s too bad.

Get well soon.

Is your ‘mental illness’ good at poker?

I always wanted to know that.

Without a doubt!

Well, take it someplace else. We don’t want it.

Economy size or gargantuan?

Shhh. You wouldn’t want the others to find out.

Are you sure?

Who told you that?

I had an invisible friend once.

Missouri A Leader In Drugging Its Children

Over Diagnosing Over Prescribing Disorder is apparently a common disorder among physicians in the state of Missouri. Channel 4 Fox News recently covered the subject with a news story, Are We Over-Medicating Our Kids?

The state says more than 350 kids are on at least two drugs in the class of anti-psychotics. One hundred eighty-nine kids under age four are on at least one. And nearly a thousand kids are on five or more medicines for mental illness. In addition to anti-psychotics, that includes anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and ADHD drugs and sleep medicines.

Let’s look at those numbers a little closer.

350 children on 2 or more neuroleptic drugs
189 children under 4 on 1 or more neuroleptic drugs
1,000 children on 5 or more psychiatric drugs.

Given those statistics, yes, indeed, Missouri is over-medicating its kids! In fact a report is coming out showing that Missouri has more outbreaks of this disorder than other states.

A soon-to-be released report finds that out of 17 states, Missouri has the highest rate of prescribing anti-psychotics for kids on Medicaid. The rate is more than double the average. Dr. [Joe] Parks says large class sizes at school could be one factor.

“The rate is more than double the average.” Did you get that!?

Mental health authorities say these drugs should only be used as ‘a last resort’. Coming up number 1 out of 17 states is not using these drugs as ‘a last resort’.

These drugs are known to cause metabolic changes that contribute to the average age at death for people in mental health treatment being 25 years younger than the general population.

He says the anti-psychotics don’t have much research to back up their use in kids. Among the possible side effects are weight gain and diabetes. And little is known about the long-term effects on the developing brain.

Actually we do have a little knowledge about the long-term effects of these drugs on the brain. We should, we have been feeding them to people for over 50 years now. They cause a neurological brain disease and movement disorder known as Tardive Dyskinesia. What are we saying? Don’t get alarmed, but some parents in Missouri, under the guidance of demented psychiatrists, are giving their kids a head start to a debilitating movement disorder and an early grave.

Great going, Missouri!

Out of sight insight

The situation of the person who shows up in an emergency room wanting ‘help’ for their problems is different from that of the person who is handcuffed and hauled off to psych ward for not wanting ‘help’. I’ve known people who were misdiagnosed ‘mentally ill’, and in need of treatment, who weren’t ‘mentally ill’ at all. Some of these people had to do a little dexterous swiveling of the hips to get out of the clutches of doctors eager to have them doped into zombie land. This is why I have to be very skeptical when it comes to what your typical psychiatrist calls ‘misdiagnosis’.

Usually it’s the situation of a person coming in saying there is something wrong with me, and the doctor says, sure, that’s how I make my living. The doctor finds this wrong with the now labeled patient. If it turns out not to be ‘this’, then the doctor can reach into his bag of tricks, and slap on a different label. It wasn’t ‘this’, it was ‘that’.

About.com would fill people in on ‘the problem’ of misdiagnosis then in another one of their disinformational articles, Reducing Misdiagnosis of Psychiatric Disorders.

Psychiatrists who reconsider diagnoses in overlapping areas of bipolar depression, major depression and other disorders are more likely to make correct diagnoses, according to the study, which suggests that between 15% and 40% of patients with bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed. Bipolar disorder is characterized by episodes of a major depressive disorder with manic tendencies.

The person who comes to a psychiatrist, and then doesn’t have this disorder, must have that disorder. Psychiatry just cannot as a rule comprehend the possibility of no disorder. The fly buzzed into the spider’s parlor, obviously it’s the flies’ fault.

Because the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth-Edition requires a manic episode to make a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, many patients are initially diagnosed and treated as having major depression. A manic episode involves a distinct period of abnormal, irritable moods, characterized by inflated self-esteem, sleeplessness and other traits.

So the patient may not be merely depressed, the patient may be bipolar. You’ve just passed from one level of severity to another. No longer is the patient merely to receive antidepressants that work as well as a placebo, now the patient is also getting antipsychotic drugs that damage the brain.

Even murkier is the business of assigning multiple diagnoses to a person as in the case of so called ‘co-occuring disorders’. Gee, you really are a ‘sicko’, chum, what with this, this, and that. The article here began by saying that if you go for 2 disorders you are more likely to have a ‘correct’ label than if you go for 1 label. When you’ve got multiple labels, hey, these guys have multiple pill bottles to deal with them.

Polypharmacy or the prescribing of multiple psychiatric drugs is one of the worst treatment practices around. Recovery is never the result in polypharmacy, and permanent disability is the rule. ‘Co-occuring disorders’ are merely an excuse to magnify the significance of any disturbance found, and to offer polypharmacy as the solution. The treatment here is just going to exasperate the disorder but, hey, psychiatrists make their living on the severity of the disorder.

In some cases, misdiagnosis is a function of symptom overlap, while other patients may truly have more than one disorder. In the past, bipolar disorder was often misdiagnosed as schizophrenia, but this problem diminished with the realization that psychosis is common in both disorders, rather than specifically to schizophrenia.

Uh huh, and now you hear of people labeled both ‘bipolar’ and ‘schizophrenic’. This is an example of killing multiple birds with one stone. If it’s not specifically this, maybe it’s this, and that. We can’t rule out any possibility, so we will take both possibilities, thank you, please. And if there’s a third possibility, we will take a little of that, too.

I just wonder how long a person can take this kind of shoddy treatment without figuring out that there is something a little phony about it all. If some of these people showing up in the emergency rooms could figure out that maybe they don’t want the kind of ‘help’ they would be receiving, if maybe they would get the idea that they need not go onto the psych ward without a fight either, I’d call that a major turning point.

Mad class, anyone?

Wow! I did an internet search for Mad Pride, and instead of March Madness and football games, a real Mad Pride subject came up on the top of the return list this time. This was a story about a mad professor; or rather the subject of his class is the mad movement. The header in Health Zone Canada runs Mad professor? Sure, and he’s full of ‘mad pride’. The professor in question is a Canadian, one David Reville.

As with all good jokes, there’s truth in that, because Reville does, in fact, proceed to talk non-stop for more than two hours — even though he still has a stack of papers to mark for the courses he teaches at Ryerson: A History of Madness, a liberal arts course, and Mad People’s History, a similar course offered online for the first time this year by the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education.

Too few people, in fact some of them that would be a part of the mad movement, have a good grasp on what it is all about, or where it came from.

The mad liberation movement that gave rise to, and is explored in, Reville’s courses, along with the horrors, ignorance and indignities that preceded it, owes a debt, he says, to other human rights and liberation movements: feminism, black pride, gay pride.

“We have the same roots,” he says, “but have not been as successful, perhaps because we’ve been even more marginalized and because it’s so dangerous to come out as a mad person. Many of us pass for normal – and that’s a rational decision to make.”

A video clip is attached to the article. It’s a video clip that David Reville shows to his classes. The video clip I felt was more impressive than the article itself. This is something people should see. In it people who have experienced the mental health system from the receiving end discuss how they have come to identify themselves in the context of the mad movement.

North Carolina Hospital Cited

More bad news for North Carolina’s beleaguered mental health system. The Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro North Carolina was cited for endangering its patients.

An article, Cherry Hospital faces a new citation, in the Raleigh News Observer covered the story.

The “immediate jeopardy” finding against Cherry Hospital was issued after a surprise inspection this week and could imperil the facility’s ability to receive federal Medicaid and Medicare funds.

I feel certain that there are hospitals in other states that would benefit from a ‘surprise inspection’ every now and then. With Cherry Hospital’s recent history of incidents though, this ‘surprise inspection’ shouldn’t have been such a ‘surprise’.

The latest violation comes after a series of abuse and neglect cases at Cherry. In 2008, federal regulators pulled the hospital’s funding after the death of patient Steven Sabock, who choked on his medication, hit his head and was left sitting in a chair for 22 hours while staff members danced and played cards nearby. Sabock, 50, died of heart problems after going without food, water or medical attention for about a day.

After the death, the hospital’s director resigned and the state hired consultants to retrain the staff. Federal funding was restored last year.

The state brings in consultants to retrain the staff, and employees still don’t get it. Makes you wonder what went wrong there, doesn’t it?

North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue has proposed $500,000 spending on the training of employees in its state hospital system in her new budget.