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Diagnosing A Potential For Abusive Behavior

The sickly pallor of a bureaucratic medicalization advances and the acronyms accumulate. This development has advanced to the extent that now we have an article in MedScape Today bearing the heading Childhood ADHD, Conduct Disorder Linked to Intimate Partner Violence with a first sentence that should raise eyebrows and register a skin reaction. It should register a skin reaction, that is, if people have not become too numbed by this process already to acknowledge that it is taking place.

Adolescents with conduct disorder (CD), alone or with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), may be at increased risk for perpetrating intimate partner violence (IPV) with and without injury as young adults, new research suggests.

Suddenly spousal abuse has become an acronym looking suspiciously like a candidate for a future revision of the DSM. Why? You have 2 “disorders” laying the basis for such an outlook.

The second sentence is equally disturbing.

In addition, childhood ADHD without CD was found to be a significant predictor of later IPV resulting in injury.

I remember when conduct used to be a grade on a school report card. I remember when unruly children meant something besides an “adolescent psychiatric disorder”. I’m kind of nostalgic for those bad good old days. Funny to think that inattentiveness is more apt to result in spousal abuse than is disruptive misbehavior.

What’s going on here?

“One of the novel aspects of our study was understanding that ADHD did seem to have a unique relationship with [IPV],” study investigator Greta Massetti, PhD, lead behavioral scientist in the Division of Violence Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Injury Center in Atlanta, Georgia, told Medscape Medical News.

We used to think abusive behavior stemmed from bad parenting. Isn’t it terrific to learn that it doesn’t stem from bad parenting? It stems from “mental illness”. This is to say that according to the latest in psychiatric gobbledygook a difficulty in learning (ADHD) has nothing to do with learning from mom and dad. Instead it has something to do with “brain disease”.

Alright, kids, you have your excuses, grow up and batter away. Alright, mom and dad, you have your excuses, too. How about another vacation from the brats?

Has anybody ever considered that when discipline is plucked from a pill bottle, you have to expect this kind of thing?

The Mental Health Treatment Business Boom

Once you invent a “disease” you don’t know how successful you might become with your new invention. Such, at any rate, seems to be the case with the totally bogus Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder designation. Government statistics now show that almost 1 in every 10 kids in this country claim to have contracted it. This is a 22% jump from 2003 when the stat was 1 in every 13 kids. National Public Radio just published a story on these survey results, ADHD On The Rise : 1 in 10 Kids Now Affected.

The biggest jumps were seen in children between 15 and 17 and among Hispanic or multiracial children. Researchers say the rise among Hispanic children may reflect better access to care, or greater cultural acceptance of the disorder.

But the disorder is still less common among Hispanics — about 6 percent — than among white or black children.

Finally, two-thirds of kids with a current diagnosis of ADHD were taking a medicine to treat it.

Expect this number to rise. On the one hand, mental health professionals are trying to conduct a business, and on the other hand, mental health professionals are trying to prevent people from avoiding that business. We call the business “mental health treatment”, and we call the avoidance of that business “stigma” directed against the receiving of such treatment.

If you want a scary thought, consider how many people claim to be depressed right about now as well. Then consider the number of those people who will receive other diagnoses due to bad reactions from the psychiatric drugs they are given. Also think about the number of these kids that are going to go from being juvenile cases into being adult cases. It’s not a pretty picture.

We are creating an epidemic in “mental illness” by selling mental health treatment. Usually this “treatment” boils down to little more than a quick chemical fix, a periodically taken pill. The idea of “stigma” is being used to sell this “treatment”. The thinking is that there are all these seriously disturbed people out there, seriously disturbed people that are not in “treatment”, and the reason that they are not in “treatment” is because of this “stigma”. The problem is that there are more people in “mental health treatment” in the USA now than ever before, and this number is growing. Harping on “stigma” has become a way of creating an epidemic, but then this epidemic means that the mental health business, and the psychiatric drug making industry behind it, are booming. I just want to point out that what is good for business might not be the best thing for people’s health

Deaths Due To Medical Intervention In The USA

Ironically, I gathered the following information about how bad the American health care system has been from an Irish website. Until a health care package like Obama’s means less intervention rather than more, I don’t see this situation improving substantially.

Every year in the US there are:

    12,000 deaths from unnecessary surgeries;

    7,000 deaths from medication errors in hospitals;

    20,000 deaths from other errors in hospitals;

    80,000 deaths from infections acquired in hospitals;

    106,000 deaths from FDA-approved correctly prescribed medicines.

    The total of medically-caused deaths in the US every year is 225,000.

This makes the medical system the third leading cause of death in the US, behind heart disease and cancer.

Dr. Barbara Starfield made a study of the matter that was published in 2000. Jon Rappaport of No More Fake News interviewed her about this study. MindFreedom Ireland published the interview, MEDICALLY CAUSED DEATH IN AMERICA: AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH DR. BARBARA STARFIELD, on its website.

My papers on the benefits of primary care have been widely used, including in Congressional testimony and reports. However, the findings on the relatively poor health in the US have received almost no attention. The American public appears to have been hoodwinked into believing that more interventions lead to better health, and most people that I meet are completely unaware that the US does not have the ‘best health in the world’.

As a person mentioned in a comment on a facebook page about this statistical data, this figure would certainly be higher if it accounted for the amount of cancer and heart disease brought about by prescription drug use.

Note that the figure also does not include “off label” prescription drug deaths.

106,000 people die as a result of CORRECTLY prescribed medicines. I believe that was your point in your 2000 study. Overuse of a drug or inappropriate use of a drug would not fall under the category of “correctly prescribed.” Therefore, people who die after “overuse” or “inappropriate use” would be IN ADDITION TO the 106,000 and would fall into another or other categories.

When it comes to statistics of this sort the figures tend to be understated rather than overstated as a rule.

Dr. Starfield found the USA ranked 12th best as far as health care goes in a comparison of 13 countries. This is not good as that’s in the slot right above dead last. The way these countries lined up from the best ranking to the worst was as follows.

United Kingdom
United States

I seriously doubt that there has been much of a marked improvement in this situation in the 10 years since this study came out.

More Than A Strand Of DNA

An article on a couple of behavioral health articles in the Baltimore Sun, Psychiatric diagnoses prone to abuse, poses the question: why are psychiatric diagnoses particularly prone to misdiagnosis and overdiagnosis? And then supplies the following answer:

The reason is that psychiatric diagnosis is not based on pathological criteria. The closest the article comes to addressing this problem is the statement that “Even in the best clinical scenario, a psychiatric diagnosis is tricky, experts say; doctors have no X-rays to help apply the criteria defining a mental illness.”

My point is that if these diagnoses are not based on pathological criteria they’re not “diseases” in the strict sense of the word.

In fact a diagnosis can never be indisputably ruled in or ruled out in psychiatry. All we have is testimony by differing psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers. In somatic medicine there is an array of pathological tests which often permit much greater diagnostic certainty. A biopsy of a lump in the breast will almost always tell you whether it’s benign or malignant.

Note the mention of somatic medicine above. Antonyms for somatic are mental and spiritual.

Excuse me if I contradict a lot of the more popular views and theories being bandied about currently, but the opposite of a physical malady is not a physical malady. I’m not at all surprised that psychiatrists have not had very much success at relieving psychological and spiritual crises by treating them as physiological “illnesses”.

If you look at the work being done on the genetics of this endeavor you can see how it gets even further afield. Take, for instance, a recent article on the subject in the New York Times, Genes as Mirrors of Life Experiences.

For decades, researchers have ransacked the genetic pedigrees of people with mental illness, looking for common variations that combine to cause devastating conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The search has stalled badly; while these disorders may involve genetic disruptions, no underlying patterns have surfaced — no single gene or genes that account for more than a tiny fraction of cases.

Perhaps our understanding of what we refer to as “mental illness” is not on the verge of the major breakthroughs that some of us thought it was.

So scientists are turning their focus to an emerging field: epigenetics, the study of how people’s experience and environment affect the function of their genes.

Whoa! You can’t find the gene or genes, but you can’t dispense with your theory, voila, epigenetics. When it comes to admitting failure, these doctor researchers take the cake. They are just incapable of going there.

Now we’re talking about experience and environment affecting the genes. Right. Somehow its become much more complicated than a matter of this person with these genes bangs that person with those genes and, whoops, you’ve got your big fat boo boo. Try to ignore the fact that we’re also talking environmental and experiential factors here as well. Maybe there were a lot of social factors involved in the production of the odd ball despite our atomistic presumptions.

I feel that much of this research is a matter of looking at junk DNA, and this junk DNA is a by product of living the kind of a hard life most people bearing “mental illness” labels often find themselves enduring. How did this life get to be so hard? Why, of course, somebody detected the presence of a “serious mental illness” in this person or that, maybe when they were only a kid or a teenager, and the next thing you know the expectations for this or that person take a nose dive, career and success-wise. The opportunity market locks them out. That’s a lot of environmental and experiential impact on the their genetic material. Yeah, sure.

Then turn your angle of vision and look, for instance, at the labeled person and his or her relationships. Maybe it’s these relationships that need to be readjusted, transformed, or severed. I would say also look at the relationship of the researcher to the labeled person. Perhaps that relationship could bear some changing, too. Sometimes the researcher seems to forget that this relationship even exists. In such cases I would heartily recommend taking a few classes in the humanities.

Suppression of Research Results In Great Britain

Benzodiazepines, so called “anti-anxiety medications”, cause brain damage. An article in The Independent, Drugs linked to brain damage 30 years ago, tells of the suppression in Great Britain of research into the damage done by these psychiatric drugs.

Secret documents reveal that government-funded experts were warned nearly 30 years ago that tranquillisers that were later prescribed to millions of people could cause brain damage.

Anxiety versus brain damage, anxiety versus brain damage…if you were to ask me, I’d think that this kind of evidence was the kind of information people should have had at hand, readily available, and at their disposal, increase of anxiety or no increase of anxiety.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) agreed in 1982 that there should be large-scale studies to examine the long-term impact of benzodiazepines after research by a leading psychiatrist showed brain shrinkage in some patients similar to the effects of long-term alcohol abuse.

No such further research was carried out. (I guess this means we don’t have any research finding that long term benzodiazepine use doesn’t lessen brain mass.) You couldn’t sell drugs as effectively if word of this got around, and quite possibly any later research would do what research is expected to do, and only confirm the earlier research findings.

MPs and lawyers described the documents as a scandal, and predicted they could lead the way to a class action costing millions. There are an estimated 1.5 million “involuntary addicts” in the UK, and scores display symptoms consistent with brain damage.

Saying that “scores display symptoms consistent with brain damage” when you’ve got “an estimated 1.5 million “involuntary addicts” in the UK” is certainly understating the case. I imagine these “scores” of people affected, if investigated thoroughly, would actually turn into a matter of “thousands”.

Jim Dobbin, the chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction, said: “Many victims have lasting physical, cognitive and psychological problems even after they have withdrawn. We are seeking legal advice because we believe these documents are the bombshell they have been waiting for. The MRC must justify why there was no proper follow-up to Professor [Malcolm] Lader’s research, no safety committee, no study, nothing to further explore the results. We are talking about a huge scandal here.”

When it comes to the facts surrounding other drugs used in the treatment of psychiatric conditions, I suspect there must be a number of unexploded bombshells of this sort left lying around.

Miami Area Doctor Under Investigation

Last month a Miami psychiatrist came under the scrutiny of Senator Charles Grassley’s senate committee investigating conflicts of interest in psychiatry. This psychiatrist, although unnamed by the Senator, is reported to be one Fernando Mendez-Villamil.

Senator Grassley’s investigation had at this point, according to an article in The Miami Herald, Another volley in RX probe, evolved into an exploration regarding why some psychiatrists write so many prescriptions for federally funded Medicaid and Medicare programs.

In his latest volley, a letter sent Wednesday to Kathleen Sebelius, secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Grassley demanded exact answers to three pointed questions about what her department is doing to address the problem.

One of the doctors prescribing drugs for people on Medicaid and Medicare was–you guessed it–Dr. Mendez-Villamil. Dr. Mendez-Villamil wrote a whole heck of a lot of prescriptions over a period of less than 2 years. The figure given approaches 100,000.

In the Sebelius letter, Grassley said his concern was triggered by a “Florida provider who wrote 96,685 prescriptions for mental health drugs in a 21-month period.” The letter did not identify the provider, but state records confirm that it is Fernando Mendez-Villamil, a psychiatrist with an office on Coral Way.

Dr. Mendez-Villamil is reported to have written almost twice as many proscriptions as his closest competition in the area of filling out Medicaid paid prescriptions for psychiatric drugs.

The Florida Attorney General’s office has been conducting an ongoing investigation of Dr. Mendez-VIllamil. Dr. Mendez-Villamil has been terminated from the Medicaid program, but he is suing to have his cases again covered by Medicaid.

Last December, Grassley’s office calculated Mendez-Villamil’s numbers meant “this physician wrote approximately 153 prescriptions each and every day, assuming he did not take vacations.”

Earlier this year, Mendez-Villamil told The Herald that he works long hours and often gives each patient four or five prescriptions, accounting for the large numbers.

The practice of prescribing multiple psychiatric drugs to a single patient is known as polypharmacy. Polypharmacy is notorious for it’s predominately negative outcomes.

In April, Grassley wrote to all state Medicaid agencies requesting data about certain mental health drugs. On Wednesday, Grassley’s office said the Florida provider identified by The Herald as Mendez-Villamil had the second-highest number of prescriptions in the nation for the generic form of Xanax in the data they analyzed.

The Wednesday letter also noted that the top Zyprexa provider in Florida wrote 1,356 prescriptions for 309 individuals in 2008 and 1,238 for 236 in 2009. The Herald independently verified from state data that this provider was Mendez-Villamil, and he wrote more than twice as many Zyprexa prescriptions as the No. 2 provider in the state.

This doctor has done much of his prescribing to poor people as only poor people are covered by Medicaid and Medicare. Psychiatric drugs are often disproportionally prescribed to poor people, and given single solution doctors like Dr. Mendez-Villamil, one can easily see why this is so.

Our Growing Problem

An article has appeared in MedScape Today about a survey on the mental health of children and adolescents in the USA, First National Prevalence Data of Mental Disorders in American Youth Released.

Had I received results stating the following my results would have been fit fodder for the trashcan.

Approximately 1 in every 4 to 5 youth in the United States meet criteria for a mental disorder with severe impairment across their lifetime, new research shows.

20-25% of United States youth have a “mental disorder with severe impairment” this survey says. I’m not looking for “mental illness” myself, but I’m thinking this Prevalence Data definitely shows the characteristic danger of looking for such disorders. The inquisition, for example, although it had few volunteers for burning at the stake had no problem finding what it considered witches.

Diagnosing kids nuts has become very trendy during the last few years.

According to the article, the field of child psychiatric epidemiology has grown exponentially during the past 2 decades, with numerous regional US studies reporting that 1 in every 3 to 4 children experiences a mental disorder and approximately 1 in 10 children has “serious emotional disturbance, with few affected youth receiving adequate mental health care.”

We have an epidemic of psychiatrists suffering from Over Diagnosing Over Prescribing Disorder in this country. These doctors are apparently very much in need of treatment. I would suggest the lodging of fraud charges against them, the suspension of their licenses to practice medicine, and in the most severe of cases, prison time.

At 31.9% the investigators found that anxiety disorders were the most common. These were followed by behavior disorders (19.1%), mood disorders (14.3%), and substance use disorders (11.4%). Approximately 40% of study participants with one class of disorder also met criteria for another class of lifetime disorder.

Anxiety is perfectly natural in children and adolescents. It tends to diminish with time as young people become a little more familiar with the world in which they live and move. It is, in fact, a part of the growing up process. Some of the other disorders listed here amount to little more than blowing some of that anxiety all out of proportion. The claim of multiple psychiatric disorders for any one individual is a sure indicator of Over Diagnosing Over Prescribing Disorder on the part of that person’s psychiatrist. “Lifetime Disorders” are kind of like Neverland, they only exist in so far as people believe in them.

Researchers report the overall prevalence of disorders with severe impairment and/or distress was 22.2% (11.2% with mood disorders, 8.3% with anxiety disorders, and 9.6% behavior disorders.)

“Severe impairment and/or distress” you say? If you were looking for perfect children, you are going to be let down. All the perfect people, perfect couples, etc., out there only exist as an illusion of advertising, if not proselytizing.

They found the median age of onset of disorder classes was earliest for anxiety (6 years), followed by 11 years for behavior, 13 years for mood, and 15 years for substance use disorders.

When anxiety becomes a problem at 6 years of age, the real problem is the anxiety of the parents. Ditto those disorders brought on by the advent of puberty. All I can say is, mother, father, teacher, doctor, CUT IT OUT! Let your kids grow and develop in their own ways and at their own speeds. Stop labeling them. This Fruitcake Land used to be America, the land of the free of “mental disorder”, once, and so it has the potential of becoming again, relatively speaking anyway.

Maybe that wasn’t such a bright idea

If you are 21 years old and you pose as 14 years old to get on a youth football team, you must be crazy, right? A Tampa area court thinks so anyway. The story in the St Petersburg Times, Hillsborough judge sends fake 14-year-old to mental health center, begins as follows.

A Hillsborough judge Wednesday ordered a 21-year-old Tampa man to get counseling in a mental health facility after the man pretended to be 14 to play on a youth football team.

I have every reason to believe the individual in question is a “slow learner”, and I figure that could have something to do with the masquerade.

Julious Threatts was also sentenced to community control, meaning he will wear an ankle monitor and be under regular supervision as he undergoes treatment.

Apparently the courts don’t want any 21 year old male trying to pick up 14 year old girls. That’s another felony. Or, could he have been there to sell drugs?

I think this guy is strictly amateur hour, that is, a “slow learner”, as the coach and school workers seemed to have had no problem whatsoever discerning his paper work to be phoney.

He was charged with trespassing on school grounds, obstruction by a disguised person, and violation of probation, which he was serving for earlier burglary charges.

Perhaps he was reaching for a fresh start, and trying to turn his life around. The judge however didn’t see it quite that way.

In a brief sentencing hearing, Circuit Judge Daniel L. Perry granted the request of public defenders that Threatts be placed in a boarding home or assisted living facility to receive treatment. Threatts will go to Northside Mental Health Center in Tampa before he is transferred to another facility.

He was sentenced to…”treatment”? If Mr. Threatts does not respond to “treatment”, he was told to expect an even harsher punishment. Let us hope that this “treatment” “cures” Mr. Threatts of his behavioral indiscretions.

Sir, if this happens again you’re going to prison,” Perry said.

I have always felt that there was a closer relationship between “treatment” and punishment than some of these mental health workers would like to let on, but I will leave that discussion to another time for the moment.

On a more serious note, I worry about the “treatment” in cases of this sort causing more harm to the “patient” than any punishment might have done to the “offender” had such a court case been decided differently. There is always a not so remote danger of damage being done the “patient” through the use of certain powerful psychoactive drugs when these matters are dealt with in a psychiatric institution.