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We Need To Punish Psychiatrists With Head-In-The-Sand Syndrome

Head-in-the-sand syndrome is a “mental disorder” that has reached pandemic proportions among members of the psychiatric profession. Psychiatric drugs are known to cause a metabolic syndrome associated with a number of potentially lethal ill health conditions. Rather than accepting this fact, and dealing with it, the majority of psychiatrists have tended to minimize their own role in the development of these physical maladies. They have started to devise a number of disingenuous schemes and strategies for concealing their role in this injury altogether.

1. Blaming lifestyle factors (smoking, diet, etc.)
2. Blaming the impugned “mental disorder”
3. Turning a blind eye to the effects of the drugs they dole out

There is a sleight of hand at work here. While they are blaming “mental illness” and lifestyle factors on the rising mortality rate, they continue to over-diagnose and over-drug patients in their charge. Often this over-diagnosing and over-drugging involves the attaching of multiple psychiatric labels to individual patients, and then the maintaining of those individuals on a different drugs for each psychiatric label. These drug cocktails are notorious for being ineffective therapeutically, and for causing a great deal of physical damage to the person so sedated over the long term.

Damaging people through drug abuse is not the kind of behavior we want to see in our health care providers. Injuring people in treatment in this manner is at least as irresponsible as playing hooky from school is for the average adolescent, if not very much more severe. Doctors need to be held accountable. Continuing to allow them to lie, and to get away with murder, is not holding them accountable for the damage that they are causing, and that they have caused. As long as no one is held accountable, the blame is projected onto other causes, and the professional walks away with a smug sense of his or her own self-importance.

This sense self importance is achieved at the expense of the health and welfare of a great many people. Should remorse and regret be demanded of them by the general public, you would see remorse and regret. If the only way to retrieve a conscience for psychiatry is to prosecute a number of psychiatrists, then we need to get down to the business of prosecuting a few psychiatrists for their crimes. When we remind psychiatrists of the medical maxim, ‘first do no harm’, we don’t want them to get the conflicting message that they are beyond the law.

The law doesn’t exist for people with head-in-the-sand syndrome. The law doesn’t exist for them not because there is no law; the law doesn’t exist for them because they don’t think the law should be applied equally to them in the same way that it is applied to everybody else. Head-in-the-sand blindness can go on forever if it is not immediately caught and corrected. We need to help these arrogant erring doctors recover the social conscience that they have collectively lost. I submit that it is time we revealed to them the extent of the crimes that they are so intent on keeping the general public in the dark about.

Scumbag Awarded Grant By Corrupt Health Agency

You know that corruption is rampant in the health care industry when a psychiatrist who has been chastised repeatedly for failing to disclose drug company payoffs wins a National Institute of Health grant. What exactly were they thinking? I suppose that they were thinking they could pull a big one over on the American people. This is the first grant that the NIH has awarded in 3 years time, and it has to go to a total scuzzball! BUZZZ!!!

The doctor is Charles Nemeroff who I have written about previously. The story is in Science Insider, Sanctioned Psychiatrist Gets First NIH Grant in 3 Years.

Charles Nemeroff’s lax reporting of at least $1.2 million in drug company payments to his employer, Emory University, and similar payments to other academic psychiatrists prompted a 2007 Senate investigation. Nemeroff stepped down as chair of psychiatry at Emory, and NIH suspended a $9-million grant he held for a depression study. In December 2008, Emory barred him from applying for NIH funding for 2 years.

9, 10, 11, 12…BUZZZ!!!!

Enter the corrupt good old boy system.

A year later, Nemeroff moved to the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida. This prompted concerns because Emory’s ban on NIH grants did not move with him. (Fueling the flames was a phone call in which National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) Director Thomas Insel apparently assured the University of Miami medical school dean that Nemeroff could seek NIH funding if he moved.)

You don’t think the NIMH has too much clout in the NIH, do you? Well, given a maneuver like this one, I certainly do.

The 2-year ban by Emory would have expired anyway. But Paul Thacker, a former staffer for Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) who led the Senate investigation, says NIH itself had the authority to impose a longer ban. “This shows they’re really not serious about the problem,” Thacker says.

When we are as corrupt as they come, I guess you could put it, we look after our own. I don’t know who else gets the wrong perpetuated by this gesture, but personally, I say, “shame on you NIH!” BUZZZ!

Did somebody say he withheld the reporting of 1.2 million dollars? This sleight gives new meaning to the expression, “that’s rich”. With that much of a kickback, there’s only one thing you can say, Dr. Nemeroff is solidly a one percenter. Again I say, “shame on you NIH!” That’s 99 % of the population you’ve passed over.

5/5/12 Philadelphia

Connecticut college student and monitor of the event, Caitlin Belforti, speaking at the Friends Center in Philadelphia.

New York activist Daniel Hazen speaking.

Aki Imai is from Ohio. He launched the Our Life After Labels submission-based blog.

Joe Rogers, a Philly local, is the director of the National Mental Health Self-help Clearinghouse.

Signs of the times.

John Judge read a statement of support from Paula J. Caplan who was unable to attend.

Long time San Francisco activist and retired attorney Ted Chabasinski.

The backdrop for the mornings events.

Godly Mathew once spent one hundred consecutive days protesting against psychiatric abuse outside Philadelphia’s Friends Hospital.

Down with psychiatric labels. Up with human beings.

Ted’s banner.

Inside the Friends Center events get underway.

Outside of the Friends Center where the rally took place.

Inside again.

The march to the Convention Center minutes away.

Director of the Anchorage Alaska based Center for Psychiatric Rights lawyer Jim Gottstein.

The demonstration outside of the Convention Center.

Pedestrians crossing the street.

Protesters outside of the Convention Center.

Demonstrators and pedestrians.

The Icarus Project well represented.

The shrinks label bible, in revision, and its discontents.

What’s that? Psychopharmacomania?

David Oaks, director of MindFreedom International, at the microphone beside Philadelphia native Susan Rogers.

Amid other not so spontaneous eruptions of Mad Pride!

Florida’s worst psychiatrists lose Medicaid patients

Florida has done a little to stem the tide of over diagnosing and over drugging that is plaguing that state. I imagine that it goes without saying that the state wouldn’t have done so without pressure from its concerned citizens. ProPublica, the psychiatric malpractice watchdog publication, has a story on this development, Florida Sanctions Top Medicaid Prescribers — But Only After A Shove.

3 Florida psychiatrists are so far known to have been chastised by having their Medicaid contracts suspended for their over prescription habits.

Number 3.

In 2009 alone Dr. Huberto Merayo is credited with prescribing drugs to the tune of $2,000,000. Since 2009 the doctor has earned more than $111,000 giving promotional talks for AstraZenica, Eli Lily, and Pfizer.

In May, Florida summarily ended his contract with Medicaid. But the action, though decisive, followed years of high prescribing by Merayo, according Florida’s own statistics. And he was booted only after public questioning by U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who had asked states to investigate such cases.

Number 2.

In the Questionable Legality Department, Dr. Joseph N. Hernandez deserves and earns more than a mere dishonorable mention.

In another example, Florida allowed Dr. Joseph M. Hernandez of Lake City to continue prescribing narcotic pain pills to Medicaid patients for more than a year after he was arrested and charged in 2010 for trafficking in them.

Number 1.

The winner of our bad psychiatrist of the decade award goes out to Dr. Fernando Mendez-Villamil, Florida’s top pusher of neuroleptic drugs. Dr. Mendez-Villamil prescribed $4,700,000 worth of drugs in 2009.

Mendez-Villamil, who was officially terminated “without cause,” sued the state last year to have his Medicaid contract reinstated; the case is pending. His lawyer, Robert Pelier, said Mendez-Villamil was “collateral damage” in Grassley’s campaign.

Dr. Joseph Hermanez’s license to practice medicine was eventually taken away, but as we learn above not until a year after he was busted for drug trafficking, and in the Not Only Department, this suspension didn’t occur until 34 of his Medicaid patients had fatally over dosed. Hermanez was the states top prescriber of the pain killer oxycodone in 2009.

The tally thus far is 3 down, and many more to go, in Florida’s ongoing battle with psychiatric corruption and excess.

The Human Being As An Association of Genes

One article in Science Daily happened to catch my eye of late, Two Genes Do Not Make a Voter. The implication, apparently dispelled, was that a couple of genes, or four, or five, could determine a specific human behaviorial trait.

They use as an example a 2008 study by James H. Fowler and Christopher T. Dawes of the University of California, San Diego which claimed that two genes predict voter turnout. Charney and English demonstrate that when certain errors in the original study are corrected — errors common to many gene association studies — there is no longer any association between these genes and voter turnout.

Emphasis added.

If you keep reading you will find that these genes have been credited with having a great many unfounded attributes. Sloth on the part of citizens is not the only negative quality, vice is still too strong a word to use in this instance, some researchers would find inherited.

Charney and English also document how the same two genes that Fowler and Dawes claimed would predict voter turnout are also said to predict, according to other recently published studies, alcoholism, Alzheimer’s disease, anorexia nervosa, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, depression, epilepsy, extraversion, insomnia, migraines, narcolepsy, obesity, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, Parkinson’s disease, postpartum depression, restless legs syndrome, premature ejaculation, schizophrenia, smoking, success by professional Wall Street traders, sudden infant death syndrome, suicide, Tourette syndrome, and several hundred other behaviors. They point to a number of studies that attempted to confirm these findings and could not.

Hmmm, I wonder how “extraversion” and “success by” “Wall Street traders” got thrown in there? I think it amusing how these are the exceptions that prove the rule. Our researchers don’t tend to be searching for success genes, but rather they tend to be looking for failure genes instead. I wonder why this is? I don’t get the impression that they’ve managed to remove many of these failure genes from the human gene pool yet.

“There is a growing consensus that complex traits that are heritable are influenced by differences in thousands of genes interacting with each other, with the epigenome (which regulates gene expressivity), and with the environment in complex ways,” Charney said. “The idea that one or two genes could predict something like voting behavior or partisanship violates all that we now know about the complex relationship between genes and traits.”

So much for the hunt for the non-voter gene. I imagine that would be the first step in determining which genes vote republican, which genes vote democrat, and which maverick genes out there happen to vote independent. Now what arrangement of thousands of genes, plus interactions, cause people to avoid the voting booth, and what arrangement of thousands of genes cause certain people to receive a “mental illness” label.

This kind of senseless endeavor could go on for a spell. Do you have forever? If you don’t know, flip a coin, and call the side you favor forever. The other side of the coin, of course, you can call never.

Madness At The Top

Three statistics pertaining to the “mental illness” label in the USA that have recently come to light stand out. As I reported, the Medco report showed that 1 in every 5 Americans are now on a psychiatric drug. What I didn’t mention is that the rate of women to men on these prescription drugs is much higher, and so actually 25 % of women, or 1 out of every 4 women, are on a psychiatric drug at the present time. Then there was the recent study showing, as of a couple of years ago, fully 11 % of the population is taking an antidepressant drug. These statistics, of course, apply only to the USA, the current epicenter of the worldwide epidemic in “mental illness” labeling.

This is one more reason why I’d be irked by any article with the heading, as the article I ran across at Psych Central does, Do You Have “Complete” Mental Health? This article was published in the Adventures in Positive Psychology column, and positive psychology just happens to be one of my pet peeves.

The absence of mental illness does not necessarily constitute complete mental health. Someone may not have any mental illness but they may not be satisfied with their life or striving to reach their potential. They may be surviving but not thriving.

I’m offended by any definition that would equate completeness in mental health with satisfaction and an abstract potential. I feel that such a definition tends to serve the rich and powerful, and that it is based primarily upon falsehood and misconception. Given such a definition, the most “mentally healthy” people in the world are also going to be the richest and the most powerful people as well. People in impoverished situations would, by this definition, of course, be the most afflicted.

Someone who is flourishing is living with optimal mental health and may be experiencing subjective well-being in most or all of three general domains.

We are then given 3 general domains: Emotional well-being, psychological well-being, and social well-being. Emotional well-being is described as having “positive affect and a high-level of positive emotion”. Psychological well-being is described as having “a sense of purpose and meaning in life”. Social well-being is described as having “a sense of belonging and accepting the world around us”.

Well-being is further broken down, by a certain theoretical model, into 4 further divisions.

Flourishing – Someone who are high on subjective well-being and low on mental illness.

Languishing – Someone who is low on subjective well-being and low on mental illness.

Struggling – Someone who is high of subjective well-being but also high on mental illness.

Floundering – Someone who is low on subjective well-being and high on mental illness.

The only thing I think this model serves is an arrogant and deluded sense of smug self-satisfaction. I don’t think it has a whole lot to do with reality. When “complete” success is judged by some stock exchange figure flashed over Times Square, relative success is going to be relevant in other places. I certainly wouldn’t measure success in terms of material accumulation in this fashion, and even spiritual accumulation doesn’t quite cut the grade.

I, for example, don’t think it a good idea to praise people for flourishing when those very same people dump oil off the coasts of Alaska, Louisiana, and New Zealand. I don’t think of dumping oil as very healthy, mentally or physically. I certainly don’t think it to be very healthy to wildlife. You dump oil into the ocean, and that’s bad karma, for yourself, for the wildlife you impact so disastrously, and for everybody else. I don’t think it “mentally healthy” to ignore this fact.

99 % of the population is struggling, lanquishing, or floundering, by this definition, while 1 % of population is flourishing in a more objective sense. I want to point out again that there is something wrong with flourishing at the expense of life on this planet, and that apparently we’re still locking up the wrong people for being disturbed and disturbing. Were we to lock up, if not psychiatrists, then maybe a few drug company CEOs, it is my belief that the rate of psychiatric drug abuse in this country would go down appreciably.

Boycott Normal Campaign Launched

Enough with the bad news, now for some good news!

On Monday, October the 10th, 2011, International Psychiatric Oppression Day, alternatively known as World Mental Illness Awareness Day and World Mental Health Day, the human rights organization MindFreedom International launched a Boycott Normal Campaign by staging a street theater protest outside of the Eugene Oregon Chamber of Commerce.

This campaign presents a great opportunity for psychiatric survivors, mental health consumers, ex-patients, and other mad entities to show that there is something more to their movement than social withdrawal and a lack of motivation.

At the demonstration the chant that went out was ‘Boycott Normal Occupy Normal!’ linking it to all the demonstrations against the corporate power elite taking place all around the world right now. The question being put to the Chamber of Commerce by this theatrical presence was, “What could be crazier than normal?” Men in business suits are destroying the natural environment and wrecking the economic welfare of citizens in the name of normal, and that isn’t crazy?

The story of this launch, which includes a 16 plus minute YouTube video, is front page on the MindFreedom International website.

Let’s hope that psychiatric survivors, mental health consumers, and ex-patients in other parts of world will take up this cause, and plan other events of the sort in their own locales. We need to show the world that this isn’t just some sort of anomaly relative to the rest of the world. Our normal is no less crazy than you’re normal! If truth be told, the Chamber of Commerce of Eugene Oregon is only a minor player in the ensuing disasters that the corrupt puppets of corporate interests are so intent upon pursuing.

Starting junior off on the wrong footsy

Parents, deserving of the title, don’t label their toddlers “mentally ill”, and dope them up on psychiatric drugs. Duh! That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking with it. Despite my feelings, feelings that I imagine to be shared with many other people in the world, according to an article in CNN, the incidence of the labeling and drugging of babies is increasing, Preschoolers on meds: Too much too soon? The three letter immediate response elicited by my viscera to this news is yes.

Take Shelby (not her real name), her mother’s problem…child!

The capsule contains 20 milligrams (mg) of Ritalin (methylphenidate), the prescription stimulant used to calm and focus children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). After dinner, Shelby takes more meds — 2.5 mg of Abilify and .05 mg of clonidine. The preschooler has been on daily medication since she was 2, when she slept only about four hours a night and threw frequent, violent temper tantrums that sometimes left her mother with bruises and bite marks.

This girl reaches her terrible twos, and wham, she’s on dope. Did nobody explain to her parents that the terrible twos can be a trying time, and that you shouldn’t try to drug this period of child rearing off the wallchart? Pharmaceutical products and very young children are not a good mix. Pharmaceutical products, pregnant women, and birth defects illustrate most vividly the importance of natural as opposed to chemical measures.

A psychiatrist at the local children’s hospital diagnosed bipolar disorder. For a year, Shelby was on increasingly potent doses of Risperdal (risperidone), an antipsychotic, and Depakote (divalproex), an antiseizure drug that’s also used to reduce mania.

Did this psychiatrist even bother to diagnose child? Should the doctor have done so, perhaps the doctor would have left more time for this individual to fuck up in before she was determined to be a terminal fuck up.

A psychologist objected to the bipolar label, suggesting instead that the child be labeled Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder with Obedient Defiant Disorder, and hopped up on Ritalin (i.e. speed). Obviously the conventional wisdom here has it that this child is not your perfectly normal kid. This kid, at 4 years old, is majorly fucked up.

I’m not so sure that there are so many child monsters out there as some deluded people might imagine. On the other hand, I feel certain there are probably many more adult monsters out there than we need. Given the proliferation of adult monsters, we have children early on labeled perpetual fuck-ups, and put on brain-numbing behavior-changing doses of chemicals.

In spite of the growing number of young kids taking psychiatric drugs, these medications (with a few exceptions) are not specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in children under age 6. Why? Because little is known about how they affect the tiny brains and bodies of young children.

I think a little more is known about how these drugs affect tiny brains and bodies than these “experts” are letting on. When what is described as “help” is actually “harm”, regarding a drug you are trying to sell to the public, including the parents of toddlers, you have to twist the facts (be deceptive) a little bit in order to sell (profit from) that drug. Off label drug treatment, that is, drug treatments not approved by the FDA, are illegal. This is why drug companies have been facing some of the stiffest civil penalties in history. The problem is that the trillion dollar drug industry hauls in enough cash to be able to write off these historic fines fairly easily. We have another word for treatments not approved by the FDA, and that word is fraud. Snake oil hasn’t been approved by the FDA either.

If targetting the rich and powerful drug industry doesn’t work so well, in terms of a corrective, maybe targetting doctors who over-diagnose “mental illness” and over-prescribe harmful psychiatric drugs might work better. When doctors who break the law, rather than getting a mild knuckle rapping, can lose their license for breaking the law in this fashion, they will be less likely to break the law in the future. I suggest that law firms should initiate legal actions against those doctors who are the worst offenders in these matters. Among those doctors facing suits would be doctors who prescribe drugs to toddlers because very few, if any, of these drugs have been approved by the FDA for use on infants.

North Carolina Considers Compensating Victims Of Eugenics

Legislators in North Carolina are considering compensation for victims of eugenics. This would be a bigger step towards achieving some kind of justice for the people who endured this practice than I’ve seen before. In Virginia I remember the present Senator Mark Warner, when he was the state’s governor, issued a public apology for the practice. I imagine that a public apology of that sort could be put to better use as toilet paper.

The Charlotte Observer has a story on efforts underway to find still living eugenics victims, N.C. eugenics survivors prove elusive.

State officials say they believe at least 1,500 of the women, girls, boys and men sterilized under state authority from 1929 to 1974 are still alive.

One year into a 3 year quest for still living sterilization abuse victims, and only 34 such victims to date have been found. Nonetheless, some of those survivors are reported to be very vocal in expressing their outrage.

The Eugenics Board of North Carolina – one of many similar boards across the country – authorized sterilization of roughly 7,600 North Carolinians. Mecklenburg County did the most in the state, by far. From 1946 to 1968, when the state kept its most detailed records, 485 people in Mecklenburg were sterilized through the eugenics board. Gaston County was third, with 161.

3 categories of people were targeted for sterilization by the state, people labeled with “mental illness”, people with epilepsy, and people deemed “feeble minded”.

North Carolina is the first state to seriously consider compensating survivors. In March, [Govenor Bev] Perdue created a five-person task force to figure out possible cash payments for people sterilized under the eugenics board. The task force has met four times but hasn’t settled on an amount; the number it has talked about most is $20,000 per victim. But nothing’s final, and the task force won’t make an official recommendation until February.

This compensation would be small potatoes, and as one observer complained, way too small. A eugenics victim in Canada sued for $740,000. In another case, 1000 Canadian victims received $142,000,000. Small as it would be, this compensation would still represent an great improvement over no official acknowledgment of wrong doing at all and continued state neglect.

State Representative Larry Womble of Winston-Salem has introduced a bill into the state legislature asking for $20,000 for every living victim found of North Carolina’s sterilization practices.

It must be remembered that North Carolina wasn’t alone in sterilizing people in the name of eugenics. I hope the state does succeed in compensating its victims, and I hope that such an action will set a precedent that other states can follow. Given any other course of action, in this instance, and justice still waits to be served.

Massachusetts Sues Johnson and Johnson

Bloomberg covered a story of the kind that I’d like to see more of in this nation, Massachusetts Sues J & J Over Risperdal Marketing Practices. Yes, that’s right. A state is suing a drug company over its fundamentally illegal marketing practices. Here’s a case of a drug company potentially getting penalized for the illegal practice of promoting so called ‘off label’ drugging. It’s illegal. Why didn’t the feds think of that?

Massachusetts’s attorney general sued Johnson Johnson’s Ortho-McNeil-Janssen unit for improper marketing of the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal.

Improper marketing is illegal marketing. Killing the elderly and incapacitating or doping up the young are not proper uses for psychiatric drugs.

The company marketed the drug as a treatment for dementia in the elderly and a way to ease various ailments of younger people when those uses hadn’t been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Attorney General Martha Coakley said today in a statement.

Risperal, a neuroleptic drug, is the sort of drug approved for use in the treatment of psychosis. While it has been approved for the treatment of psychosis in adults, it has been used for all sorts’ unapproved purposes on young people from ADHD treatment to conduct management. It has also been shown to put elderly patients with dementia at risk for an untimely and early death.

You may be asking why a drug company would resort to illegal marketing practices?

“Janssen’s illegal marketing and sales tactics helped the company generate hundreds of millions of dollars in sales in the Commonwealth,” the complaint states.

Attorney generals from other states should wake up, and consider adopting a good guy role of the sort that Massachusett Attorney General Martha Coakley assumed. While I say that, should an attorney general not take action, it’s always a good time for private citizens to act in the interests of protecting their state’s citizens from the predatory practices of these pharmaceutical companies. When we don’t go after these companies, they literally get away with murder, and not just murder, but multiple murders, time and time again.