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Addictions, behavioral and chemical, declared brain diseases

No gain without a pain killer!

The American Society of Addiction Medicine has opened a Pandora’s box that will surely come back to haunt them. The LA Times reports, Addiction is a brain disease, experts declare. The problem here is that we’re not just talking alcoholism, speed and heroin, we’re also talking gambling, sex, and the internet.

Addiction is “not simply a behavioral problem involving too much alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex,” the American Society of Addiction Medicine declared this week. Instead, the society notes, “Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.”

I don’t get the idea that anybody laying down solid evidence to support this thesis. I’d like to be shown an extracted brain circuit, for instance.

In other words, addiction is not just about the act of raising a bottle to the lips, drawing deeply on a cigarette or bingeing guiltily in chocolate bars in private. There just might be something amiss in your head that compels you to behave that way.

There you go…chocolate addiction! From what I’ve heard the DSM-V is set to include gambling as an addiction with sex and the internet in the appendix, sort of knocking at the gate if you will. I can’t help but think that ASAM is envisioning a greatly expanded DSM-VI already.

Sex addiction (hypersexuality) is an example of one of these so called behavioral addictions that readily lends itself to parody. What’s the difference between a sex addict and a mere enthusiast? Usually it’s a partner that the “addict” is in a supposedly committed relationship with. Alright, you’ve got a person who either ends the relationship, and can revert to enthusiast status, or you’ve got a person who is so addicted to this partner as to make such a reversion more difficult than usual. The partner is usually not such an enthusiast, and in fact, is usually if married on the way to divorce court, and if not married is in the process of transitioning to another partner. Unless, of course, he or she has been gulled into buying the sex addiction argument.

This is a first for ASAM, previous definitions have restricted the ground covered to substance abuse. Now every fad and fancy in the book is open to reassessment as a behavioral addiction, and a behavioral addiction equaling “brain disease”. Why? Because, of course, ASAM says so.

But just because something’s widely accepted professionally doesn’t mean it’s widely accepted out there in the world. At the website of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, you’ll see colorful PET scan images that attempt to drum home the point: One is of a normal brain and one of a cocaine abuser: metabolically, they look quite different. Right next to that pairing is another set of images, of two hearts – one healthy, one diseased. Again, the images look quite different. There would be no controversy over declaring one of the hearts physically diseased. That can’t be said for addiction, even in the face of all the evidence.

Right, now how different is the brain of an addicted internet user from a complete computer naif?

The health food obsession, as I made note of in an earlier post, has for some time, and in some quarters, been categorized under the mental disorder tag Orthorexia. This is amusing as junk food addiction has not yet entered the medical lexicon. Of course, there’s another disorder associated with pigging out on a fast food regimen, and that’s a growing problem in this country, obesity. Next thought, if only there were more exercise junkies around, and exercise junkies who could keep off the steroids.

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.

The Drugging Of Juveniles in the Justice System in Florida Investigated

The Palm Beach Post has conducted an investigation on the drugging of juveniles in the juvenile justice system. It seems that Medicaid fraud, or so called “off label” prescribing practices (i.e. prescribing drugs for purposes other than those approved by the FDA), is rampant in the state of Florida. As explained in the first of a two part series for that newspaper, Huge doses of potent antipsychotics flow into state jails for troubled kids.

Reacting to the newspaper’s findings, the head of Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice ordered a sweeping review of the department’s use of antipsychotic medications. As it stands now, DJJ doesn’t track prescriptions and has no way of telling whether doctors are putting kids on pills simply to make them easier to control.

The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice seems to be overdoing the chemical control bit. The idea that there is more serious mental illness in our juvenile justice facilities than fever is absolutely ludicrous.

In 2007, for example, DJJ bought more than twice as much Seroquel as ibuprofen. Overall, in 24 months, the department bought 326,081 tablets of Seroquel, Abilify, Risperdal and other antipsychotic drugs for use in state-operated jails and homes for children.

That’s enough to hand out 446 pills a day, seven days a week, for two years in a row, to kids in jails and programs that can hold no more than 2,300 boys and girls on a given day.

The second article in this two part series deals with conflict of interest, and the kickbacks doctors who prescribe to juveniles in criminal detention often receive from drug companies.

In all, 52 psychiatrists who have worked for DJJ combined to bill Medicaid for at least 175,247 prescriptions for psychiatric medications in 21 months, a span that ended in March 2009. The doctors who took payments, a group that numbered 17, accounted for more than half of all those prescriptions, records show.

Florida is not one of those states requiring drug companies to disclose the amount of money they give to doctors. Enacting such legislation could help safeguard the health of kids in the juvenile justice system. The reach of such legislation, in fact, would extend well beyond the juvenile justice system alone. It would also help protect children in foster care, people in the mental health system, and seniors in nursing homes.

Neuroleptic drugs over-used in California nursing homes

You simply can’t be wishy-washy about using neuroleptic drugs on elderly dementia patients. Unfortunately, many people in the media don’t seem to understand this fact. Take the article, Audit: Common psychiatric meds can be deadly for elderly, about how a government audit led to a report on the damage caused by neuroleptic drugs.

The report released Monday by the Health and Human Services Inspector General’s Office shows that 88 percent of the second-generation antipsychotic drugs prescribed at U.S. nursing homes are for patients with dementia, despite a government warning that such patients face an increased risk of death on such drugs.

Why would the government issue such a warning if patients didn’t face an increased risk of death on such drugs? It wouldn’t.

In California the situation is alarming.

Such medications are prescribed daily to 24,000, or about a fourth, of the 99,000 nursing home residents in the Golden State, federal data shows.

There is absolutely no way that ¼ of the nursing home residents in California have schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, the disorders these drugs supposedly were designed to treat. The use of these drugs is therefor primarily “off label”, or for uses that have not been approved by the FDA.

The report was based on a review of nursing home patient medical records from the first half of 2007. The findings include:

• Fifty-one percent, or $116 million worth, of claims for the medications were “erroneous,” meaning they were not given to patients or did not meet Medicare nursing home prescribing guidelines.
• About 83 percent of claims were for “off-label” uses, meaning they were given to patients for conditions other than the serious mental disorders the drugs were developed to treat.
• Of the 2.1 million elderly nursing home residents, 14 percent had a prescription for an atypical antipsychotic drug between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2007.

The California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform has launched a “Campaign to Stop Drugging” because of this very problem. The advocacy group has published a guide to the public on the subject of protecting the elderly from this kind of drug abuse. The CANHR has also held a conference for elderly advocates, and attempted but failed to pass legislation calling for more rigorous informed consent.

This is not a localized problem, and people in other states need to pay close attention to it. Nursing home residents in all likelihood are being drugged into a premature grave in their states as well.

“Anytime anyone takes a hard look at this, they find terrible things,” [CANHR lawyer Anthony] Chicotel said. “They need to focus attention away from just looking and focus on finding solutions.”

This article ends with a trade group doctor arguing for the use of these deadly chemicals. Relatives need to take note. If you want your elderly relatives around awhile longer, ignore the end of this article. This last word is a drug company promotion that has the potential to kill your loved one. Look for substance in it, and you will find none. Equal time for rich and powerful drug companies is not equal time in actuality. All you have to do to get some idea of what I mean when I say this is to turn on the television set. Direct to consumer advertising has made for a very slippery slope between anybody and truly health-conscious information based decision making. It’s not a good idea to kill your elderly relatives if you have any positive regard for them, and if you can help it. Neuroleptic drugs will do just that.

Dialoguing with a task force revising the DSM

The event itself was billed as “an update briefing call for mental health consumer and family organizations on the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” Recently I had the honor of being one of 3 people invited from a certain organization responding to a conference call regarding the slated 2013 publication of the DSM-V. The organization was MindFreedom International, and the three people attending this event from that organization were David W. Oaks, director of MindFreedom International, Paula J. Caplan, a psychologist, author, and speaker, and yours truly.

We realized from the beginning that there was not likely to be much real discussion allowed on this call. David suggested each person draw up a number of concerns that we could take to the task force members. Paula offered to incorporate those concerns into a document, a more comprehensive list. She titled the paper we sent around Questions and concerns to address to May 2, 2011 conference call about DSM-V.

This questions and concerns document, 2 and ½ pages long, was divided in 2 parts Questions and Recommendations about Procedures, and Questions and Recommendations about Content. The first part addressed the process by which the DSM was being revised, and the second part dealt with the disorder categories being added to, and deleted from, that manual.

Among the highlights of this document were Item Number 5 Questions and Recommendations about Procedures.

Given the vast amount of harm caused by use of DSM categories, as well as to the widely-believed but mistaken assumption that some body such as the FDA must be regulating the use of psychiatric diagnosis, would you be willing to join an initiative to hold Congressional Hearings about psychiatric diagnosis? In such hearings, both those who feel they have been helped and those who feel they have been harmed could speak, and a national conversation about ways to minimize the harm could begin.

Item Number 1 in Questions and Recommendations on Content also went straight to the point. How much science, after all, is involved in voting “mental disorders” into existence as phenomenon and epidemic?

In light of the impression the public has that the DSM-V is solidly grounded in high-quality scientific research, what steps do you plan to take to disclose to therapists and the public the extent to which it actually is not grounded in good science?

Item Number 2 was also interesting. We happen to have a Bill of Rights attached to our US Constitution, even if those rights aren’t always observed and protected. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to have the DSM acknowledge those rights as well. I didn’t get the idea though that these task force members were particularly keen on seeing those rights protected.

Given the power and influence of the DSM, will DSM-V include alerts to therapists about the many kinds of harm that can result solely from receiving just about any psychiatric diagnosis, and will it include concrete suggestions for ways that therapists can help minimize the harm that can result? As a start, we suggest that you include the following, Black Box warning in the next edition:

“”The publishers of DSM do not intend this manual to be the basis for any professional or legal decision that may limit the liberty, or discriminate against, any individual who receives a diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder.”

Among the list of “disorders” we wouldn’t have voted into the manual there was also a “disorder” that we would like to see included. This was the (A) recommendation under Item number 5, (B) through (D) pertaining to thoroughly dispensable “disorder” label candidates.

(A) Introduce a category called Toxic Psychiatric Drug Syndrome to provide for systematic documentation of such effects and, in the first instance, to call attention to the negative effects that psychotropic drugs often have.

The three DSM-V revision task force members leading this call were Jim McNulty, public representative of the Task Force and a past president of the pharmaceutical industry front group NAMI, David J. Kupfer, psychiatrist and chair of the Task Force, and Darrel A. Regier, psychiatrist and vice-chair of the Task Force. Mostly this was a matter of Darrel Regier and Jim McNulty speaking while the participants passively listened.

Any apprehensions we had going into this thing must have been borne out by Monday’s call. Mostly it was a matter of the DSM Task Force members taking pains to paint a rosy picture of the revisions being made to the DSM. The changes being made were linked to the latest in scientific research. The biased and unsound nature of this research was not something the task force members wanted to impress upon us. The glories of the DSM-V were expounded, and then the call was turned over to the participating organization members for Q & A.

After the lectures we had received, there was only enough time left in the teleconference to hear from 6 participants. Paula and David were both able to get their questions into the task force members while I was not able to do so. Due to this circumstance, I was grateful for Paula’s list. Unfortunately, I felt that there wasn’t as much dialogue in this event as there might have been. In fact, it was mostly comprised of monologue from the task force members. I don’t really think the suggestions of the participants were of primary concern to the task force members who arranged the event. My feeling was that this was mostly a PR ploy designed to give the appearance of dialogue. My fingers are still crossed on this subject, but I doubt the task force members are likely to spend as much time sweating over the details of the document we sent them as perhaps they should spend.

Related link: The Inside Story of Our Conference Call with the DSM-5 Heads

This Drug Versus That Drug Bipolar Treatment Study

I was startled to run across an article in HealthNewsDigest.com with the heading Adults With Bipolar Disorder Needed for Study Comparing Two Treatments. This article is about a study being conducted at Stanford University. What treatments are being compared at Stanford? Well, actually both the “treatments” this article mentions are drugs.

Next question: does the pharmaceutical industry have its hooks deep into Stanford University? Given a cursory internet search on the subject I would have to say yes. I think so.

We hope to determine the better foundational treatment for the contemporary management of bipolar disorder,” said Terence Ketter, MD, principal investigator of the Stanford arm of the study and director of Stanford’s Bipolar Disorders Clinic. “Is it lithium, the classical mood stabilizer, or quetiapine [brand name Seroquel], a second-generation antipsychotic with broad efficacy in bipolar disorder?”

This drug versus drug approach begs the question of how well any non-drug approach to therapy might work. Would a non-drug approach out perform either of the two pills being tested? The question isn’t even getting a hearing.

Now let’s look at some of the bad effects of these drugs being used to “treat” patients.

Two commonly prescribed medications for bipolar disorder are lithium and the antipsychotic quetiapine. Neither drug is perfect: Lithium is associated with the risk of long-term thyroid and kidney problems, and quetiapine carries the risk of drowsiness and weight gain and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic problems such as diabetes. But, Ketter noted that these risks can be managed by careful attention to dosage and, on occasion, use of other medications.

Lithium

    1. thyroid
    2. kidney problems (I don’t know about you, but I think calling organ failure “a problem” is a bit misleading.) I know that brain damage can also come of lithium toxicity, and I’m wondering why it isn’t mentioned.

Seroquel

    1. drowsiness
    2. weight gain
    3. cardiovascular disease
    4. metabolic problems such as diabetes (2 through 4 “imperfections” could be laid at the feet of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a big reason studies have found people in mental health treatment are dying on average at an age 25 years younger than the rest of the population.)

As for attention to dosage, no dose could be safer than 0 mg. The problem with bringing in other drugs is we have to then ask how these additional drugs are going to negatively impact the patient’s physical health. Polypharmacy, the practice of prescribing multiple drugs for multiple conditions, is notorious for its lack of good outcomes.

A leading researcher in this study offers his suspicion that the reason for the shift from lithium to quetiapine as a “treatment” is due primarily to the aggressive advertising efforts of drug manufacturers.

Ketter pointed out that industry-sponsored efficacy studies, aimed at assessing treatments for bipolar disorders in order to gain FDA approval, usually allow participants to take one other medication at the most. But, Ketter said, this comparative-effectiveness study is different because participants can be treated with almost any other medication — except lithium for patients randomized to quetiapine, or quetiapine for patients randomized to lithium. (Most bipolar disorder patients need combinations of medications to manage their disease.)

Then again it’s not so different because none of the patients in the study are given the option of going without psychiatric drugs.

The authors of the study being conducted want to know which subjects respond better to lithium and which subjects respond better to quetiapine. I have to wonder why they aren’t interested in knowing which subjects, as with most people, respond better to no drugs at all.

There’s a very good topic indeed! Why do some people labeled bipolar do better on no drugs? First, you have to acknowledge that this is the case, and then you might be able to explore the matter. Unfortunately, as in this instance, the facts of the matter are mostly ignored by the medical establishment, and this indicates, if not drug company kickbacks, much denial on the part of the doctors studying these “treatments”.

Psychiatric drugs quick at increasing heart disease risk

It doesn’t take long on some atypical neuroleptic drugs to start to develop metabolic ill health conditions, according to an article in Reuters, Short time on antipsychotics may up heart disease.

According to the new study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, patients taking antipsychotics tended to gain weight after one month and had increases in their cholesterol levels after three to four months.

Obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes, all known to be produced by the taking of the newer atypical neuroleptic drugs, increase the risks for heart disease significantly.

Given the numbers of off-label (non-FDA approved) uses to which such drugs have been put, for anxiety, for depression, for personality disorders, for mood disorders, etc., psychiatrists are obviously not as cautious about using these powerful drugs as they ought to be.

[Australian researcher Debra] Foley and her team looked at 25 previous studies that had tracked risk factors for heart disease in patients taking older or newer antipsychotics. These included high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and body weight.

The newer atypical neuroleptic drugs, due to a metabolic syndrome they cause, we know to be killers. Zyprexa and risperidal, newer drugs, were specifically mentioned as being looked at in this research.

They found that across all the studies, six to seven of every 10 people on antipsychotics were overweight after six months. Before taking the drugs, only about four of every 10 were overweight, the same as in the general population.

Given 1 year, 2 years, and more on these drugs, you know this overweight percentage must approach something in the order of 100%. What other disastrous information do you need to figure out that we need to pursue other and healthy means of treating people in distress that don’t involve the use of these harmful drugs of questionable effectiveness if the killing fields treatment with these chemicals has produced is not to expand and spread?

Watching the psychiatric labeling rate rise, it’s easy to predict a rise in psychiatric labeling

One has to be more than a little wary of any article with the heading Medicating mentally ill children: what parents need to know. My suspicion is that some of these parents need to know a little more than they purport to know. My suspicion is that they also need to look for that knowledge in less typical places than they usually do. There is no wisdom to be gained in simply repeating the same tired adage over and over again ad nauseum.

When schools screen for “mental illness”, the number of kids labeled “mentally ill” is going to go up. When drug companies push pharmaceutical products to child care providers, the number of kids labeled “mentally ill” is going to go up. When good parenting skills cease to be applied in child rearing, the number of kids labeled “mentally ill” is going to go up. This article even does a little bit of the math without acknowledging it.

The article deals at 1 place with 2 kids who received bipolar diagnoses. Hello? Did nobody tell the authors about the bipolar boom we experienced recently as a result of labeling kids once labeled ADHD as early onset bipolar cases. This is the same ADHD that was non-existent 50 years ago. It didn’t exist because it hadn’t been invented. The “sick” excuse didn’t, at that time, exist for academic underachievers and classroom clowns.

A.

It wasn’t a case of bad parenting, or bad kids. In both cases the culprit was bipolar disorder.

B.

“It seems there is a progression of this as it marches down the age route, in that younger children are having more symptoms and signs,” said Dr. P. Brent Petersen, the clinical and medical director of the Pingree Center.

Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are spreading like wildfire among the very young. The authors of this piece are going to ignore cause and effect, in this instance, just so nobody will have any hard feelings. Psychiatric disorder labels are not infectious. They come in trends perhaps, but they are not infectious.

These psychiatric labels serve as excuses for mental health professionals to use expensive psychiatric drugs on their child patients.

The illnesses can be treated with atypical antipsychotics. And while the FDA has only approved those drugs for adults 18 years old and up, doctors can prescribe them “off label” to children — a decision Dr. Kristi Kleinschmit of the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute does not make lightly.

Prescribing drugs for uses not approved by the FDA, or “off label” prescribing as it is called, is fraud. The doctor who gives a drug for some purpose other than that for which it has been approved is defrauding his clientelle. Snake oil hasn’t been approved by the FDA either.

Rich and poor families alike can have throw away unwanted children, but I think the problem is, of course, bigger where impoverishment exists. The article ends by saying as much.

A Rutgers University study found that low-income kids were four times as likely to receive antipsychotics as privately insured families.

When drugging children in low-income households means more federal benefits, of course, the number of children labeled “mentally ill” is going to go up.

Panel Recommends Testing Of Shock Devices

The FDA Panel voted Friday to recommend testing of electroshock devices before their safety status might be changed. The New York Times covered the story in an article bearing the headline F.D.A. Panel Is Split on Electroshock Risks.

Comments sent to the FDA on the subject overwhelmingly favored testing.

Nearly 80 percent of 3,045 comments sent to the F.D.A. asked for stricter oversight or even a ban on electroshock treatment. It remains controversial with some advocacy groups and former patients who say it is unsafe, ineffective and causes brain damage.

The vote was as follows:

The neurological devices advisory panel to the F.D.A delivered a mixed verdict. Ten panel members favored and eight opposed classifying electroshock devices as a high risk for the treatment of severe depression, its main use. The panel favored high-risk designations for schizophrenia and three other disorders by votes of 13 to 4, 12 to 5, 14 to 3 and 16 to 1, as the advisers said there was little proof of any benefit for them.

There was one exception to this decision favoring testing and that was in the area of catatonia.

But the panel voted 9 to 8 in favor of making it easier to use electroshock for catatonia, citing a lack of other treatment.

This sidesteps the little matter of actual safety. It is certainly no safer for a person to be shocked for catatonia than it is for a person to be shocked for depression.

Dr. Peter Breggin, a New York psychiatrist, in a Huffington Post blog post, FDA Recommends Testing of ECT Machines, indicates what sort of problems may occur if this sort of loophole is permitted.

If the diagnosis of catatonia is given this loophole, we will see more and more people diagnosed with this disorder. It will be a potential medical disaster because most catatonic-like states are now caused by drug toxicity, including neuroleptic malignant syndrome from the antipsychotic drugs and serotonin syndrome from the serotonergic antidepressants. I have been a medical expert in malpractice cases in which clinicians have mistaken these toxic syndromes for psychiatric disorders, resulting in chronic disability or death from lack of proper treatment. I predict that thousands of patients who need treatment for psychiatric drug toxicity will instead end up on the shock table.

The FDA is said to generally go along with the recommendations of its panels. The panelists found in favor of testing before electroshock machines can be reclassified category II devices so they are likely to remain category III devices for some time to come. Whether the FDA will allow any kind of hypocritical category II loophole for catatonic states remains a matter for speculation.

Hearings on the safety of shock treatment taking place

The matter shouldn’t require a lot of thought. You don’t declare a medical device safe without testing it for safety. Any device that isn’t tested for safety couldn’t reliably be said to be safe. Having pointed out the obvious fact that a device that hasn’t been tested for safety can’t be said to be safe, why is the Food and Drug Administration holding hearings about spreading such a lie in the case of electro-shock devices? These hearing are going on today, January 27, and tomorrow, January 28.

If it weren’t for the ties FDA officials have with the makers and users of these devices I doubt these hearings would be taking place. Were the FDA independent of the psychiatric profession, the possibility of granting a safe status to an untested device just wouldn’t come up. This is a matter of upgrading a device’s status from dangerous to safe, not because it has been found to be safe, but because people want it to be declared safe based on wishful thinking. Manufacturers and their customers want these devices approved untested because they know they wouldn’t pass any such test.

Electro-shock is used to induce seizures. The theory runs that the mental state an epileptic experiences following a seizure is somehow therapeutic in the case of a person suffering from depression and some other “mental illness” labels. Epilepsy and electro-shock therapy both damage brains. Researchers are diligently seeking a cure for epilepsy for this very reason.

This information shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody. When you send electricity through the central control center of the human body you can’t do so without upsetting something. This upset translates into harm, and this damage shows itself in the form of irrecoverable memory loss. Every time a person undergoes electro-shock there is some permanent memory loss. This permanent memory loss is a surefire indication that some brain damage has occurred. Brain damage is not a good cure for depression and other “mental illness” labels.

Until not too long ago there was a radical surgery technique that was supposed to correct “serious mental illness” by damaging the brain. This brain surgery was called a lobotomy. The outcomes of this brain surgery procedure were not pretty. The “treatment” provided by electro-shock therapy is very similar to that provided by a lobotomy. Had it not been for the development of psychiatric drugs, another questionable method of treatment, doctors might still be performing lobotomies. I suppose if such procedures were still in vogue the doctors who performed lobotomies would try to get the FDA to call surgically damaging the brain “safe.”

Brain damage, in most instances, is not to be desired. Brain damage, in fact, is a possibility to be dreaded and feared. Brain damage can seriously impair the functionality of the person who has had his or her brain so damaged. We see instances of this impairment in the cases of electro-shock survivors who have had to change careers because they were no longer capable of performing on the job at the same level as they once had performed. Devices that cause brain damage are not safe devices. If the FDA is going to approve any such brain damaging device, without testing it for safety first, maybe the FDA had just better change its name to MUD (Mutilating Utilities Department). The FDA’s word, if it should call these devices safe without testing them for safety, will have become totally unreliable. No device is made safe merely by calling it safe. Should the FDA do so, this will mean a long and hard fight for the people who know better.