Television Broadcaster ‘Off His Meds’?

NBC newscaster Brian Williams has been making irrational claims about Cleveland multiple kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro. Brian Williams suggested Ariel Castro had a “mental illness”. Could it be that Brian Williams has a “mental illness”? This has got to be “delusional” thinking on his part. Do you think maybe it runs in his family?

The story, as run in the Orlando Sentinel, bears the heading, Brian Williams’ mental illness remark draws fire.

So when she [Candy Crawford, director of the Central Florida Mental Health Association] tuned in her favorite national news anchor Thursday — NBC’s Brian Williams — she was horrified. Opening his newscast with the sentencing hearing of Ariel Castro, who held three Cleveland women captive for a decade, Williams called the kidnapper and rapist “arguably the face of mental illness, a man described as a monster.”

“Mental illness” and monster equals a man possessed. Does this describe you, Brian Williams? We just have no way of calculating how many people have been gunned down by the news, and it is news these days, hardly impartial, that is paid for by big multinational corporations with many hooks in what news is considered newsworthy. This is something for a person to think about the next time he or she takes an advertising break from the evening news broadcast to visit the frig.

As Ms Crawford puts it.

“When people hear these types of comments over and over, especially from someone so influential, it can sway their beliefs,” she says.

NBC did apologize, but executives and staff are probably still wincing over the public reaction.

For its part, NBC issued a quick reply. “Brian immediately realized his poor choice of words, and he updated the broadcast to omit that phrase for later feeds,” said spokeswoman Erika Masonhall. “We sincerely apologize for the unintended offense caused by these remarks.”

Maybe it’s time people pay more attention to how many news shows are sponsored by drug companies. The USA and New Zealand are the only countries on earth that allow direct to consumer advertising for pharmaceutical products. If it’s not “restless leg syndrome”, it’s “erectile dysfunction”, or any number of other ailments, many of them highly questionable in nature. Then there are the happiness pills that are known to be ineffective, and to give more side effects than they give happiness. As it is doctors who do the prescribing, the advertising should be going to doctors. Outlaw direct to consumer advertising, and you will also clean up many slips of the tongues made by newscasters who are presently, consciously or not, complicit in the legal drug trade.

The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery Chastises Dr. Oz

The Sacramento Bee is to be commended for running the story, National Mental Health Coalition Calls “Dr. Oz” Electroshock Show One-Sided, on The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery’s (NCMHR) view of a segment The Dr. Oz Show is running on electro-shock.

The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) calls upon the producers of “The Dr. Oz Show” to provide balanced and truthful coverage of the risks of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), in which grand mal seizures are electrically induced, usually to treat severe depression.

Dr. Oz apparently wants to give the impression that electro-shock is a safe procedure. If efforts on Capitol Hill to get the electro-shock devices declared safe by the FDA without further research failed, maybe Dr. Oz should listen to those people who have had first hand experience with this issue.

“Shock survivors” and many other mental health advocates assert that ECT’s disabling effects – including permanent memory loss and cognitive deficits – outweigh possible benefits, and call for potential ECT recipients to be told the risks so they can make an informed choice.

Informed consent is never truly informed consent until it is fully informed consent.

“The research is clear: ECT causes closed head injury, temporary euphoria, then return of depression but with enduring memory loss,” says Dr. Daniel B. Fisher, psychiatrist and NCMHR board member. Among the show’s false claims are that less electricity is used in unilateral ECT. “In reality,” Dr. Fisher said, “unilateral ECT requires more electricity.” Calling the show’s claim of 80 percent effectiveness “vastly exaggerated,” Dr. Fisher pointed out that, while many may experience a lifting of depression, this is only temporary, but the disabling side effects are permanent. In addition, many ECT recipients say their depression was exacerbated by the stress associated with their ECT-related cognitive disabilities.

Electro-shock survivors need to be listened to regardless of whether their experiences have been positive or negative. This kind of suppression of the evidence in the name of doing harm to the gullible is something that must be frowned on in all instances for basic humanitarian reasons.

The segment of The Dr. Oz show in question was called The Shock That Could Save Your Life. It would only be fitting and fair, not to mention truthful, if Dr. Oz were to air another segment of his show called The Shock That Could Take Your Life.

Shock survivors and other critics of psychiatric violence are encouraged to give Dr. Oz a piece of their mind in the comment section below the page containing the video.

Fishing In The Stream Of Ambitions, Profiteering, and Genomic Research

Biological psychiatry is abuzz with news of 2 big research studies recently undertaken. HealthCanal.com ran a story on these studies bearing the heading, Researchers in ‘most powerful genetic studies of psychosis to date’. These studies involved some 50,000 patient volunteers.

The problem with some of these mad gene chases, and these two studies are a case in point, is the presumption that often underlies the whole undertaking.

Professor David Collier from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, who was involved in both studies says: ‘Although we have known that psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have a strong genetic basis, it has proven very difficult to identify the genetic risk factors involved. This is because the causes of these illnesses are highly complex, with many different genes and environmental factors involved. In order to try and solve this puzzle, hundreds of scientists researching schizophrenia have pooled their research results resulting in a major and unprecedented research cooperation, involving tens of thousands of volunteer patients.’

Psychiatry is not hard science. These researchers are not actually searching for a mad gene, or even cluster of genes according to the revised theory, they are actually searching for a propensity to go mad gene. This means that a large number of the people with these genes are not going to go mad at all. It also makes the search much more elusive than it would be if there was, let us say, a mad gene. I imagine one could say that the search for the proverbial needle in a haystack would be as productive as any ole’ mad gene hunt.

We have known belongs to the province of religion. We have known because the good book tells us so for instance. We have known doesn’t mean we have proven or we have disproven, the objective of scientific research, anything. The scientific method is not nearly so self-assured, valuing independence of mind and, in particular, skepticism quite highly. If we know then why are we conducting research? We should be conducting this research precisely because we don’t know, because we are unsure, but I suspect something else is going on here, and I will presently indicate what that something may consist in.

‘Our findings are a significant advance in our knowledge of the underlying causes of psychosis – especially in relation to the development and function of the brain. Unraveling the biology of these disorders brings great hope for the development of new therapies – we can attempt to develop therapeutic drugs which target the molecules in the brain involved in the development of psychosis.’ [Emphasis added.]

Funny that these new therapies should translate into chemical compounds, and that these chemical compounds should be making mega-bucks on the stock exchange. I’m talking drugs here, or the researcher’s chemical oil field. Since drugs have been the primary modality of treatment for psychosis since the mid 1950s, I don’t see what the heck is so new about this therapy at all. Drugs are rapidly becoming the only kind of therapy that psychiatrists permit and that their clients receive. If psychosis is not as biologically determined as theory would have it, then perhaps a drug is not the only way to fix it. My suspicion is that this kind of research is tainted by serious conflict of interest issues from the get go.

Make news, not silence

There is something blatantly and unabashedly exhibitionistic about all success. If you don’t make the news, you make the silence. This is all the more true given the equation “mental illness” = dysfunction = failure = wrongness = obscurity. If you let them, they will bury you under a load of rubbish and lies. I do not buy the myth that “adult ‘children” should be seen and not heard’ any more than I buy the myth that infant ‘children should be seen and not heard’. Success is often a matter of digging your way out of the trash and falsehoods. The fashion of the runway isn’t the only fashion in the world when you can make the fashion yourself.

I recently participated in 2 demonstrations connected with the psychOUT 2011 conference in New York City. The first was an anniversary demonstration and vigil at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn over the death of Mrs. Esmin Green, and the second was an impromptu march on the New York Office of Mental Health against forced mental health treatment. Psychiatric survivor activist Lauren Tenney, an organizer of psychOUT 2011, did get a moment of glory on local television in the first action. The second came and went with hardly a murmur of mention. There was a reason for this silence. The first psychOUT conference in Toronto last year was covered atrociously by the press. The press couldn’t cover the event without trying to drown it out. The views of people opposing the conference were seen, by the local press, as more important than the conference itself. You get what I’m saying, don’t you? We don’t have a receptive or a friendly ear in the mainstream press as a rule.

This is one of the reasons why I want to bring Mad Pride to Florida. Mad Pride was just celebrated successfully in Toronto Canada. Mad Pride has been celebrated in Toronto since about 1993 when Mad Pride celebrations were first launched. Toronto devotes a whole week to celebrating Mad Pride. Now Mad Pride is celebrated in places as diverse as Ireland, Great Britain, South America, Africa, and Australia. There are annual Mad Pride celebrations in many locations throughout the USA as well. Mad Pride is one way of telling the world we may be crazy, but we are not wrong, we are not bad, and we are not “mentally ill”. We are, in fact, alright. Mad Pride is a way of celebrating difference. It may be easy to lock up one different person alone, but just try locking up 10, 20, or 1,000 different people who have banded together to help one another. That’s not such an easy prospect, is it? Not so long as there are laws to protect people. It’s easy to forget 1 person alone is a human being; it’s not so easy to forget that a thousand people standing together are human beings.

The world has been slow to learn about Mad Pride, but the more we get the word out there, the more the world will know of us. This is why we must become the producers of our own media. This is why we have to tell the world that we exist. We must explain that there are bigger causes for celebration than Charlie Sheen, Paris Hilton, or even Glenn West, and that we are one of those bigger causes. There is numero uno when numero uno is numero infinitismal to the world at large. This is the same world that is quick to recognize that madness in the street, it is slow to recognize in the mirror. If we are vocal and flamboyant enough about the matter, perhaps that realization might begin to dawn upon this world after all. If we do nothing, we will be devoured by obscurity and silence, and we will leave that task to another people at another time. I say it is better to take up the banner that belongs to us, and to make Mad Pride a cause for our era, than it is to leave this task to some future generation. I hope that future generation feels the same way I do.

Policeman Shoots University of Florida Student

I’m posting a newspaper story that appeared in the Gainesville Sun about an incident that happened here earlier this week. There have been accusations of police brutality aimed at the officers involved in this matter. A press conference took place yesterday. A march has been planned for the week after next. I intend to be one of the protesters taking part in this march. This is not the first time that something of this sort has taken place in this area, and its time that we take a stand, and leave a strong message, lest more of these incidents occur in the future. Its time to say, “No more!”

http://www.gainesville.com/article/20100303/ARTICLES/100309832?p=5&tc=pg

Sources: UF student was shot in head by police

Staff report

Published: Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 8:38 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 8:38 a.m.

A University of Florida graduate student described as delusional but praised by his students remained hospitalized Wednesday after being shot Tuesday night by university police, who went to his apartment after getting a 911 call about someone inside screaming.

Kofi Adu-Brempong, a 35-year-old doctoral student in geography from Ghana, remained under police guard Wednesday night at Shands at the University of Florida.

Sources close to the investigation said he suffered a gunshot wound to his head or face. A report on his condition was not released Wednesday night, but another source said the wound was considered life-threatening.

Police reported that Adu-Brempong’s colleagues said he was having delusions linked to fears that his student visa would be denied and that he had threatened officers with a knife and pipe before being shot. While several charges were filed against Adu-Brempong, including one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, an Alachua County judge ruled Wednesday afternoon that there was not probable cause in the case.

The shooting, believed to be the first of a student by a UPD officer, surprised some of Adu-Brempong’s neighbors and current and former students. They said Adu-Brempong had a childhood case of polio and needed a cane to walk, and they questioned why police using a Taser and beanbag gun were unable to subdue him.

The standoff started at 8:17 p.m. at Adu-Brempong’s on-campus apartment at Corry Village. It began when a neighbor called 911 to report screaming in the apartment, UPD Capt. Jeff Holcomb said.

Police were unable to get Adu-Brempong to answer the door and eventually broke in after a standoff of almost 1 1/2 hours. Adu-Brempong was shot by Officer Keith Smith, Police Chief Linda Stump said.

Holcomb said Smith fired a Bushmaster M-4 rifle after Adu-Brempong threatened police. UF spokesman Steve Orlando said two shots were fired, with one striking Adu-Brempong.

Police declined to say how long after officers burst in that Adu-Brempong was shot.

“My understanding is when the call came in, it was from a neighbor who called hearing screaming. That’s all we knew. We didn’t know who was a resident, how many people were residents, was the screaming involving somebody else,” Holcomb said.

When Adu-Brempong quit talking with them, police decided to move in because they didn’t know if he was harming himself or someone else, Holcomb said.

Police said officers first tried to subdue Adu-Brempong with a Taser stun gun and a beanbag gun. Police said Adu-Brempong had a knife and pipe and threatened the officers involved — Smith, William Sasser, James Mabry, Stacy Ettel and William Ledger. They are members of the agency’s Critical Incident Response Team, which is similar to a SWAT team.

Police declined to say what Adu-Brempong specifically did that threatened the officers.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has taken over the investigation and declined to release most details surrounding the case.

Both UPD and FDLE declined to answer questions about the case, including whether Adu-Brempong charged at officers, how many officers had their guns drawn, the distance between them and Adu-Brempong, the size of his knife and whether Adu-Brempong had wounded himself.

Adu-Brempong was charged with one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill and five counts of resisting an officer with violence.

Alachua County Judge Denise Ferrero, however, found that based on what police had provided in the arrest report, there was not probable cause in the case, according to the State Attorney’s Office. The document included no facts but a legal conclusion, State Attorney Bill Cervone said.

Ferrero gave officers 72 hours to complete a report that would provide a recital of the facts, Cervone said.

Police first met with Adu-Brempong on Monday to check on him after a report of possible emotional problems.

Geography professor Peter Waylen had contacted police to say Adu-Brempong had sent an e-mail with troubling statements, which were redacted in the police report. Waylen told police Adu-Brempong had been having delusional thoughts for at least a year and that he previously had received help from a UF counselor because he believed the U.S. government was not going to renew his student visa, the report stated.

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement employee said Wednesday the agency does not comment on such matters.

Waylen and an officer spoke Monday with Adu-Brempong at his apartment.

“I asked Adu-Brempong if he had any concerns that I could help with. Adu-Brempong advised that he was fine and did not need anyone’s help,” Officer Gene Rogers wrote in the report. “I advised him that Waylen and I were concerned for his safety and were there to assist him any way we could.”

The report states Adu-Brempong refused help from a counselor and stated several times that he was fine.

Some of Adu-Brempong’s neighbors and current and former students described him as a pleasant man who poked fun at his cane by referring to himself as “three-legged” during classes and in notes he wrote on tests.

“He called himself the three-legged son of Africa,” said Daniel Lynch, who took Adu-Brenong’s geography class in the fall.

One neighbor said Adu-Brempong parked his car in the grass next to his apartment because he had problems carrying groceries from the nearby parking lot. Students said he occasionally canceled class because of doctor’s appointments and walked around hunched over.

“It sounds kind of fishy that he was able to resist,” said Michael Blanchette, another student who took the fall class. “He could barely get around with a cane.”

Adu-Brempong taught Geography of a Changing World, a large lecture class that meets a general education requirement. He canceled his Monday class, said students, who also had their classes canceled Wednesday and Friday because of the shooting.

One student, Whitney Evans, expressed shock when she heard about the shooting.

“He’s really down to earth … He didn’t seem like a person who would flip out like that,” she said.

Corry Village neighbors described a scene Tuesday in which heavily armed police descended on the housing complex for graduate students and students with families. As the situation escalated, police evacuated the apartments closest to Adu-Brempong’s and told others to stay inside. Residents returned to their apartments Wednesday morning.

Neighbors said Adu-Brempong lived alone. His wife lives in Africa and was notified on the night of the shooting, according to UF.

A UF spokesman confirmed that Adu-Brempong has been at the university since 2005 but declined to provide information on his personnel record, citing student privacy laws.

Smith, the officer who shot Adu-Brempong, was involved in incidents in 2008 in which off-duty officers admitted they had traveled through high-crime areas in the city and harassed people.

Two officers later stated that the purpose was to “harass the prostitutes and drug dealers” and that they threw eggs on one occasion but that the eggs weren’t directed at any people.

Three Gainesville police officers received written warnings, according to the city police department. Smith, hired in November 2005, received a verbal warning for his involvement and was removed from his recently assigned position to the narcotics task force, university police reported at the time.

Contact Cindy Swirko at 374-5024 or swirkoc@gvillesun.com.

Easier Access To Psych Drugs Increases Costs

One would get the impression that psychiatric drugs were as safe as candy from reading Judi Evan’s opinion piece in Tuesday’s Gainesville Sun, Restrictive Access is a major cost for mental illness. The access she is writing about is to psychiatric drugs. This is only the first of a number of assumptions Mrs. Evans is making in her article. Among these assumptions is the assumption that psychiatric drugs are the best and the only treatment for people in mental health care. This is simply not the case. Drug maintenance, in fact, can actually impede the process of recovery from a serious mental illness.

Judi Evans, the author of this opinion piece, is the executive director of the National Association for the Mentally Ill in Florida, or NAMI Florida. This is the same NAMI that, as reported to a senate committee investigating the financial ties of certain psychiatrists to pharmaceutical companies, received 56% of its funding from the pharmaceutical industry in the period 2005-2009. This doesn’t answer the question as to whether these drugs are safe or not. Certainly, if these drugs aren’t safe, access to them should be restricted.

It has been known since the 1970s that long term use of some psychiatric drugs causes a neurological condition, a movement disorder, known as Tardive Dyskinesia. Monkeys in research have shown a decrease of brain tissue in those animals given psychiatric drugs paralleling the damage seen in MRI scans and autopsies of mental patients, and often attributed to the disease itself. The newer drugs, developed to have less negative effects than the original drugs, have been shown to cause metabolic changes that contribute to the average age at death for a mental health consumer being 25 years younger than that of the average member of the general population.

If, as Judi Evans says, a years worth of medications costs $3,800, then a yearly $3,800 can be saved every time a non-drug approach to mental health treatment is employed. Foster children in Florida have been prescribed psychiatric drugs at a much higher rate than children outside of foster care. Psychiatric drugs used on elderly nursing home residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s have been known to cause strokes, seizures, and even cut short their remaining days on this planet. These certainly don’t sound like good reasons for allowing unlimited access to these substances.

When there are no controls on these drugs, more people are going to ‘maintained’ on them, and more people are going to be therefore damaged by them. There are other approaches to mental health care that have actually proven equally, if not more, effective for some people that don’t involve the use of these drugs. If, as Mrs. Evans suggests, “no one size fits all”, then those other sizes must include approaches to treatment that don’t involve the use of psychotropic drugs. These non-drug approaches to mental health are all too seldom applied now. We certainly don’t need more children, more senior citizens, and more peoples in general taking these drugs than we have at present, and we don’t need any more people damaged by these drugs, but that is exactly what we are going to get if less restricted access to psychiatric drugs is permitted.

Given the cost of the drugs, the cost of long term care, and medical expenses incurred from health conditions developed due to the of taking these drugs, all a result of practically unrestricted access to psychiatric drugs, more restrictive access would bring this cost down rather than increase it. Psychiatric drugs are not the magic bullets they are so often cracked up to be. Judi Evans has it wrong in some of her basic premises about mental health treatment. If you want to save money, health, and lives, you employ treatments that don’t always involve the use of these powerful psychiatric drugs. The tragic human toll involved in using them as indiscriminately as we do now has hardly been calculated. We certainly don’t need to increase this burden of cost on everyone by discouraging safer and more effective approaches to treatment, but that is exactly what less restricted access in effect would manage to accomplish.

Editorialist Gets It Wrong

Some of these would be mental health experts don’t know what they’re talking about. One case in point is that of Anne Ziegler writing in the editorial corner for the Fierce Healthcare website, No drug reform, no relief for the poor.

Mrs. Ziegler would take two seemingly disparate news stories, 1. Seroquel is being sold as a street drug, and 2. Senator Grassley investigating a certain Miami doctor for over prescribing prescription psychiatric drugs, and she would try to unite these two stories into a single story with a single message. This story being that these drugs are priced so high that the poor can’t afford them.

She even goes so far as to suggest that Seroquel is a life saving drug. That Seroquel can also be a life destroying drug seems to be a bit of information that hasn’t entered her consciousness yet.

Is Grassley target Dr. Fernando Mendez-Villamil an overprescriber? I don’t know, of course; but I do know that it’s likely some poor people got at least some of what they needed. Should street drug users buy and sell Seroquel? Definitely not, but if they’re too poor to buy it at retail, don’t have insurance and don’t have access to a psychiatrist, they’re going to do it anyway, particularly given that many are the untreated mentally ill.

The people buying these drugs off the street are not the labeled mentally ill as a rule. Seroquel is being peddled for its qualities as a sleeping pill. We may need to look more closely at just who would purchase street drugs, but these drugs are not being sold for their ‘medicinal’ qualities to people who are looking for a cure to their ills. They are also not being sold to people who need Seroquel. You have doctor’s to do that. If these ‘poor people’ had a diagnosis, believe me, paying for the pills wouldn’t be such a big problem.

But thanks to some bought and paid for legislators, we get no cheap drug reimportation, no strong price controls for drugs given to Medicaid patients, no significant pressure to curb “pay-for-delay” schemes bypassing generic competition; in sum, the poor are largely on their own.

‘Bought and paid for legislators’? By whom? By Astrazeneca, the maker’s of Seroquel? Does she have no idea as to whose bank accounts are feeding these legislators? If she does, she doesn’t go into it, laying the blame entirely on the legislators instead.

Then there is this ‘no strong price controls for drugs given to Medicaid patients’. Is this a slip of her typing finger? Her conclusion would be that ‘the poor are largely on their own’. Not those poor who are on Medicaid, our public insurance policy. This Medicaid is paying for their prescription drugs. The poor don’t pay for this insurance, and the drugs it buys for them, the taxpayers pay for it all. The very same taxpayers who are paying the saleries of those legislators she mentioned earlier.

She would make Dr. Fernando Mendez-Villamil an exception, and perhaps even an exception to be commended. Her assumption is that Dr. Mendez-Villamil is alone in his zealous over use of the prescription drug. He isn’t. The Chicago Tribute, conducting it’s own investigations, has been looking at one Dr. Michael Reinstein who has been overprescribing these drugs to patients in the Chicago area.

Dr. Mendez-Villamil and Dr. Reinstein I feel certain are only the tip of the iceburg. First you need someone in any area who cares intensely enough to launch an investigation into the matter. Dr. Reinstein is being investigated not only because he is quick to prescribe pills, but because some of the people under his care who had been prescribed these pills have died, undoubtably as a result of the drugs they were on.

Dr. Mendez-Villamil and Dr. Reinstein are definitely not the only people in the overprescription of the psychiatric drug business. The British are investigating the overprescription of psychiatric drugs in their nursing homes now. I have commented more than once about ongoing investigations into the overprescribing of psychiatric drugs to foster children and the elderly.

Sometimes two disparate stories, dealing with what’s going on in two different and distant locations, are not so related after all. Sometimes the facts of the matter are not so simple as one might have imagined them to be. Sometimes one needs to take a good long and hard look at all the facts before one jumps to an erronious conclusion. I suggest that Mrs. Ziegler should study the subject of the over prescription of psychiatric drugs more closely before she makes any more preposterous statements on the subject.

Newly Discovered Mental Disorder Strikes Doctors

There is an unseen epidemic rampant in the psychiatric profession of doctors suffering from ODPD, or Over Diagnosis Prescription Disorder. Unfortunately there is as of yet no mechanism set in place to catch and treat these poor demented devils. I have even heard it suggested that some of these afflicted doctors should be given a taste of their own medicine, but I’m not of that school of thought. I don’t think using medical pretenses to harm a patient is ever justified.

Nowhere is this evidence of ODPD more apparent than in the field of pediatric psychiatry. Apparently it’s more acceptable to stigmatize and drug to a stupor juveniles and children than it is to do so to fully developed and less impressionable adults. Once there were scarcely any children with ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, and Schizophrenia, but now such cases are cropping up everywhere. What the public is unaware of is that much of this increase in childhood mental illness is in direct proportion to the rise in doctors suffering from ODPD.

A recent article in Medscape Today illustrates how this condition can easily get out of hand. Titled Bipolar Disorder and ADHD in Children: Confusion and Comorbidity, in this piece one can sense the collusion between bad parents and affected professionals. Often the drugs used to treat an alleged mental disease have a great deal to do with increasing what are seen as the symptoms of that disease.

Mrs. K begins to cry. “I don’t know what to do anymore. We’ve had him on the medicine for almost 3 months, and he seems to be getting worse.” Mrs. K tells the nurse that her son’s ADHD “comes and goes.” Troy will be playing relatively quietly one moment, and then, out of the blue, he will start running around, breaking things, and hitting his brother. “If he doesn’t get his own way, he goes ballistic. The school calls me every day. He’s always talking in class, or acting like a clown to get a laugh out of the other kids. Or he’s throwing things on the floor or turning over his chair. We put him in private school, but that’s not working either. They said they would give him a few more weeks.”

Rather than attributing any of this child’s behavioral problems to environmental and social conditions, and correcting the source of his discomfiture, the easiest course of action to take is to assign another disease to the kid, and that is exactly the course of action that is taken.

The nurse could simply nod sympathetically, take care of Troy’s arm, and turn her attention to the next patient. But she remembers reading something recently about the overlap between ADHD and bipolar disorder in children, and she wonders if, because of his young age, Troy was diagnosed properly. She says, “It’s just possible that there could be something else going on, besides the ADHD. If so, he might need a different type of medication, something that might really help him. Would you consider taking Troy to be evaluated by a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist we work with?”

Whether they work in hospitals, clinics, or schools, nurses in all healthcare settings regularly encounter patients, including children, with diagnosed and undiagnosed mental health disorders. As many as 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 5 children may suffer from a mental health condition, and a substantial proportion of these individuals meet the criteria for multiple mental health problems. The lines between these disorders are often blurry, particularly in children. Children with anxiety disorders may also have mood disorders, and children with conduct disorders may also suffer from depression. Substance abuse and learning disorders frequently coexist with other mental health diagnoses.

Coexisting mental illnesses? How convenient for doctors and drug companies. We don’t have to worry about having misdiagnosed a patient, and having to leaf through our Diagnostic Statistical Manual IV for the correct disorder, if we can just attach another disorder to our initial diagnosis. You don’t have to change drugs then either, you just add another brew to the kid’s drug cocktail. We can ignore the fact that the drug cocktail is one of the worse courses of action to take, prognosis-wise with any patient, when it is a merely a matter of standard practice. That doing so may be symptomatic of ODPD we can ignore, too, so long as it hasn’t made its way into the DSM yet.

I submit that the problem is way too large for us to ignore. There are so many doctors out there who need the help that they are not receiving that the situation has grown quite drastic. Given that the patient to doctor ratio is always much higher, and this is especially true with doctors suffering from ODPD, this means that many patients are being harmed and abused by doctors suffering from this affliction. Doctors with ODPD are actually too sick to practice medicine efffectively, although a type of anosognosia that goes along with this disease may prevent them from being cognizant of the fact. This being the case, it is up to the public to get these diseased doctors out of the profession, and to make sure that they can inflict no more damage on anybody else.

Antipsychotic Drug Elder Abuse

The Chicago Tribune is currently investigating the misuse of antipsychotic drugs in Illinois nursing homes.

As a recent report in New York Injury News, Drugged, Illinois nursing home residents victimized, tells it:

The explosive investigative report is blowing the lid off the secretive nursing home practices, which have affected thousands of Illinois’ elderly and/or disabled nursing home residents. The unprecedented amounts of victims have been drugged with psychotropic drugs without their consent, or a legitimate medical psychiatric diagnosis to support the administration of powerful and possibly dangerous drugs. The Chicago Tribune uncovered 1,200 violations since 2001 at the states nursing homes that involved psychotropic medications.

These violations have affected more than 2,900 patients, and possible even more because regulatory inspections are only conducted once every 15 months. In these inspections only a small sample of residents are evaluated for harm, which leaves a large gray area of many more possible victims that have not been documented. A total of “742 Illinois nursing homes that care for traditional geriatric patients found that two-thirds of them were cited at least once in the past eight years for incidents involving psychotropics. Dozens of homes had violations year after year.”

This problem is probably national in scope, and even international in some respects. The Chicago Tribune can’t be commended enough for launching such an investigation, and pursuing the matter.

In Great Britain, for example, 10 charities, a number of care groups, and experts have signed a letter sent to The Daily Telegraph on the problem in that country earlier this year.

An article on this letter in The Daily Telegraph, ‘Scandalous abuse’ of the elderly prescribed antipsychotics in hospital exposed, explains what’s wrong with giving these drugs to the elderly.

Three quarters of nurses have seen people with dementia in general wards in hospital prescribed antipsychotic drugs that are known to double the risk of death and triple the risk of a stroke in these patients, research has shown.

It is the first time the scale of the abuse in hospital wards is exposed, following warnings that 100,000 dementia patients in care homes are prescribed the drugs leading to the deaths of 23,000 a year.

The same article goes on to say:

Earlier this year, a study published in Lancet Neurology found that antipsychotic drugs double risk of death for many patients if used over a three year period. A second study, using the records of six million people, published by the British Medical Journal online found antipsychotics tripled the risk of stroke in dementia patients.

Around 100,000 people with dementia are routinely prescribed antipsychotics in UK care homes. This could mean 23,500 people dying prematurely, according to a 2008 report by Paul Burstow MP.

People with elderly parents in nursing homes and other concerned citizens should be alarmed by these statistics, and if they find such abuses taking place, they should report them. Doing so, after all, could prove a life and death matter for somebody’s loved one.

Scottish Woman Suing Health Board

A woman from Dumbarton, Scotland, is suing the largest health board in that country according to this article in the Lennox Herald.

Claire Muir had heard that the child she was going to bear was deceased, and so she called to seek the services of a counselor. The telephone operator thought she sounded psychotic, and this resulted in the poor woman being sectioned under Great Britain’s Mental Health Act.

She’s angry, and I would say justifiably so.

Over the course of a 51 day hospital detention, Mrs. Muir says she was forcibly injected with psychiatric drugs over 12 times. She was physically assaulted and restrained while being forcibly drugged.

She said: “I would like the law to be changed because, at the moment, it gives all the power to psychiatrists and none to the patients. Psychiatrists are self-governed and need to be made accountable.”

I’m sure many people who have had unfortunate, humiliating, and unjust experiences with the mental health system would agree with Mrs. Muir.

Her lawyer, Hunter Watson, adds.

“She’s had a terrible experience and I hope she is successful in her case. I would also like the government to look at the law as it stands because nowhere is there acknowledgement that a psychiatrist can make a mistake.”

I’ve said pretty much the same thing on occasion. There is no Innocence Project for people committed to a state mental hospital.

The winning of a case like Mrs. Muir’s could prove very helpful for many of the people misdiagnosed mentally ill and falsely imprisoned in hospitals throughout the United Kingdom every year.