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Psychiatrists are fake doctors who poison brains and believe they’re healers.
The government gives psychiatry its fake legitimacy. The government blesses the medical licensing boards that award psychiatrists permission to drug your children, alter their brains, poison them, and of course make all the fake diagnoses in the first place. Without the government, these fakes would sink into the waves and be gone forever. Nobody in his right mind or wrong mind would ever step into a psychiatrist’s office. It would be like volunteering to stumble out on to a mine field seeded with explosives.
Media, naturally, go along with the psychiatric hoax. Thousands of articles keep coming out of the hopper to support the authoritative pronouncements of these deranged monsters with medical degrees and “training” in diagnosing mental illnesses.
There are no mental illnesses or disorders! There never have been!
In the early 20th century, the best descriptions of clinical depression were actually in textbooks on thyroid disease, not psychiatric textbooks.
There are people with problems, there are people who suffer, there are people who are in desperate circumstances, there are people who have severe nutritional deficiencies, there are people who have been poisoned by various chemicals, there are people who have been abused and ignored, there are people who have been told there is something wrong with them, there are people who are different and can’t deal with the conforming androids in their midst, but there are no mental disorders.
It’s fiction. It’s a billion-dollar fiction. There is not a single diagnostic test for any so-called mental disorder. Never has been. No blood test, no urine test, no saliva test, no brain scan, no genetic test. No science. The drugs are brain poisons.
Psychiatry hasn't been destroyed and outlawed because there is money in it. Pharmaceutical money. And because the public is in a trance. Mothers and fathers are quite willing to take their children to these brain poisoners…lambs to the slaughter.
People are entranced by so-called professionals with fancy degrees who speak technical babble. It all seems real. Because if it weren’t real, then…what? People would be forced to admit they are living in a fantasy. And people don’t want to admit that. They would rather die than admit that. But that’s what psychiatry is. An elaborate fantasy. If every psychiatrist in the world vanished tomorrow, the world would immediately become a far healthier place. If every celebrity who outrageously whores for psychiatry would stop, the world would be a far healthier place right away.
The shrinks are treating younger and younger children with the brain poisons, every day. They’re diagnosing children who are practically toddlers and they’re drugging them. They’re ripping their brains. It’s happening. You may not want to know about it, but it’s there. It’s a crime on the order of murder. And the accomplices at the FDA and the vicious little idiots who train doctors in medical schools are going along with it. They have blood on their hands.
According to Peter R. Breggin, MD, a psychiatrist/psychotherapist who has spoken out, and author of many books on the hazards of psychiatric drugs: If you are educated in the humanities or have read a few good self-help psychology books, and if you like to think about yourself and others, you may have more insight into personal growth than your psychiatrist does; and if you've taken a few college courses or read a little in academic psychology or psychoanalysis, you might know more theory as well. If you've also shared feelings and personal problems with some of your friends, then you may well have more experience and practice in talking therapy than your psychiatrist.
On the other hand, your psychiatrist will have more power than you. He or she can prescribe drugs or shock, lock you up against your will, talk behind your back with your husband, wife, or parents and make plans for your future without consulting you. There are numerous cases of individuals who sought psychiatric help for routine problems in living, such as sadness over the loss of a loved one, only to find themselves swept along the path of biopsychiatry, ending up with permanent brain dysfunction and damage from drugs and shock treatment.
After the deadly rampage, psychologists and pediatricians are strongly urging parents to shield their school-age children from too much exposure to the news. But what they are not warning parents against are the drugs that psychiatrists will recommend that might have caused the killings in the first place.
In virtually every mass school shooting during the past 15 years, the shooter has been on or in withdrawal from psychiatric drugs. Yet, federal and state governments continue to ignore the connection between psychiatric drugs and murderous violence, preferring instead to exploit these tragedies in an oppressive and unconstitutional power grab to snatch guns away from innocent, law-abiding people.
Like virtually all massacre shooters before him, the notorious Batman shooter James Holmes is now reported to have been taking hardcore pharmaceutical drugs. In Holmes’ case, they happen to be the very same drugs that ultimately led to the early death of actor Heath Ledger. With a fix for ‘altering his state of mind’, the ‘Batman shooter’ was heavily hooked on the prescription painkiller Vicodin. Holmes even reportedly dosed up on a pharmaceutical cocktail just before the shooting. Side effects of Vicodin use, even at ‘recommended’ levels which Holmes likely far exceeded, include ‘altered mental states’ and ‘unusual thoughts or behavior.’
Prescription painkillers alone have been shown to be even deadlier and more damaging than many illegal drugs. In 2008, more Americans died from pharmaceuticals painkillers than illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin combined. Going even further, statistical analysis reveals that prescription drug deaths outnumber traffic accidents when it comes to fatalities. One reason for this is the change in mental activity, which can potentially lead to destructive and radical behavior.
Sadly, many incidents of violence and/or suicide have been linked to adolescents taking prescription antidepressants:
• Eric Harris, one of the assailants at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, in 1999, whose autopsy revealed he had a therapeutic level of the antidepressant Luvox in his system;
• Steve Kazmierczak, who killed six including himself at Northern Illinois University in 2008 while in withdrawal from the antidepressant Prozac;
• Jeffrey Weise, a student at Red Lake High School in Minnesota, who killed ten and wounded seven in 2005 while on Prozac;
• Kip Kinkel, an Oregon teen who murdered his parents and proceeded on a shooting spree at his high school in 1998, killing two and wounding 25, while in Prozac withdrawal;
• Toby Sincino, a 15-year-old who shot two teachers and himself in 1995 at his South Carolina school while on the antidepressant Zoloft.
•Thirteen year-old Chris Fetters killed his favorite aunt while taking Prozac.
•Twelve year-old Christopher Pittman murdered both his grandparents while taking Zoloft.
•Thirteen year-old Mathew Miller hung himself in his bedroom closet after taking Zoloft for 6 days.
•Fifteen year-old Jarred Viktor stabbed his grandmother 61 times after 5 days on Paxil.
Fifteen year old Kip Kinkel (Prozac and RITALIN) shot his parents while they slept then went to school and opened fire killing 2 classmates and injuring 22 shortly after beginning Prozac treatment.
Luke Woodham aged 16 (Prozac) killed his mother and then killed two students, wounding six others.
Boy in Pocatello, ID (Zoloft) in 1998 who in seizure activity from Zoloft had a stand off at the school.
Michael Carneal (Ritalin) a 14-year-old opened fire on students at a high school prayer meeting in West Paducah, Kentucky. Three teenagers were killed, five others were wounded, one of whom was paralyzed.
Young man in Huntsville, Alabama (Ritalin) went psychotic chopping up his parents with an ax and also killing one sibling and almost murdering another.
Andrew Golden, aged 11, (Ritalin) and Mitchell Johnson, aged 14, (Ritalin) shot 15 people killing four students, one teacher, and wounding 10 others.
TJ Solomon, aged 15, (Ritalin) high school student in Conyers, Georgia opened fire on and wounded six of his class mates.
Rod Mathews, aged 14, (Ritalin) beat a classmate to death with a bat.
James Wilson, aged 19, (Psychiatric Drugs - various) Breenwood, South Carolina, took a .22 caliber revolver into an elementary school killing two young girls, and wounding seven other children and two teachers.
Elizabeth Bush aged 13 (Paxil) was responsible for a school shooting in Pennsylvania
Jason Hoffman (Effexor and Celexa)- school shooting in El Cajon, California
Another boy in Pocatello, ID (Zoloft) had a stand off at the school.
Jarred Viktor aged 15 (Paxil), after five days on Paxil he stabbed his grandmother 61 times.
Chris Shanahan aged 15 (Paxil) in Rigby, ID who out of the blue killed a woman.
Eric Harris aged 17 (Zoloft then Luvox) and Dylan Klebold aged 18 in Colombine school shooting in Littleton, Colorado, killed 12 students and 1 teacher, and injured 23 others, before killing themselves.
Jeff Franklin (Prozac and Ritalin), Huntsville, AL, killed his parents as they came home from work using a sledge hammer, hatchet, butcher knife and mechanic's file, then attacked his younger brothers and sister
Neal Furrow, (Prozac) in LA Jewish school shooting reported to have been court-ordered to be on Prozac along with several other medications.
Cory Baadesgaard (Paxil then 300 mgs Effexor) in Matawa, WA school shooting. This was not long after being taken off Paxil cold turkey and changed over to Effexor.
Shawn Cooper of Notus, aged 15 (SSRI and Ritalin) took a 12 gauge shot gun to school and started firing, injuring one student and holding the school hostage for about 20 mins.
Jeff Weise, 16,(PROZAC) Minnesota School Shootings March 2005, killed his Grandfather and Grandmother, then went on a rampage at the school killing a teacher, a security officer, 5 students (and wounding 7 others, 2 critically), before exchanging gunfire with police and then shooting himself.
Christopher Pittman, aged 12, (Paxil then Zoloft). Known amongst family as 'pop-pops shadow', he had always been very close to his grandfather. Shortly after being prescribed Zoloft he shot both his grandparents dead and burned the house down.
This are just a few examples of antidepressant violence. The list goes on and on...
The list of criminals on psychotropic drugs includes such infamous names as Ted Kaczinski, John Hinckley, Jr., and the Amish school killer Charles Carl Roberts IV. While committing their violent acts they were all taking antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI).
"One of the things in the past that we’ve known about depression is that it very, very rarely leads to violence,” observed psychiatrist Peter Breggin in a Fox News report. “It’s only been since the advent of these new SSRI drugs that we have murderers, sometimes even mass murderers, taking antidepressant drugs.” The Physicians’ Desk Reference, an authoritative source of all FDA-approved drug-labeling information, identifies hazardous side effects of psychiatric drugs, including suicidal and homicidal ideation.
Despite the abundance of such evidence and a glut of scientific studies proving real danger, “there has yet to be a federal investigation on the link between psychiatric drugs and acts of senseless violence,” according to the Citizens Commission on Human Rights International (CCHR). In the face of the Obama administration’s knee-jerk agitation for gun control, it is pharmaceutical makers, not law-abiding gun owners or gun manufacturers, who should be held accountable for the series of ‘lone-wolf’ mass shootings that have occurred since the widespread use of psychiatric drugs began.”
Fox News reported after an initial search of Lanza’s home investigators found no indication the 20-year-old was taking prescriptions. But the media also lied about the use of an assault rifle to kill students, that now it is known, was in the trunk of the car during the shootings; he used handguns. Other evidence suggests he was. Louise Tambascio, a friend Lanza’s mother, told CBS News’ Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes, “I know he was on medication and everything.” ABC News also interviewed Tambascio, who repeated, “I knew he was on medication.”
Connecticut’s chief medical examiner is currently conducting toxicology exams to determine if Lanza was using any behavior-modifying drugs, according to CT Post. It will be several weeks before the medical examiner’s drug tests are complete.
1 in 5 American adults are currently taking mind-altering psychiatric drugs such as antidepressants.
Research shows long-term exposure to psychiatric drugs has proven to be far more dangerous than originally anticipated, and includes the threat of medication-induced obesity, diabetes, heart disease, irreversible abnormal movements, emotional and cognitive disability, and an overall deterioration in the patient’s clinical condition and quality of life.
From this point on, the rest of the events in Newtown, Connecticut will be brought to you by Merck, Glaxo, and Pfizer. It always happens at these mass murder events. The grief counselors. The social service workers. The psychologists. They pour in. And they end up referring people to psychiatrists, who will in turn prescribe some of the very drugs that trigger murder and suicide. The drugs that cause people to kill. The sequence is always the same, because it’s set up that way. After the mass murders and the shock and the horror, the grief industry arrives, and then come the referrals to psychiatric drug pushers, along with the memorials and the “healing.”
Despite 22 international drug regulatory warnings on psychiatric drugs citing effects of mania, hostility, violence and even homicidal ideation, and dozens of high profile shootings/killings tied to psychiatric drug use, there has yet to be a federal investigation on the link between psychiatric drugs and acts of senseless violence.
The Department of Justice has now enforced a total of $8.9 billion in criminal and civil fines against GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and Johnson & Johnson. They are criminals representing criminal intentions to deliberately harm people with their pharmaceutical poisons, which is exactly what most if not all drugs are that are prescribed by clinical psychologists and psychiatrists do.
Health Canada approved a new warning label for Paxil that read, in part: “A small number of patients taking drugs of this type may feel worse instead of better. For example, they may experience unusual feelings of agitation, hostility or anxiety, or have impulsive or disturbing thoughts, such as thoughts of self-harm or harm to others. There were 39,000 adverse event reports about Prozac submitted to the FDA’s Medwatch. And that number is said to represent only about 1% of the actual number of adverse events. The number of people who have actually suffered such problems is estimated to be 100 times as many, or roughly four million people.
We have made a culture of abusing children through drugs, letting them eat junk foods and drink Coke and Pepsi, mercury in vaccines and dental amalgam, etc. The children who escape sexual abuse (about 70%) find abuse at other people’s hands and that list starts with pediatricians who not only stab them obsessively with dangerous vaccines but also overdose them with antibiotics that compromise their health. Then the psychiatrists and psychologists who prescribe brutal drugs get into the act when the children do not do well.
Besides finding out what drugs this kid was on it would be valuable to know the kind of training he had in those weapons. Who was this kid? Who are his mother and father really and where did they get the money to live in the wealthiest area of America? Who were his doctors and/or psychiatrists? So far we have another mystery kid doing a senseless terrible thing but the senselessness seems to build up around a lack of information. The only motive for such a hideous crime is a special kind of insanity that is provoked by pharmaceuticals. Killing your own mother, and then breaking into a school and killing 26 people, most of whom are very young children, doesn't, by any stretch of the imagination, resolve by assigning a motive. There is no motive that can explain such a crime.
In the wake of the Batman murders, there is much speculation about what psychiatric drugs James Holmes may have been taking. People are realizing, as never before, the power of these drugs to cause homicidal behavior and damage the brain.
In the case of the Marine, Brandon Raub, the “Facebook thought criminal” who was recently held against his will in a lockup and threatened with the drugs, we see how easy it is for the government to kidnap a citizen and subject him to Soviet-style incarceration.
British drug company giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) was forced to pay one of the largest of a growing series of US Government fines ever levied on a pharmaceuticals company at home or abroad – in order to settle a trio of legal disputes with the US government. The company will now have to pay $3 Billion dollars US, (1.88 Billion British Pounds) to end three separate legal cases over the sales and illegal re-marketing of nine drugs.
The long-standing claims involve their side effect riddled anti-depressant “wonder drugs,” Paxil and Wellbutrin, as well as the controversial and sometimes fatal diabetes “wonder drug,” Avandia, which was taken off the market throughout Europe amid findings that while Avandia had little impact on diabetes, it did provide a significant increased risk of heart attacks.
Some of the US government’s allegations dated back to as early as 1997.
Taking happy pills before driving makes you more prone to accidents, researchers claim. They have found that taking common antidepressants such as Prozac and Seroxat heightens the risk by 70 per cent. Even patients who have only been on the pills for a few hours are far more likely to have a crash if they get behind the wheel. Although some manufacturers put warning notices on boxes telling patients their judgment may be impaired, they don’t specifically tell them not to drive. But it is now thought that the same chemical changes that improve mood among those who take the pills also slows down reaction times. Researchers say the study shows that doctors should be banning patients from getting behind the wheel as soon as they put them on a course of drugs.
Those taking a common group of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which include Prozac and Seroxat were 72 per cent more at risk. Even patients who had only started the course of drugs that day were 74 per cent more likely to have an accident within 24 hours than those not on medication. Those on a type of sleeping pills called benzodiazepines were 56 per cent more at risk of accidents while antipsychotics increased the likelihood by just 9 per cent. The findings underscore that people taking these psychotropic drugs should pay increased attention to their driving performance in order to prevent motor vehicle accidents. Doctors and pharmacists should choose safer treatments, provide their patients with accurate information, and consider advising them not to drive while taking certain psychotropic medications.
Recently the number prescriptions for antidepressants have soared and last year nearly 50 million were handed out, a rise of a quarter in four years. Campaigners have blamed the economic woes but also say GPs have become better at diagnosing the illness so are more likely to hand out the pills. Researchers looked at data on 36,000 and compared the likelihood of them having an accident to whether they were on antidepressants. They also looked at other drugs including sleeping pills and antipsychotics which are taken for mental illnesses as well as dementia. Collectively all of these drugs are known as psychotropic medication, which means they affect mental activity or behavior.
Many people don't know the difference between psychiatry, psychotherapy, psychology, and psychoanalysis. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in treating people defined as having psychiatric problems. As physicians, psychiatrists have the right to prescribe drugs or electroshock, to hospitalize patients, and to treat people against their will. They are the only mental health professionals who routinely exercise these powers. Psychiatry sets the tone and direction for the field of mental health and has been rapidly pushing it toward a more biological or medical viewpoint. Psychotherapists are a very broad group, which includes anyone helping people with problems by talking with them. Not all psychiatrists are psychotherapists or "talking doctors." Many psychiatrists have little or no training in how to communicate with people about their problems. Instead they are trained in making "medical" diagnoses and giving drugs and electroshock. Psychologists are educated in graduate schools of psychology, rather than in medical schools, and they receive a Ph.D. rather than an M.D. Clinical psychologists are given training that overlaps with psychiatrists, and they often receive much more intensive training in psychotherapy than do psychiatrists. Sometimes they work side-by-side with psychiatrists in mental health facilities, but they usually exercise much less authority. In addition to psychiatrists and psychologists, many other professionals also offer psychotherapy, including clinical social workers, counselors, family therapists, some nurses, some ministers, and a variety of lay people.
Psychoanalysis is the form of psychotherapy founded and developed by Sigmund Freud and taught in his independently franchised psychoanalytic institutes. In the public's mind, psychoanalysis is correctly associated with the couch, the note pad, and the silent listener. But psychoanalysis is often incorrectly equated with psychiatry. Contrary to popular belief, Freud was not the father of psychiatry. Psychiatry existed long before Freud, and had been and has been largely hostile to his teachings. Freud did not become a psychiatrist, and he warned his colleagues to beware of the medical profession. Nonetheless, psychiatry took over and overwhelmed psychoanalysis in the United States. Very few psychiatrists have become psychoanalysts, and psychoanalysis has very little influence in modern psychiatry.
Biopsychiatry lives by the principle that its patients are so different from other humans that almost anything can be done to them, including surgical, electrical, and chemical lobotomy. By contrast, the ethical helping person assumes that those seeking help possess the same human sensitivities as anyone else, including the therapist. Many people continue to think of the psychiatrist as a wise, warm, and caring person who will help them tackle their problems. But the modern psychiatrist may have no interest in "talking therapy." His or her entire training and commitment is more likely devoted to "medical diagnosis" and physical treatment. He or she may look at you with all the empathy and understanding of a pathologist staring through a microscope at germs, and then offer you a drug. The same is true if you are seeking help for a member of your family, such as your elderly mother who's getting more difficult to care for at home, or your son, who's become supposedly hyperactive, difficult, or uncomfortable in school. You may want advice on how to be more helpful to your mother or your son, but the psychiatrist will explain that their problems are biological and treatable with drugs, electroshock, or hospitalization. You may be relieved at the prospect of having the difficulty prescribed away by an expert. But beware--you are creating effects from which your mother or your child may never recover.
The next time you go to a psychiatrist, you may find yourself in the office of someone who has never been taught how to talk with you about your problems or those of your family. Nor has he or she been trained to understand personal and family conflicts. Instead the doctor will listen, make some observations, jot down some notes, make a medicalized diagnosis, and prescribe a physical treatment. He or she may even draw blood and listen to your heart. Not your metaphorical heart; your flesh and blood heart. But attempts to substitute physical interventions for human services often are doomed to cause more harm than good. The brain-disabling principle applies to all of the most potent psychiatric treatments--neuroleptics, antidepressants, lithium, electroshock, and psychosurgery. All of the major psychiatric treatments exert their primary or intended effect by disabling normal brain function. Neuroleptic lobotomy, for example, is not a side effect, but the sought-after clinical effect. None of the major psychiatric interventions correct or improve existing brain dysfunction, such as any presumed biochemical imbalance. If the patient happens to suffer from brain dysfunction, then the psychiatric drug, electroshock, or psychosurgery will worsen or compound it. The person now has his or her original brain damage and dysfunction plus a chemical lobotomy. In biopsychiatry, it's the damage that does the trick.
Even without the production of brain dysfunction, the giving of drugs or other physical interventions tends to reinforce the doctor's role as an authority and the patient's role as a helpless sick person. The patient learns that he or she has a "disease," that the doctor has a "treatment," and that the patient must "listen to the doctor" in order to get well again. The patient's learned helplessness and submissiveness is then vastly amplified by the brain damage. The patient becomes more dutiful to the doctor and to the demoralizing principles of biopsychiatry. Denial can become a way of life, fixed in place by brain damage. Suggestion and authoritarianism are common enough in the practice of medicine, but only in psychiatry does the physician actually damage the individual's brain in order to facilitate control over him or her. Biopsychiatry lives by the principle that its patients are so different from other humans that almost anything can be done to them, including surgical, electrical, and chemical lobotomy. By contrast, the ethical helping person assumes that those seeking help possess the same human sensitivities as anyone else, including the therapist. The psychiatrist is someone who no longer takes his or her time listening to patients' problems but who methodically asks questions to make a diagnosis, in the manner of an internist or neurologist. Psychiatrists no longer concern themselves with what Freud or Jung had to say or with the nuances of various psychological theories.
Meanwhile, the public still thinks of the psychiatrist as a psychotherapist. Never before has the public had such outdated views of what modern psychiatrists think and do. Even the most highly regarded mental hospitals are humiliating and oppressive places, even for normal volunteers masquerading as patients. Typical state hospitals, where many drug studies are conducted, are intimidating and frightfully violent. Most drug-free people would want to take flight rather than to waste away in a facility that offers nothing in the way of rehabilitation, recreation, or social life. Unfortunately, the patient may face an equally suppressive life situation after discharge from the hospital. Board-and-care homes and nursing homes are at least as boring and stifling as psychiatric hospitals. Often they offer nothing but a bed, a TV, and perhaps a local park bench.
Mental illness is a steadily rising epidemic. With nearly half of all Americans set to receive some form of diagnosis for a mental disorder, it’s hardly something that can be glossed over. Mental health, however, is in a highly compromised state due to all forms of societal changes and technological advances over the last century. In this modern age, many simple truths about human nature are overshadowed by our demanding lifestyle, and our propensity to gravitate toward forms of instant cures and gratification.
The alleged shooting of a police officer in Austin by a man taking the anti-anxiety drug Xanax is just one of a plethora of recent incidents fueled by anti-depressant pharmaceuticals – an epidemic of mania that has swept the country.
Mary O’Dell, the mother of 24-year-old Brandon Montgomery Daniel told the Associated Press that her son’s role in the fatal shooting of Austin Senior Police Officer Jaime Padron was fueled by alcohol and psychotropic drugs. “She said she talked with her son Thursday evening, and that he had been taking the prescription anti-anxiety drug Xanax and drinking tequila,” reports AP. “Hours later, Padron was fatally shot at a Walmart while trying to subdue a potentially intoxicated man who was later identified as Daniel, investigators said. Two employees tackled and disarmed him, then held him until help arrived.”O’Dell added that Daniel was not even aware of what had taken place because “he was under the influence of tequila and Xanax.”
This is just one of a spate of shocking incidents over recent years in which Xanax and other similar pharmaceuticals have played a central role in triggering random violence and mania. The two recent incidents involving airline officials suffering mental breakdowns during flights were also caused by anti-depressant drugs.
JetBlue pilot Clayton Osbon, who went crazy and began screaming about Al-Qaeda and threatening to take the plane down during an incident last month was described as a “consummate professional” by colleagues. However, experts looking into the case confirm that “several pharmacological issues under scrutiny within the airline industry are likely to get attention in the Osbon case, including the side effects of medicines that pilots sometimes used to fight fatigue and depression.” “Was Osbon, for instance, among those pilots newly permitted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to use one of four specific antidepression medications, whose potential side effects are known to include hallucination and panic attacks?” reports the Christian Science Monitor
In a separate incident, an American Airlines flight attendant had to be restrained by passengers after she went on a crazy tirade about crashing the plane and killing everyone onboard. It later emerged that the flight attendant had been on medication to treat a bipolar disorder.
A 50-year-old grandmother who went nuts and began kicking, punching and spitting at flight attendants for being refused alcohol last month also blamed her anti-anxiety medication for the outburst.
The Save Project, an organization committed to highlighting the dangers of SSRI drugs, highlights a laundry list of cases where use of anti-depressants, particularly amongst young people, has led to violence. Below is just a partial list.
Eric Harris, the triggerman in the Columbine school shootings, killed his fellow students and took his own life while taking Luvox.
Thirteen year-old Chris Fetters killed his favorite aunt while taking Prozac.
Twelve year-old Christopher Pittman murdered both his grandparents while taking Zoloft.
Thirteen year-old Mathew Miller hung himself in his bedroom closet after taking Zoloft for 6 days.
Fifteen year-old Jarred Viktor stabbed his grandmother 61 times after 5 days on Paxil.
Fifteen year old Kip Kinkel (Prozac and RITALIN) shot his parents while they slept then went to school and opened fire killing 2 classmates and injuring 22 shortly after beginning Prozac treatment.
Luke Woodham aged 16 (Prozac) killed his mother and then killed two students, wounding six others.
Boy in Pocatello, ID (Zoloft) in 1998 who in seizure activity from Zoloft had a stand off at the school.
Michael Carneal (Ritalin) a 14-year-old opened fire on students at a high school prayer meeting in West Paducah, Kentucky. Three teenagers were killed, five others were wounded, one of whom was paralyzed.
Young man in Huntsville, Alabama (Ritalin) went psychotic chopping up his parents with an ax and also killing one sibling and almost murdering another.
Andrew Golden, aged 11, (Ritalin) and Mitchell Johnson, aged 14, (Ritalin) shot 15 people killing four students, one teacher, and wounding 10 others.
TJ Solomon, aged 15, (Ritalin) high school student in Conyers, Georgia opened fire on and wounded six of his class mates.
Rod Mathews, aged 14, (Ritalin) beat a classmate to death with a bat.
James Wilson, aged 19, (Psychiatric Drugs – various) Breenwood, South Carolina, took a .22 caliber revolver into an elementary school killing two young girls, and wounding seven other children and two teachers.
Elizabeth Bush aged 13 (Paxil) was responsible for a school shooting in Pennsylvania
Jason Hoffman (Effexor and Celexa) – school shooting in El Cajon, California
Another boy in Pocatello, ID (Zoloft) had a stand off at the school.
Jarred Viktor aged 15 (Paxil), after five days on Paxil he stabbed his grandmother 61 times.
Chris Shanahan aged 15 (Paxil) in Rigby, ID who out of the blue killed a woman.
Antidepressants are also exacerbating gang on gang violence. 18-year-old Bryan Sandoval Rocha was recently sentenced to five years in jail for stabbing three rival gang members. “Rocha was taking antidepressants at the time,” reports the San Rafael News Pointer.
Last year the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) produced a study based on FDA figures that illustrated how the antidepressants Pristiq (desvenlafaxine), Paxil (paroxetine) and Prozac (fluoxetine), all appear in the list of the top ten violence-causing drugs.
America’s addiction to psychotropic drugs is out of control and growing every year.
According to a report in the London Guardian today, “(subscriptions) for benzodiazepines – the class of anti-anxiety drugs including Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin – have gone up 17% since 2006 to 94m annually, New York magazine notes. Generic Xanax, which goes by the name alprazolam, has become 23% more popular in that same timeframe “making it the most prescribed psycho-pharmaceutical drug and the 11th-most prescribed overall, with 46m prescriptions written in 2010.″
The connection between anti-depressant drugs and inexplicable and sudden violence is especially prescient given this report concerning how “110,000 Army personnel were given antidepressants, narcotics, sedatives, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety drugs,” while on duty in 2011, prescribed medicines on which psychologists have blamed “a surge in random acts of violence.”
“We have never medicated our troops to the extent we are doing now … And I don’t believe the current increase in suicides and homicides in the military is a coincidence,” Bart Billings, a former military psychologist and combat stress expert, told the Los Angeles Times.
Lawyers are also currently investigating whether Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, accused of massacring 17 Afghan civilians, was influenced by a cocktail of antidepressant drugs that triggered a psychotic episode.
It’s abundantly clear that the epidemic of craziness and violence we are witnessing both in America and by U.S. troops abroad is being fueled by dangerous psychotropic drugs, subscription pharmaceuticals that are causing normally sane people to fly off the hook and act out with insane acts of mania or violence. Such shocking incidents will continue to happen at an ever-increasing rate until there is a massive backlash against the pharmaceutical industry and establishment doctors for pushing drugs that are directly causing violence, lunacy and bloodshed.
Take clinical depression, for example; a fairly common and recognized form of mental illness. The high-stress environment of a modern lifestyle, combined with a lack of personal fulfillment or gratification will quickly lead to where many others have gone, a dark and seemingly endless pit of emotional distress. It’s normal to have doubts, fears, and anxiety. But how are problems generally dealt with today? Either through the use of dangerous pharmaceutical drugs, (which are interestingly linked to higher rates of depression and suicidal behavior) or by suppressing the emotion with some form of entertainment or escapism. But these are only surface-level treatments to a foundational issue. The vast majority of psychotropic drugs have been found to be more dangerous, and produce uncertain results, by altering the brain chemistry of an otherwise healthy individual. It’s no wonder that nearly all of these drugs have warnings if your depression becomes worse.
The truth is that because many people are not diligently tending to their mental health, they are easily becoming more distressed. Stress is a huge killer, and reducing stress is crucial. Proper diet and exercise alone can keep stress levels down. Taking a break from mindless entertainment media also works wonders for those who feel emotionally distressed. Too many television shows, video games, and movies have been found to alter your mental state to a point where you are more likely to feel overwhelming levels of emotional stress.
People follow these things in an obsessive manner, but subjecting yourself to its ceaseless mental attack stops you from having a chance to actually relax and collect your thoughts properly. What’s more is that people live in an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, without much value for human contact and stimulation. Sometimes, you need to simply talk and connect with people. Talking out problems and concerns often allows you to properly orient yourself to deal with them.
Lobotomy usually refers to the surgical cutting of nerve connections between the frontal lobes and the remainder of the brain. The frontal lobes produce the bulge in the human forehead, distinguishing our profile from that of other animals, and they represent the evolutionary flowering of the brain. The frontal lobes are the seat of higher human functions, such as love, concern for others, empathy, self-insight, creativity, initiative, autonomy, rationality, abstract reasoning, judgment, future planning, foresight, willpower, determination, and concentration. The frontal lobes allow us to be "human" in the full sense of that word; they are required for a civilized, effective, mature life. Lobotomy basically knocks the frontal lobes out of commission. Depending on the amount of damage done, the effect can be partial or relatively complete. In the extreme, the patient becomes obviously demented, with the deterioration of all higher mental function. Surgically lobotomized people often deny both their brain damage and their personal problems. They will loudly declare, "I'm fine, never been better," when they can no longer think straight.
Sometimes they deny that they have been operated on, despite the dime-size burr holes in their skulls palpable beneath their scalp. So many lobotomies were performed on inmates of state mental hospitals, because lobotomized patients become more dependent and more suitable for control in a structured institution. Deprived of their autonomy, initiative, or willpower, their performance is considered better in a structured situation. From the psychiatrists' viewpoint, the neuroleptic drugs had two advantages over surgical lobotomy and over electroshock. With the drugs, one could at least hope that the brain damaging effects would not be permanent. As an ostensibly more humane intervention, drug therapy both salved the consciences of psychiatrists and made them feel more like legitimate doctors. But in doing so, the neuroleptics opened the way to unparalleled abuses on a far more massive level involving scores of millions of patients throughout the world.
Electric Shock Machine
Electroshock in psychiatry involves the passage of an electrical current through the head and brain to produce a grand-mal or major epileptic seizure with unconsciousness. Sometimes the two electrodes are placed over both temples (bilateral shock) and sometimes over one side of the head (unilateral). The shock induces an electrical storm that obliterates the normal electrical patterns of the brain, driving the recording needle on the EEG up and down in violent, jagged swings. This period of extreme bursts of electrical energy often is followed by a briefer period of absolutely no electrical activity, called the isoelectric phase. The brain waves become temporarily flat, exactly as in brain death, and it may be that cell death takes place during this time. A shock-induced seizure is typically far more severe than those suffered during spontaneous epilepsy. In earlier times, when the shock patient's body was not paralyzed by pharmacological agents, it would undergo muscle spasms sufficiently violent at times to crack vertebrae and break limb bones. Typically, the treatment is given three times a week for a total of at least six to ten sessions. After several sessions of shock, the patient awakens in a few (or sometimes many) minutes in a state of apathy and docility. There will be some memory loss and some confusion and often a headache, stiff neck, and nausea.
The damage is caused by several factors that have been studied by direct examination of animal brains subjected to very small electrical stimulation: first, mechanical and heat trauma from the electric current; second, spasm and breakdown of blood vessel walls as the electricity travels down the vascular tree; and third, to a much lesser extent, the convulsions. As the course of shocks progresses, the patient's apathy, memory loss, and confusion increase. Judgment and general mental function become impaired. Sometimes the patient becomes temporarily giddy or artificially high. This generalized mental and emotional dysfunction is called an acute organic brain syndrome or delirium--the brain's typical response to severe stress or damage. Sometimes, extreme states of delirium develop where the patient appears grossly psychotic, with hallucinations and delusions. Even exponents of shock treatment usually admit in their professional publications that many or all shock patients develop an acute organic brain syndrome. It usually takes two to four weeks for the EEG to return to normal after ECT, however, some abnormalities may persist several months or longer and are considered to be poor prognostic signs. Some studies show that many patients never recover normal EEGs following shock treatment.
Many people mistakenly believe that shock has been outlawed. In reality, 100,000 or more Americans are being shocked each year, and the number is rising rapidly. A thorough review of the shock literature shows that there are no controlled studies indicating any "beneficial" effect beyond four weeks. Most show little or no improvement at all. Although it dated back to 1938 in Italy and came to the United States soon after, electroshock treatment remains a revered symbol of authority in modern psychiatry. Shock was widely used by psychiatrists in Nazi Germany. When shock reached its fiftieth birthday in 1988, it literally was "celebrated" in an orchestrated fashion at meetings throughout the world, including the annual conventions of the American Psychiatric Association, the Society of Biological Psychiatry, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and the International Psychiatric Congress. As if honoring a dead hero, shock's fiftieth birthday also was "celebrated" in an issue of the journal Convulsive Therapy, and "observances" were held at various hospitals that especially favor shock, such as the Friends Hospital in Philadelphia, the Oregon Health Sciences University, and Taylor Manor in Maryland. The festivities were lovingly described by Max Fink in Fifty Years of ECT in the May 1988 Psychiatric Times.
The bill for a month's stay with shock treatment at one general hospital was approximately $20,000. Most of the cost usually is covered by health insurance. A psychiatrist David Viscott observes in The Making of a Psychiatrist, "Finding that the patient has insurance seems like the most common indication for giving shock." In California, recently, individual treatments cost $1,000, with the psychiatrist who pushes the button often making between $200 and $300, although some state and federal insurance coverage may limit the payments to nearer $100. If a psychiatrist were to shock an average of only five patients a week, at a typical charge of $200 per treatment, and each patient shocked three times a week, he will earn an annual income of $150,000 just from electroshock therapy. The time invested by the shock doctor will hardly impinge on the rest of his week. Since each treatment takes only a few minutes, the doctor easily can do five in an hour, so it will take him a mere three hours per week to earn his annual income of $150,000. If the shock doctor also visits his patients on the ward, he can make much more money. Hospital consultations, sometimes lasting only a few minutes, will be covered by insurance at a higher rate than is psychotherapy in a private office. If the psychiatrist sees each of his five shock patients three times a week at $150 per consultation, he can generate an additional $112,500, for a grand total of $262,500 a year, without using up more than a few hours' time.
Since data collection began a few decades ago, more than two-thirds of shock patients reported to the state each year in California have been women. In recent times there has been an escalating percentage of elderly ECT patients. Vulnerable elderly women, who live alone, many living in relative isolation, and barely making ends meet, are among the most frequent victims of shock treatment in California. These elderly women are being pushed or cajoled by their doctors into getting shock treatment. Frail, despairing, desperately needing emotional support, elderly women often have no one to defend them or to stand up for them, and they are unlikely to find the strength in themselves to defy their doctors. Sadly, those whose lives are least treasured in the society are those most likely to be afflicted with psychiatry's most destructive treatments. In defense of shocking the elderly, the psychiatrists state that antidepressants are often lethal in the elderly, requiring the alternative of ECT. The truth is that while antidepressants are especially dangerous to older people, so is electroshock. The elderly are far more sensitive to electroshock's damaging effects, including brain damage and dysfunction. This is not surprising; the older brain is more fragile. For a biopsychiatrist like Donald Hay, the elderly live in a psychosocial and spiritual vacuum, needing drugs and shock to correct their presumably abnormal brain chemistry. Hay recommends ECT for patients already suffering from severe brain disease--a certain formula for causing them even more extreme memory loss and mental dysfunction. He even wants to shock patients who are suffering from drug-induced akathisia, dystonia, parkinsonism, and tardive dyskinesia, thereby compounding their doctor-induced neurologic disease with still more of the same. The ECT-induced brain dysfunction would certainly stop the patients from complaining about their iatrogenic neurological disorders.
Because shock treatment routinely causes an acute organic brain syndrome or delirium, the question is not whether shock can cause brain dysfunction. Shock treatment always causes severe brain dysfunction. The only legitimate question is, "How often is recovery complete?" As many as 50% of such patients studied, with neuropsychiatric testing, have demonstrated organic cognitive deficits. It is recognized in neurology that even mild head injury frequently results in lasting, debilitating problems, such as memory difficulties, deficiencies in focusing and maintaining concentration, and loss of problem-solving skills.
Frequently the person feels "changed" in a fundamental and catastrophic fashion. Often there is a frontal-lobe syndrome with loss of interest or emotional intensity, difficulties with abstract reasoning and planning, and so on. In their books, articles, and public statements, shock supporters, including the American Psychiatric Association, often ignore the vast literature on the damaging effects of even minor head injury. An exception is advocate Max Fink, who believes that shock treatment works by causing the typical aftermath of closed-head injury. Brain damage from shock is amply demonstrated by animal research. Research conducted on dogs, cats, and monkeys in the 1940s and 1950s was so convincing that the search for further evidence came to a halt. They used less current when those studies were conducted than that applied to humans in modern ECT. Since the patients are now sedated, and sedation makes it more difficult to convulse the patients, the shock has to be even stronger. Nevertheless, leading shock advocates claim in their reviews that the animal research showed no damage.
Cell death and widespread small, and sometimes large, hemorrhages are confirmed by human autopsy studies. Other evidence for persistent brain damage is found on EEG studies, neuropsychological testing, some brain scan studies, and many clinical reports. More often than not, brain-damaged patients tend to deny the degree of their memory loss and mental dysfunction. This is true whether the damage has resulted from medical treatment, disease, or accidental trauma. The American Psychiatric Association issued a report, The Practice of Electroconvulsive Therapy (1990), and held a press conference in support of electroshock treatment. There was no hint that jolting the head with electricity might damage the brain, mind, or memory. The lengthy literature documenting brain damage from ECT, including animal and human studies, went unmentioned. Electroshock is an electrically induced closed-head injury, and an electrical lobotomy. If a woman received an accidental shock in her kitchen, perhaps from touching her forehead against a short-circuited refrigerator, and fell to the floor convulsing, she's be rushed to the local ER and treated as an acute medical emergency. If she awoke the way a shock patient does--dazed, confused, disoriented, and suffering from a headache, stiff neck, and nausea--she'd be hospitalized for careful observation and probably put on anticonvulsants for months to prevent another convulsion. But on a psychiatric ward she'd be told she was doing fine and "not to worry," while the electrical closed-head injury was inflicted again and again.
Animal tests at the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences have shown brain damage with nerve cell death from electroshock treatment. Russia has placed grave limitations on the use of shock, while in the USA, it is very widely used and has become all but a repressive measure applied even to healthy people. Teams of American researchers performed comparable animal experiments years ago, with similar findings, and then organized psychiatry immediately covered them up. Nowadays shock doctors are very sensitive to public and professional opinion, and therefore they maintain that the treatment is relatively harmless and that its method of action is unknown. But in the first couple of decades of use, many shock authorities boldly declared that the treatment works precisely by damaging the brain and that brain-cell death is the key to successful treatment. To the extent that it works at all, shock has its impact by disabling the brain. It does so by causing an organic brain syndrome, with memory loss, and confusion. The principal complications of EST are death, brain damage, memory impairment, and spontaneous seizures. These complications are similar to those seen afer head trauma, with which EST has been compared.
D. Ewen Cameron of Canada, who assaulted patients with massive drug doses, bizarre forms of conditioning, and what he called depatterning treatment. Cameron was professor of psychiatry at McGill University and the Allen Memorial Institute in Montreal. As president of the American Psychiatric Association (1953) and as the first president of the World Psychiatric Association, Cameron was one of the most revered and rewarded psychiatrists on the international scene. Cameron subjected patients to twice-daily doses of six electroshocks, one after another, to maintain the individual in one prolonged stupor. Typically thirty-to-forty or more shocks were given in this blockbuster manner during his experiments on more than fifty patients in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The result of this devastating treatment was a severe delirium; patients would lose their sense of identity and sometimes become delusional. Robbed of virtually all memory, the patients became completely focused on present sensations and feelings. With much or even their entire lifetime memory bank obliterated, six months would be taken to reprogram them with new memories of themselves and a more docile personality.
Cameron's work suddenly became a major scandal. The outcry wasn't directed at the extreme treatments themselves, which were similar to numerous other regressive shock techniques, variations of which still are practiced in the United States. What made Cameron suddenly newsworthy was the disclosure in newspaper reports and books that he had been secretly financed by CIA funds. Eager to learn how to "brainwash" people and to wipe out their memories, the CIA found a willing ally in Cameron. Although Cameron was doing regressive shock on his own initiative as routine clinical practice before the CIA became interested, he accepted the CIA funds. He would have carried on his work with or without the CIA, which never gave him more than $20,000 per year. This was documented in detail in John Marks' 1979 book The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate."
The most highly publicized alleged improvement is called modified ECT. It involves sedation, muscle paralysis, and artificial respiration. Despite the PR, this method is not new at all. It has been done this way since the early 1960s. Furthermore, modified shock, of necessity, is more dangerous. First, the hazards of general anesthesia and muscle paralyzing agents are added to those of the shock. Second, the intensity of current must be greater to overcome the anticonvulsant effect of the short-acting sedative that is injected immediately prior to the shock. In addition, patients in modern psychiatric hospitals frequently receive other medications, such as sedatives and minor tranquilizers, which further raise the seizure threshold.
Furthermore, patients too often receive neuroleptics, antidepressants, and especially lithium, all of which can worsen the impact of shock. Modified ECT wasn't introduced to reduce brain damage, since the shock doctors used to believe that the damage was therapeutic. The purpose of the modifications was to prevent fractures from muscle spasms. The electrical current must in any case be sufficiently disruptive to produce a convulsion. Sometimes, if the patient is slow to "improve," an older machine will be brought in or the shock doctor will flip off the switch that protects the patient from especially high current intensities. While they won't admit it, many shock doctors act on the old axiom that the brain damage does the trick.
In 1979, the FDA put shock machines into Class III, which means demonstrating "an unreasonable risk of illness or injury." Class III is the most restrictive category for medical devices and would have required manufacturers to provide premarketing data on safety and effectiveness. This probably would have necessitated renewed animal testing. Led by the American Psychiatric Association, psychiatry lobbied to have that decision reversed, and it succeeded. The FDA gave notice of its intention to reclassify shock machines into Class II, approving them as safe and efficacious and requiring no testing. It was a clear-cut illustration of psychiatry's lobbying strength at FDA. This story illustrates how psychiatry places self-interest above both scientific inquiry and the well being of its patients, as it stifled an examination of its treatment and rejected the outcry from the survivors.
The bipolar medication lithium is so toxic that it often causes major kidney damage, yet most patients must use it for lifetime maintenance of manic-depressive disorder. Similarly, schizophrenics often spend lifetimes on neuroleptics with long-term side effects such as tardive dyskinesias, or uncontrollable movement of the face, tongue, lips and extremities.
The point here? Side effects almost always go hand-in-hand with taking a medication for a long duration in order to treat a chronic condition. With that in mind, it seems outrageous that on Oct. 25, 2005, a panel voted to defeat the FDA's proposal to extend pre-approval testing of psychiatric drugs from two short-term studies to six-month trials. In layman's terms, psychiatric drugs will not be tested for a long enough time to determine their safety for long-term use before they are approved. Now, they can be tested for as little as two weeks, then given the stamp of safety approval by the FDA after which they will be used for years, if not decades, on unsuspecting patients.
In a Sept. 26 memo, Dr. Thomas P. Laughren, acting director of the FDA's Division of Psychiatry Products, gave solid reasons for the FDA's desire to extend its required testing time. In fact, he begins the memo with a simple fact that makes the need for long-term testing clear: "Most psychiatric illnesses are chronic." He later goes on to explain that current short-term testing methods advocate stopping treatment of subjects who are responding to the drug after only a few weeks, something that would be considered "ethically questionable" in actual clinical treatment. In other words, real-world patients with mental disorders may have to stay on these drugs for months, years, decades and possibly even a lifetime, so why should clinical testing be limited to the short term?
The current short-term tests also present a problem for psychiatrists who are prescribing a newly-approved drug. As Dr. Laughren explains, "Since most treatment guidelines for chronic psychiatric illnesses recommend continuing patients for four to six months or longer after response during short-term treatment, clinicians have generally not had a sufficient evidence base (from pre-approval studies) to support what is the standard practice of drug treatment of psychiatric illnesses."
When a psychiatric drug first hits the market, prescribing physicians are largely left in the dark about treatment issues after a patient stays on the medication longer than the six to 12 weeks tested during approval trials. Yes, the FDA generally asks for longer-term studies to be completed after approval, but it can be years before this is done. During this time patients are put at risk for side effects that did not emerge in the short pre-approval studies.
Though Dr. Laughren rightly petitioned for testing standards to change, Big Pharma once again flexed its muscles and defeated the FDA's acting director and other supporters of longer safety testing requirements. Pharmaceutical industry executives from Merck, Wyeth and Eli Lilly gathered with academic researchers and presented the 11-member Psychopharmacological Drugs Advisory Committee with 15 presentations, all against extending the duration of pre-approval trials to six months.
Their argument? According to Eli Lilly's David Michelson, executive director for neuroscience medical research, half of all patients switch psychiatric medications after three months of treatment, with the figure reaching as high as 70 percent after six months. According to this logic, conducting six-month pre-approval tests will not benefit enough psychiatric patients to warrant the policy change. In other words, Big Pharma is saying we should ignore the potential health risks posed to psychiatric patients who take these drugs on a long-term basis because they don't make up a large consumer group. This perspective is alarming in itself, but given the scandals surrounding Vioxx and other prescription drugs, it comes as no surprise.
The facts are clear: Mental illness is presently an epidemic in modern society, a result of our chronic malnutrition and ingestion of metabolic disruptors (ingredients that disrupt normal brain function, such as refined sugars, trans fatty acids, chemical sweeteners, artificial colors, etc.). According to statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health, about one in five American adults suffer from a diagnosable mental illness.
To make matters worse, our population's desire for "magic pill" solutions has made us look to chemical cures for nutritionally- and environmentally-based problems. Because of this trend, drugs that we don't fully understand are being prescribed to an ever-increasing percentage of our population. The long-term effects of this could be disastrous.
In this case, the FDA tried to take a positive step in protecting the public, but failed under the pressure from Big Pharma. It's now up to concerned consumers like you to make your voice heard. Tell the FDA that you want psychiatric medication adequately tested, no matter what Big Pharma says.
The neuroleptics or antipsychotics are the most frequently prescribed drugs in mental hospitals, and are widely used in board-and-care homes, nursing homes, institutions for people with mental retardation, children's facilities, and prisons. They also are given to millions of patients in public clinics and to hundreds of thousands in private psychiatric offices. Often they are prescribed for anxiety, sleep problems, and other difficulties in a manner that runs contrary to the usual recommendations. And too often, they are administered to children with behavior problems, even children who are living at home and going to school. Rather than treating a disease, the neuroleptics create a disease. The neuroleptic drugs are chemical lobotomizing agents with no specific therapeutic effect on any symptoms or problems. Their main impact is to blunt and subdue the individual. They also physically paralyze the body, rendering the individual less able to react or to move. They produce a chemical lobotomy and a chemical straitjacket. The drugs are also the cause of brain damage that afflicts up to half or more of long-term patients. The original ones, including Thorazine and Mellaril, are called phenothiazines.
In psychiatry, the term neuroleptic is now preferred. A list of trade names of neuroleptics in use today includes Haldol (haloperidol), Thorazine (chlorpromazine), Stelazine (trifluoperazine), Vesprin (trifluopromazine), Mellaril (thioridazine), Prolixin or Permitil (fluphenazine), Navane (thiothixene), Trilafon (perphenazine), Tindal (acetophenazine), Taractan (chlorprothixene), Loxitane or Daxolin (loxapine), Moban or Lidone (molindone), Serentil (mesoridazine), Orap (pimozide), Quide (piperacetazine), Repoise (butaperazine), Compazine (prochlorperazine), Dartal (thiopropazate), and Clozaril (clozapine). The antidepressant Ascendin (amoxapine) turns into a neuroleptic when it is metabolized in the body and should be considered a neuroleptic. Etrafon or Triavil is a combination of a neuroleptic (perphenazine) and an antidepressant (amitriptyline), and it combines the impact and the risks of both.
Several hundred thousand patients are admitted to state hospitals each year, diagnosed as schizophrenic. Nearly all prescribed neuroleptics. Hundreds of thousands get them through outpatient clinics. Millions of people a year are treated with neuroleptics on the wards and in the clinics of state mental health systems. Additional millions more are receiving neuroleptics or antipsychotics through sources outside the state mental hospital system and long-term clinics. Many of the millions of patients in nursing homes are on neuroleptics. Added to these are those being treated with these drugs in private psychiatric hospitals, and in the psychiatric and medical wards of general hospitals, plus in institutions for people with retardation, inboard-and-care homes, prisons, and private practices--and the total swells to many millions. Even homeless people in shelters are sometimes forced to take them. The first neuroleptic was Thorazine (chlorpromazine). In recent years, Haldol (haloperidol), has become the most prescribed neuroleptic. Very little is written in professional sources about he apathy, disinterest, and other lobotomy-like effects of the drugs. Review articles tend to give no hint that the medications are actually stupefying the patients and that life on a typical mental hospital ward is listless at best. When given relatively small doses, neuroleptics cause the patient to sit or lie motionless in bed, often pale and with eyelids lowered. He remains silent most of the time. If questioned, he answers slowly and deliberately in a monotonous and indifferent voice; he expresses himself in a few words and becomes silent.
While the neuroleptics are toxic to most brain functions, disrupting nearly all of them, they have an especially well-documented impact on the dopamine neurotransmitter system. Dopamine neurotransmitters provide the major nerve pathways from the deeper brain to the frontal lobes and limbic system--the very same areas struck by surgical lobotomy. Most psychosurgery cuts the nerve connections to and from the frontal lobes and limbic system; chemical lobotomy largely interdicts the nerve connections to the same regions. Either way, coming or going, it's a lobotomy effect. Clinically, the drugs produce a lobotomy and neurologically the drugs produce a lobotomy. Starting from two main trunks deep in the brain, the dopamine nerves spread out like the branches of a tree, reaching into the emotion-regulating limbic system and frontal lobes. This dopamine tree is shut down by the neuroleptics.
In the book, The Tranqulizing of America, the authors put it this way: "When used on a large population of institutionalized persons, as they are, they can help keep the house in order with the minimum program of activities and rehabilitation and the minimum number of attendants, aides, nurses, and doctors." On many psychiatric wards the neuroleptics are given to 90% to 100% of the patients; in many nursing homes, to 50% or more of the old people; and in many institutions for persons with mental retardation, to 50% or more of the inmates. Neuroleptics also are used in children's facilities and in prisons.
Tardive dyskinesia is a movement disorder, frequently caused by neuroleptics drugs that can afflict any of the voluntary muscles, from the eyelids, tongue, larynx, and diaphragm to the neck, arms, legs, and torso. On rare occasions it can occur after a few weeks or months, but usually it strikes the individual after six months to two years of treatment. Some psychiatrists try to blame the neurological disorder on schizophrenia rather than on the drugs. It manifests as uncontrollable twitches, spasms, or writhing movements. Any of the neuroleptics can cause tardive dyskinesia. This condition makes the victims uncontrollably stick out their tongue, or blink their eyes spasmodically or crane their neck oddly, or their voice screeches a little out of control, periodically, in front of others. While some symptoms improve or even disappear after removal from the offending medications, most cases are permanent. Some experts have begun to admit that nearly all long-term patients are likely to succumb to tardive dyskinesia. There is no known treatment for tardive dyskinesia. The basal ganglia are most clearly damaged during the production of tardive dyskinesia by the neuropleptics. They influence control and coordination of the muscles. But the basal ganglia also are intimately connected to the higher mental centers, and diseases affecting the region ultimately impair the mind.
Tardive dyskinesia is caused by permanent hyperreactivity in the dopamine neurotransmitter system in this area. But dopamine is also the main neurotransmitter ascending into the emotion-regulating limbic system and frontal lobes. The lobotomy effect results from the action of the drugs on these nerve pathways. When this region also becomes permanently hyperreactive in response to the neuroleptics, as we know it does, it makes damage to the higher brain and mind inevitable. The initial studies of tardive dyskinesia showed that many and sometimes all patients also were suffering from serious mental dysfunction, including dementia. Parkinson-like signs occur in most patients treated with neuroleptics and in all patients given high doses. Many psychiatrists used to argue that the drugs could not have their maximum effect without producing some degree of parkinsonism. The muscles can become so rigid that the patient is unable to carry out vigorous, spontaneous activity. This has been called the chemical straitjacket. Children frequently are given these medications in hospitals, facilities for delinquents, and, especially, institutions for the retarded. Typically they are used for the control of unwanted behaviors. Rates of tardive dyskinesia among children are high and children tend to suffer from especially incapacitating cases of the disease, often involving control of the torso, making it hard for them to sit, stand, or walk. The risk is not limited to the retarded, but equally includes every child treated with these drugs. Children go through an especially agonizing period of withdrawal from the drugs, during which their mental anguish increases substantially.
Many patients are told they must remain on neuroleptics for the rest of their lives, without being told about the huge and "almost certain" risk of developing a serious neurological disease. Tardive dementia, a global deterioration of the mind and mental faculties caused by the drugs, remains more controversial within the profession, although evidence for its existence seems incontrovertible. Tardive akathesia--anxiety or nervousness and an uncontrollable drive to move the body, against his or her own will--is a particularly insidious problem among children treated with neuroleptics, as well as a side effect of increased electricity in the mouth and teeth from dental fillings and metal appliances. It also can induce unbearable tension and anxiety. Especially in institutions for children and among people with mental retardation, the neuroleptics are given in order to control restlessness. It's easier to drug these persons than to provide more interesting and stimulating environments to occupy their energy. When the drugs are administered for several months or more, there is increasing danger that they will produce tardive akathisia. The drugs create the very symptoms they are supposed to control, and the child ends up in a vicious circle, being given larger and larger doses in order to control the now-drug-induced disorder. They are creating hyperactive children and adults, saddled for the rest of their lives with sometimes excruciating inner turmoil and a drive to keep their bodies in motion all the time.
Psychiatry has focused increasing attention on an especially dramatic toxic reaction to the neuroleptics occurring in a small percentage of patients treated with the drugs. The result, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, is largely indistinguishable from an acute, fulminating case of lethargic encephalitis. Both are marked by lobotomy-like indifference and then progress to fever and sweating, unstable cardiovascular signs, bizarre dyskinesia, and, in severe cases, delirium, coma, and death. Not even the experienced psychiatrist can keep in mind all of the potential dangers of using these highly toxic drugs that impair the function of many organs of the body. Almost any organ can be adversely affected by the neuroleptics; eyes, nose, and throat; internal organs, such as the liver, stomach, intestines, cardiovascular system, and sexual organs; the skin; and of course, the brain. A small percentage of patients suffer disastrous consequences, such as neuroleptic malignant syndrome, sudden unexplained death, cardiovascular crises, seizures, and heat stroke in overheated institutions. These are among the most dangerous medications ever used in medicine. Don't be fooled into believing that these drugs are actually treating a disease. They are suppressing overall brain function and creating diseases.
Withdrawal can cause a temporary or permanent worsening of psychotic symptoms, with anxiety and even anguish, as a result of central nervous system rebound from the drugs. This can take weeks or longer to clear or may not clear at all. Insomnia is common. Withdrawal commonly produces a very distressing flu-like syndrome, including runny nose, headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, and gastrointestinal upset. Because of the withdrawal problems, patients should try to come off the medications while receiving emotional and social support from others and with supervision by someone familiar with the process. Symptoms may encourage doctor and patient alike to resume the drug prematurely, when what the patient really needs is time to recover from the drug. Nearly everyone personally associated with the patient is likely to believe that he or she must take the drugs for a lifetime. Symptoms of possible dementia--such as silliness or shallowness, erratic moods, difficulty focusing attention, wandering speech, disconnected thoughts, talking too directly in the listener's face--will be seen as evidence of an innate mental illness. Any withdrawal symptoms, from insomnia and hyperactivity to hallucinations and delusions--also will be attributed to the patient's psychiatric problem.
As the patient recovers from some of the lobotomy effect, old resentments and conflicts may surface between the patient and others. Eventually the drug-free individual may have to deal with his or her originally overwhelming passions. People who must deal with the patient on a daily basis may find themselves minimizing the dangers of the drugs in favor of restoring the relative peace and calm enforced by the drugs. Anyone helping the patient withdraw from the drugs may need to spend time communicating with people other than the patient, encouraging them, too, to support the gradual and sometimes treacherous process. Perhaps the drug-free person won't ever again be as easy to live with, but he or she will be physically healthier and have vastly increased opportunity to get more out of life.
How a person deals with anxiety can determine the course of his or her life. People who will "do anything" to avoid anxiety; often become helpless avoiders of life. People who are willing to think and to act, despite anxiety, people who face anxiety as something to be understood and conquered, are likely to overcome many of life's challenges. Since anxiety is a signal of overwhelm, it is not something to be gotten rid of, but something to be understood and then overcome through personal growth and change. Various negative, self-defeating emotions--guilt, shame, and anxiety stem from childhood fear and helplessness. Shame focuses on our feelings of impotence, weakness, and worthlessness. When ashamed or humiliated, we feel victimized by powers greater than ourselves. In comparison to others, we are made to feel like "nothing," like an "utter zero." We become very sensitive and vulnerable to any slight directed toward us. Guilt focuses on our feelings of being bad--our power to do harm and even evil to others. Feelings of blame are directed toward us, rather than toward others, and anger is directed inward rather than outward. We look within for any sign that we are evil.
In anxiety we tend not to blame anyone or anything, and we have no place to direct our attention or our anger. Instead, we collapse into know-nothing helplessness, a pure overwhelm with no assigned cause for the problem. Anxiety is an overwhelming emotional turmoil, unawareness, or confusion for which we can locate no cause. We cannot act at all, because we have no idea what is going on. The anxious person must marshal every bit of willpower to regain rational control and to focus his or her attention on overcoming helplessness. It's important never to let anxiety motivate our choices or control our actions. When anxiety dictates terms to us, our lives grow narrow indeed. We should attempt, instead, to dispel and defuse anxiety with an understanding of its origins, while guiding our lives with more reliable values, such as reason and love. It's especially useful to focus attention on remaining rational and on identifying any real threats. The goal is to dispel the helpless confusion and know-nothingness and to replace it with conscious, working principles.
Other than hypoglycemia, no biological cause for anxiety has been determined. The biological basis for anxiety overwhelm is so flimsy that one recent textbook, The New Harvard Guide to Psychiatry, gives it only a paragraph and labels the exclusively biological approach "an extreme theoretical position that fails to take psychological facts into account." Textbooks devote much more space to psychological explanations. Nonetheless, biopsychiatrists have staked out a biology of anxiety in the popular press and mass market books.
Despite all the hopes for finding a genetic basis of anxiety disorders, none has been demonstrated. Some studies do show a familial pattern for certain anxiety problems, but this is not surprising. Psychotherapists typically find that anxious patients have learned their emotional reactions, in part, at least, from their parents. Anxiety sometimes can be temporarily alleviated by a variety of sedative drugs, including minor tranquilizers, barbiturates, opiates, alcohol, and perhaps antidepressants. But the effects are short-lived, with no evidence for sustained relief, and the hazards are considerable, including addiction, withdrawal reactions, rebound anxiety, mental dysfunction, and lethality.
Life is an ethical journey in which we find our way by assuming as much responsibility for the conduct of our lives as possible. This is self-determination. When we lapse into psychological or learned helplessness and stop taking charge of our lives, we become the victims of our emotional reactions. Refusing to be guided by guilt, shame, and anxiety is a major step toward making room within oneself for reason and love. Once a person refuses to empower self-destructive feelings, they tend to wither with time.
But if we pamper them, it's like throwing steak to wild dogs; they grow in their demands and their boldness. One goal of life is to supplant guilt, shame, and anxiety with rationally chosen ethics, reason, and love. Looking at the childhood origins of painful emotions and re-experiencing their initial impact on us can help us transcend these emotions. Knowing how we were made to feel ashamed, guilty, or anxious in childhood helps us reject being guided by these emotions as adults. We learn to say to ourselves, "I'm not really feeling guilty or anxious over this immediate event; I'm reacting from those old sources in childhood" or "I don't have to panic right now; this is a terror from the past." Seeing the childhood origins of guilt, shame, and anxiety discredits them as guidelines for mature living. Once we discover that these emotional reactions slammed us around at the age of five, they no longer seem appropriate in adult deliberations. Life is complex and so are we, and we don't always experience guilt, shame, or anxiety in a pure form. Often they are mixed together and sometimes they can rear up in succession in a matter of moments. The common element in each will be the feelings of fear and helplessness, frequently of childhood origin. The common goal is not to cave-in to the emotion and instead to take charge of oneself. Self-defeating fears, such as phobias, are a natural consequence of being afraid of our own freedom to exist as a unique being or separate person. People who are chronically anxious often seem to be highly responsible, even to a fault. If we are a truly responsible person, we see clearly that we are accountable only for the foreseeable results of our own choices and actions--and not for what other people feel, think, or do. Autonomy and self-determination is key in overcoming anxiety.
Intense anxiety can cause a sense of unreality in how we feel about others, the world, or ourselves. We feel "different" or "changed" (depersonalization), or other people and our surroundings seem "far away" and "unreal" (derealization). While psychiatrists do not consider these to be psychotic reactions, individuals who suffer depersonalization and derealization often feel as if they are going mad. Their experience frequently is dominated by anxiety, but with heavy doses of guilt and shame as well. These dread reactions can result from childhood abuse, often of a physical or sexual nature, or they can follow on the heels of adult trauma, such as combat or a severe accident. Depersonalization and derealization are defenses against severe painful emotion. They also can result from overwhelming internal stresses, such as a childhood identity that cannot confront the real adult world. Depersonalization is a common experience. The New Harvard Guide To Psychiatry states that "depersonalization is not only common but should not be viewed as evidence of emotional illness," unless it is severe and persistent. Psychological and spiritual crises are better seen as opportunities, even when the opportunity seems to have been lost. As long as people remain alive, so does the hope for personal growth. Psychiatry's marketing strategy aims at people who feel anxious. It has become an axiom within modern economics that advertising actually creates consumer needs. By targeting people suffering from anxiety, psychiatry should be able to generate an unlimited demand for its drugs. Prescriptions for one class of these drugs, the benzpdiazepines, already are estimated at nearly on hundred million a year in the United States, for a cost of up to $800 million or more.
The minor tranquilizers are highly sought after. Even without doctors pushing them, people would want them. They are actively sold illegally on the street. This is not surprising, since people often resort to taking anything that promises even temporary relief from anxiety. Millions drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and use marijuana, opiates, and other street drugs. Others eat excessively, exercise compulsively, work to exhaustion, watch TV endlessly, escape into books, relentlessly pursue sex, and overindulge any number of otherwise harmless habits in an attempt to escape their tensions and apprehensions. Obsessions, compulsions, and phobias also can be seen as efforts to control anxiety. Among psychiatric medications for the treatment of anxiety, the most commonly used are the minor tranquilizers, starting in 1957 with the introduction of Librium (chlordiazepoxide). In the 1970s, the minor tranquilizer Valium (diazepam) topped the charts as the most widely prescribed drug in America, to be replaced by Xanax (alprazolam), in 1986.
Most of the minor tranquilizers belong to the group called benzodiazepines and are closely related chemically to Librium, Valium, Xanax, also included are Tranxene (chlorazepate), Paxipam (halazepam), Centrax or Verstran (prazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Dalmane (flurazepam), Serax (oxazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), Restoril (temazepam), and Halcion (triazolam). They differ mostly in their duration of action and in the dosage required to achieve the same effect. An older minor tranquilizer is Miltown or Equanil (meprobamate). They have nearly identical clinical effects. Sleeping medications also have tranquilizing effects. These include Doriden (glutethimide), Noludar (methyprylon), Placidyl (ethchlorvynol), and Noctec, Somnos, or Beta-Chlor (chloral hydrate), and the various barbiturates, including Seconal (secobarbital), Luminal (Phenobarbital), Butibel (butabarbital), Amytal (amobarbital), Nembutal (pentobarbital), and Tuinal (amobarbital and secobarbital). All of these drugs have the potential for abuse and addiction.
The minor tranquilizers, now led by Xanax, remain by far the most commonly prescribed psychiatric medications. Women predominate in all psychiatric drug categories. Thirty-five percent of all patients are sixty years of age or older. The sedative attributes of minor tranquilizers differ little from those of the barbiturates, such as phenobarbital. Most biopsychiatrists raised no concerns about encouraging people to have more faith in a pill than in themselves. Even before the barbiturates, there were sedative and hypnotic drugs, many of which are still in use today. People used them, sometimes got short-term relief from them, and sometimes became addicted to them. Chloral hydrate (Notec) and paraldehyde (Paral) are among them. Earlier, the highly toxic bromides had their day. And before them, opiates were freely dispensed in private practice and in mental hospitals.
Doctors prescribed alcohol for generations as a sedative for anxious patients. As recently as 1943, Torald Sollmann's classic text A Manual of Psychopharmacology professed: "A certain amount of alcohol, varying for individuals, may be taken occasionally or even daily without demonstrable permanently injurious effects. The relaxation, the easing of strain, of maladjustments, of excessive self-consciousness, of excessive inhibitions, indeed the euphoria, may sometimes be beneficial" (P. 718). Many people still consider alcohol the tranquilizer of choice. These drugs possess a number of dangerous qualities, many of them similar to the properties of alcohol.
All of the commonly used minor tranquilizers are central nervous system depressants very similar to alcohol and barbiturates in their clinical effects. Along with alcohol and barbiturates, they are classified as sedative-hypnotics, meaning that they produce relaxation (sedation) at lower doses and sleep (hypnosis) and eventually coma at higher ones. Minor tranquilizers are central nervous system depressants--in particular, sedative-hypnotics. All minor tranquilizers combine with each other or with other central nervous system depressants--such as barbiturates, antidepressants, neuroleptics, lithium, and alcohol--with a potentially fatal result. While they can be lethal when taken alone, they are especially dangerous in combination with these other drugs. A large percentage of drug-related emergency room visits involve minor tranquilizers. All of the minor tranquilizers impair mental alertness and physical coordination and can dangerously compromise mechanical performance, such as automobile driving. At low doses the minor tranquilizers are sufficiently potent to impact noticeably on the brain waves on routine EEGs, especially in the frontal lobe region. However, they do not typically have the lobotomizing impact epitomized by the neuroleptics.
All hypnotic-sedatives, including the minor tranquilizers, are habit-forming and addictive and can produce withdrawal symptoms or an abstinence syndrome when they are stopped. In the extreme, the abstinence syndrome can cause life-threatening neurological reactions, including fever, psychosis, and seizures. Less severe withdrawal symptoms include increased heart rate and lowered blood pressure; shakiness; loss of appetite; muscle cramps; impairment of memory; concentration, and orientation; abnormal sounds in the ears and blurred vision; and insomnia, agitation, anxiety, panic, and derealization. Obvious withdrawal symptoms typically last two to four weeks. Subtle ones last months. Studies of Xanax show that most patients develop withdrawal symptoms during routine treatment lasting only eight weeks. Tolerance, or the need for increasing doses to achieve the same psychoactive effect, is the underlying physical mechanism of addiction. Within two to four weeks, tolerance can develop to the sedative effect of minor tranquilizers taken at night for sleep. This again warns against the use of these drugs for more than a few days at a time.
The short-acting benzodiazepines can produce especially severe withdrawal symptoms, because the drug is cleared from the body at a relatively rapid rate. These include Xanax, Halcion, Ativan, Restoril, and Serax. Individuals who take only one pill daily for sleep or anxiety are not exempt from withdrawal problems and can become addicted. Xanax and other short-acting benzodiazepines can cause a reactive hyperactivity of the receptors that they block. The hyperactive receptors then require one or more doses of Xanax each day or they produce anxiety and emotional discomfort. After the patient stops taking the Xanax, it takes the brain six to eighteen months to recover. Patients addicted to minor tranquilizers and even more by those who are cross-addicted with alcohol and other drugs occupy many detoxification beds. Seriously addicted patients may show no outward signs to their family or physicians until accidentally removed from the medication. Their withdrawal symptoms may then be wholly misinterpreted as an aspect of some other disorder or as a psychological problem.
Rebound anxiety is one of the common reactions to withdrawal or to dose reduction of a minor tranquilizer. As with most psychiatric drugs, the use of the medication eventually causes an increase of the very symptoms that the drug is supposed to ameliorate, and thus rebound anxiety can lead to a false diagnosis of chronic anxiety disorder. Long-term treatment can be erroneously maintained or reinstated when drug-induced rebound anxiety occurs. Addiction is the ultimate outcome. Rebound insomnia also results from taking most sleeping medications, because the brain reacts against the central nervous system depressant effects by becoming more aroused or alert.
The minor tranquilizers can produce paradoxical reactions--acute agitation, confusion, disorientation, anxiety, and aggression--especially in children, adults with brain disease, and the elderly. The Xanax report in the PDR states, "As with all benzodiazepines, paradoxical reactions such as stimulation, agitation, rage, increased muscle spasticity, sleep disturbances, hallucinations and other adverse behavioral effects may occur in rare instances and in a random fashion." In nursing homes, the medications may seem to help the insomnia of an elderly patient for a night or two, only to produce generalized brain dysfunction as the medication accumulates in the system. The agitated patient may then be mistakenly overdosed with further medication, perhaps a neuroleptic. As in response to alcohol, some people more readily lose their self-control and become violent when taking minor tranquilizers. There are frequent references to this in the literature, including cases of murder under the influence of minor tranquilizers. Halcion has been especially implicated in causing aggressive and suicidal behavior, as well as delirium, hallucinations, and seizures.
Halcion produces amnesia for events prior to the taking of the drug. This has long been an unheralded problem with minor tranquilizers in general. It becomes a potentially serious problem in the routine use of the minor tranquilizers for anxiety or sleep disorders and can interfere with studying, learning, or recalling previously retained memories. In addition to sedation, other "drunken" symptoms are commonly reported by patients, including ataxia (muscle incoordination), fatigue, and slurred speech. Denial of impairment is typical of people experiencing sedation. People who are sedated often do not appreciate that they are thinking more slowly, getting muddled, forgetting things, slurring their words, or losing their coordination.
Despite the obvious need for concern, few studies have attempted to measure the impact of long-term minor tranquilizer usage on overall mental function. Test results show chronic impairment in measures of visual-spatial ability and attention span. These patients are not functioning well in everyday life, while they remain unaware of their impairment. Brain-disabling treatments render patients less able to evaluate their own dysfunction. Only after withdrawal do they realize that they have been functioning below par. Although rarely mentioned in establishment books or reviews, cerebral ventricular enlargement--the equivalent of brain atrophy (shrinkage)--is found in long-term use of alcohol and the minor tranquilizers. Minor tranquilizers, like any sedative, can be harmful in the long run not only because they are habit-forming and addictive, but because they cover up anxiety by suppressing the capacity of the brain to generate feelings. The brain, as usual, tries to overcome the suppression and reacts in ways we cannot begin to predict or fully comprehend. Drug-induced rebound anxiety is one common effect. The drugged individual with a suppressed and confused anxiety signal system lives under a considerable handicap. At the least, feelings are pushed down, and with that, self-awareness is muted. As the brain reacts against the drug, natural anxiety responses are muted, but abnormal rebound anxiety reactions begin to flare up.
The doctor who offers medication is likely to reinforce the patient's feelings of helplessness. Improvement while on drugs is rarely a psychologically clean affair; the improvement almost always leaves an aftermath of persistent personal helplessness. Without drugs, severely anxious patients often can be helped rather quickly to overcome the worst of their anguish. Over a longer period they can learn new approaches to living relatively free of anxiety. Even if these drugs were more effective or safer, should physicians prescribe them for the relief of anxiety? Few psychiatrists would keep a pitcher of martinis at hand in the office to ease the anxiety of their patients; yet, most are willing to reach into the drawer for a sample of "alcohol in a pill," the minor tranquilizers. Both alcohol and minor tranquilizers accomplish the same thing--a brief escape from intense feelings by suppressing or sedating normal brain function. Physicians or psychotherapists should empower patients to trust themselves and their capacity to triumph over frightening emotions. They could overcome anxiety through self-understanding, self-control of their minds and actions, courageous attitudes, and successful principles of living.
Each year, millions of people are introduced to the merry-go-round of psychiatric drugs and psychological counseling for symptoms that may in fact be rooted in magnesium deficiency. Additional millions try unsuccessfully to cope with their problems by turning to overeating, cigarettes, alcohol, street drugs, and other addictive behavior to suppress their pain. We are a nation suffering a 32 percent incidence of anxiety, depression, and drug problems.
More and more Americans are becoming depressed, getting depressed at a younger age, and experiencing more severe and frequent periods of depression. Each generation born in the twentieth century has suffered more depression than the previous one, and since World War II the overall rate of depression has more than doubled.
People do not get anxiety, panic attacks, or depression because they have a deficiency of Valium or Prozac. Our bodies do not require these substances for essential metabolic processes. However, we can develop a myriad of psychological symptoms because of a deficiency of magnesium, a nutrient our bodies do require.
Psychiatrists all too often rely on prescription drugs for suffering patients and have no insight into the metabolic functioning of the mind and body and what happens when nutrients are deficient. Anxiety and depression are often nutrient-deficiency diseases and chemical sensitivities, certainly not drug-deficiency diseases.
Stress causes magnesium deficiency and a lack of magnesium magnifies stress. IV epinephrine produces a decrease in magnesium as well as calcium, potassium, and sodium. Without enough magnesium to relax arteries and muscles, blood pressure rises and the heart muscle cramps. When the IV epinephrine is stopped, the body recovers in about thirty minutes and potassium rises. However, it takes much longer for magnesium to reach normal levels.
There are over a dozen major metabolic processes that are affected by epinephrine, including heart rate, blood pressure, blood vessel constriction, and muscular contraction. Each of these functions requires magnesium and leads to wasting of this important mineral if the symptoms continue.
Magnesium deficiency is listed as one of the possible causes of panic attacks. When blood sugar is low, the body reacts with a surge of adrenaline (epinephrine) to bring glucose levels back to normal in order to keep this essential nutrient fueling the brain. Adrenaline acts to speed the heart and retrieve glucose from liver storage. Sometimes people perceive a normal adrenaline rush as a panic attack. Interestingly enough, magnesium is also a requirement for proper blood sugar control.
Women tend to pay attention to their feelings and interpret symptoms such as panic attacks as signs of emotional imbalance, for which they seek support. The support they get, however, is often in the form of a prescription for an antianxiety drug instead of sound advice to eat a better diet, exercise, and take the right balance of supplements.
Magnesium deficiency can be an underlying cause of anxiety and depression, as determined in several clinical trials. Symptoms of chronic magnesium deficiency include anxious behavior, hyper-emotionality, apathy, apprehension, poor memory, confusion, anger, nervousness, muscle weakness, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, light-headedness, dizziness, nervous fits, the feeling of a lump in the throat, impaired breathing, muscle cramps (including leg cramps), a tingling or pricking or creeping feeling on the skin, rapid pulse, chest pain, palpitations, and abnormal heart rhythm.
Even the hyperventilation that may accompany anxiety can further drop magnesium levels. Hyperventilation makes the blood more alkaline, which must be neutralized with an intricate dance of sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Even marginal deficiency could induce the brain to become hyper-excitable, as shown by EEG measurements.
Anxiety is a chemical reaction created when the adrenal glands respond to a stressful event, such as low blood sugar, by releasing adrenaline. Adrenaline is very useful if you’re trying to escape from a dangerous situation, because it stimulates the fight-or-flight response: the heart starts pumping faster; digestion slows down; energy stores are released from the liver and made available to the heart, lungs and muscles; and the muscles of the arms and legs are activated. All of these responses require magnesium. So each time we experience any kind of stress, our magnesium stores are tapped to create energy. This magnesium depletion itself stresses the body, which can result in panic attacks, which equals yet more stress. Not only do our overworked adrenals cause magnesium depletion, but even more adrenaline is released under stress when magnesium levels are low in the body, leaving people feeling irritable, nervous, edgy, or even ready to explode. It’s the proverbial Catch-22. To put an end to anxiety, magnesium needs to be replaced.
During stress reactions, calcium is also required to stimulate the release of adrenaline, but calcium excess causes a flood of adrenaline. However, having sufficient magnesium will buffer excess calcium and keep it within normal levels, limiting the stress response. Magnesium is important because it naturally diminishes the excitability of the nervous system and lowers the levels of calcium around nerve cells. This function of magnesium is also significant in heart disease and other stress-induced illness.
Magnesium is also depleted when the body shifts from a short-term fight-or-flight reaction to a chronic stress reaction. The adrenal glands produce cortisol, a type of cortisone, and another stress hormone, norepinephrine, which acts like adrenaline and also causes magnesium depletion.
Chronic stress can come from feeling insecure and threatened, or from exposure to toxic chemicals, heavy metals, or even loud noise, all of which assault the nervous system and overwork the immune system. Constant loud noise in an industrial work setting induces a significant increase of serum magnesium and significantly increased urinary excretion of magnesium, indicating a magnesium deficiency, which lasts for forty-eight hours after exposure.
Loud sounds cause a reflexive fight-or-flight response, and constant loud sound is not something the body gets used to and ignores—it must continually adapt to the noise, all the while using up valuable nutrients such as magnesium to do that job.
Exposure to loud music can increase urinary excretion of magnesium, which lasts for days after exposure. If magnesium is not replaced through an excellent diet and supplements, magnesium deficiency symptoms may begin to appear. Smoking, coffee, alcohol, and a rock star lifestyle all contribute to magnesium deficiency. Musicians have more than one reason to use magnesium. Nervousness, anticipation, and anxiety are all part of the buildup to a musical performance, whether it’s classical, rock, punk, or rap. To deal with the anxiety and the resulting elevated heart rate that often accompanies it, musicians may feel they have to turn to drugs, alcohol, or even medication.
Another benefit of taking magnesium is reduction in the buildup of lactic acid that occurs after hours of playing. Repetitive motion injuries common to musicians can be eased by taking magnesium orally, using magnesium oil or gel on the injured arm or shoulder, and using homeopathic magnesium as needed.
Our children are also susceptible when their favorite foods are magnesium-deficient hot dogs, pizza, and soda. The stress in their lives—from peer pressure, academic and athletic performance pressures, worries about body image, the changes and hormonal fluctuations of puberty, exposure to negative events and violence through the media—also contributes. Even playing in a band can be a risk factor! Children are underdiagnosed when it comes to magnesium deficiency, but they can have magnesium deficiencies for the same reasons as adults. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, juvenile delinquency, and childhood depression are associated with magnesium deficiency.
Toxic metal exposure can result in a wide array of common mental health disorders that can mimic many psychiatric "diseases" and thus lead to psychoactive prescription drug use or other unnecessary treatments. Unfortunately, the majority of clinicians dealing with patients who have mental health issues are unlikely to suspect heavy metal toxicity as a cause of their patient's problems due to a general lack of knowledge of this subject in the medical community. Unique biochemical, genetic, and nutritional factors can make certain people more susceptible to the effects of toxic heavy metals, thus each case must be handled on an individual basis.
In addition to being a cellular toxin, lead competes with calcium in the body, which can cause various malfunctions in calcium metabolism including a decrease in neurotransmitter (chemicals that relay messages along nerve cells) release and blockade of calcium channels. The central nervous system appears to be affected to the greatest degree by lead toxicity, and this can explain the many neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with exposure to this heavy metal.
Why are some people more susceptible to heavy metal toxicity than others? One must always remember that each individual has a unique physiology, and may have an inherently strong or weak detoxification system to handle heavy metal exposure. In addition, poor nutrition, such as iron or calcium deficiency, has been shown to exacerbate the symptoms of lead exposure.
Lead can be absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract and also inhaled as small particles. Chronic exposure to lead can result in significant accumulation in the brain, soft tissue, and bones. Lead that has accumulated in the skeleton can remain there for many years, releasing lead slowly back into the bloodstream over an extended period of time.
2. Poor memory
3. Inability to concentrate
4. Attention deficit
5. Aberrant behavior
7. Temper Tantrums
10. Lowered IQ
11. Difficulty with the reading, writing, language, visual and motor skills
Mercury is considered by many to be even more toxic than lead. Although mercury is poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, mercury vapor is easily taken in through the lungs and readily passes into the brain. Once in the body, mercury also concentrates in the nerves, liver, and especially the kidneys. Mercury is a potent cellular toxin and is known to decrease neurotransmitter production, disrupt important processes within the nerve cells, and decrease important hormones such as thyroid and testosterone.
"Silver" amalgam fillings are the major source of inorganic (does not contain carbon) mercury exposure in humans, while seafood and fish constitute our largest exposure to organic mercury compounds. Amalgam fillings actually contain approximately 50% metallic mercury, and they continuously release mercury vapor during chewing, brushing, or when drinking hot beverages. Studies have shown that exhaled air of subjects with amalgam filling contains a significantly higher level of mercury than subjects without amalgams, and there appears to be a direct correlation to the number of amalgam fillings and the level of mercury found in both blood and urine.
Although the presence of higher levels of mercury in people with amalgam fillings is not in dispute, there continues to be an intense debate regarding the health effects of this finding. While groups such as the FDA and the American Dental Association steadfastly maintain that amalgam fillings are safe, a growing number of physicians and researchers are convinced that mercury from amalgam fillings poses a significant health hazard.
In addition to amalgam fillings, common sources of mercury include pesticides, laxatives, batteries, paper and pulp products manufacturing, drinking water, and paint products.
4. Memory loss
10. Emotional instability
12. Poor cognitive function
Removing all metal from the mouth, especially mercury amalgam fillings; then, metal caps and crowns, partial dentures, etc. will eliminate the cause of much hyperactivity, seizures, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts and aggressive behavior is the first condition to give attention to. This poisoning is not being addressed by any branch of science. Dentistry, Medicine, Psychiatry, Toxicology nor Biochemistry, are recognizing this common practice for its physical, emotional, and mental effects. Other than detoxifying the heavy metals and drugs from the brain and nervous system, the data suggest there is no stronger medicine than dianetic or scientologic auditing for depression. If therapists can learn to tolerate the emotional suffering of depression patients and help to guide them through it with non-drug strategies, as many as 80% will respond within 8 to 12 weeks of treatment, without drugs.
The primary way that Scientology's principles are applied to an individual is called auditing from the Latin word audire, meaning to listen. It is the central practice of Scientology, and is delivered by an auditor, one who listens. In an auditing session, the auditor helps another examine specific areas of their existence so they can rid themselves of unwanted spiritual conditions and increase awareness and ability.
Dianetics comes from the Greek words dia (through) and nous (soul). Dianetics could be said to be what the soul is doing to the body. It provides answers to the fundamental riddles of the mind with a thoroughly validated method that increases sanity, intelligence, confidence and well-being. It gets rid of the unwanted sensations, unpleasant emotions and psychosomatic ills that block one's life and happiness. Dianetics rests on basic principles that can be easily learned and applied by any reasonably intelligent personas millions have. It is the route to a well, happy, high IQ human being.
Dianetics addresses the part of the mind that operates below the conscious level, exerting a hidden influence that causes you to react irrationally, say and do things that "aren't you," and have inexplicable emotions and ills that hold back intelligence and ability. It all resolves with Dianetics.
When you hear that using Dianetics can enable you to live a better, happier life, it isn't exaggeration. Asked to estimate how it had affected them, users said on a scale of 1 to 10, that Dianetics increased their personal level of happiness from an average of 3.9 on the scale to 7.7.
The mind records data using what are called mental image pictures. Such pictures are actually three-dimensional, containing color, sound and smell, as well as other perceptions. They also include the conclusions or speculations of the individual. Mental image pictures are continuously made by the mind, moment by moment. The mind has two distinct parts. One of these the part which one consciously uses and is aware of is the analytical mind. This is the portion of the mind which thinks, observes data, remembers it and resolves problems. It has standard memory banks which contain mental image pictures, and uses the data from these banks to make decisions that promote survival.
In moments of intense pain and unconsciousness, the analytical mind is suspended and the reactive mind takes over. It records everything that happens during unconsciousness in its own banks, unavailable to the individual's conscious recall and not under his control. It has the power to react obsessively upon him at a later time, forcing irrational "solutions" on the individual. The reactive mind can cause unknowing and unwanted fears, emotions, pains and psychosomatic illnesses that one would be much better off without. It holds a person back, getting in the way of his survival and success in life.
With Dianetics auditing, the contents of the reactive mind can be erased, freeing the person from its adverse influence. The previously hidden memories are now stored in the analytical mind, under the control of the individual. A person who no longer has his own reactive mind is called a Clear. What he is left with is all that is really him, and with his mind's potential now fully available.
The goal of Dianetics is a new state for the individual never before attainable in man's history. This state is called "Clear." A Clear possesses attributes, fundamental and inherent but not always available in an uncleared state, which have not been suspected of man and are not included in past discussions of his abilities and behavior.
The Clear is:
- Freed from active or potential psychosomatic illness or aberration
- Vigorous and persistent
- Able to perceive, recall, imagine, create and compute at a level high above the norm
- Stable mentally
- Free with his emotion
- Able to enjoy life
- Freer from accidents
- Able to reason swiftly
- Able to react quickly
Happiness is important. The ability to arrange life and the environment so that living can be better enjoyed, the ability to tolerate the foibles of one's fellow humans, the ability to see the true factors in a situation and resolve problems of living with accuracy, the ability to accept and execute responsibility these things are important. Life is not much worth living if it cannot be enjoyed. The Clear enjoys living to a very full extent. He can stand up to situations which, before he was cleared, would have reduced him to a shambles. The ability to live well and fully and enjoy that living is the gift of Clear.
One of the most fundamental breakthroughs of Dianetics is the concise statement of the goal of life itself. This, the dynamic principle of man's existence, was discovered by L. Ron Hubbard. From this fundamental discovery many hitherto unanswered questions about man and life were resolved. The goal of life can be considered to be infinite survival. That man seeks to survive has long been known, but that it is his primary motivation is new. Man, as a life form, can be demonstrated to obey in all his action and purposes the one command: SURVIVE!
SURVIVE! is the common denominator of all life, and from it came the critical resolution of man's ills and aberrations. Survival is not only the difference between life and death. Nor does it mean merely existing. It encompasses things like ideals, love and art as vital aspects. The better one is able to manage his life and increase his level of survival, the more he will have pleasure, abundance and satisfaction.
Pain, disappointment and failure are the result of actions which do not promote survival. Dianetics addresses these moments of pain and threat to survival, and it provides a precise technology to increase your ability to survive and live a happier, healthier life.
First published on May 9th 1950, few predicted the astonishing impact Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health would have on the lives of millions. As prominent American columnist Walter Winchell then reported: "There is something new... called Dianetics. A new science which works with the invariability of physical science in the field of the human mind. From all indications it will prove to be as revolutionary for humanity as the first caveman's discovery and utilization of fire." Today, more than half a century later, Dianetics is an international phenomenon, transcending political, cultural and ideological boundaries in 150 nations. Its popularity is based solely on one fact results. Testimonials from users tell the story: greater intelligence, awareness, vitality, understanding of life, and the resolution of previously "unsolvable" problems.
With more than 20 million copies printed in over 50 languages, Dianetics stands as a best seller world over. It has appeared more than 100 weeks on the New York Times best seller list and in fact returned to the Number One position decades after its first publication. More Dianetics days, weeks and months have been proclaimed in tribute to it by city and state governments than any other book or self-help subject in history.
Dianetics at its simplest levels can be applied by virtually any two reasonably intelligent people, just by reading and using the procedure contained in the book. It's being done everywhere from the outback in
But, increasingly life is becoming a contest between pills and life itself. People are giving up on life in favor of pills. They are abandoning the struggle to embrace life for the ease of swallowing a pill. The very act of taking of a pill becomes a sacrament of helplessness, a statement that the suffering is unendurable and beyond one's own means, that less suffering is preferable to an intact brain and a drug-free mind. Once drug taking has begun, the individual is no longer likely to work his or her way out of the depression in a new and better way. At best, the drug-dulled or drug-driven individual adjusts or compulsively conforms. There is an enormous cost attached to this choice. One cost is a physical one--the effect on the brain and mind. There is a high likelihood of permanent brain dysfunction, especially when the drugs are taken for long periods of time. There is a moral or psychological cost for the individual--the cost of giving up on oneself as a being with the capacity to triumph in life. There is the cost of blunting or otherwise impairing one's mental acuity at the very moment that one most needs it, at the personal crossroads, during which, despair vies with the opportunity for a great leap forward. We almost invariably become depressed when the old ways have stopped working--when we've come to a dead end in life.
Sometimes the dead end seems caused by overwhelming tragedy, such as the breakup of a marriage or the death of a loved one. But almost always, if the despair becomes intense and unending, there's something else going on--problems restimulated from childhood, or attitudes or viewpoints that leave the person unprepared for life. At such a moment, revelations can occur, breathtaking changes can be made--life can evolve into something much better. This frequently happens in therapy, but not with drugs. Depression expresses energy. The depth of depression reflects the heat of passion burning within. The intensity of suffering reflects the intensity of life energy; imagine how fully you can live when you learn to use it creatively. To the degree that a human being is capable of suffering deeply, to that same degree the human being is capable of a full, rich, exciting, and creative life. That's why people become "manic depressive"--their enormous frustrated energies drive them first into helpless gloom and then into equally futile euphoria. If a person has the energy--the vitality--to become "manic" or "depressive," then he or she also has the energy to live an extraordinarily rich and satisfying life. It's a matter of overcoming the dreadful legacy of childhood, especially self-hate and loathing, and learning to direct this remarkable energy into more productive channels.
We all have suffered deeply and have known despair, and the people we love most dearly and know the best have gone through the same or similar experiences. The suffering, at one time or another, has seemed unendurable. Out of suffering comes a unique understanding of life, a determination to care about self and others, and a will to live a spiritually rewarding life. It's a truth communicated by Judeo-Christian and eastern religions that the road to salvation must pass through suffering. The Buddhists say you cannot get to peace without passing through passion--passionate suffering. Anyone who has reached a moral or spiritual plateau of any consequence has done it at the cost of excruciating emotional pain. To rid ourselves of the option of suffering is to rid ourselves of ourselves. All of our personal heroes have been extremists--deeply passionate people who went through spiritual agony before finding their way and imprinting their values on the world. Yet, each and every one of them could have had their spiritual quest aborted by a psychiatric intervention. Instead of finding a new and higher road, they could have been left at the wayside as "psychiatric patients."
Probably no other emotion is more highly developed or crucial in the human species than empathy. Empathy--a loving, caring, and concern for others--creates friendship, family, and society. It lies at the heart of all truly cooperative efforts. When especially heightened in an individual, it motivates the most creative and heroic actions. It is probably the single most important human quality. Yet, as the ultimate expression of our finely tuned brain and mind, empathy is the most vulnerable capacity. Lobotomy and newer forms of psychosurgery virtually eliminate it. The production of relative degrees of indifference toward oneself and others is a central feature of the physical treatments in psychiatry. Prozac, for instance, disrupts two of the neurotransmitters most involved in frontal-lobe function--serotonin and dopamine--and in that process, can rob us of our sensitivity, self-awareness, and capacity to care or to love. These drugs are anti-empathic agents. That means they are anti-life--anti-human life in the fullest sense, and may be the key to how they work at their best and at their worst. At their best, the person loses touch with himself or herself, becomes euphoric, and feels "better than ever." That's the ultimate Prozac cure. At their worst, the drug blunts empathy so that the person no longer has sympathy for himself or herself, or for anyone else. Then suicide and murder become possibilities.
In our violent society, some of the most shocking crimes are those committed by young people who appear to be totally without remorse or feeling for their victims. Many who work with children and adolescents find that our most important role is to help them rediscover empathy for themselves and others, and to help them reconnect to the world around them. Mind- and spirit-dulling drugs work against this. It's empathy that makes us as human as we are, while helping us to manage our most violent feelings. We don't kill others or ourselves because we still see the human being in others, and ourselves and feel sympathy or caring. When our sense of connection is gone, then any kind of violence can be unleashed. People who torture others have lost touch with their own humanity. No longer able to care about themselves, they grow to hate others. Desperate to have any kind of feeling, they torture feelings out of others. Rage reactions while under the influence of drugs have usually been explained as disinhibition--a loss of the customary controls imposed by the higher brain and with it a wakening of conscience. Biopsychiatrists and behaviorists have such a narrow vision of human nature, they imagine that it's inhibition that keeps us from harming each other. When we injure each other, they call it disinhibition. But it's not "inhibition" as much as human caring and empathy that keeps us from injuring each other. Psychiatric drugs, by removing our fine-tuning toward others, and ourselves open the way to more destructive alternatives. In reducing emotional fine-tuning, empathy is the first to go. This is because empathy is the most subtle, complex, and even delicate expression of our personal fabric. To wash out our emotional static--those painful, discordant feelings--we must wash out ourselves as well.
One of the most commonly reported side effects on Prozac is a diminished sexuality, and often it does not seem to bother the afflicted person. The underlying defect may be the loss of interest in oneself and others. The Prozac user's alienation is frequently lamented by the friends, family, and loved ones of patients of Prozac--but not necessarily by the drug user. Drugs are euthanasia of the soul, but a euthanasia applied at a heightened, if anguished, moment of life. Depressed people don't feel any empathy for themselves. You may think they do if they seem to complain or moan a lot, but it quickly becomes apparent that they hate and blame themselves. That's the opposite of empathy. Actually, the depressed person is feeling fear and guilt. It's not possible, from the child's viewpoint, to feel a genuinely deep caring for an abusive parent. What's being felt is terror, fear of abandonment and death. The depressed child focuses on the parent in the vain hope of pleasing them enough to gain a little attention or to avoid dreadful punishment.
When a depressed adult at last feels empathy for himself or herself as a child the depression begins to lift. Sorrow prevails as genuine feelings of pain and loss, but without the helplessness, and without the self-hate. Understanding replaces depression. When the adult has grasped his or her own plight as a child, self-hate becomes impossible. How can you hate yourself when you see what drove you into depression. When the adult has grasped his or her own plight as a child, self-hate becomes impossible. How can you hate a real child who endured so much misery so many years ago, once you've gotten to know him/her? Once that loving connection is established between the adult and the child he or she once was, depression dissolves. Eventually, it may even be possible to empathize with the abusive parents, because they too were once abused children. But for this to be at all genuine, the adult must first empathize with himself or herself as a victimized youngster.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a federal agency that promotes the interests of organized psychiatry, has estimated that almost 10 million Americans are seriously depressed and that a total of 14 million will suffer from it during their lifetimes. Some media have been citing figures of up to 20 million sufferers at any one time. These estimates are presented to the public as factual data, but they are distributed to the media through carefully organized psychiatric promotional campaigns backed by national organizations, like the American Psychiatric Association and the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as private drug companies. They aim to encourage people to seek medical help for emotional problems. While it is true that depression is a common and deeply distressing human problem, defining it as a biological disease requiring medical treatment is a sales campaign. The message means a lot of business for drug companies and psychiatry. Because depression is such an obviously psychological and spiritual condition--a state of despair and hopelessness--the dedicated involvement of caring human beings is the key. Organized psychiatry acts as if drugs are a necessity, but there's no evidence that antidepressants are especially effective as treatments. In the majority of FDA studies, Prozac proved equal to or only a little better than a sugar pill but a lot more hazardous. In not giving antidepressants, patients are given an important message--that they have the psychological and spiritual resources to triumph over depression and to make a life that is better than they ever hoped for.
Phrases like clinical depression and major depression are truly demeaning expressions. They take profoundly important and often inevitable aspects of human existence, and reduce them to physical diseases. This approach robs us of the dignity to live a fully examined life and encourages us to solve life's most profound problems by putting ourselves in the hands of biological psychiatrists and their quick-fix technologies. The most common and crucial sources of disabling depression lie in childhood losses and abuses, but the intensity and persistence of depression is influenced by experiences in the larger society. When so many children are diagnosed with mental disorders including depression, we must ask about society's attitudes and policies toward its children. America is grossly neglectful of its children. When so many women are diagnosed and treated for depression, we must ask similar questions about society's attitude toward them. For many women, the so-called real world is a hazardous and disappointing place. While depression is in many ways an individual vulnerability and a private, personal affliction, it can be reinforced by our awareness and feeling of helplessness over the rampant injustices and tragedies in our world. Along with their perception of an unjust society, the overall alienation and lack of values felt by so many youngsters increases their vulnerability to depression. Young people are especially likely to empathize with the suffering of others. They easily become discouraged about growing up in a world where children are malnourished amid excess food, where homeless people lie in gutters and atop grates in the richest country in the world, where whole ecosystems are destroyed on a daily basis, where massive pollution threatens us with everything from cancer to acid rain and global warming, where there is epidemic killing of other species--from songbirds to wolves and mountain gorillas.
The most sensitive and empathic feel the greatest pain about the conditions around them. Biological psychiatry--with its genetic and biological theories, drugs, and electroshock--is itself a depressing philosophy. It is no wonder that so many patients go from one drug to another, only to end up hospitalized for yet more toxic doses of drugs and electroshock. There is nothing inspiring about being psychiatrically diagnosed and subjected to physical treatment, and depressed people need, above all else, the inspiration to start living once again, this time in new and better ways. To lift oneself out of depression often requires learning new values that bring vitality and meaning to life: facing the childhood hurts and adult disappointments that have made us vulnerable to depression; opening ourselves to suffering as a universal human experience, and moving through the painful emotions to a place of greater wisdom and acceptance; finding the courage to live in ways that we find truly satisfying and to pursue our most personal and idealistic goals; embracing the interconnectedness of ourselves and others, including all life forms and the earth, and deciding to reach out to life in more extraordinary ways; evolving ourselves mindfully toward making a greater contribution to the lives of those around us; and with eyes undimmed by the often tragic realities of existence, learning to love ourselves, others, and life itself. Depression and love for life are incompatible, and love for life will always triumph when the individual finds strength and courage to embrace it as the guiding principle of life.
Antidepressants are very much in vogue, but they have been around for a long time. Elavil (amitriptyline) and Parnate (tranylcypromine), for example, have been in use for four decades. Prozac is now the most frequently prescribed psychiatric drug. Physicians, mostly non-psychiatrists, are now writing a million prescriptions a month for the drug, which retails in most areas for approximately $63 for a one-month, one-a-day, supply of 20 mg. capsules. Other newly arrived competitors in this new class of drugs called SSRI's (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) are Zoloft, (sertraline), is a product of Roerig, a division of Pfizer Incorporated. Paxil, (paroxetine), manufactured and distributed by Smith Kline Beecham, Luvox (fluvoxamine) and Serzone (nefazadone). More than two-thirds of antidepressant prescriptions are for women. Psychiatrists, however, set the tone for the widespread use of these agents. Right now psychiatrists are advocating their use for a variety of disorders, from depression and anxiety to eating problems, premenstrual tension, phobias, and obsessions and compulsions. They have become a jack-of-all-trades drug. This in itself should warn us not to trust the claims being made. Antidepressants reduce emotional responsiveness. This is why they are being used, however inappropriately, in a variety of severe anxiety disorders, such as insomnia, panic attacks, bulimia, obsessions and compulsions, various phobias in adults, and school phobia and attention deficit disorder in children. They are even used for chronic pain and for the control of aggression in brain-damaged and mentally retarded individuals. Both the tricycliics and SSRI's like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Luvox disrupt neurotransmission to the frontal lobes of the brain.
The antidepressants also tend to produce an organic brain syndrome or delirium--the brain's response to generalized damage form any source, such as toxic drugs, viral encephalitis, or electroshock. It is characterized by memory difficulties, confusion, disorientation, impaired judgment, mood instability, and generalized intellectual malfunction. This is exactly what happens in electroshock and provides the so-called antidepressant effect of that treatment as well. A patient typically is rendered unable to stay depressed during an episode of organic brain dysfunction, because depression requires a relatively intact brain and mind. Rendered either apathetic or artificially euphoric by brain dysfunction, the patient is evaluated as "improved." In their mild delirium, patients themselves will say they are improved, due to the temporary high or euphoria associated with the initial stages of brain dysfunction and delirium, this is a familiar phenomenon that occurs frequently during the early stage of alcoholic intoxication. As in intoxication with alcohol, mild degrees of drug-induced delirium may be undetected by the patient or other observers and yet impair the individual's capacity to feel anything, including depression.
The antidepressants represent a varied group of agents, and their effects on the brain and mind are little understood. One group of antidepressants, the tricyclics, are the best studied among them. They include Tofranil or Janimine (imipramine), Elavil or Endep (amitriptyline), Adapin or Sinequan (doxepin), Surmontil (trimipramine), Norpramin or Pertofrane (desipramine), Aventyl or Pamelor (nortriptyline), and Vivactil (protriptyline). Another, Anafranil (clomipramine), is advocated for obsessive-compulsive problems. Closely related to the tricyclics is Asendin (amoxapine), which turns into a neuroleptic in the body and presents all of the hazards of that class of drugs, including tardive dyskinesia and tardive dementia. Triavil and Etrafon combine a tricyclic and a neuroleptic, entailing the various dangers of both drugs, including tardive dyskinesia and tardive dementia from the neuroleptics, compounded by the unpredictable complexity of their interactions. Limbitrol is a combination of the tricyclic Elavil and the minor tranquilizer Librium, a sedative or antianxiety drug that is highly addictive. Evidence for their usefulness is very slim. Research studies generate extremely variable results and indicate that they are hardly much better than placebo. They have a dulling effect on the mind. In effective doses they can produce lethargy and disinterest, that feeling of being "zonked." They also tend to produce generalized mental dysfunction and, sometimes relieve depression by rendering the brain and mind unable to generate higher psychospiritual responses. They can cause severe withdrawal symptoms and can therefore become very difficult to stop taking. The tricyclics are extremely lethal in overdose and have numerous side effects.
The tricyclic antidepressants originally were tested as neuroleptics because chemically they are very similar to Thorazine (chlorpromazine). They are, in many ways, neuroleptics in disguise. Their side effects stem mainly from suppression of the cholinergic nerves of the autonomic nervous system and the brain, and when the individual tries to stop taking them, the cholinergic system rebounds with great force, making it hard to get off them. Nearly all of the antidepressants commonly produce the following side effects: various autonomic nervous system signs, such as blurred vision, dry mouth, and suppressed function of the gut, bladder, and sexual organs, as well as low blood pressure on standing, weight gain, sleep disturbances, seizures, and impaired cardiac function. They can bring about anxiety, produce or exacerbate psychotic symptoms, and cause delirium. They frequently produce sedation, lethargy, and a blunting of emotional responsiveness, although this often goes unacknowledged by psychiatrists. The antidepressants can cause death when only a few doses are taken at once. In combination with other depressants of the central nervous system--such as alcohol, neuroleptics, lithium, sleeping pills, painkillers, and minor tranquilizers--the antidepressants become increasingly dangerous.
They suppress central nervous system function, thereby impairing respiration, and they cause cardiac arrhythmias, leading to heart failure. A number of years ago antidepressants replaced sedatives as the prescription medication most frequently involved in successful suicide attempts. It is estimated that 55% of adults will undergo withdrawal symptoms when stopping these medications. In addition to the flu-like symptoms, withdrawal symptoms from antidepressants often make the person seem irrational and even crazy, with high levels of anxiety and disturbing dreams that awaken the individual in a state of panic or dread. They're in a state of panic or dread. Often there is jitteriness or irritability. There are reports of patients becoming high or manic on withdrawal. Patients also can become depressed, perhaps in response to the fatigue and lethargy associated with withdrawal. Mental health professionals working with these children often incorrectly attributed their withdrawal symptoms to mental illness, and other causes and then they're misdiagnosed as relapsing during the withdrawal period. The patient and the doctor, and members of the patient's inner circle of friends and family, may have to put up with troublesome symptoms and behavior during the withdrawal period.
The cholinergic nerves in the brain play a major role in mental processes, and when they rebound, they cause mental disturbances, such as anxiety, depression, or mania. Psychiatrists are producing permanent symptoms of mental dysfunction, including anxiety, depression, or mania, by giving patients antidepressants. They induce a vicious circle in which patients attempt to come off the medications and then experience withdrawal symptoms that are mistaken for a recurrence of depression or other mental dysfunction--leading to further treatment with the offending medication. Chronic exposure to antidepressants produces hyperreactivity of the neurotransmitter systems of the brain. It also can produce chronic subsensitivity or reduced reactivity. The brain frequently does not fully revert to normal functioning after prolonged exposure to toxic medications. Many clinicians continue to believe that only the phenothiazine neuroleptics, and not the antidepressants, cause tardive dyskinesia, with its permanent, untreatable tics and spasms of the voluntary muscles.
However, some studies suggest that the tricyclic antidepressants also produce tardive dyskinesia, but much less frequently. Since the tricyclic antidepressants closely resemble neuroleptics, and since all antidepressants powerfully affect the brain and mind, there is a largely unexplored danger of permanent cognitive dysfunction and brain atrophy similar to that found during prolonged neuroleptic treatment. The biopsychiatrists performing the studies assume that the pathology is due to mental illness.
Because of their depressant and debilitating effects, psychiatric drugs can make people feel so bad they want to kill themselves. The administration of the antidepressants can cause depression, especially early in the treatment. Any drug that disrupts mental function can make people feel more helpless and despairing. Drugs that cause mental confusion, sluggishness, and physical fatigue, are prone to precipitate or worsen depression. Meanwhile, some psychiatrists persist in telling patients and the public that these drugs have no "psychoactive" or mental effects at all. When uninformed patients then feel numbed or "zonked" from the medication, they are very likely to think their condition is worsening, thereby encouraging suicidal feelings. There is no published evidence that the antidepressants are helpful in reducing suicide. In the PDR, the manufacturers of the various antidepressants warn practitioners not to rely on the medications to prevent suicide. The September 1976 Archives of General Psychiatry, shows an increased suicide rate among patients receiving antidepressant therapy. Since antidepressants are now the drugs most commonly implicated in successful suicides, it would seem far more appropriate to designate them as suicide drugs, rather than antisuicide drugs. Yet psychiatrists persist in giving them to depressed patients who are suicidal.
The monoamine oxidase inhibitors are among the most dangerous agents used in medicine. They include Marplan (isocarboxazid), Nardil (phenelzine), Parnate (tranylcypromine), and Eutonyl (pargyline). Another, Eldepryl (selegiline), is recommended only for the treatment of parkinsonism and is considered very useful. Careful adherence to a special diet is required to avoid very severe and life-threatening cardiovascular reactions. MAOIs also interact dangerously with many other medications, increasing the risk of cardiovascular crises, including hypertension and stroke, as well as brain dysfunction and mental distress. Headaches are frequent and can be a warning sign. They often cause restlessness and insomnia and can produce confusion, disorientation, and a euphoric or manic reaction. They are very lethal in overdose, a special hazard in potentially suicidal depressed patients. Withdrawal from an MAOI can produce depression or its opposite, euphoria. For many years, these drugs were viewed as too dangerous for routine use, and some experts rejected them entirely. With the resurgence of radical biopsychiatry they are becoming more commonly prescribed. Newer antidepressants of mixed types are sometimes called the atypical antidepressants. They include Ascendin (amoxapine), Ludiomil (maprotiline), Desyrel (trazodone), and Wellbutrin (bupropion). Textbooks of psychiatry confirm that these drugs have not proven themselves more effective than the old standbys, the tricyclics, whose efficacy itself is doubtful. We are dealing with a more questionable subclass of a very questionable class of drugs.
Prozac (fluoxetine), introduced in January 1988, is one of the latest of a new generation of antidepressants. Imipramine (Tofranil) is among the oldest antidepressants and is on e of those old standbys whose entire credibility is being challenged by researchers. The 1989 Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry observes that Prozac is "at least as effective as standard antidepressants." Prozac is described as selectively affecting the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin nerves spread throughout most of the brain--including the emotion-regulating limbic system and frontal lobes--and are thus involved in multiple functions that defy our current understanding or imagination. Prozac makes serotonin more available by inhibiting its removal from the synaptic region between nerves. When this biochemical imbalance is created, many other related neurotransmitter systems, such as dopamine, are forced to undergo changes as well, creating more widespread disruptions.
The brain is thrown out of balance by any such biochemical intrusion. Prozac causes headache, nausea, and somnolence. It is also well known that Prozac causes anxiety and agitation, as well as insomnia and bizarre dreams, in a large percentage of patients. It can also result in loss of appetite, diarrhea, dry mouth, sweating, dizziness, impotence, and inability to achieve orgasm, seizures, and rash. It can cause hypoglycemia with anxiety, chills, cold sweats, confusion, weakness, and other symptoms of low blood sugar. On rare occasion, a severe rash develops with symptoms of fever, joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes. A Prozac syndrome may develop, with hot flashes and flushing, agitation, nausea, muscle tremors, and sweating. Using tryptophan can increase the risk of prozac syndrome. Convulsions and a few deaths have been reported from massive overdoses. Combination with MAOI antidepressants and other drugs can be dangerous. A small percentage of Prozac patients become psychotic. There are still more ominous problems associated with Prozac, including serious neurological and psychiatric disorders. Prozac has not been systematically studied for its potential to cause withdrawal reactions.
There is an association between Prozac and compulsive self-destructive and murderous activites in a growing number of patients. A spate of murder trials, in which defendants claim they became violent when they took the antidepressant Prozac, are imposing new problems for the drug's maker Eli Lilly & Co. The clinical literature also displays a growing number of reports of compulsive suicidal behavior in people taking Prozac. While Prozac is supposed to enhance serotonin neurotransmission, the brain, in fact, reacts to the first dose by reducing serotonergic activity, including that to the emotion-regulating centers. Researchers for the pharmaceutical company itself, Eli Lilly, first described this reaction before the drug was even named.
Prozac and similar drugs initially cause a suppression of serotonergic neurotransmission that gradually returns to normal over a three-week period. Prozac can also produce a relative shutdown of serotonergic neurotransmission during long-term use through another mechanism called down-regulation. When neurotransmitter systems are overstimulated, some of them tend to become relatively non-reactive. One way this occurs is through a reduction in the density of the receptors for the neurotransmitter. Prozac-induced down-regulation occurs and is even mentioned in the USP DI Drug Information for the Health Care Provider, but without indicating the potentially disastrous outcomes associated with it.
There are still other ways of understanding how Prozac could produce both murderous and suicidal behavior. Prozac often affects individuals as if they are taking stimulants, such as amphetamine, cocaine, or PCP. When testing a drug for amphetamine-like or stimulant qualities in animal research, the two main criteria are an energizing effect and an appetite suppression effect--and Prozac has both. Indeed, this stimulant quality may be the main reason for Prozac's popularity. Like amphetamines or cocaine, Prozac can produce the whole array of stimulant effects, such as sleeplessness, increased energy, jumpiness, anxiety, artificial highs, and mania. Some patients taking Prozac do indeed look "hyper" or "tense," and even aggressive, without realizing it. The PDR lists the symptoms of Prozac overdose--"agitation, restlessness, hypomania, and other signs of CNS excitation," as well as seizures--and these are similar to stimulant overdose. Consistent with this, there are many published reports of patients becoming "manic" or otherwise psychotic on Prozac. Violence in individuals taking Prozac may sometimes be associated with amphetamine-like psychoses. The public has begun to catch on that Prozac is a stimulant. It is being referred to in the popular press as the yuppie upper. Some people react paradoxically to uppers by becoming depressed. In psychopharmachology "what goes up must come down," and some patients crash after being high on Prozac, producing still another potential for depressed, suicidal behavior. Amphetamines for weight reduction and depression were an enormous fad before doctors and the public caught on to the danger of addiction, psychosis, and bizarre behavior. Minor tranquilizers were at first dispensed freely because they were thought to be relatively safe and nonaddictive.
They turned out to be very dangerous in combination with other drugs and highly addictive. While Prozac does not commonly produce dulling effects on the mind as obviously as the tricyclic antidepressants do, it disrupts serotinin neurotransmission to the frontal lobes and cerebral cortex. Prozac produces symptoms of akathisia, objectively and subjectively indistinguishable from those produced by neuroleptics, including severe anxiety and restlessness, floor pacing and sleeplessness, severe jerking of extremities, and bicycling in bed or just turning around and around in up to 25% of patients on Prozac. Akathisia can become the equivalent of biochemical torture and could possible tip someone over the edge into self-destructive or violent behavior. Prozac can exacerbate parkinsonism, and attributes both the akathisia and the parkinsonism to interference with dopamine neurotransmission. Prozac can suppress dopamine activity, and like the neuroleptics, it can produce not only parkinsonism and akathisia, but dystonias (muscle spasms of neurological origin).
The Prozac scientifically controlled testing trials lasted a mere five or six weeks. Once approval of the drug is given, there is no reliable mechanism at the FDA for keeping track of dangerous effects that turn up with long-term use. Instead the FDA relies on information from the drug company itself. People assume that FDA approval and the widespread distribution of a drug means that long-term studies have found it safe in regard to side effects, drug interactions, dependency, addiction, and withdrawal. Thus FDA approval grossly misleads the public, lulling it into an unfounded security.
Many psychotherapists, who are working with individuals, families, and groups, routinely treat depression. Most psychotherapists wouldn't dream of prescribing a drug for anything so obviously psychological and spiritual in origin. They would resist blunting the passion of the already "out of touch" or suppressed person. The vast majority of people overcome depression without resort to any mental health services. They do so by virtue of their own inner strength, through reading and contemplation, friendship and love, work and play, religion, art, travel, beloved pets, and the passage of time--all of the infinite ways that people have to refresh their spirits and to transcend their losses. Since the antidepressants frequently make people feel worse--since they interfere with both psychotherapy and spontaneous improvement by blunting the emotions and confusing the mind, since most are easy tools for suicide, since they have many adverse physical side effects, since they can be difficult to withdraw from, and since there's little evidence for their effectiveness--it makes sense to never use them. Spontaneous improvement of depression (that is with no psychiatric treatment whatsoever) takes place in at least one-quarter of patients within the first month or so of becoming depressed and in one-half or more over a few months. Even people with severe depression have a high rate of recovery without psychiatric treatment.
Since it takes most antidepressants a month or more to have their presumed beneficial effect, it easily overlaps with spontaneous recovery.In addition, placebo has a potent effect on depressed patients; most experts indicate that 40% or more will improve during the first month or two of taking a "sugar pill." Even the most positive reviews by drug advocates indicate the up to 40% of studies show no difference between the drugs and placebos. Since it is relatively harmless, placebo may be the best treatment. There are no standard criteria for determining "improvement" and psychiatric standards are often behavioral, such as "sleeps better" or "gaining weight," rather than psychological, such as "feels better about life" or "actively building a better future."
Controlled studies comparing drugs and psychotherapy tend to favor psychotherapy: "Psychotherapy had its main effect on mood, apathy, suicidal ideation, work, and interest, whereas medication mainly influenced sleep and appetite." Although drugs may help patients with their sleep disturbances, research shows they are often less efficient than psychotherapy in helping patients with depression and apathy and frequently ineffective in aiding patients in their social adjustment, interpersonal relationships, or work performance.
Because of toxicity problems, lithium is rarely prescribed by nonpsychiatric physicians and is therefore not among the most widely used psychotherapeutic agents. It accounts for considerably less than 3 percent of total prescriptions for psychotherapeutic drugs by all physicians. Among psychiatrists, less than 10% of drug consultations concern lithium. Lithium carbonate is the usual form in which it is administered.
The promotional campaign for lithium began in 1970, the year the FDA approved it for psychiatric uses. The NIMH released a booklet aimed at the media and the general public, entitled Lithium in the Treatment of Mood Disorders, it called lithium "the first specific chemical treatment for a mental illness" and claimed that "it rarely produces any undesirable effects on emotional and intellectual functioning." The NIMH booklet claimed that lithium, unlike the neuroleptics, does not produce a "pharmacological straightjacket" or "suppress the frantic emotional lability and hyperactivity of mania by wrapping the patient's entire mind in a cocoon of stupefaction." This group wanted to promote the contrasting image of lithium as a magic bullet: "Only the symptoms are leached out while the rest of the personality remains unaffected."
Today patients and the public frequently are told that lithium carbonate is a harmless metallic salt found "naturally" in the body and that its function in manic-depressive disorder is similar to the function of insulin in diabetes. None of this is true, except that it is a metallic salt found in nature. So is lead and mercury. Like lead and mercury, it is a toxic metal with no known function in the body. It appears in traces in the body simply because it's in the environment. Before the lithium PR campaign, the 1960 standard textbook Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics observed that lithium has "no biological function" and "the only pharmacological interest in lithium arises in the fact that it is toxic." While insulin actually functions to help the metabolism of sugar in the body, lithium does nothing so positive. Instead it interferes with nerve transmission in general, slowing down the responses of the brain. While admitting that the mechanism of action of lithium is unknown, the Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry seems to approve of the misleading practice of telling patients that it corrects a biochemical imbalance: "Theories abound, but the explanation for lithium's effectiveness remains unknown."
There is no evidence that bipolar mood disorder is a lithium deficiency state or that lithium works by correcting such a deficiency. Within standard psychiatric practice, lithium has two generally approved applications: to help abort manic episodes and to help prevent their recurrence. Its other uses, such as the prevention of recurrent depression, are controversial even among avid biophsychiatrists. In actual clinical practice lithium is not even the drug of choice for aborting manic attacks. The neuroleptics are the more commonly used agent for actually stopping a manic attack. Lithium doesn't work fast enough, sometimes taking several days or weeks to slow down the patient. Also, the toxic doses required to stop a manic attack are too dangerous. Lithium's most established role in psychiatry is in long-term administration for prophylaxis when the patient is between manic episodes.
John Cade accidentally discovered the effect of lithium while injecting it into guinea pigs in his laboratory in Australia. Serendipitosly he noticed that the guinea pigs became sedated and even flaccid. After a latency period of about two hours the animals became extremely lethargic and unresponsive to stimuli for one to two hours before once again becoming normally active and timid. Does this sound like the discovery of a treatment specific for a "biochemical imbalance" in manic patients? It is, in fact, the now-familiar brain-disabling effect we saw described in regard to the lobotomizing impact of the neuroleptics. Because this is so disillusioning, the typical textbook of psychiatry makes no mention of the many studies of lithium effects on animals, and the average psychiatrist knows little or nothing about it. Patients in state mental hospitals became human guinea pigs. Cade quickly discovered that he could subdue hospital inmates as easily as he did the guinea pigs, making them into more docile inmates. He himself admitted in his pioneering report that the drug producd a nonspecific leveling effect, with no improvement in any of them. Yet, Cade would later call lithium a "magic wand" for mania.
The drug companies couldn't patent an elementary metallic salt, so they did not see megabucks in promoting their own brands in a competitive market. The most in-depth research on the effect of lithium on normal volunteers was led by Lewis Judd, a recent director of NIMH, and reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry in 1977-79, study showed a "general dulling and blunting of various personality functions" and overall slowing of cognitive processes. It created noticeable symptoms, including "increased levels of drowsiness and lowered ability to work hard and to think clearly." Normal volunteers or patients taking lithium won't necessarily realize how impaired they have become. The drugged patients lose their judgment about their impaired state. Frequently they don't notice or report symptoms, such as an obvious tremor or skin rash. This inattention to harmful drug effects reflects the psychological indifference or apathy produced by the medication, a reaction that worsens with larger and more dangerous doses. Hardly the anticipated magic bullet!
A large proportion of patients stop taking their lithium. A report in the April 1989 Journal of Clinical Psychiatry claimed that patients most frequently stopped because of weight gain and mental impairment, with symptoms of "poor concentration," "mental confusion," "mental slowness," "memory problems." Consistent with its toxic effects on the nervous system, lithium causes a tremor in 30 to 50 percent of patients. Tremors can be a warning sign of impending serious toxicity of the brain, especially if it occurs along with other danger signals, such as memory dysfunction, reduced concentration, slowed thinking, confusion, disorientation, difficulty walking, slurred speech, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, nausea, vomiting, and headache. Muscle aches and twitches, weakness, lethargy, and thirst are other common signs of lithium toxicity. In the late stages of toxicity, the patient may become delirious and succumb to seizures and coma. EEG studies indicate an abnormal slowing of brain waves in a significant portion of patients routinely treated with lithium; the condition worsens with toxicity. People who already have brain damage, as from electroshock or neuroleptic treatment, tend to become toxic more easily when taking lithium, probably because their brains have less functional reserve. There are reports of life-threatening neurotoxic reactions when lithium is combined with neuroleptics, especially Haldol. Kidney problems associated with long-term treatment have been the subject of much research and controversy.
Lithium causes an increased excretion of water through the kidneys, and long-term use has resulted in pathological changes in the kidney of some patients. Lithium suppresses thyroid function, causing hypothyroidism and goiter, in up to 10% of patients. Hypothyroid symptoms of sluggishness can mimic or elicit depression, and the physician can mistakenly interpret the problem as a recurrence of depression requiring more of the offending medication. Much more rarely, lithium can produce hyperthyroidism, an overactivity of the thyroid gland. It also can produce hyperparathyroidism, causing demineralization and weakening of the bones. Lithium raises the white-blood-cell count, and there are reported cases of leukemia in association with lithium treatment. These dangers frequently go unmentioned in authoritative sources. Skin rashes similar to psoriasis and acne frequently are caused by lithium; occasionally a rash persists long after removal from lithium. More than 10% of women may experience hair loss on lithium. Perhaps, as an aspect of its suppression of passion, lithium frequently reduces sexuality. Twenty to 30% of patient taking lithium develop cardiac abnormalities as measured by electrocardiogram. Patients should not take lithium under the mistaken impression that it is a specific cure for mania rather than a nonspecific brain-disabling agent. They should not be misled into believing that it is a natural substance in the body and that taking it is comparable to taking insulin for diabetes. Nor should they be led to believe it is harmless.
Psychiatry is probably the single most destructive force that has affected the society within the last fifty years. --Thomas Szasz, M.D. 1993
I thought I had seen psychiatry at its worst with its fixation on barbaric practices such as electroshock treatment. I was wrong. Nothing compares to the viciously covert mental and physical abuse that is dealt innocent children through psychiatric drugging and psychology-based curricula today. Parents have the right, the responsibility and all the power they need to reverse this hideous situation. And they must, for whom else can our children turn to? --Michael Chavin, M.D. 1998
Children are our most vulnerable citizens. More than any other group they need our love, our interest, our sympathy, and our protection. They also need us to create mutual respect between themselves and us. Out of mutual respect grows the healthiest kind of discipline. Raising children is the most difficult job in the world, requiring a balance of love and respectful limit setting that rarely comes easily to parents and caretakers. Being parents confronts us with our own personal problems, many of which stem from difficulties in our own childhoods that we cannot bear to face. Our preference for the company of adults, our preoccupations with adult concerns, our confusion over how to parent, mismatches of temperament between ourselves and our children, our impatience or tiredness--all of these compound to make parenting and teaching children difficult. Raising children is probably the easiest job in the world to botch, not only because it is so difficult, but also because there's almost no one to hold us accountable. As parents we may at times feel baffled and impotent or even completely helpless; nonetheless, we exercise a degree of power and authority in the home that is unparalleled in the remainder of our lives. We are coerced into injecting toxic immunizations into their little bodies, and give them powerful antibiotic and other drugs.
We reward our kids with sugary sweets, that cause hyperactivity. We aren't taught how to feed our kids properly, to avoid malnutrition and biochemical imbalances in their brains and bodies. To avoid the tooth decay which leaves them victims of the dental industry, with toxic mercury amalgam fillings, and other metals that create a galvanic effect in the mouth. This increased electricity is applied to the brain through the nervous system. This condition creates hyperactivity in the mind and body and in extreme conditions, can cause seizure activity. Mercury vapor in the mouth and sinuses easily migrates into the brain and pineal/pituitary/hypothalamus tissues, endocrine-system-controlling glands, causing endocrine imbalances resulting in loss of control over the thyroid and adrenals and gonads with myriad physiological and psychological results. Add to this, the results of using a cell phone at 2.4 gigahertz frequency. This is the same frequency range as used in microwave ovens! The magnetite (magnetic iron) in the pineal gland and brain is oscillating at 2400 million cycles a second. We can easily lose our temper with our kids because of this increased intense activity. We never could lose our temper at the boss, or even at our employees, and get away with it so easily.
We never could ignore the needs of our friends with such impunity. Nor could we hit or spank anyone else with whom we came into conflict. The difficulty in raising children often is complicated by the stresses of our own adult lives. Most adults suffer from the same conditions that they developed in childhood themselves. Most have fillings, root canal filled, with crowns and caps in their teeth, and their diets are non-nutritive. They suffer from the same brain fog and nervous system dysfunction that their kids experience, but with years of accumulation. They are holding cell phones next to their brains and endocrine-controlling glands. Many parents, especially single mothers, live in poverty; many families grow up amid racism; and all children and adults suffer from the effects of sexism and male supremacy. Many marriages are torn by conflicts that frighten and confuse the children.
When our children finally go off to school, it is often to a more unsatisfactory situation than the one at home, within the family. Typically children are forced to endure long, boring hours in regimented classrooms that give almost no attention to their personal needs or unique attributes. In many schools children are beaten and humiliated as a means of control. Child abuse and neglect are rampant. Instead of covering up this tragedy with diagnoses, drugs, and hospitals, psychiatry should be leading the society toward a more sympathetic understanding of the plight of children. The schools virtually have given up on educational reform. Children who cannot or will not fit the mold are sent off to mental health professionals, frequently for stupefying and addictive medication. Parents similarly forsake their responsibility for raising their own children by handing them over to mental health specialists, not only injuring their offspring, but depriving themselves of the satisfaction of being good parents. The children are stigmatized and carry within themselves feelings of guilt and shame over problems that are almost wholly beyond their control. Instead of finding better family, educational, and social solutions, modern psychiatry pushes us in the direction of blaming the victim and exonerating the adult authorities. It's the easiest way out for all of the adults, including the child abuser; but it's a disaster for the child. We need a drastic turnabout in which we, as caring adults, retake responsibility for our children. Freeing ourselves from biopsychiatric mythology can become the single most important step in that direction.
Through massive promotion and marketing campaigns, psychiatric drugs are increasingly prescribed as the panacea for life's inevitable crises and challenges. Psychiatry's most recent campaign is the much-touted theory of the chemical imbalance in the brain, or neurobiological disorder.
Psychiatrist David Kaiser is unequivocal about the lie of neurobiological disorder. In 1996, he stated: "modern psychiatry has yet to convincingly prove the genetic/biologic cause of any single mental illness." Patients have been diagnosed with chemical imbalances despite the fact that no test exists to support such a claim, and "there is no real conception of what a correct chemical balance would look like." When this pitch is successfully used to secure the cooperation of unwitting parents, it establishes a dangerous precedent. "These children believe they have something wrong with their brains that makes it impossible for them to control themselves without using a pill," said Dr. Baughman. By pill, of course, is meant hazardous and addictive amphetamine-like drugs, usually Ritalin (methylphenidate), or the central nervous system stimulant, Cylert (pemoline). The newer antidepressants, the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), are also increasingly in vogue. Take Prozac--said to cure everything form weight gain to jealousy and pulling out your hair. With more than four million American children alone fraudulently labeled as having ADHD, we are allowing psychiatrists to create a generation of drug addicts.
Ritalin's manufacturer admits it is a drug of dependency, another way of saying that it is a drug of addiction. In the U.S., production of Ritalin increased by 665% between 1985 and 1995, with a 500% increase since 1990. In some classrooms, up to 20% of the students are taking the drug! A further 909, 000 children and adolescents between the ages of six and 18 are on antidepressant drugs such as SSRIs. Already on the market is peppermint-flavored Prozac as an added incentive for children. Each year in Germany, 500,000 prescriptions for psychiatric drugs are written for school children, with every seventh psychiatric pill being administered to a child under the age of eleven. Teachers spend their days dispensing medication. It is not a job that they enjoy. As one teacher remarked, "As an early childhood teacher, it breaks my heart to have to administer these drugs to children as young as three and then to see them spend their day in a zombie-like state."
In 1998 in British Columbia, Canada, Health Minister Ms. Penny Priddy asked the College of Physicians and Surgeons to find out why the number of children on Ritalin had tripled since 1992, Priddy, a former teacher, said, "I am trying to picture what I would do it the school said about my child that I adore, 'Either you put him on this drug or he can't come back' it feels a bit like blackmail." A mother testified before a 1994 Philadelphia City Council Hearing into the use of mood-controlling drugs in schools that, after receiving Ritalin, her child became depressed and suicidal. In at least three public hearings held in 1997 and 1998 into psychiatric labeling and drugging of children, parents wept as they gave evidence that they were threatened with their child being refused schooling unless the child was kept on an ADHD drug. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-III-R), published in 1987, "Suicide is the major complication" of withdrawal from Ritalin and similar drugs. This is despite a U.S. District Court ruling in 1991 that state and local education officials violated a student's rights by insisting he take Ritalin to attend mainstream classes. Judge Martin F. Loughlin ruled that Derry cooperative District School in New Hampshire broke federal education laws by barring Casey Jesson, 9, from the town's regular classrooms unless he took Ritalin against his parents' consent. The parents sued the school, complaining of "cruel and unusual punishment."
Many children considered hyperactive, learning disabled, or retarded respond to relevant lifestyle changes and nutrient-based therapy. Early treatment can be especially important for that significant minority of such children who are actually incubating schizophrenia and who may, otherwise, endure years of dysperception, depression and fatigue, culminating in full-blown schizophrenia. Statistics say that only two per cent of schizophrenias occur in childhood. It's rare before age five. The rate increases gradually towards age fifteen, at which point, it rises rapidly. Childhood schizophrenia is four times more common in males. Schizoprenia can be genetic, or due to such factors as infections, metal toxicity, fluoride poisoning, psychiatric drugs, neurotoxins, nutrient deficiencies, allergies, or difficult deliveries. Congenital influences may include maternal malnutrition, maternal metal toxicity, anemia, excitotoxicity (aspartame, MSG, etc.), or overuse of tranquilizers, sedatives, diuretics, reducing pills, or other drugs.
Characteristics to watch for in babies are slowness in learning to speak and walk, and difficulty bonding. As the child grows, symptoms can include insomnia, nightmares, bedwetting, fatigue, fears, and temper tantrums. The child may be unhappy, restless and resentful. He may rarely laugh, but be prone to episodes of manic excitement. Such children often resist chores, and have a hard time making friends, with social problems at home and at school. The child may complain of various aches and pains. Blurred vision, and visual distortions can make reading difficult. Math and abstract thought can be elusive. The child often has problems learning, concentrating and remembering. In some cases, a child of average to above average intelligence seems retarded. Hyperactivity may be overwhelming, an inner tornado. When older, such children sometimes use drugs or alcohol to calm down.
Instead of labeling a child schizophrenic, underlying factors should be identified so the child can be helped. Rule out psychological trauma. The child may be reacting to an abusive situation, and schizophrenia may not be a factor. On the other hand, attention to biochemistry may also be indicated. Test vision, including farsightedness, difference in refractive power between the eyes; problems with focus, convergence, binocular vision. The biochemical tests used for adults remain relevant; basophil count, blood histamine, urinary kryptopyrrole, hair mineral and heavy metals analysis, blood and urinary nutritional analysis, complete blood chemistry, thyroid, adrenal, kidney and liver function, protein and electrolyte levels, etc.
Be sure to check for Candida, pesticide exposure, allergies, dental toxicity, and sugar metabolism disorders. Psychological screening tests, such as the HOD or EWI, are not generally applicable, as all children score high, until possibly age thirteen. Green's Perceptual Dysfunction Test may be somewhat more appropriate. Kinesiologic testing will reveal many insightful findings. Learning disorders are often linked to elevated levels of mercury, lead, cadmium, or copper. Violence/delinquency is associated with characteristic imbalances. Hyperactivity is common, and may signal electrogalvanism in the mouth from dental metals, allergies, vitamin deficiencies, or reactions to sugar. Zinc, B6, Choline, and C are often indicated. If the child is underactive, check for toxins (high lead, copper, or sodium, with low zinc and potassium, is fairly common).
Children respond readily to nutritive treatment. Appropriate nutritional treatment should be started at the first sign of mental disorder. If no physical injury is involved, recovery rates are high. Sometimes, however, children will not take their supplements or foods. Parents must be firm enough to ensure compliance with treatment. Recovery may be more difficult to achieve in teenagers, especially if drugs or alcohol are involved. Remove junk food, aspartame, sugar, processed starch, additives, and allergens. A natural organic, whole foods diet with plenty of fresh uncooked foods is critical, as is sufficient exercise. Hypoglycemia is often caused or aggravated by a shortage of zinc and chromium, which are vital to insulin and pancreatic action. It is treated, in part, with frequent feeding, nutrient supplementation, and avoidance of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, allergens and refined starches. Allergens, which may cause nervous system reactions in children, include milk, wheat, corn, soy, peanuts, tomatoes, eggs, sugar, additives, pesticide residues, and various environmental substances. Some children react negatively to mercury dental fillings, fluorescent lighting or excess TV and cell phone and computer exposure. Herbs help nourish and restore brain tissue including lady's slipper, skullcap and green oats.
At the turn of the century, academic achievement in the US and elsewhere was excellent. Admirable standards of classroom conduct were maintained. Literacy was high. However, a number of forces were brought into play around the same period--forces that would ultimately lead to the demise of this workable system. Today, we find guns, knives and drugs in the schoolyard. Something has insinuated itself into our once-great halls of learning, and this something has encouraged lower standards and seems to have brought out the worst in our children. It was the movement that transformed our schools from places where our young acquire knowledge and skills to places where they receive therapy. For centuries man had been considered to have free will, to be able to cause changes in his environment and to be responsible for his actions. Suddenly he became a stimulus-response mechanism, the product of genetics, and constantly affected by his environment, a creature at the mercy of forces around him. It was a drastic reversal.
The first action was to attempt to eliminate the education fundamentals of reading and writing and redefine education into psychological or psychiatric contexts. In the early 1800s, Germany asserted its beliefs in the philosophies of Johann Gottleib Fichte, the head of philosophy, including psychology, at the University of Berlin. Fichte's theories were materialistic, denying the power of the soul or spirituality. In 1879, German psychologist Wilhelm Wundt, a proponent of Fichte, founded experimental psychology. He declared Man to be an animal with no soul; that thought was merely the result of brain activity and that consciousness is of no avail until these are derived from chemical and physical processes. Key players who subsequently implemented Wundt's theories into education were: Edward Lee Thorndike, John Dewey, James Earl Russell, James Cattell, William James and Ivan Pavlov. Thornkdike performed some of the earliest experiments in animal psychology. Maintaining Wundt's man-is-an-animal view, he investigated the mechanisms of learning by studying not humans, but chickens, rats and cats. In his 1929 book Elementary Principles of Education, the pioneer of animal psychology, Edward Lee Thorndike stated: "Artificial exercises, like drills on phonetics, multiplication tables, and formal writing movements, are used to a wasteful degree. Subjects such as arithmetic, language, and history include content that is intrinsically of little value. Nearly every subject is enlarged unwisely to satisfy the academic ideal of thoroughness."
John Dewey, known as the Father of American Education, viewed children as animals requiring guidance, control and molding, but not particularly teaching. In 1928, he visited the Soviet Union and wrote a series of six articles on the wonders of Soviet education, which had been modeled on Dewey's ideas. In her book, Cloning of the American Mind, Eradicating Morality Through Education, Beverly Eakman tells us that the "Students were judged on their ability to 'adapt to change,' for their ability to subordinate morality, to the interests of the class struggle." The family was declared a basic form of slavery, so if the child's parents or relatives believed in God or religious morality (read mythology), then the student better not get caught bringing it to school. American schools adopted the same strategies beginning in the 1960s. Psychology and psychiatry did not simply aim at eradicating the unessentials of reading and writing; their goal was the complete redefinition and restructuring of education, usually couched in deceptively humanitarian terms. As Dewey declared, "The thing needful is improvement of education, not simply turning out teachers who can do better the things that are now necessary to do, but rather by changing the conception of what constitutes education." At the turn of the century, psychologist Sigmund Freud bolstered these man-is-an-animal views with his emphasis on promiscuity, the demise of religion and the idea that immorality and criminality were simply the result of past psychological trauma. The individual was a victim, and no longer accountable. As Eakman points out, "Freudian psychology runs through the Mental Hygiene and New Education movements." Freud's theories, like Wundt's call for "freedom from morality," which both men viewed as a root cause of neurosis.
Later influential figures like Thorndike made their intentions very clear: "It will of course, be understood that directly or indirectly, soon or late, every advance in the sciences of human nature will contribute to our success in controlling human nature and changing it to the advantage of the common weal." One of these advances was called Whole Word, developed by James Cattell, another Wundt disciple and once the president of the American Psychological Association. Phonics was ignored and children were forced to memorize nearly every word without understanding the logical sequence of letters or sounds. Over the years the concept has worn many labels: Look-Say in the 1940s and '50s: sight-word method in the mid- to late-1960s; psycholinguistics in the 1970s; and whole language in the 1980s.
Not long after the appointment of James Earl Russell, as dean and head of the Department of Psychology at Columbia University's Teachers College in New York, Russell recruited Thorndike to join his staff. Later, John Dewey also joined them. By 1899, the Teachers College contained psychological courses as part of the curriculum for teacher training. The college believed that: "Psychology, physiology and child-study stand first in order among the required subjects of a technical nature." The course in child-study is supplementary to the prescribed courses in systematic and applied psychology." This view began to be imposed with relative rapidity.
By 1925, more than 1,000 schools in the U.S. were engaged in curriculum revision aligned with the new methods. Harold Rugg, one of Dewey's disciples, reported "through schools of the world we shall disseminate a new conception of government--one that will embrace all of the collective activities of men; one that will postulate the need for scientific control and operation of economic activities in the interests of all people." Through the mix of education and psychology, the seed was planted that would strip the child of individualism, so that he could be trained toward the goal of collectivism--to go along with the crowd.
The Department of Education and the Department of public Welfare have developed a program, known as ACCESS, which enables school districts to receive Medicaid reimbursement for a variety of special education and related services provided to students under the auspices of such school districts. Essentially this qualifies the school districts to become partial hospitalization providers of health care (including mental health care). They can then hire their own psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, etc. as employees of the school. With OBE and Medicaid, psychiatrists and psychologists have achieved one of their goals: schools as psychiatric clinics. In a 1982 speech before the History of Education Society, the society's president and a Professor of Education at the University of California named Sol Cohen said, "Few intellectual and social movements of this century have had so deep and pervasive an influence on the theory and practice of American education as the mental hygiene movement."
The National Committee on Mental Hygiene was formed in the United Kingdom by Clifford Beers, a former patient. He secured the support of William James and Adolf Meyer, a German psychiatrist who had immigrated to the United States. The committee's Program for the Prevention of Delinquency helped create child guidance clinics (psychiatric counseling) around the globe and was the driving force behind the entry of mental hygiene concepts into the schools. "If we are going to prevent dependency, delinquency, insanity, and general inadequacy," wrote Ralph Truitt, the head of the committee's Division of Child Guidance Clinics in 1927, "the school should be the focus of our attack." And attack it was. According to Dr. William Coulson, Director of the Research Council of Ethnopsychology in California, who was instrumental in introducing psychological programs--collectively known as Outcome-Based Education (OBE)--into schools in the 1960s and '70s, the idea of public schools becoming mental health clinics evolved from his mental hygiene movement. The new philosophy was aligned closely with then-current psychiatric thought. It included eliminating what psychiatrists had, by then, determined to be "stress" factors in the classroom. Three sources of stress, psychiatrists claimed, had to be eliminated from the schools: 1) school failure, 2) a curriculum centered on academics, and 3) disciplinary procedures. School failure was the chief villain, they said, leading to "feelings of inferiority," behavioral problems like truancy and an unsocial attitude.
A 1930 White House Conference on Child Health and Protection, involving some 1,200 experts, provided a national forum in America for these principles. In deed, its report said that the question is not "what does the child learn in school but how does the child feel because of school?" Thus the premise for what is now Outcome-Based Education was born--a concept of literacy obtained not through academics, but psychological principles, and adopted, not just by the United States, but also by other countries. Two psychiatrists forwarded the original plan: Canada's G. Brock Chisholm and Britain's John Rawlings Rees, once Deputy Director of the Tavistock Clinic, Britain's psychological warfare body. In an address to the Annual Meeting of the UK's National Council for Mental Hygiene on June 18, 1940, Rees described the goals of psychiatry: "We can therefore justifiably stress our particular point of view with regard to the proper development of the human psyche, even though our knowledge be incomplete. We must aim to make it permeate every educational activity in our national life. We have made a useful attack upon a number of professions. The two easiest of them naturally are the teaching profession and the Church; the two most difficult are law and medicine." Rees was unabashedly blunt: "If we are to infiltrate the professional and social activities of other people I think we must imitate the Totalitarians and organize some kind of fifth column activity! If better ideas on mental health are to progress and spread, we, as the salesmen, must lose our identity."
Let us all, therefore, very secretly be "fifth columnists." (Fifth columnists: persons secretly aiding the enemy). Shortly after this, in 1948, the vehicle through which the international seduction of governments, medical doctors, religious leaders and educators could take place, was established. Psychiatry's plans were advanced by the formation of a global organization called the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), co-founded by Chisholm (also the first director of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Rees.
At one of its inaugural conferences, the family, long held to be the ideal vessel for nurturing future generations, came under direct assault: "the family is now one of the major obstacles to improved mental health, and hence should be weakened, if possible, so as to free individuals and especially children from the coercion of family life." Chisholm also articulated the parameters of the "education" needed to produce this new generation. "The only lowest common denominator of all civilizations and the only psychological force capable of producing these perversions is morality, the concept of right and wrong." He claimed that, "If the race is to be freed from its crippling burden of good and evil it must be psychiatrists who take the original responsibility." The target of all this rhetoric was guilt, considered a psychological burden too heavy for man to bear. However, to eradicate guilt by doing away with the concepts of good and evil was an extreme solution, to say the least. Still, psychiatry was determined to carry the mantle and free man from this "burden" whether he wanted it or not. Arm in arm, psychology and psychiatry had set the stage for the collapse of education that would occur in the next decade.
Earlier in 1945, Chisholm had arrogantly set the trend for the WFMH and world psychiatry when he stated: "We have swallowed all manner of poisonous certainties fed us by our parents, our Sunday and day school teachers, our politicians, our priests, our newspapers and others with a vested interest in controlling us. Thou shalt become as gods, knowing good and evil, good and evil with which to keep children under control, with which to prevent free thinking, with which to impose local and familial and national loyalties and with which to blind children to their glorious intellectual heritage. The results, the inevitable results, are frustration, inferiority, neurosis and inability to enjoy living, to reason clearly or to make a world fit to live in." Preaching this completely false and disturbing creed, the new "behaviorist" power elite has insinuated itself into positions of authority and, as a result, completed an almost total coup d'etat. In the process, our once strong and effective scholastic-based education systems have been almost completely destroyed, and with them, the impressive results of better years.
As Eakman states, "Most people today suspect that education is not really about literacy, 'basics' or proficiency at anything. What is less well understood is that there exists in this country, and indeed throughout the industrialized world, what can best be described as an Illiteracy Cartel--ostensibly aimed at furthering mental health. This cartel derives its power from those who stand to benefit financially and politically from ignorance and educational malpractice; from the frustration, the crime, the joblessness and social chaos that miseducation produces." The increasing influence of psychiatry has always been cloaked by claims of "improving education," "meeting the needs of our future generation" and "preventive mental health." Yet the end result is that psychiatrist and psychologists, whose expertise and image are in stark opposition to the reality of their actions, have been allowed to play with the minds of millions of children, with devastation the only visible result.
The catalyst for this leap forward was the 1950 White House Conference of Education. Arranged by the recently formed psychiatric-boosting government body National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), it successfully aimed at convincing legislators that taxpayers must fund psychiatric involvement in schools. Among other demands, psychiatrists pressed for the right to assume the job of parenting. Five years later, NIMH used the White House Conference to convince the government that a five-year study on the mental health of the nation was needed. The report, Action for Mental Health, finally came out in 1961, proposing that the school curriculum "be designed to bend the student to the realities of society, especially by way of vocational education, the curriculum should be designed to promote mental health as an instrument for social progress and a means of altering culture."
Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus and acclaimed author, Dr. Thomas Szasz, describes this leap forward in his book, Cruel Compassion, "As usual, psychiatrists defined their latest fad as a combination of scientific revolution and moral reform, and cast it in the rhetoric of treatment and civil liberties. The election of John Kennedy to the presidency put psychiatrists In a mood of celebration unparalleled in the history of mad-doctoring. The scene was set for a veritable Camelot of Quackery. In the 1960s there came a drive by psychiatry to turn schools into mental health clinics. At that time they led teachers to believe that the time for teaching had passed and the time for facilitating mental health had come." An NIMH-sponsored report, The Role of Schools in Mental Health, referred to how school and education was reinterpreted: "Education does not mean teaching people to know what they do not know--it means teaching them to behave as they do not behave." The truth is, whatever psychiatrists set out to prevent, they caused, with frightening repetition everywhere.
The empire of child psychiatry was erected on a moral fault line, namely, the assumption that juvenile delinquency is a disease that the child psychiatrist is especially qualified to diagnose and treat. But delinquency is not a disease, like diabetes. It is not even a disposition, like compulsivity. It is simply an incapacitating status ascribed to a misbehaving minor. Thomas Szasz Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry. 1944
In the 1800s the notion of the lunatic being sick was a foreign one. He was strange in his behavior, perhaps destructive, but explanations as to why did not necessarily center on a physical malfunction. This is because at that time and for centuries, the mind was viewed as a separate entity from the body. In 1865, however, Zurich psychiatrist Wilhelm Griesinger claimed that since most of the nerve coverage was in the brain, all mental problems must be diseases of the brain. Also, psychiatrists believed the patient must be sick because he behaved abnormally. By declaring conduct to be symptoms, they concluded this, too, must be an illness. Undeterred by the absence of proof, psychiatry has since industriously built an empire that's no more than a house of cards. Unverified by the scientific method even today, these suppositions form the underpinning of most psychiatric theorizing and practice. Childhood pranks and play have been unscientifically redefined by psychiatrists and psychologists as disorders, creating a lucrative industry at the cost of children. No behavior seems spared: Conduct Disorder (CD), Serious Reading Disorder (SRD), Serious Emotional Disorder (SED), Learning Disorder (LD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). The number of children labeled as ADHD and LD has soared, especially following legislation providing financial incentives for children to be so diagnosed. Figures increase proportional to the number of psychologists and psychiatrists present in the educational system. Of course, successfully masquerading as the science of mental health requires that certain appearances be maintained.
It was German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin, a Wundt student, who first worked on a system of codification of human behavior, while simultaneously acknowledging that psychiatry had no effective treatments or cures for most psychiatric disorders. Over a century later, things hadn't changed. In 1932, Frankwood E. Williams, the director of the U.S. National Committee for Mental Hygiene, confessed, "The basic question with which psychiatrists and particularly those interested in mental hygiene start is--What are the causes of mental and nervous disease? This question has been repeatedly raised during the twenty-two years of organized mental hygiene until it has almost become a ritual, and like a ritual, has led to nothing except repetition--not even a start." In 1995, Dr. Rex Cowdry, then-director of the U.s. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) admitted, "We do not know the causes. We don't have methods of 'curing' these illnesses." Since Kraepelin, the number of psychiatric condemnations of human behavior has steadily expanded. Today, they are codified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), Mental Disorders Section. First published in 1952 with a list of 112 maladies, the 1994 issue specifies more than 370 disorders.
In 1968, three years after the U.S. Elementary and Secondary Education Act was passed, broadening the definition of handicapped to include mental disturbance, and giving psychiatry the green light for wholesale assessment, labeling and drugging of schoolchildren, the second edition of DSM was published. In it appeared a whole new category called Behavior Disorders of Childhood and Adolescence. In 1975, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was passed providing special education classes for children with learning disabilities. Within two years, the number of children labeled as having a Learning Disorder (LD) had reached more than 782,000. This figure soared to 1.9 million in 1989, and by 1996, it had reached 2.6 million. This, despite Kevin P Dwyer, assistant executive director at the National Association of School Psychologists in the U.S., admitting that the way learning disorders are diagnosed is "not a science." "We're not sophisticated enough to do a perfect diagnosis," he candidly admitted. In 1987, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) was literally voted into existence by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and enshrined in DSM-III-R. Within one year, 500,000 children in the U.S. alone were diagnosed with this affliction created by a vote--a show of hands. A year after ADHD was voted in as a disorder by the American Psychiatric Association, books advocating psychiatry's claims about childhood mental illness began to be written promoting psychiatry's mind-altering drugs as a solution. This continued through the '90s and into the 21st-century.
Once a person is classified with a diagnostic label and code number, insurance companies and government agencies are then willing to pay for the "treatment." If a child doesn't understand something he is being taught and the teacher fails to notice this and continues lessons past this misunderstanding without clearing it up, the child can lose his attention and begin to fidget or worse. At this point, if the child is forced to go on without understanding the subject, his behavior will probably deteriorate. The teacher, following the instructions of the psychiatrist, is encouraged in today's school systems to label the child with any one from the catalogue of mental illnesses. Psychiatry's solution for this condition is to have the child put on very dangerous and addictive amphetamine-like drugs, usually Ritalin, or the central nervous system stimulant, Cylert . Withdrawal from or reduction of their dosage can cause life-threatening situations. Suicide is the major complication of withdrawal from Ritalin and similar drugs. Once a child is diagnosed, the destiny of that child is no longer in the hands of his or her parents. The child is now a psychiatric ward and subject to psychiatry's vested interest in the child's insanity.
Just in the United States, more than three-and-a-half million children alone are diagnosed as having some form of ADHD. Not surprisingly, each psychiatric evaluation that comes up with such a finding has a price tag of up to $1,500. These children believe they have something wrong with their brain that makes it impossible for them to control themselves without using a pill, and having the most important adults in their lives, their parents, and teachers, believe this as well. There are no scientific data to support the mental disorders that psychiatry nominates and then uses to label and treat school children. Standard psychiatric lies are told to parents and teachers about ADD. A psychiatrist might tell the parent, "There seems to be a chemical imbalance in the brain which needs to be corrected with medication." At the very least, it sounds scientific, If not omnipotent. Yet, there has been no chemical testing or biopsy to find and determine such a chemical imbalance. Psychology and psychiatry-laced diagnosis, labeling and tracking have replaced expectant, encouraging, ever-hopeful education. Doctors and medical researchers charge that ADHD does not meet the medical definition of a disease or syndrome or anything organic or biologic. Even the APA admits in its DSM-IV that there are "no laboratory tests that have been established as diagnostic for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder." ADHD was invented, in committee, at the American Psychiatric Association in 1980. There is nothing a physician can see to confirm or refute it.
Dr. Baughman is a board certified neurologist and child neurologist and a child neurologist and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. He has discovered and described real diseases. Finding no abnormality--no sign of disease--in children said to have ADD/ADHD and learning disabilities, he writes of them as "inventions, contrivances, and fraud. Confronted with children whom psychologists, psychiatrists and teachers claimed had ADHD," he says, "I've not found any abnormality--no disease whatsoever! Another diagnosis frequently used to label children learning disabled is dyslexia. Dyslexia is a Greek word, coined from dys, meaning ill or bad, and lexia, meaning words. Parents are told that dyslexia is a brain abnormality that causes their child's inability to read. It is purportedly impairment in the language centers of the brain. In 1993, at least eight million school-age children in the US were said to be dyslexic. Dyslexia (or Specific Reading Disability), we are told, is an abnormality in the language parts of the brain, not manifest until the child fails to gain literacy in the early grades of school.
What parents and teachers are usually not told, however, is that over sixty years of research have failed to confirm that a defect of any sort exists in the brain of a child who has been labeled dyslexic. Sadly, maintaining this condition to be a fact is doing incredible damage to these individuals. Dyslexia has never been confirmed and no test of proven validity exists. These made-up disorders, along with others including Severe Emotional Disorder or Dyscalculia (special arithmetic disorder), have never been validated as brain diseases. And believe me, I've asked the "experts." I wrote to the FDA, the DEA, to Ciba-Geigy (manufacturer of Ritalin), to Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders and four times to leading ADHD researchers at the NIMH, requesting that they direct me to one or a few articles in the peer-reviewed, scientific literature that constitutes proof of a physical or chemical abnormality in ADHD, making it a disease. Paul Leber, M.D., of the FDA wrote in response: "as yet no distinctive pathophysiology for the disorder has been delineated."
Gene Haislip of the DEA responded: "We are also unaware that ADHD has been validated as a biologic/organic syndrome or disease." I have yet to receive anything which would constitute proof of an abnormality--one thatcan be ttested for patient-by-patient--one proving that we are not drugging entirely normal children. Even the APA admits in its DSM-IV that there are "no laboratory tests that have been established as diagnostic for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder."
Lawrence Diller, M.D. of the University of California, San Francisco, who was a conferee at the 1996 DEA Conference on Stimulant Use in the Treatment of ADHD, wrote: "The reason why you have been unable to obtain any articles or studies presenting clear and confirming evidence of a physical or chemical abnormality associated with ADHD is that there is none. We are not overdiagnosing or misdiagnosing ADHD--ADHD is a total, 100% fraud. The many millions of schoolchildren around the world who are being drugged have no disease. Had the vast majority of these children learned to read properly utilizing phonics, they would never have been labeled as having ADHD or any other learning disorder." Federal government financial incentives added fuel to an already well-established fire. In 1990, the doors were opened to a lucrative cash welfare program to low-income parents whose children were diagnosed with ADHD. A family could get more than $450 a month for each ADHD child. The impact was telling. In 1989, children citing mental impairment that included ADHD, made up only five percent of all disabled kids on the program. That figure rose to nearly 25% by 1995. To obtain the payout, some parents actually coached their children to do poorly in school and to "act weirdly."
ADHA and dyslexia are simply commodities for a profit-making industry. In 1991, eligibility rules changed for federal education grants, providing schools with $400 in annual grant money for each child diagnosed with ADHD. The same year, the Department of Education formally recognized ADHD as a handicap and directed all state education officers to establish procedures to screen and identify ADHD children and provide them with special educational and psychological services. The number of children diagnosed with this "malady" soared again. By 1997, the number of American children being labeled as having ADHD had risen alarmingly to 4.4 million. A California pediatric neurologist says that the frequency with which "learning disorders" and "ADHD" are diagnosed in schools "is proportional to the presence and influence within the schools of mind/brain behavioral diagnosticians, testers and therapists." Today, American schools spend a combined $1 billion a year on psychologists who work full-time to diagnose, students. As of 1996, $15 billion was being spent annually in the U.S. on the diagnosis, treatment and study of these so-called disorders. Mr. Fred Shaw, Jr., the owner and manager of several Californian group homes for boys as an alternative to prison, tells this story: "A boy was brought to the home, diagnosed as ADD. The treating psychologist said that we wouldn't want to take him. So, I interviewed him. As he supposedly had ADD, I asked him some basic questions: "What's the longest time you've ever talked with a girl on the phone?" "Three to five hours," he replied. "Do you remember what she said?" He could remember it all. I asked how long could he play a Nintendo (video) game. He told me he'd played it eight hours straight. What about books? Could he read? He said he read books from the beginning to end--the ones he liked reading. He'd also played full games of basketball and football. So it appeared to me that he could pay attention to anything that he was interested in.
"Doing the Disorder Rag," is how John Leo describes today's attention deficit disorder culture. Leo writes: "The DSM is converting nearly all life's stresses and bad habits into mental disorders. Almost everything we feel or do is listed somewhere in the DSM as an indicator of some dread disorder." Psychiatrists are free to declare as many people disordered as they wish. But the effort and the concepts behind this are seeping deep into the culture, reinforcing the victim industry and teaching us to look for psychiatric answers to every social and personal problem. Yet those "answers" have no scientific or humanitarian merit behind them. Tana Dineen, a Canadian psychologist and author of Manufacturing Victims, says psychology is neither a science nor a profession, but an industry that turns healthy people into victims to give itself a constant source of income. Having infiltrated and secured positions of trust and authority within the education system, and set the scene for a patterned onslaught of psychiatric diagnoses, psychiatry unleashed its next, most dangerous and most lucrative of weapons on our youth--addictive, psychotropic drugs posing as medication.
The part played by street drugs in rising crime rates is well known to law enforcement. Drug-crazed youngsters have proven themselves capable of the most callous violence imaginable, and to speak of the conscience of an addict who needs his next fix is a contradiction in terms. From its earliest days in the 1940s, psychiatrists such as Werner Stoll were at the very core of LSD's popularity. Stoll was one of the first to investigate and map how the drug could be used for psychological purposes. Enthusiastically received by other psychiatrists in the '50s, LSD became the perfect vehicle for psychiatry to promote the concept of improving life through "recreational" psychotropic drugs. By the turbulent '60s, LSD was on the streets; psychiatrists and psychologists not only made LSD acceptable, but also an "adventure" to tens of thousands of young college students. Similarly, psychiatrists were the ones stoking the fires of the tranquilizer revolution begun in the '60s and '70s, a revolution which is stronger than ever today. Tranquilizers, too, left the psychiatrist's couch for the streets. Consider Rohypnol--up to 20 times more potent than Valium and prescribed in 64 countries around the world. Called the "date rape" drug, it is abused by teen partiers, drug addicts and rapists.
Methylphenidate (Ritalin) may also prime children for drug abuse in later life. Scientists report that Ritalin affects the brain like cocaine does, thereby establishing the strong risk of later addiction. A study of California adolescents diagnosed with ADHD found that, as adults, those treated with Ritalin, as children were three times more likely to use cocaine. Ritalin is illegally used by drug addicts in combination with other drugs. Corresponding with this, the number of methylphenidate-related emergency room cases for 10- to 14-year-olds in the U.S. has multiplied tenfold since 1990 and, in 1995, reached the level of cocaine-related emergencies for the same age group. Until recently, the proliferation of street drugs has tended to be seen as a phenomenon in itself. However, as more young users of psychiatry's prescription drugs move on to illicit drug use, the link between the two becomes increasingly obvious. Still, what is seldom seen, let alone discussed, is the founding role played by psychiatrists and psychologists in the creation of the chaotic street drug culture itself.
Perhaps the most tragic impact of psychiatry's and psychology's manipulation of children's minds and beliefs and the drugging of their innocent bodies, is the youth suicide rate. Whatever psychiatrists and psychologists might claim, they have done nothing to revert or prevent this trend that started escalating after they interfered in education and children's lives. Let us review some of psychiatry's and psychology's promises: Wundt called for "freedom from morality." Eliminating the basics of education "is one step in improving education," Thorndike told us. The mental hygienists said that school could be the focal point for "detecting, preventing, and fixing personality disorders." And neurotic children, Brock Chisholm said, were caused by the poisonous certainties fed them by their parents and the frustrations brought about by the unworkable concepts of good and evil, right and wrong. In the hope of improved mental health, the WFMH told governments and mental health colleagues that the family should be weakened to "free children from the coercion of family life." They boldly asserted that the school has the responsibility "to detect the physical and mental disabilities which have escaped the parent." In the wake of WWII, psychiatrists testified before the U.S. Congress in support of the need for more psychiatrists.
They claimed that future victims of mental illness and their families could be spared suffering and that the world could be delivered from delinquency and unhappiness. However, true to their long-established pattern in every field of human activity, psychiatry remains not only long on promise and short--in fact empty--on delivery, but also dangerous to be near. From talk shows to courtroom commentaries to news bites, psychologists inundate the public with their messages such that the cumulative effect has been to change peoples' beliefs about their own competency and the way they look at life. Intruding not only into the bedrooms of the nation, but into the schools, workplaces, and the courts of the nation, psychologists have embarked upon activities of self-promotion, both to expand the demand for their services and to set themselves apart as superior. In the crucial field of childhood nurturing and education, behind the pretense of an expertise in child management they have never even faintly demonstrated, they have succeeded in making parents feel inadequate and incompetent, while wrecking every working education system they have invaded. As Louise Ames, Co-Director of the Gesell Institute for Child Development said: "Most of the damage we have seen in child rearing is the fault of the Freudian and neo-Freudians who have dominated the field. They have frightened parents and kept the truth from them. In child care I would say that Freudianism has been the psychological crime."
Eakman says that since the 1950s, parents and teachers have been "steadily weaned from their age-old task of helping youngsters learn to channel their energy (hyperactivity) and sustain their focus (concentration)." Consequently, by the 1970s, they had enormous discipline problems on their hands. And who was to blame according to the "all-knowing" psychiatrist--of course, the parents, the teachers, in fact, everyone but the architects--the psychiatrists themselves! We have paid for our gullibility in more ways than one. The combined federal and state funding for public elementary and secondary education in the U.S. rose from $64.6 billion in the 1982-83 school year to $110.8 billion in 1989-90, or by 71.5%. Total spending by public elementary and secondary schools soared 103% between 1982-83 and 1991-92, when it reached $240.9 billion. Funding for special education reached $1 billion in 1977. By 1994, it had ballooned to a more than $30 billion-a-year activity. And what exactly have we paid for? What is the legacy of psychiatry's and psychology's dangerous drugging and meddling? It is a question that is increasingly being asked.
Student Aptitude Test (SAT) scores in the U.S. have been plummeting since the '60s. In 1930, three million older Americans could not read because they had never been to school; in 1990, 40 million younger Americans--most with 9 to 12 years of schooling--could not make sense out of a printed page. The U.S. Department of Education recently admitted that 53% of college graduates cannot calculate the amount of change they should get if they hand the cashier $3.00 to pay for a $.60 bowl of soup and a $1.95 sandwich. Children and psychiatric drugs are literally a deadly combination. A November 1997 medical report found: "The association between benzodiazepine use and attempted suicide is especially high for the young, and for males." In the April 1996 Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, a study found that "the older tricyclic antidepressants are a significant cause of suicide" and accounted for the majority of antidepressant deaths studied between 1986 and 1990. In the U.S., teen suicides have tripled since 1960; today suicide is the second leading cause of death (after accidents) for 15- to 24-year-olds. The suicide rate for 10- to 14-year-olds increased by 190% between 1963 and 1995.
G. Stanley Hall, a psychologist known for his racist studies, pioneered sex education at Clarke University in the early 1900s. In 1909, he invited Freud to publicly speak on the subject. Freud claimed that "free sexual intercourse" was urgently necessary or else society was "doomed to fall a victim to incurable neuroses which reduce the enjoyment of life..." Prophetic words--sex education programs are now mandatory in schools in many countries. Most of them start with children 12 years of age, although in some countries, sex education begins in kindergarten! Rather than being doomed to incurable neuroses, society is plagued by promiscuity. Dr. William Coulson says that humanistic psychotherapy now dominates sex education and that the "net outcome of sex education, is more sexual experience." It is not surprising then, that in America, the number of births to unwed girls 15- to 19-years-old increased by 310% between 1960 and 1991; the number of illegitimate births to girls under 15 increased by nearly 140% in the same period.
Between 1965 and 1992, the arrest rate for violent crimes by U.S. children under the age of 18 increased by 261%. In 1996, more than 31% of jail inmates arrested for violent offenses were 24 years of age or under. Imagine if the above scenario were your business. You are concerned about two percent of your employees being drug abusers. You read about an expert who says he can handle this problem and has already been paid millions of dollars by other businesses, so he must be successful. You interview him and he tells you he is an authority and will take care of it for you. No problem. So you hire him. A year later, 20% of your employees have a drug problem. You call in the expert and ask why, after paying him half-a-million dollars, you now have a more serious drug problem in your company? He replies, without blinking, "You're right. It's a real problem. This year, I'm going to need two million dollars. The first thing I'm going to do is get another expert do a study on the problem. Then, depending on his findings, I'm going to have to hire a couple more experts to help me and, by the end of the year, we'll have the problem licked." Would you reach for the checkbook or throw him out? Governments using taxpayer's money have hired just such an expert. He is psychiatry and psychology. And he claimed to be the expert who would take care of society's drug problem, crime, violence, and education problems. He also said he would take care of our mentally ill and cure them. And we have paid him not millions, but billons upon billions of dollars to perform these functions.
"The systematic confinement of children in psychiatric institutions devoted specifically to housing them began during the 1950s, and became a large-scale phenomena only in the 1970s. Today, hundreds of thousands of children are imprisoned in psychiatric hospitals, most of them, even to psychiatric authorities, unnecessarily." --Thomas Szasz, M.D. 1994
Crib Used To Restrain Mental Patients
Patient in a Straightjacket
Child Lying on Floor in an Asylum
In 1989, Newsweek reported that "difficult, disruptive, disobedient adolescents" are now being locked up in mental hospitals; the diagnoses cover a wide variety of teenage behavior: running away, aggression, persistent opposition to parental values and rules, engaging in 'excessive' sexual activity, or serious antisocial behavior." And here we see the soul of psychiatry exposed as it really is; children failing in life as a result of a psychiatry-based education, back in psychiatric hands again. And why? To handle the very characteristics that the behaviorists brigade emphasized as therapeutic throughout their "education." And what might this handling consist of? Consider the following cases which all occurred in the 1990s: eleven-year-old Andrew McClain died of traumatic asphyxia and chest compression just four days after being admitted to a Connecticut psychiatric hospital in 1998. He died while two staff restrained him, one by lying on top of him in a padded "time out" room. "They thought he was trying to get up, but he was trying to get air," his mother said. Sixteen-year-old Tristan Sovern screamed, "You're choking me, I can't breathe." At least two psychiatric assistants who were restraining him knew he was having trouble breathing, but neither responded when the teenager, who was face-down with his arms crossed under his body, screamed these words. Tristan was admitted to a Greensboro psychiatric hospital on February 26, 1998. Less than a week later, he was dead. The "help" he got was a towel shoved over his mouth and, when this couldn't be tied around his head, psychiatric staff used a sheet.
The night before 15-year-old Edith Campos was sent to a Desert Hills psychiatric hospital in Tucson, Arizona, she made colorful computer drawings for her family so that they could be reminded of her. If her mother missed her, all she needed to do was look at the picture and think or her daughter, that soon she'd be home and never leave her mom again. Two weeks later, Edith came home in a coffin. During the time she was hospitalized, her parents were not allowed to speak to her. On February 4, 1998, Edith apparently died of asphyxiation, from having her chest compressed when she was held to the ground for at least 10 minutes after she reportedly raised her fist during a confrontation with staff members. Carl McCloskey claims his son, John, 19, was sodomized with a broom-like handle so savagely by staff that his bowel was torn and his liver was punctured. The teenager became violently ill at the Virginia psychiatric hospital he'd been admitted to and lapsed into a coma, dying 14 months later. In Athens, Greece, the Ntaou Pendeli psychiatric institution kept children in a ward with mentally handicapped adults. Some of the children were naked; all were housed in cold, barren rooms and often left to lie in their own feces and urine. One child was shackled to a bed by the ankle. A teenager had been locked up for 10 years after he misbehaved when his father left his mother for another woman. He witnessed horrors no child should be subjected to, including the rape of other children by psychiatric nurses. The young boy was released in late 1995 but only after national publicity on the plight of children in the ward. That any psychiatric institution is empowered to take away parental rights is bad enough, but when children are then abused and the parents have to stand helplessly by, it is utterly unconscionable.
Intimidating parents into drugging their children is a common practice around the United States, especially among the poor and minority groups. There are cases in which schools have obtained Ritalin and given it to children without parental knowledge or permission. Each and every child is told that speed kills, while many children are being forced to take speed in the form of Ritalin. Young children in this country are being used as guinea pigs to be experimented on. The most commonly prescribed drugs for children are the psychostimulants, especially Ritalin (methylphenidate). Ritalin is structurally related to amphetamine and its pharmacological properties are essentially the same as those of the amphetamines. It is classified among the highly addictive drugs. The APA's DSM-III-R has special categories for abuse and dependence involving amphetamine and "amphetamine-like" drugs, specifically including Dexedrine and Ritalin. Ritalin is commonly given to children diagnosed as ADD or hyperactive while attending public schools. It also is dispensed to quiet children in institutions. Ritalin usage is escalating. Estimates on the use of Ritalin are as high as one million children a year in the United States. Although there are some differences among them, the psychostimulants can be discussed as a group. Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine), produced by Smith Kline and French, accounts for a small share of the market, as does the stimulant Cylert (pemoline). The lion's share goes to Ritalin, a product of CIBA.
While psychostimulants can blunt a child sufficiently to make him more amenable to control in a classroom or at home, at least for a few weeks, there is little or no evidence of any beneficial long-term effect on academic or psychosocial life. There is no convincing evidence that the medications help learning or attention problems. While Ritalin sometimes can reduce "fidgety behavior," it does so in all children regardless of any diagnosis. Stimulant medication is a drastic invasion of the body and nervous system, with potentially adverse effects that we cannot anticipate. Stimulants have not yet been demonstrated to have long-term therapeutic effects. Long-term negative effects of taking Ritalin have not been evaluated. There is general agreement, even among advocates, that Ritalin never should be given to a child as the primary or sole treatment. Psychosocial interventions are also required in the school and home.
The actual impact of stimulants on the brain and mind of children are poorly understood and, despite administering the drug to millions of youngsters in the past several years, psychiatry shows little interest in the question. The subjective experience of the child is ignored. What happens inside the body is of no concern; all they care about is the behavioral end product. The fact that they are "involuntary mental patients," makes it all the easier, and in some ways necessary, to ignore their feelings. The child's subjective experience of Ritalin is that they never like the medication. In the American Psychiatric Press's Textbook of Psychiatry, Mina Dulcan observes that children report feeling "funny" on the drug. They feel that Ritalin puts them "out of touch" and makes them "feel weird," blunting their feelings and subduing them. In adults, we know that stimulants energize and cause a hyperalert feeling, not unlike drinking a lot of coffee, but more so. In increasing doses they create agitation, an artificial high, psychotic euphoria or mania, and, finally, convulsions. In large enough doses they would have the same effect on children of any age.
When the child in the classroom sits still, stops fussing, and becomes more obedient--the desired drug effect has been achieved. And children on Ritalin often do look as if they are taking a "downer" rather than an "upper." They are emotionally suppressed or flattened. Children react differently to uppers and downers compared to adults. For example, Phenobarbital, a reliable sedative for adults, is not generally used to quiet children, because it tends to excite them. These confusing results in children are rarely mentioned anymore in psychiatric textbooks, which simply recommend the drug because it "works." The idea that Ritalin or other stimulants correct biochemical imbalances in the brain of hyperactive children, although promoted this way, is false on two counts. First, there is no known biochemical imbalance in these children, and second, it generally is accepted that Ritalin has the same effect on all individuals, regardless of their psychiatric diagnosis or behavior. Frequently listed as side effects are sadness or depression, social withdrawal, flattened emotions, and loss of energy. Consistent with the brain-disabling principle of biopsychiatric treatment, these subduing effects are not side effects but the primary therapeutic effect, rendering the child less troublesome and easier to manage. Other negative effects of Ritalin include growth suppression (both height and weight), tics, skin rashes, nausea, headache, stomach ache, and psychosis. Abnormal movements, such as tics and spasms, sometimes develop.
Many cases of full-blown Tourette's syndrome are reported, characterized by both facial and vocal tics. Sometimes these neurological disorders do not subside after termination of treatments, and tragically, neuroleptics may be prescribed to control them, increasing the risk of further neurological disorders. While there is some growth rebound when Ritalin is stopped, the degree of growth recovery is not known. Although little concern is shown in the literature, it is unlikely that the negative impact on the body is limited to the loss of a few inches or pounds, but is associated with more subtle and difficult-to-ascertain developmental abnormalities. The cause of the growth inhibition is unclear, but it is not due to loss of appetite alone. The stimulants also produce a chronically elevated heart rate and blood pressure in many children. The long-term impact of chronically revving up the cardiovascular system is unknown. Some drug advocates claim that the psychostimulants do not cause addiction in the doses typically prescribed to children. Meanwhile, we do know that stimulants are highly addictive and often abused as illegal drugs, called speed and uppers. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) puts Ritalin and other psychostimulants in Class II, along with morphine, barbiturates, and other prescription drugs that have a high potential for addiction or abuse. The pattern of abuse for Ritalin and related medications is described as "very similar to those of cocaine dependence and abuse." Controlled studies have shown that experienced users are unable to distinguish amphetamine from cocaine. Ironically, the DSM-III-R description of Ritalin abuse exactly parallels the enforced "treatment" of children. Yet this is the pattern imposed by physicians on as many as one million children annually.
Long-term use tends to create the very same problems that Ritalin is supposed to combat--attentional disturbances and memory problems as well as irritability and hyperactivity. When children are prescribed Ritalin for years because they continue to have problems focusing their attention, the disorder itself may be due to the Ritalin, as well as the increased brain electricity from dental fillings and metal restorations and appliances. A vicious circle is generated, with drug-induced inattention causing the doctor to prescribe more medication, all the while, blaming the problem on a defect within the child. As Ritalin treatment is continued, its calming or subduing effects can diminish, requiring increased medication. It can become more and more difficult to prevent rebound hyperactivity, talkativeness, and other signs of euphoria. This drug rebound effect is easily confused with the child's original hyperactivity, again causing the doctor to mistakenly continue or to increase the medication. There are similar patterns seen with the use of neuroleptics, minor tranquilizers, and antidepressants. As with any addictive drug, withdrawal from psychostimulants, even in routine use, can be very difficult. After several days or longer of medication, withdrawal from the drug can produce depression, anxiety, and irritability as well as sleep problems, fatigue, and agitation. The individual may become suicidal in response to the depression. No distinction is made between children and adults.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, an epidemic of psychostimulant abuse spread over American and a number of other industrial nations. In response the National Institute of Drug abuse, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, published a large compendium of 150 studies dealing with the abuse of amphetamines and related drugs, including Ritalin, making clear the seriousness of the then-rising epidemic and the government's concern about stemming it. Yet, estimates of the size of that epidemic of drug abuse do not approach the highwater mark of up to one million children now taking Ritalin.
One study, reprinted from the 1966 Journal of the American Medical Association, states that the regular ingestion of only two or three tablets a day constitutes abuse and that the self-abuser "would certainly be better off without them." This dosage, described as abuse, is exceeded frequently in the routine treatment of children. Despite these warnings, little or nothing is said about addiction and withdrawal problems by the profession in its textbooks, popular books, and media statements. Why would a profession's ethics consider a pattern of abuse a serious epidemic disease, except when it is called a treatment for children? Why would it describe serious withdrawal symptoms after only a few days of self-abuse with a drug, but dismiss the same potentially bad outcome when prescribing the same drug for years at a time to children?
Ritalin badly affects a child's self-esteem as well as the attitudes of parents, teachers, and doctors. Often children are ridiculed and rejected by their peers as a result of taking psychiatric drugs, in contrast to taking illegal drugs, which may have a certain glamour or status associated with them. Being a "mental patient" who needs "medication" is anything but a status symbol among the young. The use of stimulant medication has significant effects on the psychological development of the child and distracts parents, teachers, and doctors from solving important problems in the child's environment. Drugging children distracts attention away from the faults of the school system. Blaming of the victim is a low point in professional ethics and a political problem as well. When drugs are used as a cheap alternative to reform of the schools, then the practice of drugging children must be seen as a political act. And the underlying condition of mercury fillings, and other dental metals, causing increased electricity in the brain, remains unchanged. While the public controversy has been heated for decades, psychiatry has remained impervious to it. Most textbooks of psychiatry don't bother to mention the controversy, and the drugging goes on at an escalating rate. Pressure must come from the public in the form of legislation and legal actions.
We must ask ourselves whether drugs actually help people understand and take better control over their inner mental lives and their conduct, and we must ask ourselves whether the potential moral downside isn't too great. Taking psychoactive drugs on a regular basis readily becomes a symbolic gesture that interferes with personal growth and even fosters personal failure. The associated brain dysfunction also increases the individual's helplessness. Beyond that, we must be concerned about the long-lasting and permanent damage, known and unknown, that results from these agents. The desire to handle life through a psychiatric drug is essentially no different than the desire to self-medicate with alcohol. In the world of modern psychiatry, claims can become truth, hopes can become achievements, and propaganda is taken as science. Nowhere is this more obvious than in psychiatric pretensions concerning the genetics, biology, and physical treatment of depression and mania, while overlooking the obvious heavy metal toxicity from stoneage dentistry.
Biopsychiatric research is based too often on distortions, incomplete information, and sometimes, outright fraud--at the expense of reason and science. There are no known biological causes of depression in the lives of patients who routinely see psychiatrists, except nutrient deficiency, especially in regard to the B vitamins and toxic metals, especially Mercury from dental amalgams. There is no known genetic link in depression. There is no sound drug treatment for depression. The same is true for mania: no genetics, and little or no rational basis for endangering the brain with drugs. The biomythology of depression denies the obvious causes of depression in the lives of most people who become depressed. Biopsychiatrists dare not look their patients in the eye for fear of seeing the psychological truth; they cannot look into their patients' hearts for fear of empathizing with them.
Ultimately they must deny their own feelings in order to deny the feelings of others. They cannot look into their patients' mouths and see the implantation of unexplained anxiety and depression-causing mercury and other metals from dentistry. To treat a depressed person as a biochemically defective mechanism, and to blunt or damage the brain of the suffering individual, many biopsychiatrists approach the patient with an especially dehumanizing view. Out of this perspective grow extreme treatments like electroshock. We can never fully anticipate all of the damaging effects inflicted on the individual and their families by the neuroleptics and other toxic drugs. We must assume that numerous harmful effects go unnoticed. By the time we become aware of the dangers, we've already done an unconscionable amount of harm, and for the health of many people, it's too late. The human body is not the place to dispose of toxic chemicals put out by any industry, including the dental, psychopharmaceutical and psychiatric industries.
That so many people feel a need for cosmetic psychopharmachology or an artificial infusion of hope, suggests that our society is failing to inspire us, and that we live lives of quiet desperation devoid of nurturing, comfort, and a sense of connection with others and with the world. If you turn to drugs, you turn away from life. If you turn away from life, you sacrifice yourself even as you seek relief and healing. The intent may be morally superficial, but the effect is physically, as well as morally, profound. Those who suffer drug-induced brain dysfunction can be rendered relatively unable to explore their human potential. This tampering with the very substance of the brain, in a way that causes basic functions to go out of whack, in a way that drives neuronal receptors out of existence. We cannot, as individuals or a society, live by meaningful values unless we reject biological psychiatry, its fake medical diagnoses, and its drugs.