Tag Archives: mental health news

Friday Soup Dump

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SAMHSA sez:

43.7 Million Americans Experienced Mental Illness in 2012

$31 Million Announced To Improve Mental Health Services for Young People

Nearly one in five American adults, or 43.7 million people, experienced a diagnosable mental illness in 2012 according to SAMHSA. These results are consistent with 2011 findings.

[Does anyone else besides me suspect that the reason so many are diagnosed is because of marketing of psycho-pharmacological drugs?]

Top Three Reasons Adults Did Not Get Mental Health Treatment in 2012

  • They worried about affording the cost.
  • They thought they could handle the problem without treatment.
  • They did not know where to receive services.

“The President and Vice President have made clear that mental illness should no longer be treated by our society—or covered by insurance companies—differently from other illnesses,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “The Affordable Care Act and new parity protections are expanding mental and substance use disorder benefits for 62 million Americans. This historic expansion will help make treatment more affordable and accessible.”

Related note (click to read whole article):

The British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline will no longer pay doctors to promote its products and will stop tying compensation of sales representatives to the number of prescriptions doctors write, its chief executive said Monday, effectively ending two common industry practices that critics have long assailed as troublesome conflicts of interest.

Caught Nuzzling Mic

Another news item:

On December 12, 2013, Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA) introduced the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013”. While the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health applauds Congressman Murphy’s inclusion of provisions that would reauthorize the Mental Health First Aid Act (S.153/H.R.274), the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act (S.116/H.R.2734), the Children’s Recovery from Trauma Act (S.380), the Excellence in Mental Health Act (S.264/H.R.1263), the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act of 2013 (MIOTCRA;S. 162/H.R.401) and the Behavioral Health IT Act (S.1517, S.1685/H.R.2057), we decry provisions that would effectively reverse the progress made in mental health treatment and support over the past 30 years.

For decades, organizations such as the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health have been working to add a more balanced approach to mental health services and treatment. The National Federation advocates for the rights of children, youth and young adults who experience mental health challenges. As family members, we feel it is important that our loved ones are able to receive the support they need while remaining at home and in the community. We realize that mental illness does not affect just one person, it is something that the entire family experiences; therefore, it is crucial that initiatives are in place to support the entire family unit.

Rep. Murphy’s bill magnifies the stigma of mental illness by creating an extremely biased link between mental illness and violence. Countless studies have determined that the relationship between mental illness and violence is minimal and that individuals experiencing mental health challenges are 11 times more likely to be the victims of violence than the general public.

The National Federation rejects the expanded use of involuntary outpatient commitment (IOC) and urges Congress to champion practices proven to be effective in facilitating a holistic approach to treatments and supports for children and youth who are experiencing mental health challenges and their families.

Finally, the National Federation strongly opposes legislation that threatens to essentially dismantle key efforts and programs of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) which functions as the lead public health agency dedicated to mental health and addiction treatment, services, and supports. Transferring authority away from SAMHSA and decimating significant activities within the Department of Health and Human Services are not in the best interest of our most vulnerable citizens who are striving to be participating members of their communities.

The details in this bill reflect the continued, urgent need for a national conversation with individuals who experience mental illness, their families, and their communities to facilitate the creation of systems and networks that support maximal health, safety, and welfare for all community members. We urge Congressional leaders to take this opportunity to create legislation on behalf of their constituents that solidifies a bond among all stakeholders that highlights the dignity, respect, and self-determination of all individuals.

The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health issued this statement in response to the bill.

Cat Bowling

More old Cuckoo’s Nest poetry by JN:

01-30-2009AD

5:20pm

Spoken Cold-Mountain

 [I had given him a copy of Cold Mountain Poems and this was his reply]

Breeze is cold, wet and fresh

Unknown writer I read his writing

Chilled the soul to touch his spirit

Vast as the array of description

Oneness not disconnected was He

Truth in the sporadic words- adrift the snow

Cliffs for bed softened his head

Reading the stone carved wit

Closer to the mountain I get

As I thought those rolling weeds in the wind

Climate is cold to touch, but normal for the universe

Who is wittier?

Mother Nature or the man who wrote?

Void isn’t the mountain with minerals galore

Treasures of the mind I must find

Breaking illusions is for me

This is my trail to this mountain

Entering meditation is salvation

A bird and animal not to sight!

Vast self to roam

Free indeed is the writer in me

Wrote a letter to karma

Issued a food through the threshold

Moonlight glistening snow winds I see

Cold-Mountain: we’re all alone, so it spoke these words

You are home sparkled the stream of life

Years ago I would not have stayed

Fleshy thing in the way

Ghosts are the host that talks wisdom to thee

By JN

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Filed under animated gif, animation, bees on cherry trees, cats, Cold Mountain, Jim, kittens, Links: Recovery, Mental health recovery, Mental Hell Treatment, Mystic Poetry, pictures, poetry, Re-blogged, Shameless Commerce

Day Off

As a State employee I have the perk of getting tomorrow off without pay (part of the Furlough Day program to cut budget deficits). I decided to take today off as well, using a vacation day, to make a 4 day weekend.

Yay!

Anyway, I have lots of stuff to do over the weekend- more than I could do in 2 days. We have a guest arriving from out of town- a long-term guest- and we’re turning part of the garage into a bedroom. There is still much to do and she arrives in a week.

Today I’ll just share some pictures, maybe another thing or two.

The pictures below are from National Geographic, they are free desktop images. You can find these and more at this place. Click for full size then right click to save.

This one makes me think the little guy is saying, “What in the heck has happened to my neighborhood?!”

For my next trick- courtesy of Goopymart

Nature is amazing, eh? This is from the Guardian:

The oldest evidence of a fungus that turns ants into zombies and makes them stagger to their death has been uncovered by scientists.

The gruesome hallmark of the fungus’s handiwork was found on the leaves of plants that grew in Messel, near Darmstadt in Germany, 48m years ago.

The finding shows that parasitic fungi evolved the ability to control the creatures they infect in the distant past, even before the rise of the Himalayas.

The fungus, which is alive and well in forests today, latches on to carpenter ants as they cross the forest floor before returning to their nests high in the canopy.

The fungus grows inside the ants and releases chemicals that affect their behaviour. Some ants leave the colony and wander off to find fresh leaves on their own, while others fall from their tree-top havens on to leaves nearer the ground.

The final stage of the parasitic death sentence is the most macabre. In their last hours, infected ants move towards the underside of the leaf they are on and lock their mandibles in a “death grip” around the central vein, immobilising themselves and locking the fungus in position.

“This can happen en masse. You can find whole graveyards with 20 or 30 ants in a square metre. Each time, they are on leaves that are a particular height off the ground and they have bitten into the main vein before dying,” said David Hughes at Harvard University.

The fungus cannot grow high up in the canopy or on the forest floor, but infected ants often die on leaves midway between the two, where the humidity and temperature suit the fungus. Once an ant has died, the fungus sprouts from its head and produces a pod of spores, which are fired at night on to the forest floor, where they can infect other ants.

Scientists led by Hughes noticed that ants infected with the fungus,Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, bit into leaves with so much force they left a lasting mark. The holes created by their mandibles either side of the leaf vein are bordered by scar tissue, producing an unmistakable dumb-bell shape.

Writing in the journal, Biology Letters, the team describes how they trawled a database of images that document leaf damage by insects, fungi and other organisms. They found one image of a 48m-year-old leaf from the Messel pit that showed the distinctive “death grip” markings of an infected ant. At the time, the Messel area was thick with subtropical forests.

“We now present it as the first example of behavioural manipulation and probably the only one which can be found. In most cases, this kind of control is spectacular but ephemeral and doesn’t leave any permanent trace,” Hughes said.

“The question now is, what are the triggers that push a parasite not just to kill its host, but to take over its brain and muscles and then kill it.”

He added: “Of all the parasitic organisms, only a few have evolved this trick of manipulating their host’s behaviour.

Why go to the bother? Why are there not more of them?”

Scientists are not clear how the fungus controls the ants it infects, but know that the parasite releases alkaloid chemicals into the insect as it consumes it from the inside.

On the subject of Zombies, Zombie nuts!

Saddest photo ever-

Unrelated nonsense-

At the place I work they are hiring a new Superintendent. I know some people who having worked in this place for many years are on the verge of quitting. I just hope this guy lives up to the hype.  I can hardly stand to lose more people who support the good things. So far, all the news is good. We meet him next week.

Bye for now,

-Rick

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Filed under animated gif, animation, macaques, Nature, Oregon State Hospital, pictures, Science

Absolutely Beautiful, plus news clips

Cherry trees in bloom at Oregon State Hospital (click for full size, as usual)

Other news from OSH:

State Furloughs = Lack of Logic!

Controversial Ruling by PSRB!

Dying in Plain Sight!

Let the Feds Clean it Up!

Increased Federal Oversight Needed!

Maybe there are really serious problems!

Why Dr. Robinson didn’t come to work!

Duh!!! (Thanks, Gary)

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DSM 5 drafted, Kill Ugly Radio and Friends

In what has to be considered a bold move, the APA has posted the draft of the DSM 5 on the web and made it available for reading and comment here. A variety of changes and non-changes are already attracting attention. One of my favorite blog authors, at Furious Seasons, has inspected enough of it to raise some concerns.

You can see for yourself (please), but here are the things I noticed browsing through the current draft in order of appearance:

Disorders usually first diagnosed in infancy, childhood, adolescence

I am especially concerned with the labeling of children with psychiatric disorders. For the most part, kids don’t “misbehave” because they are crazy. More likely explanations are that their behavior is a natural and even positive coping mechanism for dealing with seriously wrong family environment issues. Other common reasons for “odd” behavior in children are food or environmental allergies and medical or metabolic problems. Regardless of what the behaviorists might say, the reason why people act the way they do is sometimes very important and is often their best response they can have to biological, social and traumatic factors in their lives.

Temper dysregulation with dysphoria is proposed with the parameters available here. The positive side of this potentially stigmatizing new diagnosis for kids is that it is not the Child Bi-Polar Disorder that has been promoted by both the FDA and the friendly shrinks at Harvard. Of course any diagnosis invites the possibility of medicating the behavior but at least it won’t be an automatic road to a jumbo list of potentially dangerous mind altering chemical restraints. So, no doubt, they will have to develop a new list for this new diagnosis.

Another new diagnosis for kids, a conduct disorder, is labeled Callous and Unemotional Specifier for Conduct Disorder. This was not in the previous DSM. The jury is out how this might be suppressed with drugs.

Non Suicidal Self Injury has been added as a diagnosis for kids. I can hardly wait for the good folks at GSK or Lilly to bring out a new pill for this one. Since self-injurious behavior is often a normal response to severe trauma, it might be good if someone looked behind the curtain before attaching the label.

Some old/DSM 4 disorders for kids are being removed or subsumed under the heading of other existing disorder categories including Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder NOS, all of which will be under the general heading of Autism Spectrum Disorder. (That Child Disintegrative thing sounds very dangerous.)

For grownups

We now have Psychotic Risk Disorder. There are plenty of subjective, unscientific criteria for this one. Like this phrase- “but of sufficient severity and/or frequency so as to be beyond normal“- I suppose you have to go to school to know what normal is. Just sop you won’t confuse it with other disorders they say “characteristic attenuated psychotic symptoms are not better explained by another DSM-V diagnosis“. That’s a relief.

Several types of Schizophrenia are being removed- paranoid type, catatonic type, disorganized type etc. I suppose they are all going to be under the general heading of Schizophrenia. Another to be removed is something called “Shared Psychotic Disorder”.  I need to look that up- sounds like a friendly sort of illness. Misery loves company but psychosis no longer does in the new DSM.

Mindfreedom News/ lazy blogger

Off the subject (really) but related, there is a good collection of news from Mindfreedom here about the impact of the mental health consumer movement in Lane County, Oregon. Two news items of interest to Oregonians and others originated from Lane County today:

** Eugene Weekly newspaper covers alternatives to psychiatric drugs.
MindFreedom activists are quoted several times.

** Now you can compare Lane County’s ‘guidelines’ for empowerment of
mental health clients, with a stronger version recommended by Lane
County Mental Health Consumer/Survivor Council.

So check it out at the link above.

Kill Ugly Radio-

Check out the archived show celebrating famous people who died in 2009. There is not much more to say.

Everything else

Dao de jing, T. Chilcott

limitlesslifesutra

Tunes-unto-the-Infinite

WilliamPennReGeorgeFox

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Rootabaga Stories

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News from MindFreedom

Just sharing-

1 May 2009 – This Friday!
State Capitol Rotunda, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

May Day for Ray: Protest Forced Electroshock of Ray Sandford

Join MindFreedom International in protesting the ongoing forced 
outpatient electroshock of Ray Sandford of Minnesota wherever you 
live: Vigil, write letters to the editor, speak out! If you can get 
to Minneapolis/St. Paul you can join MindFreedom activists David W. 
Oaks of Oregon and Al Galves, PhD, of New Mexico in several days of 
protests, vigils, news conferences and activism.

See ‘Gateway to Ray Campaign’ for info, including downloadable flyer 
and news release:

http://mindfreedom.org/ray

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
9 May 2009
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Say No to Electroshock

Comite Pare-chocs is holding a gathering on Mother’s Day to protest 
ECT, highlighting the fact that it is used much more frequently on 
women than on men.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
10 May 2009
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

‘Stop Shocking Our Mothers and Grandmothers!’

The Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault (CAPA) is organizing a 
protest that will take place in Toronto, this Mothers Day.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
10 May 2009
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Electroshock Protest

Another Mothers Day protest against ECT is being organized by the 
International Campaign to Ban Electroshock (ICBE).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
14 to 15 May 2009
San Francisco, California, USA

Two Seminars Presented by Ron Unger

Two seminars, led by Ron Unger LCSW, will be held just before the 
protest of the APA convention in San Francisco. The first seminar on 
May 14
will be an introduction to cognitive therapy for psychosis, 
which is a psychological approach to helping people who hear voices 
or have beliefs so ‘far out’ that most mental health workers would 
propose drugs as the only possible treatment. The second seminar on 
May 15
will focus on the relationship between ‘psychosis’ and trauma, 
a relationship usually denied by the mental health system which 
instead attempts to convince people they have a strictly ‘biological 
illness’ or ‘biochemical imbalance.’ Ron is coordinator of 
MindFreedom Lane County Affiliate in Oregon.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
15 May 2009
San Francisco, California, USA

Free Meeting Before the APA Protest

MindFreedom will hold a free reception in advance of the protest of 
the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting in San Francisco. 
Come to meet other MindFreedom members, socialize, organize, boost 
your spirits, maybe make some signs, and get informed!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
17 to 18 May 2009
Moscone Center, San Francisco, California, USA

Nonviolent Protest of the American Psychiatric Association

When the American Psychiatric Association holds their large Annual 
Meeting in 2009 in San Francisco, once more MindFreedom International 
will be there to greet them with a nonviolent protest, this time 
complete with skits that will be YouTubed. Sunday, May 17 at 1 pm
and Monday, May 18 at 10 am.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
30 May 2009
Cork City, Ireland

‘Stop Shocking our Mothers and Grandmothers’

MindFreedom Ireland is holding a peaceful protest against ECT this May.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
22 June 2009
Dunstan Hall, Norwich, United Kingdom

Critical Psychiatry Network Conference 2009

The Critical Psychiatry Network is hosting its tenth annual 
conference, entitled ‘Promoting the critical mental health movement.’

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

13 to 19 July 2009
Everywhere!

Mad Pride Week!

Mad Pride events are again planned in Europe, Africa, North America 
and more. Hold your own Mad Pride event, small or large, wherever you 
are and let MFI know.

While you can hold Mad Pride events at any time, The City of Toronto 
in Ontario, Canada has proclaimed July 13 to 19 2009 as MAD Pride 
Week! Ruth Ruth of Friendly Spike Theater, who is chair of the 
MindFreedom International Mad Pride Committee, said MAD Pride 
Organizers in Toronto will be holding an exhibition, theater events, 
an Annual Bed Push Parade and more. Planning meetings are every 
Friday afternoon at 3 pm
from now until June.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
9 to 12 September 2009
Phoenix, Arizona, USA

NARPA 2009 Annual Conference

The next conference of the National Association for Rights Protection 
and Advocacy (NARPA), which was a founding organization of the 
MindFreedom International coalition, is scheduled for September.

For more info:
http://www.narpa.org

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
9 to 10 October 2009
Syracuse, New York, USA

ICSPP 2009 Conference

The International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology, 
Inc. (ICSPP) is a sponsor group of MindFreedom. This is an excellent 
conference, especially to network dissident mental health 
professionals critical of the current psychiatric system.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
28 October 2009 – 1 November 2009
Omaha, Nebraska, USA

Alternatives 2009 – Save the Date

This is an event funded by the US federal government. From their 
publicity material: This is the largest national annual mental health 
conference organized by and for people with psychiatric labels. Each 
Alternatives conference offers technical assistance on peer-delivered 
services and self-help/recovery methods. Deadline for scholarship 
application to federal government: 5 June 2009.

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Ray Update from MindFreedom

MindFreedom News – 15 April 2009
Nonviolent Revolution in Mental Health
http://www.mindfreedom.org/ray – please forward

    Ray Sandford Declares “Guarded Victory” for MindFreedom Ray Campaign

    Because of Public Pressure, Ray’s Psychiatrist May Quit Case

The bad news is that this morning, 15 April 2009, Ray Sandford of 
Minnesota had another involuntary, outpatient electroshock, also 
known as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT.

The good news is today’s forced electroshock could be Ray’s last.

Maybe.

Ray Sandford called the MindFreedom office this afternoon to say that 
because of growing public pressure, Ray’s main psychiatrist Dean K. 
Knudson plans to quit as Ray’s psychiatrist. Dr. Knudson has been 
ordering the forced electroshocks.

If Ray is quickly assigned a new psychiatrist more sensitive to Ray’s 
human rights and need for humane alternatives, then Ray could be free 
of his ongoing forced electroshocks. Ray has had more than 40.

Dr. Knudson had scheduled Ray’s next forced shock for 30 days from 
today. The court order allowing Ray’s forced electroshock does not 
mandate the psychiatrist to prescribe it.

Ray said that his general guardian, Tonya Wilhelm of Lutheran Social 
Service, told Ray in a phone call today that she had talked to Dr. 
Knudson personally. According to her, Dr. Knudson’s insurance company 
expressed concern to him about the enormous grassroots campaign that 
MindFreedom is building to stop Ray’s forced electroshocks.

RAY CAMPAIGN TO CONTINUE

“Tonya told me that because of all the controversy, Dr. Knudson’s 
insurance company may force him to stop being my psychiatrist,” said 
Ray. “Absolutely this is a guarded victory. I want to be sure to 
thank people for their diligence, and for everything they’re doing to 
support me.”

David W. Oaks, Director of MindFreedom International commented, 
“Today is USA Tax Day. If Ray’s supporters keep it up, it looks like 
taxpayers may get a break, and not waste their money torturing Ray 
any more.”

The Ray Campaign will continue, said Oaks. “We need to stay vigilant 
about Ray’s rights, make sure Dr. Knudson quits, and help Ray find a 
better lead mental health professional pronto.”

The Ray Campaign also raises a question: How many other Ray’s are there?

Said Oaks, “It is proven beyond a doubt that there are others 
throughout the USA and internationally who are getting electroshock 
over their clearly expressed wishes. Every USA state and every nation 
needs a ‘Ray Law’ to stop this nightmare forever.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    ACTION ACTION ACTION

*** PLEASE SHARE THE GOOD NEWS OF THE RAY CAMPAIGN’S “GUARDED VICTORY”!

Forward this alert to appropriate places on and off Internet!

*** LEARN ABOUT THE RAY CAMPAIGN!

For background including Ray Frequently Asked Questions, Ray’s Web of 
Links, YouTube video of Ray and his mom, National Public Radio 
coverage
, how to participate in campaign, and more, see:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/ray

*** UNITY WORKS!

MindFreedom International unites to take action for a nonviolent 
revolution in the mental health system.

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Study 15

From the Washington Post:

A Silenced Drug Study Creates An Uproar

By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 18, 2009; A01

 

The study would come to be called “cursed,” but it started out just as Study

15.

It was a long-term trial of the antipsychotic drug Seroquel. The common wisdom

in psychiatric circles was that newer drugs were far better than older drugs,

but Study 15’s results suggested otherwise.

As a result, newly unearthed documents show, Study 15 suffered the same fate as

many industry-sponsored trials that yield data drugmakers don’t like: It got

buried. It took eight years before a taxpayer-funded study rediscovered what

Study 15 had found — and raised serious concerns about an entire new class of

expensive drugs.

Study 15 was silenced in 1997, the same year Seroquel was approved by the Food

and Drug Administration to treat schizophrenia. The drug went on to be

prescribed to hundreds of thousands of patients around the world and has earned

billions for London-based AstraZeneca International — including nearly $12

billion in the past three years.

The results of Study 15 were never published or shared with doctors, even as

less rigorous studies that came up with positive results for Seroquel were

published and used in marketing campaigns aimed at physicians and in television

ads aimed at consumers. The results of Study 15 were provided only to the Food

and Drug Administration — and the agency has strenuously maintained that it

does not have the authority to place such studies in the public domain.

AstraZeneca spokesman Tony Jewell defended the Seroquel research and said the

company had disclosed the drug’s risks. Since 1997, the drug’s labeling has

noted that weight gain and diabetes were seen in study patients, although the

company says the data are not definitive. The label states that the metabolic

disorders may be related to patients’ underlying diseases.

The FDA, Jewell added, had access to Study 15 when it declared Seroquel safe

and effective. The trial, which compared patients taking Seroquel and an older

drug called Haldol, “did not identify any safety concerns,” AstraZeneca said in

an e-mail. Jewell added, “A large proportion of patients dropped out in both

groups, which the company felt made the results difficult to interpret.”

The saga of Study 15 has become a case study in how drug companies can control

the publicly available research about their products, along with other

practices that recently have prompted hand-wringing at universities and

scientific journals, remonstrations by medical groups about conflicts of

interest, and threats of exposure by trial lawyers and congressional watchdogs.

Even if most doctors are ethical, corporate grants, gifts and underwriting have

compromised psychiatry, said an editorial this month in the American Journal of

Psychiatry, the flagship journal of the American Psychiatric Association.

“The public and private resources available for the care of our patients depend

upon the public perception of the integrity of our profession as a whole,”

wrote Robert Freedman, the editor in chief, and others. “The subsidy that each

of us has been receiving is part of what has fueled the excesses that are

currently under investigation.”

Details of Study 15 have emerged through lawsuits now playing out in courtrooms

nationwide alleging that Seroquel caused weight gain, hyperglycemia and

diabetes in thousands of patients. The Houston-based law firm Blizzard,

McCarthy & Nabers, one of several that have filed about 9,210 lawsuits over

Seroquel, publicized the documents, which show that the patients taking

Seroquel in Study 15 gained an average of 11 pounds in a year — alarming

company scientists and marketing executives. A Washington Post analysis found

that about four out of five patients quit taking the drug in less than a year,

raising pointed doubts about its effectiveness.

An FDA report in 1997, moreover, said Study 15 did offer useful safety data.

Mentioning few details, the FDA said the study showed that patients taking

higher doses of the drug gained more weight.

In approving Seroquel, the agency said 23 percent of patients taking the drug

in all studies available up to that point experienced significant weight

increases, compared with 6 percent of control-group patients taking sugar

pills. In 2006, FDA warned AstraZeneca against minimizing metabolic problems in

its sales pitches.

In the years since, taxpayer-funded research has found that newer antipsychotic

drugs such as Seroquel, which are 10 times as expensive, offer little advantage

over older ones. The older drugs cause involuntary muscle movements known as

tardive dyskinesia, and the newer ones have been linked to metabolic problems.

Far from dismissing Study 15, internal documents show that company officials

were worried because 45 percent of the Seroquel patients had experienced what

AstraZeneca physician Lisa Arvanitis termed “clinically significant” weight

gain.

In an e-mail dated Aug. 13, 1997, Arvanitis reported that across all patient

groups and treatment regimens, regardless of how numbers were crunched,

patients taking Seroquel gained weight: “I’m not sure there is yet any type of

competitive opportunity no matter how weak.”

In a separate note, company strategist Richard Lawrence praised AstraZeneca’s

efforts to put a “positive spin” on “this cursed study” and said of Arvanitis:

“Lisa has done a great ‘smoke and mirrors’ job!”

Two years after those exchanges, in 1999, the documents show that the company

presented different data at an American Psychiatric Association conference and

at a European meeting. The conclusion: Seroquel helped psychotic patients lose

weight.

The claim was based on a company-sponsored study by a Chicago psychiatrist, who

reviewed the records of 65 patients who switched their medication to Seroquel.

It found that patients lost an average of nine pounds over 10 months.

Within the company, meanwhile, officials explicitly discussed misleading

physicians. The chief of a team charged with getting articles published, John

Tumas, defended “cherry-picking” data.

“That does not mean we should continue to advocate” selective use of data, he

wrote on Dec. 6, 1999, referring to a trial, called COSTAR, that also produced

unfavorable results. But he added, “Thus far, we have buried Trials 15, 31, 56

and are now considering COSTAR.”

Although the company pushed the favorable study to physicians, the documents

show that AstraZeneca held the psychiatrist in light regard and had concerns

that he had modified study protocols and failed to get informed consent from

patients. Company officials wrote that they did not trust the doctor with

anything more complicated than chart reviews — the basis of the 1999 study

showing Seroquel helped patients lose weight.

For practicing psychiatrists, Study 15 could have said a lot not just about

safety but also effectiveness. Like all antipsychotics, Seroquel does not cure

the diseases it has been approved to treat — schizophrenia and bipolar

disorder — but controls symptoms such as agitation, hallucinations and

delusions. When government scientists later decided to test the effectiveness

of the class of drugs to which Seroquel belongs, they focused on a simple

measure — how long patients stayed on the drugs. Discontinuation rates, they

decided, were the best measure of effectiveness.

Study 15 had three groups of about 90 patients each taking different Seroquel

doses, according to an FDA document. Approximately 31 patients were on Haldol.

The study showed that Seroquel failed to outperform Haldol in preventing

psychotic relapses.

In disputing Study 15’s weight-gain data, company officials said they were not

reliable because only about 50 patients completed the year-long trial. But even

without precise numbers, this suggests a high discontinuation rate among

patients taking Seroquel. Even if every single patient taking Haldol dropped

out, it appears that at a minimum about 220 patients — or about 82 percent of

patients on Seroquel — dropped out.

Eight years after Study 15 was buried, an expensive taxpayer-funded study

pitted Seroquel and other new drugs against another older antipsychotic drug.

The study found that most patients getting the new and supposedly safer drugs

stopped taking them because of intolerable side effects. The study also found

that the new drugs had few advantages. As with older drugs, the new medications

had very high discontinuation rates. The results caused consternation among

doctors, who had been kept in the dark about trials such as Study 15.

The federal study also reported the number of Seroquel patients who

discontinued the drug within 18 months: 82 percent.

Jeffrey Lieberman, a Columbia University psychiatrist who led the federal

study, said doctors missed clues in evaluating antipsychotics such as Seroquel.

If a doctor had known about Study 15, he added, “it would raise your eyebrows.”

ascent_of_mount_carmel_

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Grist

for the mill. Obtained from various web locations.

Concerning Premature death associated with bipolar disorder

 

 

Evidence of premature death for people diagnosed with bipolar disorder comes from a study published in Psychiatric Services (abstract available). This study adds to previous warnings discussing risk factors contributing to chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. The authors reviewed 17 published studies (between 1959 and 2007) involving more than 330,000 people.

October 20, 2008

Antipsychotic meds and heart disease

 

 

An NIMH study (n=1125) comparing antipsychotic medications and cardiac heart disease found the “risk for CHD differed significantly among the medications.” Risk, marked by elevated cholesterol, was highest for those taking olanzapine (Zyprexa, Zydis) and quetiapine (Seroquel). A decreased risk was noted for those taking risperidone (Risperdal) and ziprasidone (Geodon). Cardiovascular disease is a contributing factor to the shorter life span of people diagnosed with schizophrenia.

January 16, 2009

Sudden death associated with anti-psychotic drugs

Researchers from Vanderbilt University say the rate of sudden cardiac death is twice as high (29 versus 14 per 10,000) for people taking anti-psychotic medication than for those who aren’t. Based on analysis of 15 years of Medicaid data from Tennessee, authors of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/360/3/225) conclude that despite expectations that they differed, first and second generation anti-psychotic drugs have similar, dose-related risks.

March 29, 2007

Medication choices for treating bipolar

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study (N=366) appearing in the on-line New England Journal of Medicine reports that, as an adjunct to mood stabilizers, anti-depressants added no more benefit than a placebo to people diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Work was conducted by a consortium of medical schools in the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD), sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health.

http://www.miwatch.org/

 

Article

Premature Mortality From General Medical Illnesses Among Persons With Bipolar Disorder: A Review

Babak Roshanaei-Moghaddam, M.D. and Wayne Katon, M.D.

The authors are affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle. Send correspondence to Dr. Katon at Psychiatry Consultation-Liaison Services, BB-1661 University Hospital, Box 356560, Seattle, WA 98195 (e-mail: wkaton@u.washington.edu).

OBJECTIVE: Despite recent evidence that patients with bipolar disorder are at increased risk of premature mortality resulting from general medical disorders, there has been no systematic review of published studies. The authors reviewed the literature to determine whether there is evidence of increased risk of mortality from general medical causes among patients with bipolar spectrum disorders. METHODS: MEDLINE was searched from 1959 to 2007 with a focus on bipolar disorder and medical mortality. Published studies in English with more than 100 patients were included. RESULTS: Seventeen studies were identified involving 331,000 patients with bipolar disorder, affective psychosis, affective disorder severe enough to require inpatient psychiatric care or treatment with lithium, or schizoaffective disorder (that is, bipolar spectrum disorders) meeting the inclusion criteria. Compared with age- and sex-matched control samples without mental illness in the general population, mortality ratios for death from natural causes and from specific general medical conditions, such as cardiovascular, respiratory, cerebrovascular, and endocrine disorders, were significantly higher among patients with bipolar spectrum disorders in most studies. This finding was more consistent in larger studies with more than 2,500 patients with bipolar spectrum disorders. Cumulatively, cardiovascular disorder appeared to be the most consistent cause of excess mortality in larger studies. CONCLUSIONS: The available evidence suggests that bipolar spectrum disorders are associated with increased premature mortality secondary to general medical illnesses. Unhealthy lifestyle, biological factors, adverse pharmacologic effects, and disparities in health care are possible underlying causes for this excess mortality.

JournalWatch: http://general-medicine.jwatch.org/cgi/content/full/2009/114/1

Antipsychotic Drugs and Sudden Cardiac Death

Both typical and atypical agents doubled risk for sudden cardiac death.

The latest evidence linking antipsychotic drugs to sudden cardiac death is provided by a retrospective cohort study based on data from Tennessee Medicaid. Vanderbilt University researchers identified 93,000 adults (age range, 30–74) who used antipsychotic drugs between 1990 and 2005; about half used typical agents (most commonly haloperidol or thioridazine), and half used atypical agents (most commonly clozapine, quetiapine, olanzapine, or risperidone). These patients were matched by age and sex with 186,000 controls.

The rate of sudden cardiac death was twofold higher among current users of antipsychotic drugs than among nonusers (about 29 vs. 14 sudden deaths per 10,000 person-years). This significant doubling of risk was noted with both typical and atypical agents. These findings were strengthened by several additional analyses: A dose-response pattern was noted; risk for former (i.e., noncurrent) antipsychotic drug users was similar to that of nonusers; and findings from a propensity analysis (which minimizes the influence of potentially confounding factors) mirrored those of the initial analysis.

Comment: This study provides additional evidence that both typical and atypical antipsychotic drugs elevate risk for sudden cardiac death. A plausible mechanism exists: Antipsychotic drugs block repolarizing potassium currents and can prolong the QT interval. In a strongly worded editorial, the writers advocate sharp reductions in use of these agents for off-label indications (e.g., behavior control in dementia patients) and suggest that patients undergo electrocardiography before and shortly after starting these drugs (to detect QT prolongation).

Allan S. Brett, MD

Published in Journal Watch General Medicine January 14, 2009

Citation(s):

Ray WA et al. Atypical antipsychotic drugs and the risk of sudden cardiac death. N Engl J Med 2009 Jan 15; 360:225.

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News from MindFreedom and other discussions

It’s been a while since I posted information from MFI or other mental health consumer discussion, so, here, from old to newer; have a full bowl-

picasso_donquixote

NY Times says minor reform is not enough, but stops short of calling
for what is needed: Laws that criminalize extreme psychiatric
corruption. Please forward. See BOTTOM for actions, including
nonviolent protest, you can take.

lunar2009

~~~~~~~~~~
New York Times Editorial – 4 January 2009

No Mugs, but What About Those Fees

New pharmaceutical industry guidelines should stop most drug
companies from distributing a wide range of trinkets and office
supplies designed to keep their brand names before doctors as a
subliminal inducement to prescribe high-priced drugs.

The new code, which kicked in on New Year’s Day, bars the free
distribution of everything from pens to coffee mugs and staplers by
some 40 drug companies that have agreed to the restrictions. That may
seem like small potatoes, but in the aggregate the promotional
products probably cost about $1 billion a year, as Natasha Singer
reported in The Times. The updated rules are the industry’s latest
attempt to restore public confidence that doctors are prescribing
medicines in the patient’s interest. The code still has too many
loopholes.

Although it prohibits company sales representatives from providing
restaurant meals to health care professionals, it allows the sales
teams to continue providing modest meals in professional offices
while pitching their products. It allows companies to continue paying
for so-called continuing medical education for physicians while
correctly leaving the selection of content, speakers and study
materials to conference organizers. There appear to be no loopholes
in bans against providing free tickets to the theater, sporting
events or resort junkets.

None of the steps yet contemplated by industry or professional groups
would completely sever the medical profession and many individual
doctors from their far more disturbing financial ties to the drug
industry.

Over the years, prominent physicians have received hefty fees for
conducting research, consulting or giving “educational” speeches
touting the virtues of drugs to their colleagues. The new industry
code would limit consultants’ fees to “fair market value,” but
critics believe that still leaves far too much room to pay individual
doctors handsomely.

Two investigations now under way at prominent universities show how
much more needs to be done to aerate undisclosed conflicts of interest.

A prominent psychiatrist at Emory University is accused of taking
large payments from a drug maker – and misleading his university
about the amounts – while heading a government study of the company’s
antidepressant drugs. Three psychiatrists at Harvard whose work
fueled an explosion in the use of powerful antipsychotic drugs to
treat children are accused of failing to report large payments from
the drug makers, most of which they had not disclosed to their
institutions.

Congress needs to pass legislation that would force all drug and
medical-device companies to report a wide range of payments to
doctors through a national registry so that all conflicts are known.
This is a reform that the industry itself now seems willing to
accept. Better yet, the medical profession needs to wean itself
almost entirely from its pervasive dependence on industry money.

~~~~~~~~~~
** ACTION ** ACTION ** ACTION **

Please forward

~~~~~~~~~~
You may e-mail letter to editor of *LESS* THAN 150 WORDS to The NY
Times here: letters@nytimes.com. Include your contact info. Letters
referring to a recent NY Times editorial have a better chance of
being run.

~~~~~~~~~~
Link to editorial:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/05/opinion/05mon1.html

or

http://tinyurl.com/nytimes-psychiatry

~~~~~~~~~~
MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Thought financial industry corruption was bad? Psychiatric industry
corruption kills kids.

Put psychiatric abusers behind bars. MindFreedom calls for new laws
and enforcement of current laws mandating prison time for extreme
psychiatric human rights violations.

Join nonviolent protests of psychiatric drug money corruption in
front of American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting Exhibit Hall
at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, or WHEREVER you are, 17 to 18 May
2009
. Info about this and other events:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/events_sf

~~~~~~~~~~
Read more about USA Congressional investigation of psychiatric
profession here, including past NY Times articles and editorials:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/psych-drug-corp/congress

~~~~~~~~~~
To thank USA Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for leading the
congressional investigation use this web form:

http://grassley.senate.gov/contact.cfm

mp_yb

MindFreedom News – January 2009
http://www.mindfreedom.org – please forward

Another forced electroshock for Ray. ZAP BACK!

Join global nonviolent resistance ONLINE!

This Saturday, 10 January 2009, 2 pm ET, 11 am PT click into:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/davidwoaks

Live Free MindFreedom Mad Pride Web Radio – Special ZAP BACK SHOW.

Ray will be woken up early in his “Victory House” group home near
Minneapolis again this morning, Wednesday, 7 January 2009.

Ray Sandford is scheduled for another forced electroshock.

Under a court order and over his expressed wishes, he’ll be escorted
the few miles to Mercy Hospital, put under anesthesia, and given
another “electroconvulsive therapy” or ECT through his brain.

Ray says, “It is scary as hell every time I go.”

Today, involuntary electroshock continues for Ray and many others all
over the world.

houraidl4

New York Times Article:

Lilly Said to Be Near $1.4 Billion U.S. Settlement

By GARDINER HARRIS and ALEX BERENSON
Published: January 14, 2009

Eli Lilly, the drug company, is expected to agree as soon as Thursday to pay $1.4 billion to settle criminal and civil charges that it illegally marketed its blockbuster antipsychotic drug Zyprexa for unauthorized use in patients particularly vulnerable to its risky side effects.

Today’s Business: Gardiner Harris on the Eli Lilly Settlement
Related
Plea Agreement (U.S. v. Eli Lilly and Co.) (Findlaw.com>

Details of the agreement were provided by people involved in the negotiations.

Among the charges, Lilly has been accused of a scheme stretching for years to persuade doctors to prescribe Zyprexa to two categories of patients — children and the elderly — for whom the drug was not federally approved and in whom its use was especially risky.

In one marketing effort, the company urged geriatricians to use Zyprexa to sedate unruly nursing home patients so as to reduce “nursing time and effort,” according to court documents. Like other antipsychotic drugs, Zyprexa increases the risks of sudden death, heart failure and life-threatening infections like pneumonia in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis.

The company also pressed doctors to treat disruptive children with Zyprexa, court documents show, even though the medicine’s tendency to cause severe weight gain and metabolic disorders is particularly pronounced in children. Over the last decade, Zyprexa’s use in children has soared.

The case is being prosecuted by the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Patricia Hartman, a spokeswoman for the office, declined to comment.

Angela Sekson, a Lilly spokeswoman, said she could not comment on the status of the Zyprexa negotiations. Last fall, the company, anticipating a settlement, had set aside $1.4 billion for that purpose.

The amount of the settlement is a record sum for so-called corporate whistle-blower cases, which are federal lawsuits prompted by tips from company employees or former employees. In this case, the whistle-blowers have not been publicly identified.

Lilly executives have for years insisted that the company’s Zyprexa marketing efforts were legal and appropriate. When asked whether she could repeat those assurances, Ms. Sekson said, “It would be inappropriate for me to comment further right now.”

It could not be confirmed on Wednesday whether the company would acknowledge wrongdoing as part of the settlement. Without a settlement, Lilly risks being barred from participating in the federal Medicaid and Medicare programs — a huge part of its business — even though such bans are almost unheard of for big drug makers because their products are considered so essential.

In the United States, most of Zyprexa’s sales are paid for by government programs because so many of those taking Zyprexa are indigent or disabled. Zyprexa had sales of $4.8 billion in 2007, making it the biggest seller by far for Lilly, whose revenue that year was $18.6 billion. Depending on dosage, the drug can cost as much as $25 for a daily pill.

The settlement may have little impact on how doctors actually use Zyprexa, because physicians are free to prescribe drugs as they see fit. But drug makers are barred from promoting drugs for uses not specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Zyprexa has F.D.A. approval only for the treatment of schizophrenia and the mania and agitation associated with bipolar disorder.

Zyprexa has generated more than $39 billion in sales since its approval in 1996, making it one of the biggest-selling drugs in the world.

And despite mounting concern about Zyprexa’s risks and the negative publicity surrounding the legal case, sales were $3.5 billion for the first nine months of 2008, 2 percent higher than in the first nine months of 2007. Prescriptions for the drug actually declined, but Lilly raised prices on the drug enough to increase its revenues.

Zyprexa was initially received as a significant advance over an earlier generation of antipsychotic drugs. But a series of landmark studies in recent years have cast doubt on that long-held view and suggested that Zyprexa is no better than older drugs that sell for far less.

A government study published in September, for instance, found that Zyprexa was no more effective in children than an older medicine but caused more serious side effects. The children receiving Zyprexa gained so much weight during the study that a safety monitoring panel ordered that they be taken off the drug.

In December 2006 articles in The New York Times detailed hundreds of internal Lilly documents and e-mail messages among top company managers that showed how the company sought for years to play down Zyprexa’s tendency to cause weight gain and metabolic disorders, including diabetes, while promoting unapproved uses.

One 2000 e-mail message, for instance, described how a group of diabetes doctors that Lilly had retained to consider potential links between Zyprexa and diabetes had warned the company that “unless we come clean on this, it could get much more serious than we might anticipate.”

After those articles were published, Lilly threatened to seek criminal contempt charges against Dr. David Egilman, a Massachusetts physician and associate clinical professor at Brown University, who made the documents available to The Times. In September 2007, Dr. Egilman agreed to pay Lilly $100,000 in return for the company’s agreement to drop the threat of criminal sanctions.

On Wednesday, Dr. Egilman said he felt vindicated by the imminent settlement. “I’m glad Lilly is acknowledging their wrongdoing,” he said. “Patients and doctors now know more about the side effects of the drugs they take.”

The government’s case will remain sealed until at least Thursday, when a judge is expected to approve the settlement. People involved in the negotiations say that prosecutors pressed for a resolution in the waning days of the Bush administration to avoid having to get another set of approvals from new bosses at the Justice Department in Washington.

While the settlement is intended to resolve all pending government claims, it is unclear whether all states, which are parties to the case through the federal-state Medicaid program, have agreed to the terms.

Some of the claims and evidence in the government’s case are similar to those made in a pending California state whistle-blower lawsuit in which Jaydeen Vicente, a former Lilly sales representative, described years of what she said were illegal Zyprexa marketing efforts.

Ms. Vicente and other Lilly sales representatives distributed a Lilly study contending that elderly patients who were prescribed the drug “required fewer skilled nursing staff hours than patients prescribed other competing medications” and reduced “caregiver distress,” the lawsuit states. Zyprexa often induces sleep in patients.

“In truth, this was Lilly’s thinly veiled marketing of Zyprexa as an effective chemical restraint for demanding, vulnerable and needy patients,” the lawsuit states.

In October, Lilly agreed to pay $62 million to 32 states and the District of Columbia to settle consumer protection claims related to Zyprexa. It has also paid the state of Alaska $15 million to settle a separate suit and agreed to pay $1.2 billion to 31,000 Zyprexa plaintiffs. Some private Zyprexa claims remain unresolved.

mad-in-americajun03b

MindFreedom News – 14 January 2009
http://www.mindfreedom.org/ray – please forward

Another forced electroshock for Ray Sandford today.

Decision: Protest the mental health system, or not?

by David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International

As I e-mail out this message, Ray Sandford is being escorted again
this Wednesday morning, 14 January 2009, from his group home near
Minneapolis, Minnesota to Mercy Hospital for another involuntary,
maintenance, outpatient electroshock under court order.

There is a decision each and every one of us needs to make.

It is the same decision Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks
and thousands of others in the civil rights movement had to make.

To protest, or not?

One of my resolutions for 2009 is to nonviolently protest.

Ray — summoning that unstoppable human spirit that always impresses
me in so many psychiatric survivors — asks us to protest.

Survivors of electroshock human rights violations on the MindFreedom
“Zapback” e-mail list, where the Ray Campaign is being coordinated,
also say it’s time to protest the mental health system.

There are many ways, times, places and reasons to protest.

But it begins with a decision.

Ray’s forced electroshock today is not a fluke.

Ray’s forced shock is not because the mental health system lacks
money, though good programs need more resources.

Ray’s forced shock is not because of a few “bad apples” in the mental
health system
.

Ray is surrounded by an array of taxpayer-funded agencies and
professionals who are charged with protecting and helping Ray.

Ray has had court hearings represented by a court-appointed attorney.
He has a conservator, general guardian and a guardian ad litem.
Minnesota legal advocacy, ombudsman and mental health consumer groups
are well aware of Ray’s shock. Minnesota’s Governor Pawlenty has
received hundreds of complaints. MindFreedom filed a torture
complaint with the United Nations.

The headquarters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
[ELCA], whose six Synods in Minnesota own Ray’s guardian agency
LSSMN, say they have been inundated with hundreds of complaints.
Their official response: They’re not in charge of Ray’s shock, though
we never said they were. We asked ELCA to stand up publicly against
forced electroshock, they refuse.

Ray’s forced shock is a sign and symptom of how extremely oppressive
today’s mental health system remains, and how so much of our society
is complicit with this oppression.

Ray’s forced shock is an excruciatingly painful lesson and wake up
call to us all about an oppression so deep, it is seldom named: sanism.

Ray’s courage has educated so many people. Because Ray called the
MindFreedom office this Fall, many people now know forced
electroshock exists, and that psychiatrists sometimes give ongoing
“maintenance” electroshock. Many now know electroshock is often given
on an outpatient basis.

Many people now know that even Americans living in their own homes,
which are supposed to be our “castles,” out in the community, without
being convicted of any crime, can be court ordered to receive such an
invasive, potentially-irreversible procedure.

Now we know.

Don’t let this knowledge become normal. As MLK said, show your
“creative maladjustment.”

When I was an activist in the peace movement, there was a saying. “To
know, and not to act, is not yet truly to know.”

Reading about this on the Internet is not enough.

Each of us needs to decide and prepare:

Protest or not to protest?

When it’s time for a forced shock, Ray is told because preparation
must begin.

The day before, all food is removed from his fridge because to get
ready for anesthesia he cannot eat for a number of hours.

Then early in the morning staff wake him up and he is brought to the
hospital. Ray is put under anesthesia, and electricity is run through
his head inducing a convulsion. He wakes up with more memory and
cognitive problems.

Ray has had more than three dozen and he says, “It is scary as hell
every time I go.”

Ray’s forced shock is not because of a lack of public attention.

Hundreds have spoken out against this ongoing forced shock. Last
month, Ray’s plight was aired on National Public Radio. Ray’s own
elderly mother, a retired psychiatric nurse, has recently pleaded
with Ray’s psychiatrist to stop (since Ray is under guardianship, she
has no official say).

Most recently, Ray was sent to a neurologist for a check-up, but that
did not stop his shock.

The only change this past month is that instead of weekly
electroshock, Ray is now on a complicated pattern of every other
week, followed by every third week, back to every other week. Instead
of receiving his maintenance electroshock last Wednesday as Ray at
first expected, his shock is today.

Why are we surprised?

Based on the hard-won lessons of so many other groups that have
organized for their basic human rights, how can we expect real change
without protest?

In my 33 years in this field, I have seen many colleagues begin to
work in organizations and agencies that are funded by the mental
health system, and many of them are doing tremendously helpful and
crucial work. This work must continue, it’s a sign of hope.

Today it is common to hear mental health system leaders claim this
system’s values have changed to:

* Mental health consumer self-determination.

* Client empowerment.

* Advocacy and human rights.

* Recovery.

* Consumer-driven trauma-informed peer-delivered services.

And again, there are signs of hope.

But we ask:

Why is Ray Sandford getting involuntary maintenance electroshock this
morning?

Why is there a mental health “Abu Ghraib” operating before our very
eyes?

Why does forced electroshock and forced psychiatric drugging continue
in other states in the USA?

Why is forced electroshock growing internationally?

In my study of history, minor reform of psychiatry is not a solution,
minor reform is one of the problems.

Minor reform fuels more of the same.

When you hear a simple call for “more money” for the mental health
system
— without addressing the required fundamental change, watch out!

Remember Ray.

Truly, we need a nonviolent revolution in the mental health system.

Historically, nonviolent revolution requires nonviolent protest.

So there is one question now:

Protest, or not?

Protest begins with a decision. I hope you make that personal
commitment.

If you agree it is time for protest, please forward this to a
colleague and add in your own words, “I agree, it’s time.”

Remember Ray.

– David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International

For links to latest news, Ray Campaign blog, and frequently asked
questions about the “No More Shock For Ray Campaign” go here:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/ray

MindFreedom International
454 Willamette, Suite 216 – POB 11284
Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USA

lunacy-titleCrazy is not even the word for it:

Old news from an unknown source:

“A new generation of drugs is needed,” said Dr. Thomas R. Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health. “It is clear from this data that antidepressants are not the answer.”

Dr. Insel admits that another major treatment outcome evaluation study sponsored by NIMH, “Effectiveness of Adjunctive Antidepressant Treatment for Bipolar Depression,” the largest study yet, confirms that the widespread practice of prescribing antidepressants lacks clinical justification. The drugs were of no value for the treatment of depression thereby challenging US psychiatrists’ aggressive use of combined psychotropic drugs. U.S. psychiatrists’ “strongly held beliefs about the efficacy of antidepressants in treating bipolar depression” is not supported by evidence. The practice can be traced to the influence the drug industry has on U.S psychiatry.

The randomized, placebo controlled study was conducted at 22 major research centers participating in the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD). It focused on patients diagnosed with bipolar I and II who were treated with any mood stabilizer approved by the FDA with and without an antidepressant. Of 366 patients enrolled in the study, 179 were randomized to mood stabilizer and the antidepressant, Paxil, and 187 were randomized to mood stabilizer and placebo. The study was published online in The New England Journal of Medicine, March 28, 2007, and is available free: [Link] Eighteen of the 20 investigators have extensive financial ties to drug manufacturers.

Patients who were randomized to placebo rather than the antidepressant fared better in all outcome measures-except the switch to mania which was reported a fraction of a percent higher among placebo patients-20 (10.7%) compared to 18 (10.1%) of patients on mood stabilizer and Paxil. However, the validity of this outlying finding is uncertain. In his accompanying editorial, Dr. Robert Belmaker point out: “Patients who had become manic in response to antidepressants in the past would not have enrolled in the trial, casting doubt on whether the drugs are safe for all bipolar patients.” [Link]

Another confounding element–which is almost always a problem in psychiatric research–is prior exposure to the drugs: Dr. Belmaker notes: “Almost 90% of the patients in the study by Sachs et al. were using a mood stabilizer at randomization. Thus, the study does not address the possibility that antidepressants can cause mania in patients with bipolar depression in the absence of a mood stabilizer.”

And the STEP-BD authors report that some patients were also taking an antidepressant at the time of randomization which was tapered by 50% the first week and withdrawn by second week. Clearly the effects of prior exposure to these drugs and the effect of tapering (i.e. withdrawal symptoms) may bias the results. Nevertheless, the findings are clearly against use of antidepressants in this population.

Table 3 provides the primary and secondary outcome results of the 26 week study. The primary outcome was “durable recovery” defined as 8 weeks of euthemia (non-depressed). The result: 42 of 179 patients (23.5%) achieved “durable recovery” on mood stabilizer + adjunctive antidepressant compared to 51 of 187 patients (27.3%) on mood stabilizer and placebo.

Results of secondary outcomes: “transient remission” defined as 1 to 7 weeks of non-depression: 32 patients (17.9%) achieved “transient remission” on mood stabilizer + adjunctive antidepressant compared to 40 (21.4%) on mood stabilizer and placebo. Discontinuation because of adverse effects: 22 (12.3%) on stabilizer and antidepressant compared to 17 (9.1%) on stabilizer and placebo.

Finally, an unclear secondary outcome criteria “treatment effectiveness” defined as “50% Improvement from baseline SUM-D score* without meeting DSM-IV criteria for hypomania or mania.” No indication of a duration criteria is given. The finding: 58 (32%) of patients on mood stabilizer and antidepressant compared to 71 (38%) patients on stabilizer and placebo.

The authors acknowledge: “we did not study a “pure” placebo group (one in which no active psychotropic medication was administered) and hence cannot establish the effectiveness of treatment with a mood stabilizer alone.”

Dr. Insell got it half right: “It is clear from this data that antidepressants are not the answer.” However, why does it follow that “A new generation of drugs is needed” ???

What disorder of the imagination do mainstream psychiatrists in the U.S. suffer from that they cannot fathom a world beyond the “next generation” of drugs-all the more so, in light of the evidence that the second generation antidepressants and antipsychotics have proven not only no better than the first generation, but arguably worse ?

ca_suicidal
MindFreedom International – 6 February 2009
Mind Your Freedom in Mental Health
http://www.mindfreedom.org – please forward

Four (4) very brief MindFreedom news items for a nonviolent
revolution
in mental health:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1) Academy Award and Forced Electroshock

Ray Sandford of Minnesota has now had as many or more forced
electroshocks as the fictional character portrayed in the Academy
Award-nominated film _Revolutionary Road_:

Thirty-seven (37).

Ray Sandford, though, is a real human being.

Involuntary outpatient electroshock re-started for Ray Sandford, and
is slated to continue indefinitely.

Unless everyone acts.

Last week MindFreedom reported that Ray Sandford postponed one of his
series of forced maintenance outpatient electroshocks because of a
health problem.

Ray phoned the MindFreedom office with the sad news that his doctor
approved him for another involuntary electroshock, and Ray received
it yesterday morning, 5 February 2009.

It looks like thousands upon thousands of united people are needed to
unite to stop involuntary electroshock for Ray, and many others. Let
that include you!

For more info on the Ray Campaign to Stop Forced Outpatient
Electroshock, see this gateway:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/ray

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2) “Have a Heart – End Forced Electroshock” Show!

Next Guest on MindFreedom Mad Pride Free Live Web Radio:

Mary Maddock of Ireland — Electroshock survivor, author, and
community organizer.

On Valentine’s, Saturday, 14 February 2009, tune in for live free
Internet radio with MindFreedom, and guests that include Mary
Maddock, co-author of the book _Soul Survivor_. Mary is a MindFreedom
International board member who survived forced electroshock.

You can call in live using either your computer or telephone. We’ll
have the latest news about the Ray Sandford campaign.

Time: 11 am Pacific USA, 2 pm Eastern USA, 7 pm [1900] London UTC/GMT

More info on how to tune in every “Second Saturday” in 2009:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/radio

Get Mary’s book at MindFreedom’s Mad Market at http://www.madmarket.org

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

3) Australia Electroshocking Toddlers

Australia is now electroshocking toddlers, including 55 children aged
four and younger, and two kids under the age of four, according to
news reports.

Read essays and news items here:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/mental-health-abuse/electroshock

In that folder you will find:

a) Essay by dissident psychologist Bruce Levine on Australia
electroshocking young children:

http://tinyurl.com/kid-shock
or
http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/mental-health-abuse/electroshock/
electroshocking-toddlers

b) Essay by dissident psychiatrist Peter Breggin on same:

http://tinyurl.com/breggin-australia
or
http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/mental-health-abuse/electroshock/
breggin-australia-electroshock

c) Australian news story on electroshocking kids, with statistics:

http://tinyurl.com/child-shock
or
http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/mental-health-abuse/electroshock/child-
shock-therapy

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

4) World Health Organization leader praises MindFreedom International
and Executive Director David W. Oaks

In its legal handbook, the World Health Organization (WHO) called for
zero use of involuntary electroshock over the expressed wishes of the
subject:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/mental-health-abuse/electroshock

WHO is the official health organization of the United Nations.

Benedetto Saraceno, MD, Director, Department of Mental Health and
Substance Abuse at WHO said some very positive words about the work
of MindFreedom International, and MFI director David W. Oaks, here:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/about-us/david-w-oaks

psychiatry346185227_std

From the Independent:

Voluntary psychiatric patient fights for

freedom

By Tim Healy
Wednesday January 21 2009

A WOMAN yesterday asked the High Court to order her release from a psychiatric hospital, claiming her detention is not in accordance with the law.

The 69-year-old woman, who suffers from bipolar disorder, was admitted to the hospital on December 9 after being arrested by gardai.

She challenged this and yesterday a High Court judge ruled she had been lawfully detained at the hospital.

But the woman had taken separate proceedings, which opened yesterday, seeking her release when the hospital decided she should remain after she had agreed to be a voluntary patient.

The woman became a voluntary patient after an order committing her involuntarily was revoked on December 19 by order of a Mental Health Tribunal.

Last Thursday, the hospital refused to discharge her because it was not satisfied this would be in her best interests. The hospital invoked a provision of the Mental Health Act giving it power to detain voluntary patients.

Last Friday, the woman brought a second set of proceedings claiming the hospital has no power to do so because the MHT had already found she was not suffering from a mental “disorder” as required under law before a person can be committed involuntarily.

The case continues.

– Tim Healy

lunacy-kitten_with_a_gun

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Recovery Roundup- News and Views from the Movement

From MindFreedom:

Human Rights in Mental Health Alert – Please Forward

Calling All Human Rights Activists & Advocates: Support Ann L.!

New York State Citizen to be Forcibly Drugged on Outpatient Basis.

Ann L. says her forced psychiatric drugging makes her “sick and is torture.” But New York State is aggressively pushing for more forced drugging of Ann L. on an outpatient basis in her own community residence.

Ann L. is 50 years old, and says she has been in and out of the psychiatric system since she was 15. Ann says she was locked up for the past seven years in the notorious Pilgrim Psychiatric Center in New York, where she experienced years of forced psychiatric drugging.

Earlier this year Ann L. finally won her freedom.

She thought.

Ann got out of the institution and has been satisfied living in the community in the Irving Berkowitz Residence in West Brentwood. But now the State of New York is threatening to continue her forced psychiatric drugging while living at home even outside of the institution.

The State of New York is seeking to use “Kendra’s Law” to continue to administer forced psychiatric drugs to Ann L. using Involuntary Outpatient Commitment.

Ann L. (not her real name) states that she fears the forced psychiatric drugging will continue to debilitate her health and put her at risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Two independent nonprofit advocacy groups, MindFreedom and PsychRights, have determined that Ann L.’s situation is a priority. They are working together to support Ann L.’s bid for freedom in both the court room and the court of public opinion.

Stop the forced psychiatric drugging of Ann L.!

* * * ACTION * * * ACTION * * * ACTION * * *

Ann L. asks that you contact New York Governor Paterson. Use this web page:

http://161.11.121.121/govemail

or use this web link:

http://tinyurl.com/ny-gov

Phone: (518) 474-4623. Fax: (518) 486-4170

SAMPLE MESSAGE

Your own words & experiences are best. Please be civil but firm:

“I oppose the State of New York continuing the involuntary outpatient psychiatric drugging of Ann L. who is living in the Irving Berkowitz Residence in West Brentwood, New York. Please stop all forced psychiatric drugging in New York State.”

TALKING POINTS

1) Research shows that coercion is bad for a person’s “mental health.”

People subjected to forced psychiatric treatment have been shown to be at increased risk for drug dependence, disabling side-effects of medication, and suicide. Force can result in damage to self-esteem and the motivation toward recovery, as well as inducing or furthering fear and trauma.

2) People recover when they have a real choice among alternatives and volunteer services.

People recover when they are empowered to make their own choices, when they take responsibility for their own lives, and when they are offered hope. Under the conditions of Involuntary Outpatient Commitment this is impossible.

3) People deserve alternatives to psychiatric drugs.

Psychiatric drugging can cause additional mental and emotional problems, and can even kill. More humane and effective alternatives to psychiatric drugs ought to be offered for those who choose them.

4) Psychiatric human rights violations are life-threatening.

Research shows that people in the state mental health system die about 25 years younger than the general public. Remember the public death of Esmin Green who was denied any help while locked for 24 hours in a NY psychiatric emergency room.

ADDITIONAL ACTIONS

Please forward this alert to all appropriate places on and off the Internet.

It just takes a moment to contact additional New York State officials. If you can also phone or write that is helpful, but at least e-mail them. Be civil, be firm, don’t stop!!

Let them all know that forced psychiatric drugging is wrong and must be stopped!

Please contact these New York State officials immediately:

*** Assemblyperson Peter M. Rivera is Chair of the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.

He is a crucial elected leader focusing on the field of mental health.

Email: riverap@assembly.state.ny.us

Phone: (718) 931-2620

David W. Oaks to be “special presenter” at world

psychiatric congress

by David W. Oaks last modified 2008-07-24 13:06

Every few years, the World Psychiatric Association holds a World Congress. The WPA has invited MindFreedom International executive director David W. Oaks to be a “special presenter” at the Congress, which is in September 2008 in Prague.

David W. Oaks to be "special presenter" at world psychiatric congress

David W. Oaks, MFI Director, will address WPA.

Here is the title and abstract of the talk planned for the World Congress of the World Psychiatric Association by David W. Oaks, Director of MindFreedom International.

World Congress of Psychiatry

Document ID: WCP4323

MindFreedom International, Eugene, United States

David W. Oaks, oaks@mindfreedom.org

Topic: Ethics in psychiatry

Title: AN URGENT NEED FOR DIALOGUE ABOUT A “GLOBAL EMERGENCY” OF  HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN MENTAL HEALTH CARE

Abstract Body: The point of view of individuals who have experienced  human rights violations in mental health care, and the organizations  that represent us, need to be heard by psychiatric professional  organizations. Mediated dialogue must be encouraged between groups  representing psychiatric survivors and groups representing mental  health professionals.

We are not alone. Dr. Benedetto Saraceno, Director of the Department  of Mental Health and Substance Dependence at the World Health  Organization (WHO), has stated, “The violation of human rights of …  psychiatric services users and the recognition of their role and  rights as citizens are a main concern for WHO. WHO thinks that no  treatment can be credibly provided in a context which systematically  violates human rights. There is a global emergency for the human  rights of people suffering from mental health problems. I insist on  the word ‘global’ as people tend to believe that these kinds of  violations always occur somewhere else when, in fact, they occur  everywhere.”

Certain human rights controversies are especially pressing, such as  involuntary electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) against the expressed  wishes of the subject, and long-term, high-dosage coerced  administration of neuroleptic psychiatric drugs.

In a broader sense, though, if a family with a member in severe  crisis is primarily offered psychiatric drugs, when non-drug  approaches can work, this too is a kind of coercion. I respect an  individual’s right to take prescribed psychiatric drugs. However,  being offered only one choice is not really a choice at all. Creating  more non-drug voluntary alternatives has become a human rights concern.

Here is a link to the bio about David W. Oaks on the World Psychiatric Association web site:

http://www.wpa-prague2008.cz/Text/oaks

From Recovery from Schizophrenia (Ron Unger):

Radio Interview

Posted by Ron Unger on July 15th, 2008

An interview with me on “Madness Radio” can be found at
http://freedom-center.org/madness-radio-cognitive-therapy-ron-unger I talk about why I got interested in psychosis, mainly because of my own experiences as a young man that it seemed to me were understandable yet not likely to be understood by our current mental health system. Then I talk about cognitive therapy for psychosis and why I think it is a helpful and needed addition to the mental health field.

Download episode file directly:
http://freedom-center.org/audio/download/384/MadnessRadio-2008-07CognitiveTherapyRonUnger.mp3

Short Video Clip

Posted by Ron Unger on July 14th, 2008

Hugh Massengil videod part of a seminar I did, and posted it to YouTube. I’m discussing the relationship between cognitive therapy for psychosis and medications, and then talking a little about “what is psychosis” and the continuum between everyday errors and “psychosis.” If you want to check it out, it’s available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFjBnScM2Bk

Recovery Stories

Posted by Ron Unger on July 5th, 2008

Recently a couple people I know have put their recovery stories on the web. One is my friend Hugh Massengil, who got his story put on an official state website, even though his story suggests mental health treatment is almost completely off track, at least in its standard form. He is on a committee about increasing wellness among those with mental health diagnoses (very important given data that such people typically die 25 years earlier than average, often due to conditions that are aggravated by medication.) His story illustrates that wellness often is a result of successfully breaking away from traditional “treatment.” You can access his story at http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/mentalhealth/wellness/success.shtml

Another is the story of Oryx Cohen, who is one of the leaders at the Freedom Center http://www.freedom-center.org/ You can access Oryx’s story at http://www.familymentalhealthrecovery.org/2008TorontoRecoveryConf/TorontoRecovery08-OCohenCrashCourseWithPsychiatry.doc It’s a great read, going from his attempt to get his car to fly on the freeway (not very successful) to his attempt to get off psychiatric medications and have a good life (much more successful, though not without difficulty and one big slipup.)

Finally, I’d suggest checking out the video at http://bipolarblast.wordpress.com/2008/06/28/acute-psychosis-in-mania-and-schizophrenia/ It’s an overview of the perspective of psychosis as all about reorganizing the mind, as a positive process if the person gets supported in working through it in a good way. The video is well done and worth the time you will take watching it!

Also, check out this link:

http://www.successfulschizophrenia.org/

Thanks for reading,listening, paying attention.

My prayers go out to you and my wish that everyone you meet will be kind, gentle and wise.

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