Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Truth about Mental Illness

                                                    I. Introduction

    Historically the medical field has had a variety of ways of dealing with what is commonly called mental illness.  Early on, there was a belief that such illness was caused by an imbalance in the humours 1 within the body, which could be dealt with by bleeding patients with knives or leeches. They also believed that organs like the stomach, spleen, and tonsils were the cause of mental issues, so these organs would be removed. Later it was determined that surgical procedures such as lobotomy would be successful in helping to deal with such problems; however, it was later discovered that such surgery did not work the way it was intended. 
  One of the earliest statements made regarding psychological illness was that it was the result of an imbalance of brain chemicals, namely serotonin and dopamine; however, there is no way to prove this scientifically.  If a patient visits an oncologist and is determined to have cancer, the physician can prescribe certain medications and can actually see if this medication is having any beneficial impact based upon a reduction in the number of cancer cells or a recognizable remission of the disease. There is no scientific way to test if the psychotropic drugs that patients are given is having any positive impact. 
   Benjamin Rush (1746-1813), one of the leading physicians of his day and professor of Medical Theory at the University of Pennsylvania, actually postulated that medical illness was the result of too much blood in the head. His theory was that this excess blood should be removed by whatever means necessary.  These means included cold showers and others which would be deemed inhumane by today’s standards.
   For many years, psychiatrists were not considered to be “real” doctors because they were not able to actually cure any of their patients.  Psychiatrists working in mental institutions were considered to the attendants, rather than actual staff physicians.  In fact, many physicians considered psychiatrists to be “almost a doctor” because they were not engaging in what the mainstream medical profession would consider a field of scientific endeavor. 
   As a result psychiatrists began prescribing medication to their patients as a way of proving to the medical community that they truly are doctors.  Initially these psychiatrists were prescribing morphine and opium in an effort to control emotional outbursts among inmates.  Not only did these drugs not have the intended effect, but they are also highly addictive which only served to make the patient worse in many cases.
   Since there was no curative power to either morphine or opium and the mental health facilities still needed to be able to control those patients who were displaying emotional outbursts, psychiatrists next turned to cocaine and heroin as their “wonder drugs”.   Sigmund Freud actually spoke out in favor of the euphoric effects of these drugs; however, what Freud did not tell those he was speaking to was that he was been paid by two pharmaceutical giants, Merck and Park Davis, in order to help them market their new cocaine extracts. 
  Instead of curing anyone of emotional outbursts, these medications actually lead to a major cocaine and heroin epidemic at the beginning of the twentieth century.  As a result, a new drug was hailed as a “wonder drug” and the cycle started all over again.  Initially these drugs would be touted as a medical breakthrough and very slowly the public would become aware of the major side effects associated with these drugs.  Then when the pharmaceutical companies could no longer deny the dangers of this so called “wonder drug” they would simply abandon it and come up with a new medication. 
  In 1954, psychiatry believed that they had finally come up with the wonder drug which would change the world for the better with the introduction of Thorazine.  One of its initial uses was as an anti-parasitic in swine (it was designed to kill parasites); however, the pharmaceutical companies found that a side effect was that if actually shut down motor controls in humans and made them more compliant.  Thorazine itself proved so lucrative that the drug companies actually promoted it through what would now be considered a major mass marketing campaign sponsored by SmithKline and French, the makers of Thorazine.
  However, Thorazine led to an illness which actually causes an extreme muscular disorder known as tardive dyskinesia which is similar to the late stages of Parkinson’s disease. The next major drug was Miltown which was being promoted in medical journals and by psychiatrists to others in the medical field. This became the first blockbuster psychiatric drug which was marketed to the general public instead of simply for use by those in psychiatric facilities.
   By the 1960s, 200 million prescriptions for this drug were filled and it became a huge financial boon for the pharmaceutical companies.  Miltown was eventually determined to be more addictive than either cocaine or heroin and quickly fell out of use.
   The next major drug was Valium.  This medication was prescribed to so many homemakers in the United States to help them manage their anxiety that it actually earned the name, “Mother’s Little Helper”.  The challenge with these various drugs was that the patient was rarely, if ever, informed of the possible long-term or even short-term negative side effects. 
    In Section two of this paper I will discuss the relationship between psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry.  In Section three will discuss the claims of psychiatry regarding the effectiveness of such medications as well as the safety of such medication.  In Section four I will discuss the facts regarding such medications and Section five will provide a conclusion.

                           II. Psychiatry and the Pharmaceutical Industry        
   As a result of the rise in the various numbers of psychotropic drugs, psychiatrists were no longer considered care takers, but actual doctors.  Mental distress was no longer consider psychological, but symptoms of disease and psychiatrists could use their ability to write a prescription in order to provide their patient with a “happy pill” to in order to help them to manage their illness, since they were, are still are, unable to offer a cure.
   By the 1980s, Valium had become the most prescribed drug in the Western world with over 2.3 billion tablets sold. This was enough to medicate one half of the entire world population. 
   The next “wonder drug” to come on the market was Prozac.  While Valium was promoted as a medication for anxiety, Prozac was being marketed as a depression medication.  Interestingly, once this drug came on the market the number of people diagnosed with depression went up substantially.   Prozac was initially hailed as a cure for depression with no side effects or addictive properties.  Given the “curative properties” of drugs like Prozac and others which later entered the market, mainstream psychiatry abandoned psychotherapy for psychopharmacology forever.  It was easier to simply write a prescription for a “wonder drug” than to have to engage the patient in helping them to get to the root cause of their illness.
   Within ten years after the introduction of Prozac, there were numerous side effects brought forth.  Once the patent expired on the medications, when the drug companies were no longer able to have a monopoly over the medication, they finally admitted that there were serious side effects; however, by this point they had already move on to their next “wonder drug”.
   The next illness which the psychiatric field and pharmaceutical companies were addressing was a little known illness entitled bi-polar disorder, formerly known as manic/depressive disorder.  Obesity, diabetes, and heart problems were among the major side effects of the drugs used to treat bi-polar disorder; however, the patients were rarely, if ever, informed about these potential problems.
   If the basis of the doctor-patient relationship is trust and one of the hallmarks of this relationship is informed consent, then why would the psychiatrists not tell their patients about the long-term or short-term negative side effects which they will have to deal with once they begin taking this medication?  The answer is money!
   The psychiatric field benefits substantially from their connection to the pharmaceutical industry.  Each year, physicians are required to take part in Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses which are recognized by the state where that physician is licensed in order to allow them to keep practicing medicine within that state.  The vast majority of the groups which run these CME courses are actually either owned by or have a very strong relationship with the pharmaceutical companies. These groups hire psychiatrists as consultants and pay them up to $3,000 per conference to speak to physicians about the latest psychotropic medication and how that particular physician can benefit by introducing this particular medication into their daily practice.
    Another factor which connected these two industries was the introduction of the first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-I) in 1952.  It described 112 mental disorders.  The classification of these “disorders” was not based upon any actual science, but a write-in ballot mailed to ten percent of the psychiatrists belonging to the American Psychiatric Association (APA).   The release of DSM-II brought the list of “disorders” up to 145.  None of these new disorder diagnoses were based upon actual science either.  Instead the DSM-II was filled with theories on the origin of these illnesses.
   The rise in the sale of psychotropic drugs such as Miltown and Valium meant that the psychiatric community needed to come up with a biological reason in order to justify prescribing these drugs. They found what they were looking for in a paper written by Joseph Schildkraut, M.D. (1934-2006) entitled “The Catecholamine Hypothesis of Affective Disorders”, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in 1965.  While he had no scientific proof to support his theory, Dr. Schildkraut postulated that mental disorders might be caused by a chemical imbalance of the neurotransmitters in the brain.   This was purely a hypothesis.  There are no lab tests to determine what “normal” chemical levels in the brain look like.  The only identifiable chemical imbalance is one that comes from putting a medication into one’s system which will impact their brain. 
   Another challenge was that psychiatrists often could not tell the difference between someone who was sane and someone who was insane.  In 1972, the famous Rosenhan experiment involved a total of eight perfectly healthy volunteers presented who themselves at a mental institution.  They each claimed to hear voices in their head which only said the words: empty, hollow, or thud. No other symptoms were ever discussed and the result was that all of the volunteers, including Dr. David Rosenhan, were immediately committed into the institution.  The moment they entered the hospital they each abandoned their symptom and wanted to see if anyone could detect that they were sane.  The answer was no.  No one in the institution could determine that they were sane. All but one was diagnosed as schizophrenic and they were all discharged only after they admitted that they were, in fact, mentally ill but were in remission.  The psychiatric community was furious after learning of this experiment.  One hospital challenged Dr. Rosenhan to send in more volunteers and that they would catch every one of the fake patients.  Three months later this hospital announced that of the 193 patients presenting themselves they had turned away 41 who were pretending to be mentally ill and determined that another 42 were suspect.  The problem was that Dr. Rosenhan never sent any volunteers to that hospital.
Emil Kraepelin, M.D. (1856-1926), a German psychiatrist, concluded at the turn of the twentieth century that psychiatry could not determine sanity from insanity.  Seventy years later, Dr. Rosenhan proved that his statement was correct.    
  Following the Rosenhan experiment, the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-III) took a more “brain based” approach to mental disorders.  They assumed that mental problems derived from physical abnormalities in the brain, which they could not scientifically prove, and the DSM-III did not discuss causes, but instead provided clinicians with a checklist of symptoms. The challenge was that these symptoms were broad enough that they could apply to anyone at any point in their life.  Since there was no science to back up these symptoms, they were subject to heated debate among various members of the APA.  What tended to happen at these meetings was that the person who shouted the loudest was often the one who was heard.
   The members of the APA actually vote on what goes into the DSM and what does not.  If thirty people are in the room and twenty-two people vote in favor of this proposed “disease”, it is included in the next edition of the DSM.  There is no examination of scientific studies or other data to determine if this truly is a disease, since no data exists, so instead they rely upon a vote of the membership.  As part of a discussion on the proposed symptoms for Masochistic Personality Disorder, the wife of Robert Spitzer, M.D., editor of the DSM-III protested against one of the symptoms.  Dr. Spitzer’s response was, “Simply leave it out.”   Does that sound like science?
   Once a “disease” goes into the DSM it is very difficult to remove it.  However, since these “diseases” are voted on by human beings who can be influenced by political and/or social pressure it is not impossible to remove a disease.  Such was the case of “homosexuality”.  Homosexuality was listed as a mental disorder in both DSM-I and DSM-II; however, after gay rights activists picketed the 1973 APA convention, the members gave in to political pressure and decided to remove it from DSM-III. 
  The DSM-IV has tripled the number of diseases (374) that that were present in DSM-I.  Once a disease goes into the manual, there is an entire growth industry built up around it.  These diseases enter the professional curricula, specialists emerge to treat it, conferences are organized around it, publications cover it, doctors formulate patient symptoms to correspond to it, and drugs are prescribed to deal with it.  These are not medical diseases because they have no medical pathology.
   The information in the DSM is used in law, insurance, child custody decisions, criminal sentencing and other areas.  Based upon the DSM anyone of us could be declared mentally ill.  One Harvard professor stated, “No one is truly normal.” 
   DSM-V is supposed to be released in 2012.  Some of the new disorders they are considering include Internet Addiction Disorder, which was originally presented as a spoof in a 1997 article in The New Yorker magazine.  According to the APA, some 25 million people may qualify as “compulsive surfers”.  Compulsive Shopping Disorder is another proposed “disease”.  So are Binge Eating Disorder, Apathy Disorder, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Relational Disorder, and Intermittent Explosive Disorder (Road Rage).  These are all potential categories with psychotropic drugs waiting to be assigned to them.
   According to the APA, nineteen of the twenty seven members of the panel determining what illnesses are to be listed in the next edition of the DSM have financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.  This got so bad that both Dr. Robert Spitzer, editor of DSM-III, and Dr. Allen Frances, editor of DSM-IV, warned that that the APA may be accused of a conflict of interest because it appears that the DSM-V is being fashioned to create new patients for psychiatrists and new customers for pharmaceutical companies.  Psychiatric drugging brings in over $80 billion a year for pharmaceutical companies, so given the psychiatrists direct relationship to these companies it should not be surprising that the APA refused to address the issue of any possible conflict of interest.
   For years it was determined that a diagnosis of bi-polar disorder would never be made on a person under the age of eighteen.   Now there are children as young as four years old that have been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and placed on psychotropic medication.  What was normally considered a temper tantrum on the part of a four year old child can now be diagnosed as bi-polar disorder which then classifies this child as mentally ill.
   From a medical standpoint, there is no such thing as bi-polar disorder since there is no way to prove it through any medical tests.  Today, nearly 1 million children are diagnosed as bi-polar, making it more common than autism and diabetes combined.  In 2007, 500,000 children and teenagers received at least one prescription for an anti-psychotic medication, including 20,000 children under the age of six.  These anti-psychotic drugs were originally given to the most severely mentally troubled.  However, the pharmaceutical industry is now earning about $22.8 billion annually through sales of these medications. 
   The DSM is very reductionist in its approach to classifying diseases.  This makes it much easier for pharmaceutical companies to come up with drugs to deal with the symptoms of these “diseases” and that, in turn, inspires psychiatrists to write prescriptions for these medications.  The only thing left out of this entire equation is the long term impact on the actual patient.
   According to psychiatrists at the World Health Organization, some 450 million people worldwide have a mental disorder.  In 1999, Americans were bombarded with advertisements and other information telling them about a new disease where you sweat, blush, shake, and even find it difficult to breathe.  The tag line for these ads was “Imagine being allergic to people?”  The disease was called Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and it was claimed to impact about 13.3% of the US population. 
   In order to find out more about this disease, the readers were instructed to contact the Social Anxiety Disorder Coalition.  What the people did not know was that both the advertisements and the coalition itself were the creation of a public relations agency and funded by a pharmaceutical company, named SmithKline Beecham.  Later that year, Paxil came on the market after being approved by the FDA as the treatment for SAD.  As a result of this, Paxil went from third place in its drug class to first place.  The marketing company later boasted that the company was able to find an unknown market, create a need, and then sell their product by inventing SAD as an illness.
   Pfizer Pharmaceuticals did the same thing following the FDA approval of their drug, Zoloft, which they marketed for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Like SmithKline, they began a major marketing campaign and created their own front group which people could contact via the internet to find out more information about this disease.  This campaign claimed that 1 in 13 people would develop PTSD over the course of a lifetime.  Both they and SmithKline hired psychiatrists to go out and promote their new drugs among other medical professionals.
   This practice is known as Disease Mongering, which can be defined as “trying to convince essentially well people that they are sick or slightly sick people that they are very ill.”  On Madison Avenue, this is done through a process known as Condition Branding where medical diseases are “pitched” in the same way that cars, beer, or any other product would be pitched.  This is very easy when it comes to anxiety or depression, because they are rarely, if ever, based upon measurable physical symptoms and therefore open to conceptual definition, according to experts in this area of marketing. 
  Prior to the introduction of anti-depressants, even psychiatrists acknowledged that depression effected about 100 people per million.  Since the introduction of these drugs, the APA states that depression impacts as many as 100,000 per million.  This is a 1000x increase following the introduction of such medication.  When bi-polar disorder was introduced into the DSM it was quite rare, effecting about 1/10 of 1% of the population.  Today, it is believe that it affects as much as 10% of the population.  This is a 100x increase.  Pediatric Bi-Polar Disorder was not even in the DSM when studies were being done claiming that childhood mood swings was not normal behavior, but actually, a mental illness.  This campaign worked. In the last decade alone, the rate of children diagnosed with bi-polar disorder has gone up over 4,000%.  What the parents were not told was that 25 drug companies had underwritten these studies.  This was not revealed until 2006, when a United States Senate commission fined Joseph Biederman, M.D., a Harvard psychiatrist and author of the studies, for failing to report more than $1.6 million in pharmaceutical income.  In spite of this, pediatric bi-polar is now an acceptable diagnosis and this diagnosis is being applied to younger and younger children.
   How do they get the consumers to believe that they might be suffering from such an illness?  The first step is to convince the public that a minor or temporary problem is much worse than it really is.  The second step is to redefining a disease.  This involves taking an ordinary state of mind and recasting it as a disease which now must be treated with drugs.  For example, the winter blues, which many people struggle with, stems from the decrease of sunlight during the winter months.  Now it is defined as Seasonal Affective Disorder and medication is given to patients to help them to deal with this “disease”.   Another such issue would be the mood swings associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle.  This is a very common occurrence.  Now it is known as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) and there is a psychotropic drug to deal with this.  PMDD was not a medical diagnosis, but was created by the marketing department of pharmaceutical giant, Eli Lilly, once their patent ran out on Prozac.   They created a new drug, Sarafem, which is actually Prozac, and marketed it as the new wonder drug for PMDD.  The third market strategy is to create a new disorder for an unmet market need.  For example, Compulsive Shopping Disorder, which is a “disease” discussed in a paper by Jack Gorman, M.D., a psychiatrist.  He claims that a recent study indicated that as many as 20 million Americans suffer from this disease.  What he did not mention was that this study was completely funded by Forest Laboratories, maker of Celexa, and that he was a paid consultant to at least thirteen pharmaceutical companies.
   One study in the Journal of the American Medical Association entitled “Escitalopram and Problem-Solving Therapy for Prevention of Post-stroke Depression” suggested that patients take an anti-depressant whether they were depressed or not in order to prevent depression.  It was later learned that the authors of the study had an undisclosed financial relationship with the makers of the drug, Lexapro.   Such “preventive drugging” will become the wave of the future.
    As a result of these marketing campaigns and the willingness of psychiatrists and other doctors to place their patients on such medication, there are now over 100 million people worldwide taken psychotropic medication.  These drug companies are earning $150,000 every minute from the sale of such medications.   
   In conclusion, the fact psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical companies do not want the public to know about their financial relationship and that many of these so-called diseases are products of Madison Avenue marketing campaigns, should lead the public to wonder what such drugs will do to them once they are on them and whether it is even worthwhile going on them to begin with.

                  III. Effectiveness and Safety of Psychiatric Medication

   As stated, earlier, there is no medical test available to determine if someone is truly suffering from a psychological illness.  Even though psychiatrists do have a medical degree, they do not do blood tests or any other diagnostic tests since doing so would proof futile. 
  How safe are these drugs that are being offered?   The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates that all new drugs must be tested in order to determine that they are safe and effective for public use.  In order to accomplish this, pharmaceutical companies must have these products undergo clinical trials. One challenge is that the testing is not done by the FDA, but by the drug companies themselves.  This increases the potential for a major conflict of interest since they are bringing in their own researchers to come up with the very conclusions they need in order to get their own product approved.
   The company’s first step is to find a disorder in the DSM which they can attach the drug to and then clinical trials begin, first on animals and then on human.  If the medication makes it to the human testing stage, it is then tested on a very small number of volunteers, usually very healthy young subjects, in order to determine that the drug is not overly toxic and what the side effects are.  The next step is to determine if the drug provides the sought after effects on the human body and how large a dose can be given before drug toxicity sets in.  Once again, the company uses healthy, young volunteers who have a much higher rate of performing very well in such trials.  Phase three is larger than the first two phase (about 1000 patients) and tests the proposed drug against a placebo (sugar pill).  These phases lasts about 4 to 8 weeks which is not enough time to actually determine any side effects.  The challenge is that the pharmaceutical company has no clinical lab tests in order to measure improvement either way.
   One way of dealing with the fact that side effects cannot be determined in such a short period of time is called “Placebo Washout”.  If the company gives a placebo to a particular test subject and that person claims to feel better as a result, that person is removed from the final study results.  This is possible because the people conducting the tests know beforehand who receives the drug and who receives the placebo. 
   An ideal method of testing is known as the double blind test method; where neither the person receiving the drug nor the person administering the test knows who is receiving what.   This is a legitimate scientific testing method; however, with no clinical lab tests available to measure improvement, this double blind test method would only serve to frustrate those who are conducting these tests.
   Another technique used is that the company gives the drug to the volunteer before the trial. They then take them off the drug (or placebo) and allow them to go into withdrawal.  Then, after starting the trial, they put the volunteer back on the drug and see what the results are. If they are come out of withdrawal that is listed as a positive effect of the drug and if they continue to feel worse it is determined that the volunteer was on the placebo and that is not added into the final study information. 
   Unweight Distribution is another way that drug companies go about providing information regarding test results.  For example, a company conducts three studies.  The first one had 1,000 volunteers, the second one had 25 volunteers, and the third one had 10 volunteers.  The first study ultimately showed that the drug was of no benefit at all; however, the other two studies showed some marked improvement.   The drug company then tells the FDA, in two out of three studies it was determined that this drug showed a marked improvement in those who took the drug. The FDA requires only two clinical trials in order to get approval, so the companies can run as many studies as they want until they get the results they are looking for.
  While the drug companies do not want their potential customers to know about the possible adverse side effects, the fact is that there are quite a few including homicide, suicide, and mass murder.  These drugs were acknowledged by many in the mental health profession as being marginally helpful to begin with; however, when one takes into consideration the information provided by the unpublished clinical trials done by the drug companies, the effectiveness of many of these drugs is so negligible as to be considered statistically insignificant.
   Given the fact that these drugs are no more effective than placebos in the vast majority of cases, why would someone want to run the risk of such potentially devastating adverse side effects by taking these drugs?  Not surprisingly, the psychiatric community dismisses the idea that these drugs are just as effective as a placebo since this is a big business and there is a great deal of money to be made.
   Martin B. Keller, M.D., chairman of the Psychiatry department at Brown University, authored “Paxil Study 329”, published in a 2001 edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  This study found that the drug was generally well tolerated and effective for children.  Twenty-two of the most prominent members in the field of psychiatry were listed as co-authors of this study.  This was indeed high praise for Paxil.  Paxil earned their manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, $55 million in 2002 following approval from the FDA for use in children.
   It was not until the New York State Attorney General’s office sued GlaxoSmithKline in 2004 that the truth finally came out.  Paxil was actually no more effective than a placebo; however, the young patients on Paxil were six times more likely to have suicidal thoughts.  This data also revealed that 11 of the 93 children on this study developed serious side effects.  Many of those eleven children were either dropped from the initial study or coded as “non-compliant” so that they would not be counted in the final figures.  While the company did not admit guilt, they settled out of court of $2.5 million. The company grossed $2.3 billion from total Paxil sales in 2003. 
   Hundreds of lawsuits followed. However, when Dr. Keller was deposed by attorneys he could not recall what he had written in the study.  How can such a prominent psychiatrist not remember what he wrote in such a prominent study which was co-authored by twenty-two of the most prominent psychiatrists in the United States?  The entire study was ghostwritten by an agency hired by GlaxoSmithKline and then presented to Dr. Keller so that he could put his name on it.  Dr. Keller, in fact, neither met with nor interviewed any of the children involved in this study.  The pharmaceutical company later admitted that the entire study was completely flawed; however, this came to light only after the damage had been done.  During the last two years of his study, Dr. Keller personally received $1 million from GlaxoSmithKline, but did not disclose this in his published research.
  Based upon this it appears that the public cannot rely upon the drug company to protect them, since they have a vested financial interest in selling a product.  Therefore, where are those people or agencies that are entrusted with our protection? 
  We cannot rely upon the FDA when it comes to psychotropic drugs since the drug companies have basically taken over the approval process.  FDA Drug Advisory Panels, which regularly recommend the approval of psychotropic drugs, have historically been filled with psychiatrists who have financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.  One study showed that 92% of advisory meetings in the past decade included at least one member with a conflict of interest.  The FDA states that they cannot locate any psychiatrists without ties to the pharmaceutical companies, so they offer waivers to those members of the panels who have a financial conflict of interest of up to $50,000 annually.      
  Another example of collusion between the pharmaceutical companies and the FDA is Mr. Daniel Troy. Mr. Troy, a former drug company lobbyist, was hired as General Counsel for the FDA where he filed legal briefs in favor of drug companies and against drug victims.  After leaving the FDA, he then returned to the drug industry and is now Senior Vice President and General Counsel for pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline. 
   Earlier I discussed the first three phases which a pharmaceutical company undertakes in order to get a drug approved.  In phase four, the company is supposed to keep track of the adverse side effects that will impact the general public well beyond the very small sample of phase three. There are so many adverse side effects that some in the drug industry have actually stated that they probably would not fully be known until the drug has been on the market for at least seven years.  Now, the drug companies are referring to these clinical trials as post-marketing research and repurposing the studies to see if these drugs can be used for additional psychiatric disorders.  This is being done even though there is ample information available from both the United States and various countries in Europe that some of these adverse side effects are deadly.
  Zoloft, for example, which was originally designed to aid patients suffering from depression, was remarketed as a wonder drug which could aid people with PTSD, PMDD, SAD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Panic Disorder.  In 2005, the year before Zoloft lost its patent; it earned the company which produced it $3.3 billion.  One hundred Xanax pills, for example, cost the manufacturer $.03 to produce, but earn they retail for approximately $137, which is a profit of well over 500,000%.  It should not surprise anyone that drug companies have an average annual profit of about 16% which is triple the average profit of most businesses.
   Chief executive officers of the ten leading drug companies were paid, on average, $18 million in 2006 which is 400x the median household income of the average American family.  These companies are also great investments for stockholders since psychiatrists do not prescribe these psychotropic drugs in order to cure their patients’ disease(s) but to manage them, which means that these patients are basically an annuity for the company.  
   How do the companies convince the physicians that these drugs are safe when the company knows that in many cases they are not safe? They get psychiatrists to stand behind them by paying them to support the drugs. This begins in medical school and continues into their medical practice.  Many are recruited to become spokesmen for the drug company.  First they start by marketing to other psychiatrists and then they branch out to other physicians.   Most medical doctors see a psychiatrist as a specialist in the field, so they are willing to listen to their advice. Rarely, if ever, are adverse side effects ever mentioned since these psychiatrists have a vested interest in promoting these products.
   Let’s look at the case of Charles Nemeroff, M.D., chairman of the Psychiatry department at Emory University.  Dr. Nemeroff earned $2.8 million from 2000 to 2007 from the various drug companies that he is affiliated with.  When it was revealed that he violated Federal law by failing to report $1.2 million of this income to Emory, he resigned as department chairman.  He was also exposed for having ties to a company whose medical device he favorably reviewed in a psychiatric journal which he edited. 
  Many recognized journals such as the Journal of the American Medical Association and The New England Journal of Medicine have been fooled into printing studies and articles which were actually written by ghostwriters hired by a pharmaceutical company, but were listed as having been written by a prominent psychiatrist.  This psychiatrist is then paid upwards of $20,000 simply for placing providing his or her name as the article’s author.  There have actually been lawsuits where articles have been subpoenaed which state “Author: ?” This means that the pharmaceutical company that had the article written had not yet determined whose name they would put on this article as its alleged author.  In some cases, these alleged authors never even look at the article’s content.  This was true in the case of Thomas Laughren, M.D., who is the FDA’s top official in the area of psychotropic drugs.
  Drug companies also support medical journals through advertisements.  In fact, if it were not for the ads, these journals might cease to exist.  Also, 2/3 of all clinical trials in these journals are funded by drug companies.  Even the APA’s conference was largely funded by drug companies until the APA promised to change that practice. 
  Another method of encouraging physicians to use a particular medication is the use of sales representatives.  These representatives not only earn a commission, but a handsome bonus based upon sales.  They offer free samples to doctors so that the physician can give them to their patients.  Once the customer takes the free drug samples the physicians are willing to write a prescription for that same drug as soon as the samples run out.  The representatives also receive information about how many prescriptions these individual doctors write for a given medication, so they can market those drugs directly to the doctor.
   In 1991, Daniel Casey, M.D., chairman of an FDA Advisory Panel, established to determine if a warning label about an increased risk of suicide should be added to the label of Prozac, heard family member after family member of those who had adverse side effects and how their lives were destroyed. At the end of the hearing, Dr. Casey voted against this new label based upon a “lack of evidence”.  What the family members did not know was that five of the nine people on that advisory panel had significant ties to drug companies. 
   Physicians throughout the United States and the rest of the world are writing prescriptions for these psychotropic drugs based upon the fact that they are being assured of the safety of these drugs, not by any government regulatory agency, but by psychiatrists who have a vested interest in making sure that these products are promoted and sold.
   As stated earlier, the research indicates that many of these drugs are actually no more effective than a placebo; however, given the use of ghostwriters to write misleading and often completely false studies for major medical journals as well as the financial support which these pharmaceutical companies provide to these journals, is it any wonder that physicians are willing to accept what they are being told regarding the safety of the medication in question?
    In conclusion, the public does not have anyone to turn to in order to ensure that drugs which they or their loved ones are taking are actually safe.  We have seen that they cannot rely upon their psychiatrist for an accurate assessment because of his financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry and they cannot rely upon the FDA for the very same reason.

                       IV. The Facts about Psychotropic Medications

   One fact is that the pharmaceutical companies were granted permission in 1997 to list only some of the adverse side effects of their medication which made it easier for them to be able to create a thirty second television commercial promoting that drug.  The income produced from direct marketing to the consumer went from $595 million in 1996 to $4.7 billion today. 
   The average American sees about sixteen hours of pharmaceutical ads per year on television.  These advertisements do not, for obvious reasons, tell the consumer that if they want to be happy they need to be off drugs. Instead, they indoctrinate the consumer to believe that the challenges of everyday life are somehow contributing to a psychosis and in order to be able to deal with that psychosis they need to take some medication.  
   As a result of this direct marketing campaign, the consumer/patient is encouraged go to his or her physician and tell them that since they have one or more of the symptoms mentioned in the advertisements, perhaps they would be a good candidate for this particular drug.  The reality is that at almost any given moment, everyone has one or more of those symptoms mentioned in the advertisement. Who has not felt tired, listless, or irritable at one point or another?   These are not diseases; they are simply byproducts of being human.   
  Most physicians consider it unethical for physicians to advertise on television; however, it is alright for pharmaceutical companies to advertise on television.  Magazines also receive an enormous amount of money from pharmaceutical companies, particularly those that that would appear in a doctor’s waiting room. Even television shows, such as The Sopranos, made direct reference to Prozac.
   The mainstream media has a vested interest in not mentioning the use of psychotropic drugs in news reports where someone goes out and kills their family and/or others since the drug companies are a major source of revenue for the television networks. 
   Two thirds of all psychotropic drugs are taken by women, so it should not surprise anyone that they are a special target for advertisers.  The Ladies’ Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, and other magazines with a largely female readership are filled with drug company advertisements. 
   Since the bottom line is the most important thing for the pharmaceutical companies, they are not interested in simply print and television advertisements. The next issue is how do they convince more people to take psychotropic drugs while, at the same time, remaining a hidden influence?
   One example is in the children’s book, Brandon and the Bipolar Bear, where a child is told that his feelings are hurt because of chemicals in his brain which can be controlled with good medicine.  Also, there are mental health awareness programs which tour college campuses all over the country.  In one high school a group of girls were lured into a conference on eating disorders, which rarely affects teenage boys, in order to market Zoloft to these students.  
   Where do these groups come from?  Even though they come across as compassionate “patient support groups” they are actually pharmaceutical company funded front groups operated by psychiatrists.   A recent report indicated that approximately 67% of patient advocacy groups worldwide rely on pharmaceutical companies for most or at least some of their funding. 
   The most popular marketing technique is the Mental Health Screening questionnaire which is written by psychiatrists. The questions are based upon the DSM and deal with such issues as sadness and loneliness.  The symptoms are so subjective and the questions are worded in such a general way that almost anyone taking this survey would be determined as suffering from depression and the only way to deal with that is…..take a pill for the rest of your life!
   The front companies also provide Depression Screening Days at public schools.  After having the students take the Mental Health Screening test, the student is told that he or she suffers from depression and they should go on whatever psychotropic drug this front company is pushing in order to help them manage their depression.  The fact is that more than 25% of those who take part in this questionnaire end up taking one or another psychotropic medication. 
Their primary target is teenagers.
  One such test is Teen Screen which is a simple quiz offered to high school students.  Questions such as “Do you sometimes feel bad about yourself?” or “Do you sometimes feel good about yourself?” are asked. Depending upon where the students are emotionally at the time they are taking this quiz can alter their responses.  This is a completely subjective quiz and is designed with no other purpose in mind than to get these students to take a psychotropic drug.
   After reviewing the findings, these students are then referred to a counselor in their school who puts them in touch with a mental health professional.  Once a student is brought to a psychiatrist, 90% of them are placed on one psychotropic drug or another.
   According to statistics, 85% of the students taking part in Teen Screen are falsely labeled as depressed.  Parents are often leery of Teen Screen, so the company gets around this by offering students free movie coupons or free pizza to motivate them to get their parents to sign the consent form.  Teen Screen has also instituted an implied consent form which states that as long as the parent does not object, in writing, it is assumed that the student had received permission for the screening.
  In Colorado, Teen Screen listed that half of all the students they screened were “at risk” for suicide.  However, a government statistic indicated that the rate was actually 1 in 10,000.  The American teen suicide rate has actually fallen by 25%.  The average high school student has a greater chance of being struck by lightning than actually being “at risk” for suicide, provided they are not on a psychotropic drug. 
   Another fact is that instead of preventing teen suicide, these screening programs actually contribute to it.  Students are far more like to either consider suicide as an option or follow through with it once placed on psychotropic drugs than they would have been before taking such medication.  The adverse effects of these medications make it much more likely that someone would commit suicide because of how they feel while taking these drugs.
   The Patient Health Questionnaire on the internet is another rich source of potential customers for drug companies.  Anyone can take this questionnaire and diagnose themselves with depression in eight minutes.  Robert Spitzer, M.D., the architect of DSM-III, is one of the authors and its copyright is owned by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company and maker of the anti-depressant, Zoloft.  These questionnaires are not limited to depression, but include such things are bipolar disorder, sex addiction, self-esteem issues, and eat disorders. 
  Psychiatrists insist that a mental health screening test would be beneficial for everyone. Is this true and what are the risks?   While mental health screening is not mandatory for the vast majority of the population, this is not true for those in the foster care system.  These children are immediately screened as soon as they are put into foster care.  They are labeled as having one or another mental illness, sent to see a psychiatrist, and given, in some cases, four or five different psychotropic drugs.
  In the state of Texas, for example, all foster care children are screened as soon as they enter the system.  As a result, at least 60% of these children are given at least one psychotropic drug, including some children as young as three years old.  In Massachusetts, 67% of the children in the foster care system are being drugged and nationally the rate of foster care children being drugged is more than triple the rate of children in the general population.  One such example is Gabriel Myers, a seven year old foster child, on two powerful psychotropic drugs, including one which warned against an increase rate of suicidal thoughts in children.  He committed suicide by hanging himself with a shower hose.
  Another group is active duty soldiers who are routinely screened at military bases.  They are often given powerful psychotropic drugs which can have tremendously adverse side effects and then allowed to use a rifle or other weapons as part of the duties.  Instead of there being illegal drugs in Iraq, as there were in Viet Nam, soldiers can simply go to the medical unit in their camp and receive similar drugs legally from the United States government.
  A group which also needs to be considered in regard to mandatory mental health screening is pregnant women or women who have recently given birth.  As a result of pregnancy, a woman’s hormones are naturally off balance, so, for a psychiatrist to diagnose a pregnant woman or one who has recently given birth as having a mental illness because of her hormone fluctuation, is absolutely ridiculous.  Pregnant women are often given a form to fill out asking questions about their present mental state without even realizing that this is part of a mental illness screening. 
   Where are these programs leading?  They are leading to a program like the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP) which was started in the 1990s through a collaborative effort of the Texas Department of Health and the University of Texas Medical Center. It was designed to come up with the best possible program for treating mental illness. The panel which put TMAP together came up with an eleven step flow chart which requires using the latest and most expensive psychotropic drugs on the market. If the first medication is not effective the doctor is required to use the next one on the list. If none of these are effective, the patient is then subjected to electric shock treatment. What the panel did not divulge was that eleven pharmaceutical companies provided the funding for TMAP and that each member of the panel had a financial relationship with one or more of those companies.  
   This program was also introduced in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and called Penn MAP.  In PA the drug companies actually placed certain key state employees on advisory boards and paid to have them travel around to speak on behalf of the program.  According to Allen Jones, an investigator with the PA Inspector General’s Office, “that is a felony in Pennsylvania.” Jones was told not to press this investigation because of political pressure and was eventually removed as an investigator in this case.
   An important question to ask is: If drug companies are claiming that these drugs are “safe and effective”, why are we seeing an alarming increase in consumer reported adverse side effects?  What are we not being told?  All drugs have effects.  Those which are intended are called “main effects” and those which are not are called “side effects”.  When it comes to psychiatric drugs, which impacts the delicate balance of brain processes, even main effects can be hazardous, unpredictable, and sometime even irreversible.  
  How do these drugs work?  This information should be readily available to the patients through the product information pamphlet which accompanies the medication. How the drug work is known as the “Method of Action”.  Antibiotics, for example, are designed to impact the cellular activity of bacteria by either inhibit it’s grow of killing it outright. However, when it comes to psychotropic drugs, the very packet contained with the medication itself says that the method of action is “unknown”. 
   A major problem is that while these psychotropic medications may decrease the depression it also decreases the joy, which means that these drugs are minimizing what it means to be a human being in an effort to manage the depression.  Instead of working to resolve the underlying issue at the heart of the depression, these medications are simply making these patients numb. Their emotions have almost “flat-lined” which is not a sign of a healthy mental state.
  Valium, for example, a popular anti-anxiety medication, has several alarming side effects including: cognitive impairment, increased aggression, fatigue, hallucinations, and acute amnesia while at the same time it’s method of action, like all psychotropic drugs is “unknown”.  These are some very powerful side effects and one has to begin to wonder at what point is this actually managing the disease rather than making the patient worse?
  One of the most popular medications offered to children who are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is Ritalin.  This medication is highly addictive and more potent than cocaine.  Some of the major side effects include: weight loss, heart palpitations, stunted growth, manic behavior, cardiac arrhythmia, major brain shrinkage, insomnia, anxiety, neurological tics, and sudden death.  These are some extremely serious side effects, especially given the “disease” that the drugs are supposed to be maintaining.
  As I mentioned earlier many high school students, after attending a mental health screening program, are diagnosed with depression.  This is also true of many adults as well.  One of the most popular anti-depressants on the market is Prozac.  The list of side effects for these medications include: blurred vision, dry mouth, weight gain, low blood pressure, internal bleeding, sexual dysfunction, sleep disturbance, impaired cardiac function, seizures, and psychosis.  Paxil, another popular anti-depressant, increases the risk of breast cancer in women sevenfold according to one medical study.  Prescribing these medications to pregnant women not only puts the mother at risk, but also the baby who will receive whatever the mother ingests through the umbilical cord.  These drugs increase the risk threefold for severe birth defects in the child.
  Of all the major anti-depressant medications, the top three more prescribed are Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil. There are 1,817 known potential side effects with Prozac, 2,194 known potential side effects with Zoloft, and 2,497 known potential side effects with Paxil.   In the case of all three of these medications, one of the major side effects is the worsening of the very illness that they are supposed to be suppressing, meaning they actually cause depression and suicidal thoughts.
  Mood stabilizers, such as Risperdal, which are currently used to treat people with bipolar disorder, have the following side effects: weight gain, irregular muscle movement, heart disease, diabetes, pancreatitis, and delirium.  They were originally approved only to treat schizophrenic adults, but over a seven year period prescriptions for children jumped fivefold to an estimated 2.5 million prescriptions. 
   According to one study it is estimated that psychotropic drugs cause an average of 16,000 automobile accidents each year; however, this study only dealt with drivers who were 65 and older.  There are no studies, at present, addressing this issue in younger drivers.
  When these unwanted side effects surface, it is not uncommon for the psychiatrist to prescribe another drug to counteract the effects of the first medication.  It is entirely possible that one patient may be taking five or six psychotropic medications or more at a time in order to counter act the various side effects they are experiencing.  There is absolutely no research available to indicate whether or not these various drugs can be used in combination with one another.  Certain antibiotics, for example, cannot be taken with certain other medication.  This is known as contraindication as is based upon the “method of action” of a given drug.  However, since the “method of action” of psychotropic drugs is unknown, taking more than one such drug in combination with others can actually be the equivalent of playing Russian roulette with your body.
   Another major side effect associated with psychotropic drugs is akathisia.
Akathisia is a frequent and common adverse effect of treatment with antipsychotic (neuroleptic) drugs. This syndrome consists of subjective (feeling of inner restlessness and the urge to move) as well as objective components (rocking while standing or sitting, lifting feet as if marching on the spot and crossing and uncrossing the legs while sitting). Antipsychotic-induced akathisia can be classified according to the time of onset in the course of antipsychotic treatment (acute, tardive, withdrawal and chronic akathisia). Reported prevalence rates vary widely between 5 and 36.8%. Numerous risk factors for acute akathisia have been described and the exact pathophysiology of akathisia is still unknown. Since akathisia is a drug-induced adverse effect, optimal management involves its prevention rather than treatment. Standardized titration (determining the concentration of a solution relative to water with a pH of 7) and the use of novel antipsychotics are successful measures of prevention. 2 What this means is that the only way to deal with this problem is to given the patient another medication in order to counteract the side effects of akathisia. This affliction impacts as many as 7 million people in the United States alone who take psychotropic medication.  According to the DSM, there is a strong link between akathisia and suicide and this is supported by statistics as well.  The suicide rate for the general population is 11 per 100,000; however, the suicide rate for those taking psychotropic drugs jumps to 718 per 100,000 which is an increase of sixty-fivefold.
  Psychiatric drugs are toxic to the body.  The body builds up a tolerance to them and people who take these medications long term are actually dying at younger ages. There is also the potential of huge increases in violent behavior due to these drugs.
  What about those who are taking them, but cannot get off of them?  The fact that these drugs are addictive is never mentioned by psychiatrists.  According to most psychiatrists, these drugs are not addictive at all. However, when talking to the patients themselves they admit to being addicted to the medication that they were taking.  Basically, whether or not these medications are addictive depends upon the definition of that word.  Psychiatrists define addiction as a craving for a higher and higher dose of the same drug.  Dependence is defined as the uncontrollable need to keep taking a drug.  Based upon that definition, a very small percentage of patients are actually addicted.  However, a very large percentage of patients have an extremely difficult time getting off these medications and psychiatrists refer to this simply as dependence.  Stimulants like Ritalin are actually listed with morphine and cocaine as a highly addictive substance according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.
  In 2005, the United States government found that 7.5 million Americans had misused stimulants and 75,000 teenagers were becoming addicted to them every year.  They are also considered as gateway drugs leading to the use of cocaine and/or heroin.  However, many psychiatrists have actually prescribed Ritalin to patients in order to prevent them from turning to cocaine or other street drugs.     
Medications like Xanax are more difficult to get off than street drugs like heroin or cocaine. This is confirmed by patients who had actually gotten off these medications and in some cases had actually abused street drugs at one point.
  What happens if someone simply stops taking the drugs in order not to have to deal with the side effects?   First, the symptoms actually become amplified.  They have tremendous mood swings and invariably get violent.  They are unable to control their emotions and this has been implicated in many killing sprees.  Rather than acknowledging the fact that such killing sprees are the result of withdrawal from highly addictive psychotropic drugs, the customary response from psychiatrists is that it is the result of the lack of the drug and the return of the mental illness.  The reality is, that is simply not true.  Slowly withdrawing from the drugs is the only safe way and the patient needs to be under the care of a medical professional in order to do so.
   In conclusion, these psychotropic medications have serious and often life threating side effects associated with them.  In some cases they are as dangerous as cocaine and/or morphine and all are as least as addictive as those two street drugs. The medicating of children, especially foster children, as well as pregnant women is something that should not be tolerated.  The serious increases in the rate of suicidal thoughts and actions are alarming enough to cause the public to question the safety of these drugs, not to mention the other major physical side effects.
                                               V. Conclusion

   Based upon the fact that the psychotropic medications prescribed by psychiatrists and others have so many adverse side effects and are very difficult to withdraw from, what options are available to someone who is suffering from mental health issues? 
  In the 1970s, Loren Mosher, M.D. of the National Institute for Mental Health founded a facility entitled Sorteria House, a community based residential treatment facility, which offered clients emotional support and encouragement without the use of any psychotropic drugs. The results were outstanding. The residents in this facility did significantly better than their peers who were taking such medication and there were far fewer re-admissions than in other mental health facilities.
   However, Dr. Mosher’s facility was utterly rejected by the psychiatric community based upon their ties to psychotropic drugs and pharmaceutical company money.  Dr. Mosher ultimately resigned from the APA in 1998 citing the organization’s condoning of the use and misuse of toxic chemicals that they know have major long term side effects. In his resignation letter he asks, “Is psychiatry a hoax as practiced today? Unfortunately, the answer is mostly ‘yes’”.  
   Due to political pressure from the psychiatric establish and a lack of funding, facilities like Sorteria House are rare; however, they can be found. This is a facility for those who have serious mental health issues and even here the use of compassion and support as a way of assisting these people works quite well.
   What about people with everyday emotional issues?  It is common knowledge that well over 50% of all issues such as depression and mood swings are caused by an underlying physical condition.  An under active thyroid, iron deficiency, or hormone imbalance can all cause depression.  As medical professionals, psychiatrists know this as well and can easily run blood tests to determine if these problems exist; however, they choose to remain wedded to the pharmaceutical industry and treat symptoms rather than the underlying condition through psychotropic medications.
  There are also those who have issues which are not caused by an underlying medical condition.  Before psychotropic drugs came on the market, there was never any thought given to the idea of dealing with the normal stresses of everyday life by medicating a patient.  Anger, grief, sadness, and frustration are all normal human emotions and to turn one’s back on that through medication actually contributes to making us less human. 
   Are there any genuine options for patients when dealing with a psychiatrist or other medical professional regarding their mental health issues?  “The right to have a thorough, physical and clinical examination by a competent registered general practitioner of one’s choice, to ensure that one’s mental condition is not caused by any undetected and untreated physical illness, injury or defect, and the right to seek a second medical opinion of one’s choice.” - Article 3 of CCHR’s (Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights) Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights.
  People do have problems in life, sometimes very serious problems. Mental health difficulties do exist, people's hopes and dreams can be shattered and their methods of coping with this can fail. However, with such prevalence of mind-altering psychiatric drugs that damage the body, psychiatrists are not healing, but creating addicts and life-long patients.
Do No Harm
  Therefore, the first action to take with the mentally disturbed is to “do no harm.” Secondly, do not tell them they have a psychiatric “disease” that only a drug can correct. They are having enough trouble as it is. More than anything they need rest and security. CCHR has long been an advocate for competent, non-psychiatric, medical evaluation of people with mental problems.
Undiagnosed and untreated physical conditions can manifest as “psychiatric” symptoms.
  During 1982, CCHR campaigned for Senate Bill 929 in California, which established a pilot project to provide medical evaluation of people in public psychiatric hospitals.  CCHR was represented on the advisory committee that was established to oversee the pilot. The findings, officially published in 1989, found that many patients studied had a physical disease that mental health professionals had failed to diagnose.
  Charles B. Inlander, President of The People’s Medical Society, wrote in Medicine on Trial, “People with real or alleged psychiatric or behavioral disorders are being misdiagnosed—and harmed to an astonishing degree.…Many of them do not have psychiatric problems but exhibit physical symptoms that may mimic mental conditions, and so they are misdiagnosed, put on drugs, put in institutions, and sent into a limbo from which they may never return.” 3 While CCHR does not, itself, provide medical advice, the following alternatives are derived from years of working with health professionals who are qualified to address such medical issues.
1.    Check for the Underlying Physical Problem
   The California Department of Mental Health Medical Evaluation Field Manual states: “Mental health professionals working within a mental health system have a professional and a legal obligation to recognize the presence of physical disease in their patients...physical diseases may cause a patient’s mental disorder [or] may worsen a mental disorder.…” 4 The Swedish Social Board cited several cases of disciplinary actions against psychiatrists, including one in which a patient was complaining of headaches, dizziness and staggering when he walked. The patient had complained of these symptoms to psychiatric personnel for five years before a medical check-up revealed that he had a brain tumor. 5 Thomas Dorman, M.D. says, “…please remember that the majority of people suffer from organic disease. Clinicians should first of all remember that emotional stress associated with a chronic illness or a painful condition can alter the patient’s temperament. In my practice I have run across countless people with chronic back pain who were labeled neurotic. A typical statement from these poor patients is ‘I thought I really was going crazy.’” Often, he said, the problem may have been “simply an undiagnosed ligament problem in the back.” 6
2) “ADHD”: Help Without Mind-Altering Drugs
  Paul Runge, M.D., a German psychiatrist, says he’s helped more than 100 children without using psychiatric drugs. He has also helped reduce the dosages of drugs prescribed by other physicians. 7 L.M.J. Pelsser, M.D. of the Research Center for Hyperactivity and ADHD in Middelburg, The Netherlands, found that 62% of children diagnosed with “ADHD” showed significant improvements in behavior as a result of a change in diet over a period of three weeks. 8 Many medical studies show the following could be causing the child’s symptoms:
High levels of lead from the environment place children at risk of both school failure and delinquent behavior 9
High mercury (chemical) levels in the body 10
Pesticide exposure causes nervousness, poor concentration, irritability, memory problems and depression 11
Too much sugar 12
Allergies, environmental toxins 13
Gases, cleaning fluids, scents and other chemicals can make a child irritable, inattentive or hyperactive 14
Malnutrition 15
Eye or ear trouble 16
Worms 17
  Educational problems can be the result of a lack of or no phonics (understanding the sounds of letters and their combinations) in school.18 Creative and/or intelligent children become bored, fidget, wiggle, scratch, stretch, will not focus and start looking for ways to get into trouble.19  There may be an unchallenging curriculum. Goal-oriented children have a rough time focusing unless a specific challenging goal is given to them.  A simple lack of discipline may also be the cause of behavioral issues. 20
3) What medical doctors say about “depression”
  Psychiatrists commonly claim today that depression is an “illness, just like heart disease or asthma” but physicians who conduct thorough physical exams say this simply is not true.
  The late Carl C. Pheiffer, Ph.D., a researcher with a doctorate in chemistry, discovered that depression, as well as many mental and behavioral disturbances often result from either vitamin or mineral deficiencies, or possibly mineral imbalances, something prescription drugs are known to contribute to. 21
David W. Tanton, Ph.D., author, as well as founder and research director for the Soaring Heights Longevity Research Center, states that eating foods that create allergies or sensitivities can easily affect moods. Hypoglycemia (abnormally low level of blood sugar), hypothyroid (insufficient thyroid gland), or adrenal fatigue, as well as the use of many prescription and over-the-counter medications could easily contribute to feelings of depression. 22
One patient wrote: “When I was 18, I spent three weeks in a mental hospital for what I was told was ‘depression.’ I was on psychiatric drugs for ten months after that. The drugs made me feel lethargic, impatient and irritable. They also clouded my thinking [but] I was so convinced by the ‘experts’ that I had some fundamental
brain chemistry problem and that their drugs were my only hope. Years later I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as well as debilitating food allergies! This was the cause of my so-called depression.”
Antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs create feelings of “depression.”
Abnormal thyroid (gland that produces hormones that influences every organ, tissue, or cell in the body) function may dramatically effect mood and cause severe depression, fatigue and memory loss. Adrenal gland exhaustion may also be a contributing factor. 23
Long-term use of antibiotics alters the immune system, causing exhaustion and anxiety. 24
Lyme Disease (a serious bacterial infection from a tick bite that attacks the nervous system) can cause symptoms of depression and psychosis. 25
4) Debunking “Bipolar” and “OCD”
  Psychiatry makes “unproven claims that depression, bipolar illness, anxiety, alcoholism and a host of other disorders are in fact primarily biological and probably genetic in origin….This kind of faith in science and progress is staggering, not to mention naïve and perhaps delusional,” says psychiatrist David Kaiser, M.D..
Following years of publicity exposing the fraud of ADHD, psychiatrists suddenly claimed the diagnosis was wrong and the child really suffered from bipolar disorder. This is more fabrication. Ty Colbert, Ph.D., warns parents about psychiatrists who label children: “Children labeled ADHD, who are put on Ritalin, begin demonstrating [so-called] obsessive-compulsive and depressive symptoms (side effects of Ritalin). Then they are put on [antidepressants] and the parents are told that the real problem was the obsessive-compulsive behavior from the depression. Then due to the side effects of the [antidepressants], the child may be labeled bipolar….” 26
The FDA now warns that stimulants such as Ritalin, Adderall and Celexa actually cause “bipolar” symptoms.
Orthomolecular (mega doses of vitamins and minerals) research has shown that B complex deficiencies commonly occur in 80 percent of individuals diagnosed with “bipolar disorder.” According to Joan Matthews Larson, Ph.D., founder of the esteemed Minnesota Health Recovery Center, anemia is also a major factor in the cause of “bipolar” symptoms. 27
Dr. Carl Pfeiffer discovered through scientific studies that blood histamine levels were elevated in lab tests of individuals diagnosed with the symptoms of so-called obsessive-compulsive disorders. As these patients improved, their histamine levels dropped and their symptoms disappeared. 28
Several recent studies point out that these symptoms were typically triggered by throat infections at a very early age. One study in particular showed that among 50 children, 45 (31%) had suffered documented throat infection, 60 (42%) showed symptoms of pharyngitis (throat infection) or upper respiratory infection.29 The studies suggest that in some susceptible individuals, obsessive-compulsive disorder may be caused by an autoimmune response to streptococcal infections. 30
  “Charlie” was a 10-year-old who suffered violent mood swings, yelled obscenities, kicked his sister and could not control his temper. His mother was told, “You have two choices: give him Ritalin, or let him suffer.” Charlie was put on Ritalin, but a second medical opinion—based on physical examination and thorough testing—discovered he had high blood sugar and low insulin. “Either condition, if uncontrolled, can lead to mood swings, erratic behavior, and violent outbursts—the very symptoms ‘hyperactive’ Charlie had exhibited,” Dr. Sydney Walker III stated. After proper medical treatment, his “behaviors cleared, his aggression and tantrums stopped….”
  In September 2005, the British National Health Service Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence released a clinical guideline for treatment of “Depression in Children and Young People.” It advised that because “all antidepressant drugs have significant risks when given to children and young people,” children should be “offered advice on the benefits of regular exercise,” “sleep hygiene,” “nutrition and the benefits of a balanced diet.” 31
  The December 2005 issue of The Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport & Exercise reported that exercising rather than antidepressants relieves symptoms of “depression.” The subjects who exercised also experienced positive effects such as “vigor” and “wellbeing.” Citing a 2000 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine, Dr. John B. Bartholomew, an associate professor at the University of Texas, at Austin, said, “[R]egular exercise has been shown to protect against relapse” in “depressed” patients. 32
  Overall, medical facilities must be established to replace coercive psychiatric institutions. These must have medical doctors on staff, medical diagnostic equipment, which non-psychiatric medical doctors can use to thoroughly examine and test for all underlying physical problems that may be manifesting as disturbed behavior.  Government and private funds should be channeled into such programs and cut from abusive psychiatric institutions and programs that have proven not to work. 33
   There is no denying the fact that certain people do suffer from one or more mental health issues either at one point in their life or throughout their entire life. However, there are alternatives to psychotropic medications even for those who have suffered their entire lives with mental illness.  Putting highly toxic chemicals into your body in order to “manage” your condition when the method of action listed in the information provided by the manufacturer is “unknown” is, at the very least, dangerous.       
   There is no reason to have to fall into the trap of taking psychotropic drugs, if you do not have to.  As I have shown, these medications are highly addictive and are much more difficult to withdraw from than cocaine or heroin.  It is essential when you speak to your doctor about the possibility of taking one of these medications that you receive all of the facts, including all of the adverse side effects and the risk of dependency and addiction.  This is your right as a patient and it is the physician’s obligation to provide this information to you.
                                                                   End Notes

1The theory of the four humours is quite ancient.  It is based upon the belief that the body has four states (phlegmatic, sanguine, choleric, and melancholy) which need to be in balance in order to function properly.  These states are related to the blood and one way that they were kept in balance was through the use of various herbs which we meant to impact each humour individually.
2 “Akathisia”
3 Sydney Walker III A Dose of Sanity (NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1996), p. 14
4 Lorrin M. Koran Medical Evaluation Field Manual, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University Medical Center, CA, 1991, p. 4
5 Tomas Bjorkman “Many Wrongs in Psychiatric Care,” Dagens Nyheter, Jan. 25, 1998
6 Thomas Dorman “Toxic Psychiatry,” Thomas Dorman’s website, 29 Jan. 2002, Accessed: Feb. 22, 2011
7 “Controlling the diagnosis and treatment of hyperactive children in Europe” Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe Preliminary Draft Report, Mar. 2002
8 “Controlling the Diagnosis”, point 19
9 Walker, p. 14
10 Marla Cones “Cause for Alarm over Chemicals,” Los Angeles Times, 20 Apr. 2003
11 Walker, p. 6
12 Mary Ann Block No More ADHD (TX: Block Books, 2001), p. 84
13 Raymond M. Lombardi “ADHD A Modern Malady,” Nutrition Science News, Aug. 2000
14 Cones, “Cause for Alarm”
15 Becky Gillette “Breaking the Diet - ADD Link,” E Magazine, 5 Mar. 2003
16 Walker, p. 6
17 Samuel Blumenfeld “Tom Cruise victimized by ‘Dick and Jane’?”  July 23, 2003
18 Walker, p. 6
19 Blumenfeld; Rebecca Chrisinger, letter to Nancy Rogers, Evidence before CCHR’s Commission Hearing held in Los Angeles, Nov. 1997
20 Walker, p. 165
21 Walker, p. 160
22 Walker, p.102
23 David W. Tanton A Drug Free Approach to Healthcare (OR: Soaring Heights Publishing, 2005), p. 101
24 Tanton, p. 139
25 Joan Mathews Larson Depression-Free, Naturally (NY: The Ballantine Publishing Group, 1999), p. 138
26 Janet Ginsburg “Diseases of the Mind,” Newsweek, December 1, 2002
27 Ty C. Colbert Rape of the Soul, How the Chemical Imbalance Model of Modern Psychiatry has Failed its Patients (CA: Kevco Publishing, 2001), p. 244
28 Larson, p. 173
29 Larson, p. 22
30 Henrietta L. Leonard “Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated With Streptococcal Infections: Clinical Description of the First 50 Cases” American Journal of Psychiatry, 155:264-271: Feb. 1998
31 Paul D. Arnold and Margaret A. Richter “Is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder an Autoimmune Disease?” Canadian Medical Association Journal Nov. 13, 2001:165 (10)
32 “Depression in children and young people, Identification and management in primary, community and secondary care,” National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, National Health Service, Sept. 2005, pp. 18, 28
33 “Grouchiness Happens: Walk It Off,”  1/31/02


Paul D. Arnold and Margaret A. Richter “Is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder an Autoimmune Disease?” Canadian Medical Association Journal Nov. 13, 2001:165 (10)

Tomas Bjorkman “Many Wrongs in Psychiatric Care,” Dagens Nyheter, Jan. 25, 1998

Mary Ann Block No More ADHD (TX: Block Books, 2001)

Samuel Blumenfeld “Tom Cruise victimized by ‘Dick and Jane’?”  July 23, 2003

Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights
Ty C. Colbert Rape of the Soul, How the Chemical Imbalance Model of Modern Psychiatry has Failed its Patients (CA: Kevco Publishing, 2001)

Marla Cones “Cause for Alarm over Chemicals,” Los Angeles Times, April 20, 2003

Thomas Dorman “Toxic Psychiatry,” Thomas Dorman’s website, Jan.29, 2002, Accessed: Feb. 22, 2011

Becky Gillette “Breaking The Diet - ADD Link,” E Magazine, March 5, 2003

Janet Ginsburg “Diseases of the Mind,” Newsweek, December 1, 2002

Lorrin M. Koran Medical Evaluation Field Manual, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University Medical Center, California, 1991

Joan Mathews Larson Depression-Free, Naturally (NY: The Ballantine Publishing Group, 1999)

Henrietta L. Leonard “Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated With Streptococcal Infections: Clinical Description of the First 50 Cases” American Journal of Psychiatry, 155:264-271: Feb. 1998

David W. Tanton A Drug Free Approach to Healthcare (OR: Soaring Heights Publishing, 2005)

Sydney Walker III A Dose of Sanity (NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1996)

1 comment:

D Bunker said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.