Researchers See Antidepressants As Obstacle to Recovery from Depression

Image by Petr Kratochvil
Image by Petr Kratochvil

Researchers who reviewed existing research, looking for evidence to support the unproven theory that low levels of the brain chemical serotonin cause depression, have concluded the theory appears to be wrong.

According to the researchers’ paper, posted by the journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, the best available evidence appears to show that there is more serotonin in depressed individuals, not less.

If so, the psychiatric treatment of prescribing serotonin-boosting antidepressant drugs for depression may actually make it harder for depressed individuals to recover, according to lead author Paul Andrews, an assistant professor of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour at McMaster University.

“It’s time we rethink what we are doing,” Andrews says. “We are taking people who are suffering from the most common forms of depression, and instead of helping them, it appears we are putting an obstacle in their path to recovery.”

Andrews, an evolutionary psychologist, has argued in previous research that antidepressants leave patients in worse shape after they stop using them, and that most forms of depression, though painful, are natural and beneficial adaptations to stress.

Users of Today’s More Potent Marijuana At Greater Risk Of Psychosis

Image by RAJESH misra
Image by RAJESH misra

A British study published recently in the medical journal The Lancet found that the risk of psychosis was more than five times higher for those who used high-potency marijuana daily than for those who had never tried marijuana.

The risk was three times higher for those who used high-potency marijuana less frequently.  The risk was also three times higher for those who used less potent marijuana, but on a daily basis.

Psychosis is a condition in which the individual becomes so mentally disordered that he loses contact with reality.  The symptoms include hallucinations, delusions and paranoia.

Marijuana (cannabis) is a hallucinogen that distorts how the mind perceives reality.  The main ingredient responsible for the mind-altering effect is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

The level of THC in marijuana has steadily increased over the past several decades, due to changes in growing techniques.  THC concentrations in cannabis averaged 1% in 1974 and 4% in 1994.

By 2012, THC levels averaged close to 15%,    according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  But a University of Mississippi laboratory that tests the marijuana potency of marijuana seized by federal law enforcement officers has found THC concentration as high as 37%.

Studies have consistently reported that the use of marijuana is linked to an increased risk of psychosis.  After a systematic review of the scientific literature on marijuana use, the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) issued a report in 2014 that acknowledged there is “substantial evidence that THC intoxication can cause acute psychotic symptoms, which are worse with higher doses.”

A 2012 study by the British Schizophrenia Commission went even further, concluding that cannabis use is the single most preventable risk factor for psychosis.

Colorado statistics from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that for the two-year period 2012-2013, one out of every eight (12.7%) Colorado residents over the age of 12, or roughly half a million Coloradoans, were current marijuana users.  The Survey defines current users as having used marijuana during the prior month.  That figure does not include any data for the year 2014, when the number of current users almost certainly increased from the legalization of recreational marijuana.

A separate 2014 report on the demand for marijuana in Colorado, prepared for the Colorado Department of Revenue, estimated that one out of every five (21.8%) current marijuana users in Colorado is a daily or near-daily user.

This suggests that more than 100,000 Coloradoans are at three times higher risk of psychosis than non-users, with the portion of them using high-potency marijuana at more than five times higher risk.

Not surprisingly, Colorado has experienced a rising trend in the number of hospitalizations and emergency room visits linked to marijuana use, which presumably include patients treated for marijuana-induced psychosis.  According to CDPHE’s 2014 report on marijuana, “there were large increases in poison center calls, hospitalizations, and emergency department visits observed after medical marijuana was commercialized in 2010 and additional increases after retail (recreational) marijuana was legalized in 2014.”

Parents are well-advised to speak with their children about the danger of psychosis resulting from the use of marijuana.  Episodes of psychosis requiring hospitalization have been known to occur with the very first use of the drug.  National statistics on children from the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicate that one out of every seven (15.6%) children in 8th grade have used marijuana sometime in their lives, and nearly half (44.4%) have tried it by the 12th grade.  The most recent statistics on Colorado adolescents and young adults from CDPHE indicate that approximately one out of every five (20%) Colorado high school students has used marijuana in the past month, and 37% have tried it at some point.

Major Study Reveals ADHD Drugs Were Never Proven Safe Or Effective

Ritalin pills and warning label.A recent study led by researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital, the Department of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and several other institutions, concludes that the clinical trials for drugs approved as treatment for so-called ADHD were not designed to assess adverse events or long-term safety and effectiveness.

According to investigative journalist Kelly Patricia O’Meara, researchers identified 32 clinical trials used to obtain approval of ADHD drugs and found the following:

  • Eleven drugs (55%) were approved with less than 100 participants.
  • The median length of time that the drug was tested prior to its approval was only four weeks.
  • 38% of the drugs were actually approved with participants studied less than four weeks.

Drug regulatory agencies in eight countries have issued 44 warnings that ADHD drugs/stimulants cause harmful, even life-threatening side effects, including abnormal heart rate/rhythm, depression, hallucinations, homicidal ideation, insomnia, irritability, hostility, mania/psychosis, seizures, stunted growth, stroke and sudden death.  These drug warnings can be accessed through CCHR International’s psychiatric drug side effects search engine.

With no medical tests to prove the existence of ADHD, leading neuroscientists have stated that “ADHD” is no more than a description of behaviors, not a true medical disease requiring drugs to treat it.

WARNING: Anyone wishing to discontinue psychiatric drugs is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you know has experienced harmful side effects from an ADHD drug, we want to talk to you. You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence. We welcome your comments on this article below.

Irregular Bedtimes Linked To Children’s Behavior Problems

Children who do not have fixed bedtimes are more likely to experience behavior problems, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics.

Image by Homero Nunez Chapa
Image by Homero Nunez Chapa

What’s more, as children progressed through early childhood without a regular bedtime, their behavior continually got worse.

The good news is that these effects are reversible.  Children who were changed to regular bedtimes showed definite improvements in their behavior.

Researchers at the University College London analyzed data collected from more than 10,000 British children at the ages of three, five and seven.  They found a clear, statistically significant link between the lack of regular bedtimes and behavior difficulties, which included hyperactivity, problems getting along with other children, mood swings, and other conduct problems.

“What we’ve shown is that these effects build up incrementally over childhood, so that children who always had irregular bedtimes were worse off than those children who did have a regular bedtime,” said lead author Yvonne Kelly, professor of life course epidemiology at the College.

The message to parents:  Schedule a specific bedtime, and then get the children to bed on time to help ensure good behavioral development.

Behavioral Problems in Young Children Are Linked to Soft Drinks

Image by MALIZ ONG
Image by MALIZ ONG

The reason young children fight too much or can’t pay attention could be found in the pop they drink

A new study published in The Journal of Pediatrics finds that aggression, attention problems and even withdrawn behavior in young children are all linked to the consumption of soft drinks.

Prior studies had established the association between soft drinks and adolescents’ aggression, depression, and suicidal thoughts, but young children had not previously been evaluated.

Researchers at Columbia School of Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Vermont studied nearly 3,000 5-year-olds.

Their conclusion:  any amount of soft drinks consumed by children makes them more likely to be aggressive.

Not surprisingly, aggressive behavior increased right along with the number of soft drink servings children consumed per day.  Children who consumed 4 or more soft drinks a day were more than twice as likely to destroy other people’s belongings and physically attack others.

Based on these findings, eliminating sugary beverages could be a wise decision for parents searching for an all-natural, drug-free solution to their children’s behavioral problems.

Federal Investigation Of The Link Between Shootings and Psychiatric Drugs Is Long Overdue

Today’s school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 small children and six adults were killed by an armed gunman, is the latest in a rash of tragic mass murders.  Will it also be the next act of senseless violence linked to psychiatric treatment – and, specifically, to psychiatric drugs?

NBC News reports that the 20-year-old alleged shooter, Adam Lanza, had a history of mental turmoil, according to what his brother Ryan told police.  If Adam Lanza was receiving psychiatric treatment, he almost certainly would have been given mind-altering psychiatric drugs.  If so, which one(s)?

In dozens of cases of mass murder or random acts of senseless violencethe perpetrators are known to have been under the influence of psychiatric drugs that have been documented by international drug regulatory agencies as causing adverse effects that include mania, psychosis, aggression, violence, and homicidal thoughts.

It is high time the public and public officials demand a federal investigation into shootings at schools, malls, and workplaces and any other acts of senseless violence for links to the mind-altering psychiatric drugs the shooters have taken. There is more than enough evidence to merit an investigation, and countless innocent lives are at stake.

The Age of Fear: Psychiatry’s Reign of Terror

In psychiatry, history repeats itself – and what a barbaric history it is.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights International has exposed the brutality of psychiatry from its birthplace in Germany up to present day in a searing new documentary, The Age of Fear: Psychiatry’s Reign of Terror

Filmed in Germany and Austria, this exposé draws from extensive research and over 80 interviews with psychiatric experts, historians and psychiatric survivors.

Containing shocking personal testimonies and stark inside footage, this documentary tells the true story of psychiatry’s sordid history and current practices, revealing how its reliance on brutality and coercion has not changed since the moment it was born.

Eminent psychiatric critic and CCHR co-founder, the lateThomas Szasz, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, wrote:

“If some doctors harm – torture rather than treat, murder the soul rather than minister the body – that is, in part, because society, through the state, asks them, and pays them, to do so.”

“We saw it happen Nazi Germany, and we hanged many of the doctors. We see it happen in the Soviet Union, and we denounce the doctors with righteous indignation.  But when will we see that the same things are happening in the so-called free societies?  When will we recognize – and publicly identify – the medical criminals among us?”

Click to view The Age of Fear: Psychiatry’s Reign of Terror online.

 

WARNING: Anyone wishing to discontinue psychiatric drugs is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you know has been harmed by a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health worker, we want to talk to you. You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225. All information will be kept in the strictest confidence. We welcome your comments on this article below.

From A Colorado R.N.: Why I Left Psychiatric Nursing

“It is a mistake to pathologize life [to represent it as a disease].  All of us get angry, sad, depressed, overjoyed, and excited at times.  There are times that any of us might lose control of any of these emotions with the challenges that life presents.

“Unfortunately, losing one’s temper in public might earn a person a stay in a psychiatric hospital.  Anger, especially, is not tolerated inside the psychiatric department of a hospital.  It can be diagnosed as “dysphoria” [unpleasant emotion, agitated, depressed], “hypomania” [speeded up, agitated behavior], or a “personality disorder.” The patient — adolescent and adult alike — can be disciplined with restraints, isolation, and involuntary medications.

“Isolation and restraints are legally allowed ONLY when the patient is threatening others or viewed as a danger to himself.  However, as a former psychiatric nurse, I have witnessed these methods used for reasons other than safety.  I have seen them used to discipline a patient for his temper or simply to gain control over him, even when there was no threat to anyone’s safety.  They were used to break down the individual’s will so that he will comply with the system inside the psychiatric unit, which imposes a milieu structure [a structured environment] with medications prescribed for questionable diagnoses.

“Anger is in itself not a disease.  It is a symptom that something is not right.  Anger can escalate when it is not listened to.

“While working one evening a few years ago in a small Colorado psychiatric inpatient unit, I was asked by our staff psychiatrist if I thought a 16-year-old boy there had “bipolar disorder.”  The adolescent had expressed anger toward his mother, who was continuing to date a man who had literally beaten the boy up.

“Recognizing that this young patient had a lot reason to be angry, I asked the doctor why he thought the boy had “bipolar disorder.”  The doctor explained that the patient’s mother had reported an increase in the boy’s appetite the week before, when he had an extra chili dog for dinner.  The boy then went outdoors to play basketball with his friends.  The doctor surmised that these two occurrences of normal behavior must be interpreted as “mania” because they were not typical for this boy.

“As the doctor was writing out prescriptions for three psychiatric medications, including an antipsychotic drug, I voiced my opinion that perhaps this boy’s behavior might be normal or just a sign of getting well.  The doctor instructed me to observe him over the weekend for unusual behaviors and symptoms.

“Later that night, as I was passing out bedtime medications, I found myself with an antipsychotic medication in my hand with a physician’s order to give it to this boy — a child who was not mentally ill.

“My license said I had to give it.  I left the psychiatric setting a few months later.  Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common in psychiatric facilities.

“What is needed is empathic [with empathy] listening, understanding, validation and acceptance to feel what we need to.  In my experience, I found that acceptance and caring about how my patient felt was always calming.  A therapeutic conversation could then take place.  Empathic listening and validation are key to healing.”

–Colorado R.N., a former psychiatric nurse

A Question of Medical Ethics: Researchers Conclude Antidepressants Do More Harm Than Good

 

Image by George Hodan
Image by George Hodan

A team of researchers reviewing previous studies into the effects of antidepressants have concluded that the drugs are doing patients more harm than good, according to a research paper published yesterday in the online journal Frontiers in Psychology.

“The thing that’s been missing in the debates about antidepressants is an overall assessment of all these negative effects relative to their potential beneficial effects,” says professor Paul Andrews, an evolutionary biologist at McMaster University in Canada and lead author of the study. “Most of this evidence has been out there for years and nobody has been looking at this basic issue.”

Most antidepressants alter the level of serotonin naturally produced by the human body in an attempt to alter mood.  But serotonin also regulates other important functions in the body, including digestion, reproduction, and the blood clotting to seal a wound.

“Serotonin is an ancient chemical,” said Andrews.  “It’s intimately regulating many different processes, and when you interfere with these things you can expect,  from an evolutionary perspective, that it’s going to cause some harm.”

Quoting from his research team’s paper:

“Because serotonin regulates many adaptive processes, antidepressants could have many adverse health effects….  Antidepressants can…cause developmental problems, they have adverse effects on sexual and romantic life, and they increase the risk of hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood plasma), bleeding, stroke, and death in the elderly.  Our review supports the conclusion that antidepressants generally do more harm than good by disrupting a number of adaptive processes regulated by serotonin.”

The full paper can be read here.

 

Proven risks outweigh questionable benefit

Following on the heels of other research on both the ineffectiveness and the risks of adverse effects of antidepressants, this latest research raises serious questions about whether physicians can ethically prescribe antidepressants for their patients.  After all, a cornerstone of medical ethics is that it may be better to do nothing than to risk causing more harm than good.  Antidepressants now have been shown in a growing number of research studies to cause proven harm, while providing questionable benefit.

For example, in an explosive report that aired recently on CBS’s 60 Minutes, an expert on placebos said that the difference between the effects of antidepressants and sugar pills is clinically insignificant for most people. (see “Expert Finds Antidepressants No More Effective Than Sugar Pills”).  Another recent study shows antidepressants can considerably worsen depression (see “Antidepressants can cause chronic and worsening depression”).  An earlier study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2006 linked antidepressants to an increased risk of major birth defects.

(For international studies and warnings on the side effects of antidepressants, go to CCHR International’s psychiatric drug search engine.)

Professor Andrews believes his research shows the critical necessity of reevaluating the use of antidepressants.

“It could change the way we think about such major pharmaceutical drugs,” he says. “You’ve got a minimal benefit, a laundry list of negative effects – some small, some rare and some not so rare. The issue is: does the list of negative effects outweigh the minimal benefit?”

 

WARNING: Anyone wishing to discontinue antidepressants or other psychiatric drugs is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous, even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you know has experienced harmful side effects from an antidepressant, we want to talk to you. You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225. All information will be kept in the strictest confidence. We welcome your comments on this article below.

Patient Beware: Negative Results Of Psych Drug Tests Were Not Revealed To Your Doctor

 

Image by Petr Kratochvil
Image by Petr Kratochvil

Analysis of articles published on the outcomes of clinical trials of psychiatric drugs found that many unfavorable results never appeared in the professional journals doctors rely on to make informed decisions for their patients.

A new report published in PLoS Medicine found that drug companies seeking FDA approval for eight newer, so-called atypical antipsychotic drugs performed a total of 24 studies.  But four of the studies were never published in professional journals – and all four of those studies had negative results for the drugs in question.

Three of those unpublished studies showed that the new drugs were no better than sugar pills.

Lead author Erick Turner, M.D., a former drug reviewer for the FDA and now at Oregon Health & Science University and the Portland VA Medical Center, called the results of the analysis “unsettling” and called on the FDA for greater disclosure of drug trial results.

Doctors subjected to aggressive marketing by pharmaceutical companies, but not getting full disclosure of negative clinical trial results, are fueling the skyrocketing use of these expensive antipsychotic drugs, increasingly using them for purposes for which the drugs have not been approved.  A study published last year found that off-label antipsychotic prescriptions doubled between 1995 and 2008, from 4.4 million to 9 million.  Sales of the drugs exceeded $16 billion in 2010, according to IMS Health, a data tracking firm for the health-care industry.

And antipsychotic drugs were not the only psych drugs for which negative clinical trials were squelched.  In 2008, Dr. Turner and his colleagues found an even greater publication bias for antidepressants.  Nearly one of every three clinical trials of antidepressants by drug companies produced troubling results that were never revealed in professional publications.

Without access to this negative information, doctors do not get the complete picture of the dangers and ineffectiveness of the psych drugs they may be prescribing to their patients – and both doctors and their patients need to know this.

 

WARNING: Anyone wishing to discontinue psychiatric drugs is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you know has experienced harmful side effects from a psychiatric drug, we want to talk to you. You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225. All information will be kept in the strictest confidence. We welcome your comments on this article below.