Why Is There An Anti-Psychiatry Movement?

Behaviorism and Mental Health – March 23, 2015
By Philip Hickey, Ph.D.

On February 18, the eminent psychiatrist Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, former President of the APA, published a video and transcript on Medscape. The article was titled, What Does the New York Times Have Against Psychiatry? and was essentially a fatuous diatribe against Tanya Lurhmann, PhD, a Stanford anthropologist, who had written for the New York Times an op-ed article that was mildly critical of psychiatry. The essence of Dr. Lieberman’s rebuttal was that an anthropologist had no business expressing any criticism of psychiatry, and he extended his denunciation to the editors of the NY Times.

“Why would such a report be printed in a widely respected publication such as the New York Times? What other medical specialty would be asked to endure an anthropologist opining on the scientific validity of its diagnoses? None, except psychiatry. Psychiatry has the dubious distinction of being the only medical specialty with an anti-movement. There is an anti-psychiatry movement. You have never heard of an anti-cardiology movement, an anti-dermatology movement, or an anti-orthopedics movement.”

Social AnxietyI have already written a critique of Dr. Lieberman’s paper, but my purpose today is to address the question: why does psychiatry have an anti-movement? In my view, there are ten reasons.

1. Psychiatry’s definition of a mental disorder/mental illness embraces virtually every significant problem of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving, and psychiatry has been using this definition to formally medicalize problems that are not medical in nature for the past several decades.

2. Psychiatry routinely presents these labels as the causes of the specific problems, when in fact they are merely labels with no explanatory significance.

3. Psychiatry has routinely deceived, and continues to deceive, their clients, the public, the media, and government agencies, that these vaguely defined problems are in fact illnesses with known neural pathology.

4. Psychiatry has blatantly promoted drugs as corrective measures for these illnesses, when in fact it is well-known in pharmacological circles that no psychiatric drug corrects any neural pathology. In fact, the opposite is the case.  All psychiatric drugs exert their effect by distorting or suppressing normal functioning.

5.  Psychiatry has conspired with the pharmaceutical industry in the creation of a vast body of fraudulent research, all designed to “prove” the efficacy and safety of pharma products.

lab coat6. A great many psychiatrists have shamelessly accepted pharma money for very questionable activities. These activities include the widespread presentation of infomercials in the guise of CEUs; the ghost-writing of books and papers which were actually written by pharma employees; paid psychiatric “thought leaders” who promote new drugs and diagnoses for pharma; acceptance of fraudulent advertising in peer-reviewed journals; acceptance of pharmaceutical money by the APA; targeting of captive and vulnerable audiences in nursing homes, group homes, and foster-care systems for prescription of psychiatric drugs; etc., etc…
In addition, 70% of the DSM-5 task force members had received funding from the pharmaceutical industry.

7. Psychiatry’s spurious diagnoses are inherently disempowering. To tell a person, who in fact has no biological pathology, that he has an incurable illness for which he must take psychiatric drugs for life is an intrinsically disempowering act which falsely robs people of hope, and encourages them to settle for a life of drug-induced dependency and mediocrity.

8. Psychiatry’s “treatments”, whatever transient feelings of well-being they may induce, are always destructive and damaging in the long-term.

9. Psychiatry’s spurious and self-serving medicalization of every significant problem of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving, effectively undermines human resilience, and fosters a culture of powerlessness, uncertainty, and dependency.  Relabeling as illnesses, problems which previous generations accepted as matters to be addressed and worked on, and harnessing billions of pharma dollars to promote this false message, is morally repugnant.

10. Psychiatry neither recognizes nor accepts any limits on its expansionist agenda. In recent years, they have even stooped to giving neuroleptic drugs to young children, a “treatment”, the long term effects of which, can only be guessed at.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

And that, Dr. Lieberman, is, at least for me, why psychiatry has an anti-movement. Psychiatry as a profession is intellectually and morally bankrupt, and has consistently demonstrated a marked aversion to anything remotely akin to critical self-scrutiny. There is nothing new in what I’ve written above. All of these points have been made over and over, by numerous writers, including, even a small number of psychiatrists. But the psychiatric leadership and the great majority of the rank and file, remain adamantly deaf and blind to these obvious shortcomings. Indeed, psychiatry’s general response to any kind of criticism is to re-assert its core tenets with renewed determination, as if an increase in zeal could somehow compensate for a lack of logic and evidence.

And the reason that there is not an anti-cardiology movement, or an anti-dermatology movement, or an anti-orthopedics movement, is because these, and other legitimate medical specialties, are not guilty of the spurious, destructive, and deceptive practices outlined above.

It’s not us, Dr. Lieberman.  It’s you and your psychiatric colleagues who have created something so rotten and flawed that anti is the only appropriate stance consistent with human decency.

http://www.behaviorismandmentalhealth.com/2015/03/23/why-is-there-an-anti-psychiatry-movement/

Antidepressants Found In Home Of Germanwings Co-pilot Who Deliberately Crashed Plane

German police have reportedly found antidepressants in the home of the co-pilot suspected of deliberately crashing a Germanwings jet into the French Alps, killing himself and the other 149 people on board.

Initial reports said investigators seized a number of “medicines for the treatment of psychological illness” in the apartment of Andreas Lubitz, and found evidence that he had been treated by psychiatrists and neurologists.  The psych drugs have now been identified as antidepressants.

Lubitz suffered a “severe depressive episode” six years ago, the German newspaper Bild reported, and spent 18 months in psychiatric treatment, which almost certainly involved antidepressants at that time.

Another report indicated Lubitz also had been treated for anxiety in 2010 with injections of an antipsychotic drug.  Still other reports suggest other psychological problems and treatment.

Apparently after all the years in the hands of psychiatry, after their diagnoses and their treating him with psych drugs that included antidepressants, Lubitz had not even received enough help to prevent him from committing mass murder and suicide.

What’s more, the antidepressants he was prescribed could well have been a cause or contributing factor in this tragedy.  Antidepressants are known to cause worsening depression, suicidal thoughts and actions, self-harm, anxiety, panic attacks, mania, delusional thinking, hostility, aggression, psychosis, violence, and even homicidal thoughts.  The side effects can occur at any time during use or withdrawal from the drugs.

While the psychotropic (mind-altering) drug policies of Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, are not known, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows the use of antidepressants by pilots, a policy instituted in 2008.  This is despite the fact there have been 134 warnings from regulatory authorities in 11 countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Russia, Australia, New Zealand and Italy, cautioning that antidepressants can cause suicidal thoughts.

Not the first pilot to commit suicide by plane

If antidepressants were involved in Lubitz’s crash, it would be the latest in a growing number of such incidents.

In 2007, the FAA issued a report on the connection between U.S. fatal air crashes and the newer class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.  It found that of the 61 fatal civilian aviation accidents between 1990-2001 in which the pilot was found to have taken this type of antidepressant, the “pilot’s psychological condition and/or SSRI use was reported to be the probable cause or a contributing factor in 31% (19/61) of the accidents.”

Pills (2)Nor would Lubitz be the first troubled commercial airline pilot to crash a plane intentionally while on antidepressants.

A suicide by plane is believed to have occurred in the 2008 crash in Mount Airy, North Carolina, which killed all six people on board.  In 2010, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a report on the probable cause of the crash.  With toxicology tests showing the pilot had the antidepressant Zoloft in his system at the time of the incident, the NTSB reported:  “Officials say the pilot ‘displayed non-professional behavior’ and that a cockpit voice recording documented the pilot singing, ‘Save my life, I’m going down for the last time’” shortly before crashing the plane.

Former girlfriend feared Lubitz’s erratic behavior

Lubitz reportedly had been exhibiting more disturbed behavior than just depression, behavior that would be consistent with some of the serious behavioral side effects of antidepressants.  Lubitz’s personal problems and erratic behavior had become so severe, according to a former girlfriend, a flight attendant, that she ended their relationship out of fear of his increasingly volatile temper.

“During conversations he’d suddenly throw a tantrum and scream at me,” she said.  “I was afraid.  He even once locked me in the bathroom for a long time.”

The woman also described him as erratic and controlling, and said he frequently woke up with nightmares.

Whether or not Germanwings co-pilot Lubitz at the time of the crash was on antidepressants or in withdrawal from them, there is more than enough evidence of the dangerous behavioral side effects of antidepressants to justify a ban on their use by pilots, both in the U.S. and abroad.

This ban would be all the more justified in light of numerous studies that have shown that antidepressants are no more effective in treating depression than placebos (sugar pills).  Recent research even suggests that antidepressants may actually make it harder to recover from depression.

If you or someone you know has been damaged by psychiatry or psychiatric drugs, we would be interested in hearing from you.  Contact the Colorado chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  We welcome your comments on this article below.

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