Thursday, July 20, 2006

When researchers announced that 16 million Americans who fly into occasional fits of unwarranted rage may suffer from a mental illness called "intermittent explosive disorder," the diagnosis drew its share of hoots and howls."Your grandmother would say these are bad folks who can't control their temper, and she would be right," said Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, an outspoken schizophrenia expert alarmed by the ever-expanding list of behaviors and attitudes branded as illnesses.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Mental Illness as Brain Disease: A Brief History Lesson
Thomas Szasz
A 1999 White House Conference on Mental Health concluded: "Research in the last decade proves that mental illnesses are diagnosable disorders of the brain." President William Clinton was more specific: "Mental illness can be accurately diagnosed, successfully treated, just as physical illness." Persons who reject the view that mental illnesses are physical diseases are dismissed by today's opinion-makers as intellectual troglodytes, on a par with "flat earthers."
That the claim that "mental illnesses are diagnosable disorders of the brain" is a lie ought to be evident to anyone who thinks for himself. Here I want to show that the claim that "research in the last decade proves [this]" is also a lie, one more in a very long list in the history of psychiatry. The contention that mental illness is brain disease is as old as psychiatry itself: it is an integral part of the grand lie that psychiatry is a branch of medicine and healing, when in fact it is a branch of the law and social control. Hannah Arendt was right when she observed: "There are no limits to the possibilities of nonsense and capricious notions that can be decked out as the last word in science."
The idea that mental illness is a bodily disease dates back to the pre-modern medical conception of disease as a "humoral imbalance," comically prefiguring the modern, supposedly scientific conception of it as "chemical imbalance." In the United States, the idea of mental illness as humoral imbalance was famously espoused by Benjamin Rush (1746–1813), the founding father American psychiatry. Rush did not discover that certain behaviors are diseases; he decreed that they are: "Lying," he declared, "is a corporeal disease." In a letter to his friend, John Adams, he wrote: "The subjects [mental diseases] have hitherto been enveloped in mystery. I have endeavored to bring them down to the level of all other diseases of the human body, and to show that the mind and the body are moved by the same causes and subject to the same laws."
In the nineteenth century, the scientific concept of disease as lesion replaced the Galenic concept of disease as humoral imbalance. Now, physicians postulated that mental diseases are diseases of the brain. From about 1850 until past World War I, German (more precisely, German-speaking) psychiatry ruled the field. The very term psychiatry (Psychiatrie) was a German invention, coined by Johann Christian Reil (1759-1813) in 1808. Reil, not an alienist (psychiatrist), was one of the outstanding medical scientists and physicians of his age. He was a friend and physician of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. In addition to coining the term "psychiatry," he also coined the term "non-injurious torture," to describe the methods of frightening mental patients that he considered effective and legitimate "treatments."
It is important to keep in mind that the German asylum system was created, in 1805, by the autocratic Prussian state: specifically, by Karl August von Hardenberg (1759-1822), a Prussian statesman. Hardenberg declared, "The state must concern itself with all institutions for those with damaged minds, both for the betterment of the unfortunates and the advancement of science. In this important and difficult field of medicine only unrelenting efforts will enable us to carve out advances for the good of suffering mankind. Perfection can be achieved only in such institutions."
Writing in 1917, at the height of World War I, Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926) -- creator of the first system of psychiatric classification, today widely considered the father of modern "scientific" psychiatry -- offered these revealing remarks about Hardenberg's achievement: "The great war in which we are now engaged has compelled us to recognize the fact that science could forge for us a host of effective weapons for use against a hostile world. Should it be otherwise if we are fighting an internal enemy seeking to destroy the very fabric of our existence?"
Kraepelin's remarks make clear that he regarded psychiatry as an arm of the state, similar to the military forces, whose duty is to protect the fatherland from "an internal enemy" that, like a hostile army, seeks to destroy it. The evil genius of psychiatry lay, and continues to lie, in its ability to convince itself, the legal system, and the public that, in matters defined as psychiatric, there is no conflict between the legitimate interests of the individual and the legitimate interests of the political class in charge of the state. Of course, the German psychiatric pioneers had to answer the question, "What is mental illness?" Answer it, they did. Wilhelm Griesinger (1817-1868), considered one of the founders of German psychiatry -- and also of the famed Zurich insane asylum, the Burghölzli -- declared: "Psychological diseases are diseases of the brain. ... Insanity is merely a symptom complex of various anomalous states of the brain."
Theodor Meynert (1833-1892) -- a German-born Viennese neuropsychiatrist and one of Freud's teachers -- began his textbook, Psychiatry (1884), with this statement: "The reader will find no other definition of 'Psychiatry' in this book but the one given on the title page: Clinical Treatise on Diseases of the Forebrain. The historical term for psychiatry, i.e., 'treatment of the soul,' implies more than we can accomplish, and transcends the bounds of accurate scientific investigation."
In a review of Swedish psychiatry in the nineteenth century, historian of science Roger Qvarsell states: "In the 1860s, the debate among psychiatrists about the real nature of mental disease was over ... Almost all medical scientists and medical authorities were at this time convinced that mental diseases were of the same nature as somatic disorders." Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose (The more things change, the more they remain the same).
Infringement of Freedom
What inferences did and do doctors draw from their concepts of mental illness as brain disease? First, as Carl Wernicke (1848-1905), a prominent nineteenth-century German neuropsychiatrist observed, "The medical treatment of [mental] patients began with the infringement of their personal freedom." In addition, it began with "benevolent tortures," such as frightening them by throwing them into a pit of snakes, the origin of the term "snake pit" for insane asylum. More specifically, the humoral imbalance theory led Rush to employ "bleeding, purging, low diet, and the tranquilizing chair. "The tranquilizing chair was a chair-like contraption for confining the patient and rotating him until he became dizzy or lost consciousness. This was supposed to rebalance the circulation in the brain. It was but a small step from the nineteenth-century's tranquilizing chair to the twentieth century's tranquilizing drug, supposed to rebalance the chemical imbalance in the patient's brain.
Psychiatric practice today requires that doctors and patients ignore evidence and be ignorant of history. There was no evidence for a humoral imbalance causing illness, but the doctrine prevailed for two thousand years. There is no evidence for a chemical imbalance causing mental illness, but that does not impair the doctrine's scientific standing or popularity. Neither the American Psychiatric Association nor American presidents remind people of the caveat of the great nineteenth-century English neurologist, John Hughlings Jackson (1835-1911): "Our concern as medical men is with the body. If there be such a thing as disease of the mind, we can do nothing for it."
Published in The Freeman, 56: 24-25 (May), 2006.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


As part of the research for her book, The Crazy Makers, Simontacchi conducted a study on the influence of diet on cognition and mood. She gave a test group of typical high school students -- who had been either skipping breakfast or grabbing a donut or some other carbohydrate-filled nutritionally devoid food -- a breakfast shake of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and omega- 3 fatty acids. She did a before-and-after comparison of their results on a standardized mood test (Profile of Mood States, or POMS), which measures, among other things, tension, anger, depression, hostility, fatigue and confusion. "The results were so good, we had to rerun the statistics to verify the findings," Simontacchi told me. "The drink made a significant difference in how these teenagers felt emotionally." Since low levels of certain amino acids and essential fats have been frequently shown in both animal and human studies to be associated with aggression, hostility and other behavior problems, the results were not surprising to her.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

CCHR International is proud to announce the latest feature on our website – a section for referral to attorneys.
CCHR is contacted regularly by individuals who have been harmed or violated by psychiatry, or whose loved ones have been harmed, damaged or even killed.
These victims often seek attorneys and need attorneys to preserve their rights and to seek compensation for damages caused by psychiatric abuses and pharmaceutical injuries. CCHR therefore endeavors to get victims in contact with attorneys who are potentially interested in helping these individuals protect their rights and receive proper restitution for wrongdoing.
Therefore, CCHR has developed a section of our website where abused individuals can post information about the abuse they have been subjected to, sorted by location and type of abuse. Then attorneys can view these files to see if there is someone they feel they could assist. In addition to the cases posted at the time of the section’s launch, new cases will be added regularly.
Here is an opportunity for your abuse case victims to get legal representation. You can send the abuse case documentation of the abuse to CCHR Int. Also, if you know individuals who would want their abuse information posted, have them fill out the Abuse Case Form on the website. If you know attorneys who want to assist such abused individuals, please have them fill out the Attorney Form on the site. The attorney’s name will then be provided to the potential client who will contact the attorney.
This service is being offered as a public service and there is no charge for it.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Let us work together to erase the stigma of being labeled "mentally ill."

If mental illnesses were true brain diseases, there would be no controversy surrounding this subject. The controversy exists because research continues to contradict the use of medications despite the insistence of psychiatry that their theories are correct. The so called "diseases or illnesses" were voted into existence in the DSM to encourage profits for many organizations & professions on many different levels. We believe that human suffering, though very real, does not indicate a dysfunction of the brain & can be treated & healed with safer, more natural approaches than dangerous, addictive, psychotropic drugs. The human brain is the most complex organ in our bodies. Efforts to understand the brain continue to be used to sell the chemical imbalance theory even though the results of studies are inconclusive & contradictory.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Print this page Child drugs linked to heart attackClara Pirani, Medical reporter27mar06CHILDREN as young as five have suffered strokes, heart attacks, hallucinations and convulsions after taking drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.Documents obtained by The Australian reveal that almost 400 serious adverse reactions have been reported to the Therapeutic Goods Administration, some involving children as young as three.
Cases include the sudden death of a seven-year-old, and a five-year-old who suffered a stroke after taking Ritalin. Children also experienced heart palpitations and shortness of breath after taking Dexamphetamine.
Others taking Ritalin or Dexamphetamine - the two most commonly used ADHD drugs - experienced hair loss, muscle spasms, severe abdominal pain, tremors, insomnia, severe weight loss, depression and paranoia.
Almost 60 of the adverse-reaction reports dating back to 1980, obtained under Freedom of Information laws, involved children under the age of 10.
The TGA has asked pharmaceutical companies to provide updated information about any cardiovascular side effects involving ADHD medication. "The TGA is currently reviewing this new information," a TGA spokeswoman said.
Prescriptions for Ritalin increased tenfold after the drug was listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in August last year, reducing the cost from $49 to $29.50, or $4.70 for concession card holders.
More than 5800 prescriptions were written for Ritalin in January this year, compared with 523 in August last year. Prescriptions for Dexamphetamine jumped from 96,000 a year to 232,000 in the 10 years to 2004-05.
The US Food and Drug Administration is reviewing 90 studies to determine whether ADHD drugs were linked to the deaths of 25 people, including 19 children, between 1999 and 2003.
The drugs were also associated with 54 cases of cardiovascular episodes, including heart attacks, strokes and serious heartbeat disturbances.
Last week, a panel of pediatric experts advising the FDA recommended new information about psychiatric and heart risks be added to the labels of ADHD drugs.
They declined to recommend the "black box" warning - the strongest for prescription drugs - which a different advisory panel endorsed last month.
The FDA will consider both panels' recommendations before making a final labelling decision.
While officials said there was no conclusive evidence that the medications caused psychiatric episodes or heart problems, they noted a "complete absence" of similar reports in children treated with placebos during trials of ADHD drugs.
A spokeswoman for Novartis Australia, which makes Ritalin, said warnings regarding adverse reactions were constantly reviewed. "We welcome the opportunity to work with the TGA to ensure the labelling is as accurate as possible," she said.
Melbourne psychologist Joe Tucci said some ADHD drugs had the potential to cause long-term side effects.
"There is certainly a small group of children who would benefit from ADHD drugs, but it's far fewer than the number of children who are currently being prescribed medication," he said.
Others warned that the number of adverse reactions may be much higher because the TGA excludes reports where the cause of side effects is "unclear". Shelley Wilkins, executive director of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, which lobbies against the use of psychiatric medication on children, said many side effects were not reported.
"There is no mandatory reporting in Australia for adverse side-effects for psychiatric drugs," she said. "This needs to be rectified immediately so we can see the true extent of the damage being done."
Fremantle psychiatrist Lois Achimovich said doctors were prescribing medication too often, particularly in very young children.
"Any child behaviour that looks abnormal is being diagnosed as ADHD and drugs are prescribed. They should not be used in children that young."

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Psych Drugs Used To Manufacture Insanityby repost
Wednesday, Mar. 08, 2006 at 7:25 AM
The latest FDA warnings say SSRI drugs like Paxil can cause anxiety, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness and impulsiveness. Certain behaviors are “known to be associated with these drugs,” including “anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia (severe restlessness),” according to Proven Dangers of Antidepressants by psychiatrist Dr Peter Breggin.
By Evelyn Pringle Many experts say the wide-spread epidemic of mental health problems in the US is man-made. The case of Susan Florence is a testament to this theory of man-made insanity. While mania, psychosis, anxiety, agitation, hostility, depression, and confusion may be signs of mental illness, these same “symptoms” are referred to as side effects on the labels of the most commonly prescribed psychiatric medications used to treat mental illness. Once Susan Florence was placed on medication, whenever she experienced a side effect from one drug, her doctor simply prescribed another until she ended up in a drug-induced frenzy for which it would have been impossible to distinguish which drug, or combination thereof, was causing the adverse reactions. The frenzy got worse and worse until she finally realized that she would have to get off all the prescription drugs if she wanted it to end. Susan was first prescribed the SSRI antidepressant, Paxil for anxiety. She began experiencing side effects from Paxil immediately and two weeks after she began taking the drug her doctor put her on Klonopin. Klonopin is used for treating seizure disorders and panic attacks. The package insert says “less serious side effects” that may be likely to occur include drowsiness or dizziness, poor coordination, nervousness, and depression. It also says, Klonopin may increase the effects of other drugs that cause drowsiness or dizziness, including alcohol, sedatives, other seizure medicines, pain relievers, antidepressants, anxiety medicines, muscle relaxants, antihistamines, and others. So now Susan has Paxil, an antidepressant, and Klonopin an anticonvulsant, all mixed together in her system even though she never had depression or a seizure disorder. In 2001, Dr Stefan Kruszewski, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist working for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, began documenting cases of what he refers to as "insane polypharmacy," the widespread off-label prescribing of drugs for uses not approved by the FDA. He found Neurontin, a drug with FDA approval for controlling seizures, "was being massively prescribed for anxiety, social phobia, PTSD, social anxiety, mood instability, sleep, oppositional defiant behavior, and attention deficit disorder." “There's almost no evidence to support these uses,” Dr Kruszewski says. There was no evidence to support placing Susan on an anti-seizure drug and doing so led to more side effects. "Between the Paxil and especially the Klonopin," she said, "I became more sedate than I wanted to be." Mentioning this side effect, prompted the doctor to add another drug to Susan's regiment. Next, he prescribed Provigil, "as an antidote to psychotropics that had me over-sedated," she explains. "I think it's supposed to be for narcolepsy," Susan added. But here again lies the problem. Susan says she never had narcolepsy. "I was just sluggish-feeling," she says, "I didn't feel sleepy at all.” Provigil was approved to treat narcolepsy. According to the August 4, 2005 Wall Street Journal, Provigil was approved by the FDA in 1998, to treat excessive sleepiness and in 2003, it was approved to for the treatment of "shift-work sleep disorder." The drug was certainly never approved for use in treating adverse reactions caused by the combination of Paxil and Klonopin. As it turns out, when it comes to off-label use, Provigil is a legend. SG Cowen & Co analyst Eric T Schmidt figures more than 50% of the drug's sales are for unapproved uses, according to Business Week Online on November 4, 2004. "Doctors now prescribe it to treat everything from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to fatigue associated with multiple sclerosis and depression." The WSJ says doctors wrote 1.9 million prescriptions for Provigil in 2004, generating $414 million in sales for its maker Cephalon, almost half of the company's total revenues. Susan’s case is a perfect example of the vicious cycle that develops when doctors prescribe drugs for unapproved uses. She was given Provigil to counter the sedating effects of Klonopin, which was prescribed to counter the side effects of Paxil. The adverse reaction that Susan experienced when Provigil was added to the mix was terrifying. "I took one pill and I thought I was coming out of my skin," she says. "It was one of the worst experiences of my life." "I felt as if someone had climbed inside me,” Susan recalls. "I moved more agitatedly, more stuccato in rhythm; I had trouble concentrating; I couldn't find focus," she said, "and I kept forgetting what I was thinking a second earlier." "It was nightmarish, because I didn't feel like me," Susan continued, "I didn't think like me, everything felt off." Twenty minutes after she took the first pill, she called her doctor and told him that she had never felt so depersonalized in her life. "I remember saying that word," Susan recalls. The doctor explained that the sense of "not being me" was called depersonalization. Her experience after taking one pill was so horrible that Susan says, “you'd have had to tie me down, hold my nose and open my mouth with pliers to get another one in me.” But was her reaction really due to the Provigil? Its hard to see how anyone could say yes with absolute certainty. Its important to remember that Susan was given Paxil for anxiety. The latest FDA warnings say SSRI drugs like Paxil can cause anxiety, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness and impulsiveness. Certain behaviors are “known to be associated with these drugs,” including “anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia (severe restlessness),” according to Proven Dangers of Antidepressants by psychiatrist Dr Peter Breggin. "Akathisia makes people profoundly agitated, uncomfortable in their own skin, jittery, impulsive," says Dr Joseph Glenmullen, author of Prozac Blacklash. Akathisia sounds pretty much like what Susan described to me. So was it a reaction to Paxil or Provigil or both? And Susan's story did not end with Provigil. The mad chemist was not through with her yet. After reporting the reaction she experienced after taking Provigil, the doctor told her to quit taking the drug. He then prescribed Tenuate, a diet pill that has since been pulled off the market. Tenuate comes with the warning that it may cause dizziness, blurred vision, or restlessness, and that it may hide the symptoms of extreme tiredness. According to Susan, through it all, she stressed to her doctor that she did not want to take any drug that could be addictive. Well, on, Tenuate is listed as habit forming. In fact, you can become physically and psychologically dependent on this medication, and withdrawal effects may occur if you stop taking it suddenly after several weeks of continuous use, according to the warnings accessed on March 2, 2006. says Tenuate is similar to an amphetamine and stimulates the central nervous system. Instructions for use say before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have an anxiety disorder. Which means Susan went full circle and was back at square one being the whole nightmare began when she was prescribed Paxil for anxiety.

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