Posted tagged ‘Psychiatry’

This One Escaped Limbo

April 16, 2013
DSM Logo

DSM Logo (Photo credit: – jre -)

I have had an interesting series of comments posted at the Gospel Coalition blog article ” Suicide, Mental Illness, Depression, and the Church”,  but most of them  were left hanging in moderation limbo.  Just as the DSM performs as a gatekeeper of information and money for Mental Health Professionals, so the TGC weblog has been a narrow funnel for information to Christians of articles critical of Psychiatry —  which was largely the substance of my censored comments.  I know the moderators’ motives were protective of sensitivities raised by the suicide of Rick Warren’s son, and they were being careful of laying blame. I get it.  I am so sorry about the death of Rick Warren’s son!  I continue to pray for that family. Every parent of a child at risk knows the dread sometimes of opening the door with breath held, terrified of what they will find in their kid’s room. I have known that fear.  But the condescending attitude of some Mental Health Professionals on that site  was also inappropriate . Today’s attempt to respond  to one especially patronizing comment was finally approved. I think I would have had a real tantrum at them if they did not, so I am glad for my children’s sake they finally printed my rant,  again at this site here.

I would like to add that I have no problem with neurogenesis, except if this new paradigm for research prompted even more drug treatments that would prove as useless and harmful as their SSRI’s and atypical antipsychotics. Especially if they make children their guinea pigs, the way the explosion of diagnoses for bi-polar disorder and ADHD,  and off-label prescription writing has done.

I think I am reasonably informed and educated. I learned all about tardive dyskinesia and akathesia watching the side effects of these meds in my own children. They educated me about the incestuous relationship between Big Pharma and Psychiatry. My biggest regret is the emergency holds I placed on my children that forced them on drugs that gave them these crippling grimaces and unbearable restlessness. All the adverse effects that place them at higher risk for suicide. That is why I am so afraid to open doors sometimes, for what horrors I might find inside.

So spare me your patronizing attitude, Mr. Mental Health Professional! I would rather you penned a letter like this one by Dr. Mickey Nardo, who regrets not speaking out more forcefully against Big Pharma’s pernicious influence on his field, and spends his days since his resignation in protest from the APA combing the medical literature for faulty studies, like this gem he discovered about Dr. Robert Gibbons, who in his zeal  to reverse the black box warnings for increased suicidality from SSRI’s  especially among youth who consume them, he redacted data.  Google “Anatomy of a Deciet” at 1 Boring Old Man, … A must read for anyone giving their kid Prozac still. Or Respiridol. Or Zoloft. But especially Paxil, given the NAACP’s refusal to print a retraction concerning the ghostwrtitten- -by-GlaxoSmithKline  Study 329, that falsely claimed Paxil performed better than placebo and hid its adverse effects. Maybe it’s not too late to join one of these class action lawsuits.

Here’s Dr. Nardo’s eloquent letter:

“I think it’s time for the body of Psychiatry to look back on the last thirty years, particularly the last twenty, and acknowledge that there has been a lot of just outright wrong: producing and accepting lousy science; signing on to lousy science produced by others; colluding with the Pharmaceutical Industry in recommendations and prescriptions; corruption involving ghost-writing, guest authoring, conflicts of interest, direct drug promotion, downplaying or ignoring adverse effects. And then there were some really big sins – TMAP comes to mind. It’s a great big collective blemish, maybe more like an open festering wound. And yet I can’t really seem to talk about it without laying the blame elsewhere – PHARMA, Managed Care, KOLs, Neuroscientists, Psychopharmacologists, the Analysts [before I became one], the DSM committees, the APA. And it’s hard to say I’m sorry to patients harmed, without quickly adding, “but I didn’t do that with my patients.”

Even though that last comment is true in so far as I know it, it still doesn’t help with a background discomfort that lingers, transcending any disavowals that pass through my mind.” More here:

How I wish we had Dr. Nardo’s compassionate care for our daughters when they were spinning out of control, instead of the greedy quacks we had, like the one who charged our family that is living on the edge of bankruptcy– because of their failed therapies — $100 for a missed appointment, because of a bus mis-schedule. The last appointment we made with him! We wasted so much on Psychiatry’s mess of potage, all of it was wasted, all  of our meager time and treasure that was invested in it is less than worthless now. And sadly,  we wasted much of our children’s great talents.

A Response to Calls for Mandatory Treatment in the Wake of Newtown

February 2, 2013

There are so many clamoring for forced treatment of the mentally disordered. Last week, Gabby Gifford’s husband testified about her assailant,  that “he was never reported to mental health authorities.”   It is sobering to think of the kind of   “authorities”  who would be appointed for this purpose, when the American Psychiatric Association is itself in such disarray. The New York Times has invited responses to its recent editorial about this issue, and this is my attempt at it:

Dear Sirs:

To mandate psychiatric care in a system so manifestly broken seems a cruel and inhumane treatment for those suffering mental disorders. Those who argue that the system is not in crisis should be ignored, as they are not paying attention, or  they are likely the ones  who broke the system in the first place.  Please listen instead to those with lived experience, who have issued a mandate for care. I someone who has learned the hard way that the system is so, so broken. The symptoms of  Psychiatry’s dysfunction are overwhelming, and space constrains me  to name  only a few.

  • The APA has not even a consensus on proper diagnoses  in its newest diagnostic manual. “The gross incompetence of DSM-5 will likely return us to a Babel of many languages — different people using different methods of diagnoses” says Dr. Allen Frances, its leading critic, and he urges  practitioners to ignore its ten worst changes.   Some urge a boycott.
  • It has no meaningful disciplinary system — the government  recently settled against GlaxoSmithKline for 3 billion for their criminal marketing behavior, but the ghost writing authors of   “Study 329” had no similar correction from the JAACP, and  the Key Opinion Leaders GSK bought  and paid to spread the word that the whole world could be “happy, horny and skinny” with Wellbutrin are still writing prescriptions.
  • Perhaps its worst injury is that  Psychiatry does its greatest harm to those who are most weak and marginalized
    —  to those who are young and those who are minorities.   Dr. Frances in his scathing critique of the DSM-V I linked to above, rightly rebukes  Child Psychiatry for expanding its  diagnostic dragnet with Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder rather than repenting of its “sorry  track record” and calls  the field  to “engage itself now in the crucial task of educating practitioners and the public about the difficulty of accurately diagnosing children and the risks of over- medicating them.” And when persons of color are given a stigmatizing diagnosis like schizophrenia at a higher rate, and given harsher treatments for their mental disorders –it is what  this author calls  Psychiatry’s  “darker side of cultural variance, as not only does it affect the diagnosis, but it can also negatively effect the patient’s treatment.”  There is a reason it is people of color who are largely the ones housed in the nations largest mental health facilities,  that is, our county jails.

I have loved ones who have been treated by the psychiatric system. Twice I have had to place involuntary psychiatric holds, so  I know intimately the anguish of this decision, and the helplessness one feels when it seems little can be done to help a dear one spinning out of control. But I know equally well the futility  of such mandated care — the bureaucratic nightmare Psychiatry’s inapt answers  and broken delivery system forces upon the already suffering extended family.  The crisis is especially acute in the care of adolescents at risk.

When my own loved ones began showing symptoms,  we went through psychiatrist after psychiatrist. I found out again that the system is so, so broken. The meds  prescribed off-label made things so much worse, adding paranoia, weight gain and tardive dyskinesia into the volatile mix of symptoms .  These brave dear ones have defied the system and their psychiatric labels.  They did the research, cheeked their meds and tapered themselves off  psychotropics completely, and in the process they educated me. Their days are not without struggle, but they hold a narrative of hope and recovery now that emboldens them to persevere in the fight for a dignified life. They refuse the psychiatric  establishment’s  story that they have a crippling chemical imbalance in their brains that dooms them  to a lifetime of substandard living.

I wish I had never gone bankrupt with that first 5150 years ago — it  depleted our resources , financially and emotionally. I found out too late that forcing treatment does more harm than good. I wish I had never made use of these kinds of empty answers for those souls in distress so many years ago. I learned too late that I have something greater than Psychiatry’s bad ‘physic’. I have the Great Physician. I have the Gospel, and I have the helping community a healthy church demonstrates, and what the psychiatric system consistently fails to provide.

Until there are better proven outcomes from Psychiatry’s failed methodology, I think I will  do better to stay in my own camp for now. On the edges of accepted society, among the marginalized, is where Jesus did his doctoring, and that place  suits me just fine.