An Article by Jon Rappoport of NaturalBlaze.com
“Hi folks. Guess what? We have a drug to treat below-average IQ and disruptive behavior in children. The drug causes brain damage, but don’t worry, be happy.”
Readers have noticed I’ve been redoubling my efforts lately to expose medical crimes. This circus of madmen needs exposing.
Medical criminals are leeches on the public body. They will say and do anything to maintain their position of authority.
They will say their fantasies are fact. They will say their toxic drugs are cures. They will say their useless and fake diagnoses are real. They will, when they work for drug companies, claim their latest maybe-could-be-hope-so breakthrough innovation is right around the corner.
As they work on their victims, they will deny they are sucking the life blood out of them. They will say they are helping them.
And they will defend themselves as scientists.
This is my experience working as an INDEPENDENT reporter for 35 years.
This is my experience investigating the center-stage area of the medical system: the long-term treatment of illness that goes on and on, from one diagnosis to another, one toxic drug to another, as people are brought into the circus, as they are guided through the circus for their whole lives.
The whole circus is fake. It’s a delusion. It’s money. It’s profit. It’s control. It’s poisonous. It’s the rigor of the parasite feeding on its victim.
The way to get out of it is to get out of it.
Over the years, I’ve had the ambition and the determination to document these medical matters. I’ve found evidence by the truckload. I’ve approached readers from many different angles with that evidence. I continue to do so.
What keeps me going is my perception of the circus—that it is a presentation of reality, a whole-hog reality, invented from scratch, by fools and liars and pretenders and psychopathic criminals.
What keeps me going is the understanding that the other side is: revolt—which includes people creating their own reality, the reality they truly want.
These are unshakable things.
The leeches know they need us for their sustenance. They are trying to pass laws that will make it mandatory for us to line up and watch them work on us—new laws, more laws. More binding laws.
So freedom is the clarion call. Freedom dispels the delusions and exposes the fakers. Freedom means people choose how to deal with their own bodies and minds. Freedom is the silver bullet to the vampiric lunatics. Freedom is the imperative. And freedom never goes away, even for the most abject slave. It comes to him in his dreams.
Freedom is the essence. You look at it, you take it. You stand with it. You launch from it.
Mainstream medical reporters—the most entrenched ones—are a low breed. They defend the leeches. They rally the public, who, hypnotically and aggressively (knowing nothing) stand for “science.” This is the great joke in the middle of the circus. The great, cruel, enduring joke.
- The drug was approved, by the FDA, for public use in 1993, to treat schizophrenia, a “mental disorder” for which there is no defining diagnostic test. No blood test, no saliva test, no brain scan, no genetic assay.
- In 2006, the FDA approved Risperdal to treat “irritability” in autistic children. There is no defining diagnostic test for autism. The neurological damage involved can come from any cause—especially vaccines. But of course, all public health agencies deny this fact.
- In 2007, the FDA approved Risperdal to treat bipolar disorder in children between the ages of 10 and 17. Bipolar is another “mental disorder” for which there is no defining diagnostic test.
- Risperdal was approved to treat three conditions, which are diagnosed by casually observing a patient’s behavior and comparing it to a menu of behaviors called schizophrenia, bipolar, and autism.
- If the drug had no adverse effects, that would be one thing; but it has devastating effects. Tardive dyskinesia, a permanent “movement disorder” that signals brain damage. Suicide. Gynecomastia—boys grow female breasts.
Before I go on, NOTE: Rapid withdrawing from psychiatric drugs can have disastrous effects. See Dr. Peter Breggin on this subject.
Now let’s get to the lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, Risperdal’s manufacturer:
2012: J&J fined $1.2 billion for hiding adverse effects of the drug. Decision overturned on appeal.
2012: J&J paid out $181 million for actively promoting off-label uses for Risperdal. Doctors are permitted to prescribe a drug for unapproved uses, but drug companies cannot legally promote or urge doctors to wander into that off-label territory.
2015-2016: There are at least 1500 suits against J&J for causing boys to grow female breasts. Thus far, three verdicts have been decided in favor of the boys, for $1.75 million, $2.5 million, and $70 million.
The story of Risperdal expands and explodes when we consider the marketing effort behind it. Basically, the hustle involved claims that the drug could be used to treat a wide array of so-called disorders in children.
I will now quote extensively from a classic article written at “Diagnosisgate: A Major Media Blackout Mystery”:, by Paula J Caplan, PhD. The title of her article (10/30/2015) is
“Until their identities are widely exposed, and their motives are known, the full story of the [Risperdal] harm will never be known. It is astonishing that despite six stories in the major media — including a recent, groundbreaking Huffington Post series — and the filing of numerous lawsuits, the names and conduct of the culprits have consistently been omitted.”
“The story that has been called ‘Diagnosisgate’ starts in 1995, when the man widely considered the world’s most important psychiatrist split a payoff of nearly one million dollars with two colleagues in exchange for doing two patently unethical and illegal things that created the groundwork for a major drug company to market falsely one of the most dangerous psychoactive drugs [Risperdal].”
“Part one: In return for almost half a million dollars, they ignored what was known about the drug [Risperdal] in order to manufacture a practice guideline holding up that drug as the best drug among two whole classes of related drugs for treating people who were classified as ‘schizophrenic,’ the other drugs being marketed by other drug companies. This created what is widely considered the ‘standard of care,’ the treatment that therapists are supposed to follow and that they can use in the knowledge that they are well protected from lawsuits if they follow it and their patients are harmed. The very foundation of the guideline, that it was about ‘Schizophrenia,’ is illegitimate, because – though this will surprise many people – that category has been shown to be unscientifically created and indeed has been called a wastebasket for a wide variety of feelings and behavior, many of which are caused by psychiatric drugs.”
“Part two: After the triumvirate received a bonus of $65,000 for creating the guideline [‘treat schizophrenia with Risperdal’] speedily, their top psychiatrist wrote to the same drug company, announcing that the three had constituted themselves as an entity that was prepared, in return for about another half million dollars, to create a marketing plan for the drug. The details included finding ‘key opinion leaders’ (KOLs), who were prominent professionals in powerful positions – such as heads of state mental health or prison systems – and having them teach the Continuing Education courses that professionals are required to take, the ultimate message of those courses being that that particular drug [Risperdal] was the best one to prescribe. Another section of their marketing plan was to have a great many articles published in what are considered scientific or medical journals, all concluding that that drug was effective and should be prescribed.”
“It is not clear whether the three psychiatrists were directly involved in choosing the content of the journal articles, but the plan to produce such articles was carried out, leading to publication of pieces recommending use of the drug [Risperdal] to treat not only Schizophrenia but also Childhood Onset Schizophrenia, Schizo-affective Disorder, Bipolar Disorder in Children and Adults, Mania, Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder other than Autism, Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Psychosis, Aggression Agitation, Dementia, below average IQ, and disruptive behavior. Thus, a staggering array of psychiatric categories – many of which are as scientifically sketchy as Schizophrenia – was used to promote the drug. This massive marketing campaign proceeded despite the many major negative effects of Risperdal, including drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, dry mouth, increased saliva production, increased appetite, weight gain, stomach pain, anxiety, agitation, restlessness, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, decreased sexual interest or ability, vision problems, muscle or joint pain, dry or discolored skin, difficulty urinating, muscle stiffness, confusion, fast or irregular pulse, sweating, unusual and uncontrollable movements of face or body, faintness, seizures, Parkinsonian symptoms such as slow movements or shuffling walk, rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing or swallowing, gynecomastia in male children, painful erection of penis lasting for hours…and death.”
“Who are the characters in this mystery? Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson, is the drug company, and Risperdal is the drug in question. The marketing term for Risperdal and similar drugs is ‘anti-psychotic,’ but the accurate term is ‘neuroleptic,’ reflecting the mechanism of suppressing the brain’s activity as a powerful tranquilizer. Dr. David Rothman, who wrote the expert witness report for one of the lawsuits about the marketing of Risperdal, revealed after scrupulous examination of vast numbers of internal emails between Janssen staff and the representative of the three psychiatrists, is a specialist in medical ethics and the Bernard Schoenberg Professor of Social Medicine at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, the medical school of Columbia University. He is also director of the Center for the Study of Science and Medicine at Columbia and at the time of writing his expert witness report was president of the Institute on Medicine as a Profession. Rothman stated in his report that the [treatment] guidelines [for Risperdal] were constructed ‘in disregard of professional medical ethics and principles of conflict of interest,’ and that they ‘subverted scientific integrity, appearing to be a purely scientific venture when it was at its core, a marketing venture for Risperdal’.”
“The psychiatrist who spearheaded these [Risperdal marketing] efforts is Dr. Allen Frances, who the year before teaming with Janssen oversaw the publication of the fourth volume of the ‘Bible’ of hundreds of categories of mental illness, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, sales of which topped $100 million as a result of marketing by the lobby group called the American Psychiatric Association, which published it. By virtue of this position, he has been called the world’s most important psychiatrist. At the time, he was also Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Duke University. The two psychiatrists who with Frances shared the nearly $1 million in payments from Janssen are Dr. John P. Docherty, who was then Professor and Vice Chairman of Psychiatry at Cornell University at the time, and Dr. David A. Kahn, who was Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University.”
“Now back to the mystery: Despite five individual stories in major media outlets in 2011, 2012, and 2014 about two huge Risperdal court cases filed by the state of Texas and joined by many other states, neither a single writer of any of these stories nor even the papers filed for the court cases named Frances, Docherty, or Kahn or described the fundamental roles played by their Practice Guideline and their marketing plan in the scandal. The mystery is deepened, because the authors of the media stories and the court documents did name and describe the roles of some of the KOLs [key opinion leaders], who assuredly were guilty of unethical conduct but whose participation was conceived of by Frances and his colleagues. And some of those who reaped huge financial profits from Risperdal’s false marketing – most notably Harvard University’s Dr. Joseph Biederman, who created an empire based on claims that ‘Bipolar Disorder in Children’ had been woefully underdiagnosed and untreated – have been royally outed for the enormous sums they earned. But even respected investigative journalist Steve Brill, who recently completed a unique, 15-part story of the Risperdal scandal for Huffington Post, and who described in detail many of its players and some of the patients who suffered terrible harm from the drug and who elegantly described the way that Janssen covered up data about some of the harm, left out the essential roles the Frances triumvirate played. Activist Vera Sharav of the Alliance for Human Research Protection published an online article about the Rothman Report and included the names of Frances and those two colleagues, her article was apparently picked up by only two or three bloggers and none of the major media reporters who read what she posts.”
Article Source: http://www.naturalblaze.com/2017/05/risperdal-the-long-and-winding-trail-of-crimes.html?utm_source=Natural+Blaze+Subscribers&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=1e07f157f1-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_term=0_b73c66b129-1e07f157f1-388098541
Much like a “narco state” that’s run by narco terrorists, America has now collapsed into a pharma state run by “legal” drug cartels protected by a hopelessly corrupt government.
The evidence is all around you: How the drug cartels control Congress, universities, medical schools, science journals and of course the entire fake news media (previously known as the “mainstream media”).
The pharmaceutical industry has more lobbyists in Washington D.C. than any other industry, including the weapons industry. Similarly, Big Pharma is routinely caught committing felony crimes involving price fixing or bribery “kickback” schemes such as the GlaxoSmithKline criminal bribery network that involved over 40,000 U.S. doctors.
Big Pharma is a massive criminal racketeering enterprise with a devastating cost in human lives, suffering and financial bankruptcy. If the parasitic drug cartels are not stopped, they will destroy America by obliterating its financial solvency, human health and even human freedom.
Already, the drug cartels are pushing for mandatory vaccination laws — a form of medical tyranny and violence — that allow the government to forcibly inject you (essentially at gunpoint) with anything the drug companies demand, no matter how dangerous. This includes, by the way, human fetal tissue, DNA from diseased animals, toxic heavy metals, brain-damaging chemicals and other ingredients confirmed by the CDC as being used in vaccines. (See The Truth About Vaccines documentary series for more details.)
No meaningful medical reform can ever take place under the current pharma regime
As a pharma state, America cannot extricate itself from the corruption and malfeasance of the pharmaceutical industry, which is exactly why no meaningful Obamacare repeal or reform can ever succeed: There’s too much money at stake for the drug cartels that wield monopoly influence in Washington.
Both the FDA and CDC have become “captive” agencies that serve primarily to protect the monopoly interests of the pharmaceutical giants, and even the FTC obeys Big Pharma by seeking out and destroying producers of natural products that might compete with Big Pharma’s high-profit drugs.
In the same way that Colombia existed as a narco state, America is now a pharma state, meaning that pharmaceutical interests now control the government, the media, the universities and even the “science” (which means it isn’t really science at all).
Like a dangerous parasite, this pharmaceutical infestation of nearly every institution in the nation will, of course, bankrupt and destroy America’s financial solvency, leading to a collapse and “reboot.” It is vital that when the reboot comes, Americans reject the drug cartels that destroyed our nation, our health, our financial solvency and even our minds in many cases (with mind-altering chemical medications).
Hear more about how America has plunged into a “pharma state” at my Health Ranger Report podcast.
By Gary G. Kohls, MD, guest to Natural Blaze
I recently had a dialogue with a person who had emailed me about a friend of hers who had been mis-treated for years by drug-prescribing psychiatrists. The psychiatrists – and their alarming and illogical drugging – had made him worse and worse and eventually totally disabled over the years. Because of the high probability that the drugs he had taken over the years – known to be both neurotoxic and addictive – were also brain-damaging and dementia-inducing, we discussed some things that perhaps could be helpful (see the information below).
The obvious major problem, according to the person who contacted me, was the fact that the patient had been continuously over-dosed with irrational cocktails of a multitude of dangerous psychiatric drugs. Since there were a number of lessons that I thought my readers could benefit from learning, I decided to make the letter into a Duty to Warn column.
Below is the essence of my last communication with the friend of the over-drugged patient.
“What a mess your friend’s so-called healers have made of his brain!! They are guilty, guilty, guilty of “first doing harm” rather than first doing NO harm (per the Hippocratic Oath). You tell me that he has been on SSRI antidepressants, psychostimulants, anti-psychotics, tranquilizers and mood stabilizers, which are the five categories of psychotropic drugs. A psychiatrist who has been using such a variety of drugs doesn’t know what he is doing , but what is worse is that he trusts the totally untrustworthy, amoral psychiatric drug companies way too much!
“No human being on earth would have responded any other way than how your friend has responded, what with being prescribed unknown combinations of brain-altering, brain-damaging synthetic drugs. Note that Big Pharma never does research involving more than one drug at a time even in the rat labs! What must come out of such corporate pseudo-research is bad science and therefore bad medicine!
“Below is the partial list of medications that you mentioned in your letter that your friend had taken at one time or another, usually, of course, in a cocktail of other drugs, any combination of which – as I mentioned above – has never been tested in either pre-clinical (animal lab) or clinical (human) trials for either safety or efficacy, either short-term or long-term.
“Zoloft, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Xanax, Concerta (36mg), Lamictal (as high as 900 mg), Lithium (only about a week as his psoriasis acted up), Depakote, modafinil, Ambien, Abilify, Zyprexa, Valium.”
1) Pfizer’s Zoloft, GlaxoSmithKline’s Wellbutrin and Pfizer’s Effexor are powerful and addictive so-called “antidepressant” drugs (which should more accurately have been called “agitation-inducing” drugs (but that wouldn’t have been good for Big Pharma’s business model). Most of them have been classed by the pharmaceutical industry as “selective serotonin reuptake pump inhibitors (SSRIs) – a very deceptive term because they are NOT selective to serotonin and they mess around with more organelles in the synapses of the brain than the reuptake pumps).
(Other examples of such drugs include Forest Lab’s Celexa, Lilly’s Cymbalta,Forest’s Lexapro, GlaxoSmithKline’s Paxil, Pfizer’s Pristiq, Lilly’s Prozac, Jazz’s Luvox, Merck’s Remeron, Lilly’s Symbyax, Bayer’s Yaz, and Lilly’s Sarafem.)
2) McNeil’s Concerta is a psychostimulant drug identical to Novartis’s Ritalin. They are in the class of drugs (FDA-approved for so-called ADHD or somnolence, including – irrationally – sleepiness caused by sleep deprivation!). These drugs are powerful and highly addictive dopamine and/or nor-epinephrine reuptake pump inhibitors that temporarily boost the level of those two transmitters in the synapse but at the same time dysregulate dopamine receptors as well as dopamine reuptake pumps.
(Other examples of such drugs include Shire’s Adderall, Shire’s Daytrana, Novartis’s Focalin, Shire’s Intuniv, UCB’s Metadate, Mallinckrodt’s Methylin, Cephalon’s Nuvigil, Lilly’s Strattera, Shire’s Vyvanse, Cephalon’s Provigil (modafinil), caffeine, nicotine, dexedrine, “uppers”, etc, that commonly cause mania, psychosis and sleep deprivation in addition to many other dangerous symptoms that can make ignorant or too-busy physicians think that the patient is mentally ill; rather than psychiatric drug-intoxicated.)
3) Eli Lilly’s Zyprexa, Janssen’s Abilify and Glaxo’s Lamictal, all so-called “anti-psychotic” drugs (which should more accurately have been called heavily-sedating major tranquilizers, which are seriously brain-altering drugs). These drugs are dopamine, norepinephrine and often serotonin blocking drugs that make victims feel dead inside. These drugs are also brain-damaging and highly dependency-inducing drugs that are difficult to stop taking, partly because one of the serious withdrawal symptoms is psychosis. Patients who have been given such drugs for off-label reasons such as for sleeping (never having been psychotic before taking the drug) have been known to have hallucinations and acute psychotic attacks during the withdrawal period!
(Other examples of such drugs include the now-generic Haldol, Prolixin, Mellaril, fluphenazine, perphenazine, prochlorperazine, thioridazine, GlaxoSmithKline’s Thorazine, Lilly’s Zyprexa, Astra-Zeneca’s Seroquel, Janssen’s Risperdal, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Abilify, Pfizer’s Geodon, Novartis’s Clozaril, Novartis’s Fanapt, Janssen’s Invega and Merck’s Saphris).
4) Roche’s Valium, Pfizer’s Xanax and Sanofi Aventis’s Ambien are benzodiazepine-type drugs, which are powerful and highly addicting. They are the so-called “minor” tranquilizers and sleeping pills.
(Other examples include Valeant’s Librium, Valeant’s Dalmane, Biovail’s Ativan, Lundbeck’s Tranxene, Pfizer’s Halcion, Roche’s Klonopin, Sepacor’s Lunesta, Mallinckrodt’s Restoril, Takeda’s Rozerem and King’s Sonata, any of which can cause somnolence, depression, lowered IQ and long-term brain damage and, when the dose is cut down, can cause serious withdrawal symptoms, including serious insomnia, agitation, psychosis and mania.)
5) Abbott’s Depakote and the generic lithium are so-called “mood stabilizer” drugs. Depakote could have caused your friend’s liver failure. Most “mood stabilizers” (except for lithium) are drugs that were designed and marketed as anti-epilepsy drugs, for which they were approved by the FDA. However, they have been heavily marketed (often illegally) as “mood stabilizers” or drugs that might help pain perception or anxiety but they have also been found, upon withdrawal, to cause agitation, insomnia and even grand mal seizures, even if the patient had never had a seizure before. (Other examples include Pfizer’s Neurontin, Pfizer’s Dilantin, Ortho-McNeil’s Topamax, Pfizer’s Lyrica and UCB’s Keppra).
6) Of course your friend was probably also using the over-the-counter (OTC) psychoactive substances caffeine and nicotine. The heavy use of such addictive “food substances” such as coffee, caffeinated soda pop, NutraSweet-laden “diet” pop and tobacco by patients on “anti-psychotics” is legendary.
“Those unfortunates that have been labeled with a psychosis and then forced to take “anti-psychotics” are almost always addicted to these OTC psychostimulants as well. Drugs that block dopamine and nor-epinephrine will make patients feel so numb and dead inside that they will do anything to overcome the dopamine and nor-epinephrine under-stimulation. And so, not only will they be dependent on the toxic prescription drug, they will also be addicted to the toxic stimulant substance. De-ciphering what drug is doing what is very difficult and time-consuming to figure out, and so most ignorant and too-busy doctors never try. They just keep prescribing the drugs and keep their fingers crossed, hoping that they will never have to face the inevitable withdrawal syndromes.
“Of course when the inevitable happens and such unlucky patients can’t afford the prescriptions anymore, can’t afford health insurance premiums, can’t afford the deductible fees, can’t afford the co-pays, loses health care for any other reason or somehow just quits or cuts down on the drugs (because they know they are being sickened by them), the patient will probably wind up in a mental hospital where another new mental illness label will be falsely applied and a new cocktail of brain-damaging and addictive drugs will be forced upon the patient again.
“Most physicians (and all physician assistants) do not understand the exact mechanism of action of the above drugs nor do they know how to help get their patients off the drugs when they start to understand the adverse effects that occur with ALL of these medications.
“It is important to remind ourselves that none of these psychiatric drugs were ever tested in the animal labs in any combination of two or more drugs, which is also true for the human trials!
“And there are hardly any long-term trials done either (most animal lab experiments last fewer than a week in length and most human anti-depressant trials lasted – on average – 6 weeks in duration, even though most humans are told to take them the rest of their lives!)
“Also none of these drugs were ever tested in sequential trials (one drug following another) for safety or efficacy!
“So your friend has been experimented upon by a system that knows next to nothing about what happens at the synapse level of the human brain, especially long-term. His psychiatrists have been cavalierly drugging him – on a trial and error basis, no less – with a multitude of dangerous and addictive chemical substances and combinations of substances that never came anywhere close to curing him.
“Indeed, these neurotoxic substances have instead made him worse with every cumulative dose. As we discussed, I believe that there is a good chance that his initial diagnoses were likely to have been in error.
“In other words, he might have only been experiencing a temporary, albeit perhaps overwhelming, emotional issue that could have been cured with non-pharmaceutical means such as good psychotherapy. But instead, he was probably quickly mis-diagnosed (because, unfortunately, he saw psychiatrists who have immense power and authority over their patients) with a “permanent”, “life-long”, “incurable”, “probably inherited” “mental illness” that would make him a permanent patient of the psychiatric and pharmaceutical industries, who would be the ones to profit by prescribing and supplying the “necessary” drugs (that would be endlessly dealt out to him on a trial and error basis).
“Of course, if that scenario of erroneous diagnosis is true, your friend has been also been mis-treated. To de-cipher the situation in retrospect would require a series of thorough history-taking clinic visits and a slow tapering off of the brain-damaging drugs (along with close attention to his mal-nourished and drug-sickened brain and body plus good psychotherapy for whatever was the original emotional issue – as well as for the current psychological trauma from the mis-treatment he has received).
“I’m sorry to be so pessimistic, but honesty is the best policy. Your friend’s brain may be so messed up that he will never totally recover. His brain has already suffered enough damage to make him totally brain-disabled. But the fact that he had a good career prior to swallowing all those drugs, perhaps his prognosis is better than I fear. If he and his loved ones can educate themselves adequately, that will improve his chances. Please be aware that he might only be able to lower his medications to a minimum level to avoid serious withdrawal symptoms, or at least be willing to take many months or years to do the tapering.
“Also, because he has been on such a large number of drugs, he is at high risk of developing a psychiatric drug-induced dementia (an iatrogenic disease [doctor-caused] that his “doctors” will surely try hard to dismiss and mis-diagnose as Alzheimer’s Disease [of unknown origin] rather than implicate themselves as responsible for the dementia).
“I have had extensive experience with hundreds of similarly mal-treated “psychiatric” patients during my career, and I have been repeatedly angered over the injustices that had been done to them by well-meaning but poorly-informed physicians or physician assistants. A really good, committed lawyer that has no ties to Big Pharma or Big Medicine could have sued any of those mal-practicing doctors and drug companies – if there was any justice in this world and if the Big Pharma defense lawyers weren’t so well-paid and so cunning at making sure that justice is never done applied to the drug company’s victims.
“First of all very few lawyers want to go up against the raft of Big Pharma lawyers that every corporation has on retainer, and very few independent lawyers are eager to go up against the doctors in their own communities because it would be bad for their lawyer business.
“So what to do? It is important, first of all, to find a sympathetic, understanding, knowledgeable physician who is able and willing to write prescriptions for smaller and smaller doses of the offending drugs and will help in the slow tapering process.
“One caveat: the mechanics and neuroscience of tapering off psych drugs is NOT taught in medical schools, because Big Pharma has acquired too much influence on the medical education of our med students and the post-graduation education of licensed physicians. Big Pharma has also been very successful in indoctrinating (and in many cases bribe) academic researchers, authors of medical textbooks, medical school professors, politicians (especially the liberal ones) and the thousands of health journalists into believing the totally false notion of psych drug efficacy and safety, so that now the public also believes the dangerous myth (with lots of help from TV commercials).
“Therefore it is the rare physician who has the knowledge that there is such a thing as psychiatric drug-induced brain damage or psychiatric drug-induced dementia. And it also the rare physician that will have the inclination or the time to do what needs to be done.
“I would suggest that your friend’s caretakers to go to http://www.cchrint.org and view some of the videos there. Also, I would suggest reading some of the many of columns on the topic of mental ill health that I have written over the years. Many of them are archived at Duty to Warn and at Transcend.org.
“Good luck. Don’t give up. There is much justice-seeking to do. What you can learn will help increase the awareness of your friend’s tragic story. Perhaps future victimization from the psychiatric and psychopharmaceutical industries can be halted, so that others won’t have to go through the same things your friend has had to go through.
“Try to find some other folks with similar concerns that might want to get together with you to share information and learn more about you can do together, but don’t trust the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI is a Big Pharma front group whose entire existence has been funded by the drug company’s hundreds of millions of dollars and never mentions the immense dangers of their drugs, nor the fact that those chemicals can cause dementia or addictions).
“Do trust, however, what you read on the website of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (www.cchrint.org).”
Dr Kohls is a retired physician from Duluth, MN, USA. He writes a weekly column for the Duluth Reader, the area’s alternative newsweekly magazine. His columns deal with the dangers of American fascism, corporatism, militarism, racism, malnutrition, Big Pharma’s psychiatric drugging and over-vaccination regimens, and other movements that threaten the environment, health, democracy, civility and longevity of the populace. Many of his columns are archived HERE, HERE or HERE
DISCLAIMER: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Article Source: http://www.naturalblaze.com/2017/04/letter-victims-americas-psychiatric-psychopharmaceutical-industries.html?utm_source=Natural+Blaze+Subscribers&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=f6a54c1ec9-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_term=0_b73c66b129-f6a54c1ec9-388098541
As I looked down at my prepared questions, thinking they were juvenile or topical or pathetic, to ask Dr. Marc Lewis about his new book, The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction is Not a Disease, he stopped me and said, “Before we get started, do you mind if I ask what kind of drugs you did?” Without missing a beat I said, “It began with pharmaceutical opiates.” He paused for a moment and smiled, “Those are some pretty attractive drugs.”
I knew at that moment I was speaking with a neuroscientist who not only understood the brain’s matter—its molecules, membranes, blood, and electricity—but it was clear to me that he also understood the person in which the brain is embodied. Where most neuroscientists dismiss one’s inner-life as fuzzy and immeasurable, Lewis does not. He’s totally interested and fascinated by the lived experience of drug users.
Which is why I found myself enjoying both him and our talk, especially after my nerves quieted and the 8am coffee began to wake me up—or caused my pituitary gland to secrete hormones that in turn caused my adrenal glands to produce a bit more adrenaline, thus honing my attention. See, I can sound neuroscience-y, too.
Though Lewis is busy teaching in the Netherlands, the two of us found time to connect and below we discuss his brilliantly penned Oliver Sacks-like case studies, his argument against the disease theory of addiction, and the importance of goals and time, of humans and their stories.
You write that classifying addiction as a chronic, relapsing brain disease can be harmful. But many argue this takes stigma off the user, whereas the “addiction is a choice” camp may put unnecessary blame on the user. So why is the disease diagnosis also harmful?
There is the assumption, which Dr. Nora Volkow continues to pound in, that we need to label addiction as a disease in order to remove the shame and guilt and self-remorse from it. I don’t think that is necessarily true. We can deal with remorse and shame in other ways. I also think a little bit of shame can be excellent motivation, and getting rid of it entirely is not necessarily a good idea at all.
The disease label often leads to a sense of fatalism: “I’ve got a disease, what can I do? I need to go get help and if I can’t get better it’s because I have a disease…not because of something I’m doing wrong.”
A lot of people who are in the addiction field feel that empowerment, a certain amount of self-discipline, and taking oneself in hand are extremely valuable measures and perhaps the only way to get through it.
I also think that the “disease vs. choice” argument creates a false dichotomy. Choice is not independent of the brain, naturally, so a neuroscience view does not support one or the other. And choice is far from logical in most human affairs. Addiction may not be a disease or a free choice.
You list a number of compulsions, such as overeating, where there are some remarkable similarities to chemical addiction—but you say no one would ever consider those things diseases. Why is it then, that addiction to drugs is given the special title of a brain disease?
I think that the DSM-V, the latest rendition, no longer uses the term “addiction” for drugs. They have “substance use disorders” instead. OK, well fine, but we all know what they mean by this. Maybe gambling is the only thing still labeled “an addiction.” So there are also eating disorders and they all have compulsive tendencies, and the point at which we call something a disease, where we draw this line in the sand, is pretty arbitrary. It depends a whole lot on societal values and morals, rather than on any kind of logical scientific or other rational criteria.
If drugs are really offensive, if getting high or getting stoned is really offensive to the society, we’re going to call it a disease. For eating, everybody eats and a lot of us are fat, so they’re not going to call that a disease.
Why do you not like the term “recovery”?
It’s derived from medical parlance, right? You have a disease and you need to recover from it, which means going back to the previous equilibrium that your body is at peace in, or stable in. I want to be careful about this, though. I don’t think the term “recovery” is all that helpful in a scientific discourse. But a lot of people use the term and we know what they mean and they talk about being “in recovery.” I don’t want to in any way criticize or denigrate the use of the term for people who are getting value out of it.
Along those lines of returning to “equilibrium,” you cite a 2013 study where cocaine users who were abstinent for 35 to 60 weeks had a regrowth of reduced grey matter volume which continued to develop and grow beyond what is baseline for even non-drug users, meaning, it didn’t just return to “normal” but went past it. I think that’s interesting, because if I think about myself before, during, and post-opiate usage, I’m totally different. I bet my grey matter is, too. So in a sense, aren’t we just always changing?
Glad you brought that up. It’s a huge factor. You certainly just nailed it and a lot of people feel that way. I communicate with hundreds and hundreds of addicts from my blog and once they have “recovered” they are not the same person—they’re just not. And they’re often very pleased with that.
I’m always thinking about time and my relation to it. When I look back to when I was using I remember the future was an abstraction I couldn’t really grasp or touch, let alone imagine. Now, with some years off opiates, I can cast off a “future Zach” and work toward goals that allow me to meet up with that possibility of me. How important is one’s temporality in addiction?
That’s really where I come to at the end of the book. The main vortex that sucks us into addiction is this being trapped in the now and the present, which I call “now appeal,” which psychologists call “delay discounting.”
So you’re trapped in this now that just won’t go away because tomorrow is just another now: Where am I going to use? Where am I going to get the money to use? Or where am I going to get the drugs? You cannot extend forward in time, you can’t think about next week—it’s too hard, too far away. You lose the capacity—actually lose it—to think forward in time. And I think that corresponds to the brain changes that are taking place, particularly the functional disconnection between the striatum and the prefrontal cortex.
There is a lot of evidence that this happens in addiction, but it also happens in studies of delay discounting and ego fatigue. So it’s not just addiction that’s “destroying” the brain, rather it’s a way of interacting with one’s world in the present that corresponds with changes in brain function.
If you lose the capacity to think forward then you’re really trapped because you lose the capacity to take care of yourself. To think of yourself in this kind of caring way, to put your arm around your shoulder and say, “It’s going to be okay, we’ll get to next week and things will be better.” You can’t do that anymore. You forget how. It’s a terrible state to be in.
Most of the former drug users you interviewed for the book all seemed to have gone on their own path of cleaning up outside of AA. Do you think 12-step culture propagates a lot of the disease ideas?
There has been this kind of concatenation between the core precepts of AA and the disease model. I think this really took root in the ’50s and ’60s, with Hazelden and all of that. Then there was a gradual medicalization with doctors and medical associations coming on board saying this is a disease and that crossed over into AA parlance. But Bill W. didn’t talk about it that way. He used the word “allergy” and he didn’t really think it was a disease, at least in the way people in the ’90s thought it was a disease, with the whole brain disease thing.
Plenty who either write for or comment on The Fix see AA as a real nuisance.
I don’t want to bash AA the way some people do. I don’t think there is an evil intention there. I think it does help some. We all know the success rates are not very stellar. None of the five people I interviewed in my book really got better through AA, although some of them used AA en route.
When I did my first drafts of the book, I had an editor who really knew a lot more about AA than I did. She got me thinking about it. She argued that you couldn’t necessarily assume that these ideas came out of AA. They partly were infused into AA by larger systems, like the courts: you have behaved badly, you have a disease, therefore you must go to this program. This program happens to use 12-step methods. So now you have to go to meetings. The whole disease stuff and AA then gets blended and mulched together and that’s just the way concepts evolve. It’s not really AA that’s fucking things up, per se.
So where exactly do you depart from the disease theory people and where do they depart from you? You’re all scientists looking at the same brain imaging studies, yet you come to massively different interpretations. How does that happen?
It’s a tough one. Kent Berridge (a neuroscientist) is a guy I really respect and like very much. He and I were together at this meeting with the Dalai Lama about a year and a half ago on addiction and craving. Nora Volkow of NIDA was also there. I sat with Berridge in a restaurant in Kolkata for hours and we debated this stuff and I kept asking, “How could you think about this stuff as a disease?”
He still thinks of it as pathology. I buy his theory, I buy his perspective, but we frame it in a different way. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because he studies rats and I don’t [laughs]. Rats don’t tell stories and we humans, well, we live stories. It’s a less static or more dynamic way of looking at a phenomenon.
Obviously a lot less control in humans than rats.
Yeah, that’s right. I think one of the key insights comes from Trevor Robbins, who is probably the world expert on compulsive behavior in the brain. In my book, I quote him saying, “There is nothing aberrant or unusual about devolving behavioral control to a dorsal striatal S-R habit mechanism.” Sorry, it’s quite a mouthful. What he is saying, I think, is that the shift into compulsive behavior is not abnormal, and we do this all the time. When we eat, we shove stuff in our mouth in a kind of compulsive way. Think about how you eat a pizza, right? There are so many ways in which well-learned responses become partially compulsive.
And to me, that was the pivot point, in which you can say, “Yes! Behaviors can become compulsive and hard to control but that doesn’t make it a disease.” Rather, it makes it a kind of automatic response tendency that’s been over-learned. I don’t think Berridge would see it that way. He does things with his rats and, just, I don’t know [laughs], doesn’t quite see it the same way.
The participants in many of your case studies were able to think backward into their childhoods, while they were developing, to some kind of thing that colored their disposition or coping. Do you think that is always the case with drug users? Something specific or non-specific happened in the past that shaped their compulsive behavior in the present?
I think it is common but I don’t think it is always necessary. I’ve talked to people who were in drug-taking environments for long enough and they eventually just got into it. Looking at their past, I couldn’t see anything particularly amiss. So I don’t go as far as Gabor Maté, who argues a sort of extreme version of that idea. I just don’t think it’s quite that simple, but those kinds of events come up again and again when you talk to addicts. It’s a lot more than chance, like 60, 70, maybe 80%. It’s a lot.
So what are the implications of your ideas for the future? Where do we go from here?
Where I try to go to at the end of the book is to look to approaches to treatment and quitting, not necessarily treatment because you don’t need treatment to quit, you can do it yourself or with a friend or family member…or lots of ways.
But I think you often do need to revisit the past partly so you can forgive yourself, and see the trajectory as it has progressed through your life. I’m here not because I’m an asshole, I’m here for a reason. And I can see how it happened: how I became needy, how I became insecure and anxious and depressed. I can see how that led to wanting this kind of peace, fulfillment, relief, and that kind of self-forgiveness is tremendously important.
I see that as a bridge to the future we were talking about. That terrible sort of schism in time that’s created by now appeal can be overcome by connecting your past to your future, in a sort of continuity, where you can see yourself in time—as you and I are talking about, I know you know what I mean—seeing your life as a story.
This is not exactly a new treatment protocol, but these are ideas I hope can be useful to help explore new and more effective approaches to treatment.
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Psychiatry’s Darkest Aspects In The Big PharMonopoly
A question: Why has there been such a dramatic rise in mental disease and invariably increased prescribed psychiatric drug use in recent years? Could it simply be because more people are getting mentally disabled? Or could it be due to a number of other dark and sinister aspects at work related to psychiatry’s connection to Big Pharma’s profit machine?
In light of this here are some of psychiatry’s darkest aspects in the Big PharMonopoly
The baseless chemical imbalance theory
Big Pharma has made trillions in psychiatric drug sales on the chemical imbalance theory. This widely accepted principle is based on the idea that mental diseases are caused by an imbalance of chemical neurotransmitters in the brain. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this theory. For example, there is no evidence proving that the accepted cause of depression is an imbalance of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Although rigorously promoted by Big Pharma, psychiatrists, sales and marketing reps… the portfolio-expanding, money-spinning pharmaceutical drug treatment model of mental disease is therefore based on fiction: With the baseless chemical imbalance theory, the tragedy is that patients have not been cured. As they continue to suffer, what about the dangerous side effects of these drugs?
On the encouraging side, research suggests that chemical changes rather than imbalances are the causes of mental disease.
If ever there’s a case of psychiatry and Big Pharma rearing its ugly head it’s in the way of disease mongering through inventing fictitious mental diseases. ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is said to be a classic example. Just before he died, Leon Eisenberg, the originator of ADHD, confessed that it was a fictitious disease.
Another ‘trick’ used by corrupt psychiatry and Big Pharma is to change the name of a drug and use it to treat another mental disorder in the hope of getting a better sales return. This has worked for a number of drugs. For example, Abilify was originally meant to be the wonder drug for treating schizophrenia, but failed to make the mark on anticipated sales. So Abilify was then used to treat severe depression in conjunction with other drugs and sales skyrocketed, in spite of comments from health professionals saying the drug doesn’t work, and that there’s no evidence for its efficacy!
You may be wondering how the psychiatric industry and Big Pharma got away with it. Simple, the FDA approval body gave the thumbs up to this drug on the basis that its effects were unknown: The board members had been rigged with psychiatrists having financial ties to the pharmaceutical company selling the drug. This process, with its CONflict of interest and corruption, has been repeated many times over the years to influence the FDA’s approval of other drugs.
Further, from R & D, approval bodies, drug manufacture, sales and marketing, to treatment … corruption occurs at all levels in psychiatry.
The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Model)
The DSM is a catalogue used to identify and treat mental diseases. Since its origination in the 1930’s the DSM’s number of identified mental diseases has gone up from 30-odd to currently over 370. Based on patients’ symptoms mental diseases have been added to the catalogue over the years by votes from various boards of psychiatrists having no convincing objective scientific evidence to support their claims.
No wonder it has been said that psychiatry and Big Pharma’s pill-for-every-ill mentality has created a number of fictitious diseases solely for increased drug sales…
Enforced psychiatric treatment and the 6 year old boy locked up in a psychiatric hospital for ‘throwing a temper tantrum’
Corruption occurs in psychiatry through using false pretenses to enforce psychiatric treatment. Thus, in some circumstances, people may be putting themselves in a vulnerable position when placing their full trust in the psychiatrist. For instance, some parents have trusted psychiatrists to know what’s best for their child’s health, only to result in dire straits for the child, as in the recent case of a 6 year old boy who got locked up in a psychiatric hospital for ‘throwing a temper tantrum.’
Staff and administrators lacking empathy
Psychiatry’s darkest aspects in the Big PharMonopoly include a number of staff and administrators lacking in empathy towards the care and treatment of psychiatric patients. Once again, that hoary old chestnut ‘it’s in the money’ may well be at influence here, tied to corporate and political agendas…
Such is the said corruption related to the hospital where the 6yo boy was committed. This psychiatric hospital and a chain of others under the ownership of Universal Health Services, in the Unites States, are under criminal investigation for medical fraud. The upshot of this alleged fraud is that the hospitals with their staff and administrators have used whatever methods they can to hold patients. Thus, beds are filled for collecting the patients’ insurance payments until they run out.
Whatever the result of this investigation it clearly shows how parental rights are under fire. Parents have to stand up to this or the circumstances will not change and may even get worse. If you are a parent concerned for your child and want to get involved, then have a look at this.
As with other branches of medicine, psychiatry is heavily sponsored and controlled by the Big Pharma medical/pharmaceutical establishment; from academic training, R & D, approval bodies, marketing, sales, to diagnoses and treatment… taking the blinkered approach that they ‘know what’s best.’
Alternative, natural health approaches with its advocates are looked upon as ‘enemies,’ as they threaten to undercut the state-sponsored medical / pharmaceutical drug cartel’s businesses. Hence, regardless of its efficacy, there is a war on natural health.
Making it extremely difficult for competitors
On similar lines to the above, through its ability to meet high costs for R & D, sales and marketing, then there’s the obligatory systems, procedures and protocols, the medical/pharmaceutical establishment have monopolized the health industry by making it extremely difficult for their competitors to compete with.
Discernment is the key if you or your loved ones are in need of treatment. Having been indoctrinated and tied into the money spinning medical/pharmaceutical establishment the doctor may not recommend what’s best. Maybe an alternative natural health based approach is needed instead. Do your research, and then consult with health professionals before deciding what to do…
Then there’s the case of standing up for the right to health freedom and not have to be subjected to any enforced healthcare.
The bottom line is that nobody should be able to tell you what to do with your body (or your child’s).
This insightful video nicely summarizes how the Big PharMonopoly came about and helps to put things into perspective:
by Dr. Jennifer Leigh, Psy.D.
Benzo Awareness Is Coming Of Age
Alexander Zaitchik shoved the dangers of benzodiazepine into the spotlight with his edgy article “Is It Bedtime For Benzos?” re-published by the Huffington Post, June 25, 2015. I’m over the moon that benzo awareness is coming of age. But the whole benzo story needs to be told, not just the bullet points and interviews from doctors who have absolutely no idea what surviving benzo withdrawal feels like every second of every day.
Trying to learn about benzodiazepine addiction and withdrawal from a doctor’s perspective is like asking a German soldier what the concentration camps were like for the Jews who had the misfortune of ending up in one. We need to hear from the benzo victims themselves. They know the truth. Let’s take a look at the benzo problem from their perspective.
The “Benzos Are Like Cocaine” Argument
Zaitchik’s article rests on the argument that benzodiazepines are addictive in the traditional sense of the word. Citing a study done by Dr. Christian Luscher and colleagues at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and published in 2012, he posits that benzo users crave the dopamine surge that benzodiazepines, like other addictive drugsm cause. Luscher also claims, “Now that we know that it’s the alpha-1-containing GABAA receptor that is responsible for benzodiazepine addiction, we can design benzodiazepines that do not touch those particular receptors.”
He’s moved into fiction here, because he doesn’t know this to be true (for many reasons, and he’s clearly stumping for more drug manufacturing. Let’s not forget that Switzerland is the home of the Valium manufacturer Roche). Luscher doesn’t touch on the problem of what causes the debilitating symptoms that arrive upon tolerance to the drug, dose reduction or cessation. That’s the real story of the dangers of benzos.
The Real Dangers Of Benzos
Talk to most benzo users who take the drug as prescribed by their doctor and you’ll hear a much different story than chasing a surge of dopamine. They are trying to stave off what feels like (and could actually be) death and insanity.
Benzo users don’t crave the drug the way one would crave, say, cocaine. They are addicted because the drug causes changes in the GABA receptors (and who knows what else) that cause he following when you reduce the dose:
- extreme anxiety
- paranoia depersonalization
If those nightmare symptoms aren’t enough to make you think twice about getting on a benzo then think on this: Going through withdrawal from benzos can cause pain throughout the body: bones, joints, muscles and nerve endings scream in protest. Still not convinced that benzos are the devils doing? On top of the emotional and physical anguish, benzos cause debilitating problems with:
- taste smelling
- memory, and cognition
- Wait. There’s more. The bladder, bowel, heart, stomach, esophagus, uterus, and other organs, and systems can be prey to benzos havoc. Oh, and not to mention auditory, olfactory and visual hallucinations.
Reduce the dose or remove the drug to provoke detox from benzos, and you enter a Faustian world where you will do anything to feel normal. But normal is a long ways away, and there is nothing no pill or potion – that can reverse the damage the drug has caused. The only cure is time. A lot of time. Sometimes years. Benzo withdrawal makes craving heroin look like child’s play. Seriously.
Let’s Get The Timeline Straight, And Other Truths
TRUTH #1. Benzo withdrawal can take years.
Recovering from the damage that benzodiazepines cause takes longer than the few months cited by Zaitchik’s source, Rev. Jack Abel, a rehab therapist who runs the sleep program for Caron Clinics. Recovery from benzo use can take years. Many, many years.
TRUTH #2. Benzos damage the brain BEFORE withdrawal even begins.
Zaitchik shares integrative medicine physician, Dr. Peter Madill’s, sentiment that if one removes the drug too quickly the brain, “thinks it is being injured ” I’ll go out on a limb and say that the benzo damaged the brain long before the drug was reduced or removed.
TRUTH #3. Stop prescribing benzodiazepines for more than a few days and there is no withdrawal.
Madill wants more research into drugs that can augment the withdrawal process. That seems backwards to me. I’d rather see the time and energy devoted to banning the use of benzos for more than a few days. Stop the benzos and you won’t have a population of people suffering in benzo withdrawal. There won’t be a need for time and energy researching ways to alleviate their suffering.
TRUTH #4. Benzo withdrawal unravels your life.
Madill argues that benzo users don’t destroy their lives in dramatic fashion, say, like heroin or methamphetamine users are prone to do. Benzo users function just fine, usually. We go to work and raise families. But when tolerance to the drug hits and our brains and bodies need more to stave off the horrific withdrawal symptoms, our lives begin to fray around the edges. Reduce or remove the drug and they unravel, sometimes completely. We are often unable to take care of even the most basic of survival needs in benzo withdrawal. Suddenly heroin or meth addicts seem high functioning in comparison. (I know. I lived it. For years.)
TRUTH #5. Benzos don’t just disempower you; they can kill you.
Dr. Jason Eric Schiffman, the director of UCLA’s Dual Diagnosis Program balks at benzos because he believes they create a sense of disempowerment. Feel anxiety, take a pill. You don’t learn to cope with anxiety. I agree that learning to stand up to the bully called anxiety is a grand idea. Schiffman misses the point though. The danger isn’t that the pill will disempower you. No, the very real danger is that the pill may kill you. And if it doesn’t kill you, you’ll wish it had when you start the long and arduous battle of fighting for your life and your sanity when you try to divorce yourself from it.
We’re Barking Up The Wrong Trees
Not to sound ungrateful. I’m pleased Zaitchik wrote a gripping piece to bring more light to the benzo problem. I just want the deeper, darker truth to stand in the spotlight along with his arguments.
Benzodiazepines kill people. They can totally obliterate people’s lives when they try to stop taking them. Granted, not every benzo user will experience extreme benzo withdrawal, but a good proportion will. Benzos are dangerous at any dose and even when used for a few days (not two years, as Rev. Abel believes). Poll a group of benzo survivors and you’ll hear horror stories from people who took them for a handful of days, and then took years to heal.
Benzodiazepines destroy lives. That’s the bottom line. For those of us in the trenches healing from their damage, we are busy trying to put our lives back together again from the debilitating emotional and physical symptoms benzo withdrawal causes. Add in the bankruptcy, abandonment, divorce, and homelessness that withdrawal can cause, and you understand our grumbling when the media doesn’t portray the real reasons why benzos are dangerous.
Bedtime For Benzos
Zaitchik writes that it’s remarkable that it’s taken so much time for the conversation about benzos to take place in the U.S. I agree. The conversation has been ongoing for decades in the U.K. Dr. Heather Ashton, who for years, ran a benzodiazepine withdrawal clinic, is the leading expert in benzo withdrawal. She is often scorned here in the United States as a “kook.” It’s hard to have a conversation with doctors who don’t even want to acknowledge one of their own. I’m regularly copied on emails that are part of an ongoing legal battle in England with regards to these drugs. The powers that be continue to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the problem.
The Benzo Problem Is Hiding In Plain Sight
Take a look at the people who are suffering through benzodiazepine withdrawal and you’ll see the truth. You’ll see shattered lives. You’ll see people who can’t go on another day and end their lives because the suffering in benzo withdrawal is too much for any human being to bear. You’ll rethink what addiction means. You’ll rethink what the Hippocratic oath means. Doctors are maiming and killing people with the stroke of a pen, and very little is being done to stop them.
We need the truth to be told. Mainstream media needs to listen to another perspective of the dangers of benzodiazepines. Perhaps then more doctors will listen. Perhaps then it will finally be bedtime for benzos.
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It has been a busy month, in general, for top health officials. Last week was a busy one for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as the nation’s health watchdog began taking serious action to combat the rising opioid crisis.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) calls the growing number of drug overdose deaths an epidemic. Since the year 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137%, including a 200% increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioid painkillers and heroin, according to the agency’s website.
People who visit the emergency room and individuals with chronic pain are going to have a more difficult time getting prescriptions for opioid painkillers like Oxycodone because of action the CDC already took earlier in March. The agency released long-awaited guidelines designed to limit the prescribing of opioids, though there is no legal mandate that requires physicians to follow them.
In the guidelines, the CDC urges doctors not to immediately prescribe opioids to treat pain. The agency recommends prescribing non-opioid painkillers and other treatments first, including exercise therapy and weight loss. When a physician does prescribe an opioid, the CDC advises starting the patient on the lowest possible dose, and prescribing immediate-release opioids for short periods of time, rather than for weeks or months.
Urine testing is also recommended, to make sure patients are following the prescription’s directions.
Let’s take a look at the most recent actions taken to combat the burgeoning opioid problem.
Making Opioids More Difficult to Abuse
The current version of the drug OxyContin is difficult to crush and dissolve or snort, but other opioid medications can be easily broken down and abused. To counter the problem, the FDA published draft guidelines last week outlining testing standards for harder-to-abuse generic painkillers. Five brand-name opioids which are designed to discourage abuse have already gotten the all-clear from the agency.
Currently, generic drugs are not individually scrutinized for safety and efficacy the way brand-name drugs are. Instead, the FDA will approve a generic medication if the drug manufacturer can prove it is the bioequivalent, or the chemical equivalent of a brand-name medication.
Under the FDA’s new guidelines, however, drug makers will need to perform additional studies proving that generic opioids have the same anti-abuse properties as their brand-name counterparts.
Black Box Warnings
Last week, the FDA said that all fast-acting opioid painkillers will be required to carry a Black Box Warning, the agency’s strongest warning, about the risks for addiction, misuse, overdose, and death. The warnings will emphasize that prescription painkillers should be used only when absolutely necessary, and as a last resort. The Black Box warnings will also inform women that opioid use during pregnancy has been linked to opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) in newborns.
While many people legitimately need strong pain medications, these actions are intended to prevent people with temporary and/or obtuse pain from getting hooked on such drugs.
The blame for the opioid crisis doesn’t fall solely on patients, who usually trust their physician’s advice, either. The results of a survey released March 25 by the National Safety Council found that when American doctors prescribe opioid drugs, 99% of them hand out prescriptions that exceed the federally recommended 3-day dosing limit
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On March 22 the FDA issued an extraordinary “Public Health Advisory” that cautioned about the risks associated with the whole new generation of antidepressants including Prozac and its knock offs, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Celexa, and Lexapro, as well as Wellbutrin, Effexor, Serzone, and Remeron. The warning followed a public hearing where dozens of family members and victims testified about suicide and violence committed by individuals taking these medications.
While stopping short of concluding the antidepressants definitely cause suicide, the FDA warned that they might do so in a small percentage of children and adults. In the debate over drug-induced suicide, little attention has been given to the FDA’s additional warning that certain behaviors are “known to be associated with these drugs,” including “anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia (severe restlessness), hypomania, and mania.”
From agitation and hostility to impulsivity and mania, the FDA’s litany of antidepressant-induced behaviors is identical to that of PCP, methamphetamine and cocaine—drugs known to cause aggression and violence. These older stimulants and most of the newer antidepressants cause similar effects as a result of their impact on a neurotransmitter in the brain called serotonin.
For more than a decade, I have documented in books and scientific reports how this stimulation or activation profile can lead to out-of-control behavior, including violence. Indeed, the FDA’s conclusions seem drawn from my recent detailed review of Breggin Antidepressant Column, p. 2 studies pertaining to abnormal behavior produced by
the newer antidepressants: “Suicidality, violence and mania caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): A review and analysis” published in the International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine, 16: 31-49, 2003/2004 (The complete text of the peer-reviewed article appears on this website). I made a similar analysis in my most recent book on the subject, The Antidepressant Fact Book (2002, Perseus Books).
As a psychiatrist and as a medical expert, I have examined dozens of cases of individuals who have committed suicide or violent crimes while under the influence of the newer antidepressants such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox and Celexa. In June in South Carolina, Christopher Pittman will go on trial for shooting his grandparents to death while they slept. Chris was twelve when his family doctor started him on Zoloft.
Three weeks later the doctor doubled his dose and one week later Chris committed the violent acts. In other cases, a fourteen-year-old girl on Prozac fired a pistol pointblank at a friend but the gun failed to go off, and a teenage boy on Zoloft beat to death an elderly woman who complained to him about his loud music. A greater number of cases involve adults who lost control of themselves while taking antidepressants. In at least two cases judges have found individuals not guilty on the basis of involuntary intoxication with psychiatric drugs and other cases have resulted in reduced charges, lesser convictions, or shortened sentences.
The FDA includes mania in its list of known antidepressant effects. Manic individuals can become violent, especially when they are thwarted, and they can also “crash” into depression and suicidal states. They can carry out elaborate but grandiose and doomed plans. One clinical trial showed a rate of 6% manic reactions for depressed Breggin Antidepressant Column, p. 3 children on Prozac. None developed mania on a sugar pill.
Even in short-term clinical trials, 1% or more of depressed adults develop mania compared to a small fraction on the sugar pill.
Although it is difficult to determine the rate at which the antidepressants cause relatively uncommon tragedies such as suicide and violence, we do know that they cause stimulant effects such as irritability and agitation in a large percentage of patients, often a third or more. Doctors who fail to recognize these reactions as drug-induced may mistakenly increase the dose of the antidepressant with disastrous results. Little will be lost by minimizing the use of the newer antidepressants. While there is strong evidence that they cause suicide, there is no convincing evidence that they can prevent it. Many older antidepressants cause less stimulation and are equally or more effective in head-to-head clinical trials. Beyond that, a number of meta-analyses drawing data from multiple studies have shown that antidepressants are no better than a sugar pill. People who are depressed often respond to placebo because it gives them hope. Severe depression is essentially a feeling of profound hopelessness and despair that can best be addressed by a variety of psychotherapeutic, educational, and spiritual or religious interventions.
Unfortunately, there are also risks involved with stopping antidepressants. Many can cause withdrawal reactions that last days and sometimes longer, causing some patients to feel depressed, suicidal or even violent. Stopping antidepressants should be done carefully and with experienced clinical supervision.
As a first step in responding to this public health threat, we should follow the example of Great Britain whose drug safety agency recently banned the use of many of Breggin Antidepressant Column, p. 4 these drugs in children. Beyond that, the FDA and the medical profession mustn forthrightly educate potential patients and the public about the sometimes life-threatening risks associated with the use of antidepressant medications.
Copyright 2004 by Peter R. Breggin, M.D. This column may be reproduced without permission provided proper attribution is given to the author.