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Saturday 30 June 2012



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ELECTRIC SHOCK THERAPY - COURTESY OF THE SCOTSMAN WEBSITE - USA: Mother of autistic youth pleads for ban on electric shock ‘therapy’ Cheryl McCollins and Gregory Miller deliver their petition.

USA: Mother of autistic youth pleads for ban on electric shock ‘therapy’
Cheryl McCollins and Gregory Miller deliver their petition.

Published on Thursday 21 June 2012 00:00

AN AMERICAN state is being urged to stop a school using electric shocks to control pupils with autism and other developmental conditions.

A 260,000-signature petition was delivered to Massachusetts’ state legislature demanding it ends the use of “aversive therapy” at the Judge Rotenberg Centre (JRC) in Canton.

Campaigners claim children and young adults at the centre – dubbed the House of Horrors by the media – are subjected to skin shocks ten times more powerful than a police stun gun.

Three of its former staff members are among those leading the campaign, along with the mother of an autistic boy who was tied and shocked 31 times for refusing to take off his coat.

Recently released video of the 2002 incident involving 18-year-old Andre McCollins – which the JRC fought to suppress – has strengthened the campaign, recording the boy squealing in pain as a shock pulses through his body, dropping to the floor and screaming: “Help me.”

The UN Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, has said the treatment constitutes torture, but a US Justice Department investigation launched in 2010 is still to report, two years on.

JRC is the only institution in the world known to use the electric shock regime – meted out by a machine known as a Graduated Electronic Decelerator – deemed legal because JRC staff classify it as “therapy.”

“Massachusetts has failed to ban this practice, which has allowed the JRC to subject people with disabilities to torture in the name of treatment,” said a letter sent to Governor Deval Patrick from 28 organisations including the National Autism Association and Harvard Law School Project on Disability.

The JRC deals with students with behavioural, emotional and psychiatric problems, as well as development issues such as autism and advocates “aversive therapy” as an alternative to psychotropic drugs. It claims shocks are only administered to those with “violent, abusive or mutilating behaviours towards themselves or others” and that it yields “positive” outcomes.

“Our staff is committed to serving these students, when no other facility can or will,” it states, adding that aversive therapy is “only administered when other options have been exhausted and parents petition the court.”

Cheryl McCollins said she was never made aware aversive therapy included shock treatment until the incident with her son, for which she has since won damages. “I enrolled him at the JRC thinking he would be loved and taken care of. Instead, the staff tied my son to a four-point board and shocked him for seven hours because he refused to take off his coat,” she stated.

“He screamed for help the entire time and was admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital and diagnosed with catatonia post-traumatic stress disorder. He has never completely recovered.”

Gregory Miller, a former teaching assistant at the JRC, said that it was used on children for even minor behavioural issues, such as standing up in class.

Senator Brian Joyce is pushing a bill to outlaw the practice, which will be considered by the state House of Representatives this week after Senate approval.

The treatment, he said, was barbaric and based on “discredited pseudo-science”. Under new rules imposed last year, it is banned for individuals whose court-ordered “behaviour plans” were drawn up after September 2011, but the ban cannot be applied prior to that date.


"This is barbaric" It can only happen in the USA.

You couldn't make this up..... they tie or secure the kids and then subject them to 'therapy' for the day. Makes you wonder who dreamed up this programme, it sounds like something Josef Mengele concocted.

Friday 29 June 2012

Psychiatric Labels: The Facts Behind the Billion Dollar Marketing Campaign - Courtesy of the CCHR website

Psychiatric Labels: The Facts Behind the Billion Dollar Marketing Campaign

20 million children are labeled with "mental disorders" that are based solely on a checklist of behaviors. There are no brain scans, x-rays, genetic or blood tests that can prove they are mentally ill, yet these children are prescribed dangerous and life-threatening psychiatric drugs. Child drugging is a $4.8 billion-a-year industry.
The following points are addressed in full in the text below:
1) There are no tests in existence that can prove mental disorders are medical conditions. Psychiatric diagnosis is based solely on opinion.
2) Yes, people can get depressed, sad, anxious and even act psychotic.  That doesn’t make them mentally “diseased.”
3) The campaign to “STOP THE STIGMA OF MENTAL ILLNESS” is brought to you by…Big Pharma.
4) Why Psychiatric labels are the problem.
5) Psychiatric drugs are big business and the psychiatric pharmaceutical industry is making a killing—$84 Billion per year. 
6) Where to get facts—international drug regulatory warnings/studies about psychiatric drug risks and side effects
7) Why safe effective medical treatments to mental difficulties are kept buried.

The psychiatric/pharmaceutical industry spends billions of dollars a year in order to convince the public, legislators and the press that psychiatric disorders such as Bi-Polar Disorder, Depression, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, etc., are medical diseases on par with verifiable medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.  This is simply a way to maintain their hold on a $84 billion dollar-a-year psychiatric drug industry that is based on marketing and not science.  Unlike real medical disease, there are no scientific tests to verify the medical existence of any psychiatric disorder.   Despite decades  of trying to prove mental disorders are biological brain conditions, due to chemical imbalances or genetic factors, psychiatry has failed to prove  even one of their hundreds of so-called mental disorders is due to a faulty or “chemically imbalanced” brain.   To counter this obvious flaw in their push to medicalize behaviors, the psychiatric industry will claim that there are certain medical conditions that do not have a verifiable test so this is why there isn’t one for “mental illness.”  This is frankly a lame argument; Whereas there may be rare medical conditions that do not have a verifiable medical test, there are virtually no psychiatric disorders that can be verified medically as a physical abnormality/disease. Not one.
In fact the “brain scans” that have been pawned off as evidence that schizophrenia or depression are brain diseases, are simply bogus.  Most have not been done on drug naive patients, meaning someone who has not been on psychiatric drugs such as antipsychotic drugs, documented to cause brain atrophy (shrinkage).  Other brain scans have shown the brains of smaller children to show smaller brains in comparison to larger/older children and then claimed children with ADHD have smaller brains. None have been conclusively proven to verify mental disorders as abnormalities of the brain.

The Difference Between a Medical
Disease and a Psychiatric Disorder

If there were such verifiable brain scans, or in fact any medical/scientific test that could show a physical/medical abnormality for any psychiatric disorder, the public would be getting such tests prior to being administered psychiatric drugs.
This is fact: There are no genetic tests, no brain scans, blood tests, chemical imbalance tests or X-rays that can scientifically/medically prove that any psychiatric disorder is a medical condition.  Period.  Whereas real diseases are discovered in labs, psychiatric disorders are invented by committee and voted into existence.
No one is saying that people don’t get depressed, sad, troubled, anxious, nervous or even sometimes act psychotic.  The question then is simple—is this  due to some mental “disease” that can be verified as one would verify cancer or a real medical condition?  And the answer is No.   For example, can soldiers returning from war experience extreme and often debilitating stress?  Yes.  It is something wrong with their brain?  No.  It’s the horrors of war. Can children become distracted and not pay attention?  Since time immemorial, the answer is yes.  But psychiatry has pathologized childhood behaviors into a “mental illness.”   The same is true of mothers.  Can a new mother become distraught after a joyous occasion such as the birth of a child?  Yes.  Is it a brain abnormality or mental disease?  No. And is the most humane solution to put these people on drugs documented by international regulatory agencies to cause mania, psychosis, worsening depression, heart attack, stroke, sudden death?  Or for new or nursing mothers to risk birth defects or damage to their infants from being prescribed such powerful drugs?
This is also true of people diagnosed “schizophrenic.” There is no medical test to verify someone has a brain abnormality or medical condition of schizophrenia. And while no one claims  people can’t become psychotic, the fact remains there is no biological evidence to support schizophrenia as a brain disease or chemical abnormality.  And consider this, if people do become psychotic, or irrational,  is it in fact caused by some  underlying medical (not psychiatric) problem?   And why did a 15-year multiple follow up study find that there was a 40% recovery rate for those diagnosed schizophrenic who did not take antipsychotics, versus a 5% rate for those who did?  What happened to their supposed “brain disease?” Did it simply vanish?  Moreover, if they could recover from such a mental state, do they deserve the “stigma” of “schizophrenia” still being part of their permanent medical record?  For life?   Think about it.  Imagine you were extremely overweight—obese.  You lose all the weight so you are no longer obese.  Yet your medical records continue to say that you are.
And if schizophrenia is in fact a “disease” despite the fact there is no medical or biological evidence (note we did not say speculation, or theories, but evidence) then why is it that psychiatrist Loren Mosher, the former Chief of Schizophrenia Research for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) would openly state there is no biological condition of schizophrenia as a disease or brain malfunction? And why didn’t the mental health industry take advantage of his 2-year-outcome studies proving that those diagnosed schizophrenic could recover without the use of drugs? Is it because this proved that recovery was possible and thereby disproved the theory that something was wrong with their brain? Or was it the fact that they recovered without the use of drugs, thereby threatening a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry?  Maybe this explains why Mosher was fired from his position at NIMH.
With a seemingly altruistic agenda, the fact is the campaign to end the “stigma” of mental illness is one driven and funded by those who benefit from more and more people being labeled mentally ill—pharma, psychiatry and pharmaceutical front groups such as  NAMI and CHADD to name but a few.   For example, take NAMI’s campaign to stop the “stigma” and “end discrimination” against the mentally ill—the “Founding Sponsors” were Abbott Labs, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Janssen, Pfizer, Novartis, SmithKline Beecham and Wyeth-Ayerst Labs. (For an in-depth look at what else Pharma funds and how this funding not only helps set mental health policies but campaigns such as this, read Pharmaceutical Industry Agenda Setting in Mental Health Policies at the bottom of this post)
The fact is that the  “stigmatization ” is coming from those that benefit from people being labeled/stigmatized with mental disorders that have no medical/biological evidence. Case in point, if you are rebellious, you are “stigmatized” with the label “oppositional defiant disorder.” If your kid acts like a kid he is “stigmatized” with the label “ADHD.” If you are sad, unhappy (even temporarily) you are “stigmatized” with the label “depressive” or “bi-polar disorder.” If you are shy you are “stigmatized” with the label “social anxiety disorder.” Moreover, you or your child are now stigmatized for life as this label, which is based solely on opinion, is now part of your medical record, despite the fact there is no medical evidence to prove you are “mentally ill”.
Increasing numbers of people  realize that just because a child fidgets, or loses pencils or toys—criteria for an “ADHD” diagnoses, this doesn’t mean a child is mentally ill.   In fact many now claim that children  diagnosed  “ADHD” are really suffering from lead toxicity, or allergies, or poor diet, or lack of reading skills, and not a mental “illness.”   The problem is that they continue to use the psychiatric label, ADHD, which stigmatizes a child as “mentally ill.”  If in fact a child suffers from led toxicity, then why not call it lead toxicity?  If he hasn’t been taught to read, why don’t we just say he hasn’t been taught to read?  The same is true of all psychiatric diagnoses—every single psychiatric label stigmatizes the person being labeled.    Psychiatric diagnoses are simply lists of behaviors that psychiatrists have compiled into little lists,  given a name,  added “disorder” on the end— then voted them into their billing bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)  as “legitimate.”   This is big, big business, but it isn’t even close to legitimate diagnoses.  Not in any medical or scientific context.   A profit making context? Sure.   Because coming up with new lists of behaviors and new “disorders” is the bedrock of the multi-billion dollar psychiatric/pharmaceutical industry.  Its how they get paid.   Remember, no psychiatric label, no billing insurance.  No psychiatric label, no drug prescribed.  So until we stop using these psychiatric labels,  which mean nothing other than what some psychiatrists decided was a mental “illness, ” we will never stop the “stigma.”  Because the psychiatric labels are backed by corporate interests—not medicine, and not science.
The primary reason people take psychiatric drugs is because they’ve been taught to believe they have a medical condition called a psychiatric disorder, which then justifies taking drugs to treat it.  This is a brilliant marketing campaign, but it is not science.  Any drug changes behavior or mood, whether cocaine, alcohol, marijuana or heroin. This does not mean someone who acts or feels differently on cocaine does so because they had a cocaine imbalance which the cocaine then corrected. It means that drugs changes mood, emotion and behavior.  But while the illicit use of drugs is universally frowned upon, and considered a bad way for people to deal with their problems, psychiatric drugs are made out to be “good” drugs, despite the fact many are more addictive than cocaine or heroin, and have side effects that rival such hardcore street drugs as LSD, heroin and crack cocaine.
Because the public has been so mislead by the psychiatric/pharmaceutical industry on the dangers of psychiatric drugs, CCHR has created a one-of-a-kind, easy to search psychiatric drugs side effects database, containing all international studies and drug regulatory warnings that have been issued on both classes of drugs (antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety drugs, stimulants, etc) and brand names such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Risperdal, Seroquel, Ritalin etc.  These are provided by CCHR as a free public service to help people make educated decisions based on facts, not marketing campaigns
The larger problem is that the biological drug model (based on the bogus mental disorders are a disease marketing campaign) prevents governments from funding real medical solutions for people experiencing difficulty.  And there are workable, non-harmful medical treatments that do not receive government funding because the psychiatric/pharmaceutical industry spends billions of dollars on advertising and lobbying efforts, including hundreds of their pharma funded “patient’s rights” groups to counter any medical modality that does not support their biological drug model of mental disorders as a disease. Why?  Billions of dollars in revenue for the psycho/pharma industry would be lost. This is an industry that time and again, has been proven to put profit above patients lives.
See various non-drug solutions/alternatives here:

Dr Allen Frances - Society for Humanistic Psychology - Don't Confuse Grief with Depression

Society for Humanistic Psychology

Division 32 of the American Psychological Association.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Allen Frances: Don't Confuse Grief with Depression

Allen Frances at Psychology Today reports:

A front page story by Ben Carey in January 24th's New York Times carries the poetic title: 'When does a broken heart become a diagnosis?' It describes a puzzling proposal by D.S.M. 5 to transform what is now considered normal grief into Major Depressive Disorder.

D.S.M. IV already recognizes that some people respond to loss with severe problems that warrant immediate attention. It therefore encourages the diagnosis of major depression whenever bereavement is persistent or is associated with severe, impairing, delusional, or suicidal symptoms. D.S.M. IV thus makes a crucial distinction between the transient pain of expectable grief and the severe and/or persistent symptoms of major depression. D.S.M. 5 proposes to eliminate this distinction. It would allow the diagnosis of major depressive disorder after only two weeks of fairly mild symptoms.

The point of departure of the Times article is a landmark review co-authored by Jerome Wakefield and just published in World Psychiatry, the official journal of the World Psychiatric Association. An accompanying editorial written by Professor Mario Maj (president of the Association) also strongly opposes the D.S.M. 5 proposal.

I asked Dr. Wakefield to summarize the findings of his review. His reply:

1)There is no scientific evidence to support diagnosing as major depression two weeks of grief-related depressive feelings of the kind currently excluded from diagnosis. The D.S.M. 5 literature reviews cite dozens of studies, but NOT ONE has samples of people who would get the diagnosis under the new D.S.M. 5 rules.

2) The two most rigorous studies both show that people experiencing short periods of mild grief (of the kind excluded by D.S.M. IV from the diagnosis of major depression) are no more likely to go on to further diagnosable depression than are people in the general population -- whereas real depression has a high rate of recurrence. This directly contradicts the D.S.M.-5 assertion that there is 'no difference... between grief-related depression and any other depression.'

3)There is no evidence that normal grief-related depressive feelings (of the kind now excluded from diagnosis) are associated with a greater risk for suicide.

4) Contrary to D.S.M.-5 claims that potential treatment benefits justify its proposed change, there are no controlled studies demonstrating any drug benefit for expectable grief symptoms of the kind now excluded. The D.S.M. 5 proposal could result in the over-medication of millions of the bereaved -- even though antidepressants are already under challenge as no more effective than placebo for milder depressions.

Dr. Wakefield goes on to point out that:

An estimated 8 to 10 million people lose a loved one every year, and something like a third to a half of them suffer depressive symptoms for up to month afterward. The proposed change would pathologize them for behavior previously thought to be normal. Until now, bereavement is one area that has been immune to the excessive encroachment of psychiatric diagnosis. This is because studies show that many depressive symptoms are common during normal grief, and it is obvious from common experience that grief after loss of a loved one can be very intense and involve depressive symptoms even when it is entirely normal.

I also asked Russell Friedman, Executive Director of the Grief Recovery Institute, to put a human face on the issue: "Imagine that your spouse of 52 years has just died. In the weeks that follow, you experience some or all of the typical reactions to this overwhelming loss. You are sad and lose interest in things. You find it hard to focus or concentrate. Your sleeping patterns are off. Your eating habits are out of whack. If you do manage to sleep, you wake up exhausted, not rested at all, and lacking energy. Your well-meaning daughter brings you to the doctor. You tell him what's going on and he quickly slaps on a diagnoses of Major Depression and prescribes pills. Drug companies will have a feeding frenzy exploiting this huge new market. They will spend hundreds of millions of dollars 'educating' doctors and the public on the D.S.M. 5 revelation that grief is a psychiatric illness. This is madness."

This is a classic case of 'if it aint broke, don't fix it' -- especially if the fix will cause many new problems. D.S.M. IV usefully distinguishes the mild, transient, and self-correcting symptoms of normal grief in contrast to the severe and persistent symptoms of clinical depression. Grief is the normal and absolutely unavoidable price we must pay for having the capacity to love -- it is most certainly not a disease. There is no reason and much risk in turning expectable grief into diagnosable mental disorder. D.S.M. 5 would cheapen the dignity of grief; substitute an impersonal medical procedure for traditional, deeply embedded cultural rituals; and result in much careless and unnecessary use of medication.

The D.S.M. 5 proposal to medicalize grief has always seemed strangely incongruous just on the face of it. Most people not hermetically sealed within the D.S.M. 5 inner sanctum immediately recognize how ridiculous it is to apply the label 'major depression' to someone after just two weeks of perfectly normal symptoms of bereavement. Hopefully, Dr. Wakefield's careful review bringing data and common sense to the issue will penetrate the D.S.M. 5 denial of the obvious. We must preserve the dignity of bereavement and protect it from the inappropriate encroachment of D.S.M. 5 diagnostic ambitions

DRUG TRIALS AND THE PLACEBO EFFECT - Watch CBS documentary on the Efficacy of Antidepressants and other Psychiatric Drugs - Courtesy of Psychiatric Times Website

Harvard researcher Irving Kirsch told Lesley Stahl that the difference between taking an antidepressant and taking a sugar pill is minimal for most people.NICE in the U.K. had similar findings for up to moderate depression,

On the Efficacy of Psychiatric Drugs
By Arline Kaplan | 03 April 2012

Harvard psychologist Irving Kirsch, PhD, commented, “the difference between the effect of a placebo and the effect of an antidepressant is minimal for most people.” 1 However, a newly published “panoramic overview” of 127 meta-analyses challenges that asser-tion by demonstrating how psychiatric drugs, including antidepressants, are as efficacious as drugs used to treat general medical conditions.2

“Our study puts the effectiveness of psychiatric drugs and general medical drugs into perspective,” lead author Stefan Leucht, MD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at Munich Technical University in Germany, said in a press announcement. “There is a deep mistrust of psychiatry, fostered by reports suggesting that the efficacy of psychiatric drugs is very small. Psychiatrists, patients, carers, and the media are often unsettled by these findings, and some may think that psychiatric medication is not worth the bother.”

In CBS’s 60 Minutes segment, Kirsch, Associate Director of the Harvard-wide Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic Encounter and Lecturer on Medicine at Beth Israel/Deaconess Medical Center, said his research, which analyzed both published and unpublished trials of antidepressants, challenges the effectiveness claims for antidepressants.
“If they [patients on antidepressants] were mildly or moderately depressed, you don’t see any real difference at all. The only place where you get a clinically meaningful difference is at these very extreme levels of depression,” Kirsch said.
He went on to explain that the reason most people who are taking antidepressants get better relates to the placebo effect and “not because of the chemicals in the drug.”

Later, in a 60 Minutes Overtime show, interviewer Lesley Stahl acknowledged that her husband has taken antidepressants for years, and she noted, “we know they work.” She found the placebo-effect discussion very “confusing” and worried about Americans discontinuing their antidepressants without consulting their physician.

John Davis, MD, a coauthor of the meta-analyses review and Research Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, urged health care professionals, journalists, and others to “do their homework” before mak-ing pronouncements about placebo effects and efficacy of psychiatric drugs, because the consequences can be deadly.

“I personally know of patients who have quit taking their medications and ended up back in the hospital,” he said. “And I know of others who went off their meds, had a recurrence of depression and committed suicide.”
Davis likened the controversy over the efficacy of psychiatric medications to the widespread scare linking the vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella to autism. There is, he said, a similar anatomy—lack of credible evidence tying the vaccine to autism; extreme opinions; sensationalism in the press; and health professionals and patients seeking fame by promoting the link as a cause célèbre. All of this has led to children not being immunized, unnecessary mortality and morbidity, and possible loss of herd immunity in some countries.

Meta-analyses overview

The meta-analyses review, Davis said, is particularly important for primary care and other physicians who may “think that psychiatric drugs are not efficacious, may not prescribe them, and may discourage their patients from taking them. Such perceptions and actions,” he noted, “can cause great harm to patients.”

Davis added he has tried for years in his lectures to make psychiatrists aware that the effect sizes of the psychiatric drugs are in “the ballpark with most of the internal medicine drugs” and that “most medical drugs were not the breakthroughs they [psychiatrists] thought they were.”
“With this review,” he told Psychiatric Times, “we finally got it done.”
In a commentary published in BMC Medicine, Seemuller and colleagues3 from the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich described the review as “a milestone in destigmatizing psychiatry and its pharmacological treatments.” They described Leucht as “an experienced member of the Cochrane collaboration” who is very familiar with the pitfalls of meta-analyses.
Similarly, Davis is highly experienced with meta-analyses. “I wrote the first ones in psychiatry in 1975 and 1976, even before they were called meta-analyses,” he said.4,5
For their article, Leucht and colleagues searched Medline and the Cochrane Library for systematic reviews on the efficacy of drugs compared with placebo and then systematically presented the effect sizes for primary efficacy outcomes. They included 94 meta-analyses of 48 drugs in 20 medical diseases (eg, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic asthma, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and hepatitis C) and 33 meta-analyses of 16 drugs in 8 psychiatric disorders (eg, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, MDD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADHD, and Alzheimer disease). They excluded meta-analyses of subgroup studies and, if available, chose reviews of classes of drugs rather than single drugs.
“To be up to date, we also chose more recent studies,” he said. “And when there were several meta-analyses on the same topic, we looked to see if they agreed or not; if they disagreed, we called the authors to find out why. So there is extensive information in the fine print.”
While the review paper “covers all our important findings,” Davis explained, the team made available some 55 pages of Tables and Figures online at bjp.rcpsych.org “for individuals interested in all the data that lie behind the analysis.”
According to the research team, an effect size of 0.2 is considered significant but low, while an effect size of 0.8 or above is considered high. The median of all effect sizes was 0.40.
There was a lot of variability in effect size for medical conditions, Davis said. For example, there was a high effect size (1.39) for proton pump inhibitors to treat reflux esophagitis and a high effect size (2.27) for interferon to treat chronic hepatitis C. But many commonly used general medicine drugs, such as statins and aspirin(Drug information on aspirin) in cardiovascular disease and stroke, had small effect sizes (0.12 for aspirin for secondary prevention of cardiovascular events and 0.15 for statins for cardiovascular events).
“As a generalization, the effect sizes of psychiatric drugs are right in the middle of most of the drugs used in internal medicine,” Davis said.
Antidepressants used as “maintenance treatment” to prevent a relapse of MDD had an effect size of 0.64; antipsychotics used to prevent relapse in schizophrenia had an effect size of 0.92. Less pronounced was the effect size of 0.26 for cholinesterase inhibitors for dementia. In between were atypical antipsychotics and haloperidol(Drug information on haloperidol), with an effect size of 0.44 for acute mania in bipolar disorder.

Controversial issues

In the discussion section of their review, Leucht and colleagues commented on several controversial issues, including outcomes measures, duration of studies in a meta-analysis, and decrease of drug efficacy over the decades.

Psychiatry is often criticized, they wrote, for using “soft outcomes,” such as rating scales, whereas medicine uses “hard” outcomes, such as death or major events (eg, heart attack). Still, they wrote, there are examples in general medicine (eg, asthma, diabetes) for which intermediate outcomes may improve but mortal-ity increases, as well as other examples (esophagitis and migraine) for which the reductions of symptoms and suffering are regarded as primary outcomes.
“Therefore, reduction of disease severity (eg, degree of delusions and hallucinations in schizophrenia) and prevention of further episodes are primary outcomes, and it is not entirely appropriate to criticize psychiatry for using ‘soft’ outcomes. This said, there is considerable room for improvement in psychiatric outcome measures, and death or suicide should always be reported. The example of lithium(Drug information on lithium) shows that some psychiatric drugs may reduce suicide rates.”
Some of the most important outcomes take years to develop, and you can’t measure them with double-blind studies that are often only 6 to 8 weeks long, Davis added. “We have to look at other methodologies.”
Regarding the duration of studies, Leucht and associates noted that studies of many years’ duration would be necessary to obtain large differences in mortality, “but such studies are almost impossible to conduct for many reasons,” so shorter studies are performed, which show only small differences.
“In this context, many psychiatric drugs not only improve the acute episode but also prevent further episodes. Patients with severe, recurrent depression might have 20 episodes in their lifetime, which could be reduced by medication to 10,” they wrote.
The authors also acknowledged that earlier meta-analyses in psychiatry yielded higher effect sizes than recent meta-analyses. In a paper published last year, Davis and coworkers6 wrote that the antidepressant drug-placebo difference is larger in the more severely depressed subgroups and in older studies. They explained that in the early double-blind studies involving antidepressants, for example, there were severely ill and drug-naive patients referred to clinical trials by their physicians.
Davis said that many severely ill and suicidal patients are excluded from recent drug trials because of ethical concerns, that a lack of “fresh” (drug-naive) patients exists, and that there is an increase in advertisements offering free medications to clinical trial participants—all of which can influence the placebo response.
Also, pharmaceutical companies have, on occasion, suppressed data on negative trials, Davis said.
“The complaints against the drug companies hiding studies and heavily promoting drugs are often quite legitimate, but it doesn’t mean the drugs are worthless,” he said.
Results of all controlled studies—including failed studies—should be published, Davis believes. He points to some pharmaceutical companies that are sharing information on both published and unpublished studies. One example, he said, is a recent article of which he is a coauthor.7 The article is a reanalysis of the randomized placebo-controlled studies of fluoxetine(Drug information on fluoxetine) and venlafaxine that used complete longitudinal person-level data from a large set of published and unpublished studies. The reanalysis found that the drugs decreased suicidal thoughts and behavior for adult and geriatric patients and that the “protective effect was mediated by decreases in depressive symptoms with treatment.”
Davis stressed the need for everyone—physicians and patients alike—to examine the data on psychiatric drugs and efficacy and to understand the problems.
“It’s much harder,” he said, “to think through the issues than to come to snap judgments.”
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Wednesday 27 June 2012

LABELLING CHILDREN - proliferation of mental health disorders is questionable


Click on link above to watch video.

20 Million Kids & Adolescents are labeled with "mental disorders" that are based solely on a checklist of behaviors. There are no brain scans, x-rays, genetic or blood tests that can prove they are "mentally ill", yet these children are stigmatized for life with psychiatric disorders, and prescribed dangerous,life-threatening psychiatric drugs. Child drugging is a $4.8 billion-a-year industry. Get the facts about this multi-billion dollar industry that is labeling and drugging kids for profit.

BRITISH PSYCHOLOGICAL SOCIETY - BPS statement on the open letter to the DSM-5 Taskforce - JANUARY 2012

British Psychological Society statement on the open letter to the DSM-5 Taskforce


The British Psychological Society recognizes that a range of views exist amongst psychologists, and other mental health professionals, regarding the validity and usefulness of diagnostic frameworks in mental health in general, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association in particular.

The Society for Humanistic Psychology (Division 32) of the American Psychological Association (APA) has recently published an open letter to the DSM-5 taskforce raising a number of concerns about the draft revisions proposed for  DSM-5 which has, to date, been endorsed by 12 other APA Divisions.

A major concern raised in the letter is that the proposed revisions include lowering diagnostic thresholds across a range of disorders. It is feared that this could lead to medical explanations being applied to normal experiences, and also to the unnecessary use of potentially harmful interventions.

Particular concern is expressed about the inclusion of a new diagnostic category “Attenuated Psychosis Syndrome”. This proposes to include individuals who are experiencing hallucinations, delusions or disorganized speech “in an attenuated form with intact reality testing” but who do not meet current criteria for a psychotic disorder. The Society shares the concerns expressed in the open letter about the potentially harmful consequences of lowering diagnostic thresholds in general and the questionable validity of this proposed diagnosis in particular.

Another concern raised is about the impact of proposed revisions on vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly. The letter highlights that the proposed new diagnostic category “Mild Neurocognitive Disorder” might be diagnosed in elderly people whose memory decline simply reflects normal ageing. The Society welcomes the use of an objective psychometric criterion within this particular DSM-5 diagnosis but shares concerns expressed in the letter about potential for  misdiagnosis of normal ageing. We would further highlight the importance of valid psychological interpretation of test results since the proposed psychometric threshold encompasses 1 in 8 of the normal population. There is a particular danger that cognitive functioning of people from ethnic minorities is under-represented on psychometric tests. The Society also shares concerns about the potential for children and adolescents to be misdiagnosed with Disruptive Mood Deregulation Disorder.

We also concur that there is a lack of a solid basis in clinical research literature for this disorder and are also concerned about the risk of harm from inappropriate treatment with neuroleptic medication.

The proposals for the revision of the personality disorders section in DSM-5 are described in the open letter as “perplexing”, “complex” and “idiosyncratic”. The Society has welcomed the move to a dimensional-categorical model for personality disorder. However, we have said that this has not been as visible as expected in the draft revisions. Moreover, we share concerns expressed in the open letter about the inconsistency of the proposed changes and their limited empirical basis.

Finally, the open letter also draws attention to proposals to revise the basic “Definition of a Mental Disorder” and, in particular, a statement proposed by Stein et al that it “reflects an underlying psychobiological dysfunction”. The Society shares concerns about any unsubstantiated shift in emphasis towards biological factors and in particular the entirely unjustified assertion that all mental disorders represent some
form of biological dysfunction. We are, however, reassured by the response from the APA task force (4 November 2011) which states that there is no intent “to diminish the importance of environmental and cultural exposure factors” and hope that this will be reflected in the final version.

In conclusion, the British Psychological Society endorses the concerns expressed in the open letter from the Society of Humanistic Psychology (Division 32) of the APA and encourage members to view the letter themselves and consider signing the petition (http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/dsm5/). We also urge the DSM 5 taskforce to consider seriously the issues raised therein. These have been now been endorsed by a broad range of experts in mental health, including members of the British Psychological Society and two chairs of previous DSM revision taskforces.

We are, however, encouraged that the DSM taskforce has already responded positively to the open letter and that in their letter (4 November 2011) they emphasized that the manual is “still more than a year away from publication and is continually being refined and reworked”. They commented that “Final decisions about proposed revisions will be made on the basis of field trial data as well on a full consideration of other issues such as those raised by the signatories of the petition.”

In a statement issued on 2 December 2011 the American Psychological Association (APA) called upon the DSM-5 Task Force to “adhere to an open, transparent process based on the best available science and in the best interest of the public”. The British Psychological Society would certainly echo this call.

The final draft of the DSM-5 criteria is due for publication in early 2012 followed by a third, two month, period of public feedback. The Society encourages those members who have relevant expertise to contribute to the on-going process of refinement and improvement of the DSM-5. As a Society we are, as is our counterpart the APA, committed to promoting and disseminating psychological knowledge and, as such, we are keen to ensure that the final version of DSM-5, and other internationally used diagnostic frameworks such as ICD-11, are based on the best available psychological science and will continue to monitor the DSM-5 revision process and contribute further as appropriate.

Monday 25 June 2012

ABSTRACT : Minfulness based CBT is effective with people suffering current depression.

The efficacy of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in recurrent depressed patients with and without a current depressive episode: a randomized controlled trial.

J. R. van Aalderena1 c1, A. R. T. Dondersa1, F. Giommia1, P. Spinhovena1, H. P. Barendregta1 and A. E. M. Speckensa1

a1 Department of Psychiatry, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Background The aim of this study is to examine the efficacy of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) in addition to treatment as usual (TAU) for recurrent depressive patients with and without a current depressive episode.
Method A randomized, controlled trial comparing MBCT+TAU (n=102) with TAU alone (n=103). The study population consisted of patients with three or more previous depressive episodes. Primary outcome measure was post-treatment depressive symptoms according to the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. Secondary outcome measures included the Beck Depression Inventory, rumination, worry and mindfulness skills. Group comparisons were carried out with linear mixed modelling, controlling for intra-group correlations. Additional mediation analyses were performed. Comparisons were made between patients with and without a current depressive episode.
Results Patients in the MBCT+TAU group reported less depressive symptoms, worry and rumination and increased levels of mindfulness skills compared with patients receiving TAU alone. MBCT resulted in a comparable reduction of depressive symptoms for patients with and without a current depressive episode. Additional analyses suggest that the reduction of depressive symptoms was mediated by decreased levels of rumination and worry.
Conclusions The study findings suggest that MBCT is as effective for patients with recurrent depression who are currently depressed as for patients who are in remission. Directions towards a better understanding of the mechanisms of action of MBCT are given, although future research is needed to support these hypotheses.

(Online publication October 03 2011)

ABSTRACT : Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is safe for people with a schizophrenia spectrum diagnosis not taking antipsychotic medication: an exploratory trial

Cognitive therapy for people with a schizophrenia spectrum diagnosis not taking antipsychotic medication: an exploratory trial

A. P. Morrisona1a2 c1, P. Huttona2, M. Wardlea2, H. Spencera3a4, S. Barratta2, A. Brabbana5a6, P. Callcotta3, T. Christodoulidesa3, R. Dudleya3a4, P. Frencha2, V. Lumleya5, S. J. Taia1 and D. Turkingtona3a4

a1 School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester, UK
a2 Greater Manchester West NHS Mental Health Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK
a3 Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Mental Health Foundation Trust, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
a4 Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
a5 Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Mental Health Foundation Trust, UK
a6 University of Durham, UK
Background Although antipsychotic medication is the first line of treatment for schizophrenia, many service users choose to refuse or discontinue their pharmacological treatment. Cognitive therapy (CT) has been shown to be effective when delivered in combination with antipsychotic medication, but has yet to be formally evaluated in its absence. This study evaluates CT for people with psychotic disorders who have not been taking antipsychotic medication for at least 6 months.
Method Twenty participants with schizophrenia spectrum disorders received CT in an open trial. Our primary outcome was psychiatric symptoms measured using the Positive and Negative Syndromes Scale (PANSS), which was administered at baseline, 9 months (end of treatment) and 15 months (follow-up). Secondary outcomes were dimensions of hallucinations and delusions, self-rated recovery and social functioning.
Results T tests and Wilcoxon's signed ranks tests revealed significant beneficial effects on all primary and secondary outcomes at end of treatment and follow-up, with the exception of self-rated recovery at end of treatment. Cohen's d effect sizes were moderate to large [for PANSS total, d=0.85, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.32–1.35 at end of treatment; d=1.26, 95% CI 0.66–1.84 at follow-up]. A response rate analysis found that 35% and 50% of participants achieved at least a 50% reduction in PANSS total scores by end of therapy and follow-up respectively. No patients deteriorated significantly.
Conclusions This study provides preliminary evidence that CT is an acceptable and effective treatment for people with psychosis who choose not to take antipsychotic medication. An adequately powered randomized controlled trial is warranted.

(Online publication September 14 2011)

c1 Address for correspondence: Professor A. P. Morrison, School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK. (Email: anthony.p.morrison@manchester.ac.uk)


New guidelines for ADHD among children
March 2012, Vol 43, No. 3

After six years of study, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has expanded its guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to cover both preschoolers and adolescents.

The previous guidelines issued a decade ago were limited to children ages 6 to 12, but advances in research have allowed the new guidelines to include children ages 4 to 18. “ADHD is a chronic condition, and it requires treatment on an ongoing basis,” says Mark Wolraich, MD, lead author of the report announcing the new guidelines. “We’re trying to provide clinicians with more specific criteria for making a diagnosis.”

The report, published in November in Pediatrics, recommends that preschoolers with ADHD receive behavioral interventions first, such as parent training in behavior management techniques. If those interventions fail, then methylphenidate (Ritalin) may be considered only for moderate to severe symptoms. There is some evidence showing benefits of methylphenidate in preschoolers with ADHD, but its effects on brain development in young children aren’t clearly understood. 

The Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved the use of most stimulants for children under age 6, although physicians are allowed to prescribe the drugs off label, says Wolraich, director of the Child Study Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

About 9.5 percent of kids age 4 to 17 in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than half of them take prescription drugs. Most children with ADHD don’t take medications for more than three years, with many youths developing coping mechanisms as they get older, Wolraich says.

The report recommends both FDA-approved medications and behavioral interventions for elementary school children and adolescents. The AAP also created a single algorithm to guide clinicians in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD, along with the consumer guide ADHD: What Every Parent Needs to Know.

THE AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION - New insights on ADHD treatment - "Medication should not play nearly as large a role as it does currently in treatment of ADHD."

New insights on ADHD treatment

October 2008, Vol 39, No. 9

Most health-care professionals have misinterpreted the research on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: They believe stimulant-based drugs are the most effective treatment for the disorder in children. But, according to research conducted by William Pelham, PhD, of the State University of New York at Buffalo, and others, when children, teachers and parents are taught behavioral modifications, medication doesn't need to be the central component of treatment.

"Medication should not play nearly as large a role as it does currently in treatment of ADHD," said Pelham at APA's Annual Convention.

That's particularly important since researchers still don't know if medications have long-term side effects. So far, research indicates that children who ingest a large amount of drugs, particularly in higher doses over years of treatment, may be as much as two inches shorter than the height they would have been expected to reach. Children prescribed smaller doses for less time did not show a height deficit, he said.

In addition, although these medications can address such ADHD symptoms as restlessness, fidgeting or impulsiveness in a classroom, they don't directly address ADHD's impairments, said Greg Fabiano, PhD, also of SUNY Buffalo. Such problems often include a lack of successful interactions with peers, deficits in reading and math skills, and difficult relations with parents and family members.

Another speaker, George DuPaul, PhD, of Lehigh University, discussed his work on Project PASS, which studied an intervention for children in first through fourth grade. He and colleagues have tested a variety of classroom strategies with the students, such as a peer-tutoring intervention and a self-paced computer math program. The results showed that the students improved their math and reading performance, with an interesting side benefit, DuPaul said: For some students, behavior improved as well.

-C. Munsey

New Scientist - Hidden dangers of failure to diagnose ADHD correctly

Hidden dangers of failure to diagnose ADHD correctly
  • 01 April 2006

IT SOUNDS like a mad idea, but it works. Take children who are unruly and unable to focus on their schoolwork, and give them amphetamine-like stimulants. Far from making them bounce off the walls, the drugs can turn little terrors into attentive students.

However, the idea of prescribing drugs related to addictive illegal stimulants has always caused concern - all the more so given the escalation in diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the condition the drugs are supposed to treat. Now reports are coming in of serious adverse reactions, including hallucinations and, in rare suspected cases, sudden death from cardiovascular problems (see "Hyperactivity drugs are out of control").

For the benefit of concerned parents, it is important to put the risks and benefits into context. ADHD is a socially and educationally debilitating condition, and places children at higher risk of serious accidents.

Sunday 24 June 2012

NEW SCIENTIST - Trials highlight worrying flaws in psychiatry 'bible'


HOW reliable is reliable enough? When it comes to diagnosing mental illness, most people would want the bar set pretty high, which is why the latest revision of psychiatry's diagnostic manual has become mired in controversy - again.
Last week, at its annual meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the American Psychiatric Association revealed results from "field trials" of diagnoses proposed for the next edition of the APA's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5. Essentially, the trials asked whether doctors would come to the same conclusions when assessing the same patients using the new diagnostic criteria.
While for some diagnoses reliability was good, others yielded scores little better than chance. Already, the results have led to two proposed disorders being relegated to the volume's appendix, which lists conditions that require further study. ...
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Psychiatrists are Deliberately Redefining Normal Behaviour as an Illness.

When all of the rhetoric is stripped away, what psychiatrists are actually doing is redefining bad behaviour as an illness and drugging it.


Experts have suggested a controversial psychiatric “disorder” may have been misdiagnosed in a large percentage of cases, according to a new study. The disorder is the highly lucrative ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

The study suggests three out of four cases may be wrongly diagnosed. On the basis, however, that ADHD has never been scientifically proven to exist, and on the basis that ADHD came into being after it was unscientifically voted into existence, it would be entirely accurate to say four out of four cases are wrongly diagnosed.

It is a figment of psychiatric imagination based only on a checklist of behaviours which could fit any normal child; “runs about or climbs excessively in situations when it is not appropriate”, for example, or “is often on the go; acts as if driven by a motor; blurts out answers; is easily distracted; loses pencils or toys; often doesn’t seem to listen”.

Any one of us can have an opinion about the way children behave, but we do not claim our opinions as scientific fact. Psychiatrists however, do. Despite the absence of proof to support ADHD, psychiatry has industriously built a multi-million-pound empire around it with no more than an empty deck of cards.

Combine the figures from England, Scotland and Wales and the ADHD “chemical cosh” drugs alone are worth £46 million a year. Psychiatrists claim those labelled have a chemical imbalance in their brains, but it’s a claim that has never been scientifically proven. The scam of ADHD and the chemical imbalance have been accepted by means of a slick marketing campaign, not scientific evidence.

When all of the rhetoric is stripped away, what psychiatrists are actually doing is redefining bad behaviour as an illness and drugging it. The child or adolescent has been drugged, and is exhibiting the effects of a dangerous mind-altering foreign substance in his or her body. The emphasis must be on workable medical testing and treatments that find undiagnosed physical conditions manifesting as so-called mental illness.

It is time to practice real medicine, rather than psychiatry.