Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dangerous Off Duty – Shooting Spree

As all veteran police officers will agree, the job of being a law enforcement officer is challenging and dangerous. But many will tell you that the stresses of the job are easily accepted by those who chose to wear the uniform and badge. All police officers bravely face daily the possibility of their own death on the job and also the possibility that they might need to use lethal force against another. Many who have served in law enforcement will tell you that the stresses inherent to the job are not as problematic as stresses from within their own personal lives or the stress of having a conflict with your boss. Police officers are trained how to use force but also taught how to restrain from using force, how to negotiate, how to de-escalate a hostile situation. These “peace keeping” skills are very important to the officer’s survival on the job and also to his/her effectiveness. When officers are confronted with a hostile situation, they immediately have a human biological response – an increase in epinephrine/cortisol. This blood hormone, Cortisol, readies the body to respond if the situation becomes more dangerous and needs immediate action. But at the same time, the officer's higher reasoning cognitive centers in the brain, are trying to control his/her base instincts of survival and also his/her own inherent emotional response to the event unfolding before them. To be a good well trained and properly behaved police officer – this cognitive control of the emotions is essential. Otherwise the officer might get “carried away” and use excessive force or alternatively not control his own fear and thus be unable to pursue the suspect.

Life happens, even to those who are charged with the duty to protect and serve. The story of New Jersey Police Officer Edward Lutes is one to educate us all of the perils of the hazardous duty of a police officer and the inescapable fact that we are all human even those who protect and serve. Those who knew Officer Lutes professionally, described him as a fine patrol officer.

So what happened on an evening in April 2002 surprised everyone in the Seaside Heights community. Officer Lutes went on a shooting spree, killing several people before shooting himself fatally.

What made a good officer snap?

As with all human tragedies, the truth was a complicated matter, with both personal tragedy and also deeper societal problems involved. When the story finally unfolded, it became evident that Officer Lutes had suffered many losses.In 1991 Officer Lutes’ mother died of cancer at age 54. In March 1999, one of Officer Lutes' neighbors, Dominick Galliano was charged with sexually assaulting the officer's young daughter. Dominick Galliano was acquitted of the assault charges in January 2001. Lutes had been recently bereaved by his fiancee's death a year before in a car accident. Those who knew Officer Lutes said that this series of personal events had left Officer Lutes mildly depressed and also without the emotional support of his beloved fiancee. So the officer, sought professional help and was prescribed the drug Luvox for depression. Luvox(Fluvoxamine) had a FDA black box warning label stating that it can cause violent behavior and suicide, yet it was given to this officer for his depression.

On that fateful day in 2002 Officer Lutes fatally shot the man accused of sexually assaulting his daughter. Dominick Galliano, 51, wife Gail Galliano, 49, and their son, Christopher Galliano, 25 were all shot multiple times. Then after shooting the Gallianos, Lutes then walked across the street and shot Gary Williams, who had testified on behalf of Dominick Galliano at his trial. Lutes, not only killed Williams, 48, but also his wife, Tina Williams, 46. The Williams' 23-year-old son survived, by jumping out a back window and alerting the police. Officer Lutes got in his car and drove 20 miles to the home of his police chief, James Costello, whom he shot and wounded before leaving and killing himself.

The day that Officer Lutes went out and shot 5 people, he was being medicated with the anti-depressant medication – Luvox. The drug Luvox did not “cure” Officer Lutes’ depression. The effect of the drug on Officer Lutes could have been anticipated because there had been numerous reports of violent behavior of patients using the drug Luvox reported to the Food and Drug Administration. The US Food and Drug administration had issued a black box warning about the possibility of violent thoughts and behavior including suicide. The drug Luvox, like other psychiatric drugs has clear effects on brain function.

Psychiatric drugs including neuroleptic and atypical anti-psychotic medications block receptors in the brain and cause a decrease the flow of dopamine – a neurotransmitter. Most importantly these medications cause a decrease in the cognitive abilities of the patient – thus affecting the higher centers of the brain involved in reasoning and behavioral control.

When a police officer is under stress, there is an increase in cortisol in the blood stream. During a life or death experience, or a life altering tragedy, this powerful blood borne hormone allows the body to respond quickly to danger. Police Officers and those who deal daily with stressful situations at work, quickly learn how to manage their own responses to the rapid increase of cortisol. Often during a particular event, the officer will suspend his own feelings and instead act in the moment. Rapid responses allow the officer to respond to danger quickly and efficiently. But after the event is over, he must go home and find some way to relax. This may prove difficult because not all events in an officer’s life are easy to forget – some sights, sounds, smells and feelings persist even during the sleep cycle. Thus it is not unusual for officers to use alcohol to drown the painful memories or to utilize prescription medications like sleep aids. But the use of medications like Luvox for this purpose must be re-examined. Drugs like Luvox cause a rise in blood cortisol thus causing the period of heightened response to be longer.

Anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, neuroleptics are very dangerous medications. These drugs do not “cure” stress or depression – they mask symptoms and give rise to other unwanted side effects. There can be a number of undesirable neuroleptic effects of the medications on the patient including:

1. Psychomotor Retardation – motor slowing, body not moving so well

2. Emotional indifference - not being emotionally responsive / not caring, apathy, lack of initiative, limited range of emotion

3. Reduced initiative – not showing interest in initiating activity

4. Slowing of thought – decreased reasoning ability

5. Tremors

6. Difficulty eating and talking

7. Memory impairment

8. Not being able to sit still, pacing

9. Racing thoughts, restlessness and agitation

One side effect is racing thoughts, restlessness, and agitation this can lead to violent thoughts and actions. Because these medications slow down the ability of the upper levels of the brain to do cognitive reasoning, the patient can’t think clearly and can’t use reason to over-ride basic human emotions. Thus human emotions of fear, anger, revenge, frustration, are not moderated by the higher reasoning portions of the brain and thus actions can occur without reasoned control. This functional lack of inhibition by the higher brain centers means lack of control over one’s actions. For a police officer, trained to use lethal force, dealing with multiple personal traumas and with anger at the system that failed in his eyes to protect his daughter from sexual harm, the use of a drug like Luvox was lethal – not just to Officer Lutes but those around him.

We need to carefully re-consider that the use of these medications especially those known to cause violent behavior. These medications are given much too quickly and with too little consideration for the side effects. They should instead be used only in extreme psychiatric situations that can be managed no other way, rather than how they are now prescribed for mild depression and described as “safe.” The risk of violence caused by these drugs is great - leading to tragedies like this shooting spree but also domestic violence, violent crime and many suicides.

The efficacy of psychiatric drugs is complicated by a number of serious side effects which are associated with their use. These include a number of muscular side effects known as extra-pyramidal reactions: dystonia (muscle spasms, particularly in the face and arms, irregular flexing, writhing or grimacing and protrusion of the tongue); akathesia (internal restlessness or agitation, an inability to sit still); akinesia (physical immobility and lack of spontaneity); and Parkinsonisms (mask-like facial expression, drooling, muscle stiffness, tremors, shuffling gait). The drugs can also cause a number of non-muscular side effects, such as blurred vision, dry mouth and throat, weight gain, dizziness, fainting depression, low blood pressure and, less frequently, cardiovascular changes and, on occasion, sudden death.

Tardive dyskinesia is a very serious and potentially lethal side effect of anti-psychotic drugs. Tardive dyskinesia is a generally irreversible neurological disorder characterized by involuntary rhythmic and grotesque movement of the face, mouth, tongue, and jaw. The patient's extremities, neck, back and torso can also, become involved. These psychiatric medications have significant and often unpredictable short term and long term risks of harmful side effects."

Officer Edward Lutes' case was joined with the case of Mark Taylor, the Columbine shooting victim in a case against Solvay Pharmaceuticals. Solvay Pharmaceuticals continued to market the drug Luvox even after the FDA demanded that a black box warning label be placed on their product. Luvox was sold by Solvay to another pharmaceutical company and re-named and still sold even after several mass shooting tragedies. These psychiatric medications with this black box warning label about violent behavior, continue to be sold to countless patients - some of whom are police officers.

For Further information about FDA:

Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

Additional Information about Officer Lutes case:

Luvox Adverse Symptoms include:
• Drowsiness
• difficulty concentrating, memory problems, or confusion
• dry mouth
• headache
• nausea
• vomiting
• diarrhea
• stomach pain
• constipation
• indigestion
• gas
• change in taste
• decreased appetite
• weight loss
• nervousness
• weakness
• unsteadiness
• changes in sex drive or ability
• chest pain
• problems with coordination
• dizziness
• hallucination (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
• fever, sweating, confusion, fast or irregular heartbeat, and severe muscle stiffness
• pain, burning, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
• shaking of a part of the body that you cannot control
• rash
• hives
• slowed or difficult breathing
• seizures
• loss of consciousness
• unusual bleeding or bruising
• bloody nose
• vomiting blood or a material that looks like coffee grounds
• red blood in stool or black and tarry stools

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Supreme Court Decisions: Corporations as powerful “persons”

William Blackstone once said “the most powerful individual in the state will be cautious of committing any flagrant invasion of another’s right, when he knows that the fact of his oppression must be examined and decided by twelve indifferent men.”

The jury is particularly important today, as powerful corporations encroach ever further into our political system. The jury is important to help counter-balance the powerful influence of the special corporate interests with those of the common people. As corporations use their great financial assets to lobby their own legislative agendas and ply their influence on even the executive branch of government, the jury stands as a sanctuary for justice for the American people.

Judges at all levels work daily to ensure that the court system protects the rights of everyday Americans. As a grassroots movement to protect the rights of “human persons” in front of our court system, we need to make clear that our judicial system must continue to offer a forum for all people, not just special interests, to seek justice.

But in the Supreme Court’s Citizens United case, a slim 5-4 majority allowed giant corporations unlimited license to drown out the voices of American citizens in our elections.

There have been over recent years many Pro-corporate Supreme Court decisions. In Supreme Court cases below it is easily demonstrated how these legal precedents can do great damage to the rights of everyday Americans, minorities, the elderly, consumers, the middle class, the environment, and even to established law.

For examples of how the Supreme Court decisions have eroded the rights of “human persons” see these important Supreme Court Decisions:

The right to a jury trial - Rent-A-Center

The Supreme Court in the Rent-A-Center case has diverted working Americans away from a jury by forcing them before an arbitrator. In Rent-A-Center, for example, the Court stopped American employees who work under binding mandatory arbitration agreements from challenging unfair treatment by their employers in court. Americans, the slim majority held, cannot even go before a court to challenge an unconscionable arbitration agreement.

The heightened legal standard to plead injury - Ashcroft v. Iqbal

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009), was a case in which the United States Supreme Court held that top government officials were not liable for the actions of their subordinates absent evidence that they ordered the allegedly discriminatory activity. At issue was whether current and former federal officials, including FBI Director Robert Mueller and former United States Attorney General John Ashcroft, were entitled to qualified immunity against an allegation that they knew of or condoned racial and religious discrimination against individuals detained after of the September 11 attacks. In this case the Supreme Court overhauled the long-settled standard for what an injured person must allege in a complaint to get a case to a jury. In 2007, the Court had handed down its opinion in Bell Atlantic v. Twombly. The Twombly case had previously set the civil concept of “plausibility” as the dividing line between complaints that do and do not state a claim. In Ashcroft v Iqbal, the Supreme Court held that top government officials are not liable for the actions of their subordinates absent evidence that they ordered the allegedly discriminatory activity. The heightened fact pleading standards, as required by Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, was extended to all Federal court cases. So after Twombly and Iqbal, these higher pleading standards will mean that American workers will all have a harder time winning legal cases about corporate wrongs.

The right to bring class action law suits - Walmart

In the largest employee class-action lawsuit in U.S. history the Supreme Court ruled that the case would not go forward as a class action suit. This was a major victory for Wal-Mart Stores and the case had been potentially worth billions in damages to the plaintiffs. As many as 1.6 million female employees from Wal-Mart were included in the sex discrimination case. Instead the court agreed unanimously that the litigation could not proceed as a class action form. This Supreme Court Decision reversed a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The court split along 5-4 lines over whether the group presented a common claim in seeking an injunction that would have forced the retailer to change its employment practices.

The right of small businesses to compete with the big business - Leegin antitrust case

Consider the Leegin antitrust case, where the 5-4 majority on the Court reversed many decades of precedent that had kept prices low for consumers, and had helped small businesses compete with corporate giants. The Supreme Court in this decision overturned nearly a hundred years of antitrust precedent in a groundbreaking 5-4 decision in Leegin Creative Leather Products, Inc. v. PSKS, Inc. The decision over tuned a previous decision which made it per se illegal for a manufacturer and its distributor to agree on a minimum price at which the distributor may resell the manufacturer’s goods.

The right of victims of environmental disasters to obtain adequate compensation - Exxon v Baker

See the Supreme Court Case Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker, 554 U.S. 471 (2008). This Supreme Court decision took the opinion that the punitive damages awarded to the victims of the Exxon Valdez oil spill should be reduced from US$2.5 billion to US$500 million.

Employment Discrimination based on race or gender – Ledbetter v Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 550 U.S. 618 (2007), is an employment discrimination decision of the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Alito held for the five-justice majority that employers cannot be sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act over race or gender pay discrimination if the claims are based on decisions made by the employer 180 days ago or more. Lilly Ledbetter found that she had been paid less than her male counterparts year after year despite working just as hard, Ms. Ledbetter brought suit against her employer. A jury heard the evidence in the case, found that the big corporation had indeed discriminated against Ms. Ledbetter, and awarded her back pay and damages. Then the corporation got the case before the Supreme Court. The conservatives on the Court decided to take the decision away from the jury.

Age Discrimination - Gross v FBL Services

In Gross v. FBL Services, a 54-year old man claimed that his employer had discriminated against him because of his age. A jury agreed. Again, the corporation turned to the Supreme Court. And again, a narrow majority of Justices overturned the jury decision – in the process making it more difficult for older Americans to prove they were wrongfully discriminated against on the basis of age.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Republican House Members withhold funding to important UN programs

In a straight party-line vote of 23-15, Republican members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs passed H.R. 2829, the U.N. Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act of 2011. Among other things, the legislation seeks to withhold funding for several important U.N. programs and initiatives. The action of the House Committee on this issue seeks to restrict U.S. participation in the Human Rights Council which had issued a groundbreaking resolution addressing violence, discrimination, and incitement to religious hatred and the first ever resolution addressing violence and discrimination against LGBT persons.

"Eliminating U.S. engagement with the Human Rights Council would undermine the global leadership of the United States and our ability to build support to advance vital human rights protections for people around the world," read the letter from The Leadership Conference.

A key provision of the bill that cuts funding to U.N. bodies tasked with implementing human rights conventions to which the U.S. is not a party, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the most comprehensive women's human rights treaty. This cut in funding would undermine the U.N.'s work in advancing the rights of women worldwide.

See this letter written by the Leadership Conference sent to members of the committee on October 13, 2011. letter opposing H.R. 2829

Friday, December 2, 2011

Human Rights as a Mental Patient - What about informed consent?

What actually happened to Mark Taylor the miracle boy who survived being shot at the Columbine High School? Mark showed great strength of character to go through rehabilitation after his shooting and also great psychological resilience of spirit. Mark Taylor's recovery required multiple surgeries, an initial hospital stay of two months and the anguish of having tubes thrust down his throat and tubes placed in his side. ”The horror of what I went through in the hospital, I can’t even put in words,” said Taylor, who was shot by Eric Harris on April 20, 1999 during the Columbine High School shooting.

Mark Taylor like many other victims of trauma had to fight back against the odds; it was a long journey of physical rehabilitation as well as spiritual journey that took him from shock to understanding. Mark chose to write a book about his experiences which highlighted the importance of his Christian faith and his own pathway to forgiveness and understanding. He has forgiven shooters Harris and Dylan Klebold and their families. He has talked to gang members and Vietnam veterans about forgiveness.

See the following website:

Mark was a citizen whistleblower against the dangers of antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs. During the rigorous process of discovery prior to the legal battle with Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Mark Taylor was able to expose many dangerous truths about the pharmaceutical industry’s fraud against the American public. The pharmaceutical industry does not take kindly to this kind of exposure of their deeper secrets. Thus Mark Taylor and his mother, Donna Mae Taylor, were targeted with anonymous violence, surveillance, harassment, petty crimes, entrapment schemes and even a mysterious methane gas leak that forced Mark’s brother to seek medical care out of the state. During all this Mark was courageous and continuing to move forward with his life and sell his book.

Many of the other Columbine victims/survivors settled with the pharmaceutical company after threats that the lawsuit would ruin them financially. Mark and his mother experience continuing retaliation, threats of counter law suits, intimidation, surveillance and other forms of bullying behavior against Mark Taylor and his family. This is presumed to be intended to cause him to drop his law suit and to cease his public advocacy against antidepressants, SSRI medications and other psychotropic drugs.

In 2009 Mark Taylor was continuing to heal from his trauma and trying to continue to move forward with his life and sell his book, he was involved in television and radio show appearances and many book signings. Mark was told that he is accused of writing a letter that he would bomb a bookstore in Colorado Springs. He protests he is innocent of those accusations and that they are not true. He and his mother have no idea who started this hostile gossip.

Those with negative intent can often use the powerful mental health law to their advantage. Those wishing to silence Mark’s advocacy against the pharmaceutical drugs were suspected of being behind this fabricated allegation. Mark denies the truth of these accusations, but Mark is still grabbed by the police and put in 72 hours mental health hold in the hospital. So all it took was someone stating something and his freedom was lost, his right to face his accuser denied and his right to due process ignored. In addition he is denied his liberty and even his right to decide his own fate and medical care. He is held in incognito detention and his family is not allowed to see him for some time. During this time, those in charge of his captivity clearly get power over him – physically, emotionally, psychologically and legally. Mark is drugged against his consent, and held for a month and then let go with outpatient care but forced to take medications. Mark is then under the medical community’s monitoring and control. So suddenly Mark Taylor who has never had any due process, is not accused of any crime is now being forcibly drugged against his consent with lifelong consequences for him.

Doctors are very much influenced by what the pharmaceutical companies advertising states about these psychiatric medications. When facing a charge of mental illness, the patient is rarely believed and accusations against him readily believed. Then after that incident Mark Taylor’s mother reports that he was just walking in his neighborhood and he is suddenly confronted with police who drag him off on false pretenses that he was acting weird and they incarcerate him in a mental facility. He was admitted to the hospital. While there the mental health professionals decide to forcibly drug him with psychotropic medications without his informed consent and again refuse to let him for some time to communicate with his family. He finally was released as an outpatient but only after addicting him to psychotropic medications. Many who saw Mark prior to these hospitalizations remarked that Mark Taylor had resilience and had come a long way in his recovery. But with the use of powerful mind altering drugs, Mark slips into a state of incapacity. The very effects of the drugs make it less possible for Mark to express himself and to assert his rights as a human person. These drugs themselves cause a disruption in the ability to think. After his hospitalization the effects of the drugging on him are clearly evident. (See the video above)

In all these decisions Mark himself is not respected for what his own wishes were in regards to psychiatric medications - his views were very well known to all who heard him speak publicly and who read his book, “I Asked, God Answered … a Columbine miracle.” The medical professionals have not discussed or really explained the treatment to the family and continue to down play the very visible side effects of the drugs. Decisions about Mark's care were made by the doctors with no consultation with the family or even Mark himself. Donna Taylor continues to be concerned if Mark stays on these medications for a very long time there’s a increased risk of developing an irreversible behavioral and physical conditions.

Continued treatment with psychiatric drugs will cause significant effects and many do not realize how these powerful mind altering drugs affect patients. These psychiatric drugs block receptors in the brain and cause a decrease the flow of dopamine and serotonin - both neurotransmitters. This is why patients develop symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease and get tired easily and move more slowly. Patients often show problems with speaking – getting the words out and also being able to think clearly and gather their thoughts.

These are the effects of the drugs themselves:

1. Psychomotor effects – muscles slowing, body not moving so well
2. Emotional indifference - not being emotionally responsive / not caring, apathy, lack of initiative, limited range of emotion,
3. Reduced initiative – not showing interest in initiating activity
4. Slowing of thought
5. Tremors
6. Difficulty eating and talking
7. Memory impairment
8. Not being able to sit still, pacing

These are not symptoms of the underlying disease - these are caused by the drugs themselves.

Thus the very effects of the drugs make it less possible for any patient to express himself and to assert his rights as a human person. These drugs themselves cause a disruption in the ability to think. High enough doses over a long period of time of many of these medications makes people quite depressed. Thus a cyclic drugging can get started with ever increasing symptoms of the drugs themselves which causes the treatment team to keep adding drug upon drug to manage the actual effects of the medications.

Mark's mother objects to the continued administration of even stronger drugs to Mark, drugs with more adverse effects that dull his mind, prevent his speech and slow his movements. She believes that he should be carefully weaned off these drugs and allowed to consider other options for mental health treatment.

Mark Taylor and his mother were staying with friends when one day Mark starts to experience an adverse effect of the very medication he was forced to take.

Mark was observed by a friend to have a short blacking out period and to be feeling these serotonin related side effects which were directly caused by the medication and his prescribed decreased dosage (caused by decreased levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin). This friend called an ambulance and Mark was admitted to the hospital – suffering from SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome – a side effect of his psychiatric medication.

Tapering off very, very, very slowly has proven the safest and most effective method of withdrawal of psychiatric medications. When discontinuing or withdrawing from a psychiatric medication that affects the brains serotonin level, a dangerous situation can occur a condition called the "SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome." When serotonergic activity dramatically decreases because the neurons aren't able to communicate properly with each other anymore. As a result of this decreased serotonergic activity, side-effects occur. Sometimes these side-effects are reported by the patient as feeling like electric shocks, zaps or shivers in the head (brain) or sometimes like “pins and needles” in the skin or like a light flickering in his/her head. These symptoms are sometimes so severe that the patient feels confused or like on the verge of blacking out or losing consciousness. These sensory disturbances may make the patient feel very confused and may involve short periods of short-term memory loss or absences. These absences are actually petit mal seizures which may be invisible to the observer and not recognized as epileptic activity.

This is an effect of the withdrawal of the prescribed drug itself - not a symptom of mental illness. It is caused by the drug.

Then the terrible tragedy of the downward spiral of more and more medication, more dangerous drugs until finally Mark was at one point according to his mother, in a coma. While all this psychiatric drugging was going on, his family was refused regular access to him and he was totally in the power of the doctors who were able to charge $700/day for his basic care and even more for treatment and diagnostics. This meant that the hospital bill was surely over a hundred thousand dollars and probably much higher.

Currently Donna Taylor is fighting for her son’s human right to not be drugged against his consent for a condition he may not even have. Mark regularly tells her that he does not want to take these medications but the doctors ignore his pleas for them to take him off or at least reduce the dosage. Donna Taylor is struggling against an entrenched mental health system where all the power lies with the hospital and the doctors and where there is little effort to respect the human rights of the patient or to honor the right of Donna Taylor as the legal guardian.

So let us review what the World Health Organization has to say about Mental Health rights.

World Health Organization’s Ten Basic Principles of Mental Health.

1. Promotion of mental health and prevention of mental disorders
2. Access to basic mental health care
3. Mental health assessments in accordance with internationally accepted principles
4. Provision of least restrictive type of mental health care
5. Self-determination
6. Right to be assisted in the exercise of self-determination
7. Availability of review procedure
8. Automatic periodical review mechanism
9. Qualified decision-maker
10. Respect of the rule of law

Everyone should benefit from the best possible measures to promote their mental well-being and to prevent mental disorders. This includes: 1) mental health promotion efforts 2) mental health prevention efforts.

Mental health care should be quality care that preserves the dignity of the patient allowing patients to cope by themselves and providing clinical and non-clinical care and a system of care that is affordable and equitable as well as accessible. Mental health care should be available on a voluntary basis.

Mental health assessments should be done in accordance with internationally accepted principles and should include: 1) diagnosis 2) choice of treatment 3) determination of competence 4) determination that someone may cause harm to self or others due to a mental disorder. They should only be done for purposes directly related to mental illness or consequences of mental illness.

The health care provided should be the least restrictive and should consider: 1) the disorder 2) available treatments 3) the person’s level of autonomy 4) the person’s acceptance and cooperation 5) the potential that harm be caused to self or others.

Community based treatment should be made available and institution-based treatments should be provided in the least restrictive environment. (Restraints should be strictly of limited duration only 4 hours for physical restraint and all restraints should be documented).

Consent is required. This includes all diagnostic procedures, medical treatment, drugs, electroconvulsive therapy and irreversible surgery and also any curtailment of liberty. Consent must also keep in mind the culture and the advice of family or friends. Consent should be free of undue influence and be informed. To be informed means to be accurately given enough information to understand the disadvantages, risks, alternatives, expected results and side effects of any treatment.

The designation of a surrogate decision maker should be made only in occasional instances and that person is empowered to make decisions in the patient’s behalf.

Persons have the right to be assisted in the exercise of self-determination if they have difficulties in general knowledge, ability to speak or other problem resulting from disability.

Mental health decisions are open to review at the request of interested parties including the person involved and should be done in a timely fashion. The patient should not be prevented to access review on the basis of his or her health status. The patient should be given an opportunity to be heard in person.

There also should be an automatic periodic review mechanism for all decisions that involve the integrity and or liberty of the person (treatment or hospitalization). These reviews should be conducted every 6 months by an official qualified decision maker. The decision making body should be more than one person and best if they are from different relevant disciplines.

A judge or other official decision maker such as a surrogate or guardian should be:
1) Competent 2) Knowledgeable 3) Independent 4) Impartial

There should be respect for the rule of law which can include the constitution, international case law, international agreements, regulations, laws, orders and decrees. The law should be accessible and understandable.

Foster Care Children Inappropriately Overdrugged

Children in foster care are a very vulnerable population having been removed from abusive or neglectful homes. These children are experiencing childhood trauma, grief at loss of their biological family, loss of their home community and often having experienced severe abuse – physical, psychological, emotional and sexual. These are children who often have experienced years of trauma leaving them with complex post traumatic stress. Thus they are prone to show the symptoms of PTSD - which is often misunderstood and therefore is often treated as other mental health conditions instead.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is best handled by cognitive behavioral therapy – this is proven to be effective for victims/survivors of sexual assault and also survivors of combat trauma. Cognitive behavioral therapy is usually provided by a therapist or psychologist. These children have come from a home environment which is like a combat zone – domestic violence, drug dealers, drive by shootings, child sexual abuse by relatives, abusive punishments, parents with mental illness who act irrationally and arbitrarily, and other traumatic events. Psycho-social treatment has better outcomes.

Child placement agencies, foster care parents and residential treatment centers get paid a daily sum for the care of a foster child. These allocated amounts are based on the federal entitlement system IV-e and are based on the level of care the child needs. The more difficult the child is to care for the higher the daily payment for care. Thus it is in the interest of the state agencies, social service workers, foster parents, and therapeutic clinicians to make the child appear on paper to need the highest level of care possible. Many foster children are labeled with more than one psychological diagnosis in order to upgrade their status to a higher level. Foster care daily rates run from $17 per day to $1,000 per day. To those in the business of providing welfare medical services, a child diagnosed with a mental disorder and placed on psychiatric drugs provides more income than a child without problems. In addition pharmaceutical companies often provide a "finders fee" to doctors who find additional children to place in clinical trials of drugs for "off label use". Psychiatrists who prescribe these medications according to pharmaceutical company directives are rewarded with paid educational conferences and continuing education credits, research funding and priority for selection to serve on prestigious posts at universities and on governmental agencies or public commissions. Talk therapy is not the usual work of psychiatrists in this modern age of mind altering psychiatric medications. Instead the standard psychiatrist is a clinician who uses drugs to alter behavior and spends very direct face to face time with patients. Prescribing psychiatrists are only required to spend 15 minutes every 90 days with their patient in order to collect their professional fee as a patient's doctor.

Thousands of foster children are routinely prescribed doses of psychotropic drugs that are higher than the maximum levels cited in guidelines based on FDA approved labels. This increases the potential for adverse side effects and does not typically increase the efficacy of the drugs to any appreciable extent. Even children as young as one year old were prescribed psychiatric drugs even though there were no mental health conditions in infants which would warrant their use. This certainly could result in serious adverse effects including metabolic and cardiovascular problems.

A 3 year old girl in Kansas died as a result of being overdosed on Seroquel. Both parents were former drug addicts and both diagnosed with bipolar disorder. This 3 year old girl starts acting out, banging her head against the wall, and even tried to suffocate a dog. The little girl who was only 37 pounds was prescribed 6o mgs/day.

Many of these drugs cause symptoms that can themselves be construed as mental illness. The side effects of these drugs include suicidal thoughts, loss of coordination, hallucinations, kidney, thyroid, liver and pancreas damage, polycystic ovaries, weight gain, diabetes, tremors, potentially fatal neuroleptic malignant syndrome, rigidity, tardive dyskinesia, depression, agitation, sleeplessness, nightmares, blurred vision, decreased appetite, tics, and psychosis. As a class of drugs SSRIs can create a unique combination of side effects that may severely impair judgment and impulse control in individual patients. Excessive doses of antidepressants can cause brain dysfunctions including disorientation, confusion, and cognitive disturbances. The FDA warning specifically links antidepressant use to suicidal behavior in four percent of kids on these drugs compared to two percent for kids on placebos.

When the children show these symptoms they are often given higher doses of the drugs or even additional drugs, rather than being given lower dosages or taken off these medications. So a spiral occurs of increasing dosages of more powerful drugs leading to great symptoms and decreasing function of the child. When the child becomes unmanageable, they are placed in a residential treatment facility at $700 or more a day for weeks sometimes much longer. If the psychiatrist wants to change their medication and get them “habituated” on a new medication the child might be hospitalized for half a year or more. This all happens at the US taxpayers’ expense.

In an effort to expand the market for psychiatric drugs, pharmaceutical companies capitalized on the use of foster children to test their products on this vulnerable population. These children were not given the right to informed consent, they were wards of the court in a judicial system that is overworked and understaffed and where even CASA volunteers have little time to carefully review FDA information or scientific literature about the safety or effectiveness of prescribed medications. The legal surrogate decision makers for the child are not medically trained and often accept blindly the advice of the treating psychiatrist. No information about the long term consequences of the use of these medications in children is given to these decision makers so crisis decision making is the norm with the pills looking like the perfect quick fix. In addition the pharmaceutical industry has for decades controlled the release of negative information about their products by controlling all the publicity of research findings (funded by the industry), using an aggressive legal campaign to shut down any malpractice law suit¸ out of court settlements with gag orders for silence and suppressing court documents from discovery by having them sealed by the judge.

Through aggressive marketing to medical professionals, teachers, CASA volunteers, welfare case managers, and guardians, the pharmaceutical companies have now pushed the treatment of children for such mental diseases as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia, often diagnosing them for these problems so as to use psychiatric medications “off label”. The Teen Screen program which pushed psychiatric drugs on school children is an example of this direct marketing by pharmaceutical companies. The pharmaceutical industry has placed industry representatives on major governmental panels and commissions order to influence policy to facilitate passing legislation that would approve the Medicaid payment of psychiatric medications for “off label” uses. But these drugs are not without risk, there are serious side-effects, including irreversible movement disorders, seizures, and increased risk of diabetes. Many patients who take these drugs also develop over time Parkinsonian side effects.

The prescription of these drugs is oftentimes very questionable and inappropriate prescribing to youth in state custody has lead to increased costs to the US taxpayer over the lifetime of the child. These children, who are often medicated with up to 5 drugs at the same time, have cognitive impairment, as well as physical dependency on the drugs. When they try to stop the medications they face severe withdrawal symptoms for up to 6 months and these symptoms can be misunderstood and the child instead re-drugged at high dosages. No study has been done to see if these foster children who were highly medicated were able to go on to productive independent lives after leaving foster care. During their years in foster care, many have been in and out of residential treatment, leading to disruption in their schooling. In addition these drugs change the child’s ability to think, reason, and also dull emotional awareness and response. This makes it difficult to learn and to relate to peers and their foster/adoptive family.

When they age out of the foster care system, they find themselves thrown out into a world that labels them as mental misfits, treats them with disrespect and forces them into being repeat users of the psychiatric industry/medical complex. Many end up in prison and then are force drugged by court order in prison and when they are released court ordered medicated for life. The costs of the repeat hospitalizations – at $700 -$1,000 a day along with the cost of medications at tens of thousands of dollars a year, is a cost borne by the US taxpayer often until the former foster child’s death.

Although these drugs produce no tolerance and no euphoria, they produce enduring post-discontinuation changes that are as extensive and long lasting as the changes underpinning current disease models of addiction. Patients also get withdrawal or discontinuation syndromes when they stop taking their medication or when their medication is lowered in dose. So when a patient runs out of medication or is suddenly put on a lower dosage they can demonstrate exacerbation of their clinical signs. Therapeutic dependence can be lifelong and thus the cost to the US taxpayer is also for the life of the foster child who often transitions into a life long welfare recipient or a prison inmate.

The danger of withdrawal from antidepressants and antipsychotics is well documented. The brain compensates for the blockage of the serotonin and dopamine receptors by growing additional receptors for these neurotransmitters. When the medications are discontinued or suddenly decreased, these additional receptors contribute to 'overload' of serotonin and dopamine flooding the receptor. This is known as discontinuation syndrome. What usually happens to the patient in withdrawal is that they end up back in the hospital again. These crisis admissions lead to being labeled with a new disease diagnosis – schizophrenia, or delusional or manic depressive and then placed on even greater dosages of even more dangerous drugs. The doctors in these instances are quick to blame the patient, for a relapse rather than considering when the patient last took his medication. Discontinuation syndrome can sometimes last for weeks or months - some people have said they can last as long as six months.

It has been estimated that 70% of the US prison population was once in foster care. Three in 10 of the nation's homeless adults report foster care history and this points to an obvious problem within our social service network. There are inadequacies in supervision of the placement of these children, clear indications of corruption within the system as well as neglect of the children’s needs. These traumatized children need us to protect them from abuse as human subjects for unauthorized research and we must as a nation be more careful in authorizing Medicaid payments for “off label use” of psychiatric drugs in our foster care system .

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Violence and Anti-Depressants

We are coming up on the 10th anniversary of the Columbine Shooting tragedy. On April 20, 1999, two teenagers, Eric Harris and his Dylan Klebold stormed the Columbine High School, in Littleton Colorado, tossing pipe bombs and shooting helpless classmates, killing thirteen and injuring 23 before taking their own lives. Harris and Klebold's deadly plan went undetected by friends, teachers, administrators -- and, apparently, their own parents -- until the killings began. Both Eric and Dylan were bright and generally did well academically in school. Both enjoyed their computer class in school. Jefferson County School District and Columbine High School officials did not address the environment of classroom and play yard bullying that existed at the school and students reported later that the bullying and harassment went on uncontrolled throughout the school. Following the investigation of the shooting it was revealed that Eric had been forced by court order to take psychiatric medication, the drug Luvox – an SSRI antidepressant that can cause violent behavior, suicide and homicidal thoughts. There was a group of twenty kids picking on other kids, including the shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. They got spit on and called 'faggots' and pushed around. These two troubled boys, Klebold and Harris, plunged into a computer world where they could re-invent themselves and become more powerful and intimidating than the bullies at school they despised. Nobody did anything about the school bullying situation. Many teenagers at the school were reluctant to take their complaints to adults out of fear of retaliation or of being branded a snitch. Then the two outcasts decided to retaliate against those who bullied them – and the worst school mass murder occurred in Littleton, Colorado.

Eric Harris had experienced the life altering trauma of sexual assault. He was further re-traumatized by taunting by school classmates and was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a natural emotional reaction to a deeply shocking and disturbing experience. It is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. Any human being has the potential to develop PTSD. But the use of Luvox - an antidepressant that affects serotonin levels in the brain was a disaster waiting to happen. Psycho-active antidepressants are capable of turning a depressed student into a smiling active killer.

What really happens inside the minds of "depressed" patients when these drugs are given? Let's consider first what is naturally happening to a victim of trauma and who has shown signs of depression or anxiety.

The truth is that sexual assault is a mind altering traumatic event that leaves its victims suffering Post Traumatic Stress. When a person has been forced into a situation that is life endangering, they respond by either fighting or fleeing. This is a very stressful situation and one that the victim cannot escape from and therefore the memory of the events brings great fear, anxiety and distress. The events that led to PTSD cause great fear, these emotional memories are etched deeply in the cognitive centers of the brain and linked by neural pathways to the deeper emotional centers of brain. These deeper emotional centers in the brain cause hormones to be released that act on the adrenal glands and cause these adrenal glands to release the hormones of cortisol and adrenaline into the blood stream. This hormonal release causes the heart to beat faster, blood pressure to rise and produces an euphoric state. This natural body response to the stress hormones allows a victim to flee, run, fight, and do the necessary things to survive. But after the real danger is gone, the memory of the horrible fear and the sense of eminent death that these events usually bring is forever permanently laid down in fast-track brain neural pathways. This is because in the evolution of human beings it was necessary to be able to remember your enemies and to rapidly flee or get ready to fight them. Thus the brain has developed a very fast neural pathway for the emotional memory center to get alerts from the cognitive front lobe of the brain and send information very fast through chemical hormones to the adrenal glands. These neural hormones then selectively stimulate the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. Cortisol is very powerful blood born chemical and in a few heart beats this powerful chemical message has readied the body to fight or flight. The heart rate has increased, the blood pressure increased, the lungs are breathing at a faster rate, and the parts of the body not needed for fighting or fleeing are given less blood. This all allows the body to pump blood containing oxygen to our muscles – the better to fight with and to run with. But the neural pathways that turn on this powerful message system do not have a corresponding turn off neural pathway. So once activated the body remains in alert status for a significant period of time until the affects of the hormones have worn off and the alert status for danger is over. But the next time those traumatic memories are triggered; the fast-track neural pathway is already there and immediately jumps into to action getting cortisol release from the adrenal glands. But sights and sounds that remind one of the trauma, make it happen even if there is no danger present – it is like being in a constant state of alert. Thus it is very important that a PTSD suffer learn how to turn off that response or at least moderate it, by using conscious awareness of how his own mind works to relax and to forget. Any medication that interferes with the ability of the patient to do this will not have good long term affects on a PTSD sufferer, and anti-depressants have been shown to actually increase cortisol and thus prolong the period of anxiety and fear.

In situations of sexual abuse and assault, the victim is helpless to flee and may have, through no fault of his/her own, failed to defend him/herself. The psychiatric injury of PTSD is caused by an external cause and leaves lifelong psychological scars. A person suffering PTSD will experience hyper-arousal to things in the environment that remind them of their trauma – these are called triggering events. A victim will also be hypervigilant looking for danger – be ever watchful. The impact of the trauma will cause the victim to have difficulty trusting others and forming close relationships (may appear withdrawn, uncooperative, defensive or aggressive). He/she may have fears and concern for her/his safety but have difficulty expressing feelings, be irritable or depressed. Victims have nightmares and difficulty sleeping. Victims may respond rapidly to events and be prone to anger. They may act out; have traumatic memories that are intrusive in their daily thoughts. They will deny, and avoid the memory of their trauma and have difficulty with concentration. They will be distrustful and often alienated. Individuals suffering from PTSD live daily life as if the traumatic experience is recent, even though it may have happened years earlier. Events, words, visual images that evoke the memories are called triggers and will cause the event to be constantly re-experienced. PTSD interferes with the victim’s ability to verbalize the events and their meaning. People do not believe, and deny the severity of the trauma thus blaming and stigmatizing the victim. Society has a tendency to blame the victim for not being able to simply “get over it” and this cultural lack of support can be classified as secondary wounding and promotes a victim mentality, thus keeping the problem going.

This is what was happening to Eric Harris when he was prescribed the anti-depressant Luvox. Luvox affects the neurotransmitter Serotonin or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects the brain and plays a role in aggression, memory, learning, pain, sleep, appetite, anxiety, depression, migraine, and vomiting. Several different classes of psychiatric drugs like anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, anti-anxiety drugs, anti- migraine drugs and psychedelic drugs affect the level of this neurotransmitter inside the neuro-synapses of the brain. Some drugs such as tricyclic antidepressants (TCA’s) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, making it stay in the synapse longer.

SSRI's and TCA antidepressants not only fail to modify cortisol, but actually stimulate/increase cortisol release. This is why these drugs can create a drug induced abnormally elated mental state, typically characterized by feelings of euphoria, racing thoughts and talkativeness. This can then progress further to a neurologically driven agitation. This agitation can range from mild leg tapping, to severe panic or even an extreme manic state. This does tragically lead directly to suicidal, aggressive and/or homicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Bill Forsyth of Maui, Hawaii, had taken fluxetine for only 12 days when he committed one of the first murder/suicides attributed to any SSRI. Joseph Wesbecker who had only been on the drug fluoxetine for 4 weeks killed eight others and himself in a Louisville, KY. at printing plant where he worked.

But the lesson from the Columbine School shootings was not learned, because in the U.S.A today these dangerous drugs are still being prescribed for depression – with fatal consequences. In 2005, Jeff Weise, aged 17, was taking Prozac and when his dosage was increased after his Prozac induced nightmares; he then went out and did a mass murder at the Minnesota Red Lake School.

News reports stated that Stephen Kazmierczak, who shot and killed five Northern Illinois University students at the Dekalb campus on February 14, 2008 had recently stopped taking medication and "had become somewhat erratic in the last couple of weeks." There was no apparent motive or any relationship with any of his victims who were mowed down as he fired more than 50 shots in a matter of seconds from a lecture hall stage. This was not unusual as often there is no motive with these drug-related killings. The profound influence of drugs on the person’s brain levels of neurotransmitters are affected so much that any sudden increase or decrease in the dosage can result in insane homicidal behavior.

Steven Kazmierczak was 27 when he purchased the shotgun and two of the hand guns prior to the attack. Kazmierczak had no criminal record but had been a patient for a year at Thresholds-Mary Hill House, a psychiatric treatment center for teens. Under Illinois state law he would not have been able to purchase a weapon legally if there had been a record of arrests or mental problems.

Current gun control policy is geared to accept that patients “under the care of a physician” are approved to purchase a deadly weapon. These pills do not “cure” mental disease – they alter brain function – often with devastating effects. Remember that the supervising clinical doctor is perhaps only seeing the patient for 15 minutes every 3 months. Some supervising physicians are not even seeing their patients that frequently, as they are allowing nurses or PA’s with prescription authority to actually do the face to face with the patient, in these instances the MD may not see the patient hardly at all.

Many states permit mental patients on these medications to purchase guns – not considering at all the fact that the FDA warning inserted in every antidepressant prescription warns of possible violent behavior and suicide. Those empowered to make public policy decisions on gun control legislation should reevaluate the assumption of low risk of gun violence from patients taking psychotropic drugs. When will the public policy on gun control actually reflect the research findings that lead to the FDA warning label on these dangerous mind altering drugs - when will we finally realize that taking a pill doesn't make someone "normal" or safe to handle a gun. Right now the legislation is worded in such a way as to prevent someone who uses non-drug therapy (such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or psychotherapy) from purchasing a weapon but place a weapon in the hands of someone else taking a drug that is known to cause persons to do mass violence.

When will public officials wake up to the real danger - the psychotropic drugs that cause disruption of brain activity and thoughts of violence.

Check out the full transcript of Columbine Shooting progress report submitted to the court:

See the following list of traumatic incidents and deaths associated with antidepressant use.

Violence & Antidepressants

2004 08/18 Antidepr. Violence Yvonne Jenkins, 27; medication for anxiety attacks and depression
2004 08/17 Antidepr. Violence "Man", 41; anti-depressant medication
2004 08/06 Antidepr. Violence Dr Joseph Coladonato, 61; antidepressant
2004 07/00 Antidepr. Killing Mark Hobson, 35; anti-depressants
2004 07/27 Antidepr. Killing Gerry Christensen, 55; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)
2004 07/26 Antidepr. Killing Mary Ellen Moffitt, 37; Paxil/Seroxat (paroxetine)
2004 07/11 Antidepr. Violence Alex Yun, 26; antidepressants
2004 07/07 Antidepr. Killing Gina Davis, 36; antidepressant
2004 07/06 Antidepr. Fraud Rene Rivkin, 55; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)
2004 06/29 Antidepr. Killing Raymond F Noll, 58; Effexor/Efexor (venlafaxine)
2004 06/22 Antidepr. Killing Emiri Padron, 24; Zoloft/Lustral (sertraline)
2004 06/18 Antidepr. Killing Timothy Joe Irwin, 42; antidepressants
2004 06/16 Antidepr. Violence Gale Thomason, 36; Celexa/Cipramil (citalopram)
2004 03/06 Antidepr. Violence Ryan Dowling, 25; antidepressants
2004 02/00 Antidepr. Violence Morag McManus, 57; anti-depressants
2004 02/22 Antidepr. Violence William J Heck, 35; Paxil/Seroxat (paroxetine)
2004 01/14 NewYorkPost Wellbutrin/Zyban (bupropion) induced delusion

Adults: Shootings, Violence & Delusions

2003 12/00 Antidepr. Dreams Denise Martin, 53; Paxil/Seroxat -dreams of killing
2003 11/01 Antidepr. Violence Frank Kendall, 37; Effexor (venlafaxine) -"flipped out"
2003 09/10 Antidepr. Killing Mijailo Mijailovic, 25; anti-depressants
2003 08/16 Antidepr. Killing "Mother", 38; anti-depressants
2003 07/08 AntiDepr. Killing Doug Williams, 48; Celexa & Zoloft
2003 06/17 Antidepr. Violence Merrilee Bentley, 36; -Effexor (venlafaxine)
2003 06/17 Antidepr. Violence "Mum", 32; Paxil/Seroxat & Effexor -attempted murder/suicide
2003 06/14 Antidepr. Killing George Harold Davis, 46; Paxil/Seroxat withdrawal rage
2003 04/00 Antidepr. Fraud Robert Treadway, 36; antidepressants
2003 04/08 Antidepr. Killing Colleen Mitchell, 51; Zoloft/Lustral & Wellbutrin/Zyban
2002 12/27 Antidepr. Killing Christopher Bernaiche, 27; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)
2002 09/26 Antidepr. Violence Wayne L Horowitz, 52; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)
2002 07/24 Antidepr. Killing Carol Ackels, 40; Paxil/Seroxat (paroxetine) -killing daughter
2002 07/12 Antidepr. Killing Lee Sims, 68; antidepressants, Paxil/Seroxat (paroxetine)
2002 06/20 Antidepr. Violence Andrew Meyers, 28; Zoloft/Lustral (Sertraline)attempted murder
2002 05/03 Antidepr. Killing Cindy Gail Countess, 49; Paxil/Seroxat (paroxetine)
2002 05/02 Antidepr. Killing Jason Davidson, 33; Zoloft/Lustral (sertraline)
2002 01/04 Antidepr. Killing Albert Pacheco, 47; Zoloft/Lustral (sertraline)
2001 10/25 Antidepr. Killing Scott Ellison, 41; "medication for anxiety & depression"
2001 09/02 AntiDepr. Killing Leslie Wallace, 39; Wellbutrin/Zyban (bupropion)
2001 06/30 AntiDepr. Violence Diana Reese, 40; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)stabbing with knife
2001 06/23 AntiDepr. Violence Paula Townsend, 31; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)tire slashing spree
2001 06/20 AntiDepr. Killing Andrea Pia Yates, 36; Effexor, Wellbutrin & Remeron
2001 06/08 AntiDepr. Killing Mamoru Takuma, 37; 10 times his daily dose of an anti-depressant
2000 12/26 AntiDepr. Killing Michael McDermott, 42; Prozac, Paxil & Desyrel (trazodone)
2000 03/25 AntiDepr. Violence Nadine Trewin, 31; Prozac/Sarafem -cooking cat in microwave
1999 10/00 Antidepr. Killing Donna Yost, 29; anti-depressant
1999 08/22 Antidepr. Rape Matthew Giannascoli, 21; Strattera (atomoxetine), an SNRI
1999 08/01 AntiDepr. Killing David Hawkins, 76; 5 Zoloft/Lustral tablets
1999 06/10 Antidepr. Killing Kelly Silk, 32; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)
1998 02/13 AntiDepr. Killing Donald Schell, 60; 2 Paxil/Seroxat (paroxetine) tablets
1997 12/00 AntiDepr. Robbery Christopher DeAngelo, 28; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine) -robbery spree
1997 08/05 Antidepr. Killing Richard Shuman, 55; Zoloft/Lustral (sertraline)
1995 12/15 Antidepr. Killing Gerald Clemons, 36; Prozac/Sarafem

Teens, Murder and Antidepressants

2004 08/23 Killing at Home 10 year old boy, 10; Prozac/Sarafem -killing father
2003 01/03 Killing at Home Ryan Furlough , 18; Effexor/Efexor (venlafaxine)
2002 11/02 Killing at Home Dustin Lynch, 16; Paxil/Seroxat
2002 05/29 Killing at Party Katrina Sarkissian, 17; antidepressants
2002 04/10 School Violence Sean McEvoy, 15; Paxil/Seroxat
2002 01/25 Killing at Home Tavares Eugene Williams, 18; Prozac/Sarafem
2001 11/28 Killing at Home Christopher Pittman, 12; Paxil & Zoloft
2001 04/15 Imprisonment Cory Baadsgaard, 16; Paxil/Seroxat & Effexor
2001 03/22 School Shooting Jason Hoffman, 18; Celexa (citalopram) & Effexor (venlafaxine)
2001 03/07 School Shooting Elizabeth Bush, 14; antidepressants
1999 04/20 School Shooting Eric Harris, 17; Luvox Related
1998 05/21 School Shooting Kip Kinkel, 15; Prozac/Sarafem

Anti-Depressant related Suicide (attempt) & Death

2004 08/27 Omaha Channel Vickie McCarthy & Paxil withdrawal: electrical zaps, suicide attempt
2004 08/20 Yahoo/Forbes Nancy Hugo, 57; -Zoloft: "urge to slam the phone into the side of my head"
2004 06/12 Antidepr. Suicide Perry Custance, 22; Lexapro/Cipralex (escitalopram)
2004 04/12 Antidepr. DeathCassie Jo Geisenhof, 19; Serzone/Dutonin -liver damage/transplant
2004 03/15 Antidepr. Suicide Stephen Leggett, 53; Celexa/Cipramil (citalopram)
2004 02/27 Antidepr. Suicide Deon Whitfield, 17 & Durrell Feaster, 18; Prozac/Sarafem -hanging
2004 02/21 Antidepr. Suicide Kaitlyn Kennedy, 16; Zoloft/Lustral (sertraline)
2004 02/07 Antidepr. Suicide Traci R. Johnson, 19; Cymbalta (duloxetine)
2004 01/01 TheLedger Report links Paxil/Seroxat (paroxetine) to crash
2003 00/00 Antidepr. Suicide Joey Casseday, 16; Celexa/Cipramil (citalopram)
2003 12/01 Antidepr. Suicide Michael Halton, 41; an anti-depressant drug
2003 11/00 Antidepr. Suicide Stephanie Fritz, 15 Zoloft/Lustral (sertraline)
2003 11/00 Antidepr. Suicide Joanne Marsh, 26; antidepressants
2003 10/00 Antidepr. Suicide Rhett Kunkel, 21; antidepressants
2003 10/29 Antidepr. Suicide Larry Boyd Smith, 61; Celexa/Cipramil (citalopram)
2003 09/04 Antidepr. Suicide Peter Hearn, 51; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)
2003 08/00 Antidepr. Suicide Candace Downing, 17; -Zoloft/Lustral (sertraline)
2003 08/00 Antidepr.SelfHarm Alicia Quartermain, 18; Paxil/Seroxat/Aropax (paroxetine)
2003 08/05 BostonGlobe Michelle van Syckel was suicidal on Seroxat/Paxil
2003 07/22 Antidepr. Suicide Julie Woodward, 17; Zoloft/Lustral (sertraline)
2003 07/08 Psychology Today Jamé Tierney, 14; Effexor withdrawal reactions, suicidal impulses
2003 06/12 TheGuardian Novelist Helen Walsh was suicidal during her time on Seroxat/Paxil
2003 06/01 Antidepr. Suicide Colin Whitfield, 56; Seroxat/Paxil
2002 09/17 Antidepr. Suicide Wendy Hay, 52; Prozac/Sarafem
2002 04/10 Antidepr. Suicide Jessica Viscount, 28; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)
2002 03/24 Antidepr. Suicide Joseph Scholes, 15; Prozac/Sarafem
2002 01/00 Antidepr. Suicide Gareth Christian, 18; An SSRI-antidepressant
2001 12/00 Antidepr. Suicide Douglas Bruce Hopey; Paxil/Seroxat (paroxetine)
2001 06/07 SSRI Suicide Kara Jaye-Anne Otter was 12... Paxil/Seroxat -child suicide
2001 05/23 Antidepr. Suicide Daren Alli; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)
2001 05/15 Antidepr. Suicide Jay Douglas Goodwin, 16; "medication"
2000 00/00 Antidepr. Death Child, 9; liver cytochrome P-450 2D6 deficiency; Prozac-related death
2000 11/00 Antidepr. Suicide LaVerne M. Shell, 63; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)
2000 08/00 Antidepr. Death Alan Ridley, 46; Wellbutrin/Zyban (bupropion)
2000 06/03 Antidepr. Suicide Kevin Rider, 14; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)
2000 12/05 AntiDepr. Suicide Jacob Williams, 14; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine) -suicide 2000 04/11 AntiDepr. Suicide Sarah Lawson, 22; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine) -voluntary suicide
1999 06/03 Antidepr. Suicide Hugh Blowers, 17; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)
1998 10/23 Antidepr. Suicide Jean Hurley's Husband; Prozac & Effexor
1997 07/28 Antidepr. Suicide Matt Miller, 13; Zoloft/Lustral (sertraline)
1994 06/01 Antidepr. Suicide Evan, 18; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)
1990 03/11 Antidepr. Suicide Chris Reid, 18; Prozac/Sarafem
1990 02/08 Antidepr. Suicide Del Shannon, 56; Prozac/Sarafem (fluoxetine)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Psychiatric Patients Have the Right to Informed Consent

Informed consent is an essential human right which was guaranteed by the Nuremberg Code and an ethical principle approved by the World Health Organization, the United Nations and even the US government. This is a human right that all human beings have under both international law and under US Constitutional law. Mental health professionals need to honor the ethical and human rights principle of informed consent. The human right to have informed consent is a right that even prisoners of war and convicted felons have and yet mental health patients, who have been charged with no crime, have been routinely denied this basic human right. As a third party decision maker, the legal guardian stands for the human rights of the patient when the patient is incapacitated. The legal guardian needs to stand firm and insist that he/she be fully informed regarding all medical treatment choices including the dangers of all drugs and treatments given.

The right to informed consent is delineated in the federal regulation Protection of Human Subjects, 45 CFR 46 also known as the Common Rule under the authority granted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Belmont Report was written concerning the Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the protection of human subjects of research. Since 1945, various codes for the proper and responsible conduct of human experimentation in medical research have been adopted by different organizations. The best known of these codes are the Nuremberg Code of 1947, the Helsinki Declaration of 1964 (revised in 1975), and the 1971 Guidelines (codified into Federal Regulations in 1974) issued by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Codes for the conduct of social and behavioral research have also been adopted, the best known being that of the American Psychological Association, published in 1973.

Respect for persons requires that patients, to the degree that they are capable, be given the opportunity to choose what shall or shall not happen to them. Information about risks should never be withheld for the purpose of eliciting the cooperation of a patient and truthful answers should always be given to direct questions about the treatment and research. But a lack of informed consent is exactly what has happened to many mental health patients. The medical information about these drugs is often conveyed to the legal guardian in a technical, disorganized and rapid fashion and thus there is often not sufficient time to consider the information or to question it. Often there is no substantive discussion with hospital or clinic staffs in which the views of the patient and the legal guardian were honored and listened to; instead patients are often ignored as if they did not have any rights to express their dislike for medications or treatment options. There is often no voluntary agreement to participate in research thus there was no valid consent. Informed consent requires conditions free of coercion and undue influence and it is clear that while incarcerated in a locked psychiatric hospital ward there is the use of coercion. There can also be the use of undue influence by the court appointed attorney through offers of inappropriate or improper reward in order to obtain compliance vulnerable patients. The doctor in his/her position of authority who can exert a commanding influence and who can threaten sanctions can easily force patients to take drugs against their consent.

The first priority for any mental health professional should be the identification of biological causes for the patients’ behavior and to rule out the role of any known pre-existing medical condition such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or physical brain trauma.

Neuroleptic Induced Deficit Syndrome (NIDS) can be caused by these medications which change in emotional awareness, sense of aliveness, and in the speed, and clarity of thought. The treatment effects felt by many people who have taken these medications are described as feeling like a zombie. Neuroleptic effect is present when the following features are observed:

1. Psychomotor Retardation – motor slowing, body not moving so well
2. Emotional indifference - not being emotionally responsive / not caring
3. Reduced initiative – not showing interest in initiating activity
4. Slowing of thought

As the dose of the medication increases, and more time elapses, it appears that the effects change – from sedative effects, into anti-psychotic effects, and possibly into other less desirable side effects; akathisia (restless leg syndrome), emotional parkinsonism (emotional blunting) and on into some other unwanted side effects. It is not uncommon when the first symptoms appear like apathy, emotional indifference, motor slowing or slow mentation that these were attributed to the underlying condition of the patient (the patient’s disease) when really they are the effects of the medication itself. A patient on these medications can initially demonstrate an improvement in symptoms only to later over time have that initial improvement go away or to only reach a certain point and then plateau or level off. There is also one more important one effect: neuroleptic dysphoria – which is like depression. When this happens when patients are often given even higher dosages of the drugs, leading to even more severe effects.

Many of the symptoms that are used to justify hospital treatment may actually be caused by the psychiatric medications given. So continuation of these medications only creates a self-filling prophecy that furthers the financial goals of the hospital institution and may cause further permanent brain damage.

A medical review of the complete medical record is necessary. Although dose reductions may or may not improve troublesome symptoms, they are often a good place to start. Dose reductions should be conducted gradually and with careful monitoring, unless an immediate health emergency (such as neuroleptic malignant syndrome) demands abrupt cessation.

Therapeutic drug dependence occurs with psychiatric drugs. Although these drugs produce no tolerance and no euphoria, they produce enduring post-discontinuation changes that are as extensive and long lasting as the changes underpinning current disease models of addiction. Patients also get withdrawal or discontinuation syndromes when they stop taking their medication or when their medication is lowered in dose. When anti-depressant or anti-psychotic medications have been in the brain for a while and then the dose is suddenly lowered, or if the medication is taken away too quickly there is a reaction to that change called Neuroleptic Discontinuation Syndrome. So when a patient runs out of medication or is suddenly put on a lower dosage they can demonstrate exacerbations of psychosis, become delusional or even hallucinate. Seizures can also occur from rapid withdrawal from these psychiatric medications. What usually happens to the patient in withdrawal is that they end up back in the hospital again. These crisis admissions lead to being labeled with a new disease diagnosis – schizophrenia, or delusional or manic depressive and then placed on even greater dosages of even more dangerous drugs. The doctors in these instances are quick to blame the patient, for a relapse rather than considering when the patient last took his medication. Discontinuation syndrome can sometimes last for weeks or months - some people have said they can last as long as six months. (see the article by Psychiatrist Dr. Grace E. Jackson MD)

Once falsely labeled with a severe mental illness or psychiatric diagnosis such as schizophrenia, the patient is then court ordered into treatment and subsequently forcibly drugged. Often forced hospitalization prevents contact and even communication with the patient’s family and friends, thus severing ties to those who are closest to him. While hospitalized the patient is especially vulnerable and thus unable to protect himself from adverse influence, coercion and threat to make him/her to take medications. If the mental health patient is a victim of PTSD, this would make the patient especially vulnerable when he/she is threatened due to the long term effects of trauma on him/her. Patients who are also economically disadvantaged may be because of this dependent status much more easily manipulated due to their socioeconomic situation.

Iatrogenic effects are inadvertent adverse effects or complications resulting from medical treatment and can include complex drug interactions. These kinds of effects are commonplace with psychiatric medications. In the USA an estimated 44,000 to 98,000 people die every year because of iatrogensis. Causes of iatrogensis include medical error, negligence, poor research design as well as inattentiveness to clinical symptoms reported by the patient and the patient’s family.

These psychiatric drugs are not of small risk but instead cause massive changes in the way the brain functions. Long term studies have indicated that there are severe debilitating and sometimes fatal effects of these drugs. Possible negative effects were minimized or not even discussed at all. There are risks of long term psychological harm, physical harm, social harm and economic harm. The probability of developing Parkinsons’ like symptoms is also great.

The so-called “atypical” antipsychotics are neither “atypical” nor “antipsychotic.” Not infrequently, these chemicals induce or enhance bizarre statements (disorganized speech or delusions), social withdrawal (depression), and sedation (encephalopathy), regardless of dose. The processes through which these medications exert destabilizing effects include receptor blockade (D2, ACH, histamine), electrophysiological (depolarization) blockade; direct toxicity (cell death); and induction of other disease processes (pneumonia, diabetes, hypothyroidism, Pulmonary Embolism). Unfortunately many prescribing clinicians are largely unaware of these problems and thus do not inform their patients.

Numerous psychiatric medications are dangerous and even life threatening adverse effects including: weight gain and diabetes, tardive dyskinesia (movement disorder), tremor, akathisia (restless leg syndrome), dyskinesia (uncontrollable movements, tics, tremors), dystonia, as well as the side effects of nausea, dizziness (low blood pressure), and insomnia. Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder, in which sustained muscle contractions cause twisting and repetitive movements or abnormal postures. It is painful to even watch a video of someone with dyskinesia or dystonia. The doctors when prescribing these medications tell patients and their families just to disregard these potentially life threatening and life altering side effects.

Many of these drugs cause symptoms that can themselves be construed as mental illness. One drug Abilify or Aripiprazole, is known to cause neurological side effects, gastrointestinal signs, movement disorders, disturbances in thinking, anxiety disorders, sleep disorders and even suicidal behavior. These are the actually side effects of the drug – yet when these symptoms occur they are attributed often to what they claim is the medical diagnosis. Doctors reported to the FDA that their patients had hallucinations, psychosis, heart rate, diabetes, cardiac problems, liver dysfunction, coma, and blood coagulation problems while on Abilify. Even a very cursory review of the FDA warnings and listing of adverse side effects would cause any responsible legal guardian to reconsider the use of these drugs on a loved one.

The Food and Drug Administration or FDA is the agency charged with protecting the safety of consumers. Hundreds of cases have been brought in the last several years against pharmaceutical companies arising from deaths and injuries attributed to drugs used to treat psychiatric disorders. The most urgent warnings are those known as “black box” warnings, in which drug companies are required to (or voluntarily) post warnings in bold black print in a bold black box. These warnings appear in the Physician’s Desk Reference and in the package inserts for the drugs, which doctors are presumed to read.

The black box warnings of Luvox included the possibility of violent behavior including homicidal thoughts. The drug industry makes it confusing that many psychotropic drugs have different names and different warning labels in different countries and thus what is known about dangerous side effects in one country may not be common knowledge for patients or even prescribing doctors in another country. There is suppression of the research findings of negative outcomes and also suppression of reports of clinical adverse events. There is little adherence to the guidance of the Food and Drug Administration guidelines in these matters, with hospitals and mental health professionals routinely ignoring FDA warning labels and withholding the truth from patients and their families.

Even a cursory view of the serious effects of these drugs would make any person be concerned. One clear possible outcome of the use of the antipsychotic drug Abilify is tardive dyskinesia. Tardive dyskinesia is a difficult-to-treat and causes the patient to have in involuntary, repetitive body movements that started some time after starting the medication. The only way to prevent tardive dyskinesia is to not give these medications to the patient. It frequently appears after long-term or high-dose use of antipsychotic drugs. Tardive dyskinesia is characterized by repetitive, involuntary, purposeless movements, such as grimacing, tongue protrusion, lip smacking, puckering and pursing of the lips, rapid eye blinking and rapid finger movements. To knowingly force someone unnecessarily on medications that cause this outcome could surely be considered cruel and unusual punishment or even torture – because life with tardive dyskinesia is daily torture. Tardive dyskinesia is often misdiagnosed as a mental illness rather than a neurological disorder, and as a result patients are prescribed more drugs which increase the probability that the patient will develop this disabling disability. In such cases, it is critical to properly identify the signs of the disorder and stop drugs as soon as possible. These drugs have a tendency to mask the very symptoms they are causing, thus making it more difficult to determine what the problem is.

Physicians should educate patients and families about the dangers of tardive dyskinesia. The majority of patients who are on the drugs long enough will develop the disorder of tardive dyskinesia, with some getting this problem after only 4 months of treatment with the medication. The published rate for tardive dyskinesia among people who stay on the older drugs is approximately 3-5% per year - if you stay on these medications, for ten years, the risk of developing TD is 50%. (Dr. Grace E. Jackson MD ‘What Doctors May Not Tell You About Psychiatric Drugs’ Public Lecture, UCE Birmingham June 2004)

Many patients who take these drugs also develop Parkinsonian side effects about 40-50% (or more) experience Parkinsonian symptoms. Julia Child, a very famous cook over in the US and the actor Michael J Fox are both famous victims of severe Parkinson’s disease. In Parkinson’s disease people lose these dopamine cells in the substantia nigra area of the brain. With antipsychotic medication, there is not actually death of brain cells but the drug does affect how the brain cells function. So Parkinson’s symptoms do occur in a fairly high rate of patients.

There are also long term affects of these drugs called tardive dysmentia and tardive psychosis which are debilitating conditions caused by these medications. But doctors often blame the patient for these problems and attributing symptoms to the underlying condition and not to the medications own effects. Tardive dementia is caused by long-term use of the neuroleptics resulting in a depressive condition similar to NIDS that involves the frontal lobe of the brain. In some individuals, it seemed that long term treatment with neuroleptics was more likely to affect emotional centers in the human brain, and patients were seen to develop dramatic or euphoric mood swings and this was called tardive dysmentia.

The other antipsychotic Clozapine can cause fatal blood problems as well as other side effects of serious concern. Clozaril (clozapine) is a drug which was known to be associated with fatal cases of aplastic anemia which causes low white blood cell counts and predisposes patients to infections. Clozapine has also been linked to high blood sugar and diabetes. Doctors are supposed to watch for unexplained fever, fatigue and low energy levels in patients taking Clozaril. Clozaril has been strongly associated with possible fatal heart problems. [Presto v. Sandoz, 226 Ga. App. 547 (1997)]. Clozapine is also associated with neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) which is a rare, but life-threatening, idiosyncratic reaction to a neuroleptic medication which can be fatal.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects the brain and plays a role in aggression, memory, learning, pain, sleep, appetite, anxiety, depression, migraine, and vomiting. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRI's inhibit the uptake of serotonin or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) which is a neurotransmitter. Several different classes of psychiatric drugs like anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, anti-anxiety drugs, anti- migraine drugs and psychedelic drugs affect the level of this neurotransmitter inside the neuro-synapses of the brain.

Some drugs such as tricyclic antidepressants (TCA’s) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, making it stay in the synapse longer. Serotonin syndrome which can also be called serotonin toxicity is really a poisoning and is the predictable consequence of excess serotonin activity in the brain and elsewhere in the body which can be caused by therapeutic use of these medications.

The Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome is characterized by fever, muscle cramps, unstable blood pressure and muscular tremors. Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) causes changes in mental status, difficulty thinking, agitation, delirium and even coma. It can be life threatening and often fatal and requires immediate cessation of the offending medication and emergency treatment.

Serotonin syndrome may be mistaken for a viral illness, anxiety, neurological disorder, various kinds of poisonings, or a worsening psychiatric condition. Serotonin Syndrome which is less severe than Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome. What many people might not have been told by their doctors is that this problem can develop with SSRI medications. Serotonin Syndrome does not appear to cause death as often does Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome. Serotonin Syndrome can cause headache, agitation, hypomania, mental confusion, hallucinations, coma, shivering, sweating, hyperthermia (temperature as high as 104 degrees F and even go as high as 106 degrees F, hypertension (high blood pressure), tachycardia (fast heart rate), nausea, and diarrhea. In addition there can also be muscle twitching and tremor. No laboratory tests can currently confirm the diagnosis of Serotonin Syndrome and it is usually diagnosed base on the patient’s symptoms and clinical history.

Libby Zion died when she was admitted to the hospital for "flu-like" symptoms and the resident interns who treated her did not recognize that she was suffering serotonin syndrome, her temperature rose to 107 degrees Fahrenheit, and she had tremors and the interns gave inappropriate medication which caused her death. But in reality, Libby Zion died because physicians in general are not trained to identify the effects of psychiatric medications and to know their side effects and withdrawal symptoms. Therefore many psychiatric patients suffering serious side effects are given combinations of drugs that are often dangerous and sometimes life threatening due to physician error. Prior to her hospital visit, Libby Zion had been prescribed the antidepressant, phenelzine, and was given merpedine by the resident/interns in the ER - this combination lead to her death. The New York Libby Zion law, which is a regulation that limits the amount of time resident physicians' work in New York State hospitals to roughly 80 hours per week because it was assumed that the overworked intern and resident physicians who treated her made a mistake due to exhaustion and overwork.

Mental health professionals have an ethical duty to inform parents about the potential lethality of drug combinations as well as adverse effects of individual drugs. Yet some psychiatric drugs actually are combinations of drugs. As a medication for ADHD, Adderall was approved for unrestricted use for treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD by the FDA in March 1996. Adderall is a combination of stimulants (a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine). In 2005 Adderall XR was pulled off the market in Canada after regulators linked the drug to 20 sudden deaths and 12 strokes. Fourteen of the deaths and two of the 12 strokes were in children. According to Canadian researchers the adverse reactions were not associated with overdose, misuse or abuse of Adderall XR. The effects of amphetamines and methamphetamine are similar to cocaine, but their onset is slower and their duration is longer. (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) fact sheet).

Stimulants are sometimes used in combination with anti-psychotics. The use of stimulant plus atypical antipsychotic places the patient at risk of sudden death due to stroke or dysrhythmia (heart arrhythmia); neuroleptic malignant syndrome; tardive phenomena (irreversible movement abnormalities of face, tongue, neck, limbs, trunk); and diabetes. Stimulants are designed to enhance dopamine transmission. Atypical antipsychotics are intended to block it. In one sense, the pharmacodynamic effects of stimulants plus antipsychotics would be expected to oppose each other. In another sense, the brain’s adaptations to each class of medication might be synergistic. This enhances the risk of movement abnormalities, dysphoria (an emotional condition in which a person experiences intense feelings of depression and discontent) , and psychosis. There are neurotoxic effects of use of stimulants and antipsychotics together; the dangers include the inhibition of neurogenesis (creation of new neuron cells) and the induction of neurodegenerative changes. In other words, they prevent the healing process and can cause permanent brain damage and dysfunction. Thus the drugs currently given for psychiatric treatment are also likely to increase the likelihood of psychosis and other disabling effects.

A new drug recently put on the market is Saphris or asenapine by Merck. Saphris like other atypical antipsychotic drugs is known to increase mortality. This drug causes very serious side effects including the permanent and totally disabling disorder called Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, and also Tardive Dyskinesia, Hyperglycemia and Diabetes Mellitus, Weight Gain, Hypersensitivity Reactions, Orthostatic Hypotension and Syncope (fainting), Leukopenia, Neutropenia, and Agranulocytosis (white blood cell problems), QT Prolongation: (heart rhythm problems), Seizures: Potential for Cognitive and Motor Impairment and Suicide (a mother’s worst nightmare). Adverse reactions to the drug Saphris include causing akathisia (restless leg syndrome, unpleasant sensations of inner restlessness that manifests itself with an inability to sit still or remain motionless) oral hypoesthesia (loss of sensation in the mouth causes difficulty in eating and talking), somnolence (sleepiness) and dizziness.

Effective humane alternatives to these drug treatments for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD do exist now and should be promoted and offered to patients. Don’t mental health patients deserve an unbiased independent second medical and legal opinion before being condemned to lifelong mind altering drug treatment that could cause his death from one of the many side effects and with drugs which are known to shorten life expectancy?

The patient’s faith belief should be honored with what would be considered to be culturally appropriate alternatives to the medical and biochemical approaches to treatment. There should also be an effort to provide appropriate peer support or other alternatives to the traditional mental health system.

Psychotherapy is preferable to psychopharmacological treatment, and in many studies it has shown to be more effective than drugs (especially for PTSD) without the potentially troublesome and dangerous side effects. There are proven psychosocial techniques for modifying inappropriate behavior or speech. Mind/body connecting/focusing activities can be helpful. It is valuable to “make contact” with individuals who are unresponsive to usual forms of communication. Also, the mere act of “being with” a person who is experiencing profound emotional distress can provide great solace. [See Dan Dorman’s book, Dante’s Cure, for a real-life story of a woman who made a complete recovery from psychosis, and how that journey occurred.]

People labeled with psychiatric disabilities should be able to select from a menu of independently available services and programs, including mental health services, housing, vocational training, and job placement, and should be free to reject any service or program. Mental health treatment should be about healing, not punishment. Accordingly, the use of aversive treatments, including physical and chemical restraints, seclusion, and similar techniques that restrict freedom of movement, should be banned. Moreover, in part in response to the Supreme Court's decision in Olmstead v. L C., state and federal governments should work with people labeled with psychiatric disabilities and others receiving publicly-funded care in institutions to expand culturally appropriate home- and community-based supports so that people are able to leave institutional care and, if they choose, access an effective, flexible, consumer/survivor-driven system of supports and services in the community.

Reference on effects of psychiatric medications:

Dr. Grace E. Jackson MD ‘What Doctors May Not Tell You About Psychiatric Drugs’ Public Lecture, UCE Birmingham June 2004

Reference on Iatrogensis:

Weingart SN, Ship AN, Aronson MD (2000). "Confidential clinician-reported surveillance of adverse events among medical inpatients". J Gen Intern Med 15 (7): 470–7. doi:10.1046/j.1525-1497.2000.06269.x. PMC 1495482. PMID 10940133.)

References on Tardive dyskinesia:

Breggin, Peter R., M.D. (2001), Tardive Dyskinesia Legal Settlement,
Brašić, James Robert, MD; Bronson, Brian, MD (21 January 2010), Tardive Dyskinesia: Treatment & Medication

Crane, George E. (Sep 1973a), "Is tardive dyskinesia a drug effect?", AJP (American Psychiatric Association: American Journal of Psychiatry) vol.130 (no.9): 1043–4, ISSN 0002-953X, OCLC 104768868, PMID 4727768

Crane, George E. (Oct 1973b), "Rapid reversal of tardive dyskinesia", AJP (American Psychiatric Association: American Journal of Psychiatry) vol.130 (no.10): 1159, ISSN 0002-953X, OCLC 104790755, PMID 4728916

Fernandez, Hubert H., MD; Friedman, Joseph H., MD (Jan 2003), "Classification and Treatment of Tardive Syndromes", Neurologist (Baltimore US-MD: Williams & Wilkins: The Neurologist) vol.9 (no.1): 16–27, doi:10.1097/01.nrl.0000038585.58012.97, ISSN 1074-7931, OCLC 111183504, PMID 12801428

Glazer, William M.; Morgenstern, Hal; Doucette, John T. (Apr 1993), "Predicting the Long-Term Risk of Tardive Dyskinesia in Outpatients Maintained on Neuroleptic Medications" JCP (Memphis US-TN: Physicians Postgraduate Press: Journal of Clinical Psychiatry) vol.54 (no.4): 133–9, ISSN 0160-6689, OCLC 119262955, PMID 8098030

Glenmullen, Joseph (2000), "Ch.1.", Prozac Backlash, New York: Joseph Glenmullen. Simon & Schuster, p. 38 .pdf

Gualtieri, C. Thomas; Barnhill, L.J. (1988), Wolf, Marion E.; Mosnaim, A.D., eds., "Tardive Dyskinesia, Biological Mechanisms & Clinical Aspects", Tardive Dyskinesia in Special Populations (Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Press): pp. 137–154, ISBN 0-88048-176-5

Hoerger, Michael (2007), "The primacy of neuroleptic-induced D2 receptor hypersensitivity in tardive dyskinesia", Psychiatry Online (Psychiatry Online) vol.13 (no.12): 18–26

Jeste, Dilip V.; Caligiuri, Michael P. (Feb 1993), "Tardive Dyskinesia", Schizophr Bull (Schizophrenia Bulletin) vol.19 (no.2): 303–315, doi:10.1093/schbul/19.2.303, PMID 8100643

Saltz, Bruce L., MD; Woerner, Margaret G., PhD; Kane, John M., MD; Lieberman, JA; Alvir, JM; Bergmann, KJ; Blank, K; Koblenzer, J et al. (6 November 1991), "Prospective Study of Tardive Dyskinesia Incidence in the Elderly", JAMA (Chicago US-IL: American Medical Association: Journal of the American Medical Association) vol.266 (no.17): 2402–6, doi:10.1001/jama.266.17.2402, ISSN 0098-7484, OCLC
116673469, PMID 1681122

References Libby Zion:

"Libby Zion". New York Times. March 6, 1984.

Philibert I.; Friedmann P.; Williams W. T.; for the members of the ACGME Work Group on Resident Duty Hours (2002). "New Requirements for Resident Duty Hours". Journal of the American Medical Association 288 (9): 1112–1114. doi:10.1001/jama.288.9.1112. PMID 12204081.

Zion, Sidney (December 18, 1997). "Hospitals Flout My Daughter's Law". New York Daily News. "After it became clear to everybody, including a New York County grand jury, that Libby's death was caused by overworked and unsupervised interns and residents, the Libby Zion law was passed: No more 36-hour shifts for interns and residents; from now on, attending physicians would be at the ready to supervise the young, inexperienced student-doctors."

Fox, Margalit (March 5, 2005). "Elsa Zion, 70. Helped Cut Doctor Workloads.". New York Times.

Jane Ellen Brody (February 27, 2007). "A Mix of Medicines That Can Be Lethal". New York Times.

Spritz, N. (August 1991). "Oversight of physicians' conduct by state licensing agencies. Lessons from New York's Libby Zion case". Annals of Internal Medicine 115 (3): 219–22. PMID 2058876.

Mental Health Visions - Using Human Rights Language in a Mental Health Context #14 Tina Minkowitz , Lawyer