Friday, September 30, 2005

Hyperactivity drug suicide risk

Hyperactivity drug suicide risk

Parents of children with an attention disorder are being warned by experts that a drug used in its treatment may cause an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviour.

New data from clinical trials of Strattera, used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), have revealed a small number of children aged from seven to 12 experienced such problems.

The Government agency responsible for checking on the safety of medicines is now looking at the health risks and benefits of the drug, used by children over six years old and adolescents.

However, Dr June Raine, director of medicines post-licensing at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said patients doing well on the drug should not stop using it.

Updated warnings about the risks of suicidal thoughts and behaviour are to be placed on a patient information leaflet for Strattera.

Around 15,000 patients in the UK have used Strattera since it first hit the market in July last year, although Ritalin is still the main drug used to treat the disorder.

The new advice comes after Lilly, the maker of Strattera, submitted further data from clinical trials which compared hundreds of children and teenagers taking the drug with those taking a sugar pill or placebo.

Five cases of a patient having suicidal thoughts were found out of 1,357 taking the drug in the trials, while there was also one suicide attempt where a child took several times the recommended dose.

No suicidal behaviour was found among the 851 people who took a placebo.

ADHD is thought to afflict around 3% to 7% of school-age children and is believed to be a genetic condition which affects those parts of the brain that control attention, impulses and concentration.


Find this story at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/health/thehealthnews.html?in_article_id=363942&in_page_id=1797

©2005 Associated New Media

School passes on screening teenagers for mental health 'disorders'

Thanks...but no thanks.
 
 School passes on screeing teenagers for mental health 'disorders'
 
 
 
 
By:C.T. Kruckeberg September 29, 2005 
 
The Washington school district handles at-risk students on a case-by-case basis, and does not use blanket mental health surveys such as TeenScreen, said district superintendent Dave Schmitt.
      TeenScreen, developed by the Columbia University in New York City, is a mental health survey schools use to try to identify students with mental health problems or at-risk tendencies that cannot be immediately detected. The program, funded in part through government grants, is used in 43 states, including Iowa, and was recently instituted in Nevada, New Mexico, New York and Arizona through grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
      While the program has received financial support from the government, some schools and parents don't agree with its methods.
      In Indiana, parents are suing a school district over TeenScreen. They claim their daughter's school, Penn High School in Mishawaka, Ind., violated their constitutional rights by not informing them their daughter would be subjected to such a screening process which, according to court papers, consisted of "yes" and "no" questions. The questions gave no opportunity for students to explain answers or offer alternative responses, yet determined that many students were suffering from "disorders." In the Indiana case, Chelsea Rhoades, 15, the daughter of Michael and Teresa Rhoades, was informed, after the yes-no test, that she suffered from at least two mental disorders: obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety disorder. Chelsea's parents, who were never asked to fill out a consent form for the test, were outraged, and with the help of a civil liberties organization, filed suit.
      According to Chelsea Rhoades, a majority of the students who were subjected to the TeenScreen exam were told that they were suffering from some sort of mental "disorder."
      Such a case wouldn't happen here, said Schmitt.
 
 
 

©Washington Evening Journal 2005

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Strattera suicide risk

 
 
Lilly (LLY: news, chart, profile) said it was adding the warning after an analysis requested by the Food and Drug Administration of previous clinical data showed 0.4% of the children who took the drug experienced suicidal thoughts. The analysis also showed that no such thinking was reported amongst children who took a placebo.
 
 
 

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Doctors told to stop giving antidepressants to children in England

 
 

The new NHS guidance marks a watershed in the treatment of children's mental health. It shifts the focus sharply away from the psychiatric drugs that around 40,000 children are thought to be taking for depression, anxiety and other problems. Children with mild depression should be given advice on diet and exercise, the guidance tells GPs. Those with moderate and even severe depression should be offered a three-month course of counselling.

The guidance is likely to cause consternation among GPs who do not have enough counsellors and therapists available to treat all the children who will need help. "The very significant shortage of practitioners able to deliver these therapies is a cause for concern," said Dinah Morley, the deputy director of the charity Young Minds, which applauds the new emphasis on therapy.

The government's National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice), which has produced the guidance, says only one drug - Prozac - may help children, and even that carries risks. Only if the "talking therapies" do not work can children be prescribed antidepressants - and even then, only in combination with other forms of counselling and close monitoring for side- effects.

Until recently, most under-18s diagnosed with depression have been treated by their GP and most will have been given a prescription. But in response to growing concern at the potential of the modern antidepressants to make young people feel suicidal - highlighted over several years by the Guardian - Nice has said pills should never again be the treatment of first resort.

In June 2003 the drug licensing body in the UK warned doctors of the risks in prescribing any of the modern antidepressants known as the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) for anybody under 18, with the exception of Prozac. All of them had a tendency to increase suicidal thinking, but only Prozac showed any benefit in children to counterbalance the dangerous side-effects.

A study in the Lancet in April last year, which looked not only at trial results the drug companies had published but also those they had not, confirmed the risks to children.

From the mid-90s until two years ago, more and more children who were diagnosed with depression were given tablets by their doctors. The SSRIs were much better tolerated than older antidepressants and were thought very safe for GPs to prescribe. The annual number of prescriptions to those under 18 soared from 13,227 in 1995 up to 27,658 in 2003.

But then the few clinical trials carried out in children had shown that the drugs had serious risks. Some children felt suicidal. That was the case with adults too, but significant numbers of adults appeared to recover from their depression. In children, there was not significant evidence, except for Prozac, that the SSRIs had any benefit to set against the risk. This only came to light because GlaxoSmithKline, British manufacturer of the bestselling SSRI, Seroxat, applied for a licence for the drug to be used in depressed children. It submitted the trial evidence it had to the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA), which regulates drugs.

The data showed that 3.4% of children experienced mood changes, tried to harm themselves or thought of suicide, compared with 1.2% who took a dummy pill in the trials. At the time, there were 8,000 children on Seroxat. In June 2003 the MHRA put out a warning to doctors that they should no longer prescribe it to under-18s. In September they issued a similar warning for a second drug, Efexor. On December 11 the MHRA told doctors all the drugs, except for Prozac, were unsuitable for children, although it left it up to doctors to decide whether or not to continue using them, and many are thought to have done so.

Tim Kendall, joint director of the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, who was one of the authors of the Lancet study and also led the formulation of the Nice guidelines, said they were even more clear now about the risks. "No child, however severe the depression, should have their firstline treatment with a drug," he said.

He and his colleagues are concerned about the numbers of children with depression, which is sometimes triggered by a sad event like a death, but is often linked to poverty, deprivation, abuse and family breakups. "Our view is that we should be targeting these children as best we can," he said. "Out of 1,200 kids in a comprehensive, at least 40 would be expected to suffer a diagnosis of depressive illness and only 10 are getting any help."

The new guidance for doctors says GPs should advise children with mild to moderate depression on ways they can help themselves through exercise and diet. "But then if there is any significant risk, we should be offering individual cognitive behaviour therapy or family therapy, depending on their needs," he said. "We're really serious that we don't think these drugs should be used lightly."
 
Even when a young person is severely depressed, the first step should be psychotherapy for around three months. Only if there has been no improvement after four or five sessions should the doctor - and by this stage it would be a psychiatrist - consider prescribing Prozac.
Andrew Dillon, chief executive of Nice, said the guideline "makes it clear that psychological treatments are the most effective way to treat depression in children and young people." Children taking pills should talk to their GP about phasing them out.

At present, there are not enough counsellors and therapists to help all the children who may need it. Yesterday Louis Appleby, the national director for mental health, said: "We know that not everyone who needs treatment is able to access it easily or quickly and expertise and services are not equally distributed around the country." He added that the government was "considering ways of increasing numbers of staff" trained in cognitive behaviour therapy, which is usually the preferred treatment for depression. More than £300m had gone into child and adolescent mental health services.

Mind, the mental health association, urged the government to give the NHS the support and resources it would need to ensure children have proper access to psychological treatments. Research on antidepressants "has shown many to be totally unsuitable for young people. They must be provided with effective alternatives," said a policy officer, Alison Cobb.

"These guidelines are a welcome step in the right direction: the onus is now on the government to provide the means to make them happen," said Liz Nightingale of the mental health charity Rethink.

Danger signs

In 2003, under-18s in England were given 27, 658 prescriptions for antidepressants
40,000 children and young people are thought to be on psychiatric drugs, including antidepressants
Doctors were warned in 2003 of the risks of using Seroxat, Efexor, Lustral, Cipramil, Cipralex and Faverin in children and young people
A survey of GPs in March 2004 found 80% thought they were prescribing SSRIs to too many adults and children

Stop Medicating Your ADHD Child

 

Stop Medicating Your ADHD Child

By Gailon Totheroh
CBN News Science and Medical Reporter



CBN.com – (CBN News) Today, there are millions of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD -- kids who are hyperactive, or unable to concentrate.

Most of the treatment has focused on giving kids stimulant drugs like Ritalin. But there are concerns about the long-term side-effects of those drugs.

And there is also a growing movement to get away from drugs. Brain researcher Russell Blaylock says ADHD drugs can lead to brain diseases later in life.

He says, "The big question (is), are we producing a lot of children that, when they become 40 and 50 years old, they're going to end up with Parkinson's disease?"

Blaylock recommends nutrition as a better alternative to treating ADHD.

Physician Don Colbert agrees. He has written a booklet on overcoming Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and hyperactivity naturally.

Another key, these two doctors say, is to let an abundance of fruits and vegetables crowd out the junk food from a kid’s diet.

Blaylock says it is a difficult initial task to gather the good foods and supplements and avoid all the bad foods, but it is well worth it for the long term -- for the whole family.

And, he says that every child, as well as adults, whether ADHD or not, should avoid a range of food additives that are toxic to the brain. The technical name for these toxins is excitotoxins - the title of one of Blaylock's books.

Excitotoxins cause nerve cells to be hyper, damaged, or they may even kill brain cells. Although often called MSG or glutamate, dozens of food additives have these toxins.

And those additives have stealth names that hide their toxicity, such as aspartame, flavoring, hydrolyzed protein, broth, and soy protein isolate.

In practice, that means avoiding the majority of grocery items such as box mixes, prepared soups, flavored chips, and canned tuna.

But healthy choices, such as canned tuna that has only tuna and water, or another that has the ingredients tuna, olive oil, and salt.

"ADHD kids, in particular, when they're exposed to monosodium glutamate or one of the excitotoxins in food, it really throws them out of kilter -- they become excessively hyperactive," Blaylock explained.

A related no-no for the ADHD brain is sugar. Sugar, strangely enough, can actually bring on abnormally low sugar levels in the blood. And that increases glutamate release in the brain, yet another excitotoxic cause of hyperactivity.

Kids would do better to eat fresh fruit like apples – they are sweet, but they carry many nutrients, especially in the skins.

But you should be cautious of buying just any apples. Organic apples may be best because regular apples are often high in brain-harming pesticides.

Plus, Blaylock warns, it is best to avoid fruit in juice form because it can cause low blood sugar, and thus increase excitotoxins in the brain.

On the positive side, multivitamins with minerals are important for normal brain function. Kids' varieties should include iron, which is essential for brain growth and development.

And indeed, there are other brain-boosting minerals as well -- zinc and magnesium -- whether from multivitamins, individual supplements or food.

"Magnesium is really important in brain function,” Colbert said. “Again, magnesium comes mainly from seeds and nuts. About 75 percent of the population is low in magnesium intake."

But there are minerals that interfere with normal brain function, and parents need to consider avoiding these toxins:

- Tap water often has aluminum added by water treatment facilities
- Many vaccines contain both aluminum and mercury
- Dental fillings known as amalgams contain mercury.

Again, on the positive side, probably the most basic brain supplement of all, one that kids (and adults) should be taking—are fish oils that feed the brain like no other substance. Fish oils contain omega-3 fats.

Recognizing the importance of those fats, supplement makers are producing more and more options designed for kids. Fruit flavors like lemon and strawberry make omega-3’s easier to consume.

The most crucial omega-3 fat is called DHA. Some products concentrate the DHA to make the fish oil even more powerful for kids' brains.

"People who consume more EPA, but particularly DHA, have a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, macular degeneration -- these nerve disorders where they need that fat to make the nerves work," said nutrition analyst Bill Sardi.

For helping prevent ADHD in the first place, Blaylock says pregnant and nursing women should take omega-3s and avoid excitotoxins.

Blaylock said, "The brain undergoes rapid growth in the last trimester of pregnancy, all the way to age two. That's where 80 percent of all brain growth occurs. If they're exposed to these products, it severely interferes with the formation of these brain pathways."

Omega-3 oils are critical during this period, because the DHA provides the raw ingredients of the brain, and it blocks excitotoxins.

So what overall strategy should parents use? Blaylock says a cold turkey approach to junk foods is best, otherwise, you continue to stimulate kids' appetites for addictive tastes.

But Colbert suggests that parents use a gradual approach, at least for a portion of their strategies.

"It's taking these children and going through the withdrawals -- the sugar withdrawals, the caffeine withdrawals, the video game withdrawals -- it's really tough,” Colbert admitted. “So that's why they have to get a plan, they have to do it maybe as a group. Many of these parents will have to get together and start weaning them off it slowly, so they don't crash them."

And a gradual weaning from medication can be accompanied by introducing dietary changes -- dietary changes that mean better brain health for the entire family.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

As FDA Commissioner Resigns 125 Medical Professionals Demand FDA Quit Stalling On Psychiatric Drug Warnings

As FDA Commissioner Resigns 125 Medical Professionals Demand FDA Quit Stalling On Psychiatric Drug Warnings

9/27/2005 2:36:00 PM

To: National Desk, Health Reporter

Contact: Julian Whitaker of the Whitaker Wellness Center, 949-851-1550

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 27 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Protesters today descended on GlaxoSmithKline headquarters demanding a recall of Paxil, citing addiction, violent thoughts and anxiety attacks attributed to the drug.

125 medical practitioners have signed onto a joint letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), renewing a call to take immediate action on issuing stronger warnings for antidepressant and stimulant drugs, as a 3-day protest rages by consumer groups demanding Glaxo recall its $950 million antidepressant Paxil. The same letter, sent to FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford in July, 2005 and signed by 20 doctors, was left unanswered by the Commissioner prompting many to accuse the FDA of bureaucratic foot-dragging and procrastination. Senator Charles Grassley, (R-Iowa) who has spent months investigating the FDA, said the agency "demonstrated a too-cozy relationship with the pharmaceutical industry," and that "the opportunity to name a new commissioner is a chance to take the agency in the right direction."

The doctors' letters join recent efforts by Dr. Ann Blake Tracy, Executive Director of the International coalition for Drug Awareness (ICFDA) and Mrs. Bonnie Leitsch, founder of "Prozac Survivors Support Group" (PSSG) in calling for immediate federal action to warn the public that antidepressants can not only induce suicidality in adult patients - but also acts of violence, pointing out that the U.S. FDA has known of these effects since a 1991 public hearing on antidepressant drugs. Prompted by a spate of recent incidents of mothers murdering their own children while taking antidepressants, Dr. Tracy said, "These are extremely dangerous drugs that should have been banned, as similar drugs were in the past. Federal investigations into the violence- inducing effects of these drugs are long overdue." Mrs. Leitsch added, "In 1991, there was evidence of 500 deaths associated with antidepressants presented to an FDA Psychopharmacological Drugs Advisory Committee hearing investigating Prozac. The FDA's failure to issue timely warnings then has led to more suicides, homicides, school shootings and mothers killing their own children."

Concerned doctors are also pushing for FDA reform and action under new leadership. 25 European countries recently warned that antidepressants should not be used in patients under 18 due to the suicide and violence inducing effects of the drugs and recent clinical studies linked ADHD drugs to hallucinations, violence, psychosis, and suicide. Dr. Julian Whitaker, M.D., and principal author of the letter says the overwhelming evidence of the dangers of these drugs makes further FDA procrastination unacceptable, "It is beyond debate that these drugs have extremely dangerous side effects and that the public is not being kept adequately informed about these dangers," states Whitaker, "It is our hope that the new Commissioner will take immediate and swift action to protect the public from these dangerous and too often deadly psychiatric drugs."

Fueled by $4.5 billion in direct consumer advertising, ADHD stimulant drug sales have quadrupled since 2000 while antidepressant sales have passed the $20 billion mark, prompting many to question how profit-driven vested interests may be involved in the FDA's failure to warn patients of the drugs risks. "With literally billions of dollars of profits at stake, we are not surprised when we hear stories of skewed clinical trials, suppressed study outcomes, pressure placed on reviewers, and a host of other abuses," stated Dr. Whitaker.

As the U.S. becomes infamous for its spate of school shootings, with 8 of the last 13 school shooters taking violence- and suicide-inducing psychiatric drugs, leaving 29 dead and 54 wounded, the letter implores the FDA to "take a leadership role in conducting a soul-searching, completely honest review of the procedures used to obtain approval of any anti-psychotic, stimulant or antidepressant drug."

With over 8 million children and over 30 million adults including new mothers being prescribed violence and suicidal inducing stimulant or antidepressant drugs despite a complete lack of laboratory test to show that any neurobiological or physical condition exists, the beleaguered agency can ill-afford to procrastinate any longer.

The letter to the FDA was signed by a nationwide cross-section of medical personnel, including neurologists, pediatricians, family physicians, anesthesiologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, surgeons and obstetricians.

 

Prozac: Panacea or Pandora-whoradio

Prozac: Panacea or Pandora"?  Ann Blake Tracy, PhD. and Columbine survivor, Mark Taylor join to raise concerns about ill health effects of anti-depressants,  Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Lovan...etc.  800-280-0730 for the book.

Audio here: http://www.whoradio.com/mickelson/


Indiana teen suicide survey sparks lawsuit

Indiana teen suicide survey sparks lawsuit
Wednesday, 21-Sep-2005 5:01PM CDT      Story from United Press
International
Copyright 2005 by United Press International (via ClariNet)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MISHAWAKA, Ind., Sept. 21 (UPI) -- The parents of a Mishawaka, Ind., high school student have sued the school district for giving their daughter a suicide survey without their consent.

Michael and Teresa Rhoades said the Teen Screen survey their 15-year-old daughter took last fall violated their parental rights.

The Penn-Harris-Madison school district has already instituted a policy requiring written parental consent before students take the suicide survey.

However, the Virginia-based Rutherford Institute, which filed the suit on the parents' behalf, said it will pursue legal action with the hope of setting a standard across the United States.

"This Teen Screen program is in effect in 43 states and I would hope that this gives notice to other states around country that they can't bypass parents," Rutherford Institute President John Whitehead told South Bend, Ind., TV station WNDU.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Mandating Mental Health- Northampton, MA


Mandating Mental Health (7/13/05)
By Abigail Adams and Molly Hunter,
Organizers for the Freedom Center, Northampton, MA, a volunteer organization run by and for psychiatric survivors


On July 26, 2004, the Bush administration's New Freedom Commission released its final report, Achieving the Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America. The report's stated goals are to address the social stigma attached to the diagnosis of 'mental illness' and to promote consumer empowerment. If implemented the commission's recommendations would bring pharmaceutical companies' influence on public mental health delivery systems into every American household.

Clues to what this would mean to American families can be found by looking at the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP), initiated in 1995 while George W. Bush was governor, which serves as a model for the recommendations of the New Freedom Commission. The TMAP model homogenizes the prescribing practices of psychiatrists in state-funded programs by mandating which drugs are to be prescribed for the treatment of mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bio-polar disorder, and depression. Drugs that TMAP has hailed as miracle cures, actually have very little clinical evidence supporting their effectiveness in the treatment of mental disorders. In addition, the decision to prioritize these drugs in the TMAP's medical algorithms was made by panels composed of researchers over 50% of whom had at some point during their career been a paid employee of a major pharmaceutical company. The New Freedom Commission's report recommends the implementation of a similar blueprint for mental health treatment plans in every state.

Previously 'underserved' populations, such as rural communities and ethnic populations, would be a major target of the expanded public mental health services based on the TMAP model. The most dramatic expansion of the pharmaceutical industry's consumer base, however, would come from the mandatory mental health screening the New Freedom Commission recommends for every American. A mental health assessment would be part of every routine physical examination. In addition, the plan emphasizes early mental health screening in public schools. The commission recommends a social-emotional developmental screening with mandated school exams, as well as intervention and referral to treatment at the first signs of difficulty. These screenings would take the a form similar to those used in a Columbia University pilot project of a web-based mental health-screening system called 'Teen Screen', which resulted in one-third of participants testing positive for mental health problems and one-half of those being turned over to mental health delivery systems for services. These mandatory mental health screenings would leave a large number of children vulnerable to the prescription of medications not approved of by the FDA for the treatment of children, essentially involving them in medical experimentation.

The Bush administration's plan for restructuring mental health care in America comes at a time when pharmaceutical company's returns are waning due to the expiration of patents on 'blockbuster drugs' and fewer new drugs are being brought to market. With prescription guidelines for public mental health care programs that give preference to expensive brand name drugs and the dramatic expansion of the populations served in those programs, implementing the recommendations of the New Freedom Commission would serve the interests of the pharmaceutical industry without regard for the interests of the general population.

Sources:

Ablechild website: an analysis of the new freedom commission and it's consequence and declaration of opposition which anyone can sign onto.
http://www.ablechild.org/declaration%20of%20refusal.aspx

Ken Kramer and Sue Weibert, aired on Independent Media TV, July 01 2005, "TeenScreen: front group for the psycho-pharmaceutical industry complex"
http://www.independent-media.tv/item.cfm?fmedia_id=11296&fcategory_desc=Under%20Reported

Evelyn Pringle, "TeenScreen: who pays for treatment and drugs," May 30 2005. Available at :
http://www.healthyskepticism.org/library/ref.php?id=1878

Vera Hassner Sharav, "Psychiatric Drugs: TeenScreen draws criticism, legal challenge"
http://www.newmediaexplorer.org/sepp/2005/06/17/psychiatric_drugs_teenscreen_draws_criticism_legal_challenge.htm

Should America's school children should be screened and labeled?

National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy

Should America's school children should be screened and labeled? The final report of the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, issued in 2004, calls for universal mental health screening of universal mental health screening of American children, and the Center for Mental Health Services and Congress are poised to move forward to implement a screening initiative.

Critics insist that unless this screening initiative is stopped, thousands, if not millions of children will be "diagnosed" with dubious, stigmatizing mental illnesses that will follow them for the rest of their lives; schools will be transformed into mental health laboratories and drug dispensing clinics. (Most psychiatric drugs have not been approved for use in children.) Some regard this initiative as a massive diversion of tax dollars to the pharmaceutical industry, which stands to gain the most from mental health screening because it will expand the pool of mental patients.

A report in Psychiatric Times confirms an aggressive New Freedom Commission screening plan which: "even in the absence of an action plan, the Bush administration "has proposed an increase in the budget of CMHS [Center for Mental Health Services] from $862 million in the current fiscal 2004 to $912 million in fiscal 2005." Michael Hogan, chairman of the Commission and director of Ohio Mental Health Department, is promoting screening and increased use of psychiatric drugs. He has complained that recent reports of the drugs' hazards "are helping to fuel fears about widespread screening of kids."

Suicide prevention is the primary justification for screening. But an authoritative evaluation of the evidence by the US Preventive Services Task Force (PSTF) concluded that screening for suicide is without merit - as there is no evidence to support that it reduces the suicide risk. In addition, the PSTF warned of the potential for harm from screening.

The major beneficiary of government initiated screening for mental illness is the pharmaceutical industry, politicians whose campaigns the industry finances, and the mental health provider industry - including psychiatrists, psychologists, medical institutions, social workers, and their advocacy groups - all of  whom have a vested interest in expanding their income-producing client base.

Outraged by the prospect of universal screening and the intrusion on fundamental liberty, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, the Alliance for Human Research Protection, Ed Watch, the Health Action Center, and the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology, and others are urging people to contact their senators and members of Congress to ask that they oppose funding the New Freedom Commission screening initiative.

Further reading:

Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP) articles and links on government's screening initiative

MindFreedom.org: Articles on President Bush and the Shrinking of the USA

TeenScreen

Law Project for Psychiatric Rights: articles and links on national screening

Las Vegas Activists Protest TeenScreen


Federal recommendation protested

Activists say mental health screenings without parental consent could become mandatory



Protesters said federally funded recommendations made by the federal New Freedom Commission on Mental Health will make mandatory mental health screening, without parental consent, a reality for students in the United States.

"Maybe the kid is having a bad day that day. They'll say he's depressed and screen them," said activist Rebecca Iocca.

Iowa-Beware Teen Screen

Sunday, September 25, 2005 6:03 AM CDT
Beware Teen Screen


WATERLOO --- This fall, Teen Screen is being quietly maneuvered into a dozen Iowa schools. Parents all over the country are finding out that the TeenScreen and the New Freedom Commission's mental screening programs are, in actuality, taxpayer funded, government sanctioned, marketing tools for the benefit of Pharmaceutical companies.

Often without direct parental consent, children undergo controversial, subjective and dubious screening for mental illness. Some of the results have been unwarranted diagnosis, misdiagnosis and the labeling of many children with a mental health disorder.

These programs are modeled after the Texas mandatory school mental health screenings, instituted under then Gov. George W. Bush and his associates. A recent article in the British Medical Journal stated these programs involve political contributions and kickbacks and profiteering by drug companies at enormous expense to taxpayers.

A lawsuit has just been filed in federal court in Indiana on behalf of the parents of a child, tested without their permission, resulting in their normal daughter being labeled with mental disorders. Iowa's taxpayers may do well to find out what is going on in their schools.

For more information, please go to
http://www.teenscreentruth.com/iowa_contact.htm or http://www.ProgressiveConvergence.com.

Forcing Kids Into a Mental Health Ghetto

Ron Pauls Texas Straight Talk-Weekly Column

Forcing Kids Into a Mental Health Ghetto

A presidential initiative called The "New Freedom Commission on Mental Health" has issued a report recommending forced mental health screening for every child in America, including preschool children.
The goal is to promote the patently false idea that we have a nation of children with undiagnosed mental disorders crying out for treatment.

One obvious beneficiary of the proposal is the pharmaceutical industry, which is eager to sell the psychotropic drugs that undoubtedly will be prescribed to millions of American schoolchildren under the new screening program.  Of course a tiny minority of children suffer from legitimate mental illnesses, but the widespread use of Ritalin and other drugs on youngsters who simply exhibit typical rambunctious, fidgety, and impatient behavior is nothing short of criminal.  It may be easier to teach and parent drugged kids, but convenience is no justification for endangering them.  Children's brains are still developing, and the truth is we have no idea what the long-term side effects of psychiatric drugs may be.  Medical science has not even exhaustively identified every possible brain chemical, even as we alter those chemicals with drugs.

Dr. Karen Effrem, a physician who strongly opposes mandatory mental health screening, warns us that "America's children should not be medicated by expensive, ineffective, and dangerous medications based on vague and dubious diagnoses."  She points out that psychiatric diagnoses are inherently subjective, as authors of the diagnostic manuals admit.  She also is concerned that mental health screening could be used to label children whose attitudes, religious beliefs, and political views conflict with the secular orthodoxy that dominates our schools.

The greater issue, however, is not whether youth mental health screening is appropriate.  The real issue is whether the state owns your kids.  When the government orders "universal" mental health screening in schools, it really means "mandatory."  Parents, children, and their private doctors should decide whether a child has mental health problems, not government bureaucrats.  That this even needs to be stated is a sign of just how obedient our society has become toward government.  What kind of free people would turn their children's most intimate health matters over to government strangers?
 How in the world have we allowed government to become so powerful and arrogant that it assumes it can force children to accept psychiatric treatment whether parents object or not?

Parents must do everything possible to retain responsibility and control over their children's well-being.  There is no end to the bureaucratic appetite to rule every aspect of our lives, including how we raise our children.  Forced mental health screening is just the latest of many state usurpations of parental authority: compulsory education laws, politically-correct school curricula, mandatory vaccines, and interference with discipline through phony "social services" agencies all represent assaults on families.  The political right has now joined the political left in seeking the de facto nationalization of children, and only informed resistance by parents can stop it.  The federal government is slowly but surely destroying real families, but it is hardly a benevolent surrogate parent.

WHO RADIO 1040 AM- Teenscreen


Mon. Sept. 26, 2005 on WHO Radio station 1040 AM.
At 10:00 in the morning

Mark Taylor who was shot between 6 and 13 times at the Columbine school,
and Dr. Ann Blake Tracy will join Jan Mickelson. Dr. Tracy is
a court certified expert witness and has been involved in many cases
like Columbine, Red Lake, and cases where mothers have killed their
children. The common thread is that these people committing violence
were taking anti-depressants, generally unapproved for children,
www.DrugAwareness.org .
Dr. Tracy and Mark's testimony before the FDA was, in part, responsible
for the suicidality labels now mandatory on these dangerous drugs.

They will also talk about Teen Screen, now quietly being infiltrated
into Iowa's schools. In other states these programs have resulted in
huge profits for drug companies. "Mental health" screenings often
administered without parental consent, using enticements like free pizza
and video games, have reslulted in children being mislabeled and
pressured to take drugs.

Recently in Indiana parents have filed a federal lawsuit against school
officials who screened, mis-diagnosed, and labeled their daughter. For
more information see, http://www.psychsearch.net/teenscreen.html,
http://www.teenscreentruth.com/iowa_contact.htm or
www.ProgressiveConvergence.com.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Big pharma covers up side effects.

A prescribed threat

Among the harshest critics of the child wonder-drug regimen? Think rock icons.

By Mary Eberstadt
MARY EBERSTADT is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and author of "Home-Alone America," newly released in paperback by Penguin/Sentinel.

September 25, 2005

WHEN TOM CRUISE and his fellow Scientologists took a hammering earlier this year for their public opposition to psychiatric drugs, neither they nor their critics could have anticipated the releases in July and August of two weighty reports offering evidence that at least some psychiatric prescription-writing has run amok.

If these two reports by Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, or CASA, have it right, more kids than ever have their fingers — and sometimes their noses — in somebody else's psychiatric prescription pill bottle.

Iowa Activist Takes on TeenScreen

 
Larry Hanus is president of the Iowa Health Freedom Coalition: http://www.iowahealthfreedom.org

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Beware TeenScreen

WATERLOO --- This fall, Teen Screen is being quietly maneuvered into a dozen Iowa schools. Parents all over the country are finding out that the TeenScreen and the New Freedom Commission's mental screening programs are, in actuality, taxpayer funded, government sanctioned, marketing tools for the benefit of Pharmaceutical companies.

Often without direct parental consent, children undergo controversial, subjective and dubious screening for mental illness. Some of the results have been unwarranted diagnosis, misdiagnosis and the labeling of many children with a mental health disorder. 
 
 These programs are modeled after the Texas mandatory school mental health screenings, instituted under then Gov. George W. Bush and his associates. A recent article in the British Medical Journal stated these programs involve political contributions and kickbacks and profiteering by drug companies at enormous expense to taxpayers.

A lawsuit has just been filed in federal court in Indiana on behalf of the parents of a child, tested without their permission, resulting in their normal daughter being labeled with mental disorders. Iowa's taxpayers may do well to find out what is going on in their schools.

For more information, please go to
http://www.teenscreentruth.com/iowa_contact.htm or www.ProgressiveConvergence.com.
 
 

Funeral Homes and Casket Companies Back TeenScreen

Ah, the irony. Drumming up future business.
 
TeenScreen  results in more suicides, not less.

Brookfield, Wis. - June 23, 2005 
Trustees of the Funeral Service Foundation (FSF) have chosen the TeenScreen Program of Columbia University as the 2005 recipient of this year’s Childrens Fund award. Concern for children is part of the FSF mission. The Children’s Fund is supported by $100 gifts during an annual fall campaign.


http://www.funeralservicefoundation.org/about/boardstaff.htm
Funeral Service Foundation
Board of Trustees

Chair - Chris Barrott, Aurora Casket Company, Aurora, IN

Secretary/Treasurer - John C. Carmon,  Carmon Community Funeral Homes, Windsor, CT

Scott B. Anthony, Anthony Funeral Chapel, Webster, NY

Jerrit L. Clayton, Flanner & Buchanan Mortuaries, Indianapolis, IN

Carlos Guerra, Guerra-Gutierrez Mortuaries, Los Angeles, CA

Debora Kellom, Wade Funeral Home, St. Louis, MO

Bill Robinson, Fortis Family/Assurant, Atlanta, GA

Curtis Zamec, Wilbert Funeral Services,  Forest Park, IL

Michael St. Pierre,  Wilson-St. Pierre Funeral Service, Indianapolis, IN
Staff
Kathy Buenger, Executive Director
kbuenger@funeralservicefoundation.org

Friday, September 23, 2005

TeenScreen Violates Students Privacy

 
Attorney: School Mental Health Screenings Violate Students' Privacy, Parents' Rights

By Jim Brown and Jenni Parker
September 23, 2005
AgapePress - Reliable News from a Christian source
 
An Indiana high school is being sued for subjecting a 15-year-old student to mental health testing without her parents' consent. Michael and Teresa Rhoades allege that their constitutional rights were violated when their daughter Chelsea was given a "TeenScreen" mental health exam at Penn High School in Mishawaka, without their knowledge or consent.

The family's complaint states that on December 7, 2004, personnel of the Madison Center for Children subjected Chelsea Rhoades and other students to the exam, which consisted of "yes" or "no" questions without any opportunity to explain answers or offer alternative responses. Only students with an "opt-out slip" were excused from taking the computer-based tests.

After Chelsea completed the examination, a Madison Center employee escorted her into a private hallway, and she was told, largely based on her responses, that she liked to clean and didn't like to party very much, that she suffered from at least two mental health problems -- obsessive-compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder.

The teenager was also advised that, if her condition grew worse, her mother should bring her to the Madison Center for treatment. According to Chelsea, most of the students subjected to the exam were also told that they were suffering from some kind of mental or social "disorder." Chelsea's parents were not informed about the screening exam until after it had already taken place, when Chelsea discussed her "diagnosis" with them.

The so-called "TeenScreen" exam is increasingly being adopted by schools in 43 states and is part of President George W. Bush's plan to have all public school teachers and students screened for mental health problems or at-risk tendencies for suicide that are not outwardly visible. However, John Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute, the family's legal representative, says federal and state law requires that parents grant written consent for such exams.

An increasing number of schools have been relying on "passive consent" forms in order to administer TeenScreen exams. Passive consent requires parents to return an "opt-out" form only if they do not want their child to participate in the screening.
Apart from the legal issues raised by the TeenScreen program, Whitehead has doubts about the value and validity of the screening results. "It's very, very questionable that you can get any kind of information in 10 to 15 minutes, in terms of a comprehensive psychological exam," he observes. "So the question that we've raised with a lot of people is why is this being done. Why is our government moving ahead to do these psychological tests, even on teachers?"

Putting that question aside, the Rutherford Institute spokesman feels school mental health examinations are an infringement on the students' rights. "Obviously, when someone like Chelsea Rhodes walks into a room and she doesn't know she's going to be tested, and then they ask her all these kind of strange questions and then tell her she's got mental problems, clearly it's an invasion of privacy," he asserts.

Rutherford Institute attorneys are charging Penn High School officials not only with invading Chelsea's privacy, but also with violating the constitutional rights of Michael and Teresa Rhodes to control the care, custody, and upbringing of their daughter. Whitehead says parents have some immediate steps they can take to combat "the increasing problem of government encroaching into the privacy of the family."

First of all, the attorney says, it is critical for parents to know their rights. And secondly, they should contact their local school officials and demand to "be notified immediately if they are planning to conduct mental health screening on your children." Finally, he adds, parents should follow the Rhoades' example and fight back against this kind of "encroachment on parental rights."

The Rutherford Institute has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana on behalf of the Rhoades family. Whitehead hopes the suit will help bring about a change in policy, such that schools will be required to gain affirmative written consent from parents, rather than mere "passive consent," before students can be required to part in the TeenScreen program.
 
 

Attorney: School Mental Health Screenings Violate Students' Privacy, Parents' Rights

 
Attorney: School Mental Health Screenings Violate Students' Privacy, Parents' Rights

By Jim Brown and Jenni Parker
September 23, 2005

(AgapePress) - An Indiana high school is being sued for subjecting a 15-year-old student to mental health testing without her parents' consent. Michael and Teresa Rhoades allege that their constitutional rights were violated when their daughter Chelsea was given a "TeenScreen" mental health exam at Penn High School in Mishawaka, without their knowledge or consent.

The family's complaint states that on December 7, 2004, personnel of the Madison Center for Children subjected Chelsea Rhoades and other students to the exam, which consisted of "yes" or "no" questions without any opportunity to explain answers or offer alternative responses. Only students with an "opt-out slip" were excused from taking the computer-based tests.

After Chelsea completed the examination, a Madison Center employee escorted her into a private hallway, and she was told, largely based on her responses, that she liked to clean and didn't like to party very much, that she suffered from at least two mental health problems -- obsessive-compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder.

The teenager was also advised that, if her condition grew worse, her mother should bring her to the Madison Center for treatment. According to Chelsea, most of the students subjected to the exam were also told that they were suffering from some kind of mental or social "disorder." Chelsea's parents were not informed about the screening exam until after it had already taken place, when Chelsea discussed her "diagnosis" with them.

The so-called "TeenScreen" exam is increasingly being adopted by schools in 43 states and is part of President George W. Bush's plan to have all public school teachers and students screened for mental health problems or at-risk tendencies for suicide that are not outwardly visible. However, John Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute, the family's legal representative, says federal and state law requires that parents grant written consent for such exams.

An increasing number of schools have been relying on "passive consent" forms in order to administer TeenScreen exams. Passive consent requires parents to return an "opt-out" form only if they do not want their child to participate in the screening.

Apart from the legal issues raised by the TeenScreen program, Whitehead has doubts about the value and validity of the screening results. "It's very, very questionable that you can get any kind of information in 10 to 15 minutes, in terms of a comprehensive psychological exam," he observes. "So the question that we've raised with a lot of people is why is this being done. Why is our government moving ahead to do these psychological tests, even on teachers?"

Putting that question aside, the Rutherford Institute spokesman feels school mental health examinations are an infringement on the students' rights. "Obviously, when someone like Chelsea Rhodes walks into a room and she doesn't know she's going to be tested, and then they ask her all these kind of strange questions and then tell her she's got mental problems, clearly it's an invasion of privacy," he asserts.

Rutherford Institute attorneys are charging Penn High School officials not only with invading Chelsea's privacy, but also with violating the constitutional rights of Michael and Teresa Rhodes to control the care, custody, and upbringing of their daughter. Whitehead says parents have some immediate steps they can take to combat "the increasing problem of government encroaching into the privacy of the family."

First of all, the attorney says, it is critical for parents to know their rights. And secondly, they should contact their local school officials and demand to "be notified immediately if they are planning to conduct mental health screening on your children." Finally, he adds, parents should follow the Rhoades' example and fight back against this kind of "encroachment on parental rights."

The Rutherford Institute has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana on behalf of the Rhoades family. Whitehead hopes the suit will help bring about a change in policy, such that schools will be required to gain affirmative written consent from parents, rather than mere "passive consent," before students can be required to part in the TeenScreen program.

© 2005 AgapePress all rights reserved.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Psychiatrist Against TeenScreen

 
 "TeenScreen is a marketing technique to addict and control our children by using bogus “suicide screening” questions and then, if a child identifies some of these universal experiences, they are sucked into a vortex of procedure and misuse of professional words and ideas to make sure that huge numbers of children are doped and made dopey. Make them dopey enough, and you will make them damaged and dead, too.  Let me remind you that these psychoactive drugs are dangerous toxins and have never been tested for long term effects in humans, especially not on the developing brains of children. Six to 13 weeks is about average for a test protocol for psychoactive drugs despite the fact that these horrific substances are addictive and used for years on end on children. They are often used in combination, too, despite the absolute lack of clinical testing to assure anyone at all that these are safe procedures. Here is my advice for you if you have kids: Do Not Allow TeenScreen Anywhere Near Your Child. Teach your child to resist the blandishments, the Video coupons and the Pizza Parties that are used as inducements for this diabolical program. Just Say No! and teach your kids to say “NO!”, too."
Rima E. Laibow, MD, Psychiatrist
 

Dr. Nathaniel S. Lehrman, speaks out against TeenScreen

"The claim by the director of Columbia University's TeenScreen Program
that her program would significantly reduce suicides is unsupported by
the data. Indeed, such screenings would probably cause more harm than
good. It is impossible, on cursory examination, or on the basis of the
Program's brief written screening test, to detect suicidality or "mental
illness," however we define it. "

Nathaniel S. Lehrman, M.D., former Clinical Director, Kingsboro
Psychiatric Center, Brooklyn NY; former Assistant Clinical Professor of
Psychiatry, Albert Einstein and SUNY Downstate Colleges of Medicine.

Psychiatrist Goes After TeenScreen


The Dangers of Mental Health Screening
Nathaniel S. Lehrman, M.D.
Former Clinical Director, Kingsboro Psychiatric Center, Brooklyn NY 10 Nob Hill Gate, Roslyn NY 11576; nslmd@verizon.net Presented by invitation at the Annual Meeting of The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons Arlington, VA, September 23, 2005
4587 words

A. Introduction
The mental health screening program² created by the President¹s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health is a colossal fraud built upon, and aggravating, earlier frauds. It is presented as a way of ferreting out hidden ³mental illness,² first in school children, so they can then get ³appropriate treatment² - medications. It is actually a brazen attempt to hide the injuries caused by 50 years of peddling increasingly harmful and increasingly costly psychiatric drugs. Not only will the program increase America¹s huge, ever-rising, rate of mental disability by dispensing ever more medications which produce and aggravate these disabilities, but it represents the misuse of medicine
to destroy this country¹s basic freedoms. It is also the latest Bush
administration hand-out to the drug companies, so many of which have changed from legitimate businesses into patent-protected rackets.

During the 2005-2006 school year, all American parents will receive notice of the new screening program from their youngsters¹ schools.
It will ³test² for ³mental illness² 52 million students and six million adults working in schools, and expects to find at least 6 million in need of ³treatment.² All the force of government will then urge or compel them to receive it. The heart of that treatment will be medication.

But children aren¹t the only targets. The Commission¹s final report states that ³both children and adults will be screened for mental illnesses during their routine physical examinations.²

In 2003, a pharmaceutical analyst happily predicted (1) that ³the coming years will bear greater witness to the corporate-sponsored creation of illness² - by greatly widening our definitions of illness.
In 2005, the mental health screening program bears even greater witness to the governmentally-sponsored creation of illness - by greatly increasing the use of brain-injuring, disability-producing medications. And by allowing ³experts² to define peaceful, law-abiding citizens as ³ill,² and in need of (increasingly forced) ³treatment,² the program resurrects the witch-hunts of 16th century Europe.

B. What screening really does
The mental health screening of children is supposed to prevent suicide, and to detect mental illness so it can be treated promptly and effectively. It can do the opposite. In doing so, it violates fundamental American freedoms.

In 2003, thirteen-year-old, African-American Aliah Gleason (2) was in the 7th grade in an Austin, Texas, suburb. She was a B and C student
who often ³got in trouble for running my mouth.² The school
authorities saw her as suffering from an ³oppositional disorder² and put her in a special education track. Her parents considered her bright and spirited, but with a tendency to clown and argue.

Early that fall, University of Texas psychologists came to her school to screen 6th and 7th grade girls for mental illness. A few weeks later, a university psychologist phoned that Aliah had scored high on a suicide rating, and needed further evaluation. Reluctantly, the Gleasons agreed to have her see a university consulting psychiatrist.

The doctor referred Aliah to an emergency clinic for further evaluation. Six weeks later, a child protection worker came to the school to interview her, summoned her father to the school and ordered him to take the girl at once to Austin State Hospital, a mental facility. When he refused, the protection worker took Aliah into emergency custody (!) and had a police officer drive her to the hospital. Mental health trumps both parental rights and the Bill of Rights.

Aliah spent five terrible months in hospital, during which her parents were forbidden to see or speak to her. She was placed in restraints more than 26 times and given at least 12 different psychiatric drugs, many of them simultaneously, among them the SSRI antidepressants Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro and Desyrel; Ativan, an antianxiety drug; and two of the newer, very expensive ³atypical antipsychotics² - Geodon and Abilify. After the hospital, she spent four more months in a residential facility - getting even more drugs.

What, if anything, was wrong with Aliah is still unclear. So is her clinical diagnosis. She reportedly said repeatedly that she was suicidal, and that her father beat her - and then recanted. Her attorney says her statements were due to the high dosages of psychotropic drugs forced upon her.

Fortunately, Aliah survived - unlike some other heavily medicated children. After her parents went to court, and she was finally released into their custody, the professionals they chose to treat her tapered her off all medication and successfully addressed problems within the family. She is now doing well in school, participating in extracurricular activities and, according to her psychologist, Dr. John Breeding of Austin, is once again ³starting to get that gleam in her eye.²

The experience of fifteen-year-old Chelsea Rhoades of Indiana was
equally significant (3). Last December, as part of the national
TeenScreen program, most of her public high school home-room classmates were given a ten minute, yes-or-no computer test, which had no room for alternate answers or explanations. (Those few not given the test had been opted-out in advance by their parents, an option Chelsea¹s
parents had not known about.) Shortly after Chelsea took it, a local
mental health center employee told her that she was suffering from ³OCD² (³obsessive compulsive disorder²) because she said she liked to help clean the house, and ³social anxiety disorder² because she didn¹t party much. The worker then suggested that if her ³condition² worsened, her mother should bring her to the center for treatment - treatment which almost always involves medication.

Chelsea was not the only youngster given this recommendation; she says all of her friends were told something was wrong with them. The only children not supposedly suffering from some ³disorder² or other were those with the opt-out slips. Furious at this intrusion on their privacy, her parents sounded the alarm throughout their community. And with the help of The Rutherford Institute, they have filed a lawsuit against the school district for failing to inform them in advance about the test and to obtain their permission for Chelsea to take it.

What might occur after large-scale screening can be seen from what has already happened when school children are ³diagnosed² with ³attention deficit disorder.² After a school psychologist told Patricia Weathers that her first-grade son suffered from it, she was pressured into medicating him. "The medication eventually made him psychotic,² she says, ³but when she stopped giving it to him, the school reported her to state child protection officials for child
abuse." Weathers, president and co-founder of AbleChild
(AbleChild.org), who has filed a lawsuit against school officials, says "we have 1,000 stories like this.² Meanwhile, her son is now 15 and "doing fine." (4) Congressman Ron Paul, a physician for over thirty years, has also criticized the way ³some parents have been charged with child abuse for refusing to drug their children.² Some have even had their children removed for refusing to give them drugs.

No matter how we define mental illness in children or adults, it cannot be found by simple screening. Nobody can, by merely looking at someone else, or even on the basis of a pen and pencil questionnaire, differentiate the transient emotional disturbances we all have from those which last longer. Screenings won¹t prevent suicide because those who are contemplating it usually won¹t tell. Indeed, the screening process itself can produce significant anxiety among those within whom ³mental illness² is being sought, as it did with Aliah.
Such efforts to find people¹s troubles by aggravating those troubles are ridiculous on its face. Only when gross insanity exists can ³mental illness² be recognized on inspection - and then we need neither experts nor screening.

C. What¹s ³mental illness²? the problem of psychiatric diagnosis

What¹s ³mental illness²? Years ago, the term was limited to the
insane: disabled people with crazy ideas who are unable to function socially and may be dangerous to themselves or others. Psychological distress, such as nervousness, has also been called ³mental illness.² The term has, however, been expanded over the past several decades to include more and more of the ³thousand natural ills the flesh is heir to.² Indeed, a new study (5) by Harvard University and the National Institute of Mental Health claims that 46% of Americans will ³at some point in their lives develop a mental disorder.²

Many of those ³thousand natural ills² are included among the 400-odd ³disorders² listed in the latest edition of the ³psychiatric bible²
- the American Psychiatric Association¹s ²Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,² the DSM. But these diagnoses are based almost entirely on symptoms - depression, anxiety and so forth - with little or no mention of the problems producing these symptoms. Basing diagnosis entirely on symptoms can be compared to defining fever as a
diagnosis: both it and anxiety, for example, are really products of other physiological or psychological processes. There are as many causes of depression as there are people suffering from it.

Troubled people can indeed benefit from good mental health care. But good treatment requires addressing voluntarily a patient¹s unique individual problems. For this, screenings are unnecessary.

Any discussion of psychiatric diagnosis, and the nature of mental
illness, should include the subject of homosexuality. The current
Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons examines some of its less recognized aspects - such as its ³laundering² over the past 135 years from sin and/or crime, to mental disorder, to acceptable alternate life style. (6) Let us note here, however, that in view of American psychiatry¹s eager acceptance of homosexuality, ³homophobia² - a term already widely used in both the specialty and mass media, and which may soon be included in the D.S.M. - has already been used in Illinois, along with being a ³defender of the US constitution against the federal government and the UN,² as criteria for labeling people as mentally unstable. (7) And ²sick² ideas can be followed by forced drugging and incarceration - as in the European witch-hunts.

D. Problems with psychiatric treatment: the harmfulness of drugs Thorazine (chlorpromazine) is seen as having ³initiated a revolution in psychiatry comparable to the introduction of penicillin in general medicine.² (8) In 1954, it began psychopharmacology¹s takeover of psychiatric treatment. But evidence recently assembled by Whitaker shows that in addition to these drugs¹ well-known, but frequently down-played, side-effects, treatment with both the neuroleptics and the antidepressants is in itself seriously harmful, with the SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) antidepressants, such as Prozac, among the most damaging.

In 1996, Steven Hyman, then Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, described (9) how psychiatric drugs ³create perturbations in neurotransmitter functions² after which the brain goes through a series of compensatory adaptations. For drugs like Prozac and the other SSRI antidepressants, which block serotonin reuptake, the brain tones down its whole serotonergic system; the density of serotonin receptors in the brain decreases by 50% or more.
After a few weeks, the brain is functioning in a manner that is ³qualitatively as well as quantitatively different from the normal state.² Similar changes occur with neuroleptics.

This is pathology, produced by drug treatment. Princeton neuroscientist Barry Jacobs (10) makes this point explicit about SSRI antidepressants. He writes that they ³alter the level of synaptic transmission beyond the physiological range achieved under (normal -
RW) environmental/biological conditions. Thus, any behavioral or physiological change produced under these conditions might more appropriately be considered pathologic, rather than reflective of the normal biological role of serotonin.²

The harm these drugs cause is also shown by a different methodology.
Serial MRI pictures taken over 18 months of people newly diagnosed with schizophrenia (all of whom were then started on medication) showed significant and increasing brain changes, including shrinking of the cerebral cortex and enlargement of the basic ganglia. (11) And as the enlargement progressed, the patients¹ negative symptoms (apathy, etc.) worsened. ³Over the long term, the drugs cause changes in the brain associated with worsening of the very symptoms the drugs are supposed to alleviate.²

Also: examination of the literature reveals that use of these drugs increases the likelihood that a person will become chronically ill, and that they cause a significant percentage of patients to become ill in
new and more severe ways. (12) And with all classes of psychiatric
drugs, patients given them have more relapses, and less ability to function afterward, than patients not exposed to them. Disabled populations treated without drugs fare better than those given them.

Finally, since the drugs were introduced, rates for psychiatric disability (Table 1) in America (13) have risen rapidly and steadily:
from 3.38 per thousand in 1954, to 13.75 in 1987, when the ³atypical² anti-psychotics and SSRI antidepressants were introduced, to 19.69 in 2003. The number of ³patient care episodes² - the amount of care given, as measured by the number of people treated each year for mental illness at psychiatric hospitals, residential facilities for the mentally ill and ambulatory care facilities - rose similarly: from
1,028 per 100,000 population in 1955 to 3,295 in 1987 and to 3,806 in 2000. Since the start of the drug era, which supposedly made it possible for the first time for patients with schizophrenia to ³lead relatively normal lives and not be confined to institutions,² the number of mentally disabled people has risen nearly six-fold.

The SSRI¹s apparently play a unique role in transforming the distressed into the disabled. ³A depressed patient treated with an anti-depressant suffers a manic or psychotic episode (a very common side effect), at which time his or her diagnosis is changed to bipolar disorder. At that point, the person is prescribed an antipsychotic to go along with the antidepressant² - as with Aliah. ³Once on a drug cocktail, the person is well along on the road to permanent disability.
Since Prozac was introduced in 1987, the number of disabled mentally ill in the US has risen by 2.4 million people² - from 3.3 million to
5.7 million. (14)

E The atypicals and SSRI¹s
Psychiatry¹s acceptance of psychopharmaceuticals, beginning with Thorazine in 1954, represents one of the greatest triumphs of false advertising in all of history. But by the early 1980¹s, with more than a dozen neuroleptics being sold, the market for them had become relatively unprofitable. The leading drugs, Thorazine and Haldol (haloperidol), were vulnerable to competition from generics because they had lost their patent protection. Generic Thorazine was selling for less than $10 per month and haloperidol for not much more. In the late 1980¹s, sales for all neuroleptics in the United States totaled less than $500 million - ³less than what one Å’breakthrough¹ medication would hope to generate in a year.² (15)

³The market was ripe for a novel antipsychotic, and it came in the form of a drug that, fifteen years earlier, had been discarded as too
dangerous²: Clozapine (clozaril-Sandoz). This was the first of the
new ³atypical neuroleptics,² which, in addition to blocking the dopamine receptors blocked by the earlier drugs, also blocked serotonin receptors. It was supposedly better than existing drugs, but since it also produced agranulocytosis, white blood cell depletion, in up to 2% of the patients, the company bundled the drug with weekly blood tests at a price of $9,000 a year. As the newest and supposedly best drug, psychiatrists prescribed it.

Two new atypicals without agranulocytosis then appeared on the market:
Janssen¹s Risperdal (resperidone) in 1996 and Lilly¹s Zyprexa
(olanzapine) two years later. With price ceilings on psychiatric drugs having been broken by Clozapine - in part because Medicaid paid for an increasing fraction of it - Resperidal¹s price was set at $240 per
month, and Zyprexa¹s at $10 per day. In 1996, U.S. sales of
Risperdal topped $500 million, ³which was greater than revenues for all other neuroleptics combined; ² (16) two years later, Zyprexa topped $1 billion in United States sales alone.

After the appearance of still another atypical, AstraZeneca¹s Seroquel (quetiapine), ³there was no longer any possible doubt about the superiority of these new drugs.² The Los Angeles Times said, for example, ³It used to be that schizophrenics were given no hope of improving. But now, thanks to new drugs and commitment, they¹re moving back into society like never before.² But despite these glowing reports, the largest study of these drugs to date (17) found ³no clear evidence that atypical antipsychotics are more effective or better tolerated than conventional antipsychotics.²

In 2003, total sales of antipsychotic drugs in the U.S. reached $2.3 billion, roughly six times what they had been before the ³atypicals.²
In 2004, the atypicals were the fourth-highest-grossing class of drugs in the U.S., with sales totaling over $8.6 billion - $3.4 of which was paid for by state Medicaid funds. (18)

The new SSRI antidepressants, of which Prozac was the first, followed a similar path. Media stories lauded them even though their level of efficacy was very minor: roughly 41% of patients got better in the short term versus 31% with placebo, and in comparison with an active placebo, which produces a physiological change with no benefit, outcome differences virtually disappeared. (19) And because of the many youngsters given SSRI¹s who then killed themselves or others, the FDA finally placed suicidality warnings on most of these drugs. (20)

I list a few of the many other social changes produced by the psychotropic revolution:

(1) 29 million prescriptions were written last year in the United States for Ritalin and similar drugs to treat attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity, 23 million of them for children, (21);
(2) 60 - 70% of child(ren in foster care in Massachusetts now being given psychiatric drugs (22);
(3) the arrival at some colleges of 40 to 50% of students with psychiatric prescriptions (23);
(4) the revelation that 41% of prescriptions for some 765,000 people over 65 were for psychotropics (24), and
(5) the finding of another study that 75% of elderly, long term care, nurisng home residents are being given psychotropics. (25)

But the drug companies did well. (Table 2) Between 1986 and 2004, the sales of antidepressants and antipsychotics jumped hugely: for antidepressants, from $240 million to $11.2 billion - almost 47 times; and for anti-psychotics, from $263 million to $8.6 billion, almost 33 times. For the two combined, sales rose from $500 million to nearly $20 billion, a forty-fold increase. (26) And for Eli Lilly, whose value on Wall Street in 1987 was about $2 billion, by 2000, with Prozac its number one drug and Zyprexa also in its formulary, its capitalization had reached $80 billion - also a forty fold increase.
(27) But the companies want to do still better - which brings us to the screening program.

F. The current screening plan
This program represents a new and outrageous level of government promotion of harmful psychopharmaceuticals, i.e. federal drug-pushing.

The screenings will define (or create) many new mental patients, almost all of whom will then be given medication. (28) The Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP), which the President¹s New Freedom Commission has commended as a model medication treatment plan which ³illustrates an evidence based practice that results in better consumer outcomes,² calls for the newest and most expensive medications to be used first in the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression in adults. This we saw with Aliah. It also calls for specific drugs for specific disorders, as though the latter really exist. (29) Current prices for a month¹s supply of the 3 top antipsychotics, all ³atypicals,² are $342 for Risperdal, $414 for Seroquel and $572 for
Zyprexa. ³Because these drugs are the most expensive on the market,
and are so often paid for by the government, the rampant over-prescribing of these medications is bankupting state Medicaid programs all over the country.² (30)

PennMap is Pennsylvania¹s TMAP-type model for treating the mentally ill in state care. Allan Jones, a former investigator for the state, described it publicly as ³part of a large pharmaceutical marketing scheme designed to infiltrate public institutions and influence treatment practices. Pennsylvania is paying tens of millions of dollars for patented drugs that have no proven advantage over cheaper generic drugs.² Jones was fired for his efforts. (31)

³As part of the overall scheme, on July 27, 2001, Gov. Tom Ridge appointed Gerald Radke, an Eli Lilly Marketing Director, to head the state Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. With Radke at the helm, state Medicaid-funded sales of Lilly¹s Zyprexa rose from approximately $26.5 million in 2000 to $34.2 million in 2001, and to
$39.2 million in 2003.² [Under the leadership of Lilly¹s man in state government, spending on Lilly¹s expensive leading drug increased 50% over four years.] ³In state hospitals, hundreds of patient had their medications switched in the absence of medical need or indication, to comply with administrative decisions.² (32)

Zyprexa¹s dangerous side-effects were, however, carefully hidden.
Stefan Kruszewski, M.D., a Harvard-trained psychiatrist engaged to oversee statewide mental health care, pointed out (33) that the new generation of antipsychotics - the ²atypicals² - substantially increase the risk of obesity, diabetes type II, hypertension, cardiovascular complications, heart attacks and stroke, and that the drug-makers had this information but ³simply ignored the problem.² To Dr. Kruszewski, Zyprexa is a drug ³whose massive revenues and promotion are based upon faulty disclosures by the manufacturer, Eli Lilly. The drug causes both a severe metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular problems at the same time that it continues to cause neurological side-effects like the older Å’typical¹ antipsychotics.² Dr. Kruszewski was also fired for his efforts.

In Feb. 2004, the American Diabetes Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the North American Association for the Study of Obesity published a joint statement (34) confirming the association between Zyprexa and diabetes. In June, 2005, Lilly agreed to pay $690 million to settle lawsuits filed by approximately 8,000 Zyprexa patients who alleged thay had not been warned that the drug might increase the risk of diabetes. More than 2,500 other claimants refused to take part in the settlement, presumably believing that the $62,500 received by each claimant on average was insufficient compensation for their pain and suffering. But Zyprexa earned Eli Lilly $4.4 billion in 2004, a considerable fraction of that company¹s total net sales of $13 billion that year. (35)

G. Conclusion
The mental health screening program created by President Bush¹s New Freedom Commission is a colossal fraud, based on other frauds, which elevates still further the drug companies¹ already soaring profits.
It will harm thousands of Americans by giving them stigmatizing diagnoses which can follow them for the rest of their lives, and then drugging them.

The greatest fraud underlying the program is that ³mental illness² is
best treated by drugs. The sad fact is that, as a group, psychiatric
drugs impair brain function, thus producing or aggravating mental illness.

Good psychiatric care is voluntary, and based on trust between patient and doctor. This program, as demonstrated by the case of Aliah Gleason, therefore represents the grossest kind of psychiatric malpractice by the government. Her case also demonstrates how the program undermines basic American freedoms. Dr. Karen Effrem, a leading opponent of screening, warns that under it, parental rights are unclear or non-existent, that parents are already being coerced to put their children on psychiatric medication - with some children dying because of it - and that merging screening with the academic standards required by the No Child Left Behind program, as already mentioned in Illinois, leads to diagnosis for political reasons.

By exposing the colossal fraudulence of the screening program and defeating it, we can perhaps start to undo the 50 years of psychopharmacological fraud which has made psychiatry the whore of the drug companies and the enemy of American democratic freedoms. A hundred years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt curbed the oil and
railroad ³trusts.² Today¹s America needs another Teddy Roosevelt
who will curb the pharmaceutical trust.

References

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Pharmaceutical Companies Are Turning Us All Into Patients. New York,
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2. Waters R. Medicating Aliah. Mother Jones, May, 2005
(www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2005/05/medicating_aliah.html)

3. Whitehead JW. TeenScreen: One Family¹s Story. Rutherford Institute, Aug. 22, 2005.
(http://www.rutherford.org/articles_db/commentary.asp?record_id=355)

4. MacPherson K. Fierce opposition arises to mental health screening in schools. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 18, 2005.

5. Fox News, Aug. 13, 2005.

6. Lehrman NS. Homosexuality: Some Neglected Considerations. J Am Phys & Surg 2005: 10; 80 - 82.

7. Snyder K. Mental-healh screening of children.
www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/print.asp?ID=2235

8. Shorter E. A History of Psychiatry. New York N.Y.: John Wiley & Sons; 1997.

9. Hyman S, Nestler E. Initiation and adaptation: A paradigm for understanding psychotropic drug action. Am J Psychiatry 1996; 153: 151
- 161.

10. Jacobs B. Serotonin and behavior: Emphasis on motor control. J Clin Psychiatry 1991; 52 (12 Suppl.): 151 - 162. (cited by Whitaker R. Anatomy of an Epidemic: Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America. Ethical Human Psychology & Psychiatry 2005; 7: 27 - 31; 27)

11. Gur R, Maany V, Mozley D, et al. Subcortical MRI Volumes in neuroleptic-naive and treated patients with schizophrenia. Am J
Psychiatry 1998; 55: 1711 - 1717

12. Whitaker R. Anatomy of an Epidemic: Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America. Ethical Human Psychol and Psychiatry 2005; 7: 23 - 33; 27 - 31.
http://psychrights.org/Articles/EHPPPsychDrugEpidemic(Whitaker).pdf

13. Ibid. 23 - 25.

14. Ibid. 32 -33.

15. Whitaker R. Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill. Cambridge, Mass: Perseus; 2001; 257 - 258.

16. Ibid. 260 - 261

17. Geddes J. Atypical Antipsychotics in the Treatment of
Schizophrenia: Systematic Overview and Meta-Regression Analysis. Brit Med J 2000; 321: 1371 - 1376.

18. Waters, op. cit.

19. Whitaker R. Interview by Terry Messman - Psychiatric Drugs: An Assault on the Human Condition.
(www.thestreetspirit.org/August2005/interview.html)

20. http://www.fda.gov/cder/drug/antidepressants/default.htm

21. Harris G, NY Times. July 1, 2005

22. Whitaker/Messman, op. cit.

23. Whitaker/Messman, oop. cit.

24. Pringle E.. August 24 DC Protest - Why Are Atypical Drug Users Mad?
http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_evelyn_p_050819_august_24_dc_protest.htm;
5.

25. Pringle op. cit. 7

26. Whitaker/Anatomy 24 - 25

27. Whitaker/Messman, op. cit.

28. Lenzer J. Bush plans to screen whole U.S. population for mental
illness. Sweeping initiative links diagnoses to treatment with specific
drugs. WorldNetDaily June 21, 2004.
(www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=39078)

29. Waters, op. cit.

30. Pringle, op. cit. 8; for reports on Massachusetts, Florida,
Texas and Illinois see www.ahrp.org.

31. Lenzer J. Whistleblower removed from job for talking tothe press.
BMJ 2994; 328: 1153 (15 May)
(http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/bmj:328/7449/1153)

32. Pringle op. cit. 9

33. Waters op. cit., Pringle op. cit. 9

34. Kaplan A. Consensus Panel Urges Monitoring for Metabolic Effects of Atypical Antipsychotics. Psychiatric Times, April, 2004; 21: 4

35. CBS.marketwatch.com, Feb. 7, 2005.

Table 1: Mental disability in America
1955 1987 ca.2004

Mentally disabled
per 1,000 population 3.38 13.75
19.69
Patient care episodes
per 100,000 population 1,028 3,295 3,806

Table 2: Psychiatric drug sales, in millions of dollars
#times increase

anti-psychotics $263
$ 8,600 33x
antidepressants $240
$11,200 47x
combined $500
$20,000 40x

Eli Lilly capitalization $2 billion
$80 billion 40x

Source: Whitaker R. Anatomy of an epidemic: Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, v. 7, no. 1, spring 2005, 23 - 35.