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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Stop taking anti-psychotic drugs

A study of people taking anti-psychotic drugs has found most try to get off them - often against their doctor's advice - and don't have the support to do so safely.

The research by Auckland University psychologist Miriam Larsen-Barr is the first in New Zealand to look at the experiences of people taking the powerful medications.
The former mental health care worker first became interested in the subject when she was sitting up late at night with people to make sure they took their medication.
They began to talk to her about the effects the drugs had on them, and the symptoms they continued to experience despite the medication.
Over three years, Dr Larsen-Barr surveyed 144 people prescribed anti-psychotic medication for schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder and depression.
Some said the drugs were life-savers and useful tools, but others described them as hell, felt the medications weren't working or disliked the weight gain and the feeling of sedation.
"They commented on how difficult it could be to do the everyday things that one would need to do to have a meaningful happy life while being sedated like that."
And at one time or another most, even those who felt the drugs had been helpful, had tried to get off the medication.
While anti-psychotics had worked very well for some and they had found coming off them relatively easy, others reported the process had been painful and frightening, with unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms, and they'd had little choice but to go through it without medical help.
Dr Larsen-Barr said doctors were generally reluctant to help patients withdraw because they feared a relapse and because there was no best practice guide or specialist advice on how to mange it.
"One of the interview participants commented that she had searched New Zealand for specialised support, someone who knew specifically about stopping anti psychotics, and she couldn't find any. So I think that's a huge gap."
People who go it alone often become overwhelmed by withdrawal or rebound symptoms, lose their jobs, upset their families and end up in hospital often on a higher dose of medication than previously.
Some felt like failures, she said, but the support they really needed from the mental health system simply hadn't been there.
Other people in the study reported that with monitoring and back-up, including therapy, they'd been able to come off anti-psychotics either for long periods, or permanently.
Some 130,000 New Zealanders are taking anti-psychotics, according to Pharmac.
Taimi Allan was on psychiatric drugs from the age of 15, and came off them 12 years ago at the age of 30 with the help of a sympathetic GP, pharmacist and husband.
She had chosen to stop the medication because her relationships were suffering. "My husband was saying 'I'm living with a zombie now'," she said.
"[Anti-psychotic medication] numbs everything. It doesn't just numb the bad parts of your life ... it numbs feelings, tastes, colour, smell - all of those senses."
Ms Allan, chief executive of Auckland Mental Health advocacy organisation Changing Minds, said the study challenges the health system to listen to people in mental distress, and think harder.
She said like many others she was told to just go on taking the medication despite the well-known long-term risks of diabetes and heart problems.
"I used to get messages like 'this is something you'll have for the rest of your life' or 'this might be the best it gets'... And it's all based around risk and about not wanting to offer hope if no hope exists.
"But people don't get better from anything without that little spark of hope. "
Dr Larsen-Barr said since most will try to come off their prescribed drugs at some stage, support should be available to all, to save the cost and suffering of recurring mental health crises.
Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson said people in mental distress were often not well-informed about the effects and sometimes damaging side effects of anti-psychotics.
Too often people were put under the care of a GP and simply expected to go on taking medication which could shorten their lives - for the rest of their lives - with no other treatment options, or consideration for what they might want, he said.
" I think we now know a lot more about the wider, environmental, socail, lifestyle changes that need to be made to support somone's wellbeing.
"So just taking a myopic view of medications as the way to go - there's really not an excuse for that any more."

People trying to get off anti-psychotic drugs need more help - study 17 November 2016 Lois Williams

Education students who believe psychiatric drugs and treatments are more harmful than helpful have a new avenue for research.
The University of Toronto's Ontario Institute of Education has established a scholarship in the controversial field of antipsychiatry
Billed as a world first, the Bonnie Burstow Scholarship in Antipsychiatry is awarded with donations that its namesake instructor - a trauma specialist and critic of psychiatry - is matching with up to $50,000 out of her own pocket. 

The author of Psychiatry And The Business Of Madness ($52, Palgrave Macmillan) and an associate professor in OISE's department of leadership, higher and adult education believes that there is no proven biological basis for mental illness and that psychiatric methods - including drugs - and the institutions that support them are oppressive and violate human rights.
Burstow views the scholarship as a win for academic equity, given that the University of Toronto's Faculty of Medicine includes a psychiatry department. 
Setting it up was not an easy feat.
"I was asked at different points if I would change the name and not use the word 'antipsychiatry,'" she tells NOW. "I said no, I wouldn't. It's an area that makes people nervous."
Burstow's courses usually attract 20 to 25 students in a given year. None of her classes - which are social-justice-focused and address survivors of trauma - has "antipsychiatry" in its title, but the perspective is always incorporated.
The scholars who attend her antipsychiatry support group often hold anti-racist and feminist viewpoints, and she occasionally attracts med students interested in hearing from someone who doesn't buy into the psychiatric paradigm.
"The long history of psychiatry is the long history of pathologizing women. The feminist community has been aware of that for decades," she says. "It is also an institution that pathologizes Blacks, lesbians and gays. This intersectionality analysis is readily available through an antipsychiatry lens."
Although antipsychiatry is niche in the world of academia, critiques of psychiatry have had an impact on methods and have shaped public opinion of the field.

Ken Kesey's 1962 novel, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, and the Oscar-winning film adaptation 13 years later created distrust of psychiatry and specifically electroshock treatments
Around the same time, the nascent gay rights movement pressured the American Psychiatric Association to declassify homosexuality as a disease, and it was dropped from the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders in 1973.
"I'm hoping this scholarship will spur alternative ways of arranging society so that we aren't inventing diseases or brain-damaging people, and there is a greater acceptance of difference," says Burstow. "We need to work out problems together rather than bring in experts. I'm looking for the creation of something far more egalitarian."
Students receiving the scholarship can focus on any area of antipsychiatry. Burstow hopes it paves the way for bigger scholarships she can endow when she dies.
At OISE, several students focusing on antipsychiatry have had trouble getting in-house scholarships, Burstow adds. Her scholarship, which is endowed in perpetuity, was approved on the grounds of academic freedom, with support from the dean and his advisers. 
If psychiatry school officials are unhappy, they are not saying so publicly. 
U of T department of psychiatry chair Benoit H. Mulsant declined an interview but sent a statement via a school spokesperson. 
"Universities are places where free inquiry is encouraged and supported," he said. "The department of psychiatry will continue to prepare the next generation of psychiatrists. Doing so, we strive to uphold the highest standards of the profession, consistent with the latest research that ensures the well-being of individuals with mental disorders."
Since Burstow announced the fund, it was swiftly criticized by a mental health advocate in the Huffington Post, who noted that the Canadian wing of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a non-profit founded by the Church of Scientology, has praised the scholarship.
That article is a one example of the flak Burstow has weathered over four decades as an antipsychiatry activist and radical therapist. 
She dismisses criticisms aligning her research with anti-vaxers and Scientology as "bogus smear tactics."
"In every university I've taught in, there's always been some kind of push-back," she says. When she taught at the University of Manitoba's social work department, a psychiatry program official asked to speak in one of her classes.
"I wrote back and said that in the name of people having multiple perspectives, I would have no problem with having someone from the department of psychiatry giving their perspective in my class - as long as, in the interest of their students also having multiple perspectives, I be invited into their classes," she recalls. "I never heard back from them."

Bonnie Burstow launches the world's first antipsychiatry scholarship at OISEKEVIN RITCHIE NOVEMBER 16, 2016

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Poliziotto uccide moglie e due figlie e si toglie la vita November 2, 2016

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82enne uccide i vicini, poi si toglie la vita October 28, 2016

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Man killed girl, 12, then himself October 26, 2016

5 dead in quadruple murder-suicide October 24, 2016

Pisa, uccide la moglie e si suicida October 23, 2016

2 children killed by father in murder-suicide October 21, 2016

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Death on Base: The Fort Hood Massacre November 4, 2016

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AMERICAN ROULETTE Murder-Suicide in the USA November 2, 2015

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Psych drug link to violent episodes analysed May 24, 2016

Antidepressants doubles the risk of suicide January 29, 2016

The FDA Is Hiding Reports Linking Psych Drugs to Homicides MAY 8, 2016

DRUG DEALER $4.6 billion depression drugs sales in the US October 31, 2016

Impact of advertising psychiatric drugs September 15, 2016

Past and Present Psychiatric Human Rights Abuses September 15, 2016

Letters from Generation Rx May 4, 2016

Le stragi e le cure farmaco psichiatriche July 25, 2016

Why Kids Kill Inside the Minds of School Shooters July 24, 2016

Violence Caused by Antidepressants: An Update July 27, 2016

“Tower” recreates the first modern mass shooting OCTOBER 15, 2016

The Start of America’s Mass School Shooting Epidemic August 11, 2016

Mass Shooting Media Contagion August 11, 2016

Rifles of Choice for Mass Killers August 11, 2016

"Speaking is Difficult" The Haunting Normalcy of Mass Shootings September 17, 2016

IL MONDO NUOVO March 31, 2016

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