Full Disclosure: Or We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know About Psychotropic Medications

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I write this post today after a week-long effort to find my way through some of the more disturbing symptoms of my labelled mental illness diagnoses. I feel better today….. thank for asking….. and have been musing on my journey through what most would term madness. Along the way, I have personally experienced the failures as they exist in the mental health system today as well as some of the triumphs of holistic and alternative approaches by those who eschew the standard model and focus on personal recovery. I came across this open letter in some of my internet trolling on successful alternate methods of helping those with mental illness and it struck a nerve…..a big nerve. I am in no way advocating that all psych meds are all bad for all people…..first off I don’t have the right to choose for other people…..nor do I have the expertise required to make such a declaration. What I am advocating is full disclosure and a patient centered approach that gives all users all the available information and allows them to make an informed and thoughtful personal choice. Remember that in our not to distant past, lobotomies were widely thought to be the miracle cure for mental illness; that toxic pesticides were thought to be a miracle cure for crop growers insect blight; that cocaine was an actual ingredient in Coca Cola; and that thalidomide was thought to be a miracle cure for morning sickness. With that said, I present the following letter as I found it for your thoughtful consideration. Let me know your thoughts!

When will society look back on today’s chemical lobotomy?

The NY Times published an interesting article about how Eva Peron — first lady of Peru in the 1940’s — apparently received a lobotomy. When will society look back at today’s ‘chemical lobotomy’ with neuroleptic antipsychotic drugs?

This is an open letter I wrote to Barron H. Lerner, MD, who wrote a column published in today’s New York Times about the lobotomy of Eva Peron (show on right with her husband in 1945, the year before his election).

20 December 2011

Juan and Eva Perón, 1945

Hi Dr. Lerner,

Saw your article on lobotomy and Eva Peron, amazing.

I have just one question:

When do you think society will look back and witness the lobotomy-effect of today’s widespread neuroleptic (antipsychotic) over-use?

This is my 35th year as a community organizer by and for people who use the mental health system.

Surely, you must be aware by now that there are multiple sources of evidence that long-term high-dosage neuroleptics can mean actual SHRINKAGE of the same frontal lobes targeted by the lobotomy?

If not, just google ANTIPSYCHOTIC BRAIN DAMAGE and you’ll get our folder on just some of the mainstream literature.

I hasten to add that we are for human rights, including the personal private healthcare decision to take neuroleptics. Many of our members do.

This is the 25th year of our group.

And I am amazed by the UNIVERSAL human problems of the mind, and by universal I do indeed mean everyone.

Because there is such widespread fascination with the 50,000 or so lobotomies of the 1950’s.

And meanwhile there is a massive increase of neuroleptics (antipsychotics) all over the world, today. Even of six month olds. Of children in foster care. Of seniors in nursing homes.

And we know that long-term use can cause a lobotomy effect.

You threw in the word ‘effective’ [in a reference to neuroleptics in the article] but that’s controversial, too, especially for the LONG TERM. I hope you’ve read Robert Whitaker’s book Anatomy of an Epidemic by now. I’ll copy this to him.

I have to repeat we’re pro-choice on taking prescribed drugs. Many of our members choose to take neuroleptics. I don’t want to get pigeon-holed into being ‘pro’ or ‘con’ any procedure.

But in terms of human rights? Countless people are being lied to by licensed medical practitioners about the benefits and hazards of neuroleptics. Some are being forced to have these drugs. And most are being denied commonsense non-drug alternatives that have a proven track record.

So how long will it take for society — including you — to look back at our current era, and marvel at the massive level of brain damage induced by the mental health profession while violating people’s rights?

Some World Psychiatric Association leaders published a book that includes a chapter about this more at length:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/coercion

When?

Best,

David

David W. Oaks, Executive Director

MindFreedom International

454 Willamette, Suite 216 – POB 11284

Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USA

web: http://www.mindfreedom.org

email: oaks@mindfreedom.org

office phone: 541-345-9106 fax: 480-287-8833

member services toll free in USA: 1-877-MAD-PRID[e] or 1-877-623-7743

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13 thoughts on “Full Disclosure: Or We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know About Psychotropic Medications

  1. Good post. caution is strongly advised whe ndealing with any part of this ‘system.’
    This may help to explain in much more detail… !WARNING! – this is really heavy stuff and could make things worse. Me? I’ve watched it and others… I’ll go it alone thank you (no meds, no ‘professional’ help, no way).

    Human Resources – How the elite use behavioral science to craft our educational and industrial systems.
    trailer:
    http://metanoia-films.org/human-resources/
    And over here you can watch the whole movie on-line for free:
    http://metanoia-films.org/human-resources/

    M

  2. Nora L Pratt says:

    Wonderful post and insightful blog. I wanted to pop in and thank you for the ‘follow’ on my site and liking my post only to find how wonderful yours was. Having been on Anti-depressant medication for several years now, it does make me wonder – however, can’t say I would ever wish to stop (just don’t ever want to see myself back there again). Thank you for the insight…
    NP

    • I completely understand what you mean by not wanting to go “back there” again. I admittedly am still struggling with various mental illness diagnoses and trying to find the best way for me to reach full recovery. Thank you for your support.

  3. First, this is the best post I have read all week. Every single person I know is on an anti-depressant. Would you mind writing a bit more (instead of the links) on your findings of the research and then listing sources at the end? This topic is interesting, and I am putting you on my blogroll. You have some great articles!
    Did you find that long term use causes a lobotomy affect? Why are doctors pushing these drugs on everyone? My doctor says Zoloft is a great drug. I refuse to take it. The paper that comes with it, gives me zero information. The doc prescribed Zoloft to me for PMS or severe PMS – not depression.

    Fascinating…more posts please?

    • Thanks for your comment and also all your suggestions! I personally start my research at drugdigest.org and crazymeds.us as both provide what I feel is unbiased info including pros, cons and side effects both common and uncommon. Zoloft is FDA approved for PPMS otherwise known as severe PMS. My experience and direct knowledge of people who take this class of drugs known as SSRI’s is that the number one complaint is lack of libido followed a close second by weight gain and sexual dysfunction. My concern, however, and the reason I wrote this post is due to the long term use side effects. Numerous scholarly articles have been written on this matter and most present a bleak or at least cautionary picture. This is something docs aren’t talking about, aware of possibly, and certainly not announced widely by big pharma. One great article is on psy-world.com/SSRI_problems.pdf. I personally attribute one of my iatrogenic illness labels to the long term use of SSRI’s at least in part if not in whole. I was diagnosed with Von Willebrand’s disease which is basically the female form of hemophilia. The kicker is, in my case it was acquired and not genetic which is very rare AND six years after the diagnosis and regular followup/treatment…..I was UNdiagnosed as having UNaquired it with nobody willing to provide an explanation. Now, I think I know why. Again, I am not trying to demonize psych meds because I do not feel I have the right or the knowledge to say they are all bad all the time for all people. I DO know they are not right for me. I also question the idea of taking meds when absolutely no doctor on this planet can explain the drugs entire mechanism and interaction in the human body. None. Nobody. They speculate, but they are unable to demonstrate this for sure.

      Thanks for your encouragement! Best wishes.

  4. I use crazymeds.com all the time – love that site. The readers of eccentric seem to be enjoyinng your blog. Look forward to many more posts. I often have to put sites on the blogroll – otherwise I cannot locate them again. Its really so I can comment on the blogs I enjoy.

    So true, the doctors say they do not know how it works. All I know is an anti-depressant takes my sex drive away, any drug that does that, I do not like at all. Sex is natural and is an antidepressant in and of itself.

    Depressed? Have Sex! Do People – Not Drugs. Sex has little side affects (with protection), and causes dopameine (sp?).

    Best Wishes,

    Liz

  5. the_lunatic says:

    I appreciate the follow, especially because it introduced me to your blog. I’ve been on a lot [a LOT] of meds. I made the decision awhile ago to cut them from my life and work on things naturally because I really feel that they were prescribed unnecessarily for things that weren’t properly assessed. While some of them *did* play a role in saving my life a couple times, I just don’t believe that they are a healthy part of my life anymore. Thanks for posting that letter, it’s a real eye-opener and something I had no idea about.

  6. […] surgical theater. Complicating matters further, my medical history as I have shared here includes a bleeding disorder, which is a very scary thing for surgeons. Now, I am in horrible pain and I am feeling hopeless. […]

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