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Thread: Dangerous Psychiatric Drugs

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    Dangerous Psychiatric Drugs

    This article references the work of Dr. Peter Breggin, a dissident psychiatrist who is a hero in my book.

    It is lengthy, so I won't post the whole thing:

    Frau Koma’s Second Coming: Mass Murder, Autism and the Cult of Weaponized Genetics

    Part 1, Demon Seed
    [Read Part 2 and Part 3.]

    And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. ~Revelations, 20:14-15

    By Adriana Gamondes

    In September, 2011, Manitoba judge Robert Heinrichs ruled that a sixteen year old accused of murder would remain in youth court where he faces a maximum sentence of four years rather than the possibility of life without parole in adult court. Family members of the fifteen year old victim were outraged by the ruling, though Heinrichs stated that the accused’s “basic normalcy now further confirms he no longer poses a risk of violence to anyone and that his mental deterioration and resulting violence would not have taken place without exposure to Prozac…He has none of the characteristics of a perpetrator of violence.”

    Dr. Peter Breggin, the reform psychiatrist and psychopharmaceutical expert who testified on antidepressant-induced psychosis and violence in the Manitoba case, was sued for his medical license in 1987—the very year that Prozac was first mass marketed by Eli Lilly. The charges were filed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a consumer group which has always lobbied for forced institutionalization and mandated treatment of the mentally ill ( Section 9.2 of NAMI’s Public Policy Platform)—including drugs and electroconvulsive therapy or ECT— and was recently exposed as a long-standing pharmaceutical industry front organization in The New York Times.

    Due to his success in banning forced lobotomy in institutions coupled with efforts to raise the alarm on clinical risks of ECT and psychiatric drugs, Dr. Breggin has been a thorn in the side of industry and its various front organizations since the 1970’s. After Breggin went on Oprah and reported that Eli Lilly’s own trial data showed that even individuals lacking histories of violence or serious mental illness who were exposed to the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant Prozac and antipsychotics would frequently develop violent ideation or violent psychosis, NAMI claimed that Breggin’s remarks could cause patients to discontinue their meds. Following an outpouring of support for Breggin from the international medical reform community, the Maryland licensure board dropped the charges and Breggin prevailed. Seventeen years later, the FDA adopted black box warnings for suicide and violence on SSRI antidepressants. The black box warnings are, almost word for word, the precise clinical caveats that Breggin repeatedly submitted to the FDA and in Congressional hearings.

    The previously concealed Prozac trial data Breggin uncovered and exposed in 1987 included cases of child subjects on Prozac who suddenly developed intrusive dreams and visions of going to school with guns and shooting classmates. There were also far more attempted and completed suicides among drug-exposed subjects than in the placebo groups.

    Over the years, Breggin and other researchers have worked to identify the mechanism by which certain psychopharmaceutical drugs induce violence and suicidality. Breggin has described phenomenon such as drug-induced akathisia, an uncontrollable sense of restless inner torment caused by an amphetamine-like and even LSD-like effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRI’s, and has written about prescription drug-induced “intoxication anosognosia” or “medication spellbinding:

    Medication spellbinding has four basic effects.

    First, people taking psychiatric drugs rarely realize how much the drugs are impairing them mentally or emotionally. They often do not recognize that they’ve become irrational, depressed, angry, or even euphoric since beginning the medication.

    Second, if they do realize that they are having painful emotional feelings, medication spellbinding causes them to blame their feelings on something other than the drug. They may get angry at their husbands, wives or children, and become abusive. Or they might blame themselves and become suicidal. Often they confuse the harmful drug effect with their emotional problems and attribute their emotional distress to “mental illness.”

    Third, medication spellbinding makes some people feel that they are doing better than ever when in reality they are doing much worse than ever. In one case, a man who was high on a combination of an antidepressant and a tranquilizer happily went on a daylight robbery spree in his hometown wearing no disguise. Another otherwise ethical citizen happily embezzled money while documenting the details in easily accessible company computer files. Both men thought they were on top of the world.

    Fourth, some people become so medication spellbound that they lose control of themselves and perpetrate horrendously destructive actions. My book opens with the story an otherwise kind and gentle man who became agitated on an antidepressant and drove his car into a policeman to knock him down to get his gun to try to kill himself. In another case, a ten-year-old boy with no history of depression hung himself after taking a prescription stimulant for ADHD. He documented the dreadful unfolding events while speaking in a robotic monotone into his computer.

    According to journalist and author Robert Whitaker, after the failed suit against Breggin, Eli Lilly—one of NAMI’s largest corporate sponsors from the group’s inception— reputedly began making anonymous donations and guiding media attention to a very different type of organization, a then obscure California religious group called Scientology. Scientology, as the story goes, didn’t look the gift horse in the mouth and soon became the symbol of coercive pseudoscientific cults in the US—the “devil” which the drug industry needed in order to erect a good and evil binary and counterpart to the “angel” of its consumer front beneficiaries. Frau Koma only deals in black and white —except when shades of gray are needed to couch moral relativism.

    Scientology would not have been chosen as a target because it was the most dangerous alternative religion in that era of high profile violent and suicidal cults. But the group conveniently embodied “anti-psychiatry”: Scientology claimed to offer a form of therapy for mental suffering by way of earthly transcendence and seemed to view organized psychiatry as competition. Industry might also have noted that Scientology offered a drug-free reverse parallel for its own utopian marketing approach, promising the public a future paradise on earth free from disease, pain, suffering, violence and fear in exchange for uncritical faith in commercial science and the wonders of modern chemistry— while Scientology offered this through commitment to the church’s rites and practices. In any case, Lilly and Company likely recognized the potential to build up a straw-man target on which to project its own “sins” and as a means to silence critics like Breggin by generating associative cult smears in the media it sponsors.

    Between 1988 and 2007, use of antidepressants in the US has risen by 400%, a fact which drug proponents claim is due to “increased recognition” of mental illness. But increased prescribing has not brought with it the expected improvement in mental health among Americans: instead, the rate of mental disability has increased nearly two and a half times between 1987 and 2007—from 1 in 184 Americans to 1 in 76. For children, the rise is far more staggering—the number of children so disabled by mental illness that they qualify for SSI and SSDI has risen 35-fold in the same two decades. Antidepressants are currently the third most common drugs prescribed to Americans 12 and older.

    If there’s any basis to rumors of Eli Lilly’s straw-man-engineering, it was unquestionably a brilliant strategy. For twenty years—until the Zyprexa Papers Scandal in 2007 exposed Lilly’s fraud, spurred on Senator Grassley’s investigations, resulted in billions paid out in injury suits and took the wind out of the tactic—anyone who publicly criticized the safety or efficacy of mental health drugs or the integrity of industry, no matter how independent or credentialed, was instantly accused of being part of a cult and, for the purposes of public credibility, effectively censored. Frau Koma is clever.

    About the device: “Koma“ is “amok” spelled backwards; amok—as in “to run amok.” “Amoklaufen” is the German expression for “spree-killer.” After a mass shooting at the Johannes Gutenberg Gymnasium in Erfurt, Eastern Germany in 2002, police developed a new emergency code for school shootings—“Frau Koma kommt”—“Frau Koma is coming.” The code was activated again on March 13th, 2009, the day that 17 year old student Tim Kretschmer rampaged through a school in Winnedon, Germany, killing 13 and then himself.

    The term “amok” isn’t exactly new. After the Dutch East India Company began shipping 100 tons of opium a year to Indonesia in the 17th century during the first and lesser-known Opium War to pacify the region, “amoklaufen”— derived from the Javan “amoak” or “kill”— was popularized by colonists who began observing random mass stabbings perpetrated by opium-crazed Malayans. Without making reference to opium or its source, Rudyard Kipling first used the term “run amok” in English to describe rampaging Malayans who would senselessly hack through crowds with daggers until they were either subdued and killed or took their own lives according to historical accounts.

    This type of crime— non-ideological mass killing, mostly performed outside a combat zone by an individual who is not acting as part of a militant group, who is motivated neither by specific sexual nor financial incentives, who most often has no extended history of criminality or serious mental disturbance and who uses no stealth in covering the evidence of their crimes which are frequently committed in public or broad daylight—also isn’t precisely new, though the explosive prevalence of it in developed countries is. Although the stated motive just prior to many mass killings has often been a bizarre generalized grudge or a contradictory hash of recently adopted political-sounding views, these individuals will attack strangers or groups of people with little relevance to their irrational complaints if any are even expressed. Though they may function enough to systematically and robotically plan an assault, the modern non-ideological “massacrist” doesn’t engage in the escape strategies expected of an addictively compulsive killer who wishes to remain free to kill again.

    Even in certain mass killings committed by active duty members of the military, a breach in historical pattern has emerged. Because of consistent media misreporting on the history of the Mai Lai massacre and other atrocities during Vietnam, this might not seem the case. But, according to linguist and political media analyst Noam Chomsky, Mai Lai was not a rogue act by servicemen going against orders as it’s been portrayed. Instead Chomsky refers to Mai Lai as simply a “footnote” of the Post-Tet “Accelerated Pacification” campaign which systematically and by design killed over 10,000 civilians in Vietnam in 1968. What happened in Mai Lai was intentional and approved and, in military history, it isn’t unusual.

    But when Staff Sergeant Robert Bales killed seventeen Afghan civilian adults and children while they slept in their beds and set several on fire in March, 2012, he was not acting on even inferred orders at that moment but against them. There was no machinery in place to cover up or shift around responsibility for the horrific events as there has been for planned atrocities like Mai Lai or Abu Ghraib. He acted alone, not as part of classic “deindividuated violence” (Phillip Zimbardo, 1969) performed by mobs which are typically very attuned to “group think” and guided by ideological authority according to Canadian forensic psychologist Donald Dutton. Unlike serial murderers, Bales made no attempt to cover his tracks. And the media began investigating reports that Bales may have taken Lariam, the anti-malarial drug which Dan Olmstead and Mark Benjamin investigated in 2002 in association with a spate of domestic murder-suicides among members of the military. As Olmsted noted, the Lariam killers lacked histories of escalating violence typical in lethal domestic assaults.

    Lariam and other medications commonly prescribed to military personnel have recently been the focus of Congressional inquiry due to the unprecedented one-a-day suicide rate among service people, a statistic which is all the more disconcerting since prospective recruits must pass screens for mental illness before enlisting. Obviously there’s been an enormous lag in undertaking the investigation by war machinery responsible for using its ranks as clinical guinea pigs by widely prescribing powerful medications to patch up battle-fatigued combatants rather than relieving them of duty. Peter Breggin, testifying this time before the Veterans Affair Committee in February, 2010, painted a chilling picture of suicidal and violent psychoactive drug reactions that have been covered up by pharmaceutical companies for decades. . . .

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    Learnt much about dangerous drugs yesterday watching this Podcast >

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