Archive for August, 2007

Is Psychotherapy as Dangerous as Psychiatric Drugs?

Sunday, August 26th, 2007

Lack of science plagues both therapies

On June 18, 2007, Newsweek exposed the oft-overlooked dangers of psychological therapy, including bizarre techniques such as “recovered memory” therapy and “stress debriefing” for disorders that cannot be scientifically substantiated.

The article reveals “…the number of people undergoing potentially risky therapies reaches into the tens of thousands. [The painkiller] Vioxx was yanked from the market for less.”

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a psychiatric watchdog group, says that while psychotropic drugs and electroshock commonly used in mental health “treatment” have documented physical adverse effects—sometimes deadly—the harmful effects of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy often are as visible.

The Newsweek article addresses the lack of efficacy of these methods, which psychologist John Norcross of Scranton University refers to as “psychoquackery.” In his book, Psychology: A Study of a Science, Dr. Sigmund Koch from the American Psychological Association concluded, “I think it by this time utterly and finally clear that psychology cannot be a coherent science….”

This is a common denominator between psychiatry and psychology: both lack a scientific foundation and the “therapies” that are developed from this faulty premise are potentially dangerous.

Child Molesters and Drug Dealers

Sunday, August 26th, 2007

Los Angeles Museum Exposes Dark World of Psychiatry 

 

A San Mateo judge ruled August 7, 2007 that William Ayres, a prominent child psychiatrist and former president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, will stand trial for 20 counts of lewd and lascivious behavior against minors. 

 

Thirty-seven former patients have accused Ayres of molestation. The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a psychiatric watchdog group, says that the Ayres’ case is representative of a larger problem in psychiatry: rampant patient sexual assault. 

 

Studies report that between 10 and 25 percent of psychiatrists admit to sexually abusing patients. According to a 2001 study by Kenneth S. Pope about “Sex Between Therapists and Clients,” one out of 20 clients sexually abused was a minor, the average age was 7 for girls and 12 for boys. Pope, the former head of the Ethics Committee of the American Psychological Association, said that youngest sexually molested patient was 3. A Canadian Journal of Psychiatry study also determined that 80 percent of therapists that abuse clients are repeat offenders. 

 

The risk of sexual assault during psychiatric therapy is addressed at CCHR’s museum in Los Angeles called “Psychiatry: An Industry of Death.” About 14 percent of those who are sexually involved with a therapist will attempt suicide; one in every hundred will succeed. 

 

The Museum documents the New Zealand case of a psychiatrist and psychotherapist who ran a commune of therapists that taught sexual promiscuity and incest were not only normal but also therapeutic. In 1968, Ayers advocated that sexual education for adolescents be taught to children as young as 9 in public schools because “ignorance only leads children to subsequent unwise decisions.” Seven of the male patients he is charged with molesting are aged 8 to 13. Steve Abrams, a former patient who sued Ayres in December 2003, said the psychiatrist began molesting him when he was 12. Ayres agreed to pay $395,000 to settle the lawsuit. 

 

CCHR says that Ayers is one of thousands of psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists that CCHR has investigated, with the three most common charges and convictions relating to patient sexual abuse, drug charges and fraud. CCHR has documented psychiatrists administering drugs to render the patient unconscious while he sexually assaults him or her. In the past year alone, at least 59 mental health workers were criminally convicted, 17 of them for sexual crimes committed in 10 states: California, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New York and Virginia. Canada, Poland and Israel also reported convictions. 

 

The abuse of patients and high rate of death of those who come in contact with psychiatry prompted the “Psychiatry: An Industry of Death” museum which is free as a public interest service, CCHR said. 

 

The museum is at 6616 Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Click here or contact CCHR at 800-869-2247 or humanrights@cchr.org for more information

Psychologists Violate Their Own Ethical Principle to “Do No Harm”

Sunday, August 26th, 2007

Watchdog Group Says Psychologists Should be Banned from Participating in Abusive Interrogations of Prisoners

The mental health watchdog group Citizens Commission on Human Rights International (CCHR) is calling for a ban on psychologists participating in abusive prisoner interrogations as it violates even their own code of ethics: Principle A of the American Psychological Association’s “Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct” states that psychologists should “do no harm.”

On Sunday (8/19/2007), at its annual convention in San Francisco, the American Psychological Association (APA) voted against a measure that would have banned members from partaking in interrogations that violate basic human rights of prisoners, thereby refusing to distance itself from a long and sordid history of psychological and psychiatric techniques used to torture prisoners as well as political dissidents. Instead, the APA approved a resolution to restrict members only from taking part in a list of specific torture methods such as religious and sexual humiliation, simulated drowning, sleep deprivation and the use of dogs to frighten detainees.  

CCHR says the APA’s actions last weekend are an ineffectual attempt to divert public backlash against psychologists’ involvement in torture techniques, without acting to eradicate the problem altogether.  Bernice Lott, member of the APA council of representatives admitted, “Without the amendment that would call on our colleagues to not participate in these inhumane situations, it’s all just words.”  

Psychologists and psychiatrists have historically played a central role in torture methods used on prisoners, and such recent abuses in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and other U.S. military detention centers have been publicly condemned by many in the U.S. as well as abroad. Psychologists’ participation in these abuses have drawn so much attention that the APA convention was greeted by protestors standing on boxes with black hoods and wires trailing from their arms, symbolizing the torture of detainees.  

Politically motivated torture using psychiatric and psychological techniques occurs throughout the world; in China, more than 600 members of the religious group Falun Gong have been involuntarily detained in psychiatric facilities, where they are heavily drugged and subjected to other abuses to force them to renounce their beliefs. Reports of psychiatric abuse and involuntary commitment of political dissidents continue to flood in from other countries, including Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Russia.  

For example, Elena Urlaeva, a vocal critic of the Uzbekistan government, was forcibly committed to a psychiatric hospital in August 2005, for the third time, where she was forced to endure a series of injections and psychotropic drugs. In response to this incident, U.S. deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli stated, “The United States deplores the forcible psychiatric treatment of human rights activist Elena Urlayeva by the Government of Uzbekistan…Treating political dissidents as victims of psychosis has long been a tactic used by repressive regimes.”  

An equally horrible fate befell political dissidents who were abused in psychiatric “gulags” during the Soviet era. Russian historian, Professor Anatoli Prokopenko, commissioned in 1996 by former President Boris Yeltsin to investigate this abuse said, “Soviet leaders of psychiatry have never publicly declared their responsibility in damaging the mental health of people, nor for the inhumane conditions in their hospitals. Political repression using psychiatric means still occurs in Russia today.”  

Underpinning these past and continuing atrocities are psychologists’ and psychiatrists’ arbitrary and unscientific opinion about what constitutes “mental illness” and the treatment regime to be implemented—both easily manipulated to serve political purposes.  Russian psychiatrists, for example, would diagnose political dissidents with, “sluggish schizophrenia,” which had “symptoms” including a severe case of “inflexibility of convictions.” CCHR says mental health practitioners should be banned from any participation in interrogations and should face license revocations and/or criminal prosecutions for participation in any practices that result in harm, abuse and/or torture.  

Visit www.psychassault.org for more information.

New Study Shows Antidepressant Risks for Newborns

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

New Study Shows Antidepressant Risks for Newborns  How many of America’s 40,000 pregnant women taking the drugs are aware of the risk?  A new study in the August issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry found that antidepressants pose significant risks to newborns. Researchers determined that 12% of the pregnant women taking antidepressants in the study had premature births compared to none in the group not taking the drugs. Infant admissions to a special care nursery were 21% when pregnant women took antidepressants compared to 7.1% among the participants not taking them. 

The evidence is overwhelming that antidepressants prescribed to pregnant women could cause miscarriage. Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Prozac, reported this in 1993 when a study showed spontaneous abortion in 15.9% of pregnant women taking the drug. Since 2004, the Food and Drug Administration has issued four warnings about antidepressant use during pregnancy placing infants at risk of premature birth, congenital birth defects, heart malformations and a potentially fatal lung condition called persistent pulmonary hypertension. Health Canada, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration and the German drug regulatory agency, BfRaM, have issued similar warnings.  However, according to the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a mental health watchdog group, pregnant women are not fully informed of these risks. The American Medical Association estimates that 40,000 pregnant women are taking antidepressants, helping to fuel a lucrative $13.5 billion a year industry. 

Recently, lawsuits have been filed in relation to Paxil causing birth defects. In one case, several surgeries were required to correct the damage that antidepressant use during pregnancy is alleged to have caused.  A study published in the February 2006 edition of The New England Journal of Medicine found that women who took Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants during the second half of their pregnancy are about six times more likely to give birth to a baby with persistent pulmonary hypertension. A November 2006 study published in the journal Epidemiology found that pregnant women who took SSRIs have a 34% higher risk of delivering a baby with a birth defect than mothers who do not take them. If taken during the second or third month of pregnancy, the risk increased to 84%. 

Another major risk to infants is addiction and withdrawal. In February 2006, a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine determined that nearly one-third of newborn infants whose pregnant mothers took SSRIs experienced withdrawal symptoms that included high-pitched crying, tremors and disturbed sleep. The Journal of Psychopharmacology published a study in 2005 in which researchers found that the infant’s withdrawal symptoms began on the first day after birth and persisted for ten days, even though toxic levels of paroxetine (Paxil) were undetected on day six.  In addition, CCHR maintains that few mothers prescribed these drugs are aware that antidepressants are no more effective than taking a placebo. The July 2005 issue of the British Medical Journal published a review of SSRI data that found SSRIs have no clinically meaningful advantage over a placebo and considering the risks, recommendations for prescribing the drugs should be reconsidered. For more information about the dangers of psychiatric drugs, read The Report on the Escalating International Warnings on Psychiatric Drugs (http://cchr.org/files/14851/White%20Paper%20-%20Report%20on%20the%20Escalating%20Number%20of%20Drug%20Warnings.pdf).

 ().To learn more about conflicts of interest in the mental health field, read CCHR’s publication, Psychiatric Diagnostic Manual Link to Drug Manufacturers (http://www.cchr.org/files/13164/DSM_paper.pdf).