Archive for March, 2008

Insurers May be Required to Cover Drugs and Hospitalization for “Internet Addiction”

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

Mental Health Parity Bill Founded on Pseudoscience

Insurers May be Required to Cover Drugs and Hospitalization for “Internet Addiction”

If the Mental Health Parity Bill, H.R. 1424, passes the U.S. Senate as it did on March 5 in the House of Representatives, insurers may be required to cover treatment for “Internet addiction”—the newest proposed “mental disorder” for inclusion in psychiatry’s billing bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).  

H.R. 1424 would effectively mandate insurance coverage of a broad range of subjective and scientifically unsound mental disorders found in the DSM, such as “spelling disorder,” “nicotine use or withdrawal,” “mathematics disorder,” “oppositional defiant disorder” and “sibling rivalry disorder.” The psychiatric watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) says the bill is founded on pseudoscience, and Congress should not mandate parity of insurance coverage when there is no parity of diagnoses between verifiable medical conditions and the psychiatric pseudoscience of the DSM.

        In the most recent issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry, psychiatrist Jerald Block claims that Internet addiction should be included as a disorder in the next edition of the DSM. The “symptoms” he lists—including “excessive use” of computers, the need for better equipment, more software or more hours of use—are as equally absurd as the checklists used to categorize hundreds of other mental disorders found in the DSM, which the House bill proposes insurance companies cover. Block further reports that 80% of “Internet addicts” may need psychiatric drugs and about one in four require hospitalization.

        Block, like other psychiatrists who dream up new mental disorders for the ever-expanding DSM, not only fails to provide reliable scientific diagnoses, but also fails to warn the public that the treatment—drugs—is not only dangerous according to international drug regulatory agencies, but ineffective as well. A recent study in the journal Public Library of Science Medicine found that one of the leading psychiatric “treatments”—antidepressants—is ineffective, working no better than placebo in the majority of cases. Despite the lack of proven effectiveness, the drugs—which carry a black box warning for suicidality—are widely prescribed to all portions of the population, fueling a lucrative $13.5 billion a year industry in the U.S.

While some patient advocacy groups, heavily funded by drug interests, and the mental health lobby purport that mental illness is like a physical disease such as diabetes, cancer or epilepsy, scientific evidence does not substantiate this. There is no parity in the diagnosis of mental health problems (such as “Internet addiction”) compared to real physical conditions that can be accurately tested for and diagnosed. The DSM itself states, “…it must be admitted that no definition adequately specifies precise boundaries for the concept of ‘mental disorder.’”  Yet, the House bill would require group health plans offering mental health benefits to cover every one of the 374 “mental disorders” listed in the DSM. Even psychiatrists and psychologists admit that the manual is unreliable and lacks validity:

• American University Professor of Psychology Jeffrey A. Schaler stated, “Since there are no objective tests for ‘mental illness,’ all kinds of socially unacceptable behaviors will be declared ‘mental illnesses.’ The bottom line is this: Behaviors cannot be diseases.”  

• Allen J. Frances, professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center and Chair of the DSM IV Task Force, stated, “There could arguably not be a worse term than mental disorder to describe the conditions classified in DSM-IV.”  

• The late Loren R. Mosher, M.D., former APA member, stated in regards to the DSM, “…there are no external validating criteria for psychiatric diagnoses. There is neither a blood test nor specific anatomic lesions for any major psychiatric disorder.”

• Psychiatrist David Kaiser wrote, “…modern psychiatry has yet to convincingly prove the genetic/biologic cause of any single mental illness…. Patients [have] been diagnosed with ‘chemical imbalance,’ despite the fact that no test exists to support such a claim, and…there is no real conception of what a correct chemical balance would look like.”

Congressman Doc Hastings (R-WA), a critic of H.R. 1424, stated, “…the reach of this bill goes far beyond mental health parity, the 1.3 billion dollar cost it would impose on businesses providing health care to employees is an issue that is not addressed, or any loss of care that may result from new government mandates contained in the bill is also not addressed.”

        According to CCHR, the bill ignores the failure of the mental health industry to substantiate the science behind their diagnoses, and would increase funding to support the profitable psychiatric practice of masking behavioral and emotional problems with damaging “treatments”—most commonly, mind-altering drugs documented to cause suicide, mania, psychosis, “homicidal ideation,” heart attack, stroke and sudden death. CCHR urges the public to write, call or fax their federal representatives, demanding health insurance coverage for mental health problems not be based on the DSM and be provided only when full, searching physical examinations are first undertaken to determine that no underlying and untreated physical condition is causing the person’s mental health condition.

        For more information, read CCHR’s report, Mental Health Parity: Funding DSM-IV Diagnoses – A Scientific Sham.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is an international psychiatric watchdog group co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights. Visit CCHR St. Louis at www.cchrstl.org.

Toxicology Results Show Antidepressants in Illinois School Shooter’s System

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Bringing Total to 54 Dead and 105 Wounded in Recent Drug-Induced School/Teen Shootings

MARCH 14:  Illinois police have confirmed that toxicology results show Illinois gunman Steven Kazmierczak had antidepressants in his system during his school shooting rampage—when he shot and killed five before committing suicide—bringing the total of recent psychiatric drug induced shootings to 54 dead and 105 wounded. Kazmierczak is the 12th school or teen shooter in the past decade under the influence of psychiatric drugs documented by international drug regulatory agencies to cause suicide, mania, psychosis, hallucinations, hostility and in the case of one antidepressant, “homicidal ideation.” In response to an increasing number of these violent attacks, the mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) says it is time to stop vested interests from spouting their usual propaganda about psychiatric drugs, and instead demand a federal investigation for the sake of public safety. While the psychiatric/pharmaceutical industries have persisted in vehemently denying that antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs cause violence, or quickly denying any possible correlation, CCHR is quick to point out that it was similar vested interests that stalled the FDA from issuing suicide warnings on antidepressants in 1991. 13 years later CCHR was vindicated for its efforts when the FDA finally issued the long overdue black box warning in 2004. (See CCHR’s 1991 FDA hearing video.)

In a new 11-minute documentary entitled Psychiatry’s Prescription For Violence, psychiatrists, psychologists, professors, attorneys and medical experts join CCHR in exposing the link between psychiatric drugs and acts of violence that have been buried by those putting profit before public safety. CCHR’s battle for full public disclosure on the risks of these drugs spans nearly two decades and is chronicled in a new report entitled CCHR: Exposing the Dangers of Antidepressants and Other Psychotropic Drugs—Despite FDA/Psychiatric-Pharmaceutical Cover-Ups.

Today growing numbers of medical professionals, scientists and doctors are publishing studies exposing the facts that have been kept from the public. In September 2006, Dr. David Healy, Director of Cardiff University’s North Wales department of psychological medicine, and colleagues published the findings of their study of the antidepressant, Paxil, in the journal Public Library of Science Medicine stating: “We’ve got good evidence that the drugs can make people violent and you’d have to reason from that that there may be more episodes of violence.” In a 2003/2004 analysis of psychiatric drug-induced violence/suicide, published in International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine, psychiatrist Peter Breggin concludes, “There are many reports and studies confirming that SSRI [Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor] antidepressants can cause violence, suicide, mania and other forms of psychotic and bizarre behavior.”

CCHR’s new documentary is featured on its website http://www.cchr.org, on a section entitled “Psychiatric Drugs, Violence and School Shootings.” The website also features medical studies regarding treating patients without the use of psychiatric drugs under “Solutions/Alternatives.”

What others are saying about the documentary:

“An excellent tool to educate and empower parents on the abuse and proliferation of psychoactive drugs throughout our families and school systems. Parents need to be made aware of the devastating effects of these poisons on our most cherished resource.”

-Dr. Colbey Forman, Dean of Barron University, School of Psychoneurology

“The documentary is not only excellent qualitatively but extremely accurate. The public and the professional communities need to see it.”

-Dr. David Stein, psychologist

“I know that I have to go back to my own state and do what I can to stop the overuse and overprescription of these psychiatric drugs. It is imperative that we educate the public and I am sure they will be as outraged as I am.”

-Georgia Senator Donzella James

“A screeching wake-up call to the desensitizing of the human soul.”

-Carlos Ramirez, actor

To obtain a copy of the documentary click here.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is an international psychiatric watchdog group co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights. Visit CCHR St. Louis at www.cchrstl.org.

New Mini-Documentary Exposes Psychiatric Drugs Turning Kids into Killers

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

54 Dead and 105 Wounded in Recent Teen and School Shootings

SAINT LOUIS: On February 14, Illinois gunman Steven Kazmierczak became the 12th shooter in the past decade under the influence of psychiatric drugs documented by international drug regulatory agencies to cause suicide, mania, psychosis, hallucinations, hostility and in the case of one antidepressant, “homicidal ideation.” With casualties from school or teen shootings now totaling 54 dead and 105 wounded, the mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) says it is time to stop vested interests from spouting their usual propaganda about psychiatric drugs, and instead demand a federal investigation for the sake of public safety. While the psychiatric/pharmaceutical industries have persisted in vehemently denying that antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs cause violence, CCHR is quick to point out that it was similar vested interests that stalled the FDA from issuing black box warnings on suicide for more than 13 years. (See video from 1991 FDA hearing.)

In a new 11-minute documentary entitled Psychiatry’s Prescription For Violence, psychiatrists, psychologists, professors, attorneys and medical experts, join CCHR in exposing the link between psychiatric drugs and acts of violence that have been buried by those putting profit before public safety. CCHR’s battle for full public disclosure on the risks of these drugs spans nearly two decades and is chronicled in a new report entitled CCHR: Exposing the Dangers of Antidepressants and Other Psychotropic Drugs—Despite FDA/Psychiatric-Pharmaceutical Cover-Ups.

Today growing numbers of medical professionals, scientists and doctors are publishing studies exposing the facts that have been kept from the public. In September 2006, Dr. David Healy, Director of Cardiff University’s North Wales department of psychological medicine, and colleagues published the findings of their study of the antidepressant, Paxil, in the journal Public Library of Science Medicine stating: “We’ve got good evidence that the drugs can make people violent and you’d have to reason from that that there may be more episodes of violence.” In a 2003/2004 analysis of psychiatric drug induced violence/suicide, published in International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine, psychiatrist Peter Breggin concludes, “There are many reports and studies confirming that SSRI [Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor] antidepressants can cause violence, suicide, mania and other forms of psychotic and bizarre behavior.”

CCHR’s new documentary is featured on its website http://www.cchr.org, on a section entitled “Psychiatric Drugs, Violence and School Shootings.” The website also features medical studies regarding treating patients without the use of psychiatric drugs under “Solutions/Alternatives.”

What others are saying about the documentary:

“An excellent tool to educate and empower parents on the abuse and proliferation of psychoactive drugs throughout our families and school systems. Parents need to be made aware of the devastating effects of these poisons on our most cherished resource.”

  -Dr. Colbey Forman, Dean of Barron University, School of Psychoneurology

“The documentary is not only excellent qualitatively but extremely accurate. The public and the professional communities need to see it.”

  -Dr. David Stein, psychologist

“I know that I have to go back to my own state and do what I can to stop the overuse and overprescription of these psychiatric drugs. It is imperative that we educate the public and I am sure they will be as outraged as I am.”

 -Georgia Senator Donzella James

“A screeching wake-up call to the desensitizing of the human soul.”

 -Carlos Ramirez, actor

To obtain a copy of the documentary click here.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is an international psychiatric watchdog group co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights. Visit CCHR St. Louis at http://www.cchrstl.org/.

Criminal Culpability in Prescription Drug Deaths

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

Report on Psychotropic Drug Crimes Launched on Online Tracking Database

 SAINT LOUIS: Two U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration investigations into doctors who prescribed cocktails of drugs, including tranquilizers and painkillers, leading to patient deaths, have prompted a new report released today online. The report, “When Prescribing Psychotropic Drugs Becomes Criminal Negligence: Cases and Convictions”, published by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), shows legal precedents where psychiatrists or doctors prescribing psychiatric drugs have been convicted of manslaughter when patients have died as a result of those prescriptions.

 

Published on the website, psychcrime.org, which features the world’s only searchable database of criminally convicted psychiatrists and mental health practitioners, the report calls for referral for criminal investigation of all deaths or injury due to poly-pharmacy or negligent prescribing—rather than to medical boards who can only suspend the license of those found culpable.

 

A case in point is the once prominent Arlington County, Virginia psychiatrist Martin H. Stein. On January 31, Stein lost his five-year effort to regain his medical license when the Virginia Board of Medicine declared him unfit to resume practice. In 2000, Stein’s 48-year-old patient Anita Kratzke died after Stein prescribed her 12 different drugs. No autopsy was performed, but Stein wrote on the death certificate “cardiac arrest” without examining the body. Two years later, in 2002, Stein surrendered his license after the Virginia Board of Medicine ruled that he was a danger to public health and that signing the death certificate without proper investigation was part of a pattern of negligence. The 22-page order from the board describes ethical violations, misdiagnoses and the inappropriate / excessive prescribing of drugs, in the treatment of 10 patients Stein saw between 1991 and 2000. The board also found that Stein “engaged in sexually intimate behavior” for more than two years with a patient he billed for accompanying him on shopping sprees and another incident where an adolescent was given 33 prescriptions. Despite the severity of these acts, Stein was never criminally charged. Jan Eastgate, President of CCHR, says the lack of accountability is astounding, “Cases like these should be referred for criminal investigation instead of a slap on the wrist, particularly when deaths are involved.”

 

The unique psychcrime.org database is searchable by first and last name, type of crime and location. In its nearly 40 years of investigating criminal abuse in the mental health system, CCHR has found that criminal convictions do not always stop practitioners from moving to another state or country and continuing to practice on unsuspecting patients. CCHR has tracked such cases and reported them to local authorities that have been able to locate them and prevent further patient abuse. The database provides a list of almost 1,000 convicted mental health workers. Recent cases include:

 

  • On February 1, 2008, Pennsylvania psychiatrist Harold Pascal pleaded no contest to charges of issuing illegal medical prescriptions and Medicaid fraud. He was sentenced to 6-18 months in jail. Narcotics Agent Troy Serfass, who posed undercover as one of Pascal’s patients said, “He was motivated by greed. He prescribed illegal medications even after being told patients were selling those medications on the streets.”

 

  • On October 24, 2007, psychiatrist Michael Mavroidis of Massachusetts was sentenced to a year in prison, 10 years probation and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for illegally prescribing drugs, including the sedatives Klonopin, Ativan and Xanax and the painkiller Oxycontin. He came under investigation following patient overdose deaths and accusations that he extorted oral sex from at least one patient in exchange for prescription drugs.

 

Pending cases include Christian Hageseth, a psychiatrist registered to practice in Colorado, who prescribed 90 capsules of fluoxetine, an antidepressant, over the Internet to John McKay, a 19-year-old student at Stanford University in California, who subsequently committed suicide. Toxicology tests confirmed alcohol and fluoxetine in McKay’s bloodstream. In 2004, the FDA warned that antidepressants could cause suicidal thoughts and actions in children and adolescents and recently increased the warning to age 24. In 1998, the American Psychiatric Association expelled Hageseth and his Colorado medical license was revoked for a relationship with a patient who later became his wife. After his license was reinstated on a probationary basis, he began authorizing prescriptions for an online pharmacy. Hageseth was extradited to California to face trial for practicing without a license in the state of California.

 

“CCHR is dedicated to exposing these crimes for the protection of consumers and invites authorities and the public to make use of this unique database,” Ms. Eastgate stated.

 

CCHR is an international psychiatric watchdog group co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights.  Contact CCHR St. Louis at 314-727-8307 or email cchrstl@cchrstl.org.

New York Court Rules Against Coercive Drugging of Teen

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

Fuels Demands for Prohibiting Funds to Child Psychiatric Services and Deadly Drugs

SAINT LOUIS: A New York appeals court decision last week found that psychiatrists were wrong for force-feeding potentially lethal psychiatric drugs to a 14-year-old girl against her parents’ objections. The case has fueled calls for insurance coverage and governments to cease funding child psychiatric services. The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) that for nearly 40 years has investigated psychotropic drug risks in the pediatric population is calling for a hard-line approach to this abuse of children. Millions of children are prescribed drugs that more than 50 international drug regulatory agency warnings in recent years say can cause suicide, life-threatening diabetes, heart attacks and death. CCHR’s co-founder, eminent professor of psychiatry emeritus, Thomas Szasz says, “Labeling a child as mentally ill is stigmatization, not diagnosis. Giving a child a psychiatric drug is poisoning, not treatment.” The renowned author added, “The child psychiatrist is one of the most dangerous enemies” of children and “must be abolished.” (Click here to watch a speech by Dr. Szasz.)
 

The group says the case brought against Payne Whitney Hospital in New York and two psychiatrists exemplifies psychiatry’s arrogant belief that it can override parents’ right to make decisions in the best interest of their children. A court hearing, which the parents were not a party to and in which a psychiatrist was the only witness, allowed him to administer psychiatric drugs to the girl, identified as Christine W., despite the parents’ repeated objections. The Supreme Court’s Appellate Division determined this was “constitutionally defective and fatally flawed.” Ms. Jan Eastgate, CCHR’s international president, said, “Psychiatry thinks it can override the legal rights of parents and convince courts that it has the right to force kids onto drugs that can cause serious harm and even death. Putting children in the hands of psychiatrists is a life or death gamble and, given the growing number of fatalities, a roll of the dice not to be taken lightly. Government and private insurance should not be funding this assault on children’s lives.”
 

There is at least a 30% profit margin for a psychiatric bed occupied by a child, compared to 20% for an adult and rakes in well over $1 billion a year in inpatient revenues. More than $184 million in federal grants is also given for pediatric “mental health” services while $29 million is spent annually to fund treatment of “behavioral and learning disorders” through Special Education. CCHR says the cost to children’s lives is chilling:

§    More than 8 million American children are prescribed psychiatric drugs documented to cause suicide, psychosis, hallucinations, diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and death.

§   Each year an estimated 1,155 children and adolescents die or commit suicide due to psychiatric drugs.

§    An estimated 1,200 under 18-year-olds attempt suicide, while about 280 become homicidal when taking these drugs.

§    In 2005 in the state of Florida alone, $680,000,000 of Medicaid funds was expended on “behavioral health drugs” for foster care children. This included more than 19,000 children prescribed antipsychotic drugs, of which 4,556 were 5 years of age or younger. In all, 59,697 Medicaid children were put on psychotropic drugs in 2005, a 528% increase over 9,500 in 2000.

Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a mental health watchdog group established by the Church of Scientology, has helped secure legislative protections against children being forced onto psychiatric drugs. But, Ms. Eastgate says, “There needs to be a tougher approach by governments and insurance companies in clamping down on funding for pediatric psychiatric services, given the propensity for psychiatrists to rely upon potentially lethal drugs.”