Archive for April, 2013

The New DSM-5

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

The New DSM-5

When the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) hits the stores on May 22nd, it will extend the reach of psychiatry further into daily life, making many more of us eligible for psychiatric diagnoses and thus for even more psychotropic drugs than we are already taking as a nation. More than ten per cent of American adults already take antidepressants, for example.

Gary Greenberg says on The New Yorker blog April 9, “Psychiatry has already reached far into our daily lives, and it’s not by virtue of the particulars of any given D.S.M. It’s because the A.P.A., a private guild, one with extensive ties to the drug industry, owns the naming rights to our pain. That so significant a public trust is in private hands, and on such questionable grounds, is what we ought to worry about.”

Greenberg’s account of the history behind the DSM and the deeply flawed process by which the DSM-5 has been revised is told in his new book, The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry.

120 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with mental disorders and placed on psychiatric drugs as “treatment.” And while people are led to believe a diagnosis of mental illness or having a mental disorder is based on medical evidence or tests that these disorders are legitimate medical conditions, the fact is they are simply based on checklists of behaviors. People are also convinced that the only solution for treating problems of emotion, mood or behavior for themselves or their child, is drug treatment.

The truth is, there are no medical or scientific tests that can prove mental disorders are medical conditions. Psychiatric diagnosis is based solely on opinion. Unlike medical disease, where tests can verify the existence of a medical condition (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.) psychiatric diagnoses are based solely on checklists of behaviors, not on any medical tests.

People can and do experience depression, anxiety and sadness, children do act out or misbehave, and some people can indeed become irrational or psychotic. This doesn’t make them “diseased.” There are non-psychiatric, non-drug solutions for people experiencing mental difficulty, there are non-harmful medical alternatives.

Safe and effective medical treatments for mental difficulties are often kept buried. The fact is, there are many medical conditions that when undetected and untreated can appear as psychiatric “symptoms.” The psychiatric pharmaceutical industry is making a killing — $84 billion per year — based on people being labeled with mental disorders that are not founded on science or medicine, but on marketing campaigns designed to sell drugs.

The larger problem is that the biological drug model (based on bogus mental disorders) is a disease marketing campaign which prevents governments from funding real medical solutions for people experiencing difficulty. There is a great deal of evidence that medical conditions can manifest as psychiatric symptoms, and that there are non-harmful medical treatments that do not receive government funding because the psychiatric/pharmaceutical industry spends billions of dollars on advertising and lobbying efforts to counter any medical modality that does not support their biological drug model of mental disorders as a disease.

Because the general public has been so misled by the psychiatric and pharmaceutical industries about the actual dangers of psychotropic drugs, CCHR has created the psychiatric drug side effects search engine. Visit it to Get the Facts. Fight Back.

Exchange

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Exchange

Many readers of this newsletter have provided support for CCHR St. Louis, either as volunteer helpers or as monetary donors; many have not. We wanted to provide a way for all our readers to easily exchange for receiving the benefits of this newsletter.

Exchange: Trading something of value in return for something of similar value.

For example, permitting someone to receive something of value without their valuable contribution in return, or permitting someone to give something of no value while receiving something of value, are alike encouraging criminal behavior.

We delight in providing readers this newsletter; and although we certainly would not discourage volunteer help or monetary donations, an exchange that would significantly help us, which is of great value to us, would be your forwarding this newsletter to your family, friends, and associates — and asking them if they might like to subscribe. We would not even discourage you from recommending a subscription to this newsletter, should you find it of value. It is easy to subscribe, and easy to unsubscribe.

Send them here to subscribe: www.cchrstl.org/subscribe.shtml

Of course, the concept of exchange also applies very much to the mission and purpose of CCHR. The psychiatric industry is totally out of exchange with the rest of human society. They are selling something harmful and calling it helpful. This is criminal fraud.

Fraud: A deception deliberately practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain; deliberately misrepresenting something to secure profit; dishonest dealings, cheating or trickery; selling something harmful but calling it helpful.

The United States loses approximately $100 billion to health care fraud each year; up to $40 billion of this is due to fraudulent practices in the mental health industry.

The mental health monopoly has practically zero accountability and zero liability for its failures.

Psychiatric drugs don’t cure anyone and they don’t prevent disease.

Despite more than a decade of healthcare fraud investigations and convictions in the U.S. alone, psychiatrists and psychologists have not reformed the fraudulent practices that are rife within its ranks.

Psychiatry’s predatory and profit-driven practices are international in scope and fraudulent to the core.

With mental health care insurance coverage being mandated in the U.S., fraud levels escalate.

Community Mental Health Centers have led to massive increases in government spending and fraud, with no commensurate results.

Drug abuse and drug fraud are commonplace in the psychiatric system.

Studies in numerous countries reveal that between 10% and 25% of psychiatrists and psychologists admit to sexually abusing their patients.

One of psychiatry’s most successful means of defrauding those who pay for psychiatric treatment is through the use of its unscientific Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

Mentally troubled persons living in residential psychiatric facilities are easy targets for exploitation: fraud, assault and sexual or financial abuse.

The primary purpose of mental health treatment must be the therapeutic care and treatment of individuals who are suffering emotional disturbance. It must never be the financial or personal gain of the practitioner. Those suffering are inevitably vulnerable and impressionable. Proper treatment therefore demands the highest level of trustworthiness and integrity in the practitioner.

What should be done about fraud in the mental health industry?

This is another area where you can contribute and make a valuable exchange for receiving this newsletter. Contact your local, state and federal officials and representatives and let them know what you think about fraud and abuse in the mental health industry; let them know that psychiatry is a criminal exchange; demand they Do Something About It!

A good start would be to demand that the DSM should be removed from use in all government agencies, departments and other bodies including criminal, educational and justice systems. None of these so-called “mental disorders” should be eligible for insurance coverage because they have no scientific, physical validation. Provide funding and insurance coverage only for proven, workable treatments that verifiably and dramatically improve or cure mental health problems.

Medicaid

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Medicaid

It’s in the news today, constantly. What is it, and what should we know about it? What’s all this talk about expanding state Medicaid?

Medicaid is a state and federal partnership providing health coverage for people who qualify. Across the U.S. over 62 million people are enrolled in Medicaid, with a total federal plus state budget of $400 billion per year.

The Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) is one of six Centers within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). CMCS serves as the focal point for all national program policies and operations related to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

If you don’t have and are unable to afford health insurance, you and your family may qualify for free or low-cost health insurance coverage through Medicaid.

Each state operates its own Medicaid program that provides health coverage for lower-income people, families and children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. The eligibility rules for Medicaid are different for each state.

Enacted in 1965 through amendments to the Social Security Act, Medicaid is a health and long-term care coverage program that is jointly financed by states and the federal government. Each state establishes and administers its own Medicaid program and determines the type, amount, duration, and scope of services covered within broad federal guidelines. States must cover certain mandatory benefits and may choose to provide other optional benefits.

Federal law also requires states to cover certain mandatory eligibility groups, including qualified parents, children, and pregnant women with low income, as well as older adults and people with disabilities with low income. States have the flexibility to cover other optional eligibility groups and set eligibility criteria within the federal standards.

The Affordable Care Act of 2010 creates a new national Medicaid minimum eligibility level that covers most Americans with household income up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. This new eligibility requirement is effective January 1, 2014, but individual states may choose to expand their Medicaid coverage before this date. For a household of one person, 133% of the current federal poverty level is an annual income of $15,282 (and add $5,347 for each additional person.)

Medicaid is the single largest payer for mental health services in the United States. Examples of provided mental health services include screening, counseling, therapy, medication management, psychiatric services, licensed clinical social work services, peer supports, and substance abuse treatment.

There is a large and active Medicaid fraud culture, both provider and participant fraud, that wastes billions of dollars per year. For example, estimates range between $2 billion and $4 billion in fraudulent psychiatric drug claims per year nationally. Medicaid spends roughly $25 billion per year on prescription drugs.

Some of the more common provider fraud includes: billing for services when no service was provided; billing for a more expensive treatment or service than was actually provided; billing for unnecessary services; billing for the same service multiple times; receipt of kickbacks; excessive compensation for medical directorships or consultancies; physicians referring patients to obtain services from a Medicaid provider whom the physician or physician’s immediate family member has a financial relationship.

Some of the more common participant fraud includes: signing documentation indicating services were provided when not provided; selling prescription medications obtained through the Medicaid program; forging prescriptions to obtain medications; allowing someone other than the card holder to use a Medicaid card; falsifying information to qualify for Medicaid services.

Of course, CCHR supporters will understand that all psychiatric treatments and drugs are harmful and fraudulently prescribed.

Medicaid is an enormous and complex bureaucracy, making it extremely difficult to distill meaningful statistics across all 50 states and the federal government. Diligent research is required to isolate relevant information.

In Missouri, the Medicaid program is known as MO HealthNet. Of the 6 million people in Missouri, over 1 million are Medicaid recipients. Each year, Missouri Medicaid spends over $8 billion to provide health services. Roughly $6 billion is provided by the federal government, and Missouri contributes another $2 billion per year. $600 million goes toward prescription drugs; $43 million goes toward long term mental health care facilities; roughly $500 million goes toward all mental health services, not including drugs.

Missouri offers home- and community-based programs for developmentally disabled adults and children, provided by the Department of Health and Senior Services or the Department of Mental Health. There have been double-digit increases in yearly Medicaid drug spending since 1995. Psychiatric drugs are among Medicaid’s most costly and commonly prescribed drugs. One-third of seniors and people with disabilities enrolled in Missouri’s Medicaid program are prescribed psychotropic drugs.

What do we think about all this? We don’t necessarily think that Medicaid is a bad idea. We do think that expanding Medicaid without also expanding fraud control is a mistake. We think that expanding Medicaid without reducing or eliminating the use of psychiatric treatments and psychiatric drugs is a mistake. We think there are enough non-psychiatric alternatives so that people with mental trauma can actually be helped rather than harmed.

Write your state legislators and let them know what you think about this. More information about psychiatric fraud can be found by clicking here.

By the way, report Medicaid fraud in Missouri to Missouri Medicaid Fraud & Compliance.

Cogitations on BRAIN

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Cogitations on BRAIN

The BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) initiative, a project President Obama discussed in his most recent State of the Union address, was formally announced April 2 at the White House.

The White House would like to spend $100 million taxpayer dollars in 2014 to find new ways to treat conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

They’re talking about things such as molecular-scale probes that can sense and record the activity of neural networks; examining how thoughts, emotions, actions, and memories are represented in the brain; and exploring how the brain records, processes, uses, stores, and retrieves information.

Given that brain researchers to date have been unable to recognize the pivotal role of psychiatric drugs in PTSD, for example, we have little faith that another $100 million will be used for developing anything but more abusive psychiatric drugs or more torturous devices such as Vagus Nerve Stimulation or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.

The cornerstone of psychiatry’s disease model today is the theory that a brain-based, chemical imbalance causes mental illness. Despite the billions of pharmaceutical company funding in support of the chemical imbalance theory, this psychiatric “disease” model is thoroughly debunked. The whole theory was invented to push drugs.

For example, the “brain scans” that have been pawned off as evidence that schizophrenia or depression are brain diseases, have been disproven as valid research. Most have not been done on drug naive patients, meaning someone who has not been on psychiatric drugs such as antipsychotic drugs, documented to cause brain atrophy (shrinkage). Other brain scans have shown the brains of smaller children to show smaller brains in comparison to larger/older children and then claimed children with ADHD have smaller brains. None have been conclusively proven to verify mental disorders as abnormalities of the brain. If there were such verifiable brain scans, or in fact any medical/scientific test that could show a physical/medical abnormality for any psychiatric disorder, the public would be getting such tests prior to being administered psychiatric drugs.

The larger problem is that the biological drug model based on bogus mental disorders prevents governments from funding real medical solutions for people experiencing difficulty. There is a great deal of evidence that medical conditions can manifest as psychiatric symptoms, and that there are non-harmful medical treatments that do not receive government funding because the psychiatric/pharmaceutical industry spends billions of dollars on advertising and lobbying efforts, and on wasteful things like this BRAIN initiative.

A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in 2010 claimed to be able to detect “brain abnormalities associated with schizophrenia risk” in infants just a few weeks old. We would like to point out the obvious flaw in this bogus study: there is no medical/scientific test in existence that schizophrenia is a physical disease or brain abnormality to start with. There is not one chemical imbalance test, X-ray, MRI or any other test for schizophrenia, not one. So with no evidence of medical abnormality to start with, the “associated with schizophrenia risk” amounts to what George Orwell called Doublespeak (language that deliberately disguises, distorts, misleads) — it means nothing.

There is a concerted push in the psychiatric and pharmaceutical industries for the global implementation of a new mental health paradigm called “preventative mental health” — pre-diagnosing and pre-drugging children before they show any “signs” of a mental disorder. In other words, if we wait to administer drugs to them it may be too late.

This is the BRAIN initiative in action. Desperately seeking justifications for more drugs earlier in life.

BRAINThis is your
BRAIN on psychiatric drugs.

Please express your outrage to your government representatives.

The Aurora Shooter Case Confirms CCHR Predictions

Monday, April 8th, 2013

The Aurora Shooter Case Confirms CCHR Predictions

Two mind-altering prescription psychiatric drugs, alcohol and a gun … and the media blamed the gun.

April 4, 2013 – The Los Angeles Times reveals that a search of James Holmes apartment found 48 containers of beer and other liquor, and prescription medication for the psychiatric drugs sertraline and clonazepam.

Holmes was charged with 166 counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder and weapons charges after a shooting rampage at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater that left 12 dead and 70 injured in July, 2012.

Details about the case have been tightly sealed from the earliest days of the investigation. Yet on April 4 District Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. reversed previous rulings on public access and made public the arrest affidavit and 12 search warrants. The newly unsealed documents provide a list of things found in Holmes’ apartment: chemicals used for explosives, rounds of ammunition, pistol cases and paper targets, 48 containers of beer and other liquor, and prescription psychiatric drugs sertraline and clonazepam.

The fact missed by most is that psychiatric, mind-altering drugs have been found to be the common factor in an overwhelming number of acts of random senseless violence and suicide. The scientific research documenting the connection between violence, suicide and psychiatric drugs is overwhelming.

There have been 22 international drug regulatory warnings issued on psychiatric drugs causing violence, mania, hostility, aggression, psychosis, and other violent reactions. Sertraline, a generic form of Zoloft, is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant, known to cause violence and suicidal actions. Clonazepam is a highly addictive hypnotic anti-anxiety drug, also known to cause violence and suicidal actions. These adverse side effects can occur both on taking the drugs and withdrawing from the drugs. Use of alcohol while taking clonazepam greatly intensifies the side effects of the drug. Combining sertraline with alcohol is also generally highly discouraged. Finding alcohol, sertraline and clonazepam in Holmes’ apartment, and the resulting violent behavior, strongly suggest he was taking them all together.

We have to ask whose purpose was served by keeping this information secret for so long? How can we use this information now to prevent further tragedies? Take every opportunity you can to make the connection between violence and psychiatric drugs known, and insist that authorities ask the proper questions in every case of senseless violence or suicide:

  • Was the perpetrator subjected to psychiatric treatments prior to the violence?
  • Was the perpetrator on psychiatric drugs at the time of the violence?
  • Has the perpetrator been on psychiatric drugs in the past?

Even now, in the case of the Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza, the authorities refuse to release this information. Despite a formal request from AbleChild, a Parent’s Rights organization, citing numerous state and federal laws supporting the release of Adam Lanza’s toxicology results and medical records, Connecticut Medical Examiner, H. Wayne Carver, M.D., has arbitrarily denied the request.

The M.E.’s decision to withhold the information is at odds with Connecticut law, the State’s Constitution, federal law and the United States Constitution. In response, AbleChild has filed an appeal with the State’s Freedom of Information Commission (FOIC) for the release of the records and, if necessary, is prepared to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sheila Matthews, a founder of AbleChild, understands the immediate implications of the Lanza toxicology results saying, “The M.E. admitted toxicology testing could provide vital insight into Adam Lanza’s mental state, but in denying our request, it appears that he is the only one worthy of knowing that insight. We disagree and absolutely believe the public has a right to know the results… lives may depend on it.”

Sign the petition to release Adam Lanza’s toxicology report.

The New ECT – Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

The New ECT – Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

In our last newsletter we discussed Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) as an alternative to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in order for the psychiatric industry to continue generating income if ECT were banned.

One can even buy, with a doctor’s prescription, a portable home cranial electrical stimulation device for $695 from Fisher Wallace Laboratories, with a special price of $595 for the military. The doctor, by the way, does not have to be your own doctor; the company will provide someone for $50 who will write the prescription with a phone call.

As if that prospect wasn’t bad enough, we now have Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), the new horizon of psychiatric brutality, for use when other psychiatric methods have failed. TMS is recommended for those who are squeamish about getting ECT.

Guess what — none of these psychiatric methods have failed to produce their intended effect — making patients for life and ensuring the continuation of psychiatric profits at the expense of actually helping anyone.

With TMS, a large electromagnetic coil is placed against the scalp near the forehead. The electromagnet used in TMS creates electric currents that stimulate nerve cells in the brain. As with VNS, TMS is experimental; no one knows quite how it works or its long term adverse effects; it is still under investigation, so anyone succumbing to this procedure is in actual fact a research subject, a guinea pig as it were. There is still considerable controversy over its effectiveness, with the psychiatric industry touting miracle cures and pretty much everone else highly skeptical.

TMS is an outpatient procedure that doesn’t require anesthesia, surgery or electrode implantation. A typical course of “treatment” is five 40-minute sessions per week for up to six weeks. The cost can range from $6,000 to $10,000, depending on the clinic and the number of sessions, and is usually not covered by insurance. The cost of a portable TMS machine is around $6,000.

Health care costs are being driven out of control by litigation, malpractice suits, fraud, and the coercive use of psychiatric drugs and other psychiatric methods. Decades of psychiatric monopoly over mental health has only lead to upwardly spiraling mental illness statistics and continuously escalating funding demands.

The many critical challenges facing societies today reflect the vital need to strengthen individuals through workable, viable and humanitarian alternatives to harmful psychiatric options. For more information, download and read the CCHR booklet The Real Crisis in Mental Health Today – Report and recommendations on the lack of science and results within the mental health industry.

The New ECT – Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Monday, April 1st, 2013

The New ECT – Vagus Nerve Stimulation

An electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) device is used for treating psychiatric disturbances by inducing in the patient a major seizure by applying a brief intense electrical current to the patient’s head, also called shock treatment.

About 100,000 people are being given ECT each year in the U.S. ECT has long been known to cause serious harm to patients, including extremely severe and permanent memory loss, inability to learn and remember new events, depression, suicide, cardiovascular complications, prolonged and dangerous seizures and even death. An ECT session costs between $1,000 and $2,000 and is usually given between 6 to 12 times to an individual over several weeks; an ECT machine sells for about $15,000.

In January, 2011 the Neurological Devices Advisory Panel of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that ECT machines remain classified as high-risk devices (Class III for the most dangerous medical devices, also called “premarket approval”.) The panel recommended that the companies which manufacture ECT devices be required to prove that ECT is both effective and safe in order to remain in use, with the exception of catatonia for which a less stringent classification was recommended. No effective date has yet been established for ECT machine manufacturers to provide this proof, so the machines are still very much in use.

To confuse the issue, psychiatrists also call this “cranial electrotherapy stimulation,” which uses less electrical current than an ECT machine but is supposed to be something new and different.

To offset the potential loss of income if ECT machines are banned, new methods of psychiatric income are being devised. Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) is one such.

The vagus (Latin for “wandering”) nerve stretches from the head, through the neck and chest, to the abdomen. Besides connecting to the various organs in the body (heart, lungs, stomach, intestines, etc.), it conveys sensory information about the state of the body’s organs to the central nervous system. This means that the vagus nerve is responsible for such varied tasks as heart rate, intestinal contractions, sweating, keeping the larynx open for breathing, and so on.

VNS produces short bursts of electricity directed into the brain via the vagus nerve. The energy comes from a battery, about the size of a silver dollar, which is surgically implanted under the skin, usually on the chest. Leads are threaded under the skin and attached to the vagus nerve. The device is programmed to deliver these small electrical bursts every few minutes. The mechanism by which this is supposed to work is not entirely understood; it’s just a theory, and the patient is the research guinea pig.

Health care costs are being driven out of control by litigation, malpractice suits, fraud, and the coercive use of psychiatric drugs and other psychiatric methods. Decades of psychiatric monopoly over mental health has only lead to upwardly spiraling mental illness statistics and continuously escalating funding demands.

The many critical challenges facing societies today reflect the vital need to strengthen individuals through workable, viable and humanitarian alternatives to harmful psychiatric options. For more information, download and read the CCHR booklet The Real Crisis in Mental Health Today – Report and recommendations on the lack of science and results within the mental health industry.