Archive for May, 2013

Drugs, Wired Warriors and “Virtual” Insanity

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Drugs, Wired Warriors and “Virtual” Insanity

The mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights announces the last in a four-part series by award-winning investigative journalist Kelly Patricia O’Meara exploring how the nation’s military forces have been used as guinea pigs for psychological and pharmaceutical experiments. This last installment looks at the long standing relationship between the military and psychiatry that has been in place since WWII and the psychiatric research being conducted on U.S. soldiers.

In an effort to create the “Super Soldier,” the U.S. military spends hundreds of millions of dollars on psychiatric research programs that can only be described as science fiction-esque experimentation. It’s no secret that the nation’s military forces long have been used as guinea pigs for psychological and pharmaceutical experiments. Recent history is littered with examples of the botched experiments brought to light in the form of lawsuits and congressional investigations. As for the troops, well, it appears they truly are expendable. The military is spending billions of dollars on psychiatric drugs. In a 2012 assessment, the Institute of Medicine found that the majority of patients in the VA diagnosed with PTSD receive more than one psychotropic drug, and that 80 percent of them receive an antidepressant.

Read the rest of this article here.


Read the first 3 parts of this series here:

Part One: Psychiatric Drugs and War: A Suicide Mission

Part Two: Two Soldiers Prescribed 54 Drugs: Military Mental Health “Treatment” Becomes Frankenpharmacy

Part Three: Out of the Asylums and Into the Army: Psychiatry Creates Multi-Billion Dollar Market for Military Psychiatrists and Big Pharma

Missouri Legislative News

Monday, May 27th, 2013
Please note our new phone number: (314) 567-2004.

Missouri Legislative News

The 2013 Missouri legislative session (97th General Assembly, 1st Regular Session) adjourned Friday, May 17. We thought we’d give you a brief rundown of a few bills of interest to the CCHR community. Truly Agreed and Finally Passed (TAFP) legislation generally becomes law ninety days after the end of the session; the Governor has 45 days after adjournment to sign, not sign, or veto a TAFP bill. The bill becomes law if the Governor signs it or does not sign it within this time period. A veto causes the bill to be reconsidered in the House or Senate. The progress of the Governor’s actions on bills presented to him for signature is recorded here. If you have strong feelings about Governor Nixon approving or disapproving any particular bill, now is the time to contact him with your encouragement or concerns.

CCHR STL has gone to the State Capitol building each year early in the legislative session and put up an exhibit in the Capitol Rotunda. During this visit we brief legislators on our issues and distribute DVDs and other literature. This year in February we provided copies of the CCHR documentary DVD The Age of Fear – Psychiatry’s Reign of Terror to each legislator. Some legislators also receive this email newsletter. CCHR STL encourages you to participate with us early in the next legislative session so that more anti-psych bills are passed and more pro-psych bills are defeated.

Anti-psychiatric Bills Passed

SB 33 — Access to Public Accommodations and Use of Service Dogs for Mentally Disabled. This guarantees equal access to public accommodations for persons with mental disabilities and allows them to use service dogs on the same terms as other disabled such as the blind. This is perhaps not as much “anti-psych” as it is “pro-patient,” and will help individuals currently under the mental health establishment to gain more independence in life.

SB 229 — Mental Health Employment Disqualification Registry. This adds to the list of offenses that disqualify a person from working in a direct care role in a mental health facility, in the interests of patient protection. Such additional felony crimes include drug and stealing offenses, violations of aiding the escape of a prisoner and supporting terrorism as well as certain alcohol related offenses.

Pro-psychiatric Bills Killed

HB 69 – Limitations Of Liability For Inmate Suicides. This bill sought to set a standard of gross negligence for actions for damages brought against any public or private correctional or detention facility as a result of a death by suicide of any inmate, thus making it easier for incompetent or criminal psychs to avoid blame or penalty for their failure. A committee hearing was held but the bill was not advanced and died in committee.

HB 131 – Insurance Coverage For Eating Disorders. This bill sought to mandate insurance coverage for eating disorders, including psych treatment. A hearing was held but the bill was not advanced and died in committee. Also SB 160 – Same as HB 131; Senate version also had a hearing but was not advanced and died in committee.

HB 290 – Psychologists In Adoption Investigations. This bill would have authorized licensed professional counselors and psychologists to conduct adoption investigations, thus giving more power and funding to the psych industry. A hearing was held but the bill was not advanced and died in committee.

HB 337 – Licensed Counselors. This bill would have prohibited political subdivisions from discriminating between licensed professional counselors and other mental health professionals when promulgating regulations or recommending services, thus expanding the gravy train, so to speak. A hearing was held but the bill was not advanced and died in committee.

HB 344 – Behavior Assessment And Intervention. This bill would have required MO HealthNet (Medicaid) reimbursement for certain services based on the new behavior assessment and intervention codes under the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) coding system. It would have meant more money for psych behavioral treatment. This bill passed the House and was scheduled for a hearing in the Senate but did not advance and died in committee.

HB 347 – Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. This would have established a whole structure and reporting system for monitoring prescription drugs, in an attempt to defeat prescription drug abuse. It included provisions to refer abusers to psych drug treatment. A similar bill came close to passing last year, but with the current scandal about privacy violations of driver’s license and concealed carry permit records by another government agency, it seems the legislators were not in a mood to create yet another highly intrusive database, and the bill didn’t even get a hearing this year. Also SB 146 & SB 233 – Same as HB 347; The Senate version did get a hearing but was not advanced and died in committee.

HB 360 – Mental Health For Child Abuse Victims. This bill sought to prohibit denial of mental health care and treatment for children who are alleged victims of abuse and neglect and also to require guardians ad litem to have training in child abuse and neglect or in mental health. It died without even coming to a hearing.

HB 402 – Family Intervention Orders For Substance Abuse Treatment. This very intrusive legislation would have established “Family Intervention Orders” for treatment of persons who abuse chemical substances. A family member may file a petition with the court for a Family Intervention Order against another family member who has a substance abuse problem. This will result in a court ordered evaluation if the other family member is a substance abuser per the DSM, and if so, a recommendation for treatment will result. Although the treatment is not mandatory, the court can apply sanctions against the person such as reducing custody and visitation and can hold the person in contempt of court, so in effect, the person is forced into treatment. Social services personnel are required to ask if there might be a substance abuse element in various situations, and if so to inform the person that they can file for a Family Intervention Order. This bill passed through committee but never made it to the floor and died with the close of the session.

HB 565 – Professional Counseling And Diagnosis. This bill would have revised the definition of “professional counseling” for licensing purposes to grant licensed professional counselors the right to do diagnosis of mental disorders. This would have been a terrible advance of the medicalization of human distress and would have placed more innocent persons at risk, who merely sought some help from a counselor. The bill was passed by committee but did not proceed further and died with the close of the session.

HB 732 – Use Of Restraints. This bill would have allowed an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse to order use of restraints in psychiatric facilities, which can currently only be ordered by the head of the facility. The bill died in committee without a hearing. Also SB 178 – Same as HB 732; The Senate version passed through the Senate and was on the House calendar for 3rd reading but died with the close of the session.

HB 797 – Community Children’s Services Fund. This bill would expand allowable uses of this fund to include “preventative services designed to prevent substance abuse and mental abuse,” in other words, more psych funding. A hearing was held but the bill was not advanced and died in committee.

HB 801 – Drug Treatment Programs For Mo Healthnet. This bill would have required recipients of MO HealthNet (Medicaid) who have been convicted of a crime involving drug use to enroll in a drug treatment program in order to continue receiving Medicaid benefits, which would have forced more persons into psych treatment. It died in committee without receiving a hearing.

HB 816 – Drug Testing For Legislators. This bill would have required legislators to submit to drug testing within 60 days of the start of the legislative session and would have required them to complete a certified drug treatment program if they tested positive. The bill died in committee without a hearing.

HB 822 – Missouri Universal Health Assurance Program. This bill proposed a publicly financed, statewide health insurance program for all residents of the state, including mental health. The bill died without a hearing.

HB 929 – Standards For Mental Health Detention. This bill sought to expand the criteria for holding a person for mental health detention and evaluation. Under current law, this can only be done if the person is considered to be a danger to himself or others. The new law would have required the person to be held if they were mentally ill and “gravely disabled,” defined as “a result of mental illness or mental disorder, lacks judgment in the management of his or her resources and in the conduct of his or her social relations to the extent that his or her health or safety is significantly endangered and he or she lacks the capacity to understand that this is so.” Proponents of the bill said it would make it easier for parents to get their adult children committed at an earlier stage, before their “illness” had advanced to the point where they became an active danger to themselves or others. Obviously with such a loose definition, it could be used way beyond that. The bill was passed by its committee but died in the Rules committee. Also SB 226 – Same as HB 929; The Senate version passed through the Senate but did not progress in the House and died with the end of the session.

HCR 20 – Resolution Of Support For Mental Health Legislation. This non-binding resolution relating to gun safety would have expressed support for legislation that “increases the ability to identify and treat persons with mental and behavioral issues that threaten public safety.” It was referred to committee and died without a hearing.

DSM Shortcomings

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

DSM Shortcomings

The DSM (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is in the news again. This time Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the government agency that finances mental health research, “has just declared that the most important diagnostic manual for psychiatric diseases lacks scientific validity and needs to be bolstered by a new classification system based on biology, not just psychiatric opinion.” [Quotes here are from a New York Times editorial on May 11, 2013]

The editorial goes on to say, “The psychiatric association’s diagnoses are mostly based on a professional consensus about what clusters of symptoms are associated with a disease, like depression, and not on any objective laboratory measure, like blood counts or other biological markers.”

Psychiatrists might like to base their practice on biology instead of opinion; the thing is, “such a biology-based system will not be available for a decade or more.” If ever.

The truth is, the disorder / disease model psychiatrists use with the DSM has no basis in fact. These are not diseases, they are symptoms of a person’s physical, emotional, or spiritual trauma. They cannot be fixed with psychiatric drugs; they can, however, be healed if the real problems are actually found and fixed. Many, if not a majority, of these problems can be traced back to legitimate medical causes with known medical solutions.

NIMH director Insel doesn’t mention it himself, but one bets that his DSM decision is related to the White House’s Brain Initiative, to be given $100 million next year for brain research.

Read more about Insel rejecting the DSM here.

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. Read more about this here.

[Quotes following are from Psychology Today magazine, May 4, 2013]

“Just two weeks before DSM-5 is due to appear, the National Institute of Mental Health, the world’s largest funding agency for research into mental health, has indicated that it is withdrawing support for the manual.”

Insel “made clear the agency would no longer fund research projects that rely exclusively on DSM criteria. Henceforth, the NIMH, which had thrown its weight and funding behind earlier editions of the manual, would be ‘re-orienting its research away from DSM categories'”, explaining that the weakness of the manual is its lack of validity.

“The agency’s overwhelming focus is to remain on the brain as the alleged seat and cause of psychiatric suffering.”

Of course, you see the problem here. While we applaud the NIMH for rejecting the DSM, you can see clearly that they still believe that the brain is the cause of these symptoms; which we take to mean that they are just hoping that $100 million dollars worth of brain research produces more psychiatric drugs, which cannot and never will heal the real physical, emotional or spiritual causes of mental trauma.

And now the British Psychological Society is getting their nerve up to join the fray. The UK Guardian on May 11 had this to say:

“There is no scientific evidence that psychiatric diagnoses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are valid or useful, according to the leading body representing Britain’s clinical psychologists.

“In a groundbreaking move that has already prompted a fierce backlash from psychiatrists, the British Psychological Society’s division of clinical psychology (DCP) will on Monday [May 13] issue a statement declaring that, given the lack of evidence, it is time for a ‘paradigm shift’ in how the issues of mental health are understood. The statement effectively casts doubt on psychiatry’s predominantly biomedical model of mental distress – the idea that people are suffering from illnesses that are treatable by doctors using drugs. The DCP said its decision to speak out ‘reflects fundamental concerns about the development, personal impact and core assumptions of the (diagnosis) systems’, used by psychiatry.”

You, too, can get your nerve up to speak out. Contact your local, state and federal officials and let them know what you think.

If you appreciate this newsletter, please forward it to your family, friends and associates and recommend that they subscribe.

The Role of Infections in Mental Symptoms

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

The Role of Infections in Mental Symptoms

A brief article in the January, 2013 Scientific American (“Linking Immunity and Mental Health”) discusses an immune treatment called intravenous immunoglobulin which is made of blood plasma from donors. This medical treatment apparently helps ward off infection and reduces inflammation. It is being considered as a potential treatment for some forms of symptoms known as schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder, which some researchers think may have autoimmune causes, such as antibodies to a Streptococcus bacteria infection crossing the blood-brain barrier.

This kind of connection between mental symptoms and infection has been known for some time, and is presented in a 2004 paper available on the CCHR STL web site. Download and read “The Role of Infections in Mental Illness” by Frank Strick here.

Note that this information is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease; and that mental symptoms can be caused by many different conditions, some of which are described here.

While certain kinds of infections are known to cause mental symptoms, they are rarely considered during psychiatric examinations and diagnosis. The problem is not the lack of a well-defined medical body of knowledge, but the lack of mental health practitioners qualified to make such a diagnosis or even suspect it.

Remember, the brain is your body’s most energy–intensive organ. It represents only three percent of your body weight but uses twenty–five percent of your body’s oxygen, nutrients and circulating glucose. Therefore any significant metabolic disruptions can impact brain function first. “Mental” symptoms may improve dramatically when hidden neuroimmune infections are treated successfully and normal brain metabolism resumes.

If you appreciate this newsletter, please forward to your family, friends and associates and recommend that they subscribe.

Suicides Are Increasing

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Suicides Are Increasing

An article in the May 3rd Wall Street Journal (“Middle-Aged Suicides Surge“) relates that “The number of deaths caused by suicide has risen precipitously in the past decade, surpassing those caused by car crashes and even some of the most fatal diseases. … For adults aged 35 to 64, the group most responsible for the increase, suicide is now the fourth most common cause of death, behind cancer, heart disease and unintentional injury.”

The human interest part of this story describes the 2004 suicide of a mid-30’s man named Carson J. Spencer, who had struggled with “bipolar disorder” since his teens. The article did not specifically say he was taking psychotropic drugs, but we all know that psychiatric drugs known to cause suicide (either while taking or withdrawing from them) are the typical “treatment” for these symptoms.

Meanwhile, numerous suicide prevention organizations have been springing up all over the country, all resolutely ignoring one of the likeliest causes.

For more information download and read the CCHR booklet Psychiatric Drugs Create Violence and Suicide.

If you appreciate this newsletter, please forward to your family, friends and associates and recommend that they subscribe.

Medicare

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Medicare

Continuing our discussion of psychiatric fraud (see our recent newsletter on Medicaid), we highly recommend an excellent article on Medicare and Medicaid fraud by Chris Parker in the St. Louis Riverfront Times (RFT) (“Thieves’ Bazaar: Hospitals, doctors and dealers have made Medicare the nation’s sweetest crime”, 4/25/2013).

Medicare is a federal government health insurance program for people age 65 or older, people under age 65 with certain disabilities, and people of all ages with end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant).

Following are some quotes and paraphrases from the RFT article.

“Think of the Medicare program as a bank that never bothered to buy a safe. Everyone from HMOs to drug dealers have been caught robbing it time and time again, stealing the kind of money that makes the sequester look like pocket change.”

Since 2007 the federal Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) has charged 1,480 defendants with $4.8 billion in fraud.

In 2011 Mohammad Khan, administrator of Houston Riverside General Hospital, confessed to federal fraud investigators for enriching the hospital through a kickback scheme, paying “recruiters” $300 a head to bring Medicare patients to Riverside’s six psychiatric clinics.

“They arrived by the van-load for daily therapy sessions they rarely qualified for or received. Medicare picked up the $116 million tab.”

“Kahn ratted out CEO Earnest Gibson III as his co-conspirator. The feds also nabbed Gibson’s 35-year-old son, Earnest IV. He ran one of the psychiatric clinics and was charged with billing nearly $700,000 for care that ‘was not medically necessary and, in some cases, not provided,’ according to prosecutors.”

“Investigators discovered that, since 2005, the hospital had been swindling the feds to the tune of $22 million a year. Kahn pleaded guilty. The two Gibsons and five others await trial on charges of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.”

Cuban expat Armando Gonzalez started several outpatient psychiatric clinics in Miami with a scheme similar to Riverside’s. “Gonzalez paid assisted-living facilities kickbacks to bus in residents suffering from retardation and dementia. The clinics would then bill Medicare for services the ‘patients’ weren’t eligible for or didn’t receive. By the time the feds started sniffing around in 2008, Gonzalez had already made off with $28 million…He closed shop in Miami, only to reopen in North Carolina. When he was finally arrested last year, Gonzalez was planning to expand into Tennessee.”

In 2010 Frank Walther of the Medicare fraud task force helped take down American Therapeutic, the highest-billing mental-health center in the country. “The company was cycling addicts, alcoholics and Alzheimer patients through its six clinics. Patients’ diagnoses were changed so they would qualify for expensive group therapy.”

In 2011 “Minnesota was pumping up its Medicaid reimbursements to cover losses in a state program that Medicaid doesn’t reach.”

Then there’s the Las Vegas Cocktail, mixing Xanax, Soma and Vicodin for a powerful opiate high. Michigan’s Monroe Pain Center, near the Toledo, Ohio, border, went from seeing 40 patients a day to as many as 250, prescribing 5 million doses of narcotics over two years, defrauding Medicare out of $5.7 million.

New York state centers for people with mental issues were charging the feds $5,000 per day per patient while Arizona only charges $200 a day. New York’s estimated overcharges: $15 billion.


Oh, my! Who’s paying for all this fraud? Medicare and Medicaid are government programs, financed by your tax dollars (and the federal debt.) Can anyone guess why health care costs are so high and continuing to rise?

What shall we do? What do you think? Has your own health insurance cost increased recently? Shall we just let this fraud continue?

These are not purely rhetorical questions. They do have some answers.

You are one of the answers. Contact your local, state and federal officials and representatives; let them know what you think about this situation. Suggest that they find out about all the money wasted on fraudulent and abusive psychiatric mental health care, and recommend that they reduce or eliminate the use of harmful, coercive and abusive psychiatric treatments and psychiatric drugs in favor of non-psychiatric alternatives, so that people with mental trauma can actually be helped rather than harmed.

Forward this newsletter to your family, friends and associates and tell them to subscribe.

More information about psychiatric fraud can be found by clicking here.

By the way, report Medicare fraud here.