Archive for April, 2016

Psychiatry and Assisted Suicide

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

Psychiatry and Assisted Suicide

 We were struck by this paragraph on page 14 in the March 28th issue of the National Review magazine:

“The Dutch have discovered a cure for autism: murder. Dutch law first was changed to accommodate ‘physician-assisted suicide’?i.e., medical euthanasia?for patients with severe conditions some years ago, and, as it turns out, some slopes are slippery: The Dutch soon decided that those suffering from psychiatric problems could be put down like unwanted pets, too, and now are eliminating those who have no diagnosed medical condition whatsoever save autism. Dutch law requires that patients seeking to be put to death do so after sober and careful consideration?a condition that people suffering serious mental problems cannot reasonably be said to have met. Now unhappy people from abroad are traveling to the Netherlands to be killed. Canada is on the same decline, its supreme court having ‘discovered’ a new right, as our own so often does, this time to physician-inflicted death. When a mentally ill person says that he wants to die, the proper response is treatment, not “Does your insurance cover hemlock?”

Not that we have any particular wish to debate the pros and cons of assisted suicide?we wish only to highlight the psychiatric involvement here. Assisted suicide of psychiatric patients is increasing in the Netherlands. The data indicates that euthanasia is often granted despite disagreement by the treating psychiatrists over whether cases meet the legal criteria for assisted suicide.

The Washington Post chimes in: “Once the Netherlands authorized euthanasia for physical illnesses in 2002, demands to extend this ‘right’ to the suffering mentally ill were inevitable … Canadians are debating how to implement last year’s ruling by their Supreme Court establishing a right to ‘physician-assisted dying’ in cases of a ‘grievous and irremediable medical condition.’ A panel of experts advising Ontario and 10 other provinces and territories has urged that the ruling be construed to include mental illness.”

For decades after World War II, leading psychiatrists in Germany and around the world consistently denied or greatly minimized their profession’s main role in Nazi Germany’s euthanasia atrocities. The Nazis murdered well over 5,000 physically and mentally disabled children in over 30 psychiatric and pediatric hospitals. Doctors in German psychiatric facilities seeking to free up beds and save money killed patients—possibly as many as 10,000—by administering overdoses or providing them with so little food that they starved to death.

German psychiatrists created the ‘racial hygiene’ movement, which began with the work of eugenicist Alfred Ploetz in 1895. Almost forty years later this gained supremacy with the passage of the 1933 Sterilization Act in Nazi Germany and the concept of ‘lives unworthy of living’. This led to psychiatrists in Germany murdering hundreds of thousands of people that were ‘racially or mentally unfit’, long before the Holocaust began, and these same psychiatrists were then placed in killing centers during the Holocaust. Millions of people were killed during the Holocaust in Germany led by psychiatrists, which admission was finally made in an international broadcast apology by the President of the Germany Psychiatric Association in November 2010.

The Netherlands and Canada seem now to be following in those footsteps, urged on by the same psychiatric community of greed and misanthropy. Only now instead of calling it euthanasia they are calling it “assisted suicide,” or “death with dignity”, as if that removes the guilt.

Physician-assisted suicide in the United States is legal in the states of California, Oregon, Vermont, Montana, and Washington; a number of other states have considered it. There are alternatives to psychiatric treatment; however, these need to be applied before psychiatry-assisted suicide.

The treatment was successful; unfortunately, the patient died. Contact your state legislators and tell them what you think about this.

More About Marijuana and PTSD

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

More About Marijuana and PTSD

 Recent news is full of articles about making marijuana legally available for those diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

While marijuana’s popularity may be based on the perception that it is safer than other methods as a treatment for so-called PTSD, a new study just published March 23 in the journal Clinical Psychological Science finds that regular marijuana smokers experience more work, social and economic issues at midlife in comparison to the ones who use pot just occasionally or not at all.

Backing up for a moment, we should mention that PTSD is not a real medical illness. It has become blurred as a catch-all diagnosis for some 175 combinations of symptoms, becoming the label for identifying the impact of adverse events on ordinary people. This means that normal responses to catastrophic events have often been interpreted as mental disorders when they are not.

Indeed, people can experience mental trauma; unfortunately, the “treatments” being used — psychiatric drugs and marijuana — have their own issues.

People take drugs to get rid of unwanted situations or feelings. Marijuana masks the problem for a time; but when the high fades, the problem, unwanted condition or situation returns more intensely than before.

The University of California, Davis researchers in this newly published study tracked roughly 1,000 young people for decades and found that the ones who smoked cannabis four or more days in a week over many years suffer lower-paying, less-skilled jobs in comparison to those who didn’t smoke pot on a regular basis. Quoting from the study, “Persistent cannabis users experienced more financial difficulties, engaged in more antisocial  behavior in the workplace, and reported more relationship conflict.”

“Against the backdrop of increasing legalization of cannabis around the world, and decreasing social perception of risk associated with cannabis use … this study provides evidence that many persistent cannabis users experience downward socioeconomic mobility and a wide range of associated problems. Individuals with a longer history of cannabis dependence (or of regular cannabis use) were more likely to experience financial difficulties, including having troubles with debt and cash flow, … food insecurity, being on welfare, and having a lower consumer credit rating. Persistent cannabis dependence (and regular cannabis use) was also associated with antisocial behavior in the workplace and higher rates of intimate relationship conflict, including physical violence and controlling abuse.”

The study concludes with, “Our data indicate that persistent cannabis users constitute a burden on families, communities, and national social-welfare systems. Moreover, heavy cannabis use and dependence was not associated with fewer harmful economic and social problems than was alcohol dependence. Our study underscores the need for prevention and early treatment of individuals dependent on cannabis. In light of the decreasing public perceptions of risk associated with cannabis use, and the movement to legalize cannabis use, we hope that our findings can inform discussions about the potential implications of greater availability and use of cannabis.”

We urge everyone embarking on some course of treatment to do their due diligence and undertake full informed consent.