Mental Health and Social Justice

Social Justice: Fair and just relations between the individual and society, assigning rights and duties in the institutions of society, so that people receive basic societal benefits in return for their cooperation and participation.

In the Health Care field, social justice often means affordable access to ethical and effective health care.

In the field of Human Rights, we defer to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

In Mental Health Care, we promote the Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights. All human rights organizations set forth codes by which they align their purposes and activities. The Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights articulates the guiding principles of CCHR and the standards against which human rights violations by psychiatry are relentlessly investigated and exposed. Under the banner of the Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights, tens of thousands of people around the globe have joined CCHR and taken to the streets to protest psychiatric drugging and other inhumane mental health practices.

Through stigmatizing labels, unscientific diagnoses, easy seizure commitment laws and brutal, depersonalizing “treatments,” thousands around the world suffer under psychiatry’s coercive system every day. It is a system that exemplifies human rights abuse. Modern psychiatry still has no scientific veracity and knows and admits it, but keeps up the charade for the sake of profit.

By depicting those they label mentally ill as a danger to themselves or others, psychiatrists have convinced governments and courts that depriving such individuals of their liberty, is mandatory for the safety of all concerned. Wherever psychiatry has succeeded in this campaign, extreme abuses of human rights have resulted.

One of CCHR’s primary concerns with psychiatry is its unscientific diagnostic system. Unlike medical diagnosis, psychiatrists categorize symptoms only, not disease. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) published by the American Psychiatric Association is notorious for low scientific validity.

Understanding this fraudulent diagnostic premise, we can see why psychiatry and psychology, entrusted with billions of dollars to eradicate the problems of the mind, have created and perpetuated them. Their drug panaceas cause senseless acts of violence, suicide, sexual dysfunction, irreversible nervous system damage, hallucinations, apathy, irritability, anxiousness, psychosis and death. And with virtually unrestrained psychiatric drugging of so many of our schoolchildren, it is no surprise that the largest age group of murderers today are our 15–to–19–year–olds.

Drugging children with addictive, violence-causing mind-altering psychotropic drugs is the “social justice” currently being employed by the psychiatric mental health industry. The rationale is, the drugged kids will now be able to compete with children from wealthier families who attend better schools. Rutgers psychiatrist Ramesh Raghavan, formerly at Washington University in St. Louis, chillingly said, “We are effectively forcing local community psychiatrists to use the only tool at their disposal [to ‘level the playing field’ in low-income neighborhoods], which is psychotropic medicine.”

The whole basis for this “social justice” program in low-income communities—that the ADHD drugs will improve school performance of kids and “level the playing field,” so they can compete academically with children from wealthier families—this whole program is based on a lie to begin with.

Meddling with the brains of children via these chemicals constitutes criminal assault, and it’s time it was recognized for what it is.

CCHR believes that everyone has the right to full informed consent regarding psychiatric drugs and other psychiatric treatments. Find out more by clicking here.

Psychiatry & Psychology Have Embraced the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Entrepreneur: One who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise, often with an additional connotation of far-sightedness and innovation with boldness and energy. [French, from Old French, from entreprendre to undertake; entre- between  (from Latin: inter-) + prendre to take (from Latin: prehendere to grasp)]

The U.S. government funded training for substance abuse researchers in entrepreneurship at Yale, so they could learn how to get more funding for their health care startups about substance abuse.

Scholarly articles have been published about “The Psychology of Entrepreneurship“. One such study we noticed focused on industrial and organizational psychology (it has its own abbreviation, I/O); many of its key conclusions were to plead for more research in that area. We think that one of the primary goals of this kind of psychobabble is to set the stage for getting more research funds, rather than coming up with anything truly useful.

Another news article in the Washington Postnoticed that entrepreneurs seem inclined to have mental health issues.” There are any number of news reports about “the problems entrepreneurs with mental illness often face,” and “managing your mental health as an entrepreneur,” and yet again “the psychological price of entrepreneurship.”

So it seems that psychiatry and psychology have latched onto entrepreneurs as a new category of those needing “help,” a new pool of potential customers. Entrepreneurs have been targeted by the mental health industry both as a new customer pool and a new way to do business. The competition for government funding and grants to address the problems of entrepreneurship is heating up, and the psychobabble is deafening.

And, like any entrepreneur, psychiatrists are looking to the future. Since they have never been required to cure anyone, they continually come up with new disorders, new drugs, and new treatments which they can apply to new communities of potential patients.

The news is full of these “miracle” treatments — marijuana, cannabidiol, electric shock (yes, they still do this, and it is a big money-maker), MDMA (Ecstasy), trauma-informed therapy, Ketamine, cognitive-behavioral therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation, assisted suicide (yes, this is considered a “treatment”), deep brain stimulation, involuntary commitment, vagus nerve stimulation, addiction therapy (ignoring the fact that psychiatric drugs are addictive), and one drug after another — each new one designed to combat the adverse side effects of the one before.

Not to mention the profusion of new mental health related applications for your mobile device and the startups that create these. Not to mention this recent headline: “Entrepreneur Teams Up with Leading Psychiatrist to Address Depression, Anxiety, and Suicide“. Not to mention that the producers of “Shark Tank” mandated that “all entrepreneurs meet with a psychiatrist after giving their pitch, regardless of the outcome.

The news is devoid, however, of one thing — actual cures for mental trauma.

Click here for more information about fraud and abuse in the mental health industry. Read about how Full Informed Consent can help.

Psychiatric Drugs, School Violence, and Big Pharma Cover-Up

A study published June 12, 2018 from the University of Illinois at Chicago suggests that more than one-third (37.2%) of U.S. adults may be using prescription drugs that have the potential to cause depression or increase the risk of suicide.
[JAMA. 2018;319(22);2289-2298. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.6741]

Information about more than 26,000 adults from 2005 to 2014 was analyzed, along with more than 200 commonly prescribed drugs. However, many of these drugs are also available over the counter, so these results may underestimate the true prevalence of drugs having side effects of depression.

In other words, the use of prescription drugs, not just psychiatric drugs, that have depression or suicide as a potential adverse reaction is fairly common, and the more drugs one takes (called polypharmacy), the greater the likelihood of depression occurring as a side effect. “The likelihood of concurrent depression was most pronounced among adults concurrently using 3 or more medications with depression as a potential adverse effect, including among adults treated with antidepressants.”

Approximately 15% of adults who used three or more of these drugs concurrently experienced symptoms of depression or suicidal thoughts, compared with just 5% for those not using any of these drugs. Roughly 7.6% of adults using just one of these drugs reported a side effect of depression or suicidal thoughts during the study period, and 9% for those using two of these drugs. These results were the same whether the drugs were psychotropic or not. Depression was determined by asking nine questions related to the symptoms defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

“Commonly used depression screening instruments, however, do not incorporate evaluations of prescribed medications that have depression as a potential adverse effect.” In other words, so-called depression screening tests can register false positives when the person is taking one or more of roughly 200 prescription drugs.

We thought we should dig a little deeper into this phenomenon.

First, understand that there is no depression “disease”. A person can certainly have symptoms of feeling depressed, but this is not a medical condition in itself. An example of a medical condition with a symptom of depression would be a vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency. You don’t fix it with an antidepressant; you fix it with vitamin B1. There are hundreds of medical conditions that may have mental symptoms, just as there are hundreds of drugs that can cause or worsen these symptoms. Finding the actual causes with appropriate clinical tests and then fixing what is found is the correct way to proceed.

This leads to a topic known as CYP450, which stands for Cytochrome P450 enzymes. Cytochrome means “cellular pigment” and is a protein found in blood cells. Scientists understand these enzymes to be responsible for metabolizing almost half of all drugs currently on the market, including psychiatric drugs.

These are the major enzymes involved in drug metabolism, which is the breakdown of drugs in the liver or other organs so that they can be eliminated from the body once they have performed their function.

If these drugs are not metabolized and eliminated once they have done their work, they build up and become concentrated in the body, and then act as toxins. The possibility of harmful side effects, or adverse reactions, increases as the toxic concentration increases. The ballpark estimate is that each year 2.2 million Americans are hospitalized for adverse reactions and over 100,000 die from them.

Some people are deficient in CYP450 or have diminished capacity to metabolize these drugs, which may be a genetic or other issue. Individuals with no or poorly performing CYP450 enzymes are much more likely to suffer the side effects of prescription drugs, particularly psychiatric drugs known to have side effects of depression, violence and suicide.

These metabolic processes are immature at birth and up to three years old, and this may result in an increased risk for drug toxicity in infants and young children. Furthermore, certain drugs or certain excipients in vaccines may inhibit activation of CYP450 enzymes, again resulting in an increased risk for the accumulation of non-metabolized drugs and the resultant increase in adverse side effects such as depression, violence and suicide.

The side effects caused by a CYP450 deficiency and its subsequent failure to metabolize any one of hundreds of drugs can then be misdiagnosed as a mental illness, the patient then being prescribed more psychiatric drugs in a mistaken attempt to treat those side effects, further complicating the problems.

It is estimated that 10% of Caucasians and 7% of African Americans are Cytochrome P450 deficient.

The psychiatric and pharmaceutical industries have been aware of this phenomenon for some time, yet they have continued to push psychiatric drugs at an ever increasing rate, and the dramatic increase in symptoms of depression, suicide, and school violence is a direct result.

No one should be prescribed these types of drugs without adequate testing for a CYP450 deficiency, in order to determine their risk potential for adverse reactions. The test is not “standard of care” so one has to ask for it; but beware, they will still recommend an alternative drug if the original one cannot be easily metabolized. Better yet, stop prescribing all psychiatric drugs and find out with proper medical, clinical tests what the real problems are and treat those. Full informed consent is always indicated.

Any psychiatrist or pharmaceutical company that has knowingly withheld evidence about the relationship between CYP450 enzymes and drug side effects should be subject to both prosecution and litigation.

Medical students should be educated about these relationships.

For more information click on any of the links in this newsletter.

Cannabidiol (CBD) – Can We Be Sure It’s Safe?

Every time we say “CBD” out loud we think Bidi Bidi and picture Buck Rogers’ Twiki the Robot.

But really, what is CBD, and is it harmful or helpful?

Derived from Cannabis (marijuana), CBD is one of many cannabinoids which are chemical compounds capable of binding to specific biological receptors in the brain or other sites in the body.

The theory is that when CBD binds to these brain receptors it seems to suppress or limit the immune system’s inflammatory signals.

Another cannabinoid, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, also called “The High Causer”), is the principal psychoactive component of marijuana, and when it binds to receptors in the brain it gets you high. We also know that THC damages the immune system, yet proponents of cannabis call it a “medicinal herb.” Click here for more information about the harmful effects of this “herb.”

CBD and THC are structural isomers, which means they share the same chemical composition but their atomic arrangements differ.

The claim is that CBD, unlike THC, is not hallucinogenic. Much of the research information so far available about CBD comes from animal studies.

Although it is a cannabinoid, CBD apparently does not directly interact with the principal receptors in the brain to which THC binds, and binds to many other non-cannabinoid receptors in the brain.

Basically, the research to date is unclear on exactly how CBD works, except that we know it affects the brain. We’d call these observations mostly anecdotal — that is, people have reported on their observations and feelings, but the double-blind human clinical trials are sparse.

Animal studies have demonstrated that CBD directly activates multiple serotonin receptors in the brain, and we know that in humans at least, psychiatric drugs which mess with serotonin levels in the brain are addictive and have some disastrous side effects. The manufacturers of every psychiatric drug so far which messes with serotonin in the brain say they don’t really know how it works.

CBD, LSD, mescaline, and other hallucinogenic drugs bind to the same serotonin receptors in the brain, so calling CBD totally non-intoxicating is a bit of a stretch. We think the insistence on calling CBD “non-intoxicating” or “non-hallucinogenic” is Public Relations for “Bidi bidi, gee, we can make a bundle with this.” While the anecdotal evidence claims no hallucinogenic effect for CBD, the fact that it affects serotonin in the brain makes it less attractive as a healthy alternative. Its long-term effects are simply unknown.

Some proponents promote taking THC and CBD together. We think this is a short path to becoming a bidi bidi robot.

At higher dosages, CBD will deactivate cytochrome P450 enzymes, making it harder to metabolize certain drugs and toxins, particularly psychiatric drugs.

What about CBD oil or cream (hemp extract) applied to the skin? Is there a difference between CBD derived from hemp and CBD derived from marijuana?

CBD is legally available in the United States, but it must be derived from imported high-CBD, low-THC hemp. CBD itself is not listed under the Controlled Substances Act, so it’s legal in all 50 states provided it’s not extracted from marijuana.

A huge amount of fiber hemp is required to extract a small amount of CBD, so researchers are focused on breeding plants with more CBD and less THC just for this purpose. It is important to note that all cannabidiol products are not approved by the FDA for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease.

CBD and THC both interact with the body through a vital nerve signaling system which regulates a wide array of functions, some of which include: pain, appetite, mood, memory, immune response, and sleep. There are still very little long-term safety data available. The proponents of CBD, whether for internal or external use, ignore the fact that it messes with serotonin when making claims for its safety and usefulness, so caution is advised. There is a lot of money riding on making these substances legal and ubiquitous; any bad effects are not going to be advertised or promoted.

At present, we’d prefer not to experiment with substances that tweak the brain in ways that are not fully understood, lest we become like bidi bidi Twiki. As always, your fully informed consent for any treatment is of paramount importance.

The Manufactured Crisis of Prescription Drug Prices

“Manufactured Crisis – How Devastating Drug Price Increases Are Harming America’s Seniors”

This report was prepared in 2018 by the U.S. Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee Minority Office as requested by Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

It examines the history of rising drug prices between 2012 and 2017 for the twenty brand-name drugs most commonly prescribed for seniors.

Drugs were identified using data from Medicare Part D, and average prices were statistically calculated to come up with annual weighted average wholesale acquisition costs.

Of the twenty drugs in the report, two are used off-label for psychiatric purposes:
§ Lyrica (pregabalin), approved for controlling epileptic seizures and neuropathic pain, is also used off-label as an anti-anxiety drug; it carries a warning that it may cause suicidal thoughts or actions.

§ Synthroid (levothyroxine), a synthetic thyroid hormone approved for hypothyroidism, is also used off-label as an antidepressant, although a specific, causally significant hormonal deficiency has not been identified for depression; it has potential side effects of hair loss, mental and mood changes such as depression, easily broken bones, heart problems, and seizures.

A Lyrica prescription rose in average cost between 2012 and 2017 from $264 to $600 (a 127% increase), while the number of prescriptions rose from 9.1 million to 10.3 million (a 14% increase).

A Synthroid prescription rose in average cost between 2012 and 2017 from $96 to $153 (a 60% increase), while the number of prescriptions dropped from 23.0 million to 18.4 million (a 20% drop).

The report concludes, “Soaring pharmaceutical drug prices remain a critical concern for patients and policymakers alike. Over the last decade, these significant price increases have emerged as a dominant driver of U.S. health care costs.”

Frankly, we do not have a particular bone to pick about the cost of prescription drugs; what does concern us more is the off-label use of medical drugs for fraudulent psychiatric conditions, and the seriousness of their potential side effects. If this concerns you as well, please let Senator McCaskill know your thoughts about this.

We recommend informed consent for any treatment plan. Protect yourself, your family and friends, with full informed consent. Courts have determined that informed consent for people who receive prescriptions for psychotropic (mood-altering) drugs must include the doctor providing information about possible side effects and benefits, ways to treat side effects, and risks of other conditions, as well as information about alternative treatments.

Many People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit

The New York Times had an article April 7, 2018 discussing the fact that antidepressants are actually addictive and have withdrawal symptoms. Quotes are from this article.

“As far back as the mid-1990s, leading psychiatrists recognized withdrawal as a potential problem for patients taking modern antidepressants.”

On the other hand, CCHR has been making this known since 1969. Psychiatrists have been loathe to admit the addictive nature of antidepressants and other psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs, and euphemistically call the side effects of withdrawing from psychiatric drugs “discontinuation syndrome”.

Drug addiction in the 1960’s became an increasing problem, and when investigated it was found that psychiatrists were pushing drugs and addicting people as a “cure.”

“Long-term use of antidepressants is surging in the United States, according to a new analysis of federal data by The New York Times. Some 15.5 million Americans have been taking the medications for at least five years. The rate has almost doubled since 2010, and more than tripled since 2000.”

Nearly 25 million adults have been on antidepressants for at least two years, a 60 percent increase since 2010.

“Many who try to quit say they cannot because of withdrawal symptoms they were never warned about.”

We recommend Informed Consent. Protect yourself, your family and friends, with full informed consent. Courts have determined that informed consent for people who receive prescriptions for psychotropic (mood-altering) drugs must include the doctor providing information about possible side effects and benefits, ways to treat side effects, and risks of other conditions, as well as information about alternative treatments.

“Antidepressants are not harmless; they commonly cause emotional numbing, sexual problems like a lack of desire or erectile dysfunction and weight gain.”

“Patients who try to stop taking the drugs often say they cannot. In a recent survey of 250 long-term users of psychiatric drugs — most commonly antidepressants — about half who wound down their prescriptions rated the withdrawal as severe. Nearly half who tried to quit could not do so because of these symptoms.”

“The truth is that the state of the science is absolutely inadequate … We don’t have enough information about what antidepressant withdrawal entails, so we can’t design proper tapering approaches.”

Polypharmacy is another significant problem, wherein a patient is prescribed many, possibly negatively-interacting drugs, often by multiple doctors who might be unaware of each other’s prescription orders. Often, these are drugs that the patient has been taking for a long period; they may be affecting the patient’s health negatively or are simply no longer beneficial. This is often addressed by deprescribing, which is the process of reducing the medication burden of a patient who might no longer need one or more of their prescriptions. Deprescribing principles are intended to improve health care for the patient by minimizing the harm and costs associated with polypharmacy, and minimizing the withdrawal effects of stopping one or more drugs.

Medications that may be considered for discontinuation include drugs that are no longer indicated, drugs that pose a risk for untoward side effects, drugs that interact adversely, drugs that are given to mitigate the side effects of another drug, and addictive drugs that have withdrawal side effects. However, addictive drugs should never be discontinued abruptly, since the withdrawal side effects can be severe.

For more information about how to safely withdraw from these harmful and addictive psychiatric drugs, download and read the booklet Coming Off Psych Drugs Harm Reduction Guide.

The Skinny on the Skin Drug

We saw a TV commercial recently for the drug Otezla® (generic apremilast), from Celgene Corporation, which was approved by the FDA in 2014 for the treatment of symptoms of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis (skin lesions) and psoriatic arthritis.

Our attention was caught by the statement that Otezla is associated with an increase in adverse reactions of depression, suicidal thoughts, or suicidal behavior. We wondered why, since this drug is not used for psychiatric diagnoses, and psychiatric drugs all have such potential side effects.

The drug inhibits the enzyme phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4), but the exact way in which it is supposed to work “isn’t completely understood”.

The estimated wholesale price is $22,500 for a year of treatment.

Digging deeper, we find that apremilast is an analog of thalidomide which was primarily prescribed as a psychotropic sedative or hypnotic and which was banned in 1961 for causing disastrous birth defects. Depression is also a common side effect of thalidomide.

In 1998 thalidomide was approved again by the FDA for use in multiple myeloma, a type of cancer, because it apparently had some kind of anti-inflammatory effect. It still is not known how it is supposed to work. Analogs of thalidomide were then developed to try to limit the side effects; an analog is a compound having a chemical structure similar to that of another one, but differing from it in respect of a certain component. Analogs are developed to see if they can improve upon the function of the base drug.

Well, apparently this one side effect — depression — did not get eliminated in the transformation from thalidomide to apremilast.

If someone has been given the full range of pros and cons for a drug or other treatment (i.e. full informed consent), with all applicable alternatives and even the alternative of no treatment, and then decides to take the drug or treatment, they made a fully informed decision. But we know that such informed consent is rarely, if ever, obtained prior to a psychiatrist or other doctor writing a prescription for a psychotropic drug. Click here to learn more about informed consent.

Knocked Out, Paralyzed, and Shocked

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), or shock therapy, is a controversial psychiatric “treatment” in which seizures are deliberately induced in the patient with an electrical current to the brain. There are roughly 100,000 ECT sessions given per year in the U.S.

The unproven theory is that somehow a seizure is beneficial; in actual fact, seizures are considered a serious health issue by real medical doctors.

There are several different words used to describe the seizures. “Tonic-Clonic,” or “Convulsion,” or “Grand Mal” seizure, are some of these terms. Tonic means stiffening, and Clonic means rhythmical jerking. Grand Mal is generally associated with epilepsy, so its use is discouraged for ECT seizures.

In the 1500’s seizures were induced by chemical means to treat various mental conditions. At some point it was observed that some agitated people appeared to improve during spontaneous epileptic seizures — at least, they got quieter. In 1939 Cerletti in Italy substituted electricity for chemicals to induce seizures. (See here for more information.)

The severe muscle contractions attendant with seizures was causing bone fractures and dislocations, resulting in the use of neuromuscular-blocking drugs (NMBD) to paralyze the muscles, along with anesthetics to block the pain. In 1951, the introduction of the synthesized NMBD suxamethonium as an alternative to curare led to the more widespread use of ECT since that regimen was less likely to result in broken bones and presumably had less side effects than curare. Suxamethonium has been described as a “perfect poison” for murder, and has been used by criminals in murders.

The ECT seizure lasts about a minute, and is administered two or three times a week, or until the patient’s cognitive side effects become too severe. A seizure lasting more than 5 minutes would be a medical emergency. There is a delicate balancing act to the administration of anesthetic, NMBD, and electricity, since the side effects of improper dosage and current can be a restriction of blood flow to the heart, or heart attack, or hemorrhage of blood vessels in the brain, or loss of vision.

Total paralysis with suxamethonium or another NMBD is not desired, since the attending psychiatrist needs to observe some muscle twitching in order to judge if a seizure is occurring. Total paralysis would also interfere with normal breathing, although intubation would normally be used during ECT.

The appropriate dosage of suxamethonium is difficult to determine; it would likely be adjusted in subsequent sessions based on the parameters of the individual’s response. Suxamethonium has a long list of possible side effects such as: high blood potassium leading to cardiac arrest; prolonged paralysis; slow heart rate; low blood pressue; neuroleptic malignant syndrome, a fast rise in body temperature with severe muscle contractions; skin rashes.

There are other NMBDs which can be used if suxamethonium is contraindicated, although these have their own peculiarities. [Reference: “Neuromuscular blocking agents for electroconvulsive therapy: a systematic review”, Acta Anaesthesiol Scand 2012; 56: 3-16]

All told, it is a complicated procedure, and not one to be suffered lightly. Full informed consent is a must. If you know someone who was abused by electroshock therapy, or who has witnessed such abuse, have them submit an abuse report here.

Off-Label Drug Use May Be Risky

The February 2017 issue of Consumer Reports article, “Should Drugs Do Double Duty” says, “Your doctor might give you a drug for a condition that it’s not approved to treat. That’s a risk you may not want to take.”

“Doctors routinely (and legally) prescribe drugs “off label” — that is, for conditions not approved by the FDA–for any use they see fit. Most don’t tell their patients. The results of this practice are alarming.”

Klonopin (clonazepam), an anti-anxiety drug, is routinely prescribed off-label for restless leg syndrome and insomnia, for which there is insufficient evidence for its effectiveness — let alone the fact that it poses an addiction risk and a risk of birth defects when prescribed to pregnant women.

Trazodone, an antidepressant, is routinely prescribed off-label for insomnia, but a black box warning says it increases suicidal thinking in children, teens, and young adults.

Seroquel (quertiapine) and Abilify (aripiprozole), antipsychotics, are routinely prescribed off-label for dementia, but the FDA has issued black box warnings about their use by people with dementia, which ups their risk of death. By the way, it doesn’t actually treat dementia, it is only used to suppress a person’s agitation.

“One reason drug companies may want more freedom to market or advertise drugs for unapproved uses is to eliminate financial penalties for off-label promotions.” Johnson & Johnson was fined $2.2 billion in 2013 for illegally promoting the off-label use of the antipsychotic Risperdal (risperidone). GlaxoSmithKline was fined $3 billion in 2012 for promoting the off-label use of the antidepressant Paxil (paroxetine).

All the more reason to learn how to protect yourself, your family and friends, with full informed consent. Courts have determined that informed consent for people who receive prescriptions for psychotropic (mood-altering) drugs must include the doctor providing “information about…possible side effects and benefits, ways to treat side effects, and risks of other conditions…,” as well as, “information about alternative treatments.”

More About Marijuana and PTSD

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.