Posts Tagged ‘suicide’

GAO Will Review PTSD Treatment in the VA

Monday, October 16th, 2017

U.S. Representatives Mike Coffman (R-CO) and Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH) requested the Government Accountability Office to study how heavily the Veterans Administration relies upon psychotropic drugs to treat their patients for so-called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The GAO agreed September 27, 2017 to conduct the review.

Many people are concerned that the use of psychotropic drugs is a contributing factor to the alarming rate of suicides among veterans.

Express your concern about this by contacting:
Rep. Mike Coffman – https://coffman.house.gov/contact/ and jeremy.lippert@mail.house.gov
Rep. Ann McLane Kuster – https://kuster.house.gov/contact/email-me and lisbeth.zeggane@mail.house.gov
GAO – contact@gao.gov; youngc1@gao.gov; congrel@gao.gov; spel@gao.gov

Today, PTSD 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.

The favored “treatment” for PTSD is psychotropic drugs known to cause violence and suicide.

According to the CCHR documentary The Hidden Enemy: Inside Psychiatry’s Covert Agenda, all evidence points in one direction: the soaring rates of psychiatric drug prescribing since 2003. Known drug side effects of these drugs such as increased aggression and suicidal thinking are reflected in similar uptrends in the rates of military domestic violence, child abuse and sex crimes, as well as self-harm.

Pull the string further and you’ll find psychiatrists ever widening the definitions of what it means to be “mentally ill,” especially when it comes to PTSD in soldiers and veterans. In psychiatry, diagnoses of psychological disorders such as PTSD, personality disorder and social anxiety disorder are almost inevitably followed by the prescription of at least one harmful and addictive psychiatric drug.

Psychiatrists know that their drugs do not actually cure anything, but merely mask symptoms. They are well aware of their many dangerous side effects, including possible addiction. If you are in the military, a veteran, a member of a military or veteran support group, or family or associate of a member of the military or a veteran, you quality for a free Hidden Enemy DVD.

Also watch the documentary online here.

Las Vegas in the Sights

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Stephen Paddock massacred country music fans at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas the night of October 1, 2017 leaving 59 people dead (including Paddock) and 527 injured at last count.

He was prescribed an anti-anxiety drug in June that can lead to violent behavior, as reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal on October 3rd.

Records from the Nevada Prescription Monitoring Program show Paddock was prescribed 50 10-milligram diazepam tablets by Henderson physician Dr. Steven Winkler on June 21. Diazepam, or Valium, is a highly addictive Benzodiazepine known to cause aggressive behavior and suicide. Chronic use or abuse of psychiatric drugs such as diazepam can also trigger psychotic experiences.

Side effects (also called “adverse reactions”) are the body’s natural response to having a chemical disrupt its normal functioning. One could also say that there are no drug side effects, these adverse reactions are actually the drug’s real effects; some of these effects just happen to be unwanted, such as the violence and suicide observed with psychiatric anti-anxiety drugs. While not everyone on psychotropic drugs commits suicide or uncontrolled acts of violence, the effects of the many other side effects, including withdrawal from these addictive drugs, can be horrendous.

For example, between 2004-2008 there were reports submitted to the FDA’s MedWatch program which included 4,895 suicides, 3,908 cases of aggression, 309 homicides and 6,945 cases of diabetes from people taking psychiatric drugs. These numbers reflect only a small percentage of the actual side effects occurring in the consumer market, as the FDA has admitted that only 1-10% of side effects are ever reported to the FDA.

Reporting of adverse reactions to psychiatric drugs by doctors, pharmacists, other health care providers and consumers once those drugs are out in the consumer market, is fundamental to drug safety monitoring. Yet these reports have been frequently ignored or dismissed as “anecdotal” by the FDA even when serious side effects number in the thousands.

For more information about how psychiatric drugs can cause violence and suicide, go here: http://cchrstl.org/sideeffects.shtml.

Bronx Cop Killer Alexander Bonds Was Taking Psych Drugs

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

According to the New York Daily News, Alexander Bonds who killed Officer Miosotis Familia as she sat inside a parked police vehicle on July 5, was likely taking psychiatric drugs known to cause violence and suicide. Bonds was shot to death by police after the killing of NYPD veteran Familia as she worked a midnight tour in the Bronx.

Here are the quotes:

“…Alexander Bonds spent eight hours at a Bronx hospital after appearing for a impromptu psychiatric exam just four days before he executed an NYPD officer.”
“…an NYPD search of the ex-con’s squalid South Bronx apartment turned up prescription anti-psychotic and anti-depressant drugs…”
“The anti-psychotic was Risperidone, typically used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, while the anti-depressants were identified as Bupropion and Escitalopram…”
“In an interview after the execution, the girlfriend told police that Bonds visited a psychiatrist last month…”
“Police investigators also found Benadryl and a muscle relaxant in Bonds’ second floor apartment…”

All of the listed psychiatric drugs have the potential adverse side effects of violent and suicidal behavior.
Risperidone is an antipsychotic, also called a neuroleptic (“nerve seizing”).
Bupropion is an antidepressant (norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor.)
Escitalopram is an antidepressant (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.)
Benadryl is an antihistamine that interacts moderately with risperidone and buproprion and excitalopram, meaning that there is an increased risk of adverse side effects when taken together.

The FDA has issued several warnings on these psychotropic drugs, cautioning that persons prescribed the drugs must be monitored for increased suicidal ideation and worsening depression.

The bottom line is — Check for psychiatric treatment and psychiatric drugs (prior or current use, or withdrawal from) in all cases of senseless violence.

Watch the CCHR video “Psychiatry’s Prescription for Violence” documenting the connection between violence, suicide and psychiatric drugs at http://www.cchr.org/videos/psychiatrys-prescription-for-violence.html.

Chris Cornell, Another Failed Product of Psychiatric Drugs

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Chris Cornell, a musician who committed suicide May 18, was apparently taking Ativan, a psychotropic drug which has known side effects of violence and suicide.

“…Cornell was a recovering addict with a prescription for the anti-anxiety medication Ativan and that he may have taken a bigger than recommended dosage.”

Ativan (generic lorazepam) is a highly addictive benzodiazepine anti-anxiety drug, and is known to cause violence and suicide either during use or after withdrawal. A typical dose is 1 to 3 milligrams orally 2 to 3 times per day, typically costing around $10 per 1 milligram tablet. It takes about two hours to feel the drug’s full effects, and it typically takes 10 to 20 hours for the drug to leave a person’s system.

Lorazepam as Ativan was first introduced in the U.S. by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in 1977. Many of the so-called “beneficial effects” of the drug are considered “adverse effects” when they occur unwanted, such as its sedative effect, muscle relaxant effect, and amnesiac effect. These side effects are dose-dependent, meaning they get more pronounced the higher the dose. Other significant side effects are confusion, hostility, aggression, agitation, and suicidal behavior. Physical addiction characterized by withdrawal symptoms occurs in about one-third of individuals who are treated for longer than four weeks, although withdrawal symptoms can occur after taking therapeutic doses of Ativan for as little as one week. If treatment is continued longer than four to six months, tolerance develops and the dosage must be increased to get the same effects.

Signs of overdose can include confusion, hostility, aggression, suicidal behavior, drowsiness, hypnotic state, coma, cardiovascular depression, respiratory depression, and death. 810 drugs, and alcohol, are known to interact with lorazepam. Taking larger amounts of Ativan than prescribed, taking the drug more often than prescribed and taking the drug for longer than prescribed are considered abuse. Most commonly, overdoses occur when Ativan is taken in combination with alcohol or other drugs. Fifty thousand people went to the emergency room in 2011 due to lorazepam complications. Twenty-seven million prescriptions for lorazepam were written in 2011.

While this drug is used to treat anxiety, it doesn’t really do anything for the anxiety itself; it is primarily taken for its sedative side effect. The “side effects” are really the actual drug effects.

This great musician, and many other artists who committed suicide while taking psychiatric drugs, were offered “help” that was only betrayal. This psychiatric assault on artists of every genre has only increased, as the psychiatric industry peddles its array of deadly addictive psychotropic drugs for profit only. Click here for more information about psychiatry harming artists and ruining creativity.

Suicides in Missouri

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

The Columbia Missourian newspaper thinks that training various professionals in how to recognize and treat suicidal impulses would help prevent suicides in Missouri.

Not to say they are wrong, but they are missing some information about the causes of suicide.

They say that in Missouri, one person dies by suicide every 8.5 hours, and suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in Missouri; Missouri is ranked 18th out of the 50 states for the highest suicide rate. Nationally, 117 people die by suicide every day.

Mental health groups are lobbying to pass laws requiring mental health professionals to undergo specific suicide prevention training. We suspect these are the groups that would benefit monetarily from providing the training.

Of course, what they don’t say is that there is overwhelming evidence that psychiatric drugs cause violence and suicide: 22 international drug regulatory warnings cite violence, mania, hostility, aggression, psychosis and even homicidal ideation as potential side effects of psychotropic drugs.

Despite these international drug regulatory warnings on psychiatric drugs causing violence and suicide, there has yet to be a federal investigation on the link between psychiatric drugs and acts of senseless violence. Between 2004 and 2012, there have been 14,773 reports to the U.S. FDA’s MedWatch system on psychiatric drugs causing violent side effects.

For example, The Commission of the European Communities in 2005 issued the strongest warning against child antidepressant use stating that the drugs were shown to cause suicidal behavior including suicide attempts and suicidal ideation.

In 2009 the U.S. FDA required warnings on some antidepressants for symptoms of suicidal thoughts and behavior.

Congressman Ron Paul in 2013 said, “Right now we’re suffering from an epidemic of suicide in some of our veterans, and we have a lot of violence in our schools and somebody just did a study in which they took the last ten episodes of violence where young people went and took guns and irrationally shot people, all ten of them were on psychotropic drugs.”

The Eli Lilly corporation for nearly fifteen years covered up their own internal investigation that showed that anyone on Prozac is twelve-times more likely to attempt suicide than those using other antidepressants.

Harvard Medical School psychiatrist, Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, author of Prozac Backlash, says antidepressants could explain the rash of school shootings and mass-suicides over the last decade.

Rather than reducing suicide, a review of published SSRI antidepressant clinical trials determined that they increase the risk of suicide. Suicide is the major complication of withdrawal from Ritalin and similar amphetamine-like drugs.

Suicide and violence have been escalating among youths. Too often this has been falsely attributed to their “mental illness,” when, in fact, the very methods used to “treat” such “illness” are the cause of the problem. In a report that Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services published in August 2013, it stated, “Antidepressant medications have been shown to increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior.”

A study of 950 acts of violence committed by people taking antidepressants found 362 murders, 13 school shootings, 5 bomb threats or bombings, 24 acts of arson, 21 robberies, 3 pilots who crashed their planes and more than 350 suicides and suicide attempts.

Furthermore, an independent panel of experts in primary care and prevention (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force) said it had “found no evidence that screening for suicide risk reduces suicide attempts or mortality.” Which speaks against the Columbia Missourian‘s push for suicide training.

In the U.S. Military, potentially up to 50 percent of those committing suicide had at some point taken psychiatric drugs and up to nearly 46 percent had taken them within 90 days. The suicide rate increased by more than 150 percent in the Army and more than 50 percent in the Marine Corps between 2001 to 2009. From 2008 to 2010, military suicides were nearly double the number of suicides for the general U.S. population, with the military averaging 20.49 suicides per 100,000 people, compared to a general rate of 12.07 suicides per 100,000 people.

Yet the practice of prescribing seven or more drugs documented to cause cardiac problems, stroke, violent behavior and suicide (to veterans) is still prevalent.

What causes violence in people who take psychiatric drugs? One reason may be a common side effect called akathisia commonly found in people taking antipsychotic drugs and antidepressants. Akathisia is a terrible feeling of anxiety, an inability to sit still, a feeling that one wants to crawl out of his or her skin. Behind much of the extreme violence to self or others we see in those taking psychiatric drugs is akathisia.

It is not just the taking of antidepressants that can cause extreme violence. Withdrawal from antidepressants can cause extreme violence too.

The first step toward creating less violence and self-harm is to recognize the role that psychiatric drugs play. “Given the nature and potentially devastating impact of psychotropic medications…we now similarly hold that the right to refuse to take psychotropic drugs is fundamental.” [Alaska Supreme Court, 2006]

The bottom line — by all means train professionals about suicide; but include the real causes, and don’t push psychiatric drugs as the solution.

Passage of the 21st Century Cures Act

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

If you contacted your Senators and Representative about the dangers of the 21st Century Cures Act, thank you very much.

Unfortunately it passed — 392 to 26 in the House, and 94 to 5 in the Senate.

While some of the $6.3 Billion funded by this legislation is not controversial and may even be beneficial, a large chunk of the money will go to fund suicide-prevention programs, mental health services for children, and programs for court-ordered psychiatric outpatient treatment. It reinforces current laws that require insurers to treat mental illness as they do any other illness in terms of benefits (“parity“). And it creates a new position in the US Department of Health and Human Services called the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use for coordinating mental health programs across the federal government.

The bill also lowers the regulatory bar of the Food and Drug Administration,  which may result in less safe and effective products reaching the market by putting less emphasis on clinical trials, which has caused some critics to label it the 21st Century Quackery Act. The FDA insists it will not compromise safety and efficacy; but they have already shown their fake reliance on safety and efficacy by approving psychotropic drugs and trying to make it easier to approve electric shock machines.

How concerned should we be? Very concerned. Proliferation of coercive and abusive mental health “care” by the current psychiatric industry is a waste of lives and funding.

Instead, here is what we should be doing:
1. Mental health hospitals must be established to replace coercive psychiatric institutions, where appropriate medical diagnostics and treatments can be performed. Proper medical screening by non-psychiatric diagnostic specialists could eliminate more than 40% of psychiatric admissions.
2. Establish rights for patients and insurance companies to receive refunds for harmful and abusive mental health treatment.
3. Clinical and financial audits must be done for all psychiatric facilities to uncover and correct fraud and abuse.
4. All mental disorders in the DSM should be validated by scientific, physical evidence.
5. Abolish mental health courts and mandated community mental health treatment.
6. Citizens groups and responsible government officials should work together to expose and abolish psychiatry’s hidden manipulation of society.

Florida Court Rules Physician May Be Liable in Suicide

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Florida’s Supreme Court ruled August 25, 2016 that a physician could be sued for medical malpractice in the case of a patient’s suicide. [Medscape Medical News, 2016-08-26] The victim was taking antidepressant psychiatric drugs. The Florida Supreme Court ruled that the case should proceed to trial.

The prescribing doctor, Joseph Stephen Chirillo, Jr., M.D., is a Family Physician in Englewood, Florida and was treating the victim for depression.

Evidence cited was, 1) Dr. Chirillo knew that patients who stopped taking Effexor abruptly had an increased risk for suicide, and 2) stopping Effexor was “a contributing factor” in the decedent’s suicide.

Primary Care doctors are often continuing the psychiatric drug bandwagon pioneered by psychiatrists. In fact, it may now be that more people get antidepressants from their family doctor than from a psychiatrist.

Medscape believes that one in five patients prescribed antidepressants stop taking them without telling their doctor. It has been known for quite some time that the side effects of violence and suicide can occur from abrupt withdrawal as well as from continuing to take these harmful and addictive psychotropic drugs. No one should stop taking any psychiatric drug without the advice and assistance of a competent medical doctor.

For more information about coming off of psychiatric drugs safely, click here.

Side effects (also called “adverse reactions”) are the body’s natural response to having a chemical disrupt its normal functioning.

One could also say that there are no drug side effects, these adverse reactions are actually the drug’s real effects; some of these effects just happen to be unwanted. Read more about how drugs work here.

Psychiatry’s theory that a brain–based, chemical imbalance causes mental illness was invented to sell drugs. Misled by all the drug marketing efforts, 100 million people worldwide—20 million of them children—are taking psychotropic drugs, convinced they are correcting some physical or chemical imbalance in their body. In reality, they are taking powerful substances so dangerous they can cause hallucinations, psychosis, heart irregularities, diabetes, hostility, aggression, sexual dysfunction and suicide.

While not everyone on psychotropic drugs commits suicide or uncontrolled acts of violence, the effects of the many other side effects can be horrendous. Not the least of which is the fact 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. While the patient may be lulled into a temporary sense of wellness, whatever condition has caused the symptom is still present and often growing worse, as the original condition has not been found and treated.

Because of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), psychiatrists and family physicians have deceived millions into thinking that the best answer to life’s many routine problems and challenges lies with the “latest and greatest” psychiatric drug.

War, On Drugs

Friday, July 1st, 2016

We thought our subscribers might find this article of interest — “War, On Drugs” by Dr. Peter Frankopan, director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research in the UK. Here is an excerpt:

“Given the well-documented, widespread use of narcotics in modern warfare, it is no surprise to find ISIS also supplying soldiers with stimulants. In the fall of 2015, the largest drug bust in Lebanese history took place at Beirut airport when a Saudi prince tried to board a private jet that was about to fly to Ha’il, in northern Saudi Arabia. Two tons of Captagon were recovered – a drug whose use outside the Middle East is negligible, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.”

“Originally developed in the 1960s, Captagon was designed to treat narcolepsy and attention-deficit disorder. It was banned in most countries because of its addictive nature. Captagon produces feelings of euphoria, a boost in energy and heightened awareness – as well as surging aggression levels, says Richard Rawson, co-director of the Integrated Substance Abuse Programme at the University of California, Los Angeles. A Reuters report from 2014 demonstrated just how widespread the use of drugs has become in Syria since the start of the civil war, and especially how production of stimulants for use by rebel and ISIS forces has soared. The fact that the levels of violence have risen, too – not only with videotaped beheadings, but also mass executions and indiscriminate slaughter – might not be entirely coincidental.”

Terrorism is created; it is not human nature. Suicide bombers are made, not born. Ultimately, terrorism is the result of madmen bent on destruction, and these madmen are typically the result of psychiatric or psychological techniques aimed at mind and behavioral control. Suicide bombers are not rational—they are weak and pliant individuals psychologically indoctrinated to murder innocent people without compassion, with no concern for the value of their own lives. They are manufactured assassins.

Part of that process involves the use of mind–altering psychiatric drugs.

Click here for more information about Psychiatry and Terrorism.

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.

Risky Business of Sleep Drugs

Saturday, March 5th, 2016

Risky Business of Sleep Drugs

After reading about the dangers of sleeping pills in the February 2016 edition of Consumer Reports magazine, we thought you might like to know something about that.

Some psychotropic drugs are prescribed as sleeping pills. Trazodone, an antidepressant, is often prescribed off label as a sleeping pill. Benzodiazepines such as Valium are also prescribed as sleeping pills. Other examples are Ambien (an anti-psychotic), Lunesta (an anti-anxiety drug), and Sonata (another anti-anxiety drug).

These have all the potential side effects we have come to associate with psychiatric drugs — including violence, suicide, addiction, and so on.

The latest sleeping pill fad, touted as “the new insomnia drug”, is Belsomra (generic “suvorexant”). It is classified as a “sedative-hypnotic” which means it is a central nervous system depressant; it alters brain chemistry by targeting a neurotransmitter called orexin.

Belsomra is manufactured by Merck, Sharpe & Dohme Corporation, and was approved by the FDA for insomnia in August of 2014.

Guess what? This drug carries the same warnings as other psychotropic drugs; it may cause memory loss, anxiety, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, depression, addiction, and thoughts of suicide — all this along with its own special side effects: inability to move or talk, sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and drowsiness lasting through the next day.

Here is what Consumer Reports has to say about Belsomra: “…people who took a 15- or 20-milligram dose of Belsomra every night for three months fell asleep just 6 minutes faster on average than those who took a placebo. And those on Belsomra slept on average only 16 minutes longer than people given a placebo. Such small improvements didn’t translate to people feeling more awake the next day, either. Instead, more people who took Belsomra reported that they felt drowsy the next day than those who took a placebo.”

“Because of the limited benefits and substantial risks of sleeping pills, Consumer Reports’ medical experts advise that sleep drugs should be used with great caution.”

“Merck spent $36 million on TV ads for its new drug Belsomra from Aug. 1 to Nov. 24, 2015, making it the second most advertised Rx drug in that time frame, according to iSpot.tv. The ads note that Belsomra is the first drug to target orexin, a chemical that plays a role in keeping people awake. But Belsomra doesn’t work much, or any, better than other sleep drugs. And because it’s new, little is known about its long-term safety.”

One take-away here is that even if a prescription drug is not advertised or prescribed for psychiatric reasons, if it messes with the brain’s neurotransmitters and has all the same side-effects as a psychiatric drug — well, you must get the picture by now.

The Consumer Reports article goes on to discuss non-drug sleep alternatives at some length; it is a good and helpful read.

When your doctor prescribes a drug, it is good practice to ask questions so you can give your full informed consent. These are some example questions you can ask:

1. What is the evidence for the diagnosis?
2. How does the treatment affect the body?
3. How does the treatment affect the mind?
4. What unwanted effects may occur?
5. Is it approved by the FDA for this condition?
6. What is known and not known about how safe it is and how well it works?
7. What are the alternatives, including the option of no treatment?
8. Does the doctor or the clinic have a financial interest in pushing the diagnosis or treatment?