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Myth # 1: “The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) tests all new psychiatric
Actually the FDA only reviews studies that have been designed, administered and paid for by the drug companies. The studies are frequently conducted by well-paid research firms, in whose interest it is that positive results are obtained for their corporate employers, who are likewise poised to make billions of dollars if the “correct” results are obtained. Unsurprisingly, it has become rare for such research to result in negative findings for the drug company. Fraud in such research has been rampant for decades.
Myth # 2: “FDA approval means that a psychotropic drug is effective long-term”
Actually, FDA approval doesn’t even mean the drugs are effective short term. The pharmaceutical industry has cunningly infiltrated (and also partially funds [or perhaps “bribes” is the better word]) various physician “experts” with Big Pharma connections on many of the FDA committees that fast tracks drugs through the approval process. The FDA only receives studies that report short-term effectiveness from the pharmaceutical corporations who are hoping for rapid approval for marketing. In the case of the new SSRI drugs during the 1990s and 2000s, animal lab studies typically lasted only hours, days or weeks and the human clinical studies only lasted, on average, 6-8 weeks, far too short to say anything about long-term effectiveness!
Hence the FDA, prescribing physicians and patient-victims should not have been “surprised” by the resulting epidemic of SSRI drug-induced adverse reactions. Indeed, many SSRI trials have shown that those drugs are barely more effective than placebo, with unaffordable economic costs and serious potential health risks, some of which are life-threatening and known to be capable of causing brain damage.
Myth # 3: “FDA approval means that a psychotropic drug is safe long-term”
Actually, the SSRIs and the “anti-psychotic” drugs are usually only tested in human trials for 4–12 weeks before being granted marketing approval by the FDA. And the drug companies are only required to report 2 studies (even if a number of other studies done on the same drug showed negative results - and therefore shelved away somewhere that will be difficult to uncover!). Drug companies prefer that the black box and fine print warnings are ignored by both the consumers and the prescribers.
In our fast-paced consumer society, the super-busy medical clinics and the highly efficient pharmacy folks tend to remain oblivious of the multitude of dangerous , potentially fatal symptoms that include addictions, mania, psychoses, suicidality, worsening depression, worsening anxiety, insomnia, akathisia, brain damage, dementia, homicidality, violence, etc, the emerging evidence of which has often forced the FDA to shamefully and belatedly backtrack on its earlier hasty, fast-track marketing approvals of these highly profitable synthetic drugs.
But when was the last time anybody heard the FDA or Big Pharma apologize for the damage they did? And when was the last time there were significant (other than “chump change” fines) punishments or prison time that was meted out to the CEOs of the guilty multibillion dollar drug companies?
Myth # 4: “Mental ‘illnesses’ are caused by ‘brain chemistry imbalances’”
In actuality, brain chemical/neurotransmitter imbalances have never been proven to exist despite vigorous examinations of virgin brains by drug company neuroscientists. The fact that there are over 100 different neurotransmitter systems in the human brain, makes chemical ”imbalances” laughable, incapable of scientific study and certainly, if one existed at all, never treatable with a drug!
Such simplistic theories have only been perpetrated by Big Pharma and the psychiatric industry because they have to resort to 20 second sound bite propaganda to justify to patients why they should be taking dangerous drugs.
Myth # 5: “Antidepressant drugs work like insulin for diabetics”
This laughingly simplistic and anti-scientific explanation for the use of dangerous and addicting synthetic drugs is patently absurd. There is no such thing as a Prozac deficiency and SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) such as Prozac do not raise total brain serotonin. Rather SSRIs actually deplete serotonin long-term while only “goosing” it temporarily at the synapse level.
(Parenthetically, the logic of the insulin/diabetes comparison above could legitimately be made in the prescribing of the two amino acid brain nutrients tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), the only precursor molecules of natural serotonin. That statement can be made because of the known long-term depletion of serotonin by SSRI drugs and amphetamine-type psychostimulants. Replenishment of depleted serotonin requires not just the ingestion of these amino acids but also the ingestion of certain vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6, magnesium and zinc, all of which are necessary for the metabolic conversion of tryptophan and 5-HTP to serotonin within the serotonin nerve cells.
Myth # 6: “SSRI ‘discontinuation syndromes’ shouldn’t be thought of as ‘withdrawal
The SSRI “antidepressant” drugs are indeed dependency-inducing/addictive and the neurological and psychological symptoms that occur when these drugs are stopped or tapered down, are not “relapses” into a previous ”mental disorder” but are actually new addictive drug withdrawal symptoms unlike the original symptoms that prompted the original prescription The term “discontinuation syndrome” has been promoted by the drug industry to distract attention from the fact that those drugs that cause “discontinuation symptoms” when they are stopped are indeed addicting. Most members of the consuming public do not want to swallow pills that cause withdrawal symptoms. Such inconvenient truths surely might cause aware and awake patients to distrust pharmaceutical and medical industries that are trying to deceive them.
Myth # 7: “Ritalin is safe for children (and adults)”
In actuality, methylphenidate (= Ritalin, Concerta, Daytrana, Metadate and Methylin; aka “kiddie cocaine”) works just like cocaine, except that orally-dosed methylphenidate reaches the brain more slowly than the snortable or smoked cocaine does (therefore with less of an orgasmic “high”). Cocaine addicts actually prefer Ritalin if they can get it in a relatively pure powder form. When snorted, the synthetic drug Ritalin (as opposed to the naturally occurring, and therefore more metabolizable cocaine) has the same onset of action but a longer lasting “high”. The molecular structures of Ritalin and cocaine both have an amphetamine base structure and, when examined side to side, are remarkably similar. The dopamine synaptic organelles in the brain (and heart) are unlikely to sense any difference between the two drugs.
Myth # 8: “Psychoactive drugs are totally safe for humans”
See Myth # 3 above. Actually all five classes of psychotropic drugs are potentially neurotoxic drugs that are known to alter the function, chemistry and anatomy of the brain - and they all are capable of causing dementia. Any synthetic chemical that is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier into the brain can alter and disable the brain. Synthetic chemical drugs are NOT capable of actually healing brain dysfunction nor can they correct brain malnutrition or reverse brain damage. Rather than curing anything they can only mask neurological and emotional symptoms while the damage continues unabated.
Myth # 9: “Mental ‘illnesses’ have no known cause”
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel (DSM) is pejoratively called “the psychiatric bible and billing book”. Despite its name, it actually has no statistics in it, and, of the 374 psychiatric diagnoses in the DSM-IV there are only two that even mention, much less emphasize, root causes. (The two are Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Acute Stress Disorder).
However, in my ten years of experience as a holistic mental health care practitioner, I was virtually always able to detect (and for my patients, de-mystify) many of the multiple root causes and contributing factors that could explain the signs, symptoms and behaviors that resulted in one or more mental illness diagnoses. Many of my patients had been made worse by being hastily diagnosed, harshly treated, malnourished, incarcerated, electroshocked, drugged (often against his will and/or without fully informed consent) and frequently rendered unemployable or even permanently disabled as a result; all because of temporary, potentially reversible, and therefore potentially curable emotional stressors.
The root causes of my patient’s understandable emotional distress (and de-compensation) were typically multiple. And they usually involved sexual, emotional, spiritual and/or physical trauma – usually with serious emotional neglect and brain nutrient deficiencies as well. The only way to obtain this critically important information was through the use of thorough, compassionate (and, unfortunately, time-consuming) gathering and documenting of the patient’s complete history, starting with the drug exposure history and the vitally important prenatal/maternal history (a period when the patient’s brain was rapidly developing).
My clinical experience proved to me that if enough high quality time was spent with the patient and enough hard work was exerted, the patient’s predicament could usually be de-mystified and the erroneous past diagnoses could be corrected. Such efforts were usually tremendously therapeutic. In my experience, most mental ill health syndromes (previously erroneously labeled disorders “of unknown cause”) represented serious emotional de-compensation due to temporarily overwhelming crisis situations due to traumatic, frightening and soul-destroying experiences in a patient’s life.
My practice consisted mostly of patients who knew for certain that they were being sickened by one or more brain-altering and addicting prescription drugs that they couldn’t get off of by themselves. I discovered that many of them could have been cured early on their lives if they only had had compassionate psychoeducational psychotherapy, proper brain nutrition and help addressing issues of deprivation, parental neglect/abuse, poverty and other destructive social situations. I came to the sobering realization that many of my patients could have been cured years earlier but for the adverse effects of psychiatric drug regimens; isolation; loneliness; punitive incarcerations; solitary confinement; and/or electroshock. The neurotoxic and brain-disabling drugs that most of my patients had been given early on had started them on the road to chronicity and disability.
Myth # 10: “Psychotropic drugs are safe to use long term”
See Myths # 2 and # 3 above. In actuality recent studies have shown that the major cause of permanent disability in the “mentally ill” is the long-term, high dosage and/or use of multiple neurotoxic psych drugs. Many commonly-prescribed drugs are fully capable of causing brain-damage long-term, especially the anti-psychotics, which can cause the brain shrinkage commonly seen on the MRI scans of treated schizophrenics (and that are pointed out as “proof” that schizophrenia is an anatomic brain disorder while conveniently ignoring the fact that antipsychotics can cause brain atrophy!).
Tranquilizers such as the benzodiazepines (Valium, Ativan. Klonopin,,Tranxene, Xanax) are all highly addictive, very difficult to withdraw from (withdrawal results in difficult-to-treat rebound insomnia and increased anxiety), and, when used long-term, they can all cause memory loss/dementia and the loss of IQ points and be mis-diagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease (of unknown etiology).
Myth # 11: “A disease called bipolar disorder can mysteriously ‘emerge’ in
patients who have been taking stimulating antidepressants like the SSRIs”
In actuality, mania, agitation, aggressiveness and akathisia (severe, crazy-making, sometimes suicide-inducing internal restlessness - like having restless legs syndrome over one’s entire body and brain that can also lead to homicidality and psychosis) are not uncommon adverse effects of all the SSRIs. Hence SSRIs should probably be called “agitation-inducing” drugs instead of anti-depressant drugs. SSRI drug-induced manic symptoms DO NOT represent bipolar disorder.
To be continued
Note: References documenting most of the above information can be found in the bibliography that I usually hand out at the occasional seminars that I give on this subject. One such bibliography can be found in the archives located at the Reader website at: http://duluthreader.com/articles/2012/03/22/229_a_response_to_the_march_15_letter_to_the_reader.