Friday, December 30, 2011

Police called after father stopped daughter taking medication

This story was interesting.

A father sticks up for his daughter's best interests. He does everything he should-- takes a fatherly concern for his daughter and tries to talk to the state-sanctioned drug peddlers mental health services team about what had happened before. They pay him no attention to his concerns and continue doing what they're doing because only they know what's best. He gets reported to the police and the arrogant lack of concern by the state-sanctioned drug peddlers mental health services team is deemed "appropriate."

The family doesn't appear to be happy with the investigation's findings. I hope they don't give up. They need to vocally and publicly pursue this matter. The general public, who have had little contact with psychiatry, need to understand what it's all about.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Profits all around

It's very sad that our veterans receive such a lousy shake in their needs and healthcare when they get home, as this article points out.

I think the key concept, however, is here:

Ironically, yet not surprisingly, pay-to-play in Washington becomes more egregious every day. Heather Bresch, daughter of U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, (D-WV) was recently named CEO of WV drug-maker Mylan Inc., that recently contracted with the DoD for over 20 million doses of Seroquel.

One reason that these antipsychotics are among the most profitable products for the pharmaceutical industry is that many of the purchases are paid for by the US government.

Another reason that makes them the cash cows of the pharmaceutical industry is that patients are required to take them by force of court order, with Medicaid being the most likely payor.

I always found it odd that CEOs would embrace these government subsidies over private enterprise and the free markets. I guess it all depends on what makes you the easiest and quickest buck.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Concise History of the DSM

From a blog comment made by an anonymous commentator. (Note: NPD stands for Narcissistic Personality Disorder):

As a psychiatrist with personal experience with NPDs, I fully concur with Anna's views that this change in the DSM is essentially a non-event for all the reasons she enumerated. Perhaps some additional information about the DSM may be helpful in fully appreciating some of the reasons for its meretriciousness. (To save some of you from consulting a dictionary, "meretricious" is defined as apparently attractive but having in reality no value or integrity. I also use this word not unintentionally for its archaic meaning - of, relating to, or characteristic of a prostitute.)

Some of the individuals who first developed the DSM are well known among psychiatric circles to have severe NPD themselves. The interests of one DSM "innovator" in particular were in statistics and in ways to categorize knowledge generally. At the time in the 1960s, a dedicated system of classification of mental disorders was lacking. Previously these disorders were given codes in a manual called the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) along with all other medical disorders. Seeing an "opportunity," one DSM originator chose to go to medical school and specialize in psychiatry exclusively in order to have the credentials to create a classification system. Medicine and psychiatry were merely means to another end. The womb of the DSM resided in an obsessive individual who possessed a prominent dearth of humanity and who by the same token could have easily chosen to classify machine tools, toads or sea shells. In addition, for the initial DSM there was very little consensus. It is the product of just a few individuals. This was the inauspicious inception of the run-away train we now call the DSM.

Another critical point to remember is that the primary impetus for a classification of mental disorders was for research purposes - not for clinical utility. That is why it is a diagnostic and STATISTICAL manual. The use of medications in psychiatry began in earnest in the 1950s creating a need to do clinical trials. A system was needed to enable researchers to group individuals together diagnostically. One cannot for example do a trial of a drug for schizophrenia without defining the population for which the medication is purported to be effective. Thus the birth of the DSM and its subsequent revisions has been influenced in no small way by changes in the field of psychiatry and in pharmaceutical technology.

The pharmaceutical industry is not the only one that has influenced the evolution of the DSM. Since the 1980s, the health insurance industry has exerted an increasingly formidable influence on the way mental health disorders are viewed. Because it determines the reimbursement of treatment services, it creates demands on the field for the EXPLICIT purpose of decreasing expenditures. This industry has clearly had an impact on how individuals are diagnosed. In stage one, personality disorders were excluded from any reimbursement. The DSM then responded by creating all sorts of other reimbursable categories into which a psychiatrist could "fit" that patient. More recently the insurance companies for reimbursement considerations have created strata of severity of mental illnesses in which, for example, major depression, schizophrenia and full-blown bipolar disorder are reimbursed more fully than other less debilitating "disorders" such as adjustment disorders, anxiety disorders, etc.

Perhaps one day a historian will go back and rigorously track the developments in the DSM against the developments in the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. I am convinced that we will see clear concordance.

And as other industries as well as cultural views continue to pressure and influence how we view behavior, thought and "feelings," the DSM will follow in kind. One example is "Social Anxiety Disorder" as if there is one person who doesn't get anxious speaking in front of a group of people. The list of inane diagnostic classifications is endless.

In order to keep ahead of the game, the DSM revisionists employ two other strategies. The first has always been unspoken and is rarely contested: that all behavior, thought and "feeling" is under the purview of "mental health" and its soldiers, psychotherapists (psychiatrist, psychologists, etc.). Should tomorrow many people start snapping their fingers frequently, the DSMers would have a classification for that in the next revision. The underlying problem here is that there is no definition of "mental illness" or "mental disorder."

A fine example is just this topic: NPD. For years, I frequently have read laying down on my sofa and crossing my legs. Now I have a knee problem, one that the orthopedic surgeon can directly relate to my bad reading habits. With proper changes in behavior and stretching, the knee problem is much improved. So is the case with malignant narcissists. As this blog pointed out several times, "garbage in, garbage out." If one goes through life executing malice and then must distort the truth in order to not be caught, one's thinking will become disordered. That is NOT a mental disorder. It is the ramification of a habit over which one can exert control. The DSM makes no distinction between the ramifications of controllable and self-modifiable bad habits versus the ramifications of a process over which volitional control is impossible (e.g., schizophrenia).

The second DSM strategy is to create categorical buckets so over-inclusive that it is irrefutable. Hence nearly every "diagnosis" contains a "disclaimer" with language such as, "The present symptoms cannot be otherwise better accounted for by [another] diagnosis." Or, another sub-category is created to allow for any exception to the rule. This sub-category is termed "NOS" which stands for "Not Otherwise Specified." Thus if someone complains of depression of a type that does not fit exactly with the sub-types enumerated in the DSM, that depression is deemed, "Not otherwise specified."

Therefore the DSM "takes all comers." It is set up in a way that one cannot even attempt to challenge or refute it because it contains inherent escape clauses which are designed only to make it immune from any criticism. Thus it exists to perpetuate its own existence. It is a simulacrum; i.e., an image without the substance or qualities of the original. Simulacra may contain elements of truth (e.g., the DSM's description of schizophrenia), but due to the lack of definition, coherence, mission and integrity in its core being, its utility is best characterized by where my copy ended up.

One winter, I ran out of firewood...

One postscript. It may appear that the DSM committee is composed of "academics" and not clinicians. The distinction today is not very sharp as nearly all "academics" do clinical work. (I know not a few of them and can vouch for that statement). In my opinion, psychiatrists have thrown their hands up in trying to understand the "personality disordered" for which, not for nothing, they have little chance of obtaining research funding. And although they will never publicly admit it, they don't want to even see those "bad and difficult patients" anyway.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Another Study, Another Set of Data to Manipulate

Forgive my cynicism and lack of empathy, but I just had to respond to this post on the HuffPo.

My experience with the mental health field is that psychotherapy is an even bigger waste of money that psychiatry, which is itself pointless. (And no, I am not a Scientologist. I am merely a survivor of the US mental health industry.)

My experience with mental health has also taught me that the members of the field will try to manipulate the data of any study to justify their paychecks and/or prescribe their drug of choice.

Mental health has absolutely nothing to do with "helping" others. It only "helps" for so long as it can define and identify the problem-- there is absolutely no input from the patient, who is after all quite mad-- and then it offers preconceived solutions for the preconceived problem. Helping others only helps them collect a nice middle class paycheck and/or secure a grant of their choice.

The article also fails to mention that the patients' inability to care for themselves can more often than not be traced backed to the side effects of the absolutely worthless drugs.

Sorry, but color me unimpressed.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Seroquel Lawsuits

Seroquel litigation seems to be going the same way as the Zyprexa lawsuits: a financial slap on the wrist for the drug maker, a hefty pay check for mass tort law firms and a pittance to the people whose lives were severely impaired by the drug.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

When It's Time to Just Say "No"

Crossposted on Our Lives After Labels. If you're a psych survivor and want to sound off on your life after labels, I think posting on this blog is open to anyone. Just email the admin your story on he'll get it up. Suggestions about what you might want to write about are on the sidebar.

My story:

Drugs and alcohol, coupled with an over-the-top attitude, pretty much caused my problems.

I have an old Axis Report where they reference "alcohol abuse, episodic; mixed substance abuse, continuous." They list some other things on it: depression, paranoid delusions, a sketchy work history. Under those labels, they note "see substance abuse."

I've always been wild and willing to game anything or anyone that wants to play, just looking for a thrill. The drugs and alcohol just helped fuel these tendencies. I simply had a really good time on them and enjoyed myself. There were other times when drugs-- or rather withdrawing from drugs like alcohol and speed--made me batshit insane. Then the shrinks would give me more drugs that simply got me more high. With shrinks, it's kind of a vicious cycle like that.

I tried working with rehab counselors for a while. They always insisted that things were there that I knew simply didn't exist in my makeup or my view of the world. I confided fully in one psychotherapist. Then they used what I had said to him to lock me up some months later, which is where that old Axis Report comes from. If I had known my own statements were going to be used later against me, I never would have tried to get help to start with. That's when I was 21 and that experience queered my taste for psychiatry.

I partied heavily until I was 30 when I got into a bunch of trouble and I was forced into an outpatient commitment. This time they gave me drugs--Risperdal and Depakote, to be precise--that didn't do anything at all, except make me gain a bunch of weight, cause sexual dysfunction and bring me very close to Diabetes. These were all things that the shrink didn't seem to care about and tried to downplay and dismiss. He just said you have to take drugs for the rest of your life if you don't want that to happen again. He refused to accept that I didn't think they did anything at all and kept insisting that the drugs were helpful. However, I saw later in an Axis Report my attorney had that the shrink had noted, "The subject shows no response to medication."

At any rate, I finally got rid of the shrink. Medicaid dropped me because I had enrolled in school through VocRehab. A psychotherapist I had been forced to see along with the shrink had realized there was very little he could do. So for whatever reason, he got me hooked up with VocRehab.

I had flunked out of schools before because of my partying, but this time it was different. I was 30 and still partying like I was 17. My life flashed before my eyes and I was almost bored to death. All through my partying days, I had stolen, lied, written bad checks, stiffed credit card companies and even hustled to obtain money to cop. And this novelty-seeking behavior, as they're beginning to call it these days, was suddenly no longer novel. It had all become such a bore.

I know I'm supposed to say getting clean is difficult. That's certainly what the rehab counselors who make their money on it say. That's certainly what junkies who I don't think have any real desire to get clean say. But it wasn't difficult at all. It was just another day, another choice, another path.

I went on to receive my associate's degree, graduating magna cum laude even with my lousy prior grades, and getting a job as a paralegal in a law firm.

All that's been over 15 years ago and I haven't paid a lick of attention to what psychiatry claims since then, except to laugh at it.

From my experience--and your individual mileage may vary--all psychoactive drugs are a crutch, a dead end in a life that was never guaranteed to be easy. Psychiatrists say you have to take this, you have to take that. And they claim that they know what's best for you and they're doing it for your own good. What a crock. Only you can attempt to determine what's best for you. And if you screw up, then you're the one responsible for your mistake. Not your reputedly diseased brain, not your dope-peddling shrink, but you. You're responsible for picking yourself, learning from it and going on with your life. And of course, your friends at MFI are always willing to lend a hand.

"Inaccurate and unsubstantiated information and assumptions that lacked corrobative evidence"

A quote from a UK government report on a specific sad case in psychiatry from ECT Statistics:

“There was evidence that the diagnostic process was based on inaccurate and unsubstantiated information and assumptions that lacked corrobative evidence from a careful analysis of previous case records and/or information from informants.”

This statement pretty much describes to a 'T' my experience with psychiatry. One's diagnosis is whatever the shrink wants it to be. One is screwed if he doesn't share the shrink's impeccable middle class sensibilities and upright moral judgment. Objective, empirical evidence be damned.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Random, Disjointed Thoughts on a wet Saturday Afternoon

I recently came across this web page.

I don't consider my self a tea-partier or a Ron Paul supporter or any sort of conspiracy theorist. However, I am very proudly Old School and I do like this guy's points.

Even though I flunked out of a liberal arts college, I did spend enough time there to piece together what many call the Great Conversation or what the writer calls the Classical Education.

All that you learn at a liberal arts college is that the world is a messy, ambiguous place that constantly changes and can never be truly known. The classical education attempts to instill within a student a set of questions and a perspective to wrestle with this world. To make at least partial sense of what seems a very senseless place and to take meaning from his existence in it.

The writer of this piece notes one of the backbones of the Great Conversation, the Trivium, and then decries the devolution of society, where we have simply been reduced to the very simplest flight-or-fight response:

We have been purposely devolved into emotionally observing, mostly through fear, and following a predetermined solution. The Elite call it Problem-Reaction-Solution. They create problems they wait for the blind emotional reaction of their slaves whom they have programmed to react on fear and ignorance and then offer a predetermined solution. This is why things never change. Those that do the real logical thinking are getting what they want, which is more for them and less for you.

Or putting this Problem-Reaction-Solution another way from another source:

Humans are definitely not the most complex animal on earth. Where it counts, humans are as simple as the lowly squid.

The illusion of humanity’s complexity arises when you try to map human behavior to some kind of two-dimensional grid or continuum. When you focus on how humans decide, they’re extremely simple and, therefore, easily controlled. Humans compare what they see to what they expected and react accordingly. You can control how humans react by controlling either what they see, what they expect or both.

I, like the writer, am tired of being nudged, tired of being thought of as a pliable rat in a box. I want to question and examine and not be told to do. To simply be and to enjoy my existence and not be required to react.

I very much like the writer's quote of the man who was known as the founder the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy:

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space, and in that space, is our freedom.” --Viktor Frankl

And in that space, for the briefest moment, one can simply BE.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I found this picture and I absolutely love it:

In art, it's called the mise-en-abime, or mise-en-abyme, depending on your spelling predilections. A famous one is the Dutch Cocoa girl:

Something like this also happens in computer science. The act of the function referring to itself is the recursive call of the lambda-calculus. This evaluation of the evaluation serves as the foundation of pretty much all computational theory.

As for the word renvoi, this is what the French call standing between two mirrors and peering into the infinity of the reflection, much like the mise-en-abime.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

(Insert gratuitous snark here)

Politics makes for some very strange bedfellows.

in reference to:

"Meanwhile, on Monday a group of eight international figures, including Noam Chomsky, actor Sean Penn and South African anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu, called for Iran to release the two men."
- BBC News - Iran summons US hiker Sarah Shourd for spying trial (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Jack LaLanne died :-(

I can still remember him on TV in the early 70s. As a fat kid, I thought he was the Antichrist. But now after almost a decade of exercising, I give him my total respect.

The news wires need to show more of his early photographs.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The good ole HuffPO

I'm becoming increasingly tired of this place. They're too busily involved in deleting the comments of people who don't subscribe to the party line of the P.C. nanny state. And I make this criticism as a life-long liberal.

in reference to: Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Once bitten, twice shy

This says it all about psychiatry:

You may wonder why I didn't just talk to a professional about this. I've seen a number of doctors since I was a teenager to talk about other issues and I'm positive that another doctor would not have helped. I was never given one piece of actionable advice, ever. More than a few spent a large part of the session reading their notes to remember who I was. And I have no interest in talking about being raped as a child, both because I know it wouldn't help and because I have no confidence it would remain secret. I know the legal and practical limits of doctor/patient confidentiality, growing up in a house where we'd hear stories about the various mental illnesses of famous people, stories that were passed down through generations. All it takes is one doctor who thinks my story is interesting enough to share or a doctor who thinks it's her right or responsibility to contact the authorities and have me identify the molestor (justifying her decision by telling herself that someone else might be in danger). All it takes is a single doctor who violates my trust, just like the "friends" who I told I was gay did, and everything would be made public and I'd be forced to live in a world where people would know how fucked up I am. And yes, I realize this indicates that I have severe trust issues, but they're based on a large number of experiences with people who have shown a profound disrepect for their word and the privacy of others.

via HuffPo

Thursday, January 6, 2011


but my favorite fossils are the trilobites. For several million years, these bottom feeding scavengers were among the most populous things in the sea. And then they died, leaving only distantly related descendants.

in reference to:

"Ask someone to name their favourite fossils and the chances are they will point to the ammonites."
- BBC News - Ammonite diet revealed in X-rays (view on Google Sidewiki)

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Hall of Mirrors

I like this:

The shrinks simply hope you give up and because you don't, then you have a problem.

via bipolarblast