Pharmaceuticals Anonymous

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Quickening Maze

Mental Health in Fiction

The asylum in the forest
Andrew Motion applauds a vividly sympathetic exploration of poetry, madness and identity

Andrew Motion
The Guardian, Saturday 2 May 2009

High Beach, on the edge of Epping Forest in Essex, is a strange poetic vortex. Wilfred Owen and Edward Thomas were stationed there during the first world war; we have no evidence that they met. Seventy-odd years earlier, a better-known literary overlap occurred in the same vicinity, thanks to one Matthew Allen. Allen was founder of the High Beach Private Asylum, the institution that first gave shelter to John Clare. He was also a friend of Alfred Tennyson, doctor to Tennyson's brother Septimus, and eventually (by persuading them to put money into a half-baked wood-carving scheme) the cause of their bankruptcy. You wouldn't know any of this today, driving through the Epping commuter belt, but it's a resonant place for literary archaeologists.

The Quickening Maze has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

I am: yet what I am none cares or knows,
My friends forsake me like a memory lost;
I am the self-consumer of my woes,
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shades in love and death's oblivion lost;
And yet I am! and live with shadows tost

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life nor joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems;
And e'en the dearest--that I loved the best--
Are strange--nay, rather stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man has never trod;
A place where woman never smil'd or wept;
There to abide with my creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept:
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;
The grass below--above the vaulted sky.

~ John Clare

Is mental health an occupational hazard of poets? Link

We think the problem is nutritional; once that weakness is mended, the individual remains creative - and is well.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Spiritual help for mental disorders: Dion Fortune's The Secrets of Dr. Taverner

Mental Health in Fiction
dion fortune Pictures, Images and PhotosOccultist Dion Fortune's fictional Dr. Taverner is modeled on her mentor, and his assistant, the young Dr. Rhodes, is modeled after herself. Taverner runs a nursing home in which patients suffer from a variety of "psychological" disturbances which seem to be psychiatric. Dr. Taverner is a sort of psychic Sherlock Holmes, an adept of an occult order, and is able to cure the sufferers using unusual means.

The Secrets of Dr. Taverner - Dion Fortune

Friday, September 25, 2009

Canada - The Battle Against Bill C-6

maple leaf Pictures, Images and PhotosThe battle continues...

The Battle Against Bill C-6
September 2009 Features
How Proposed New Legal Principles are Undermining Your Health Freedom

by Shawn Buckley
Introduction by Helke Ferrie

“The numbers on the Bills have changed, but whether the Prime Ministers are Liberal or Conservative, the message remains unchanged. Bills C-27 and C-28 of 2004 became C-51 and C-52 in 2008, and now we have C-6.

The first batch of bills, a “modernization” of the Food and Drugs and Hazardous Products Acts, would have “prevented Canadians from suing Health Canada for negligence, even for flagrant failures like … the tainted-blood scandal [and] greatly increased the likelihood that unsafe drugs and hazardous products make their way to market” (The Globe and Mail, November 10, 2004). The shift was from the international “precautionary principle” to the corporate “risk management” – meaning all industries regulate themselves without any independent oversight. Agricultural chemicals, drugs untested and of mysterious chemistry, pest control products, and food additives were completely exempted from being identified as “adulteration” at residues higher than internationally permitted. Ottawa’s The Hill Times wrote on April 25, 2005: “Hocus-pocus, adulteration is not adulteration if the Minister of Health says so! The effect of bill C-28 is to eviscerate the Minister of Health’s statutory duty to protect the public from health hazards and fraud…”

When the Liberals lost to the Conservatives, Stephen Harper continued where Paul Martin had left off by re-introducing the same Bills, only now far meaner, namely C-51 and C-52. In an open letter to the PM, I observed that if these bills were “passed into law, they would pose a threat to public health, the rule of law, and the freedom of scientific research. Both Bills, to my mind, display an equally unparalleled disregard for the spirit, and most probably also the letter, of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” An analysis of these four Bills is found in my book What Part of No! Don’t They Understand? available for free downloading from

Article continues here.

F.D.A. Reveals It Fell to a Push by Lawmakers

FDA Pictures, Images and Photos
F.D.A. Reveals It Fell to a Push by Lawmakers

Published: September 24, 2009

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that four New Jersey congressmen and its own former commissioner unduly influenced the process that led to its decision last year to approve a patch for injured knees, an approval it is now revisiting.

The agency’s scientific reviewers repeatedly and unanimously over many years decided that the device, known as Menaflex and manufactured by ReGen Biologics Inc., was unsafe because the device often failed, forcing patients to get another operation.

But after receiving what an F.D.A. report described as “extreme,” “unusual” and persistent pressure from four Democrats from New Jersey — Senators Robert Menendez and Frank R. Lautenberg and Representatives Frank Pallone Jr. and Steven R. Rothman — agency managers overruled the scientists and approved the device for sale in December.

All four legislators made their inquiries within a few months of receiving significant campaign contributions from ReGen, which is based in New Jersey, but all said they had acted appropriately and were not influenced by the money. Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach, the former drug agency’s commissioner, said he had acted properly.

The agency has never before publicly questioned the process behind one of its approvals, never admitted that a regulatory decision was influenced by politics, and never accused a former commissioner of questionable conduct.

“The message here is that there were problems with the integrity of F.D.A.’s decision-making process that have solutions,” Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the agency’s principal deputy commissioner, said in a conference call with reporters.

humbug! Pictures, Images and Photos

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

PTSD and Lord Peter Wimsey

as my whimsy takes me Pictures, Images and PhotosMental Health in Fiction
Did Dorothy Sayer's fictional detective suffer from PTSD? It would seem so. Link
How writers get PTSD wrong in fiction.
PTSD in the Lord of the Rings, and
PTDS, the West Wing and the Apocalypse
Rachel Manga's PTSD handbook is also reccommended.
In The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey, Sayers tells another story of mental health. A lovely girl marries her doctor, who is pathologically jealous and abusive. By chance a former would-be suitor finds her in the remote Basque mountains, hideously changed - "the face white and puffy, the eyes vacant, the mouth drooled open... a dry fringe of rusty hair [clinging] to the half-bald scalp". From the suitor's description, Lord Peter Wimsey recognises the symptoms of thyroid deficiency, or hypothyroidism. He travels to see her, secretly feeds her the thyroid hormone she needs, rescues her, and restores her to health and beauty.

Senator Grassley's Sleuth

"Grassley's Sleuth Gets Press In Nature
Most of you are aware of a long-running campaign by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) to ferret out undisclosed pharma company funding of academic researchers who also wind up taking federal research money. Well, it ain't the Senator who does all the digging that leads to him going after the likes of Emory University psychiatrist Charles Nemeroff and Harvard University psych researchers. Instead, it is Paul Thacker, a former journalist and an investigator for the Senator, who is making researchers' lives hell--and appropriately so. I've known this for a long time but have kept my yapper shut when writing about Sen. Grassley.

Anyway, Nature has a nice article on Thacker and it includes Nemeroff himself basically apologizing for his mess and claiming he was in compliance with disclosure rules plus other researchers defending Nemeroff. Please. In a political world filled with scum and manure, it's good to see one good guy in the fray. And since I'm such a good guy, I'm making a copy of the article (usually requires a subscription) available to all of you. I encourage you to download it and read it."

From Philip Dawdy's wonderful Furious Seasons - PDF on Thacker - Senator Grassley's NAMI investigator

Philip is doing his seasonal fundraiser. Please donate here....

More tasty pharma scandals - involving Pfizer and NAMI - are here.

Soul Doctors - Shamans and Jung in the New York Times

"MERCED, Calif. — The patient in Room 328 had diabetes and hypertension. But when Va Meng Lee, a Hmong shaman, began the healing process by looping a coiled thread around the patient’s wrist, Mr. Lee’s chief concern was summoning the ailing man’s runaway soul.

“Doctors are good at disease,” Mr. Lee said as he encircled the patient, Chang Teng Thao, a widower from Laos, in an invisible “protective shield” traced in the air with his finger. “The soul is the shaman’s responsibility.”

At Mercy Medical Center in Merced, where roughly four patients a day are Hmong from northern Laos, healing includes more than IV drips, syringes and blood glucose monitors. Because many Hmong rely on their spiritual beliefs to get them through illnesses, the hospital’s new Hmong shaman policy, the country’s first, formally recognizes the cultural role of traditional healers like Mr. Lee, inviting them to perform nine approved ceremonies in the hospital, including “soul calling” and chanting in a soft voice."

Shaman slide show

"This is a story about a nearly 100-year-old book, bound in red leather, which has spent the last quarter century secreted away in a bank vault in Switzerland. The book is big and heavy and its spine is etched with gold letters that say “Liber Novus,” which is Latin for “New Book.” Its pages are made from thick cream-colored parchment and filled with paintings of otherworldly creatures and handwritten dialogues with gods and devils. If you didn’t know the book’s vintage, you might confuse it for a lost medieval tome.

And yet between the book’s heavy covers, a very modern story unfolds. It goes as follows: Man skids into midlife and loses his soul. Man goes looking for soul. After a lot of instructive hardship and adventure — taking place entirely in his head — he finds it again.
Some people feel that nobody should read the book, and some feel that everybody should read it. The truth is, nobody really knows. Most of what has been said about the book — what it is, what it means — is the product of guesswork, because from the time it was begun in 1914 in a smallish town in Switzerland, it seems that only about two dozen people have managed to read or even have much of a look at it."


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Turning off the drug company drip feed to doctors

Turning off the drug company drip feed to doctors

"In the United States, the world's biggest drug company Pfizer has agreed to pay a record US$2.3 billion to settle civil and criminal actions brought against it for illegally marketing a painkiller that has since been withdrawn from sale.

Pfizer allegedly instructed sales staff to tell doctors that the drug Bextra could be used to treat acute pain at doses well above those approved by health authorities, even though dangerious side effects - risks to kidneys, skin and heart - increased with dosage.

It's a blatant example of a pharmaceutical company trying to boost profits by swaying the professional decisions of clinicians - something that also happens here in Australia - whether it's drug company freebies like the branded pens and notepads that litter doctors desks, or industry sponsored conferences and education sessions.

Regulating the relationship between doctors and drug companies is an issue that has been excercising the mind of Philip Mitchell, Scientia Professor and Head of the School of Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales.

From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Listen now | download audio here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Trying to KICK Drugs? Look at this page

DRUGFREE has very sensible advice regarding getting off psychotropic medications - and we like the boot graphic too. Drugfree

Never abruptly stop taking psychiatric drugs. You are likely to experience dangerous withdrawal effects. This has happened to many others before you. The safe way to quit successfully is to taper off slowly and with caution, and with medical support if possible.

The purpose of the following information is NOT to talk anyone into stopping taking their psychiatric drugs. However, every patient/consumer/survivor has the right to choose their own route to recovery, and not everyone is going to choose drugs. The following information is for people who have already decided that they do not want to take drugs, but do not know how to come off them safely.

The choice not to take psychiatric drugs is a valid choice, and should be respected.

The Icarus Project have created a very good resource for people who are coming off psychiatric drugs called Harm Reduction Guide Coming Off Psych Drugs.

Sadly, many psychiatrists do not tell their patients about the dangers of withdrawal. Simply stating that the medication has "Do not stop taking" on the box is insufficient information. Many psychiatrists leave patients who choose not to take drugs unsupported and do not tell them how to safely taper off these drugs. When their patient suffers withdrawal effects, they are told that this is because they stopped taking the medication. It is implied that this is proof that they need to keep taking the drugs, and information about the the true cause of the problem . withdrawal - is withheld. The drugs will then be re-prescribed, sometimes at a higher dose than last time. Don't let it happen to you.
Continues at Drugfree

For more information, check Ashton and Healey and other resources in our right-hand Links column.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Estrogen and Mental Health

"Estrogen Dominance and Mental Health
by Dr Igor Tabrizian
Taken from his book Nutritional Medicine: Fact & Fiction

by Christine Sutherland
of the Lifeworks Group, Perth, Western Australia

Since discovering the work of Safe Harbor, we began to arrive at a much greater appreciation of the medical causes or medical influences on mental disorders, or seeming mental disorders. We then commenced a search to locate a qualified medical practitioner with the depth and breadth of biochemical knowledge and applications which we required to assist us to provide the best possible care for our clients.

We found Dr Igor Tabrizian, a general practitioner in Perth, Western Australia, specializing in nutritional investigation and treatment. Dr Tabrizian is leading the way to the practice of what I call "sane medicine": away from inappropriate pharmacotherapy and toward an informed and intelligent investigation and treatment of the patient's unique biochemistry.

I have a personal reason for my commitment to Dr Tabrizian's work. When you read the excerpt from his book, (at link) below, you will see his description of a typical example of the effects of Estrogen dominance. When I first read it I cried: from both sadness and rage. My own history is very much like that one: losing 6 babies, gall bladder removed in an emergency operation aged only 33, severe post-natal psychosis after the birth of a female baby and total inability to bond, and thyroid malfunction. And none of it needed to happen. What should have been glaringly obvious was completely overlooked. And how could it be any other way? This stuff is not taught to doctors in medical school. The only comprehensive biochemistry or pharmacotherapy they learn comes straight from the pharmaceutical companies.

Medicine must get sane. Doctors must be taught thorough biochemistry. We need to promote the work of doctors like Igor Tabrizian because they are true champions of health."

Continues at Link

Dr Tabrizian's web site is:
Lifeworks' web site is:

Haldol... and an elderly patient - by Gwen Olsen, author of Confessions of an Rx Pusher

Written by a former top drug company representative - drug seller.
It was the end of the third quarter, and I was behind in my sales quota for Haldol. That meant forfeiting a significant amount of money from the bonus pool if I didn't make quota. My territory was at somewhat of a disadvantage because I didn't have the large number of psychiatrists the reps in other metropolitan areas such as Dallas, Houston, and Austin had. It occurred to me that the most common drawback/objection I received from the general practitioners I called on with this product was patient compliance. (Patients would frequently discontinue the medication because of its side effects.) So, I determined the best way to build my Haldol business would be to campaign for the institutionalized patient. These patients were not only encouraged to take the medication; they were actually given the drug. This completely eliminated the compliance issue.

I set about scheduling training in-services in the local nursing homes and mental health and mental retardation (MHMR) facilities. I increased my call frequency on physicians whom I knew to have nursing home relationships and directorship responsibilities. I littered these offices and institutions with every type of marketing tool known to man. You could not look anywhere in my territory that there wasn't a clock, coffee mug, calendar, candy dish, scratch pad, or pen displaying the Haldol name.

During my so-called "Haldol Blitz," I made weekly visits to my nursing homes. The nursing staff was very supportive and appreciated being the recipients of all the goodies and attention that was rarely placed on them. (Reps notoriously do not like to call on nursing homes or abortion clinics.) They began to eagerly recommend to doctors that patients be placed on Haldol and actually kept track of patients who were put on the drug to report to me on subsequent visits. I rewarded these facilities and staffs with catered-in lunches and gift certificatesto local restaurants.

In my routine visits to one particular nursing home, I met Mrs. Ida Smith. (I have changed her name to protect her privacy.) Mrs. Smith was a petite, fragilelooking woman in her late eighties. Her snow-white hair was always neatly coiffed. She also wore a bright red lipstick that contrasted starkly with her delicate, pale complexion. Ida was a whirlwind of activity in her motorized wheelchair. She was frequently seen motoring from room to room, checking on and visiting with other residents. It was apparent the nursing staff was put out with Mrs. Smith's meddling. Ida often complained to staff about patients who were not properly being cared for. She was the self-appointed hall monitor and was not afraid to let people know she was watching. I got a kick out of observing the nurses' reactions when Mrs. Smith would demand someone change a bedpan or IV bag that had been left unattended. She could definitely hold her own in a debate.

Mrs. Smith became a bright spot in my visits to an otherwise gloomy, depressing facility that reeked with the stench of urine and disinfectant. However, I called on the home one day, and Mrs. Smith was nowhere to be seen. Before departing, I questioned the head nurse about her. "Oh, Mrs. Smith, she's had a bad patch lately," she said. "Her friend in 17B died, and it really upset her. She hadn't been sleeping well and seemed a little disoriented, so we recommended her doctor put her on Haldol. She's doing a lot better now...sleeping through the night...not combative and quarrelsome like she used to be." She concluded, smiling.(It was obvious she thought she was making brownie points with me.)

As I rounded the corner to the front door, I saw an attendant pushing Mrs. Smith in her wheelchair into her room. Her head was hung, and she was drooling on her pretty, pink gown. Mrs. Smith looked like a zombie. She was in complete disarray. Her hair was uncombed, and her signature red lipstick was missing. I felt a pang in the pit of my stomach. Had I been responsible for this turn of events? Surely, Mrs. Smith was not the patient-type for whom I had promoted Haldol. Or was she?

I exceeded my quota in all four of my products that sales quarter. Shortly thereafter, I was promoted to a hospital rep's position in Houston for the Baylor College of Medicine. I would never see Mrs. Smith again. However, my last memory of her would stay fresh in my mind and on my conscience for many years to come.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Obama Health Care: Taking on Big Pharma

"Taking on Big Pharma

Paul Jay continues his conversation with Roger Hickey of the Campaign for America's Future at the Tides Foundation's Momentum conference in San Francisco. The first segment of this interview was done before President Obama's speech about his health care reform. Now, after the speech, they speak about what the president said and the feasibility of the health reform taking on the Single Payer system which would allow for everyone to be covered. They also speak about President Obama's centrism, and that his collaboration with major pharmaceutical companies, also known as Big Pharma. Hickey says that questions about the functioning of the drug and insurance industries and the deal President Obama invariably agreed to with Big Pharma, "are now politicized questions in the United States of America, while a few years ago they were not. Whether or not we get a good bill, and I think we will, that would be only the beginning of the process of getting public power countervailing and regulating and cutting back the private power of those insurance and drug industries that control our lives."

Roger Hickey is co-director of the Campaign for America's Future, an organization launched by 100 prominent Americans to expand the national debate about America's economic future. The Campaign seeks to empower working Americans, middle-class families, and the poor to make their voices heard in support of a populist economic agenda and an expansion of democracy. Recently, Hickey organized and helped to lead a national coalition of citizen leaders known as Americans United to Protect Social Security."

With thanks to the The Real News Network and the Tides Foundation.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

NYT: Big Food VS. Big Insurance

Image: LAST BREAKFAST by Ron English

"...Our success in bringing health care costs under control ultimately depends on whether Washington can summon the political will to take on and reform a second, even more powerful industry: the food industry.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three-quarters of health care spending now goes to treat “preventable chronic diseases.” Not all of these diseases are linked to diet — there’s smoking, for instance — but many, if not most, of them are.

We’re spending $147 billion to treat obesity, $116 billion to treat diabetes, and hundreds of billions more to treat cardiovascular disease and the many types of cancer that have been linked to the so-called Western diet. One recent study estimated that 30 percent of the increase in health care spending over the past 20 years could be attributed to the soaring rate of obesity, a condition that now accounts for nearly a tenth of all spending on health care.

The American way of eating has become the elephant in the room in the debate over health care. The president has made a few notable allusions to it, and, by planting her vegetable garden on the South Lawn, Michelle Obama has tried to focus our attention on it. Just last month, Mr. Obama talked about putting a farmers’ market in front of the White House, and building new distribution networks to connect local farmers to public schools so that student lunches might offer more fresh produce and fewer Tater Tots. He’s even floated the idea of taxing soda."

~ Michael Pollan
Read the rest of his op-ed at the New York Times

Monday, September 7, 2009

Times UK: The growth of prescription drug addiction

Image: Mick Jagger, singer of "Mother's Little Helper", in pills
"The revelation about the mass of prescription drugs that were pumped around Michael Jackson’s body by his enabling doctor reminded me of a brief flirtation with the world of tranquillisers when I was living in New York. It was soon after 9/11, and having witnessed the terrorist attacks, I was jittery about a flight to LA. A friend suggested Xanax, one of the family of so-called benzodiazepine drugs that includes Valium, so off I went to my dishy doctor. Xanax was duly prescribed with a bedside manner (“Any questions or concerns?”). I discovered that the relaxing haze it induced was rather essential on all flights, anxiety or no anxiety. Fortunately, I was on a repeat prescription. No questions asked. As long as I had the $80 or thereabouts (insurance paid some, but by no means all, of the bill), the pills were mine.

Back in the UK, it was a different story. Contemplating the jet lag of an upcoming trip to Malaysia, I went to my GP to get sleeping pills. Once I’d convinced him I wasn’t an addict (he barely looked up from his pad during this “conversation”), I left with a prescription for four pills. Four! I felt as I imagine my toddler feels when I won’t allow her a second helping of ice cream."

Article here

For information on safe withdrawal from benzodiazepines, antidepressants and other psychoactive prescription drugs, look at
Dr. Ashton's Benzo Manual
Dr. Healy's SSRI information - PDF
and other links in our right-hand column.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

NAMI's "Turning over the furniture"

Yes, this is a REAL NAMI document.

How to prepare for an emergency

D.J. Jaffe
Sometime, during the course of your loved one's illness, you may need the police. By preparing now, before you need help, you can make the day you need help go much more smoothly. There are three things to do. 

First, you should establish contact with your local precinct, before you need help. 
Secondly, you should have the attached info sheet filled out in duplicate, ready at all times. 
Thirdly, you should read the article at the end of this page on how to make 911 respond to your calls.

Someday your loved one may be missing from home or hospital. Normally, the police will not fill out a missing persons report & start looking for them until they are gone 24 hours. But by making arrangements beforehand, you can insure that if this happens to you, they will start looking immediately. Or, let's say your relative is becoming increasingly agitated & uncontrollable & you have to call the police to take them to a hospital. It is very likely that the police will go to the hospital of their choice, not yours. But by making arrangements beforehand, you can have a say in where that person is taken. In addition, if your relative is picked up for some crime (drugs, let's say); by making prior arrangements, you can help see that they go to a hospital instead of jail. Finally, it may make it easier for you to get someone involuntarily committed, if & when you have to do that. 

The way to make these arrangements is to call the "Community Patrol Officer Program" (C-POP Officer) at your local police precinct, now, before you need help. If you do not have a C-POP program (i.e, outside NYC), call the station commander.

Tell them that you have a MI relative at home & that you want to make the police aware of it, in case you ever need help. Tell them you are worried that if they are ever missing the police won't start looking until after 24 hours; or that if you need police to take your relative to a hospital, they won't go to the one you want; or that if your relative is busted, they will go to jail, instead of to a hospital. Tell the C-POP (pronounced, "see-pop") officer, that it was suggested that individuals with MI relatives contact the C-POP officers, before help is needed to make them aware of the situation, & that is why you are calling. The officer may think this is unusual, but you should do it anyway. FOLLOW THE CONVERSATION UP, WITH A LETTER ADDRESSED TO THE C-POP OFFICER & SEND A COPY TO THE PRECINCT COMMANDER. 

If you ever do need help, call 911 if it's an emergency. If not, call your local precinct. When the police come, mention the C-POP Officer & Precinct Commander by name. The police who come to your door do not know what to expect. By mentioning these names, you help calm them & help identify that it is not you who needs help, it is your relative. They will also be more likely to listen to you, & may even get the Commander on the phone or walkie talkie. Because you have prepared ahead of time, they are more likely to take the person where you want them to be taken, & to listen to you carefully. Be calm.

If your relative needs emergency hospitalization, it will be extremely stressful to everyone. It is made more difficult by the myriad of questions that need to be answered. By having the answers to these questions written and ready, you can insure that the emergency hospitalization will not only be less stressful, but that your relative is more likely to get proper care. For instance, identify his doctor, & what medicines he is currently on, so those medicines can be continued, increased, or removed as appropriate. Indicate what hospital you use. Below is a form you should fill out. After filling it out, make two copies & keep one on hand (in your wallet) all the time. One for you, one for the police, one for the hospital. 


Please take this person to _____________________hospital.

This person is not a criminal. He/she has a mental illness. Please treat with compassion and dignity. Thank you.





Social Security #______________Blue Cross #_____________

Blue Shield #_____________Other Med Ins #_____________

Is on SSI?_________Is on SSDI?________Other?__________ 

Eye Color______Hair Color_________Skin______________

Blood Type_________Eyeglasses?_______ 


Tatoos?Other Identifying Marks_______________________ 

Military/VA Status?__________________________________ 

Current Primary Diagnosis____________________________

Secondary Diagnosis__________________________________ 

Name of Commanding Officer where patient lives______________

Name of Community Officer where patient lives_________________________

Precinct Phone Number______________________________ 

Name of Doctor______________________________________ 

Doctor's Phone Number_______________________________ 

Name of Hospital____________________________________ 

Current Medicines and Dosages________________________ 



Date of Last Hospitalization_________How Long?________ 
Date of Last Crisis____________________________________ 

Allergies?________________Hi Blood Pressure?__________

Name of outpatient program___________________________ 

Number of outpatient program________________________ 

Name of Case/Social Worker__________________________ 
Number of Case/Social Worker________________________ 

In Emergency Contact________________________________ 

Relationship to Patient________________________________ 


Day Phone__________________Eve. Phone____________

How to make 911 respond to your calls

(This article was based on information provided by Dr. Darwin Buschman, Chief Psychiatrist, Manhattan Mobile Crisis Intervention Services.) 

Individuals with neurobiological disorders ("NBD" formerly known as serious mental illnesses) are occassionaly danger to themselves, HYPERLINK "suicide.html"suicidal and/or danger to others. When this happens, you may want to call 911.

It is often difficult to get 911 to respond to your calls if you need someone to come & take your MI relation to a hospital emergency room (ER). They may not believe that you really need help. And if they do send the police, the police are often reluctant to take someone for involuntary commitment. That is because cops are concerned about liability. They don't want to be sued for taking someone to the ER involuntarily. Another reason is that they must stay with the person until he or she is admitted. This can take between 2-48 hours. Cops don't want to sit in ER; sergeants don't want to take two police off the streets. Following is how you can make 911 & the police overcome their reluctance to help.

When calling 911, the best way to get quick action is to say, "Violent EDP." Or "Suicidal EDP." EDP stands for Emotionally Disturbed Person. This shows the operator that you know what you're talking about. Describe the danger very specifically. "He's a danger to himself" is not as good as "This morning my son said he was going to jump off the roof." Be specific. "He's a danger to others" is not as good as "My son has just struck a neighbor for no reason." Also, give past history of violence. This is especially important if the person is not acting up. Again, be specific. "Every time my son gets psychotic, he has hurt himself. Last spring, he cut his 
wrists. I think he's going to do it again."

When the police come, they need compelling evidence that the person is a danger to self or others before they can involuntarily take him or her to ER for evaluation. If the person stops acting out by the time police arrive, this can be difficult. Again, give specific recent examples of danger.
Realize that you & the cops are at cross purposes.
You want them to take someone to the hospital. They don't want to do it. You need to get on common ground with the cops to gain their cooperation. Say, "Officer, I understand your reluctance. Let me spell out for you the problems & the danger. I understand that if you take my son to the ER involuntarily, you'll have to wait with him until the doctors make a decision on whether to admit. I also understand your concern about litigation if you take him involuntarily. Therefore, why don't we work together so my son goes voluntarily." Cops will often change their attitude dramatically if you say this. If a person goes voluntarily, the cops don't have to stay in the ER. They don't have to use handcuffs. If a person goes involuntarily, they go the same way, except in handcuffs. This can often be used to convince a person to go voluntarily. You can say, " I know you don't want to go, but I think you need to go." The cops can say, "You're going to go one way or another, cuffs or no cuffs." Usually the person will go voluntarily when faced with this choice. 

Once the person is taken to the ER, cops leave. So it's a good idea to have a family member accompany the patient. Let the ER security guard, triage nurse, & others know that the person is MI & a danger to self or others. When you go to ER, make sure you have the "How to Prepare for Emergencies" form that is in this newsletter (Note: This is a form with the name, address, SS#, Med history, current med, diagnosis, name and number of doctor, name and number of next of kin, insurance, etc. In otherwords, all the info you would be asked in an emergency). 
911 should be first resort in an immediate emergency, & the last resort when it's not. If your family member needs help, not necessarily hospitalization, try Mobile Crisis Intervention Services. 

While AMI/FAMI is not suggesting you do this, the fact is that some families have learned to 'turn over the furniture' before calling the police. Many police require individuals with neurobiological disorders to be imminently dangerous before treating the person against their will. If the police see furniture disturbed they will lusually conclude that the person is imminently dangerous. 

Read How and why to HYPERLINK "../advcacy/invol.html"change involuntary treatment laws in your state.


NAMI/ NYC (formerly AMI/FAMI) does not endorse any medicines or treatments. This info is a public service as part of our efforts to educate and help others affected by these disorders. Do not rely on it. Consult your doctor before making any decisions. HYPERLINK "../AMIFAMI%20Description.html"NAMI/NYC is a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of people with neurobiolgical disorders ("NBD", formerly known as 'mental' illness) through education, advocacy, support, and research. If this has been useful to you, HYPERLINK "../AMIFAMI%20Description.html" \l "anchor1400327"PLEASE JOIN US. Send a deductable contribution of $30 (or more) to NAMI/NYC, 432 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016 to get on our mailing list or call (212) 684-3AMI. To join chapter outside NYS: 1 800 950 NAMI. This was downloaded from
Families Helping Families is what NAMI/NYC is all about. 
Thank you for helping us help others.

HYPERLINK "../index.html"Go Back to NAMI/NYC Home Page
HYPERLINK "../index.html" \l "anchor1270132"Diagnosis | HYPERLINK "../index.html" \l "anchor1271572"Medicines | HYPERLINK "../index.html" \l "anchor55595"Coping Tips | HYPERLINK "../index.html" \l "anchor26101027"First person advice | HYPERLINK "../index.html" \l "anchor404291"Policy Papers
HYPERLINK "../index.html" \l "anchor889548"Managing a Chapter |HYPERLINK "../index.html" \l "anchor569166" HYPERLINK "../index.html" \l "anchor4883427"By Dr. Fuller Torrey | HYPERLINK "../index.html" \l "anchor7011939"Recent Research 
HYPERLINK "../AMIFAMI%20Description.html" \l "anchor586052"For Reporters & Producers Only | HYPERLINK "../Tempfiles/Exec%26Party.html"How to get Updates | HYPERLINK "../Tempfiles/I-netNews.html"Updates | HYPERLINK "../LikableLinks.html"Likable Links

To learn more about HYPERLINK "../AMIFAMI%20Description.html"NAMI/NYC or join our movement

AMI/FAMI thanks Brian Chiko of HYPERLINK "" for this space and his encouragment and guidance. Posted by D.J. Jaffe HYPERLINK "../DJ.html"



NAMI executive's moment of truth: "Why hasn't my son had a physical?"

Publisher's Note by Dan E. Weisburd (former NAMI executive)


"What does it take to make you wake up, Dan?" A voice broke into my sleep. I sat up startled. The clock read, 3:15 A.M. "Why hasn't David had a physical?" Was I asking myself? Where had I been? My eldest son has had schizophrenia for 19 years--as many years as he hasn't had it. Do I remember getting him a physical? No. "Where have you been, Dan?" the now exasperated voice demanded. It sounded somewhat like my stern, long-dead father, or maybe it was my internal scolding severest critic--myself. "You'd know full well if David had a physical. He'd have told you. And you'd know the results! You've let him down again, guy. You're just another negligent know-it-all fraud of a family member telling the world he deserves better, and how much you love him!"

It was 10 A.M. before I could reach Martha Long, the director at The Village ISA in Long Beach, the excellent psychosocial rehabilitation program I'd helped to conceptualize, and where my son was now a member. "No, we don't routinely get them physicals, Dan," she answered apologetically. "I'll be happy to pay for a simple Lipid panel, if there's no budget for it," I said. "He eats lots of Chinese food--grease and sugar--loves steaks, and burgers and cheese-- and we both know he rarely gets any real exercise." She agreed to get David an appointment for a blood draw, because, after all, he probably had my genes and I've had a heart attack, five bypasses and three heart surgeries. Given David's life style and genetic inheritance, he could be courting disaster at age 39.

"He is doing well at his job. And he has a lot of friends, here, He seems much happier." She ended on that optimistic note, and I knew it was true. David was thriving on the life the Village staff had helped him attain. He was committed to recovery.

A couple weeks later I got what would be only the first of many reports. Cholesterol 300. Triglycerides 700. Terrible! Outrageous! Much worse than my readings when I'd had my heart attack. "What does the doctor say about that?" I asked. "They'll test him again in three months," answered his personal service coordinator. "What kind of doctoring is that? That's not good enough," I replied and asked for an immediate retest, "And have someone be sure David's done the necessary overnight fast. That alone could skew the results." "Yes, sir," said the voice at the other end.

The retest gave even worse results followed by the same lame "...retest in three months" reply. I had done a little research of my own between the two tests. It seems that the marvelous new atypical medications significantly elevate both cholesterol and triglycerides in most patients who take them. David was on high levels of both Clozaril and Zyprexa. With our family history he could be destined for coronary disaster--especially as a two-pack a day inhaling smoker whose rumbling cough is frightening to witness. Why hadn't his psychiatrist of eight years warned us?

I brought David home, and took him to his mother's internist, Gilbert Ross, an old family friend, who agreed to be David's principal physician, if David agreed to do what he prescribed. David said, yes. Ross would offer his services pro bono because he didn't want to do the MediCal (Medicaid) paper work, and he knew that if I paid (as a third party) it might be used by the bureaucracy to jeopardize David's SSI and MediCal eligibility.

David's blood work came back from Ross' lab worse than ever, and this time I had been the fasting enforcer. Because of David's profile, Dr. Ross prescribed large daily doses of Lipitor, checked with MediCal and of course they refused to pay for it, so he gave David all the samples he had, and we began a six-week test. At the end of six weeks David's readings were normal! Cholesterol down from 320 to 184. Triglycerides down from 700-plus to 130! Ross wrote the paperwork, and now MediCal had to pay for the costly Lipitor. But what about all the others who are lucky enough to get the new breakthrough atypical antipsychotics? Who would advocate for them?

I called some top people at Los Angeles County Mental Health. No one wanted to reply for the record. Off the record I learned they knew of the problem, and that few if any clients got physicals. Who will pay was the question. And if they got physicals, given their below poverty level lifestyles, medical problems were bound to surface. Who will pay for the needed medical care? It was a question of reimbursement--plain and simple. "Has this non-productive population been written off as expendable? Are they, in reality, putting aside politically correct rhetoric, discard people?" I didn't expect an answer. And I got none.

As we read this issue about wellness we would do well to remember that treatment works and that recovery is possible, but never for a moment must we forget that enlightened social policy and dollars to do the job is what will make what is needed available. And, how do we get that? # # # We gratefully acknowledge the efforts of our co-editors Dede Ranahan, Diane Vines, Suzane Wilbur, and Ed Diksa who brought in a majority of our authors.


Dan, if you read your words at this post, please get your son a REAL physical - not one which supports erroneous medical theories upheld by the the pharmaceutical industry and paid for in human lives.
The 29 testable, verifiable and correctable causes of schizophrenia are listed here.
You will find information on drug withdrawal in our Links column.
And we wish you both the best of luck!

Mental Health & Patient Safety: Broadening our Understanding. Building the Momentum

"Mental Health & Patient Safety: Broadening our Understanding. Building the Momentum

Presented by Ontario Hospital Association

Course name: Mental Health & Patient Safety: Broadening our Understanding. Building the Momentum
Course duration: September 17, 2009 - September 18, 2009
Location: Marriott Eaton Centre Hotel
525 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario
Course code: EP 144

Join colleagues from across Canada on September 17 & 18 as the Ontario Hospital Association and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute jointly launch the research paper, “Patient Safety in Mental Health”. The first paper of its kind in Canada defines the patient safety issues unique to mental health and highlights the important opportunities for improving patient safety in mental health.

The Ontario Hospital Association, in partnership with the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, is pleased to present this one-day national conference on patient safety in mental health. This conference will provide participants with the opportunity to hear about current strategies to address some of the critical patient safety issues in mental health from leading experts across Canada and the US.

Topics to be addressed include: the key findings and themes from the research, using evidence and best practice to provide safer care, suicide and risk assessment, transitions of care, and creating safe environments for both patients and staff."


We'd like to see a focus on proper physical workups for diagnosis and healing through nutrition.
Drugs are a leading cause of dependency, disability, morbidity and mortality.

Remember the Primum - "First, do no harm".

THE EXTRAORDINARY WALKER EXAM helps us understand diagnosis and correction of the real physical causes of mental disorders....

"The following Field Manual was compiled by order of the California legislature. It reveals that 39% of psychiatric patients studied were found to have active medical diseases, many of which caused or worsened their mental condition. The Manual explains the importance of screening patients for disease and lays out a step-by-step process for doing so.
Prepared for theCalifornia Department of Mental Health and Local Mental Health Programs Pursuant to Chapter 376, Statutes of 1988 Assembly Bill

By Lorrin M. Koran, M.D., Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences,
Stanford University Medical Center
Stanford, California 1991

...The SB 929 Study team performed complete medical evaluations of 476 patients drawn from 24 county mental health programs spread across four Northern California counties and of 53 patients at Napa State Hospital.

The most important findings of that study are: 31,32 para 1. Nearly two out of five patients (39%) had an active, important physical disease.

2. The mental health system had failed to detect these diseases in nearly half (47.5%) of the affected patients.

3. Of all the patients examined, one in six had a physical disease that was related to his or her mental disorder, either causing or exacerbating that disorder.
4. The mental health system had failed to detect one in six physical diseases that were causing a patient’s mental disorder. (Five of 33 cases of physical disease causing a mental disorder had not been detected.)

5. The mental health system had failed to detect more than half of the physical diseases that were exacerbating a patient’s mental disorder. (Twenty-seven of 49 cases of physical disease exacerbating a mental disorder had not been detected.)"

More on the physical causes of mental symptoms can be found here.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Canada: Police and jail guards will get more training to recognize mental illnesses

From Nova Scotia, Canada:
"Police and jail guards will get more training to recognize mental illnesses and how to deal with people afflicted with them, Justice Minister Ross Landry said Friday.

The province commissioned an expert panel last year to look at the phenomenon called excited delirium and what role it could play in in-custody deaths, to examine the risks of using stun guns and other restraints on people in that state, and to recommend how law enforcement officials should deal with those people.

Mr. Landry said the most significant recommendation in the eight-member panel’s new report is ensuring that front-line justice workers are trained to recognize people with symptoms of excited delirium, or as the panel suggests calling it, autonomic hyperarousal state."

Link to PDF report:

Friday, September 4, 2009

Little Nemo in NAMI Land - Man Boobs

Little Nemo in NAMI Land - Man Boobs

Read about the original Little Nemo here.

Treating the underlying cause of the gynecomastia may lead to improvement in the condition. Patients should talk with their doctor about revising any medications, such as risperdal, that are found to be causing gynecomastia.
Read about Gynecomastia - here.

Environment: Antidepressants make for sad fish

Link at Science News
and at Science News for Kids

"While medications are meant to help a person feel better, they're not good for wildlife. Over the past several years, scientists have begun to test how common drugs are in freshwater ecosystems. Researchers also are starting to learn more about how medications meant for humans affect the animals that accidentally ingest the drugs.

Recently, several scientists tested how a group of drugs called antidepressants affects freshwater fish. For many people with an illness called depression, antidepressants can be lifesavers. People with depression may feel sad or anxious for extremely long periods of time, lose interest in activities they once enjoyed and have difficulty sleeping or concentrating. Antidepressants help improve these symptoms for some people.

Several years ago, researchers discovered that some species of fish living near wastewater treatment plants had antidepressants in their brains. "Pretty much any water sample in the vicinity of a wastewater treatment plant will test positive for some group of antidepressants," says chemist Melissa Schultz, of the College of Wooster in Ohio. This finding inspired a number of scientists to learn how these drugs affect fish and other wildlife.

In their experiments, researchers exposed species of fish in a laboratory to different brands of antidepressants. Then, the scientists tested the fishes’ responses to a number of things, such as the cues predators make or the appearance of prey animals.

Some hybrid striped bass exposed to the antidepressant Prozac eventually began hanging vertically in the water — a highly unlikely pose — and stopped eating.

The researchers found that antidepressants affect fish species in numerous ways, from diminishing their response to predators to slowing down their prey-hunting techniques. One unexpected result even showed that a type of antidepressant called fluoxetine acts like estrogen, a primarily female hormone, when in the bodies of adult male fathead minnows.

Fluoxetine, sold under the brand name Prozac, caused these male minnows to produce an egg protein normally made only by females. In addition, males exposed to fluoxetine did not make the bright colors and facial bumps usually used to attract mates. More testing needs to be done to determine whether these changes affect minnows' ability to mate."

Kay Jamieson and John McManamy say the brain is like a pond, an ecosystem, but they want to put drugs into it. We hope they don't keep goldfish.

UK: Nuke Nation Leader on Antidepressants?

Is Gordon Brown taking an MAOI antidepressant? If this is true, the UK's Prime Minister is very ill and should not have the powers of Britain's head.


Now NAMI has a Theme Park for Information!

A virtual theme park.

NAMILand link. Enter at your own risk.
Here's a sample from their "Wellness Center". There is nothing there about correct diagnosis of the physical causes of mental/brain disorders, and nothing about nutrition. You will, however, find that information on this site and a list of the 29 medical, correctable causes of schizophrenia is here. Correcting schizophrenia with vitamins and caffeine avoidance costs pennies a day, and will stop a lot of drug use - both prescribed and illicit self-medication.


A major focus of NAMI’S 2009 convention is health and wellness, and as part of that focus we are proud to present our first-ever Wellness Center. The Wellness Center is offering activities and information throughout the convention to promote healthy living.

The Wellness Center will be located in the East Lounge outside the Exhibit Hall in the Continental Ballroom. In addition, Wellness Center activities will be happening in various locations throughout the hotel and outside of it.


Let’s WALK! Join the NAMIWalks team for a relaxed early-morning walk around the neighborhood. Tuesday and Thursday, 7:30am – 8:00am.
Drumming Circles. Drumming is one of humanity’s most ancient and universal activities. Recent clinical studies have documented many physical, mental, and emotional benefits of focused drumming activities – including stress reduction and enhanced clarity and focus. Drumming energizes the mind, body and spirit. Two classes, Tuesday, 12:00pm – 12:45pm and 1:00pm – 1:45pm.

Exercising at Home. A certified fitness instructor will show you how to use what you’ve got in your house (for example, using canned goods as weights) to design your own exercise program. This class will be especially valuable to people who don’t have the time, money, and/or inclination to leave home to go to an exercise class. Wednesday, 12:30pm – 1:30pm,

Sing Before Your Supper. Singing in a group – regardless of your vocal abilities, has been shown to raise serotonin levels, is a big contributor of cohesiveness and team-building, and – it’s fun! Join us for this 30-minute group sing-a-long. Wednesday and Thursday, 5:30pm – 6:00pm.

Strength Building. Small, inexpensive rubber balls – available at sporting goods stores, toy stores, or dollar stores – can be used for strength building exercises. Come find out how. Thursday, 12:30pm – 1:30pm.

Yoga Class. A restorative way to end a busy day. Thirty minutes of gentle movement will be followed by 15 minutes of reflective relaxation. Taught by a certified yoga instructor. Wednesday, 5:30pm – 6:15pm.


In addition to the activities described above, experts in the Wellness Center will offer information and advice on a number of topics that contribute to healthy living. The Wellness Center will be open as follows:
Tuesday 11:00am – 2:00pm
Wednesday 8:30am – 2:30pm and
4:00pm – 7:00pm

Among the topics to be covered are:

Medications. Pharmacists will be on hand to offer information on medications, medication interactions, side effects, and adherence strategies.

Dental Hygiene. Many people with mental illnesses have trouble with their teeth. We will have a dental hygienist available to give advice and giveaways to promote dental hygiene.

Nutrition. One-on-one advice on good nutritional habits and how to overcome some of the special nutritional challenges posed by psychiatric illness and psychiatric medications.

Blood Pressure Checks. We will offer blood pressure checks, as well as tips for dealing with hypertension.

Smoking Cessation. While overall smoking rates have declined dramatically in the last couple of decades, rates of smoking among people with mental illnesses remain extremely high. We will offer workable strategies for quitting.

Several individuals and organizations have contributed their time, money, and expertise to make the Wellness Center possible. We would like to thank:
The Smoking Cessation Leadership Center
The College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists
Lisa Halpern
Linda Long
Barbara Bate
The NAMIWalks Team

Sorry, folks, but there's nothing to see here. No surprise... Pharma money is NAMI's bag.

Thursday, September 3, 2009