Pharmaceuticals Anonymous

Sunday, January 31, 2010

UK: Action on an epidemic of pill addiction

Action on Britain's epidemic of pill addiction
Peer to use House of Lords speech to reveal relative's addiction to prescription drug

By Jeremy Laurance, Health editor
Saturday, 31 October 2009

As early as 30 years ago, the addictive properties of tranquillisers such as Valium were known, but critics maintain the Government is still not doing enough to help

The Department of Health has launched a review of the million-plus patients addicted to prescribed drugs in the UK in a tacit admission that attempts to control the problem over the last two decades have failed.

An estimated 1.5 million people are addicted to prescription and over-the-counter drugs including benzodiazepine tranquillisers, sleeping pills such as zoplicone - implicated in the death of Hollywood star Heath Ledger - and painkillers containing codeine.

The review, which began in July, was disclosed in a Westminster hall debate last June but has not been formally announced. It followed a report by the House of Commons all-party group on drugs misuse which called for better training for doctors in the risks of over-prescribing, greater awareness of the scale of addiction and more centres for treatment....


Case study: 'My life has been shattered'

Matthew (not his real name), was prescribed Efexor, an antidepressant, and Clonazepam, a benzodiazepine, to help him sleep following the failure of a business venture in 2001.

He was living abroad but returned to Britain where the prescription was continued. “For seven years I was fine. I didn’t really think about the pills, I took them as vitamins. It was something I did at the end of the day.”

Earlier this year increasing fatigue prompted him to try and withdraw from them. His doctor advised a “cold turkey” approach involving a few days in hospital, after which he would be drug free.

“I went in as a happy confident person and in two days I was a train wreck. I felt I had woken up in a horror film, I couldn’t walk or think and I had lost my memory. It was indescribable torture.”

Nine months on, he is still trying to put his life back together. Married with two children, he has been unable to return to work.

“I am still terrified of going outside, I can’t think straight or concentrate and I have very bad depression. Every single stimulus seems scary and heightened. It is absolutely extraordinary a prescription drug can do this to you. My life has been shattered.”

“There is nowhere for me to go for support except to other sufferers on the internet and one or two people who have set up support groups round the country.”

“I have seen several doctors since and they cannot believe my doctor kept me on these drugs for seven years. I have lodged a formal complaint about him.”

The Independent

UPDATE - JAMA: Antidepressant meta-analysis reveals 22 years of deception; treatment worthless for most
"The full magnitude of severe harm produced by these drugs in otherwise healthy people for whom antidepressants were misprescribed has not yet been fully collated--the human casualties include thousands of drug-induced suicides, mania, drug-exacerbated depression, drug dependence, birth defects..."

It is possible withdraw from medication without doing harm to yourself.
The Ashton Manual - Dr. Heather Ashton re Benzos/Tranquillizers

Halting SSRI's
- Dr. David Healey - PDF re Antidepressants

Icarus Project Harm reduction guide to coming off psychiatric drugs

Fattened by Pills?

Paula Caplan's article on weight gain due to psychiatric medication is an eye opener. From the Boston Globe

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Obituary: Judi Chamberlin

Sad news: After a long illness, Judi Chamberlin, mental health rights activist, has died.
Her blog will remain open for a time; please visit and leave your respects.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Drugs World - Medications Visualized

Medications diagrammed and arranged by family - Antipsychotics, Stimulants, Downers/Depressants, Hallucinogens.
Take a look!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Martin Luther King

martin Pictures, Images and Photos
Image available from Robert Shetterly's series AMERICANS WHO TELL THE TRUTH

"This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." - MLK
Martin Luther King
January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968 (aged 39)

Monday, January 11, 2010

NYT: The Americanization of Mental Illness

From the essay:
'...we may have yet to face one of the most remarkable effects of American-led globalization. We have for many years been busily engaged in a grand project of Americanizing the world’s understanding of mental health and illness. We may indeed be far along in homogenizing the way the world goes mad.

This unnerving possibility springs from recent research by a loose group of anthropologists and cross-cultural psychiatrists. Swimming against the biomedical currents of the time, they have argued that mental illnesses are not discrete entities like the polio virus with their own natural histories. These researchers have amassed an impressive body of evidence suggesting that mental illnesses have never been the same the world over (either in prevalence or in form) but are inevitably sparked and shaped by the ethos of particular times and places. In some Southeast Asian cultures, men have been known to experience what is called amok, an episode of murderous rage followed by amnesia; men in the region also suffer from koro, which is characterized by the debilitating certainty that their genitals are retracting into their bodies. Across the fertile crescent of the Middle East there is zar, a condition related to spirit-possession beliefs that brings forth dissociative episodes of laughing, shouting and singing.

The diversity that can be found across cultures can be seen across time as well. In his book “Mad Travelers,” the philosopher Ian Hacking documents the fleeting appearance in the 1890s of a fugue state in which European men would walk in a trance for hundreds of miles with no knowledge of their identities. The hysterical-leg paralysis that afflicted thousands of middle-class women in the late 19th century not only gives us a visceral understanding of the restrictions set on women’s social roles at the time but can also be seen from this distance as a social role itself — the troubled unconscious minds of a certain class of women speaking the idiom of distress of their time.'


Wikipedia has an article about mental health diagnoses in China.

News: Pharma Training Doctors

pinnochio Pictures, Images and PhotosLooks like the foxes are still in charge of the henhouse, and as long as that is so, good health diagnosis and helpful natural healing modalities and maintenance will not be of as much interest to physicians as they should be.

Pfizer Giving Stanford $3 Million Grant For Improving Doctors' Training
Lilly Endowment Awards $60 Million to Indiana University School of Medicine

What happens when drugs, money and education mix? Read BLIND FAITH.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Anti-cocaine vaccine leads addicts to take ten times more of the drug

"Testing of cocaine vaccine shows it does not fully blunt cravings for the drug

By Rachel Saslow
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Scientists may have created a vaccine against cocaine addiction: a series of shots that changes the body's chemistry so that the drug can't enter the brain and provide a high.

The vaccine, called TA-CD, shows promise but could also be dangerous; some of the addicts participating in a study of the vaccine started doing massive amounts of cocaine in hopes of overcoming its effects, according to Thomas R. Kosten, the lead researcher on the study, which was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry in October.

"After the vaccine, doing cocaine was a very disappointing experience for them," said Kosten, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Nobody overdosed, but some of them had 10 times more cocaine coursing through their systems than researchers had encountered before, according to Kosten. He said some of the addicts reported to researchers that they had gone broke buying cocaine from multiple drug dealers, hoping to find a variety that would get them high.'

Not too alarming... but wait...

"Unwanted Side Effect: Cocaine Vaccine Leads Addicts to Take 10 Times More Cocaine

Over the last decade, the advances in neuroscience that led doctors to view addiction as a disease, rather than a desire or personal failing, raised the natural question of whether or not addicts could be vaccinated against drug use as if it were a virus. While the theory remains valid, the recent clinical trial of one of those vaccines, called TA-CD, highlights the complexity of the issue.

TA-CD works by preventing cocaine from entering the brain, thus stopping the user from getting high. It does not, however, stop cravings, leading some test participants who received the vaccine to take 10 times as much cocaine in the hopes of overriding the vaccine and getting high, or to bankrupt themselves while trying to do so.

According to the study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, some participants in the study bumped more yeyo than the researchers conducting the study had every seen before. Others lost all their money buying one cut of charlie after another in the vain hopes of finding a package that actually got them high."

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Antidepressants Dangers - Women's Health Initiative reports

"The (Women's Health Initiative) findings, in the largest cohort of women yet studied, provide additional warning that antidepressant therapy may in fact be detrimental with respect to stroke and total mortality in this demographic population."
Psychology Today commentary

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I Have a Dream

Included for its values and drug-free message.

From the page:
"For the last few years I have had a dream which I believe could be your dream too. While we all watch what's going on in the world and feel powerless to change it, we are wasting time! We are the change we have been looking for and it's time to take back our god given power and lead by example. If you are ready to live in peace and love on this planet, then please join me."
Click through to the video for more information.