Pharmaceuticals Anonymous

Friday, May 28, 2010

Benzo survivor: Gurli Bagnall

Gurli Bagnall's Story
The Birth of The Bounty Hunters

My Experience

In her book "Benzo Junkie", Beatrice Faust tells how one of the fears she used to experience, was sustaining some sort of injury that would leave her brain damaged. In the benzodiazepine experience, she said, the thing she feared most, had happened. It happened to me as well.

I had been married for twenty-one years when, in 1975, my husband and I called it quits. It was a traumatic time and I was not sleeping. My friendly doctor prescribed Ativan, a drug that I had never heard of. Thankfully it worked – but only for a few weeks. "Never mind," he said. "We'll simply double the dose." And from there on, it was all downhill.

I lost a home, a teaching career, financial security, friends and much more. I could only read hesitantly and by the time I got to the second line, I had forgotten what the first was about. I carried a dictionary in my handbag everywhere I went, because I could no longer spell, and when I tried to express myself verbally, the brain would not release the words. I am writing things today, that I could not have read, let alone understood, while I took benzos.

Teaching was out of the question and trying to earn a living by other means – any means – was part of the nightmare and I welcomed the times when I felt so sick, I had to stay home.

In 1983, presenting the typical picture of a benzo addict, I sought the help of another doctor. "I'll give you something that's much better for insomnia," she said as she scribbled out a prescription. "Take these with the Ativan." I had never heard of Halcion either. The nightmare continued with a vengeance.

Apart from work where I was considered to be slow, quiet and withdrawn, I lived in total isolation. My home was my refuge. There I closed the door against the world that judged by what it saw, and dealt with my misery as best I could.

In 1985, with no answers in sight, I tried to commit suicide by taking an overdose. In 1986, I feared that I would lose my job and therefore the small flat I now called home, so the doctor prescribed an anti-depressant – Doxepin. It did nothing except make me put on weight fast and my face became so bloated that I couldn't recognise it in the mirror. "Tut tut!" said my doctor. "You really must exercise self control!"

By May 1989, although still very confused, I felt I had to come off the drugs. I raised the subject fearfully with my doctor who, to my surprise, agreed it would be a good thing to do. But I was shocked when she referred me to the drug and alcoholic clinic of the local hospital. "Why is she sending me there?" I agonised. "I'm not a drug addict. All I've ever taken are the pills she prescribed." Exactly!

I only attended a couple of sessions because even in my befuddled state, I realised the counsellors hadn't a clue what they were dealing with. A social worker took me to a TRANX meeting and I met Vicky, a recovered victim, who made herself available for telephone counselling. She has my life long gratitude.

I dropped the Doxepin straight away; the Ativan took four weeks, but that once-a-day low dose Halcion tablet took me another five months during which it was substituted with Valium for "easier" withdrawal.

In the three years the doctor prescribed Doxepin, my weight had increased by 50%. I now know that excess weight gain and facial oedema are the adverse effects of that drug.

Symptoms of toxicity, withdrawal and post-withdrawal are listed in some medical journals but they are only words. Nowhere are they translated into terms that reflect the human suffering.

In those early days, I learnt that whatever frightening crisis arose (and they came thick and fast), my chances of surviving each event were greater if I rode it out at home alone, for during the first year of being drug free, I nearly died three times due to medical intervention.

During this period I drew a lot of cartoons. They took the dignity from those who claimed respect, but who deserved only contempt. It gave me something to laugh at and helped to defuse the anger.

In 1991, a specialist diagnosed the ongoing post-withdrawal syndrome as the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I'd never heard of that before either, but he acknowledged it had been triggered by the benzos. It didn't take long to discover that this diagnosis was like jumping from one very hot frying pan straight into another.

This poorly understood disease has had many names – such as Yuppie Flu which is as trivialising as the CFS. Currently, there is a move afoot to use Myalgic Encephalomyelitis as the official title but that is hotly contested by certain people – particularly within the psychiatric community. They want to claim CFS and all those who suffer it, as their exclusive property.

The WHO categorises it as a disease of the nervous system which, in the benzo context, is no surprise. Nevertheless, just as the medical establishment denied iatrogenesis, so most still deny the disease simply because they do not understand it."

Read more of Gurli's story here
Ordering details for THE BOUNTY HUNTERS are here

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

World Health Organization Moving To Fast-Track Release Of New Viruses to Pre-Innoculate The Public

"Dr. Klaus Stohr, former head of the WHO’s global influenza progam, is suggesting pre-vaccinating people, giving them protection against strains that could emerge from nature to trigger future pandemics, to use vaccine BETWEEN pandemics to build up at least partial immunity against some or all of the potential virus subtypes that could cause a pandemic (16 types of hemagglutinins). Stohr is now vice-president of influenza strategy for Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, the world’s No. 2 flu vaccine producer which stands to gain significantly if his proposal were to take off."


On August 6th, 2009. The World Health Organization released this statement from Geneva,
‘Ways were sought to shorten the time between the emergence of a pandemic virus and the availability of safe and effective vaccines. Different regulatory pathways were assessed, and precautions needed to ensure quality, safety, and effectiveness were set out in detail. Some manufacturers have conducted advance studies using a so-called “mock-up” vaccine. Mock-up vaccines contain an active ingredient for an influenza virus that has not circulated recently in human populations and thus mimics the novelty of a pandemic virus. Such advance studies can greatly expedite regulatory approval.’

And WHO creates and releases the diseases??

Friday, May 7, 2010

This Is Your Brain: A Brief Primer on the Perils of Neuroscience

This Is Your Brain:

A Brief Primer on the Perils of Neuroscience

Byron Belitsos

Genetics may yet threaten privacy, kill autonomy, make society homogenous and gut the concept of human nature. But neuroscience could do all of these things first.

—The Economist, May 23, 2002

This is your brain, as seen by you: that familiar seat of ideas, notions, images, and dreams—the locus of your ordinary sense of self.

This is your brain, as seen by someone with common sense: the physical location of intuition, reason, imagination, and will.

This is your brain, according to the US constitution: the sacrosanct site of thought and choice—the inviolable domain for the personal discovery of truth and the private pursuit of happiness.

And this is your brain in the hands of all-too-many neuroscientists: the proximate cause of all human behavior; a nexus for conducting warfare; a target for “mind control” in times of political turmoil; and a bull’s eye for manipulation by big media, big business, and Big Pharma.

Hidden dangers lurk among the otherwise exciting advances in neuroscience, and these perils may grow without a broader awareness of its social and political implications.

But efforts along this line are tardy: “While genetics has spawned a robust watchdog industry, neuroscience has received far less scrutiny,” write the authors of a major review article in The Nation. “The latest developments in neuroscience are sufficiently unique to require a rethinking of both personal and social ethics.”1 An editorial in Scientific American quipped: “The list of moral and social issues attached to neurotechnologies is long enough to position ethicists…on a list of hot jobs that appears in the U.S. News and World Reportannual career guide.” 2

In 1990 President George H.W. Bush had declared the nineties to be “The Decade of the Brain.” And yet, until only a few years ago, the National Institute of Mental Health had established no budget for the study of neuroethics, and few universities had pursued the subject. The discipline’s true inauguration may been in 2002 when Stanford University cosponsored a pioneering conference with the Dana Institute. 3 A large increase in academic papers followed, and the Neuroethics Society was established in 2006.

But more is needed than mere academic debate within the paradigm of mainstream science. Keeping powerful new neurotechnologies out of the wrong hands will, first of all, require careful journalistic scrutiny. The increased public awareness will hopefully lead to improved democratic oversight, especially of the far-reaching military and law enforcement applications of neurotechnology noted later in this article. But just as important will be the pursuit of a more holistic model of the brain and its relationship to consciousness and the mind.

Continues at Link

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Are Prozac and Other Psychiatric Drugs Causing the Rise of Mental illness in America?

Who is Robert Whitaker? Wiki

Bruce Levine interviews Robert Whitaker, author of MAD IN AMERICA:

Bruce Levine: So mental illness disability rates have doubled since 1987 and increased six-fold since 1955. And at the same time, psychiatric drug use greatly increased in the 1950s and 1960s, then skyrocketed after 1988 when Prozac hit the market, so now antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs alone gross more than $25 billion annually in the U.S. But as you know, correlation isn’t causation. What makes you feel that the increase in psychiatric drug use is a big part of the reason for the increase in mental illness?

Robert Whitaker: The rise in the disability rate due to mental illness is simply the starting point for the book. The disability numbers don’t prove anything, but, given that this astonishing increase has occurred in lockstep with our society’s increased use of psychiatric medications, the numbers do raise an obvious question. Could our drug-based paradigm of care, for some unforeseen reason, be fueling the increase in disability rates? And in order to investigate that question, you need to look at two things. First, do psychiatric medications alter the long-term course of mental disorders for the better, or for the worse? Do they increase the likelihood that a person will be able to function well over the long-term, or do they increase the likelihood that a person will end up on disability?

Second, is it possible that a person with a mild disorder may have a bad reaction to an initial drug, and that puts the person onto a path that can lead to long-term disability. For instance, a person with a mild bout of depression may have a manic reaction to an antidepressant, and then is diagnosed with bipolar disorder and put on a cocktail of medications. Does that happen with any frequency? Could that be an iatrogenic [physician-caused illness] pathway that is helping to fuel the increase in the disability rates?

So that’s the starting point for the book. What I then did was look at what the scientific literature -- a literature that now extends over 50 years -- has to say about those questions. And the literature is remarkably consistent in the story it tells. Although psychiatric medications may be effective over the short term, they increase the likelihood that a person will become chronically ill over the long term. I was startled to see this picture emerge over and over again as I traced the long-term outcomes literature for schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and bipolar illness.

In addition, the scientific literature shows that many patients treated for a milder problem will worsen in response to a drug-- say have a manic episode after taking an antidepressant -- and that can lead to a new and more severe diagnosis like bipolar disorder. That is a well-documented iatrogenic pathway that is helping to fuel the increase in the disability numbers.

Read the rest of the article at Alternet Link

Update: Listen to an interview of Robert Whitaker by Dr. Mercola

Update 2: Robert Whitaker and anti-psych meds articles at
This site is owned by The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC),
a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice and peace.