Alternative Mental Health – Alternative to Meds Center Program Overview

This video showed up in my Facebook memories today. I just added it to my Vlog on my YouTube channel, “LindaKay1948”.

There’s a center in Arizona that offers alternatives to drugs when it comes to helping people with mental health.

First of all, they run tests for things like heavy metals and nutritional deficiencies that might be causing problems for the client. Then they offer chelation therapy, talk therapy, natural foods, and meaningful activities in an agrarian environment. They also help people wean off psychiatric drugs.

Perhaps I would still be working in the field of mental health if I’d had the opportunity to do it in an alternative program such as this one. It may be more expensive than conventional treatments, and I don’t know whether most insurance would cover it.

Here’s the link where you can find more info:


…and here’s the link to the video:



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Mad In America: Inappropriate Use of Antipsychotics on Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

This is  so sad.  I’ve worked with disabled adults and children and hated to see them given so many drugs.

(Click on text to read article.)

“Recent data, published in The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, finds that a large proportion of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are prescribed antipsychotic drugs. Researchers found this to be the case for both those who have been diagnosed with psychiatric disorders and those without any documented diagnosis…..

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Here he is: the doctor who DID take the antipsychotic!!

I wish that ALL psychiatrists were required to get a taste of their own medicine!

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds

You know how we always say the docs should take the drugs if they’re going to hand them out. Here you go. Meet a doc who did and he’s not singing quite the same tune as your average psychiatrist.

From The New Zealand Herald

In 1993 Richard Bentall went a bit mad.

He voluntarily took an antipsychotic drug and at first thought he’d get through unscathed.

“For the first hour I didn’t feel too bad. I thought maybe this is okay. I can get away with this. I felt a bit light-headed.”

Then somebody asked him to fill in a form. “I looked at this test and I couldn’t have filled it in to save my life. It would have been easier to climb Mt Everest.”

That was the least of his troubles. Bentall, an expert on psychosis from the University of Bangor in Wales who is in New…

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Antidepressant drugs made woman believe she had killed her own children … Hallucinations, crushed libido, side effects galore

Back in 2009 I contacted a man on YouTube who said his name was Kevin.  He had bravely posted a video about persistent sexual dysfunction from SSRIs.  In it he wore a red shirt and went under the user name of “ManFromUK”.

In the video he spoke of his own loss along with the complaints of over a thousand members in a support group for people suffering from seemingly permanent sexual dysfunction.  They were suffering not only from ED, but both men and women were experiencing genital anesthesia long after taking, and then discontinuing, SSRIs.  He said that he had come to the U.S. and spoken about this health issue at a large gathering of the American Psychological Association.

I messaged him, asking if he knew of any support groups for those who suffered such losses from antipsychotics.  He said he didn’t know of any, but referred me to the SSRI group.  Even though I have never taken SSRIs, I was admitted to the group and have been following it ever since.  When I last looked there were almost 4,000 members.  Here is the link:

I wonder if this article mentions the same Kevin:


Antidepressant drugs made woman believe she had killed her own children … Hallucinations, crushed libido, side effects galore

Antidepressant drugs made woman believe she had killed her own children … Hallucinations, crushed libido, side effects galoreWhen you read the side effects on a package of antidepressants – or any medication, for that matter – it’s easy to brush them off out of a desire to start feeling better quickly. Problems like fatigue, nausea and decreased libido are just words on a page and easy to dismiss … until they happen to you.

If you or a loved one is thinking of taking these medications, you might want to read the story of Katinka Blackford Newman first. Her experience illustrates the very ugly side of these drugs that few people talk about, and shows how it can impact real people in a way that those package inserts can never truly convey.

Her story is one that a lot of people can relate to. The sleepless nights and tumult of going through a divorce led her doctor to prescribe the antidepressant escitalopram. Just a few hours later, the psychosis set in, and she hallucinated that she had killed her own children. When she was brought to the hospital, the doctors did not realize she was having an adverse reaction to the antidepressants, and gave her even more pills. (RELATED: Find more news about medical violence at

She describes the next year as a nightmare, saying she was so sick she could barely even leave her house. Unable to sit still, she felt suicidal and lost her relationship with her children. She says the drugs made her an “overweight, dribbling wreck, unable to finish a sentence.” When a different hospital took her off all five medications a year later, by what she describes as “a stroke of luck” when her private insurance ran out, she felt reborn, and was back to her usual self within weeks, working as a filmmaker and preparing for a half-marathon.

One part of her life that did not go back to normal right away, however, was her interest in sex. Although her libido did eventually return, she is now drawing attention to the many people who experience sexual dysfunction as a result of taking antidepressants. In some cases, normal sexual function never returns after discontinuing the drugs.

Most people experience genital numbing within half an hour of taking a pill, and a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry involving nearly 1,000 people, estimates that nearly 60 percent of those taking the most popular SSRIs experience sexual side effects.

This problem is so widespread that it even has a name, Post SSRI Sexual Dysfunction (PSSD). It can affect men and woman alike. One man, Kevin Bennett, has shared his story in hopes of sparing others what he suffered after starting Prozac for anxiety when he was 18. He says he become completely impotent within four days. He thought the side effect was only temporary at first. After quitting the medication cold turkey, however, side effects like drowsiness subsided, but his sexual function never returned to normal.

Bennett even went so far as to write a letter to the drug’s manufacturer, Eli Lilly, to ask for advice about the problem, which was preventing him from having normal relationships. The Big Pharma firm responded that Prozac was not the problem and he should consult his GP. This was in 1997; the drug now carries a warning that sexual dysfunction can persist even after stopping treatment, so it’s clear the company was not being honest with him.

After seeing a slew of doctors including neurologists, radiologists, urologists and endocrinologists, it became apparent that his body was working normally and that the Prozac was the culprit. A muscle relaxant injection just before intercourse is the only way he can perform, a situation he describes as “humiliating.”

Even if you can live without sex, the other side effects of SSRIs are just as bad, if not worse. The prospect of becoming suicidal is perhaps the most disturbing of all. Before mindlessly filling a prescription from your doctor for antidepressants, research the side effects carefully and look into alternative coping mechanisms like cognitive behavioral therapy, exercise, yoga and meditation.”

Sources include:

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Finnish Open Dialogue: High recovery rates leave many psychiatric beds empty

The United States could learn a lot from countries like Finland. However, if we were to implement some of their principles in reaching out to those experiencing emotional overwhelm, it wouldn’t be profitable for drug companies.

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds

This is a guest post written by Daniel Mackler the filmmaker. His three films show alternative methods of healing people with psychosis. In all the films relationships are ultimately what heal. Loving, healing relationships. Please visit these posts to look at the trailers and read a bit about each of his films. Here and here andhere. You can purchase the films here.

All the films are now available for free viewing on youtube now as well. If you’ve not seen them yet, it’s well worth taking the time to do so.

The below article was written as a result of a conversation that Daniel and I had. He revealed that the psychiatric hospital he visited when making his last film, built in the 1950s was mostly empty. They don’t need the beds because their success rate is so high!

I started asking particulars about this issue given that…

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Monica’s Story: The Aftermath of Polypsychopharmacology, by Monica Cassani ~ November 12, 2012

“The tragedy is that during all those years of being drugged during the prime of my life I felt purposeless, flat, barely alive and sexless.”

I recently contacted the doctor who is responsible for my iatrogenesis — the doctor who grossly over-medicated me and made me ill. I’ve been corresponding with him for several years now, but this was the first telephone conversation I’ve had with him since telling him what his drug cocktail did to me. He rarely says much in response to my emails where I link to the articles I’ve written casting large shadows on the “treatment” he gave me. So I called him and left a voicemail that I might talk to him.

When he returned my call a few days later, we talked for perhaps a half hour. I always liked this man when I was his patient and now that I’ve worked through most of the rage of having been harmed by his treatment, I still like him. His intentions were good. I’m clear on that. I do not think this relieves him of responsibility, but it does relieve me from hating him which simply isn’t good for my soul. Still, I simultaneously appreciate Dr. David Healy’s insight about patients succumbing to Stolkholm Syndrome and have made the same observation about myself. I contain multitudes. There is nothing easy about emotionally processing what happened to me and what continues to happen to so many others.

So my conversation with the man who practiced wild, untested poly-pharma on me was actually quite civil and I felt it was productive too. He listened and shared his view too. He did not always agree, but he was clearly listening.

I want to share a bit of the conversation. He has a hard time believing that what happened to me is routine, that it happens to many patients. He grants me my experience, though, like a good shrink. He believes me when I tell him both that my mind is clear now and that I’ve been gravely harmed by the drugs. I’m not sure he thinks he’s responsible, but he doesn’t challenge my experience. The phrase cognitive dissonance comes to mind. How do they do this? I don’t claim to understand.

So he said something suggesting what happened to me isn’t the norm. That he sees medications working wonders all the time. I challenged him like this, “Dr. M, when you were treating me you thought I was one of your successes, right?” He said, “Yes.” And I responded with, “Well, you were wrong. My life was miserable. I lived in a drugged haze. I slept and worked because that is all I had time to do. I had no passion for what I did and I just lived by going through the motions, flat and empty. My life was hell. I liked you and you needed to believe that I was okay…I tried to please you like a “good patient.” Still if you’d paid attention you know that I was always asking to be put on disability. That’s because it was insane for me to work 8 hours a day when I required 12 hours of sleep because of the heavy sedation. It was also dangerous for me to drive on that pharmaceutical cocktail yet I needed to drive to keep my job. If you had really paid attention you would have known my life was miserable. And I promise you, you have other patients just like me.”

I’m sharing that vignette as an opening because I think most doctors hear stories like mine and think that they are not the ones perpetrating such injury. My doctor is a very well-reputed psychiatrist in the Bay Area, CA. He’s well-known and well-regarded. He is a typical psychiatrist and typical psychiatrists are causing grave harm every day all over this country and throughout a good part of the world. He still seems to believe that I’m an anomaly and that somehow I’m not his problem. Yes, cognitive dissonance.

So I was on a six drug combination including every class of psychiatric drug at high doses that required over six years of withdrawal. I was left severely ill, afflicted by a severe iatrogenic illness: “Withdrawal syndrome” for lack of a better name. The name makes it sound like something that might last days or weeks but it’s crippled my life for years. Those of us who become this sick (I’ve networked with thousands of folks in withdrawal now) are subject to dangerous care and outright denial of our experience by medical doctors and the medical establishment in general.

What possesses a doctor to prescribe such a cocktail? I don’t think I’ll ever know, but I can tell you how it happened.

The drugs never did “work” and in retrospect they made me much worse… in fact they caused the chronic illness I am now living with. It became clear to me when I was unable to continue working about fifteen years into the (heavy) drugging as my mind and body simply stopped cooperating under a fog of neurotoxic chemicals. I knew I had to try to free myself from them.

So, how did it all begin? After an illicit drug-induced mania I triggered in college, psychiatry got a hold of me. I was told that I was bipolar and would be sick for the rest of my life. One doctor, in fact, told me I would die if I did not take medication for the rest of my life. Having suffered repeated traumas in my life the additional trauma I was subjected to in the psychiatric ward took its toll. I gave in to what they told me, they scared me good including threats to send me to a state hospital for permanent residence. It’s clear to me now this was used only to terrorize me into submitting to drug treatment, it was not a threat that would have been carried out, but I did not know that then.

The truth, however, is that I had a history of trauma that needed tending to, not any sort of brain disease as mental illness is popularly understood. The years of heavy drugging, in the end, is the only thing that made me truly sick. That is, psychiatric and physical symptoms caused by the drugs I was being given for “treatment.” My original diagnosis, bipolar disorder, given as a life sentence never really had much credibility. The tragedy is that during all those years of being drugged during the prime of my life I felt purposeless, flat, barely alive and sexless. I went from being a fit and toned athlete to being 100 lbs over-weight and unable to exercise much at all due to the sedation and nausea. Yes, I had long-term chronic nausea as an adverse effect of the Lamictal. I went through the motions of living while in a fog.

Now, drug-free, I’m quite often too ill to leave my home but my mind is crystal clear. I am motivated and productive, the author and editor of a popular mental health blog that offers alternatives to psychiatry. Having been both a professional in the mental health system and a victim of the same system, I have some interesting and uncomfortable insights into the standard of care. I’m passionate about my work. I have more of a life than I ever had on drugs even while able-bodied and even though now my life is painfully limited in ways it’s hard to convey to those who’ve never experienced such illness and isolation.

In retrospect I see now how one drug led to the next. The “mood-stabilizers” which left me depressed led to the antidepressants which left me with insomnia and agitation which led to the benzos for sleep. They still didn’t get rid of the agitation which led me to the antipsychotics (which made everything worse and in fact my doc kept adding Risperdal milligram by milligram until I was on 11 mg for my akathisia which I now know is CAUSED by the Risperdal—he was treating a symptom with the very drug that was causing the symptom!! My akathisia ceased when I finally got off the Risperdal. We always called it “anxiety”, but it was akathisia.

That big cocktail of drugs left me sedated and lethargic. No surprise. The next step was stimulants. Addiction and dependence to benzos also leads one to needing more and more drug to get the same “therapeutic effect.” And so my dose continued to increase. Unfortunately I’ve learned this happens to way too many people, some of whom never even realize it. Drugs leading to more drugs leading to more drugs. And once in the trap it’s almost impossible to see clearly. To realize what is going on is difficult and perhaps sometimes impossible.

I’ve been free of this massive cocktail of drugs for over two and half years now. The sad part is the greatest amount of suffering I’ve ever endured in my life has been a result of my body adjusting to no longer having neurotoxic drugs in my system. Medically-caused harm and a term that often sounds Orwellian to those of us who experience the protracted version: withdrawal syndrome. It totally fails to capture the grave disability some of us experience.

Still, I have not one moment of regret for having freed myself from these drugs because my mind is clear! I have a clarity of mind that is so beautiful I can cry if I spend time thinking about it. My clarity was stolen from me for almost half my life. I have it back and even impaired as I am, unable to leave the house most of the time, I am grateful.

I once made a list of the myriad insults my body and mind endured. It included over 50, mostly disabling symptoms. What is most astonishing is that I am exponentially better now and don’t experience the bulk of these symptoms anymore, but I’m still very very sick. This, again, is something very few people can conceive of. It’s mind-boggling to me as well and I’ve experienced it.

The fact is our bodies and minds are intrinsically driven to seek wellness and mine is no exception. I am on a path towards wholeness. I don’t imagine it will stop now. There is no going back.

(Read more about Monica in one of my previous blogs ~ LindaKay1948):

If I Had Remained Med Compliant… by Monica Cassani

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Benzo Awareness Day: Psych drugs cause harm (VIDEO)

Here is someone whose award-winning blog I have followed for years. Monica Cassani is someone who has overcome great suffering from psychiatric meds. This amazing lady painstakingly withdrew from all classes of them after she had become overweight, bed-ridden, non-verbal and unable to sit up for two years, and had been home-bound for five. She is now drug-free, healthy, and happy again.

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds

(July 11th, let us unite with all who’ve been harmed by psychiatric drugs)

For more information visit:

*it is potentially dangerous to come off medications without careful planning. Please be sure to be well educated before undertaking any sort of discontinuation of medications. If your MD agrees to help you do so, do not assume they know how to do it well even if they claim to have experience. They are generally not trained in discontinuation and may not know how to recognize withdrawal issues. A lot of withdrawal issues are misdiagnosed to be psychiatric problems. This is why it’s good to educate oneself and find a doctor who is willing to learn with…

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