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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Torturing new mothers and then wondering why they get mentally ill.

This is the essence of what happened to me as a young mother:

“Torturing new mothers? Who does that? Well, as a society, we all do. I’m not kidding, I’m perfectly serious, and I’m going to stop mincing my words and say it how it is. We torture mothers.

Sleep deprivation is a method of torture that has been used for at least 500 years, and is still used today. It was used extensively in Guantanamo Bay. The difference between sleep deprivation in Guantanamo bay and in new mothers is that no-one is systematically and intentionally hurting new mothers. But the effect is the same. Sleep torture is designed to create psychological changes, which are supposed to encourage the victim to submit, to lose their sense of reality, and to talk.

Chronic sleep deprivation is not good for you. It leads to cognitive impairment, anger and irritability, anxiety, and even psychosis.  Yes, you read that right. Chronic sleep deprivation is known to cause psychosis. Puerperal psychosis in new mothers is not common thankfully, but it is dangerous.  I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few study days on perinatal mental health recently, and they have all included really valuable talks by people who have recovered from severe postnatal depression, post traumatic stress disorder and psychosis. What I noticed was that they all had one thing in common . They all mentioned lack of sleep as a factor in their illness. The lovelySinead Willis talked about “lack of sleep started to catch up with me….I couldn’t sleep more than an hour at night and I became very disorientated”. One of the effects of sleep deprivation is disorientation, or a feeling of “altered reality”. At another talk I was lucky enough to hear, the mother told us that she hadn’t slept at all for the first three days of her baby’s life, but no one noticed, because she was in a private hospital room on her own. She developed psychosis within a matter of days.  Elaine Hanzak, author of “Eyes without sparkle” talks about the fact that during her treatment, she would look forward to her Electro-Convulsive Therapy sessions, because “they have to put you to sleep first….bliss”.

Chronic sleep deprivation is when you have no opportunity to make up your sleep debt. You go on, night after night, suffering from not enough sleep. Acute sleep deprivation is when you lose sleep for one night, but you can then catch up. Even acute sleep deprivation has a marked effect on our mental health. In one study by Walker and colleagues, healthy young students were split into two groups. One group were sleep deprived, the other group slept normally.  The next day, both groups were shown disturbing, upsetting and gory pictures. The researchers found that there were significant differences in the brain activity of the two groups, as measured by MRI scans. The sleep deprived group showed reactions similar to anxiety reactions. Their amygdala lit up like an alarm bell to the disturbing images, firing off stress hormones, whilst the normal group’s brain showed a more balanced reaction, with the parts of the brain that “panic and worry” being balanced by the part of the brain that “reasons and rationalises”. In the sleep deprived group, their ability to process and mediate the anxiety was damaged.

People have always thought that anxiety and depression causes disturbed sleep. But this research suggests that lack of sleep can cause anxiety.  All on its own, and in only one night.  Whilst new mums aren’t shown disturbing images by scientists, they do have disturbing images all of their own. Worries and concerns about the baby, feelings of guilt, not being good enough, intrusions of hurting the baby, concerns about baby’s feeding, and so on. And of course, once anxiety sets in, it becomes more difficult to sleep, increasing the chances of depression setting in, and a vicious cycle begins with a force of its own.

With all this in mind, is it any wonder that we have such high rates of anxiety, depression, and psychosis postnatally? Women usually give birth overnight, sometimes over two or three nights. They are then put in a busy maternity ward with lights on, other women and babies crying, constant interruptions from staff and so on. Or they are sent home alone with just a very tired husband. Either way, they have a baby with them, who they need to keep alive, learn to feed, and look after. On no sleep.  Then, when the father goes back to work after his 2 weeks of paternity leave, it is perfectly acceptable in our society for her to say “I’ll do the night feeds, because you have to work all day”. She isn’t understanding the value, the necessity, of her sleep for her mental health. Neither is the father, or the health visitor, or society in general.   Her sleep debt builds, increasing the risk to her mental health.

In other cultures, mums are made to rest, recuperate, stay in bed, and do nothing but get to know baby. They are fed, washed, pampered with hot stone massages, and so on. Almost all non-westernised cultures have a ritual similar to this, which lasts about 40 days.  In the West, mums are not made to rest. They are expected to go on as normal, with the washing, the school run, losing baby weight, going shopping and so on.  Mums are told “sleep when baby sleeps”. However, this simply is not good enough. Because mum needs to eat, and she needs to shower, and she needs to get dressed sometimes, and she needs to go to see the health visitor and have baby weighed, and baby might only sleep for 20 minutes at a time. Then, when dad goes back to work, it gets even more chronic, because she offers to do the night feeds so that he can get up and work the next day. The importance of her physical and emotional health is ignored, at a high cost to the devastation that perinatal mental illness causes, and a high cost to the NHS.

Let’s stop torturing mothers. Let’s stop ignoring the problem of expecting new mums to get back to normal. They are not normal, they are super important, and we need to value them and treat them with the greatest respect, if we don’t want them to break into a million pieces, shattering the lives of all those around them. The NHS needs to prioritise maternal mental health, not just with adequate treatment facilities once the damage is done, but also with prevention in the first place. Proper paternity leave, decent postnatal wards with midwives who have time to care, regular home visits, continuity of care. Change needs to happen in attitudes as well. We need to start telling other people how important it is, to look after mum. Encourage partners to “put mum to sleep”. Tuck her up in bed with a chamomile tea (or a G and T) and tell her to stay there. Turn the lights off for her, bring her an extra pillow, tell visitors to go away because she is sleeping, bring the baby to her when he or she needs a feed. The cost of not doing so, could be her mental health.”

Mia Scotland, Clinical Psychologist, Author of “Why Perinatal Depression Matters”

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FDA: Antidepressant Trials Have Not Adequately Reported Sexual Dysfunction Side Effects

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“A group of US Food and Drug Administration scientists held a forum to discuss how to better evaluate side effects of sexual dysfunction associated with antidepressant drugs during clinical trials, and published their report in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

“Sexual dysfunction is an important side effect of serotonergic antidepressants,” they wrote. “However, sexual dysfunction is often underestimated in clinical trials submitted in support of drug approval. This is because such assessments are based mainly on unsolicited reporting.”

The authors reported on the FDA’s current efforts to develop methodologies for more accurately capturing the scope and severity of sexual dysfunction side effects occurring in trials of new antidepressants.”

‘Trouble is, when people DO report sexual dysfunction after being given psychiatric drugs, they are often ignored.  In my case, after being given an antipsychotic, the credibility of what I said was gone.  I didn’t even know whether there were others suffering like I have been until I found a support group on Yahoo in 2009.  

To put it bluntly, I haven’t been horny in almost 32 years.  I discontinued haldol when I was 35.  I’m 67 now.  (I have never taken SSRIs.)  

My biggest concern is for the CHILDREN being given psychiatric drugs. Will they be able to experience normal puberty?  I think we will have a growing number of people who are asexual.  We will also have more people put on welfare because they’ve been harmed and disabled by the drugs and can no longer work.

(I have adult friends who have taken SSRIs and have reported sexual dysfunction, NOT ONLY ED, but LOSS OF LIBIDO and GENITAL NUMBNESS, PERSISTING YEARS AFTER TAKING AND THEN DISCONTINUING THEM.  They are some of the people I’ve come to know through a Yahoo support group with 3,721 members.)

For some young people, this may be a permanent condition.

For some, it may be a reason they are committing suicide.

 ~ Linda Kay

http://www.madinamerica.com/2015/07/fda-antidepressant-trials-have-not-adequately-reported-sexual-dysfunction-side-effects/

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The Mental (Illness) system and thoughts on alternatives: a collection

How can we call it our Mental “Health” system, when so many people are being injured and left disabled by it?

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds

“It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

Lunatic-AsylumI can’t call the current system of care a “mental health system” when it’s so clearly one that generates, encourages and sustains mental illness. And so I’ve often referred to it as a mental illness system. Here I’m underscoring that as it’s important that we make big changes if we want to help not only the most vulnerable people in our society, but also society itself. We create one another. None of this happens in a vacuum.

Below is a list of posts from Beyond Meds that look at the system from many different perspectives. It will become one of the main drop-down navigation menu tabs at the top of the page. It will replace the Professional/Patient Divide tab and will be called Mental Illness System. The contents of it will include those…

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Antipsychotic-induced Sexual Dysfunction Under-reported

Here’s a post from Mad in America mentioning studies involving structured interviews or questionnaires that result in many more patients reporting sexual dysfunctions from neuroleptics (or so-called “antipsychotics”).

Researchers [from the Netherlands] “found that a comparison of different antipsychotics showed high frequencies of sexual dysfunction for risperidone and classical antipsychotics, and lower frequencies for clozapine, olanzapine, quetiapine, and aripiprazole.”‘

http://www.madinamerica.com/2015/04/antipsychotic-induced-sexual-dysfunction-reported/

 

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Disney Pixar comes out with emotionally intelligent animation

I love Pixars, and I really want to see this one. Emotional “parts” are depicted in this film which may also be a legitimate way of understanding “hearing voices” (that can get people labeled psychotic). I think the truth is, we ALL have inner voices!

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Antipsychotic-Induced Sexual Dysfunction and Its Management

This is one of the articles I found today when I googled “PAPSD (Post AntiPsychotics Sexual Dysfunction)”:

It states that, “Sexual dysfunction is a common condition in patients taking antipsychotics, and is the most bothersome symptom and adverse drug effect, resulting in a negative effect on treatment compliance. It is known that hyperprolactinemia is a major cause of sexual dysfunction. Based on the blockade of dopamine D2 receptors, haloperidol, risperidone, and amisulpride are classed as prolactin-elevating antipsychotics, while olanzapine, clozapine, quetiapine, ziprasidone, and aripiprazole are classed as prolactin-sparing drugs. Risperidone and the other typical antipsychotics are associated with a high rate of sexual dysfunction as compared to olanzapine, clozapine, quetiapine, and aripiprazole. With regard to treatment in patients suffering from sexual dysfunction, sildenafil was associated with significantly more erections sufficient for penetration as compared to a placebo. Subsequent studies are needed in order to provide physicians with a better understanding of this problem, thereby leading toward efficacious and safe solutions.”

Read more at:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3623530/

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