February 2010 Archives


One of my special shrink magazines had a story headlined: “DUI offenses may signal untreated Bipolar Illness” in the November 2009 issue.

Since you have to sign up for a free account to read the article, and since they prefer you be a mental health professional, I’ll just tell you about it.

I don’t think you have to have twenty years of medical school and psychiatry training to reach the conclusion that anyone who has DUIs — especially a bunch of DUIs — should be screened for bipolar disorder.  This radical conclusion was reached by Dr. Mark J. Albanese of Harvard Medical School and his colleagues report. Read more on Dual Diagnosis — Two Ways To Describe One Thing…

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As far as I know, every antidepressant has the same “black box” warning on its package insert, as reported by a reputable academic psychiatrist in a reputable journal a while ago.

Incidentally, he has, in this editorial type piece, effectively logged most of the “attacks” recently made upon psychotropics.  He advises the readers, presumably other psychiatrists or at least physicians of some sort, to do “nothing.”  This is the common way of academics, to wait and gather data.  It is not a common way of doctors, at least ethical or idealistic ones, who still scramble at any chance to save people.

black-box warning

For now let’s look at the warnings about antidepressants that have merited the special FDA attention. Except that it is in a “black box”  (has a black border like a funeral announcement) and there may be a couple of things added on relative to an individual brand, this is the disclaimer: WARNING: SUICIDALITY AND ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGS Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders.

Anyone considering the use of (Brand Name) or any other antidepressant in a child, adolescent, or young adult must balance this risk with the clinical need. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older. Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. Read more on Black Box Warnings — Read Carefully!…

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I really do like the people at Health Freedom USA.  They are not speaking the truth, however.  Every day people are killed by natural phenomena, as we have been recently reminded by the tragic earthquake in Haiti.  Some people who walk into my office and tell me that they want to “go natural” are barely holding themselves together with complex lists of prescription medications.  I understand their desire to find relief without drugs, but I can’t help but jump up and down and yell, “Tornadoes are natural!  Earthquakes are natural!  They kill a lot of people.”

Alternative MedicineI have seen too many people harmed by “nutraceuticals,” a relatively new term for natural substances that are supposed to take the place of prescription drugs.  Some of these natural regimens have been devised by health professionals, but most are the result of individual research and curiosity. I am not yet aware of any sure-fire replacement for a doctor.  The closest we have today is the internet.  After all, I never claimed to have knowledge that the public could not find out with a little help from their favorite search engines. Read more on Natural Doesn’t Always Mean Safe…

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I have just successfully completed a birthday. Something not as simple as it sounds, for I am in the age range where most women watch for additional wrinkles in the mirror and try to figure out what to do about them at best. At worst, people easily fall into a low self-esteem gutter of wondering why their lives have not gone as planned.

Moi, I think it is time to think about birthdays in different ways. Happy Birthday

I explained it to another mental health professional, who happened to be sitting in a nearby office, and who is six years older than me, almost to the day. She had a birthday a few days before mine, and was clearly in the throes of a birthday related depression, telling me how beautiful she used to be, and how good life was when people still paid attention to her.

Now granted, when my husband and I first moved to Southern California I wondered if they institutionalized people over 40, for they were simply not seen on the streets. Of course, I understand better now. First they give them multiple face and body lifts. Then, they move them to collectives in Palm Springs, where they sing off-key in certain piano bars.

Birthday depression is a common problem, and not something people often go to a physician for. It is usually something dealt with in terms of common wisdom, often repeated, rarely effective. It is more a subject of support groups than of research. Read more on How To Survive Your Birthday…

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My second remunerated employment in my entire lifetime — I was pushing all of eighteen — brought me to the emergency room of a Harvard University Teaching Hospital, where I was the lackey who checked the pockets of near-corpses to see if they contained insurance cards.  In case you are interested, my first paid job was a summer at the Boston Public Library.  Their cards were somewhat less valuable to the holder.

At the ER, I occasionally made attempts to speak with physicians. But since hospitals are socially stratified institutions where most people who have the lackey job never ascend to anything else, people laughed at me when I said I was going to become a physician.

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword

Read more on Academic Life Can Be Murder — Literally…

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People get abused a lot.  More than anybody wants to believe and certainly more than anybody could ever justify as necessary.  Here are a few facts.  Yes, facts.

child abuse1.  My own brother of blessed memory, above average IQ and (later, I believe to be accurate) diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome, did not tell me until eight years afterward that as a student in a school for the emotionally disturbed, with an older headmistress who was renowned for her knowledgeable treatment of children, an internship program with a famous teacher’s college, and many awards, beat him with a belt when she was sure there were no witnesses, in order to “help” him behave.  She told him to tell nobody.  By the time that he discussed it with me, he said he did not want to think of it ever again, and that the famous headmistress had died and she was probably in Hell anyway. Read more on How Can We Stop All The Abuse?…

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Thanks to modern technology and “time-shifting” I was able to watch the brief apology speech Tiger Woods gave to his wife and children, his fans, the employees of his charitable foundation and – probably most importantly – his sponsors.

Some critics question the sincerity of the greatest golfer ever – noticing his lack of emotion or even passion when apologizing, his unfamiliarity with the text he was reading from and his lengthy wait to even appear and give such an apology.

TIger Woods' wrecked SUVMy concern was the total lack of mentioning a very serious aspect of the whole Tiger Woods fiasco – driving while intoxicated.  The whole incident erupted on the world news scene when Tiger smashed his luxury SUV into a fire hydrant and a neighbor’s tree and was dragged unconscious from the vehicle by his wife.

His lack of consciousness was suspected to have been caused by drugs and/or alcohol by the law enforcement personnel at the scene. In fact, one person at the scene, a neighbor, stated he had seen Tiger consuming alcohol earlier in the day.  But an attempt to collect medical evidence was denied by the Orange-Osceola State Attorney’s Office.

So perhaps the rich and powerful do get a few breaks the rank-and-file don’t get – such as avoiding criminal charges.

However, while dishing out apologies, Tiger Woods should have shown some remorse and/or regret for impaired driving.  After all, most of the hubbub about the situation revolves around the universal acknowledgment of Tiger as the model for today’s youth. Read more on Truth and the Law — and Miranda…

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Life is fragile at best.  At worst it is undervalued.  Prolonging it and maintaining its quality is something most doctors have at least thought about.

Me — I was brought up by family values as well as institutional values to venerate the academic system as a seeker of truth, guardian of highest ethics.

I thought that the institutions that regulated clinical research, whether they were academic or not, were at least trying to be ethical in the face of mounting economic pressures from those who develop substances to be used for the human body, to prolong and maintain life. Some people still believe in this.

Some people, even some I can call “friend,” consider me a failed academic, someone who could have contributed more to society had she written more papers that somebody thought were good enough to publish in medical journals.

All of the above is unadulterated lies and total BS that has kept many competent minds devoting their lives to ideals that are later sold to the highest bidder.

I don’t think I have any lingering doubts that my running from academics, yelling and screaming, was the best decision I ever made.

blood transfusion

The story of Polyheme – developed as a synthetic substitute for human blood — is perhaps the worst example of human rights having been sold down the river for development of something of serious danger (if you believe the publically published academic results) and at best, unproven help (are they really keeping this kind of secrets from us so the company developing this junk can make money?) to either prolonging or maintaining life.

The story is complicated, but basically, here it is.

Read more on Substitute Blood — A Failure Of Clinical Ethics…

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At a study done in Austria they looked at a University hospital, a general hospital, and a psychiatric clinic. They found a BIG problem – and not just in Austria: People are taking too many psychotropic drugs, even though there are no systematized justifications for prescribing patterns.  This seems to happen the most in folks who have a diagnosis or either depression or schizophrenia.

Pills on a conveyor beltAlthough some people take only one psychotropic drug, most are on many.  A study by our own government agency (a noble attempt to trace psychotropic prescriptions in a general hospital in the United States) decided this was a general pattern. All right, this is what happens. Read more on So Many Pills And So Little Progress…

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