Friday, April 29, 2005

Government Backed Drug Marketing Schemes

As seen in an Introduction to a Commentary published on Yuba Net

At an FDA hearing on the safety of psychotropic drugs on Feb 2, 2004, dozens of tortured parents testified that their children had committed suicide or other violent acts after being prescribed the same drugs that are being marketed in the Bush-backed pharmaceutical industry schemes aimed at recruiting the nations 52 million school children as customers.

In July 2003, the Bush appointed New Freedoms Commission on Mental Health (NFC) recommended screening all children for mental illness and designated TeenScreen as a model program to ensure that every student receives a mental health check-up before finishing high school.

The NFC also has a preferred drug program in place modeled after the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP), that lists what drugs are to be used on children found to be mentally ill.

The list contains every drug that people complained about at the FDA hearing, including Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Wellbutron, Zyban, Remeron, Serzone, Effexor, Buspar, Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroqual, Geodone, Depakote, Adderall, and Prozac.

There is little if any evidence that these drugs work on children but nevertheless, an estimated 10 million children in the US are now taking these mind-altering drugs even though they have documented side-effects including suicidal ideation, mania, psychosis, and future drug dependence.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

FDA Seeks Suicide Data for Epilepsy Drugs

In addition to use by millions of people with epilepsy, anti-seizure drugs are becoming widely used to treat psychiatric illnesses such as bipolar disorder -- also called manic depression -- as well as pain and other conditions. Some epilepsy drugs have FDA approval for various other uses, while others are prescribed "off-label."

Prompted in part by an attorney's claims against the leading anticonvulsant, Neurontin, the FDA last month asked makers of all epilepsy medicines to reanalyze research studies done with the drugs to see if there is any evidence of increased suicide risk, particularly those who use them for psychiatric illnesses instead of seizure prevention.

It's the same type of analysis that the FDA last year ordered for antidepressants amid controversy over their use by children and teenagers -- and ultimately those drugs were linked to an increase in suicidal thoughts and actions in young patients.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Women Allege Witchcraft Used As Psych Treatment, Damages Sought

Two women have filed lawsuits claiming a psychologist at an Illinois hospital used witchcraft during treatments and threatened patients. The lawsuits allege Delnor-Community Hospital did not stop the unorthodox treatments. One seeks more than $50,000 and the other more than $1 million.

Neither is seeking damages from the psychologist, who has not worked at the hospital since January, because of a fear of retribution from the woman, the plaintiffs' attorney told the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald. One suit was filed in Kane County, Ill., court and the other in federal court.

One of the plaintiffs alleges while undergoing treatment for a neurological syndrome, she was taught spells and told to divorce her husband. She moved in with the psychologist and allegedly was forced to take care of the house and take nude pictures of the psychologist.

The other suit alleges the psychologist told the patients to strip and commit acts of self-mutilation and join a Wicca coven, the newspaper said.

The newspaper said the accused psychologist did not respond to calls for comment. The hospital said the complaints have been reported to police and state health regulators.

The full report from the Daily Herald follows:

St. Charles woman files suit in hospital witchcraft case

By Tona Kunz
Daily Herald Staff Writer
Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A third person has claimed that a former St. Charles psychologist used witchcraft on her and shared private medical details between patients.

Kathleen Carlson of St. Charles filed a lawsuit late Friday against Delnor-Community Hospital in Geneva, claiming that the hospital failed to monitor Leitita Libman, a psychologist working at the hospital from 1994 until January 2005.

The lawsuit is the third in as many weeks filed against the hospital claiming Libman used witchcraft under the guise of therapy.

None of the suits have been filed against Libman because of fear of retribution, said Richard Stavins, a Chicago attorney representing the women in two Kane County lawsuits and one federal lawsuit.

Libman is accused of threatening family members of the women, bragging about being an expert in poison and pulling a gun on one of the women.

Libman could not be reached for comment Monday, but previously in a published report denied the allegations or bringing religion of any type into therapy.

“Libman’s statement that it never happened is just absolute nonsense,” Stavins said. “I can understand her arguing that one person made it up, but three? No way.”

Delnor officials declined to comment on the specifics of the lawsuits because of employee and patient privacy laws, but said that Libman stopped working at the hospital in January 2005 shortly after the hospital investigated a patient complaint against her.

“We take complaints of this nature extremely seriously,” said hospital spokesman Brian Griffin.

Delnor reported Libman to the Geneva police and the Illinois Department of Professional Regulations. State officials would not confirm if an investigation into Libman is ongoing.

The lawsuits claim that Libman tried to treat the women’s depression and chronic pain with spells, pentagrams and the freeing of sexual inhibitions.

In the previous two suits from a former Woodstock native and another woman from Kane County, who asked to have her hometown anonymous, Libman is accused of trying to get the women to join her Wiccan coven.

That has angered area Wiccan practitioners who say that the accusations leveled at Libman do not meet the guidelines of the God and Goddess-based pagan religion. The religion has a harm-none tenet at odds with claims of orgies, threats and violent spells.

The newest lawsuit claims Libman used what she called witchcraft, but does not mention Wiccan connections.

The new lawsuit also stands out for its allegations that Libman said she was a superior being brought to Earth in a spaceship and that she tried to have Carlson falsely committed when Carlson disagreed with her.

Carlson is asking for more than $50,000 in damages for her care under Libman at the hospital’s St. Charles campus between September 2002 and January 2005 when her depression and arthritis worsened.

“This kind of outrageous care makes everything worse,” Stavins said.

If it weren't for the outrageous nature of the offenses, there are any number of Witty remarks that could be made.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Myth Of Attention Deficit Disorder

As seen in the Preventive Psychiatry E-Newsletter # 184 By Thomas Armstrong 4-7-05

Over the past ten years, attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has emerged from the relative obscurity of cognitive psychologists, research laboratories to become the "disease du jour" of America's schoolchildren. Accompanying this popularity has been a virtually complete acceptance of the validity of this "disorder" by scientists, physicians, psychologists, educators, parents, and others. Upon closer critical scrutiny, however, there is much to be troubled about concerning ADD/ADHD as a real medical diagnosis.

There is no definitive objective set of criteria to determine who has ADD/ADHD and who does not. Rather, instead, there are a loose set of behaviors (hyperactivity, distractibility, and impulsivity) that combine in different ways to give rise to the "disorder." These behaviors are highly context-dependent. A child may be hyperactive while seated at a desk doing a boring worksheet, but not necessarily while singing in a school musical. These behaviors are also very general in nature and give no clue as to their real origins. A child can be hyperactive because he's bored, depressed, anxious, allergic to milk, creative, a hands-on learner, has a difficult temperament, is stressed out, is driven by a media-mad culture, or any number of other possible causes. The tests that have been used to determine if someone has ADD/ADHD are either artificially objective and remote from the lives of real children (in one test, a child is asked to press a button every time he sees a 1 followed by a 9 on a computer screen) , or hopelessly subjective (many rating scales ask parents and teachers to score a child's behavior on a scale from 1 to 5: these scores depend upon the subjective attitudes more than the actual behaviors of the children involved).

The treatments used for this supposed disorder are also problematic. Ritalin use is up 500% over the past six years, yet it does not cure the problem, it only masks symptoms, and there are several disadvantages: children don,t like taking it, children use it as an "excuse" for their behavior ("I hit Ed because I forgot to take my pill."), and there are some indications it may be related to later substance abuse of drugs like cocaine. Behavior modification programs used for kids labeled ADD/ADHD work, but they don,t help kids become better learners. In fact, they may interfere with the development of a child's intrinsic love of learning (kids behave simply to get more rewards), they may frustrate some kids (when they don,t get expected rewards), and they can also impair creativity and stifle cooperation.

ADD/ADHD is a popular diagnosis in the 1990's because it serves as a neat way to explain away the complexities of turn-of-the-millenium life in America. Over the past few decades, our families have broken up, respect for authority has eroded, mass media has created a "short-attention-span culture," and stress levels have skyrocketed.

When our children start to act out under the strain, it's convenient to create a scientific-sounding term to label them with, an effective drug to stifle their "symptoms," and a whole program of ADD/ADHD workbooks, videos, and instructional materials to use to fit them in a box that relieves parents and teachers of any worry that it might be due to their own failure (or the failure of the broader culture) to nurture or teach effectively.

Mainly, the ADD/ADHD label is a tragic decoy that takes the focus off of where it's needed most: the real life of each unique child. Instead of seeing each child for who he or she is (strengths, limitations, interests, temperaments, learning styles etc.) and addressing his or her specific needs, the child is reduced to an "ADD child," where the potential to see the best in him or her is severely eroded (since ADD/ADHD puts all the emphasis on the deficits, not the strengths), and where the number of potential solutions to help them is highly limited to a few child-controlling interventions.

Instead of this deficit-based ADD/ADH paradigm, I,d like to suggest a wellness-based holistic paradigm that sees each child in terms of his or her ultimate worth, and addresses each child's unique needs. To do this, we need to provide a wide range of options for parents or teachers.

50 Ways to Improve Your Child's Behavior and Attention Span without Drugs, Labels, or Coercion (for detailed information about each way, see The Myth of the A.D.D. Child

Order book by calling: 1-800-247-6553.

1. Provide a balanced breakfast.
2. Consider the Feingold diet
3. Limit television and video games
4. Teach self-talk skills.
5. Find out what interests your child.
6. Promote a strong physical education program in your child's school.
7. Enroll your child in a martial arts program.
8. Discover your child's multiple intelligences (link)
9. Use background music to focus and calm.
10. Use color to highlight information.
11. Teach your child to visualize.
12. Remove allergens from the diet.
13. Provide opportunities for physical movement.
14. Enhance your child's self-esteem.
15. Find your child's best times of alertness.
16. Give instructions in attention-grabbing ways.
17. Provide a variety of stimulating learning activities.
18. Consider biofeedback training.
19. Activate positive career aspirations.
20. Teach your child physical-relaxation techniques.
21. Use incidental learning to teach.
22. Support full inclusion of your child in a regular classroom.
23. Provide positive role models.
24. Consider alternative schooling options.
25. Channel creative energy into the arts.
26. Provide hands-on activities
27. Spend positive times together.
28. Provide appropriate spaces for learning.
29. Consider individual psychotherapy.
30. Use touch to soothe and calm.
31. Help your child with organizational skills.
32. Help your child appreciate the value of personal effort.
33. Take care of yourself.
34. Teach your child focusing techniques.
35. Provide immediate feedback.
36. Provide your child with access to a computer.
37. Consider family therapy.
38. Teach problem-solving skills.
39. Offer your child real-life tasks to do.
40. Use "time-out" in a positive way.
41. Help your child develop social skills.
42. Contract with your child.
43. Use effective communication skills.
44. Give your child choices.
45. Discover the treat the four types of misbehavior.
46. Establish consistent rules, routines, and transitions.
47. Hold family meetings.
48. Have your child teach a younger child.
49. Use natural and logical consequences.
50. Hold a positive image of your child.


Armstrong, Thomas.
The Myth of the ADD Child: 50 Ways to Improve Your Child's Behavior and Attention Span without Drugs, Labels, or Coercion. New York: Plume, 1997.

To Empower, Not Control!: A Holistic Approach to ADD/ADHD, Reaching Today's Youth, Winter, 1998.

ADD as a Social Invention," Education Week, October 18, 1995.

Labels Can Last a Lifetime," Learning, May/June, 1996.

Why I Believe Attention Deficit Disorder is a Myth," Sydney's Child [Australia], September, 1996.

Divoky, Diane and Peter Schrag. The Myth of the Hyperactive Child. New York: Pantheon, 1975.

Goodman, Gay, and Mary Jo Poillon. "ADD: Acronym for Any Dysfunction or Difficulty,"

Journal of Special Education, Vol. 26, No. 1, 1992.

Griss, Susan. Minds in Motion: A Kinesthetic Approach to Teaching Elementary Curriculum.Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1998.

Kohn, Alfie. "Suffer the Restless Children," Atlantic Monthly, November, 1989, pp. 90-100.

McGuinness, Diane. When Children Don't Learn. New York: Basic, 1985.

Merrow, John. " Attention Deficit Disorder: A Dubious Diagnosis," (Video). The Merrow Report, 588 Broadway, Suite 510, New York, NY 10012,212-941-8060; 212-941-8068 (fax).

Patterson, Marilyn Nikimaa. Every Body Can Learn: Engaging the Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence in the Everyday Classroom. Tucson, AZ: Zephyr Press, 1997.

Reid, Robert, John W. Maag, and Stanley F. Vasa, "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as a Disability Category: A Critique," Exceptional Children, Vol. 60, No. 3, pp. 198-214.