Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Paedophile wants sex change reversed, hearing told

As seen in the Guardian - This is just wrong in so many ways.

A paedophile treated by the UK's best-known gender psychiatrist said today he wanted his sex change reversed.

The patient, identified only as C, told the General Medical Council disciplinary hearing into Russell Reid that he regretted the operation and had requested further surgery to reconstruct his penis.

The male-to-female transsexual, who lives as a man, said he had never lived full-time as a woman either before or after his sex change in 1996. The patient said he had never cross-dressed until his first appointment with Dr Reid in March 1993.

Dr Reid, who ran a private gender clinic in west London until his retirement earlier this year, is charged with serious professional misconduct in relation to his treatment of five patients.

Patient C said today he had only wanted to become a woman in order to win back his ex-boyfriend. His former partner had wanted patient C to become a "motherly figure" to his children.

The hearing was told that patient C had a history of depression and had had to have one of his testicles removed after injecting air into it in an attempt to prove his love to his ex-boyfriend.

The patient said his former partner had briefed him on what to tell Dr Reid in order to get sex changing treatment. He admitted telling a string of lies to Dr Reid, including that he had bought a bikini and habitually cross-dressed.

The inquiry was told that Patient C had concealed his conviction for indecently assaulting a 15-year-old boy from Dr Reid, but he continued to treat the patient even when the truth emerged.

Patient C was referred to two other gender psychiatrists four years after his operation because he was unhappy with the sex change.

The psychiatrists James Barrett and Don Montgomery, both from the main NHS gender clinic at Charring Cross hospital, west London, recorded that patient C looked clearly male and had a beard.

Dr Barrett and Dr Montgomery, as well as two other psychiatrists at the hospital, subsequently brought complaints about Dr Reid's practice to the GMC, which prompted the current hearing.

Dr Reid is accused of rushing the five patients into sex changing treatments without thorough assessment. He denies serious professional misconduct and breaching international guidelines on the treatment of transsexualism.

The hearing continues.

Taking your 2 month old child to a psychiatrist

As seen here

British parents are turning to the psychiatrist's couch to resolve family issues with children as young as two months. A report in The Sunday Times found that parents are making appointments for babes in arms, worried about their crying or sleeping.

Dr Shirley Gracias, a child and adolescent psychiatrist from Trowbridge, Wiltshire, who chairs the Association for Infant Mental Health, tells the newspaper: 'When I work with parents and children, my main purpose is to help parents develop the relationship between themselves and the child. I see babies who are agitated, who can’t stop crying and are generally unhappy. When you see a mother and baby who have bonded very well, you will see a smooth sequence of turn-taking: the baby will coo, the parent will coo back, the parent will smile, the baby will smile back.'

'It's reached the point where parents seem afraid to trust their own instincts,' says Raisingkids.co.uk founder and child psychologist, Dr Pat Spungin. 'It's absolutely daft. Babies cry and they sleep – that's what they do. This is the ultimate example of today's parents feeling disempowered – that they feel they have to turn to experts for help with what's the most natural process in the world.'
The marvels of modern education have turned many parents into blithering idiots.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Methadone fails 97% of drug addicts

As seen in this report from Scotland, it turns out that the success rate of methadone programs is 3%, compared to a 29% success rate for quitting cold turkey.

A key government drugs policy has been exposed as a shocking failure after it emerged that giving methadone to heroin addicts has a 97% failure rate.

In a damning indictment of the Scottish Executive's 'softly softly' approach to managing the heroin problem, research found that three years after receiving methadone only 3% of addicts remained totally drug-free.

The same study, by Scotland's leading drugs expert, found that there was a 29% success rate among addicts who went 'cold turkey' in a rehabilitation centre.

The research also spelled out the wider social benefits of coming off drugs. Those free of addiction were seven times less likely to commit crime than addicts and were far more likely to be in work or education.

Methadone has been used since the 1980s in Scotland as a controlled and supposedly safe heroin substitute.

But the programme, which costs around £12m a year, has proved increasingly controversial. The number of addicts receiving methadone quadrupled in a decade and there have been tragedies involving children overdosing on the drug.

The new figures - which show methadone use is only marginally better than doing nothing at all - are a severe embarrassment for ministers and last night triggered demands for a tougher drugs policy. Executive sources last night admitted that they were frustrated by the lack of progress and would review current practice.

The report was compiled by Neil McKeganey, Professor of Drug Misuse Research at the University of Glasgow, and one of the most authoritative figures on drugs in Scotland. His survey is the first major assessment of the Executive's methadone programme.

McKeganey told Scotland on Sunday: "The remarkable figure is that if we weren't giving them anything at all, after three years some people would have come off anyway. Around 1% or 2% would have stopped, just because they had had enough.

"You have to ask yourself: the methadone programme is estimated to cost around £12m a year.

"If all you are doing is getting 3% of people off drugs after three years - you may say that it is a cheaper programme than residential rehabilitation - but is it justified when it gets so few people off?"

He added: "When you compare people on methadone with addicts who have abstained from drugs, their lives are in a better state, they are more likely to be in employment; they are doing a lot better."

McKeganey's report was based on interviews with 695 drug users who began treatment for their addiction in 2001. The majority were given methadone-based care, while a small percentage were placed in residential rehabilitation.

The authors then interviewed them 33 months afterwards to find out whether, over a 90-day period, they had come off drugs.

For those on the most common form of treatment - methadone maintenance - only 3.4% were clear. For those who had been in residential rehabilitation or gone 'cold turkey', often for up to nine months and without any methadone, the figure was 29.4%.

The research also proved the clear social benefits of getting addicts off drugs. Of those who were 'clean', some 59% were in employment or taking an education course, as opposed to only 29% of those who were still on drugs.

A total of 79% of those who were drug-free said they felt better, as opposed to 47% of drug users.

The biggest difference, however, was on crime. Only 13% of those who were drug-free admitted to committing any crime. The figure for those who were on drugs was a staggering 91%.

McKeganey concluded: "In Scotland at the present time, approaching 20,000 drug users are thought to be receiving methadone. By comparison, there are relatively few residential rehabilitation services - indeed on the basis of information provided by the Scottish Executive, only 2% of drug users initiating drug abuse treatment in Scotland are provided with residential rehabilitation. There may well be a case for ensuring greater access to residential rehabilitation services within Scotland than is currently the case."

A spokesman for Jack McConnell said he backed McKeganey. "The First Minister respects the work of Neil McKeganey. He is in no doubt that these issues are among the most pressing in Scotland and he is as frustrated as the public about people being in long-term programmes rather than becoming drug-free."

Annabel Goldie, leader of the Scottish Tories, who has been campaigning for more rehab centres, seized on the findings. "This study underpins everything we have been saying in recent years. Methadone, which was meant to be a bridge, is no such thing, as these findings sharply and disturbingly reveal.

"Clearly, the way forward if we are serious about reducing drug addiction in Scotland and helping to keep more people off drugs, is to expand rehabilitation facilities."

She added: "Taking addicts off drugs is not just good for them, it is good for their families and the whole of society as drug misuse fuels so much of the crime in this country."

However, there was a backlash from official drug agencies last night.

David Liddell, the director of the Scottish Drugs Forum, which is backed by the Scottish Executive, said: "It is depressing to see the debate being manipulated so that drugs treatment becomes a question of either abstinence and residential rehabilitation versus methadone and community-based services.

"There is a need for more rehabilitation services. But what is needed is a wider range of services which best meet people's needs when and where they are most likely to benefit from it."

McKeganey's report will be published in full next month.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Black Box Warnings Decreased Pediatric Antidepressant Use

As reported in the Psychiatric Times - Strangely, they seem worried more about the decline of prescriptions, even though there has been a dramatic increase in prescriptions over the past decade.

Pediatric antidepressant prescriptions decreased by about 10% following black box warnings ordered by the FDA on an increased suicidality risk for these medications, researchers said here.

That decrease, which appeared to be mainly due to fewer new prescriptions, took place in the year after the warnings, according to the study reported at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry meeting.

"While not intended to discourage appropriate prescribing, concerns have arisen that the warning would result in hesitance to use potentially effective treatments," said Christine Thomason, Ph.D., of i3 Research in Basking Ridge, N.J., in a poster presentation.

The FDA found an increased risk for suicidal thoughts or behavior (average risk 4% versus 2% placebo) associated with some antidepressants, particularly SSRIs, and in October 2004 directed manufacturers to warn prescribers.

In the year after the warnings compared to the year before the warnings, the findings were:

* Overall prescriptions decreased by 9.7% (68,121 versus 61,561, P<0.0001).
* New prescriptions declined by 19.6% (54,902 versus 44,150, P<0.0001).
* SSRI or serotonin-norepinephrin reuptake inhibitor prescriptions in particular decreased by 11.9%.

The decreases may indicate less inappropriate prescribing of SSRIs with more "critical thinking" on the part of the prescribers, commented James McGough, M.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles.

"It seems certain that these medications are helpful in some circumstances, but I think prior to the warnings they were prescribed without much consideration of the potential risks of treatment," he added.

The investigators analyzed antidepressant claims data from a large U.S. health plan for patients ages 0 to 17 years. The average age of patients was 13.6. Most had a diagnosis of depressive disorder (30%) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (24%).

After the black box warning, the greatest decrease in use occurred in patients younger than nine. The researchers reported:

* A 17.8% drop in prescriptions to children younger than four.
* A 14.4% decrease in new prescriptions to children younger than four.
* A 14.6% overall decrease in prescriptions to children ages five to nine.
* A 13.8% decrease in new prescriptions to children ages five to nine.

However, the largest decline in first prescriptions occurred in the 15- to 17-year-old group (23.2% drop pre- versus post-warning).

Prescriptions for the SSRI Zoloft (sertraline) fell the most, along with those for the atypical antidepressant Wellbutrin (bupropion) and the SSRI Paxil (paroxetine). Prescriptions for the SSRI Prozac (fluoxetine) and the tricyclic Elavil (amitriptyline) rose.

Interestingly, the frequency of office visits increased from an average of 11.7 per year to 12.1 per year (P<0.0001). Patients with new prescriptions initiated after the warnings had an average of 13.0 visits per year.

This indicates increased awareness and monitoring of potential risks, said Dr. McGough.

Dr. Thomason said trends may have differed between general practitioners and child and adolescent psychiatrists but that these data could not be discerned.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Another Psychologist pleads guilty in sexual assault case

We have this report from Colorado

A psychologist accused of molesting a mentally disabled patient at a local care center has pled guilty.

Donald Fish, a former psychotherapist at Foothills Gateway, accepted a plea bargain agreement and pled guilty this morning at the Larimer County courthouse to sexually assaulting an at-risk adult and causing bodily injury to three others.

Fish was charged with three counts of sexually assaulting a patient and of causing bodily injury to three others between October 2005 and January 2006.

He pled guilty to only one felony count of assault on a female patient, which occurred between Jan. 1 and Jan. 15 this year, while the two other counts were dismissed. He also pled guilty to one misdemeanor count of causing bodily injury to three women at the center, which occurred in October 2005.

As part of the deal, Fish agreed to register as a sex offender, undergo treatment and submit to genetic testing. He is also prohibited from working again as a therapist and from having contact with children or the victims in the case.

Fish’s case, represented by attorney Andy Gavaldon, was otherwise set for a jury trial in late November.

He faces penalties of $100,000 in fines and one month to three years at the state penitentiary for the Class 6 felony count of sexual assault, as well as a $5,000 fine and up to 24 months at the Larimer County Detention Center for the bodily injury misdemeanor.

Fish is free on bond until his sentencing hearing in January.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Psychological Job Interview with Grope Therapy Demonstration

Via the Gothamist weblog

Okay, maybe not the weirdest interview ever, but it's definitely a crazy lawsuit: Thirty five year old model Ana Sola is suing a prospective employer after he got grabby during an interview. Sola says that psychologist William Swan wanted to show her his special relaxation techniques that are part of a program for sexual abuse victims (Sola was interviewing to be a co-trainer).

Judge Doris Ling-Cohan (you may remember her as the judge who feels that gay marriage should be allowed in NYC) is allowing the case to go forward and the Post has the salacious details:
Sola, 35, said Swan asked her "to change into a bathrobe in order to instruct her on the proper technique in applying a 'therapeutic massage,' " the judge wrote.

Sola said she changed into the robe but kept her bra and panties
on. He had her lie on her stomach and massaged her, her suit says. He unhooked her bra, telling her he needed "access to her back," tried to take off her panties and grabbed her rear end, the suit says.

He told her that her duties would include oral sex with Swan, the suit says.

When she refused, the suit says, Swan "forced her legs open" and "moved his hands up Sola's legs" and grabbed her private area.

She said she screamed at him, put her clothes on and left with $100 Swan paid her for her "work."
This totally reminds of us Married to the Mob when Angela tries to get a job at a crappy fast food joint and the owner makes her change into that blue uniform... (Ah, remember when the Lower East Side was scary back then?) Anyway, Swan argued that Sola is the one who was wanted to spice up his techniques and said he should offered "squigglies" to interested clients. He says that Sola is trying to extort him and claims that her selling nude photos of herself on the Internet shows she's "no babe in the woods."

Websites: Here is Sola's website (she's spiritual and a doula!) and here is Swan's.

More here in this story entitled Model sez psychologist gave her grope therapy

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Psych Patient Regrets Sex-change Operation Encouraged by Shrink

As reported in the BBC

A patient treated by a leading psychiatrist has told a medical tribunal he bitterly regrets the sex-change operation he underwent.

"Patient B", a male to female transsexual, said Dr Russell Reid had been "too nice" in encouraging him , the General Medical Council heard.

The consultant Dr Reid, 63, of west London, a former NHS doctor, faces charges relating to five patients.

Now in private practice, Dr Reid denies serious professional misconduct.

He also denies acting contrary to international guidelines relating to the care of patients with gender dysphoria.

The GMC fitness to practice panel heard that Dr Reid, a leading authority on gender identity disorder, worked at the gender identity clinic of Charing Cross Hospital in west London from 1982 to 1990.

The clinic deals with about 90% of all NHS work in this area of medicine.

In 1990 he established a private practice in Earls Court, specialising in transsexualism.

The charges cover a period from 1988 to 2003.

The case has been brought by four psychiatrists who work at the Charing Cross Hospital gender identity clinics. The fifth complainant was another of his patients.

Known as 'uncle'

Patient B, one of the five patients the case centres around, underwent surgery to remove his penis and have an artificial vagina made in 1989.

He first consulted Dr Reid in January 1988 and was prescribed hormone treatment by the psychiatrist at the first consultation.

That took place after a series of stressful events which had left Patient B "distraught" - including the break-up of two marriages, redundancy and his mother's death.

He told the hearing: "I find life very difficult because - how can I explain it? - I don't want to be female any longer, I am not gay and I will never be able to have a full relationship with a female again and I don't want a relationship with a male.

"I get very confused when ever it comes to even simple things such as choosing which conveniences to use. It is very hard."

Patient B said he had not seen any other psychiatrist.

The hearing had earlier heard that Dr Reid was known as "uncle" by his patients, but that colleagues viewed him with concern.

Dr James Barrett of Charing Cross Hospital said: "It's a kind of boundary issues. I think that there is being so close to your group of patients that you have kind of lost sight of that.

"I think that if you are in a position of calling your patients your nephews and nieces and being known as Uncle Russell, then there is considerable difficulty there."

'Risk of damage'

Dr Donald Montgomery, who was clinical director of the gender identity clinic for seven years, said he had also had concerns about Dr Reid's practice.

He told the hearing: "I thought that some of the patients that Dr Reid had managed over the years had been at risk of being harmed by his early premature prescription of sex hormones without adequate assessment or a cooling off period, a period of reflection of counselling, or a second opinion from another interested professional."

Dr Montgomery, who admitted under cross-questioning that he "did not like Dr Reid", said there had been occasions where Dr Reid had referred patients for genital reassignment surgery without a second opinion or without patients completing a period of eligible real life experience.

He said this "put patients at risk of psychological and social damage."

The hearing continues.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Doctors warned of Effexor overdose risk

More cheery news from the FDA

Doctors should limit the number of Effexor pills they prescribe patients to reduce the risk of overdose, the antidepressant's manufacturer and federal health officials said Wednesday.

There have been reports of deaths and serious injuries in patients who overdosed on Effexor, also called venlafaxine, predominantly when taken with alcohol and/or other drugs, Wyeth and the Food and Drug Administration said.

To limit the risk of overdose, doctors should prescribe the "smallest quantity of capsules consistent with good patient management," Wyeth wrote in a letter to doctors dated Oct. 17 and released Wednesday by the FDA.

Overdosing on any antidepressant can be fatal. But there may be a greater risk of deadly overdose associated with Effexor than with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors -- antidepressants like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Lexapro, Wyeth said. The risk may be less than that with older antidepressants called tricyclics, it added.

Wyeth, based in Madison, N.J., said it was unclear whether the increased risk of deadly overdose can be attributed to Effexor or to the characteristics of patients treated with the drug.

Police look for doctor's patients - Probe surrounding child psychiatrist widens

Seen in the San Mateo County Times

The molestation investigation surrounding prominent child psychiatrist William Ayres has widened, as the San Mateo Police Department, along with the Department of Justice, attempts to contact 1,200 people who may have sought treatment from Ayres in San Mateo County.

A former president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Ayres, 74, for decades treated county residents referred to him through local school districts and the county's juvenile justice system. He also ran a private practice.

Some of Ayres' former patients and their family members have come forward to file police reports charging that Ayres molested them while they sought counseling from him. However, most of those cases are too old for prosecution under the statute of limitations.

According to San Mateo Police Capt. Mike Callagy, using materials taken from Ayres' home and office during a search of his property in March, a court-appointed "special master" has compiled a list of more than 1,200 possible patients, all meeting the statute of limitations. The special master previously drafted a list containing the names of only 700 former patients, Callagy said.

"We are still going through mounds and mounds of records over here," Callagy said Tuesday. "It's going to take quite some time. It's very time-consuming tracking (the patients) down."

Callagy said the police department hopes to finish the investigation within the next four-to-six months.

Last summer, Ayres settled a lawsuit with a man who claimed the psychiatrist molested him in 1977, when he was 13, according to court documents. Details of that lawsuit have not been released.

Ritalin doesn't equal discipline

Good opinion piece. good common sense.

Preschoolers are so much fun because they are still young enough to be innocent, precocious and cute and rambunctious all at once. They can talk to you, but it doesn't always make sense. They have vibrant personalities and an energy that is unsurpassed.

While reading a newspaper the other day, I was appalled to discover that some people have apparently found it necessary to begin giving active preschoolers Ritalin, a drug that is not recommended for children under the age of 6. Although I now realize this has been going on for years, I wasn't aware of it until last Friday.

I am absolutely opposed to small children being put on Ritalin. I don't believe it's necessary or even healthy for them to be exposed to a psychiatric drug at such a young age. Discipline is the best way to amend a preschooler's behavior. Many adults are simply unwilling to enforce it and therefore claim a child is unmanageable and must be medicated.

This may be a seemingly simple solution at present. But what about the future? How will this mind-altering medication affect these children in five years? Ten years? Twenty years? Is it worth the risk?

The government has completed its first study on the long-term effects of Ritalin on preschoolers, and the findings are not that positive. The overall conclusion of the study was that people should take great caution before putting their preschool children on Ritalin.

Immediately, this warning would be enough to keep me from further considering medicating my child. However, if one were to need further persuasion, there follow some more specific findings of the study.

Eleven percent of the children dropped out of the study due to side effects, which included irritability, weight loss, insomnia and slowed growth. About 40 percent of the children involved experienced side effects. The study can be found in the November edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Researchers did say that the benefits of medicating children with severe ADD outweighed the risks involved. But I'm not convinced. No preschool-age child needs Ritalin.

I realize that there are some children who may need Ritalin in order to combat their attention disorders. However, I believe that far fewer need it than are actually receiving it. ADD has become a catch-all solution to any behavioral problem a child may have.

We need to teach our children at a young age to take responsibility for their actions and to learn to control their behavior. It's possible. People have been disciplining children for years. It works. Sure, it may be easier for you to medicate your child than punish them, but discipline isn't really about what is easy for you.

The function of discipline is to teach a child what is acceptable behavior. It accomplishes nothing to tell a child that he is not responsible for his behavior, except to encourage that behavior more because he believes that he cannot help it.

Ritalin eradicates a need for discipline. Instead of struggling against a child's will and trying to teach him to control his urges, let's give him a pill and simply subdue all those urges. It's easy. Effective. Solves the problem for today. We'll let the kids worry about tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Prozac is linked to low sperm count

As seen in the Times online

Antidepressant drugs could lower men’s sperm count, the first investigation of their effect on male fertility has found.

A case report on two patients taking the most common class of antidepressants, which includes the market leaders Seroxat and Prozac, has revealed a possible adverse effect on both the concentration and swimming ability of sperm.

Doctors at the Cornell Medical Centre, in New York, who were treating the two men for infertility, found that when the patients stopped taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), their fertility problems disappeared, only to resume when they restarted antidepressants.

The first patient was taking citalopram, known as Cipramil in Britain. The second was on sertraline, which is sold as Lustral in Britain. The second patient then switched to a different SSRI, venlafaxine or Effexor. Again, his sperm count dipped, only to climb again when he came off the drug.

The implications of the study are limited by the very small number of patients, but similar effects have been reported in a another dozen patients. A clinical trial has begun of 30 men taking sertraline.

Peter Schlegel, who presented the research yesterday at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference, in New Orleans, said: “The patients had normal sperm counts and motility before medication. On the medication they have severe deterioration of both. The same patients going on and off medication had the same pattern. It shows a strong association.”

Impotence and delayed ejaculation are common side-effects of the drugs, and Dr Schlegel believes that the drugs may be preventing sperm from getting into semen.

Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield, said: “There does seem to be a major correlation. Maybe this is an unknown side effect of these drugs that is only just coming to light.”

The researchers warned patients taking SSRIs not to abandon their use of the drugs over concerns for their sperm count, as sudden changes in treatment may worsen psychiatric conditions.

SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants in Britain, and are taken by between two and three million people.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Harmful Side Effects of Anti-Depressants on Babies

As seen in this report

Babies born to women who took the newer type of anti-depressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs during pregnancy appear to be at increased risk of having a low birth weight and to develop respiratory distress, Canadian researchers report.

Lead investigator Dr Tim F. Oberlander said that ``our study was undertaken to distinguish the effects of maternal mental illness pregnancy-related depression from its treatment SSRIs on neonatal outcomes''.

Oberlander and colleagues at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver examined population health data for almost 120,000 live births between 1998 and 2001.

Fourteenper cent of mothers were diagnosed with depression.

The researchers compared the outcomes of babies born to 1451 depressed mothers treated with SSRIs during pregnancy and of those born to 14,234 depressed mothers who were not treated with SSRIs.

There was a significantly greater incidence of respiratory distress (13.9per cent as compared to 7.8per cent) and longer hospital stays for infants born to depressed mothers on SSRIs than those born to untreated depressed mothers, the team reports in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Birth weight and gestational age were also significantly less in SSRI-exposed infants and a significantly greater proportion was born before 37 weeks.

``These findings are contrary to an expectation that treating depressed mothers with SSRIs during pregnancy would be associated with lessening of the adverse neo-natal consequences associated with maternal depression,'' Oberlander told reporters. [...]

Being a shopaholic is now a disease.

As one witty headline so cleverly put it: Is your wife a shopaholic? Soon you may be able to treat this mental illness with a pill. Unfortunately, the pill will cost $1467 and will only be available in mall stores.

As seen on News Target

Psychiatry's latest disease mongering scheme: Compulsive shopping called a disease requiring "treatment"

If you've ever bought items that you really didn't need, or bought huge quantities of items based on large discounts or other factors, some may brand you a "shopaholic." Now, some psychiatrists are pushing to label excessive shopping a mental imbalance that needs to be treated with prescription drugs.

There may be more than 10 million people in the United States psychologists classify as "shopaholics," according to a study published this month in the American Journal of Psychiatry. These people shop compulsively, buy things they do not need and often cannot afford; the unnecessary purchases can result in the jeopardizing of their jobs, finances, families and mental health.

Many researchers argue that categorizing binge buying as a strictly mental problem takes the focus away from social factors, such as the impact of advertising, easy credit and commercialization.

A new study looking at compulsive shopping was conducted by
Lorrin Koran, a psychiatrist at Stanford University. One of Koran's conclusions was that some people who end up in financial bankruptcy are binge buyers -- and that they suffer from a disease similar to alcoholism. That fact, according to Koran and his team, should mitigate these people's responsibilities for the debts they run up as a result of compulsive shopping.

The American Psychiatric Association is considering whether to list compulsive buying as a new kind of disorder -- a move that will be added to the debate about whether psychiatry is turning every aspect of human behavior into a disease.

"With this latest disease mongering scheme, drug companies and psychiatrists
will try to convince anyone who has ever made an impulse purchase that they are suffering from a brain chemistry disorder requiring chemical treatment," explained Mike Adams, a consumer health advocate.

"Yet the real mental illness is in psychiatry itself, where
greedy practitioners push utterly fictitious disease labels onto countless victims, then drug them with dangerous psychotropic drugs."

Sunday, October 22, 2006

For the first time in Canada, a psychiatrist has been held civilly responsible for a murder committed by a patient she released.

As reported in the Toronto Sun, the Globe and Mail, and elsewhere.


Just two months before his psychiatrist released him, a Consent and Capacity Review Board turned down his bid to get out: "Without treatment, there is a likelihood that the patient if he left hospital ... will cause serious bodily harm to another person."

In mid-October, Stefaniu herself wrote: "Further deterioration of his mental state with potential for self harm and/or harassing others."

A forensic psychiatrist called in by the hospital to assess him in November agreed he "posed a potential danger."

On Dec. 2, Stefaniu wrote that he "remains delusional and paranoid."

The next day, nurses' notes described Johannes as "extremely hostile" with threatening body language. On Dec. 4, he threatened a nurse.

Yet that very night, Stefaniu examined him and suddenly concluded he was no longer paranoid or psychotic. She was now convinced by his new argument that he had faked it all, that his behaviour had been "staged and planned."

"I think she was just fed up," Lailah believes. "Maybe she was tired of dealing with him or she was just careless, but it just didn't make sense for her to let him out."

But the next day, she did just that, changing his patient status from involuntary to voluntary, and allowing Johannes back into the community.

On Jan. 24, 1997, he brutally stabbed his sister to death in her home.

"Our mom was there in the morning when we went to school," Lelise recalls softly, "and then she wasn't there anymore."

Half their lives later, and the tears still fall. "We were just little girls," Lailah says, wiping them away. "We depended on her for everything. There was never anyone there to teach us how to grow up from a girls' point of view.

"Our dad did the best he could, but we never had any close aunts or a grandmother -- it was just us and it was hard."

Their memories of her have begun to fade. Lailah clings to how her mom smelled like winter when she tucked them in at night and how she'd let them do her makeup. For Lelise, there is the aching emptiness of being too young to have known her well. "There's so much I want to know about her childhood, about her life, and I have a lot of questions that will go unanswered."

She should be with them now, seeing how they've graduated and grown into accomplished young women with dreams of becoming doctors themselves.

She should be with them today, to wipe away that tear that slips down Lailah's cheek at mention of her memory, to smile with pride as Lelise speaks so eloquently of their pursuit of justice.

She should be with them, but she is not. Roslyn Knipe was brutally murdered almost 10 years ago, stabbed 60 times and mutilated by a mentally ill brother who should never have been allowed to leave the psychiatric unit of Humber Memorial Hospital.

"It could have been prevented," argues Lelise Ahmed, Knipe's 19-year-old daughter.

"To us, it seemed obvious that something had gone very wrong," adds her older sister, Lailah, 20. "From the facts, we knew this wasn't the way it was supposed to happen and someone should take responsibility for it."

Now Ontario's highest court has agreed, unanimously upholding last year's jury verdict awarding the girls and their father $172,000 after finding Dr. Rodica Stefaniu negligent for releasing William Johannes from Humber on Dec. 5, 1996

The Ontario Court of Appeal decision Friday is precedent-setting, says their lawyer Brian Horowitz. For the first time in Canada, a psychiatrist has been held civilly responsible for a murder committed by a patient she released.

"If they're doing their jobs properly, it shouldn't have any effect," he says, dismissing claims that it will have a dangerous chilling effect on doctors. "But it's a reminder to the medical profession that these are very important decisions."

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Forest Labs Bogged Down With Celexa Legal Woes

As seen here, from OpEdNews Part of a much larger and very extensively documented article.

According to Forest Laboratories Annual Report for the year ending March 31, 2006, the company's antidepressant franchise, consisting of Celexa and Lexapro, accounted for 68% of the company's sales.

But the flip-side of the coin is that Forest Labs is currently facing a wide variety of legal problems involving civil lawsuits and government investigations that could result in fines and damage awards that will off-set the profits from its top selling drugs for many years to come.

Celexa and Lexapro belong to the relatively new class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Celexa was developed by the Danish pharmaceutical firm, H. Lundbeck A/S and was introduced into the US market by Forest Laboratories and Parke-Davis in September 1998.

According to its Annual Report filed with the SEC on June 14, 2006, Forest Labs is a defendant in approximately 25 active product liability lawsuits, with most of the complaints alleging that Celexa or Lexapro caused or contributed to persons committing or attempting suicide.

"The suits," the Report states, "seek substantial compensatory and punitive damages."

Possibly unbeknownst to Forest, the company is set to be hit with the first Celexa birth defects lawsuit in Kentucky alleging that the company has engaged in "repeated and persistent fraud" by misrepresenting, concealing and otherwise failing to disclose, information concerning the safety and effectiveness of Celexa in treating pregnant women.


According to Mr Kwok, “Forest Laboratories is selling the idea of a depression epidemic to doctors and women, creating a market for its antidepressant drugs, and then reaping billions of dollars in prescriptions."

"But they sure don’t put the same level of effort into the science of their drugs," he notes.

"We’re exposing the fact," he says, "that the drug company is putting profits ahead of safety.”


There is definitely plenty of evidence to support Mr. Kwok's assertion that SSRI makers are selling the idea of an epidemic of depression. According to, "The Marketization of Depression: The Prescribing of SSRI Antidepressants to Women," by Janet Currie, in the May 2005, Women and Health Protection, "SSRIs are also among the highest selling of all drugs in an industry that has been consistently ranked as one of the most profitable in the United States for the past twenty years."

"Prior to the introduction of SSRIs," Ms Currie reports, "depression was considered to affect only 100 people per million."

"Since the introduction of SSRIs," she states, "prevalence rates for depression are now considered to be in the range of 50,000 to 100,000 cases per million (a 500 to 1,000 fold increase)."

"Twice as many psychotropic drugs," she notes, "are prescribed for women as for men, and this holds true for the SSRI antidepressants."

One of the more recent marketing schemes put into play to recruit new SSRI customers is the designation of "National Depression Screening Days," in the US and Canada with advertisements for free depression screenings at sites set up in local communities. Funding for this scheme is provided by all the usual suspects including Forest Labs, Eli Lilly, Glaxo, Pfizer and Wyeth.

In Ontario, Canada, Mamdani et al found “tremendous cost implications” due to the shift from older antidepressants to the new SSRIs and that antidepressant costs rose by an estimated 347% between 1993 to 2000.

“Prescriptions have been written for Celexa for women from all walks of life," Mr Kwok says, "from Medicare recipients to college students.”

"That meant a lot of pregnant women were taking it," he points out, "and doing so without all the information they needed to protect themselves.”



Families seeking legal advice for infants born with birth defects to mothers who were prescribed Celexa during pregnancy can contact Robert Kwok & Associates, LLP at (713) 773-3380; http://www.kwoklaw.com/about.php

By Evelyn Pringle

(This article is written as part of a series on Celexa related litigation and is sponsored by Robert Kwok & Associated, LLP)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Five-year-old expelled from school

The apparent lack of educational expertise in this incident is rather appalling. As seen in this report from Manchester, England.

A Girl of five has been expelled from her school.

Tamara Howard is believed to be the youngest child to be permanently excluded in Greater Manchester after being accused of attacking her teachers.

Tamara, one of the youngest pupils in her year, has been kicked out of Old Moat School in Withington after a number of incidents, which have also involved other pupils.

The youngster, who lives with mum Angela in Withington, has not been in school for three weeks and has remained at home.

Head teacher Merna McVeigh decided to permanently exclude Tamara over fears she may "seriously harm the education and welfare of pupils and others".

Ms Howard, 41, agrees Tamara can be difficult, but feels she has been left in the cold - and not enough time was taken to help resolve her problems.

And she is very concerned because her daughter is not getting any schooling.

Ms Howard met education and social services officials yesterday and was told it would be four weeks before a decision about Tamara's future would be made.

Children who behave badly can be sent home from school by the head teacher for a fixed period, or permanently. The decision to permanently exclude Tamara was taken after she was excluded for 15 days after an alleged attack on a teacher and classmate on September 20.

The school claims Tamara hit her teacher "several times on the arm, leaving cuts and bruises" after being asked to clear away some toy bricks.

This followed an earlier episode, when it was claimed Tamara attacked six staff members.

Ms Howard, who has two other children, said: "Tamara only started at school in January and has had more than six weeks' holidays in that time. She was never aggressive before arriving there and I don't feel she has been given a chance.

"She is five years old, so to say she is attacking members of staff is just ridiculous. She can be a handful and she does display challenging behaviour at times, but she needs support and encouragement, not punishment."

Tamara previously went to the Old Moat nursery, where there were no problems, but when she started school, her behaviour deteriorated. A tutor was brought in to help for a short time.

Ms Howard said: "An educational psychologist was able to do one day of assessment and then Tamara was excluded.

"The whole thing is a disgrace, she was excluded before she even had a chance to get any help."

The psychologist was called in on September 19 and a partial assessment was carried out. When the psychologist returned the day after, she was told of an attack on a teacher and that Tamara would be excluded. After a 15-day temporary exclusion period, it was made permanent.

A letter to Ms Howard said: "Tamara has physically and verbally assaulted a member of staff and a child in her class. Allowing her to stay in school would seriously harm the education and welfare of pupils and others." [...]

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It's the drug companies that are hyperactive

An opinion piece by Lawrence J. De Maria in the Naple Sun Times

I don't always agree with Bill Maher, the acerbic TV pundit. I was angry with him for months for his intemperate remarks right after 9/11.

But the other night one of his rants struck a chord, mainly because it was about something I have been ranting about for years: the assault on American kids by major drug companies.

Maher argued that those companies, Merck, Pfizer and the rest, are turning our children into a bunch of junkies by promoting drugs to treat such things as ADD, hyperactivity and other disorders, "diseases" that didn't exist until the health-care industry - including health-care professionals who make their living diagnosing and treating them - created the market, so to speak.

Now, I will be the first to admit that there have always been difficult children. I bet Genghis Khan and Attila, not to mention Al Capone, were rips in grammar school. And those busters at Boys Town were certainly no picnic for Spencer Tracy.

I can remember a few miscreants from my parochial school days (or daze) that were almost uncontrollable. I say "almost" because I scarcely remember a situation that the nuns of my youth - and their 12-inch, metal-edged, wooden rulers - couldn't handle.

But is it reasonable to assume that, perhaps, thousands of unruly kids across the nation in the 1950's and 60's have turned into millions of children who must now be dosed with Ritalin and God knows what else?

Of course, this is not the 1950's. More than half the marriages in this country end up in divorce, children born "out of wedlock" are common, many kids never know their fathers and millions of children go to terrible schools, where they are merely warehoused by frustrated or poorly trained teachers. All that could explain an increase in the number of disturbed children.

But the drug companies aren't pushing their "cures" on inner-city kids alone. If they were, it might be understandable, if still despicable. There are millions of kids from fairly stable middle-class families who are diagnosed with developmental and educational disorders that simply did not exist 30 years ago. We all know children who are on drugs for exhibiting behavior that a few decades ago would have been considered annoying, but not abnormal. If that peripatetic film duo, Mickey and Judy, tried to put on one of their shows out in the barn nowadays, they'd be lucky if they weren't given electroshock treatments.

The United States is awash in pills pushed on us by the drug companies. Have you watched the nightly news lately? There is about 12 minutes of "news" per half hour. The rest of the time is devoted mainly to drug ads. That's probably the biggest story the networks are missing. (Of course, they are not missing it; can we expect them to kill the major source of their profits? The same, of course, holds true for newspapers and magazines.) The whole situation makes a mockery of the Justice Department's multi-billion dollar "war on drugs."

It's probably too late to save most of the adults whose medicine cabinets are filled with potency drugs, sleep-aids, anti-depressants, mood enhancers and all the rest.
But we should tell the drug companies to leave our kids alone. They are merely creating another generation of adults who will be dependent on drugs just to get through the day.

Oh. Now I get it!

Psychiatrist 'told sex change patient to work as escort'

As seen in the Guardian

The UK's best-known gender psychiatrist told a patient that he should work as an escort to pay for his sex change, an inquiry heard today.

The General Medical Council disciplinary hearing into Dr Russell Reid heard that he advised the male-to-female transsexual patient that there was "a market for an effeminate young man such as yourself".

Dr Reid, who faces 10 charges of serious professional misconduct in his treatment of five former patients, denies advising the patient, known only as E, to do escort work. But his medical notes state patient E was "considering escort work locally".

The psychiatrist, who had a private practice in Earls Court, west London, was also charged with wrongly providing sex-changing treatment to a severely mentally ill woman.

Dr Reid has denied inappropriate behaviour towards the patients and he has also denied acting contrary to guidance given in the international gender dysphoria association standards of care. He has further denied a charge of serious professional misconduct in relation to the patients.

The inquiry heard the female patient, known as D, was rushed into taking hormones and a referral for a bilateral mastectomy. This was despite a second opinion from another psychiatrist warning that treatment should be delayed, pending further psychiatric assessment of the patient.

Barrister Richard Tyson, acting on behalf of the complainants, said patient D suddenly decided she wanted to become a man after watching a TV programme on transsexualism.

The second psychiatrist, Dr Dalrymple, noted there were discrepancies in her story and advised she should not receive hormones until it was clear her desire to change sex was not just a reaction to watching the TV programme. But Dr Reid admitted he went ahead and prescribed hormone tablets. Patient D was admitted to a psychiatric hospital after injecting male hormones, which made her "feel so out of it she became she was convinced she was Jesus".

She was later sectioned after being found wandering the streets naked soon after her last appointment with Dr Reid. Doctors said she believed she was possessed by various spirits including that of her grandfather, and diagnosed her with manic depression. After treatment she no longer wished to change sex.

The inquiry heard that patient D had a history of depression and had been treated with Prozac prior to seeing Dr Reid.

Her family repeatedly expressed their concern to Dr Reid, warning that she had previously convinced an eye specialist that she needed glasses when she did not.

Patient D's father wrote to Dr Reid expressing his "shock and concern" at the speed of the treatment. He wrote: "It is an understatement to say your diagnoses is rushed."

Dr Reid has admitted he failed to adequately assess patient D's mental and physical health prior to prescribing hormones.

The inquiry also heard how Dr Reid had prescribed another patient - referred to as patient F - with 26 months of female hormones, without having made necessary physical checks.

Patient F was also "devastated" when Dr Reid issued a formal letter stating that she was a female-to-male transsexual when in fact the reverse was true.

The hearing continues.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

'Gay Curer' Psychologist Claims Africans 'Better Off' As Slaves

As seen in this item

In the latest episode of the so-called "ex-gay" movement's straying toward racial bigotry, the movement's leaders and its Christian right allies have failed to condemn an essay arguing Civil Rights Movement was "irrational."

A prominent member of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) is under fire for publishing an essay in which he argues that Africans were fortunate to have been sold into slavery, and the civil rights movement was "irrational."

"There is another way, or other ways, to look at the race issue in America," writes Gerald Schoenewolf, a member of NARTH's Science Advisory Committee. "Africa at the time of slavery was still primarily a jungle… Life there was savage … and those brought to America, and other countries, were in many ways better off."

NARTH is a coalition of psychologists who believe it's possible to "cure" homosexuality, a position rejected by the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association. The controversy over Schoenewolf's apology for slavery has battered the so-called "ex-gay" movement with accusations of racial bigotry for the first time. The movement's leaders and their close allies at Christian Right powerhouses like Focus on the Family have failed to condemn Schoenwolf's inflammatory arguments.

Titled "Gay Rights and Political Correctness: A Brief History," Schoenewolf's angry polemic was published on NARTH's website. In addition to his outrageous historical claims about the conditions of life in Africa, he writes that human rights proponents are intellectually stunted. (Schoenewolf draws upon Swiss child psychologist Jean Piaget, who theorized four stages of intellectual development, with the most advanced stage consisting of abstract and complex thinking. "[F]ollowers in the Human Rights Movement," have not reached this stage, according to Schoenewolf.)

Schoenewolf, a psychotherapist who lives in New York City, is director of The Living Center, an online therapy center for people in the arts. He has authored 14 books, among them The Art of Hating, in which he writes, "Many people talk about hate, but few know how to hate well."

When interviewed last week for this article, Schoenewolf stood by his comments on the intellectual inferiority of civil rights movement supporters. "The civil rights movement has from the beginning and today seen itself as good and others are evil, like slaveowners are evil," he said.

During the interview, Schoenewolf lambasted civil rights, women's rights, and gay rights. "All such movements are destructive," he said. He also claimed the American Psychological Association, of which he is a member, "has been taken over by extremist gays."

Schoenewolf's essay first appeared on NARTH's website in the fall of 2005, but apparently went unnoticed by critics until mid-September, around the time the executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, a black gay and lesbian advocacy organization, delivered to NARTH a formal letter of protest. "In the name of propriety, respect, common decency and professional integrity, the National Black Justice Coalition strongly urges NARTH to issue a public apology on the front page of its website for publishing such an outrageous and offensive article," wrote H. Alexander Robinson. "We also hope that you reevaluate your relationship with Dr. Schoenewolf, whose peculiar views have no place in civilized discourse."

Then, in late September, the gay rights group Truth Wins Out called on Focus on the Family to cancel a speaking appearance by NARTH executive director Joseph Nicolosi scheduled for a Focus on the Family conference held September 23 in Palm Springs, Calif.

Nicolosi appeared as planned. But the Schoenewolf essay was erased from NARTH's website the same day as the Focus on the Family conference. Then, on October 6, NARTH posted this statement to its website: "NARTH regrets the comments made by Dr. Schoenwolf about slavery which have been misconstrued by some of our readers. It should go without saying that we do not wish to minimize the suffering of those who have been mistreated because of race, sex, religious beliefs or sexual orientation." The statement makes no mention of the civil rights movement.

Nicolosi has yet to publicly address the future of Schoenewolf's relationship with NARTH. He also did not respond to multiple voice mail messages and E-mails seeking comment for this article. Michael Haley, manager of Focus on the Family's homosexuality and gender department, likewise did not respond. Calls and E-mails to Focus on the Family press managers went unanswered.

For now, Schoenewolf remains a member of NARTH's Science Advisory Committee. This committee has "the authority of opinion and the authority of their recommendations," over what is published by NARTH, according to former committee member David Blakeslee, who resigned in protest over the Schoenewolf essay Sept. 29.

"Whenever a scientific organization speaks inaccurately about science and conflates it with politics, the general public can be significantly misled and harmed," he wrote in his letter of resigation.

In an interview for this report, Blakeslee said: "Schoenewolf's article was so over the line that it justifiably outraged a number of people."

Even so, other NARTH members have leapt to Schoenewolf's defense on the organization's official blog, whose administrator, "Sojourneer," summed up the outcry over the essay as "lies and distortion, in an attempt to discredit Narth [sic] and Dr. Shoenewolf [sic]."

"Just because Schoenewolf said some good can come out of a bad situation [slavery] does not make him a racist," the NARTH administrator wrote. "It was just his opinion and does not reflect Narth's [sic] position on the topic."

So what exactly is NARTH's position on equal rights for non-whites? On the NARTH website, the section marked "NARTH and Civil Rights" states: "It is NARTH's position that science, not activism, should inform legal decisions and public policies," a position that could easily be read to support Schoenewolf's hostility towards the civil rights movement. NARTH's position statement is particularly ironic in light of the organization's close relationship with Focus on the Family, which clearly engages in political activism.

Blakeslee isn't the only NARTH supporter to sever ties with the organization over its failure to denounce Schoenewolf.

"This was a slam dunk. They should have said, 'These are not our views.' People have asked them to clarify what they meant by this and [instead] they've in fact defended it," says Warren Throckmorton, a professor of psychology at Grove City College and a former member of NARTH.

Before the Schoenewolf controversy, Throckmorton was slated to present at NARTH's annual conference in November in Orlando, Fla. Now, he's pulled out, and wants nothing to do with the group.

"This stuff about political correctness and slavery is very far outfield," he said. "I'm appalled by it, and a lot of people within NARTH are as well, but they don't have the authority to speak out on it. And those who do have the authority aren't."

Psychologists just now discover that rapists lie in evaluation tests

In a case where you would think this was sort of obvious, no? While we are glad that psychologist learn something from time to time, we would also hope that these "masters of the human mind" could use some common sense.

More than 80 per cent of Victorian rapists assessed as being fit for rehabilitation have lied to get on the list, according to a new study.

Research by forensic psychologist Qusai Hussain has found major tests used to assess which convicted rapists are suitable for rehabilitation were flawed because they allow rapists to answer questions themselves.

This left room for prisoners to lie and manipulate their responses.

For his doctorate of psychology, Dr Hussain conducted an eight-month study of 50 convicted rapists, including their court records and police evidence.

He found nearly all the prisoners had lied in the tests to make themselves appear more socially acceptable.

"The self-assessment tests are not the only measure for evaluating prisoners for treatment, but they are a major factor," Dr Hussain said today.

"These tests also form a major part of how psychologists develop programs to rehabilitate rapists. Clearly it is irrational to keep administering these tests in the face of such overwhelming evidence that prisoners are lying."

Dr Hussain's study found current rehabilitation programs were only 30 to 40 per cent effective.

School Psychologist Arrested for Allegedly Restraining Student at School

By way of Village of McGraw, Cortland County (WSYR-TV) –

She allegedly restrained a 9 year old student without reason, and now a McGraw Elementary School Psychologist is due in court.

The Cortland County Sheriff says 50 year old Marcia L. Rutledge, of Syracuse, was arrested Monday after an investigation into the incident that allegedly happened on October 4th.

The Sheriff’s Department says the student was reportedly not posing a threat to himself or others.

Rutledge was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. She is due in Town of Cortlandville Court on October 30th.

Rutledge works as a Psychologist at both McGraw and Cincinnatus schools.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Antidepressants linked to 'adolescent' aggression

As seen in this report from New Scientist

Prozac can make “adolescent” hamsters more aggressive towards their cage-mates, despite the antidepressant drug producing the opposite effect in adult hamsters, making them calmer.

The new findings may help explain why certain antidepressants appear to cause irritability and other abnormal behaviours in teenagers.


Some young people with depression receive lower doses of antidepressant drugs because of their relatively small weight and size. But Taravosh-Lahn says the findings of the hamster study should prompt a closer look at the effects of this practice.

“We underestimate the differences between the juvenile brain and the adult brain,” says Taravosh-Lahn. “It seems there needs to be more research on the effects of antidepressants on kids.”

Previous studies have also indicated a link between SSRIs and violent behaviour. Aggression was the most common reason children discontinued taking the drug Zoloft in two clinical trials conducted by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (PLoS Medicine, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030372), for example.

One high-profile case is that of Christopher Pittman, who in 2001 at the age of 12 shot and killed his grandparents before setting their house on fire. Lawyers defending the boy argued the murders were influenced by the antidepressant Zoloft, but a jury disagreed and sentenced him to 30 years in prison in February 2005.

Following a decision by the US Food and Drug Administration in late 2004, all antidepressants in the US now carry strong "black box" warnings, which state that the drugs may cause abnormal behaviours or suicidal thoughts in teenagers.


Journal reference: Behavioral Neuroscience (DOI: 10.1037/0735-7044.120.5.1084)
The Study linked the lower doses of antidepressants to increased violence in adolescents

Fears over rise in ‘hyperactive’ children being medicated

As seen in this report from Scotland

A record number of children are being prescribed drugs to treat hyperactivity, prompting fears that hundreds are being medicated unnecessarily.

Doctors in Scotland issued almost 50,000 prescriptions in 2005, an increase of 16% over the previous year, according to new government figures.

Since 2001, spending on drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has soared from £441,000 a year to £1.8m.

The medicines include methylphenidate, commonly known as Ritalin; atomoxetine, otherwise known as Strattera and dextroamphetamine, available under the brand name Dexedrine.

Critics claim some of the drugs can cause serious side effects including psychosis, anxiety, abdominal pain, suicidal thoughts and aggressive behaviour.

Parents of children taking Strattera have been warned to watch for signs of depression or suicidal behaviour.

The treatment of ADHD is currently the subject of a review by NHS Quality Improvement Scotland, the health standards watchdog.

Gywnedd Lloyd, head of educational studies at Edinburgh University, said she feared that children with behavioural problems were being wrongly diagnosed as suffering from ADHD.

Lloyd, co-editor of a book on the condition, added that the rise in prescriptions was extremely worrying because little is known about the possible long-term side effects of the drugs.

“This is completely mad,” she said. “We will look back in 10 years’ time and say, ‘What were we doing giving brain-altering medication to small children?’

“There are a lot of complicated reasons as to why children behave in certain ways but what we seem to be doing is clustering them together. A small minority may have neurological conditions but we also need to look at other issues such as family problems.”


Despite the huge amount spent on medication, there is no official figure for the number of children treated for ADHD in Scotland.

Support groups for hyperactive children say they fear the drugs are seen as a “quick fix” and that greater emphasis should be placed on using other forms of treatment for behavioural problems.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

The various amounts of electricity used in Electro Shock Therapy

The various amounts of electricity used in Electro Shock Therapy, according to several sources, as seen here:

Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
"Electroconvulsive therapy." The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology. 3rd ed. England: Penguin Books, 2001. "The technique consists of applying a weak electric currrent (20-30 mA) bilaterally to the temperofrontal region of the skull until a grand mal seizure results." 0.02 - 0.03 A
Fink, Max. Electroshock: Restoring the Mind. New York: Oxford, 1999. "Modern electroshock uses a square-wave form of energy, which has a slight, if any, effect on memory. The frequency of the square waves varies from 30 to 70 cycles per second, with a pulse width of 0.5, 1.0, or 2.0 milliseconds. The duration of stimulation varies between 0.2 and 8.0 seconds, and delivers from 25-500 millicoulombs of energy." 0.0625 - 0.125 A

R. Breggin, Peter. Electroshock: Its Brain Disabling Effects. USA: Springer Publishing Company, 1979.

"The amount of current varies widely from machine to machine and from clinician to clinician (Davies et al. 1971). Kalinowsky (1957b) described a range of 70 to 130 volts (V) for 0.1 to 0.5 sec, with a delivered current varying from 200 to 1600 milliamperes (mA)." 0.2 - 1.6 A
Collins, Meghan. "ECT: Electroconvulsive Therapy." 30 September 2002. "An AC current is passed up to 6 seconds. The current ranges from 800 mA - 1000 mA, carrying a voltage between 300-500 volts." 0.8 - 1.0 A
Stevens, Lawrence. Psychiatry's Electroconvulsive Shock Treatment: A Crime Against Humanity. The Antipsychiatry Coalition. "ECT consists of electricity being passed through the brain with a force of from 70 to 400 volts and an amperage of from 200 milliamperes to 1.6 amperes (1600 milliamperes)." 0.2 - 1.6 A

Electroshock therapy, commonly known as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a medical procedure for severe mental illnesses such as mania or schizophrenia. During the actual procedure, electrodes are put on the sides of the patient's head at the temples. An alternating electrical current is sent through the brain. It lasts for a few seconds. In electroshock therapy the patient requires the least amount of electricity to induce a mild seizure.

This procedure is very controversial because it may cause severe brain damage and memory loss. It is not used very much today. There are many risks in running an electric current through a person's brain including brain damage, disturbances in the heart and even death.

The electric current varies from patient to patient and machine to machine. In one source the electric current was as high as 0.8 - 1.0 amperes. This could be more than enough to kill a human if it were applied across the chest. Since it's applied through the brain it is less fatal. [...] The highest amount of electrical current found in one source was 1.6 amperes.

We also have this chart about the amount of Electricity needed to Kill a Human Being:

Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Cutnell, John D., Johnson, Kenneth W. Physics. 4th ed. New York, NY: Wiley, 1998. "Currents of approximately 0.2 A are potentially fatal, because they can make the heart fibrillate, or beat in an uncontrolled manner." 0.2 A
Carr, Joseph J. Safety for electronic hobbyists. Popular Electronics. October 1997. as found in Britannica.com. "In general, for limb-contact electrical shocks, accepted rules of thumb are: 1-5 mA is the level of perception; 10 mA is the level where pain is sensed; at 100 mA severe muscular contraction occurs, and at 100-300 mA electrocution occurs." 0.1 - 0.3 A
"Electrical Injuries." The Merck Manual of Medical Information: Home Edition. Pennsylvania: Merck, 1997. "At currents as low as 60 to 100 milliamperes, low-voltage (110-220 volts), 60-hertz alternating current traveling through the chest for a split second can cause life-threatening irregular heart rhythms. About 300-500 milliamperes of direct current is needed to have the same effect." 0.06 - 0.1 A

0.3 - 0.5 A
Zitzewitz, Paul W., Neff, Robert F. Merrill Physics, Principles and Problems. New York: Glencoe McGraw-Hill, 1995. "The damage caused by electric shock depends on the current flowing through the body -- 1 mA can be felt; 5 mA is painful. Above 15 mA, a person loses muscle control, and 70 mA can be fatal." 0.07 A
Watson, George. SCEN 103 Class 12. University of Delaware. March 8, 1999. "0.10 death due to fibrillation
> 0.20 no fibrillation, but severe burning, no breathing"
0.1 - 0.2 A
Miller, Rex. Industrial Electricity Handbook. Peoria, IL: Chas. A. Bennet, 1993. "Currents between 100 and 200 mA are lethal." 0.1 - 0.2 A

A common misconception is that larger voltages are more dangerous than smaller ones. However, this is not quite true. The danger to living things comes not from the potential difference, but rather the current flowing between two points. The reason that people may believe this can be explained by the equation V = IR. Since V is directly proportional to I, an increase in voltage can mean an increase in current, if resistance (R) is kept constant.

The amount of damage done by the electric shock depends not only on the magnitude of the current, but it also on which portions of the body that the electric current is flowing through. The reason for this is that different parts of the body have difference resistances, which can lead to an increase in current, evidenced by the formula V = IR.

An interesting fact to note is that it takes less alternating current (AC) to do the same damage as direct current (DC). AC will cause muscles to contract, and if the current were high enough, one would not be able to let go of whatever is causing the current coursing through the body. The cut-off value for this is known as the "let-go current". For women, it is typically 5 to 7 milliamperes, and for men, typically 7 to 9 milliamperes. This is dependent on the muscle mass of the individual.

In general, current that is fatal to humans ranges from 0.06 A to 0.07 A, depending on the person and the type of current.

Readers are free to compare notes and to draw their own conclusions.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Ingredient In Prozac Increases Risk Of Extinction For Freshwater Mussels

As seen in this report

You'd think in a river filled with anti-depressants, freshwater mussels would be, well, happy as clams. Far from it. In fact, a new laboratory study suggests that exposure to Prozac can disrupt the reproductive cycle of these mollusks, potentially increasing their risk of extinction.

The study, one of the first to examine the ecotoxicological effects of Prozac (fluoxetine) on native freshwater mussels, found that the drug caused females to prematurely release their larvae, essentially dooming them. The findings were presented today at the 232nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

"The results from this study were quite alarming," said co-investigator Rebecca Heltsley, a National Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, S.C. "When larvae are released too early, they are not viable, which only contributes to the problems faced by struggling populations of native freshwater mussels."

About 70 percent of the nearly 300 species of freshwater mussels native to North America are extinct, endangered or declining, according to Heltsley. In the past 100 years, no other widespread North American animal group has experienced such notable collapse, she added.

In some cases, native mussels have been crowded out by invasive species such as the zebra mussel, Heltsley said. In others, native mussels have been devastated by increased sediment loads in rivers, habitat alteration and loss, or killed off by pollutants.

"The presence of Prozac and similar drugs in U.S. rivers and streams has likely compounded the problem," Heltsley said. "It's a big concern because freshwater mussels are such an imperiled group."

Prozac, one of the nation's most prescribed anti-depressant medications, helps relieve depression by increasing the brain's supply of a neurotransmitter called serotonin. But like many prescription drugs, some remnants of Prozac ultimately are mixed into wastewater that reaches rivers and streams, Heltsley said. Recently, University of Georgia researchers who found traces of Prozac in fish and frogs concluded the drug slowed the development of these animals.

In their study, Heltsley, along with lead investigator Gregory Cope of North Carolina State University and other colleagues, placed female freshwater mussels carrying larvae into tanks containing laboratory water with varying concentrations of fluoxetine, the active ingredient in Prozac. The Prozac concentrations, which ranged from 0.3 to 3,000 micrograms per liter, mimicked those previously found in surface waters of lakes and streams. They also exposed a similar set of mussels directly to serotonin. Within 48 hours, the mussels in both groups had released their larvae prematurely.

"Protecting freshwater mussels and other aquatic life that are susceptible to the unintended consequences of exposure to pharmaceuticals in our rivers and streams will take a concentrated effort," Heltsley said. "These efforts could include the development of more efficient wastewater treatment facilities that can filter out these products before they reach our waterways."

Freshwater mussels have a key role in the ecology of rivers and streams, Heltsley emphasized. They filter large volumes of water for food each day, thereby helping filter contaminants and excessive nutrients from water and serving as an early warning of water quality problems. They also are an important source of food for muskrats, otters, fish and other animals.

Heltsley and her colleagues are evaluating surface water and sediment samples from a natural water system and will compare the results of this work with the results of their laboratory based study.

The American Chemical Society - the world's largest scientific society - is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

Are prescription drugs linked to school shootings?

As seen on this report by WALB, the questions that people are asking are spreading, of course they need to explain it away, even though there is this pesky coincidence in timing.

A recent string of school violence and shootings have left many concerned citizens asking why. And with studies showing at least 10 school shooters since 1998 were under the influence of antidepressants or other stimulants, drugs like Prozac, Effexor, and Paxil are being blame.

"Children that end up taking antidepressants naturally are ones that already have behavioral problems, depression issues, social things going on in the home," says Wendy Vandemark, a Physiatrist at Greenleaf Hospital.

Doctors and pharmacists agree that antidepressants and other mood altering drugs can increase the risk of suicidal behavior and changes in behavior for people, especially young adults, taking these drugs. Those changes can range from social withdrawal to irritability, to aggressiveness and in some cases hostility," says Pharmacist Michael Hicks.


All medical experts agree that when being prescribed an anti-depressant, all patients should be closely monitored during treatment.

Study says antipsychotic drugs don't ease dementia (psychotic behavior)

As reported in the NY Times, seen via The Austin American-Statesman.

The drugs most commonly used to soothe agitation and aggression in people with Alzheimer's disease are no more effective than placebos for most patients and put them at risk of serious side effects, researchers are reporting today.

The side effects include confusion, sleepiness and Parkinson's disease-like symptoms.

The report, based on a large government comparison of the drugs' effectiveness, challenges current practice so sharply that it could quickly alter prescribing habits, some experts said. About 4.5 million Americans suffer from the progressive dementia of Alzheimer's disease, and most patients with the advanced disease exhibit agitation or delusions at some point.

The drugs tested in the study — Zyprexa from Eli Lilly, Seroquel from AstraZeneca and Risperdal from Janssen Pharmaceutical — belong to a class of medications known as atypical antipsychotics. The drugs are used to treat schizophrenia and other psychoses and are commonly prescribed for elderly patients in long-term care facilities.

About a third of the estimated 2.5 million Medicare beneficiaries in nursing homes in the United States have taken the medications, researchers found. And the use of atypical antipsychotics in the elderly accounts for an estimated $2 billion in annual sales of the drugs, with much of the cost paid by Medicare and Medicaid.

Representitives from Lilly, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, which owns Janssen, noted that the drugs are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating people who have Alzheimer's and that the companies do not market them for that purpose.

The results of the study, published today in The New England Journal of Medicine, the company spokespeople said, simply reflected the need for more research into the treatment of behavioral issues in Alzheimer's patients.

Prescribing information for the drugs warns that patients with Alzheimer's-related psychosis "are at increased risk of death compared to placebo."

But the medications are commonly prescribed for Alzheimer's patients "off label" by doctors because families are desperate, because these drugs sometimes seem to help and because company-sponsored doctors promoted them.

"The question is whether these drugs have a place in the treatment of Alzheimer's patients at all," said Dr. Jason Karlawish, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania who wrote an editorial accompanying the study.

"I think the answer is yes, but only for a subgroup of patients who can tolerate them."

In the study, researchers followed 421 Alzheimer's patients with disabling agitation, delusions or hallucinations who were randomly assigned to receive either dummy pills or one of the three antipsychotic drugs. Doctors adjusted the doses as needed, tracked how long patients stayed on the drugs and noted their improvement, if any.

Experts say that the amount of time a patient spends on a medication is an important measure of its usefulness, because patients often stop taking a drug if it is not doing any good or if the side effects are intolerable.

After 12 weeks, "there were no significant differences between the groups with regard to improvement" on a scale that measured symptom relief, said Dr. Lon Schneider, the lead author of the study and a professor of psychiatry, neurology and gerontology at the University of Southern California School of Medicine.

The researchers also found no significant difference in the amount of time the patients stayed on the drugs or the placebos; about 80 percent stopped taking the drugs and the placebos alike before the end of the study.

But those taking the drugs were far more likely to quit because of side effects.

The side effects included sedation in 15 percent to 24 percent of the patients and confusion in 6 percent to 18 percent; both symptoms can increase the risk of falls. And 12 percent of the patients on either Zyprexa or Risperdal experienced Parkinson's disease-like symptoms, including tremors.

"What the study does indicate is that this is a very sensitive population and that any treatment needs to be done with a lot of forethought and constant re-evaluation" said Dr. Bruce Kinon, a psychiatrist at Lilly.

The report is the third large study in the past year to conclude that atypical antipsychotics are not as effective or as safe as initially portrayed.

Last year, government researchers found that three of four drugs tested were no more effective than an older, far less expensive drug in treating schizophrenia, the disorder for which the medications were originally approved.

And last week, English researchers published a study that found that schizophrenia patients did as well — or better — on older medications than on newer, atypical drugs.

Another Death: Video shows mentally ill prisoner's slow death

Another case of gross abuse in the care of psychiatric prisoners. It is very hard to believe that the shrinks would be ignorant of conditions like these. As seen in this report

All Timothy Joe Souders wanted was a shower.

Instead, the 21-year-old mentally ill inmate was locked in a segregation cell and shackled to a steel table. Four days later, on Aug. 6, the Adrian resident was dead, apparently because of extreme heat and dehydration, a doctor appointed by U.S. District Judge Richard Enslen concluded.

As a result, attorneys representing inmates in a lawsuit filed in the 1980s to improve prison medical care are asking Enslen to expand the case to include treatment for mentally ill prisoners.

During a hearing in Enslen's courtroom Wednesday, attorneys in the class-action suit played a video shot by Southern Michigan Correctional Facility guards and a surveillance camera showing Souders as he was led away in shackles to a segregation cell.

Video excerpts from the next four days showed his physical and mental decline, ending as personnel at the Jackson prison administered CPR in an attempt to revive him.

Souders' mother, Theresa Vaughn, sat in the front row and sobbed as she watched a courtroom television showing her son slowly dying.

Dr. Jerry Walden, an Ann Arbor physician called by the inmate's attorneys, testified a combination of the heat, lack of water and medications Souders was taking for bipolar disorder and numerous physical ailments, including high blood pressure and obesity, likely caused his death.

The state Department of Corrections had declared a heat emergency during the period Souders was shackled to the table. On the video, guards entering the cell can be seen wiping sweat from their faces and heard complaining of the heat.

During the four days Souders was shackled, he was not seen by a psychiatrist or other medical doctor.

"Tragically, there was not a psychiatrist on the staff at the time," Walden testified. "I think almost everybody dropped the ball, unfortunately."

Souders was not the only mentally ill inmate to die at Jackson in recent months. Without naming the inmates, Walden listed several others whose mental illnesses contributed to their deaths.

A schizophrenic inmate died Aug. 17 of congestive heart failure and liver failure, testified Dr. Robert Cohen, appointed by Enslen to monitor health care in the Jackson prisons.

Due to his mental illness, the inmate refused medical care, Cohen said. A request for a court order forcing him to undergo treatment was stalled in the Department of Corrections for five weeks.

"Instead, he died for lack of treatment," Cohen testified. "He needed help. Eventually, he died of a treatable illness, a very treatable illness. ...

"I find this chilling."

Most of the hearing, which continues through Friday, focused on Souders, who was serving time for resisting arrest, destroying police property and assault.

For an hour and 15 minutes Wednesday, courtroom spectators watched the video as guards entered the cell, shackled Souders to a table and periodically checked on him. As time passed, he became more agitated, cursed the guards and struggled with them. Repeatedly, he refused water.

Inmate Henry Franklin, who was locked in a nearby cell, testified he kicked on his cell door and hollered for guards to help Souders.

"They told me to shut up and mind my own business and stop kicking on the door," said Franklin, who is blind.

After he talked with attorneys in the case, Franklin said he was called before a disciplinary committee, locked in segregation and his medication for glaucoma and migraines withheld. After he was released from segregation, Franklin found his typewriter broken into four pieces and his cell ransacked.

"So you're telling me you had nothing for the pain, no drops for your eyes and no typewriter?" Enslen asked.

"Yes," Franklin answered.

On the video, Souders is seen lying naked on the table, as he became delirious or psychotic, crying and screaming: "Orange, red, yellow, blue, green. I'm ready to go home."

His mother, Theresa Vaughn, stood up and left the courtroom in tears.

On the video, a nurse came in with guards to check Souders' vital signs as he yelled: "I can't breathe! Pull this off my face so I can breathe!"

The nurse answered: "Mr. Souders, the calmer you are, the sooner they're going to stop this."

As the video ended, guards were seen administering CPR. Souders was pronounced dead about 4 p.m. Aug. 6 at Jackson's Foote Hospital.

Another inmate, Craig Shivers, testified it was Souders' desire for a shower that led to his being shackled.

As Souders walked to toward the showers last July 31, a guard stopped him and said he had to first ask permission, Shivers said.

When Souders' asked permission, "the officer bust out laughing," Shivers said. "The officer never said, 'no;' he never said, 'yes.'"

When Souders proceeded to the showers, the guard called for help.

Several corrections officers arrived, shackled him and led him to a segregation cell, Shivers testified, adding Souders did not resist.

"That's what shocked me," Shivers said. "He was very polite. He just wanted a shower. That's all he wanted. He just wanted a shower."

Psych Drug Blamed for Nude Behavior

According to pharmaceutical and medical Web sites, Lamictal, also known as Lmotrigine, was approved for distribution in the U.S. in 1994 as a treatment to reduce seizures or convulsions. In 2003, the Food and Drug Administration approved its additional use as a mood regulator for bipolar disorder. Among the reported side effects of the drug are agitation, anxiety, concentration problems, confusion, depression, emotional instability, irritability, and mania.

Now it seems that one of it's side effects is public nudity, as seen in this report.

A prescription medicine may be at the root of a Hamilton city prosecutor's nude walks through the Government Services Center last week, as well as his nudity in a traffic accident last year.

Attorney Scott Blauvelt, 35, remains on paid administrative leave while Hamilton city officials sort through a psychiatric report that concludes his behavior might have been the result of medication he was taking for bi-polar disorder and seizure control.

"This isn't some damned invention of a defense lawyer," said attorney Michael Gmoser, who is representing Blauvelt in disciplinary proceedings initiated by the city and criminal charges brought by the Butler County Sheriff's Office.

Blauvelt was arrested Monday on two misdemeanor counts of public indecency after security cameras captured footage of him walking nude around the Government Services Center the evenings of Oct. 4 and 5.

Wednesday, during a predisciplinary conference with City Law Director Hillary Stevenson, Gmoser presented a letter from a psychiatrist who has been treating Blauvelt since 2005.The psychiatrist, whom Gmoser declined to identify, "finally connected the dots on (Blauvelt's) unusual behavior," Gmoser said.

The psychiatrist wrote that Blauvelt was placed on a medication called "Lamictal" about two weeks before a 2005 car crash which left him with brain injuries. Investigators at the crash scene found an injured and nude Blauvelt had been thrown from his car. His clothing was inside the car, Gmoser said.

Blauvelt's use of Lamictal was suspended while he recovered from his injuries. He was placed back on the drug about three weeks ago to control seizures he was experiencing as a result of the brain injury.

"That's the rub of this," Gmoser said. "Until these recent incidents in the Government Services Center, no one was able to connect the dots and explain why (Blauvelt) was found in the nude after his accident last year.

"It appears that all three incidents of Mr. Blauvelt walking about in the nude were brought about by his use of Lamictal," Gmoser said, quoting the psychiatric report.


Stevenson now has five days to decide whether to take disciplinary action against Blauvelt. That action could range from suspension with pay to dismissal.

Stevenson and Gmoser both said there likely would be no reason to review any cases that Blauvelt prosecuted.

"Ultimately, it's a judge or jury that renders decisions," Gmoser said. "Not the prosecutor or defense attorney."

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Medicating minds

As seen in the Star Telegram

I've been treating, educating and caring for children for more than 30 years, half of that time as a child psychiatrist, and the changes I've seen in the practice of child psychiatry are shocking. Psychiatrists now misdiagnose and overmedicate children for ordinary defiance and misbehavior. Temper tantrums are increasingly being characterized as psychiatric illnesses.

Using such diagnoses as bipolar disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Asperger's, doctors are justifying the sedation of difficult kids with powerful psychiatric drugs that may have serious, permanent or even lethal side effects.

There has been a staggering jump in the percentage of children diagnosed with a mental illness and treated with psychiatric medications: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2002 almost 20 percent of office visits to pediatricians were for psychosocial problems -- eclipsing asthma and heart disease. That same year, the Food and Drug Administration reported that some 10.8 million prescriptions were dispensed for children, who are beginning to outpace the elderly in the consumption of pharmaceuticals.

This year, the FDA reported that between 1999 and 2003, 19 children died after taking prescription amphetamines, the medications used to treat ADHD. These are the same drugs for which the number of prescriptions written rose 500 percent from 1991 to 2000.

Some psychiatrists speculate that this stunning increase in childhood psychiatric disease is entirely due to improved diagnostic techniques. But setting aside the children with legitimate mental illnesses who must have psychiatric medications to function normally, much of the increase in prescribing such medications to kids is due to the widespread use of psychiatric diagnoses to explain away the results of poor parenting practices.

Parents and teachers today seem to believe that any boy who wriggles in his seat and willfully defies his teacher's rules has ADHD. Likewise, any child who has a temper tantrum is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After all, an anger outburst is how most parents define a "mood swing."

Doctors once insisted on hours of evaluation of a child before making a diagnosis or prescribing a medication. Today, some of my colleagues in psychiatry brag that they can make an initial assessment of a child and write a prescription in less than 20 minutes. Some parents tell me it took their pediatrician only five minutes. Who's the winner in this race?

Unfortunately, when a child is diagnosed with a mental illness, almost everyone benefits. The schools get more state funding for the education of a mentally handicapped student. Teachers have more subdued students in their overcrowded classrooms. Finally, parents are not forced to examine their poor parenting practices because they have the perfect excuse: Their child has a chemical imbalance.

The only loser in this equation is the child, who must endure the side effects of these powerful drugs and be unnecessarily labeled with a mental illness.

Hurried doctors, well-intentioned but misinformed teachers, and parents diagnosing their children are all part of the complex system that drives the current practice of misdiagnosing and overmedicating children. The solution? Good, conscientious medicine that is careful, thorough and patient-centered.

Parents must be more careful with whom they entrust their child's mental healthcare. Doctors must take time to understand their pediatric patients better. And they must have the courage to deliver the bad news that sometimes a child's disruptive behavior is due not to a chemical imbalance but to poor parenting.

Special to The Washington Post

Elizabeth J. Roberts, a child and adolescent psychiatrist in California, is author of "Should You Medicate Your Child's Mind?" This essay appeared previously in The Washington Post.