Archive for March, 2008

Media perpetuates unscientific findings as fact…

Friday, March 21st, 2008

I often wonder how this pill of falsehood about chemical imbalances in the brain causes mental disorders gets swallowed by nurses. We so quickly accept ideas because they show up in medical journals. Not many of us even read the article in full. We’d rather read the summary or abstract and decide from there. We take such things as face value and don’t add our critical thinking skills to the mix. Nurses aren’t taught research methods unless you go on to a Masters and Doctorate program. Even then, the site’s of our critical thinking isn’t turned to substantiate findings from researchers.

From an article in, Jill Elish writes that this theory of chemical imbalance is being challenged at least in this one Florida University. She quotes Jeffrey Lacasse, an FSU doctoral candidate and Jonathon Leo, PhD in physiology and professor of neuroanatomy at Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee. I think the article should be considered by nurses and particularly psychiatric nurses. I give you one quote here and hope you read the article and rethink what we are doing to our mentally ill:

“The media’s presentation of the theory as fact is troublesome because it misrepresents the current status of the theory,” Lacasse said. “For instance, there are few scientists who will rise to its defense, and some prominent psychiatrists publicly acknowledge that the serotonin hypothesis is more metaphor than fact. As the current study documents, when asked for evidence, reporters were unable to cite peer-reviewed primary articles in support of the theory”.

Where is the science behind drugging millions of sufferers from depression and anxiety?



Informed consent on antipsychotics passes in New Jersey…

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Newsblog Pharmalot reports that New Jersey has passed an informed consent bill that requires any persons under 18 to be given full informed consent before being prescribed or administered psychotropic medications with black box warnings. You can view this bill in pdf here ( New Jersey’s Informed Consent Bill ) and also from the Pharmalot site.

This includes any nurse practitioner who prescribes a medication that has a black box warning and this bill makes them liable in a court of law should they not perform informed consent. This bill should be applauded by nurses everywhere and hopefully this trend will spread nationally. Physicians, psychologists and Nurse Practitioners will all be subject to disciplinary actions by their States Board of Nursing or Medical Board of Examiners.

Sign this petition and lets get this enacted across the US:

Massage or Zyprexa….which would you prefer?

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

Nice article from the Wall Stree Journal about massage therapy being used in lieu of antipsychotic medications on the elderly. It seems there is success in using alternatives to drugs on the elderly and it more aligns with what we nurses like to do for our patients. Hands on nursing is the most gratifying aspect of what we do. With a little training, we have license to put our hands on our geriatric patients and ease their pains and discomfort. For all we know, it’s these little nagging pains that exacerbates demenita or mental agitation. I’m just specualting here but what if we find out that human physical contact -massage, hugs, and touching - all contribute to our mental health? What if – we find out that touching and massage can “reset” the neurons and calm mental agitation? Sort of blows the chemical imbalance or brain abnormality theories out of the water, right? But what do I know…I’m just a nurse.

I’m one for statistics and evidence based outcomes. So, here is what I think about this:

“The results are startling. Nationwide, some 30% of nursing-home patients are put on antipsychotics, according to federal data, but Providence Rest has cut its own use down to 2% or 3%. That’s the lowest rate of any nursing home in New York, and among the lowest in the country, according to the New York Association of Homes & Services for the Aging.” WSJ

In Russia, Psychiatric treatment is punishment…

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

MSNBC reports that old habits are hard to break in Soviet Russia. Once upon a time Stalinist Russia used mental health facilities to detain, drug, and abuse government dissidents. This report says it’s happening again. What should be noted here by nurses is that after only a few months of treatment with antipsychotics, the victims sustain permanent neurologic damage. If psychiatry is truly a medical profession and follow an oath, why would they agree to do such things to a human being? The fact that psychiatry would agree to be a detaining point and involuntarily commit normal people who otherwise would not need treatment on the orders of a government is a human rights abuse issue. I haven’t heard any American Psychiatrist denounce this treatment or band together to protest. Why? Nurses, we need to protest and let our legislators know that we don’t agree that this is done on human rights issue numbers 3 and 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Exercise your political will. Sign this petition:

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