November 21st, 2010
While nurses continue to serve billions of pharmaceutical chemicals to our patients to thwart heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and mental illness author Martha Rosenberg points out this one flaw in the money industry of Big Pharma – the drugs are a problem unto themselves. On the website AlterNet, 15 Dangerous Drugs Big Pharma Shoves Down Our Throats exposes what all nurses who give IV and Oral meds knows – the drugs we give create more problems for our patients. And in some cases, it’s what kills them prematurely. Let’s take one class of drug, the statins such as Lipitor and Crestor. We now know that statins create a condition of muscle wasting. In the elderly, that ‘s already a problem due to lack of exercise and nutritional inadequacies, but now we add more pronounced wasting and resultant aches and pains associated with it. What do we do? We get an PRN (as needed) analgesic with it’s own side effects. We get our elderly into a state of “poly pharmacy” whereby they take 8 to 15 different medications that all interact with each other.
Let’s take another example: Topomax, Lamictal and Lyrica. I have friends on Lyrica. Author Rosenberg points out, “Why would Americans take an epilepsy seizure drug for pain? The same reason they’ll take an antipsychotic for the blues and an antidepressant for knee pain: good consumer marketing. In August FDA ordered a warning for aseptic meningitis, or brain inflammation, on Lamictal — but it is still the darling of military and civilian doctors for unapproved pain and migraine. Lamictal also has the distinction of looting $51 million from Medicaid last year despite a generic existing.”
I have seen children prescribed psychotropics off label for behaviors attributed to mental illness but are essentially caused by either medical conditions or the ignorance of those that parent them. We are seeing children at earlier ages with elevated LDL levels. What’s the drug of choice? Statins. Obesity is rampant and we wonder why teens are depressed? We treat the depression, not the obesity or life styles that promote obesity. I think nurses should rethink the nursing models we operate from and look to really help our patients overcome the assault of mass media telling them that 1 in 5 people have a mental illness, that their obesity is not their fault, or ADHD is a real disease. It will take a revolution in nursing and an insistence for better outcomes for these patients.
August 19th, 2010
One of my friends has a great blog devoted to scientific facts that relate to psychosis and mania induced by environmental elements. Now if the psychiatrist really want to be experts and exert their erroneous chemical imbalance of the brain theory, here’s is where they can make some headway. (no pun intended)
Investigational mental illness.blogspot.com is a great resource on the ongoing evidence that your problem is in your brain BUT due to outside influences of known toxic substances and not neuro-chemical imbalances. Since that theory has never been proven and only hypothesized, we can pull out all the big pharma money and put it where it belongs - in the detoxification and removal of harmful chemicals from the human body. Get that - not adding harmful chemicals to your seven year olds brain but removing them. Maybe grandma is going off her rocker…she’s toxic! What if you have symptomless lead or arsenic poisoning in your system and you’re depressed. What do you think will happen if you are given another toxic chemical called Zoloft and it ab-reacts to those hidden toxins? You might get a little agitated instead of sedated. You might also put your liver over it’s limit and die. That fact is actually happening. So, visit the blog and get some education. Scientist are on the right trail here and many clinics are offering chelated IV therapy for removal of substances in your body. Take advantage of it. Also check out Orthomolecular Nutrition at their website.
August 14th, 2010
The UN has been contacted about the methods used by the Judge Rotenberg Center for their “treatment methods” to unresponsive children to regular therapy. The US Dept of Justice is also looking into their methods. What are those methods? Imagine putting an electrical stimulus device on your 5 year old. Whenever the 5 year old does something you don’t want them to do, it delivers a shock to their skin painful enough to deter them from the unwanted activity. Ouch, they won’t do that anymore, will they. Unfortunately, you’re talking about kids who have trouble controlling their compulsions to the point of being shocked up to 30 times a day. They wear these devices even in the shower and in bed. Over 30 Human Rights organizations have put their names on the document to the UN regarding what is equivalent to torture in my opinion. It’s not the only thing apparently they do to subvert unwanted behavior. They apparently lock them up for time out, restraints, and food deprivation. Seems psychiatry has not learned anything from their past. Punishing people for being mentally ill does not work. I reference the Industry of Death DVD from CCHR. I hope nurses and medical personnel decide NOT to participate in such things as obvious abuse tactics to other human beings. I only hope there are no nurses in this center or Nurse Practitioners who lend their professional techniques to abusive treatments. We do have a choice in what we do to for a living and there are many choices within nursing itself. We should boycott any such treatment.
July 31st, 2010
It has become apparent that the handling of kids who are unruly or annoying with drugs is the new standard in our society. Parents are reaching for the medicine cabinet and dosing little Annie with cough syrup, antihistamines, adult prescriptions, and street drugs to quell the menacing activity a 3 year old can imbue into the environment. This article from CNN highlights just how pervasive this concept has become. With the wholesale labeling of unruly behavior with bipolar disorder, depression, and ADHD the psychiatric industry has given permission to parents to seek drugs as an answer to unwanted behavior. Instead of learning HOW to handle your kids, it’s far easier to drug them to alter their behavior. In the old days, when I was young, discipline was stronger and we learned what behaviors were acceptable and which were not. I did not suffer from being whacked in the arse when I attempted to stick my finger into the light socket. I found the consequences of the abrupt spank more pro-survival than the 110 volt shock I was about to receive. When I could reason better, I figured out for myself why we don’t do such things with electricity.
Nurses who treat or counsel parents have a responsibility to enlighted them on better alternatives to help their children. It’s about their human rights not to be abused with chemicals that can alter their thinking and emotional reactions in life. Unfortunately, some children die from the drugs they are given. They don’t get the chance of living a full life. Ignorance and apathy take that away from them. What do you think?
June 10th, 2010
As more evidence comes forth, the mounting existence of environmental causes of ADHD symptoms should give us better ideas on treating our kids than with the harmful stimulants we offer them now. Researchers at the University of Montreal in Quebec have evidence that fruits and vegetables tainted with pesticides can undoubtedly cause symptoms attributable to the false label of ADHD, which is believed by psychiatry to be a chemical imbalance. Because there are no blood tests that can help a psychiatrist make such an absurd statement, or radiological study, to treat a child by over-stimulating them until they are calm with cocaine-like drugs because of a false idea does not take the responsibility of causing irreparable damage to young people’s nervous systems. Attorneys throughout the US and Canada are now finding success at litigating exposures to toxic chemicals upon individuals and I see that exposing children and the elderly to needless toxins called psych drugs is coming soon to a courtroom near you.
What also is alarming to find out is that 20% of high school kids are abusing drugs. That may not be surprising to people my age since we sort of started that fashion with marijuana and alcohol, the drugs the new generation is abusing are prescription drugs. Reporting earlier that Ritalin, Adderal, and Concerta have become the new gateway drugs for other drug use, we are finding that addictions and mis-use with these drugs are the drugs of choice now that so many students get mislabeled early in their school careers. School nurses need to be more effective in challenging the national trend of getting as many students on Learning Disability lists and “Exceptional Child” lists so their schools can enjoy the funds the Federal Government sends them to help with those kids. Legal Nurse Consultants should take up the banner and help their attorneys identify needles systemic drugging of children. Insist on testing them for toxins, heavy metal poisoning, and allergies before labeling with a chronic “disease” called ADHD. Let’s stop this madness.
September 27th, 2009
Are you comfortable knowing that the medications your doctors prescribe for you may be influenced by what they hear at a lecture or seminar weekend from a pharmaceutical company paid speaker instead of your doctor’s own research and critical reading of the testing results of that drug? Well, apparently, that is what is happening in many cases in the Broward County, FL area. I would not be surprised if it was a national trend. Actually, I know it is.
Bob LeMendola wrote a great article in the South Florida Sun Sentinel September 19th in which he describes how many of the MDs in his area are on the payroll for Big Pharma and are paid handsomely as consultants. It’s been a long standing practice for medical companies to sponsor speakers to talk about clinical advancements with new products and how best to achieve better outcomes for patients. I personally see nothing wrong in doing this type of education and product endorsement. As a matter of fact, I practice that in my current work environment. The standard I use to justify this type of education is “does it better significantly the outcome of the patient?” I want to know if that new embolectomy balloon really does clean out that artery better than the older types. Where’s the proof? How much testing was done and for how long? Any adverse effects with this style of balloon versus the older kind?
This, unfortunately, is not what pharmaceutical speakers hold as their thermometer. It is a fact pointed out on this blog and many others that our children are continuously assaulted by the newest ADHD drug or Depression drug of the day. Considering the science behind their assault is phoney and without evidence, as pointed about by Psychiatrist David Kaiser in the Psychiatric Times, you can expect your family doctor and your pediatrician to push drugs onto you and your family without really examining the evidence behind it. Just to illustrate what I’m saying, I know for a fact that young women, mostly single mothers, who are on the Medicaid Insurance system here in Florida are being offered anti-depressants and anti-anxiety prescriptions on about every visit to their Medicaid doctor. If you come into the office for an ulcer, you are offered anti-anxiety drugs. If you come in for chronic back pain, it’s an anti-depressant. Every senior in our nursing homes today has an added diagnosis of “anxiety” or “depression” onto their list of diseases they are being treated for. With no lab tests or radiographic confirmation that they have a mental illness or disease called mental illness. It’s one of the biggest scams in modern history and it’s being pushed onto the public without our knowing it. Tell me, fellow nurses, Legal Nurse Consultants, and healthcare providers, is this ethical?
June 7th, 2009
…and rightfully so. Ted Scouten, reporter for the local news in Fort Lauderdale, FL, CBS4, is getting concerns about Dr. Punjwani, the prescriber of multi-drugs to 7 year old Gabriel Myers before his self-hanging suicide. Another family steps forward to tell their story of their son, Emilio Villamar. Emilio was only 16 years old when he died of a heart attack brought on by the multiple psychiatric drugs he was prescribed by the now famous Dr. Punjwani. It is also reported that 13% of children in the DCF foster child system are on psychiatric drugs. 16% of those are being given drugs without parental consent. 13% of this population is higher than the national average of 4% being prescribed these mind-altering drugs. As doctors continue to prescribe many of these drugs off-label to children, we will have to question ourselves, as nurses, as to our support of this treatment. Again, I have to point to our Code of Ethics and any support to harmful practices. There are also many questions as to Full Informed Consent being given or not to these parents. We know that the children aren’t going to be given any information as to what they are putting in their mouths, trustingly, from the adults in charge of their care. But I implore my fellow nurses to push our Code of Ethics in this arena and question such use without Full Informed Consent and for God’s sake grow a backbone and say no if you think it’s harming these children. You’ll sleep better at night.
May 9th, 2009
At least according to the National Institute of Mental Health. That means 57.7 million people are “suffering” from a diagnosable mental “disorder” in any given year. They claim, per their statistics, that 6% of these are suffering from a “serious” mental illness. To further put that in perspective, my mother had 4 boys. One of us is mentally ill according to these statistics and probability. I think they would probably pick either my oldest or next youngest brothers because they are devoted Christians and this is considered a mental disorder according to the DSM IV. My mother is also a devoted Pentecostal, so it’s obviously genetic. It seems just believing in a Supreme Being is a “crazy notion” to some people and certainly a psychosis that can be “helped” by antipsychotic medication.
What is even more startling to me is that the NIMH says that mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada for ages 15 to 44. The World Health Organization says that mental illness accounts for more than 15% of the burden of disease in “established market economies”, such as the United States. Our welfare agencies are swarmed by people who are unable to function in their lives because of mental disorders. I would imagine they lump emotional disorders under mental illness, but I think these are different things from my observation.
I also learned recently that 31% of men and 33% of adult women are obese per the CDC. We know that obesity has contributing factors to health problems. There is a whole list of problems like cardiovascular, orthopedic, sleep apnea, and respiratory problems but mental illness was not mentioned in the report I read. It just made me wonder if clearly over 50% of our U.S. population was either mentally ill and disabled or obese and disabled. 50% of our population…makes me wonder how anything can get done productively at all. To me, these two identified national health problems are the easiest to fix. I will acknowledge that the 6% of the serious mentally ill might not be “curable” (I have a theory that they can), but at least the other 20% can be intervened with and brought to a higher level of functionality. I know for a FACT that obesity can be handled and done with enough actual resources that would solve the 30% of our nation of the “side effects” of diseases that come with obesity. As a matter of fact, it’s being done everyday in clinics around the U.S. Unfortunately, it is not the mainstream medical clinics that are having the most success. There are people getting relieved of their mental “illnesses” and living better lives. There are people handling their overweight issues and living healthy lives. My question is why hasn’t the U.S. government, FDA, or the NIMH looked at these cases as clinical evidence and said “let’s do this on a broad scale public health program”? That’s a question we really need to ask ourselves. What do you think?
April 26th, 2009
By now you have heard of the story of Gabriel Myers, 7 year old foster child in the Florida DCF placement home who committed suicide. He was obviously over-medicated with psychotropics and being given anti-psychotics when it’s not indicated. He had no evidence of schizophrenia. But according to one of the many psychiatrist, Dr. Punjwani, in the “huge group practice”, his justification is that it’s the pharmaceutical companies fault for not doing enough clinical trials on children (I summarized). I think this points to several treatment errors. The fact that a child might see several psychs in a “huge group practice” indicates the conveyor belt mentality you get with groups of physicians who don’t see the same patients or do the followup themselves when treating children with psychotropics. Not that this excuses them for using these drugs at all, but it’s an error waiting to happen as probably not one of the psychiatrist can tell you what Gabriel was on taking on the day he killed himself. Dr. Punjwani also points out that it is not illegal to prescribe drugs to children off-label and that the prescribing of these to young children is “routine”. Wow, that scares me. It’s like there is no acknowledgment that these are chemicals and that they adversely affect young children. Even with black box warnings on them. I smell the fragrance of arrogance when I hear these statements and the puffed out chest of MDs that are “board certified” to do whatever they think is for the good of their patients.
My heart breaks for this child and the many that are being subjected to this type of thinking. But I’m also concerned that NOT ONE NURSE OR NURSE PRACTITIONER has come forward to either condemn what is being done or complained about it, filed a report against, or championed the children’s Human Rights that are obviously being trampled on by the medical community agreeing with this practice. I cannot believe that this “huge group practice” does not employ office nurses, clinical experts with RN behind their names, ARNPs with Psychiatry as their specialty who did not see, recognize, or just plain cared enough to question this practice with Gabriel or any other child under this groups care. I’m floored with that thought. I can’t wrap my head around the idea that these nurses condone drugging children for behavior problems. It’s like they are intentionally ignoring the evidence that there is no evidence of chemical imbalance or biological reason for children’s behavior and that it has never been clinically evident that a child does better in life LONG TERM with drugs as therapy.
Without nurses being the champion and advocate for children in this arena, and standing up to bad practices such as poly-pharmacy in children with behavior issues, no child, including Gabriel, has a chance to living a life under their own volition and with their own sanity intact. Gabriel didn’t have a chance under the present DCF system.
January 10th, 2009
CBS News reports a trend in parents foregoing the routine and sometimes mandatory vaccination of their children. Mothers are citing their ” mistrust of the government, a mistrust of the pharmaceutical companies, and mistrust of the big blanket thing that says this is what everybody has to do”. More and more parents are saying “no” to routine MMR vaccinations and absolutely “NO” to the offer of Hepatitis vaccinations for their newborns. With the invention of vaccinations, lives were saved in whole communities from the ravages of common communicable diseases. Whole disease enitities like Polio were suddenly extinguished from the general population. So what happened?
It’s my belief that this trend is fueled by the failure of the FDA to protect the general public from harmful pharmaceuticals. Something created a situation that relaxed the availabillity of drugs with harmful side effects to proliferate through the society. It is more common to have a drug pulled from the general population AFTER there are a significant number of deaths reported then not approved by the FDA. It can be up to ten years after the use of the drug has done its harm before it’s pulled or given Black Box Warnings. How many of the mentally ill getting first generation antipsychotics and antidepressants would change their mind after developing EPS? Tardive Dyskinesia? Heart dysrhythmias? What happened to allow this trend of disbelief in pharmaceutical research and why did it happen at all? You have to read this book to find out: Side Effects: The Hidden Agenda of the Pharmceutical Drug Cartel by Present Time Books.
December 8th, 2008
An article by psychiatrist Dr. David Kaiser in the Psychiatric Times gives us a glimpse of the chasm that continues to widen between biological psychiatry and more humanistic psychiatry. It’s one thing for those of us outside the profession of psychiatry and psychology to point our fingers and say “something’s wrong”, but it can not be said clearer than from inside the family. There is plenty to debate in this field of endeavor since it’s so subjective to the observer and to date medical science has not been able to find it’s holy grail of evidence that aberrative mental states or inappropriate emotional distress comes from a physical source exclusive to the brain. We, in nursing or any other health field, do not have to answer the question of “what’s it coming from” to chose a therapeutic intervention that doesn’t harm temporarily or permanently the sufferers while we look for a conclusive, acceptable and workable answer. Here is one of the many quotes I’d like to bring to nurses in the psychiatric field to think with while they treat their patients:
“I am constantly amazed by how many patients who come to see me believe or want to believe that their difficulties are biologic and can be relieved by a pill. This is despite the fact that modern psychiatry has yet to convincingly prove the genetic/biologic cause of any single mental illness. However, this does not stop psychiatry from making essentially unproven claims that depression, bipolar illness, anxiety disorders, alcoholism and a host of other disorders are in fact primarily biologic and probably genetic in origin, and that it is only a matter of time until all this is proven. This kind of faith in science and progress is staggering, not to mention naive and perhaps delusional. ”
This organization, Nurses for Human Rights, is dedicated to changing the idea that treatment of patients in mental health requires chemical restraints, electroshock, deprivation in institutions, forced drugging or forced shock treatments, etc. Let’s follow the motto of our predecessors of “First, Do No Harm”. We are ingenious enough to come up with a better solution, even if it means to abandon the current model. But we first have to break from the mental chains of a false doctrine, that mental illness is biological. It both leads to more calamity for nurses and their patients and denies the possibility that man has a spiritual nature, that the mind is more that a brain and nerve network, and that mankind is limited to only being the effect of chemical reactions and wholly at the mercy of the environment. I don’t agree with that viewpoint, and never will.
December 5th, 2008
The American Journal of Nursing printed a great article in their Viewpoint section from Marcia Lynn Weiser, RN, CLNC, soon to be MS at USF. She writes that “Nurses shouldn’t rely on these drugs for residents with dementia”. With black box warnings about early death and the multiple side effects of psychotropics, we have to re-think the care of the elderly and how we manage restless or agitated seniors with or without dementia diagnosis. She rightfully questions the ordering of antipsychotics as a means to manage these patients since it has been shown to be largely ineffective for dementia and are “associated with falls and fractures.” She correctly sites the nurse to patient ratios as a reason for the increase use of antipsychotics to “manage” the restless and agitated dementia patient. I see this as very true being that I know many nurses in the LTC arena who are constantly supporting this viewpoint. And who gets “written up” when a patient falls or hurts themselves?
There’s a later article in the AJN December 2008 “In the News” section where they offer good ideas to better help manage dementia patients that don’t require drugs. Really, the art of Nursing is just such in this over-medicated world. We can be more creative in our care than to drug people into submission. We are only cutting their lifespans and the quality of life. It is their Human Right to live without being enslaved by mind-altering, sensory depriving drugs. They have a right to life, to not be enslaved by chemical restraints. Nurses, let’s protect their Human Rights and question the use for our patients.
November 30th, 2008
I found a disturbing report from Janne Larsson, investigative jounalist in Sweden. In 2005, the agencies reporting on unnatural deaths and suicide included parameters to detect what causation could be traced to psychiatric drugs. The results are both alarming and telling. 1255 people committed suicide in 2006 from their report. 71% of women and 48% of men during this time were recently or currently treated with some category of psychiatric drug. I am including the link here for my fellow Legal Nurse Consultants as this is a key action we can take when a family comes in suspecting an unexpected death was caused by the side effect of a medication. The media is reporting more and more that prescription meds are the culprit in unexpected deaths. More deaths are attributed to prescription medications than illegal street drugs. But, just as important, we nurses need to take a step back and ask ourselves are these drugs necessary for the high population we are giving them too? Is it really necessary to treat all children in the foster home programs for PTSD like they are doing in my home state of Florida? Is it safe to add an antipsychotic to children already taking meds for ADHD? It is my personal hope that the stellar nurses in the legal profession put their opinions in writing and band together to change our profession toward more humane mental health treatment. There are a lot of areas we can improve on in the nursing profession. I hope we improve on our right to voice our opinions on the topics that are exploding in the media today. We should be vocal, steadfast on our committments, and banded together collectively to make our intentions to have safe, clinically effective health care delivered to our patients.