I am republishing this as an open letter, due to the highly likely possibility that it will not appear in Mothering Magazine ever…
Dear Peggy and others at Mothering Magazine,
I found it very disappointing when I received my Mothering Magazine today and learned the magazine seems to be promoting or condoning anti-psychotic drugs for psychosis, especially duiring breastfeeding. These drugs are the equivalent of a chemical lobotomy and the drug companies, FDA, and psychiatrists warn that mothers who use them should not breastfeed. Please visit http://www.moshersoteria.com/ and http://www.doctoryourself.com/ for information on treating psychosis with nutrition and other non-psychotropic drug-based, but empathetic methods.
I have visited the Thomas Hale web forum for lactation professionals and read many of the messages on the board. I do not believe that Dr. Hale would advocate using anti-psychotic drugs in a breastfeeding mother based on the information I have seen. I am extremely appalled that your magazine would imply that such a decision could ever be safe for the child. I thought I was just about the most enthusiastic advocate of breastfeeding that you could find until I encountered this insane attitude that breastfeeding should continue even with the presence of drugs like anti-psychotic drugs, which are probably the most physically dangerous drugs I can think of next to perhaps chemo.
The sad thing is, drugs like these only damage the brain and cause life-long problems, yet people who take them and go into “relapse” or experience adverse effects often mistake the drug’s effects for their underlying condition. See http://www.breggin.com/, especially the latest article on the spellbinding effects of psychiatric drugs.
On page 10 you stated that Bipolar Disorder is a chronic medical condition like diabetes or high blood pressure. But did you know that bipolar disorder has no objective method for diagnosis, and that it often arises as a reaction to SSRIs? Almost anyone can be diagnosed with it because the criteria are so broad and vague. There is no medical test that can tell you you have “bipolar disorder” and the criteria for diagnosis were voted on at a conference by a show of hands of psychiatrists.
The DSM itself grows each year, due to the fact that they have to have a numeric code to bill insurance for everything. The latest “disorder” to be added is DTD or developmental trauma disorder, used to describe children who were abused. How is this an example of something defective with the child, a chemical imbalance that is chronic, or anything biological? This is obviously the result of circumstances and not some mysterious brain defect or lesion or medical condition which a drug would treat.
Furthermore, your mention of multiple medical conditions that “explain” mental illness is an obvious and glaring contradiction. If you are going with the psychiatrist’s definition of “mental illness” then it would have to be something that is not explained by an underlying medical cause. Check the DSM criteria for diagnosis! Having an underlying medical condition precludes diagnosis with all categories of their disorders. If you ask any psychiatrist what is the medical cause of depression or psychosis, they will tell you they don’t know the origin of the “mental illnesses.” Therefore, promoting depression, psychosis, etc. as medical conditions is a major error and only perpetuates the advertising claims and popular misinformation so prevalent in society.
The reference to stigma is the classic pharmaceutical advertising scam used to play on our fears while perpetuating misinformation, shame, and depriving people of informed consent. When we refer to the difficulty people have admitting they have a problem they need treatment for, it very conveniently hides the problems with the mental health system and puts shame back on the people who are suffering. People assume that if you won’t go to a psychiatrist or talk about your problems, or voluntarily submit yourself to a locked ward, that you are in denial. However, as your articles did point out, there are multiple ways to address any underlying medical issues at play, and I was very glad to see those mentioned. I hope that people can find these alternatives helpful to them and not go down the road of anti-psychotic drugs while breastfeeding just because your magazine implied that it would be safe according to Hale.
The more we talk about “stigma” the more stigmatizing mental issues become. The people who are out here advocating for patient rights and informed consent do not “blame the victim” but rather we hope to empower them with information on the dangers of the “standard” methods of “treatment.” Some people simply cannot accept that anyone would decieve so many people purely for a profit.
There was no mention of the real cause of the killings perpetrated by Andrea Yates. It was not PPP but rather abrupt withdrawal from two very dangerous drugs, Effexor, and Haldol, that led to those murders. Yates had been taking beyond the maximum dose of Effexor in combination with Haldol, but due to the fact that this can be extremely physically dangerous her doctor stopped the Haldol and lowered the Effexor. It wasn’t the PPP that was responsible for the deaths of her children, it was the influence of psychiatric drugs making her so much worse in the first place, combined with the hellish withdrawal caused by such abrupt discontinuation.
All psychiatric medications are brain damaging and perpetuate problems and create new “mental illnesses” in addition to causing malfunctions in all of the body systems – ranging from liver damage to heart failure to thyroid and cholesterol problems, pituitary and breast cancers, even stillbirth and birth defects, genotoxicity, etc.
I also found it interesting that you mentioned that PPD was not evident before industrialism – this is so revealing! Yes, our society is messed up in many ways that leads to a lack of support, and that should be more evidence to you that these are not always medical conditions or mental illnesses caused by a mysterious chemical imbalance, but rather, many times, real symptoms of problems with our ways as a culture. It wasn’t until psychiatry began to invade the society, around the same time you mention, that people began to suddenly be plagued by so many psychological “disesases.”
Human behavior can be “abnormal” but as you rightly pointed out in your articles, there is sometimes a medical explanation. Depression and psychosis are not diseases, they are warning signs of either other physical illnesses such as nutrient problems, drug reactions, thyroid problems, etc. or else normal reactions to out-of-the-ordinary stressors. Emotions are often about events in our lives, so much more than chemicals.
Stress does take a toll on our bodies and brains, but if there is any chemical imbalance to be observed, it would not be treated effectively by psychiatric drugs.
To advocate drugs for psychosis and imply that they are appropriate for depression shows a complete lack of attention to the real and very widespread danger – the psychiatric drugs themselves – which have caused school shootings including Virginia Tech, workplace shootings, infanticide, murder-suicide, and likely SIDS and other permanent problems such as autism which might occur in an infant or young child exposed to the drugs.
“Benefits” of psychiatric drugs do not outweigh the risks. The drugs are ineffective and dangerous. Please visit http://www.ssristories.com/, http://www.drugawareness.org/, http://www.chaada.org/, and http://www.uniteforlife.org/ for more information as well.
In closing, I want to remind you of something you wrote about in a past issue. Women giving birth in hospitals had approximately a 67% (or higher?) rate of PPD or the “baby blues.” The rate was a fraction of that for out-of-hospital and home births.
I have found this to be true. My first baby was born in a hospital in a highly medicalized fashion and I was given many drugs, including several shots of epinephrine, which is known to cause mental disturbance. Thanks in large part to information from Mothering Magazine, my second baby was born at home.
After my first baby was born, medical intervention led to a life-threatening choking incident for him and severe anxiety for me, followed by a Zoloft prescription for “Post-Partum Anxiety.” I experienced many of the things that were mentioned in the PPP article, except that my reactions were mostly caused by drug adverse events. Once I got off Zoloft, I went back to being a normal person again. I have been on the other side, and seen the horrors that these drugs can do, and how horribly the “system” treats you when you are “diagnosed” with a mental illness.
For more than two years since that experience, I have researched the drugs and talked with dozens of people who have lost their loved ones to the drugs or other psychiatric interventions.
There is one woman in Australia who is being forcibly medicated (and has been so for 29 years) with anti-psychotic drugs by order of psychiatrists, because when she was a teenager a doctor force-medicated her with an “antidepressant” and she has experienced adverse reactions such as psychosis that were used to justify continued forced drugging. Despite numerous requests, petitions, appeals, et cetera, her father and advocates from around the world have been unable to convince psychiatrists to help her withdraw from the drugs. Instead they are attempting to commit her.
This is what I fear the most when I read articles that are simply unknowlingly promoting a pharmaceutical agenda. Innnocent people like the woman I mentioned above will be pulled into psychiatric “treatment” and a lifetime of drugs and more drugs, potential committment, and no doubt severely scarred lives. The author of your PPP article is fortunate that she was able to get a caring psychiatrist, and had the support and medical attention she needed from a variety of sources and disciplines to find a healthy alternative, wean from the meds, and recover from her psychosis.
In contrast, those living in poverty or without access to the best medical care are not so lucky. If a poor person is to receive benefits at all for mental illness, such as state benefits, they will only receive the standard bottom-rung treatment, which is to pile multiple drugs on them and get it paid for by the state. When this fails, they will probably wind up in prison or a locked ward or state hospital, yet more drugs will be administered with the pharmaceutical companies collecting the hefty paychecks.
Some people would even prefer that “mental illness” be culled out of society by eliminating it from the gene pool (and this would not be possible since we can’t prevent human suffering by trying to breed happy people). How sad that the ideas promoted as our “salvation” are the very basis of evil notions such as these. For examples of the less extreme scenarios, there is the quite legitimate fear that mental illness diagnoses or complications from drug treatment could lead to discrimination in the schools and the workplace, loss of parental rights, or committment. If more people are exposed to the dangerous psychiatric drugs, then this reality will befall more and more people as they become sicker and sicker.
Yet out of fear of what might come, doctors are quick to drug anyone who shows remote signs of depression or anxiety because they believe it is a true medical emergency that drugs be administered to “prevent” tragedies. Misinformation, advertising, and plain lies by the spin doctors have convinced many people that drugs prevent suicide, homicide, etc. But the opposite is actually true. The drugs cause symptoms to become much worse, and people lose touch with reality, and can even enter an REM sleepwalk state and commit mass murder while thinking they are having a nightmare.
It is not more health insurance or government benefits that we need for mental “health,” but more promotion of and benefits for wellness care from all of the “alternative” practices you mention in your articles. If you can consider that there are many movements to discredit the tremendous value of nutrition, vitamins, homeopaths, chiropractors, et cetera, perhaps you can see how this boils down.
The bottom line is that drug companies want more “mental health awareness” and more discrediting of alternatives. They want everyone to think about mental illness and then start to think they have some form of it. They want more people to take drugs for that “crisis” time in their lives, and more people to end up on them permanently.
I highly encourage you to publish a follow-up story about the dangers of prescription psychiatric drugs and the massive campaign to promote them, rather than allowing your magazine to be used as a gullible messenger from the drug companies to the health-oriented community you reach.
As I mentioned before, my second baby was born at home. As it turns out, with my first baby I had post-partum thyroiditis. My hyperthyroid state was not treated appropriately the first time, but the second time I knew I would have thyroiditis again, and I had my thyroid levels monitored. This time I haven’t suffered the scary psychotic features like I did because of adverse drug reactions to Zoloft the first time around. I did breastfeed my first son while on Zoloft for a few months, and nearly weaned him to take anti-psychotic drugs because Zoloft made me psychotic, and I did not realize that it was the fault of the Zoloft for several months. Once I did realize what the real problem was, rather than wean him, I weaned myself from Zoloft and continued breastfeeding. Today he is nearly 3 years old and still nursing.
I have lived the nightmare of having suicidal and homicidal urges because of prescription drugs, and I have found victory over the drugs and the psychosis they caused. I hope that more women out there who are on SSRIs or other prescription psychiatric drugs will get the information that they need to consider whether they can become healthy again by getting off of the drugs gradually and while under close supervision.
P.S. Several months ago, a thread of mine was deleted from the message board on Mothering.com. I had posted some information about the dangers of antidepressants, but apparently I was censored. After receiving such an insult, I was discouraged about the magazine & website. Today’s issue is further discouragement. I am anxiously awaiting the next issue, so I can distract myself with good things about the magazine again. I hope you’ll take all this information and alternate perspective into consideration and perhaps publish another perspective on psychosis.