Aside from the fact that this entire debate on PsychCentral got started when Dr. Bremner agreed with TIME magazine, and Grohol tried to “expose” Bremner based on a flimsy argument that there are really tons and tons of other “risk factors” of which we need to be aware when mass targeting women with DSM “diagnoses,” (mostly “risk factors” that apply to anyone and everyone if they have them, not just new moms), Dr. Grohol expects people to be convinced by his lame debating skills and attempts at distracting from all the issues. And aside from the fact that his entire argument for screening and The MOTHERS Act is that new moms are too stupid to realize that treament is out there for PPD, or too depressed to realize that they are depressed, he seems to be making this argument about him. It’s almost like it’s a contest in his mind between who is the smartest, Bremner or him. As if the issues in this debate over a potential federal law targeting mothers were really Bremner or Grohol, a couple of guys who will never have PPD or be a pregnant or nursing mother under a big brother spotlight. (Except that Grohol seems to promote anything pharma wants, and probably hopes to become a government funded entity helping to carry out the projects in the bill.)
All along attempting to comment on the blog has been met with condescending comments stating that we are not on topic, that’s not relevant, that’s not what I’m talking about, don’t talk about the players, don’t talk about forced treatment, and let’s not talk about side effects. He wants to talk about screening, as though a 10 question multiple choice test (or even 3 question test) justifies exposing a mom and her baby to toxic drugs. The entire theoretical concept of why drugs are given in the first place for mental “disorders” is ignored, so we’re supposed to make a logical leap that the treatments are irrelevant. The reverse logic that because I give you drugs and you feel better means that the emotion you had was a disease that the drugs cured is swept under the rug and kept all hush hush. Yet the sad part is that the very relevant logic that I give you drugs and then you flip out and shoot yourself, or that you can’t get off of them and then you wind up pregnant and your baby dies, is ignored as well.
As I have explained before, it is a fairly simple two-part phenomenon that would create a problem in terms of forced treatment were The MOTHERS Act to pass.
1) The paranoia of doctors and therapists not to let women slip through the cracks if a nationwide fear-mongering PPD advertising / screening campaign were initiated would lead to overzealous treatment of all sorts. Including forced treatment for those at “highest risk” or with the worst symptoms.
2) The adverse effects of drugs lead to forced hospitalization. When women go absolutely psychotic and suicidal after starting on drugs, if they are lucky they will make it long enough to ask for help. However this help will likely come in the form of being told to go to the emergency room, and forced treatment will ensue.
In addition, John Grohol continues talking about the screening being voluntary. This has not always been the goal, because it used to be that universal screening was the goal. Yet we are expected to forget what the “entities” have always wanted. Nor are we assured that women will indeed have a right to decline screenings without retaliation.
Assuming that women would only be given voluntary screenings, this does not justify the fact that the screening tools in existence are highly inaccurate and are considered unethical. If he does not believe it’s a problem to have mass screening, why does he also have no problem if the screening tool is one that is specifically designed to overdiagnose and misdiagnose women? The EPDS is the most common tool used for PPD screening. This tool triples the number of women diagnosed with PPD. And this is not a problem?
As I have also explained in the past, one third of pregnant women are exposed to psych drugs at some point during pregnancy. How could we possibly expect that there are women being missed out there who “need” treatment. Does 30% of pregnant women sound like too few and we seriously want to try to find some more women to put on drugs? What are we doing to our future?
It’s absurd and really sad that people act like screening is not going to lead to more treatment with drugs. It’s actually a desperate attempt to debate an imaginary point that doesn’t exist in the real world. In fact on the open letter to TIME posted on Katherine Stone’s blog, a letter signed by Grohol, it is emphasized that screening is not effective unless it is tied to follow up and treatment.
Psychologists and psychiatrists, OBs and family doctors are already told that medication for depression (whether in the form of antidepressants, antipsychotics, or mood stabilizers) should be thought of as crucial to help women, to prevent PPD etc. and that the benefits outweigh the risks. If you don’t believe that’s true, I simply suggest you read the comments on the MOTHERS Act promoters’ websites and how they minimize the risks of medications or try to convince others that meds are the way to go. The “It worked for me and my friends all swear by it” phenomenon. Perhaps this would fall under the “euphoria” side effect on the label, which is sometimes later followed by “paranoia, aggressive reaction, delusions, and illusions.”
John Grohol argues that we are trying to limit treatment choices for women. On the contrary, we feel that women should take whatever it is that they think they need, as long as they are fully informed. We’re not advocating for fewer choices, we are advocating for fewer lies. Our coalition opposes the widespread government-endorsed promotion of programs that lead to the use of more drugs.
We don’t think it’s a particularly great idea to sell a disorder for which the mainstay of treatment is deadly drugs (quite easier and cheaper, on some insurance plans, than lengthy psychotherapy sessions – if you believe that meds are safe and effective).
We are demanding that the government not do something to increase the risk to women and their children, but step back and instead look at the data on psychotropic drugs.
John Grohol refused to respond to the issue of forced treatment. He has also failed to mention side effects and keeps harping on the “it’s the choice of the mother” mantra. Yes, it is her choice. But it needs to be her informed choice.
He says he is for informed consent, but there is no assurance that informed consent will be given to women. In fact, it’s impossible unless the entities doling out screening and education are required to inform women completely. And as we can see from their PR campaign, they’re on more of an anti-information campaign than anything. They want to talk about PPD the disorder, we want to talk about the available treatments and ways to prevent women and children from suffering. The treatments that exist include psychotropic drugs. The word medication was in the bill last year. Psychotropic medications cause death and birth defects and have questionable efficacy at best.
If the government wants to promote a disorder and encourage the management / treatment of that disorder without the assurance that the treatment side effects will be disclosed (look for the words treatment, management, etc. in the bill) then yes, we have a serious problem with that.
John Grohol replied to me that my tone speaks volumes. Perhaps that’s because he condescends and refuses to address all the dead babies and moms committing suicide and homicide. This is the type of professional we expect to be “helping” mothers? One who is in utter denial of drug effects? Is he the role model for other psychologists or what? I would hate to think that if I were a new mother suffering and I was screened and told I was suffering from PPD, but I decided to just try psychotherapy, that I would possibly encounter someone who loves to promote drugs, yet is so incredibly ignorant (or deceptive as the case may be) about what could happen to me or my baby if I did later decide to take drugs because my therapist recommends them.
This is exactly why we need proper oversight added to this bill. Without oversight and informed consent, and assurance that the entities doling out the government-endorsed services and screening are free of conflicts of interest, we are just asking for moms to be sent to people like John Grohol, Katherine Stone, PSI, Perinatal Pro, etc., where they cannot seriously expect to get balanced information.
If the government expects complete information to be given out then we need to see what that complete information will be. We need the government allow an intial study by the public and scientists, free of pharma influence, on these treatment options, including a review of the MedWatch data and a review of all existing research (which means also looking for research that is not pharma-funded or conducted by pharma cronies) and submit a report to Congress and the public for review before passing anything into law.
I just have a few questions for Grohol:
Do you really believe that The MOTHERS Act is not a boon to the pharmaceutical industry?
Do you really believe that there will be no increase in pregnant and nursing women taking antidepressants and other drugs should it pass?
Do you really expect people to ignore the side effects of drugs in this debate, namely suicide, homicide, and infant death?