Inventor of ADHD confesses “ADHD is a prime example of a ficticious disease”. The APA turns the hoax Ïnternet Addiction Disorder” into a DSM billing bible diagnosis!
by John Breeding, PhD and Amy Philo
Working with others, we strive to alleviate distress and to support and enhance the personal growth, transformation, individuation, self-determination, and clear and expanded awareness of individuals. Necessity dictates that we also spend a lot of time challenging aspects of the mental health profession that do the opposite—creating more distress, suppressing growth and transformation, violating self-determination, and dulling and blinding awareness. We call it psychiatric oppression, the systematic, institutionalized mistreatment of those judged as “mentally ill.” This essay focuses especially on the ever expanding encroachment of psychiatric oppression to more and more of the population, and to individuals who are less and less in need of actual help. This encroachment takes the form of mass marketing for psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry. One key aspect of oppression theory is the claim to virtue. For psychiatric oppression that claim is the notion that mentally ill people need their treatment; its growing extension is the concept of prevention, that potentially mentally ill people need treatment as well!
The Regressive Progression: Treatment to Prevention
“An ounce of prevention is a pound of cure.” Like all great aphorisms, this one, often associated with Ben Franklin, holds wisdom and is partly true, based on assumption. In this case, one must assume the role of victim of unnecessary malady that necessitates a cure…and that there is a felt connection or empathic relatedness to the one who suffers malady. Where these assumptions are not met, the aphorism is false. To wit, for the giant corporation of Halliburton and its government and military operations group, or for the mercenary army of Blackwater, going to war is worth a great deal more than diplomacy.
This is the first in a series of articles to be republished on The Bitter Pill by Ashleigh Stewart, a scholar investigating the drugging of children and natural alternatives. This initial series is based on research conducted for her dissertation. You will be hearing much more from Ashleigh. Her bio and a link to her website are coming soon.
Investigating Attention Deficit Disorder
By ASHLEIGH STEWART
“Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.” (Kahlil Gibran, 1923)
As scientific as the name may sound ‘Attention Deficit Disorder’ and ‘Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder’ (AD/HD) are alleged and somewhat mysterious ‘diseases’ of which, despite numerous studies dedicated to investigating their cause, no convincing evidence of any brain malfunction or other biological or genetic abnormality has been discovered.
Despite the fact that the source of this ‘so-called’ disease is still vague, the symptoms that define AD/HD are prevalent and prominent, so much so that approximately 6 million children in America alone have been diagnosed with an attention deficit disorder and prescribed with psycho-stimulant drugs, such as ‘Methylphenidate’, otherwise known by it’s brand name ‘Ritalin’, as the primary method of treatment.
My question is what is AD/HD? Why are so many children being diagnosed with it these days, and what could be the real cause of it? Also, how much do we really know about the effects of stimulant drugs on our children? How will taking these drugs affect children’s lives physiologically, psychologically, emotionally and socially as they grow up? Also, what are the implications in terms of the future of the human race and our world if we keep drugging millions of our children with dangerous and highly addictive drugs?
Never in the history of our planet have so many children been put on psycho-stimulant drugs to alter their behaviour, emotions and sense of perception, to treat a disease that remains to be proven to exist.
As a mum of two children under the age of three, a student of Yoga and Metaphysical Science I feel it is my duty to investigate this alleged disease and examine what lies at the source of society’s ‘Attention Deficit Disorder’ and why so many children are being drugged. As a result, it has become my goal to help children reconnect with their true inner essence, to simply be who they were born to be before their human rights, freedom and innocence was stolen away and replaced with a diagnosis that labels them as being damaged and disordered, just because they do not act in ways certain adult ‘authoritarians’ believe to be appropriate.
It is my belief that in the very moment we label children as being disordered we influence they way they will see themselves, and define their future in less than positive ways as a result. Also, the moment we choose to drug our children is the moment we rob them of their essence, steal their spirit and dis-empower ourselves as parents by giving the responsibility of our children’s well-being over to the medications we give them.
Just why are so many parents willing to succumb to this type of drug-influenced upbringing for their children? I am certain that this was not part of their dream of parenthood while planning to have children!
Does this happen because children these days are misunderstood? Is it because they are evolving and no longer fit into the convenience of the ‘one size fits all’ society that we have become, a society which, on the other hand claims to celebrate diversity, liberty and freedom of expression?
Drugging our children is apparently a more convenient method of handling the challenges that come hand in hand with raising children, while we as adults struggle through the daily grind, and the task of managing the hustle and bustle of life in this fast-pace and competitive world. This whole situation is nothing short of tragic in my eyes, and if we do not begin to address the issue of mass drugging of children now, I fear we are paving a dark and gloomy path into tomorrow’s world.
We do have a choice however; we can keep allowing these things to happen to our children, or we can take responsibility for their well being by taking action and educating ourselves about the reality of the AD/HD diagnosis and the stimulant drugs that are used to treat it. It is crucial that we stop labelling and drugging children now!
**Photo By Tara Meeks Copyright Tara Meeks Photography, All Rights Reserved.
In reality, you cannot separate the need for the baby to be healthy and to survive from the mother’s mental state. How many mothers honestly do not worry that something could go wrong with their babies or do not feel responsible for protecting their children? How many women who lost children can go on day by day not feeling anything about that loss? Which antidepressant are you supposed to take to help with depression if you’re dealing with loss after your baby dies from an antidepressant?
Unlike Vogue Magazine or TIME, for some reason ABC has decided to promote more misinformation that will no doubt prove deadly for far too many babies, and possibly mothers too. Read on to find out more…
You may have read a couple of posts I recently wrote (see: here – AMA Review: Antidepressants Pose Significant Risk of Serious Harm to Babies and here – ABC Story on ACOG Release Refers Readers to momsandmeds.com and CHAADA) after I was contacted for a possible story on TV by an ABC producer regarding the ACOG / APA guidelines on antidepressants and pregnancy.
As I wrote in those articles, I had sent numerous emails to the producer with various studies and analyses including not only the conflicts of interest (the conflicts document was so extensive that it took up about 20 pages or so in Word and I didn’t even look up all the names) among the researchers either writing or cited in the report, but also a comparison of the difference between the ABC article they published, and the actual report issued by the ACOG and APA.
I don’t expect that I’ll be hearing much back from them, but the reason I am writing this is not because I really wanted to be on TV (far from it) but because it just makes me horrified that the media can take something that says there is evidence of harm to babies (to quote the ACOG release, “[T]he use of antidepressant medications during pregnancy have been associated with negative consequences for the newborn…some studies have linked fetal malformations, cardiac defects, pulmonary hypertension, and reduced birth weight to antidepressant use during pregnancy.”) and twist it around by quoting “experts” with fancy titles who are willing to say that “the jury is still out” on whether antidepressants can hurt babies. The proposition is that it’s the depression that causes the birth defects, not the drugs.
The ACOG report clearly says that there is evidence of harm – but unfortunately when you watch the videos put out or read the articles on the ABCnews.com website you won’t know that unless you look further.
Just think about cases in which mothers who lose babies to antidepressants or have babies with severe birth defects linked to antidepressants go on to have more children off of antidepressants, without further problems in the babies. Julie Edgington is one example (out of 5 children, only one baby had problems and it was the one exposed to Paxil, Manie, her 4th), Kelly S., who lost her baby to a Paxil heart defect, is another. I was myself told that I shouldn’t have more kids because I would risk severe PPD. I had nothing of the sort. Toby is one of the healthiest kids I’ve seen. I know I am not the best example because I wasn’t actually depressed during pregnancy (was never depressed except for when I was taking Zoloft while nursing), but it just goes to show that there is no conscience regarding the harm coming to babies from these drugs. I was told to stay on Zoloft if I ever did want to have another baby. I am so thankful that Toby is drug-free and healthy.
I honestly do not know how these people can live with themselves.
A great example of what the public sees if they are not up on the latest information, but just passively receiving news bytes, is the ABC piece that just came out which covers Heather Armstrong’s story and states that there is no convincing proof that antidepressants cause harm to the baby. In it Heather tells ABC that she went off her meds during her last pregnancy but experienced panic attacks, and then later, suicidal thoughts after her baby was born, so she decided to stay on it during this recent pregnancy.
1) Of course when you go off antidepressants you can experience panic attacks or even suicidal thoughts – it’s called withdrawal. Been there, done that. For me the withdrawal was way worse than being on the drug at a stable dose, but once I got off of the drug and had time for it to clear out of my system I felt so much better.
Even if you were suicidally depressed before ever taking antidepressants, that does not mean that antidepressants will cure the suicidal thoughts, nor does it mean that you cannot find safe and effective alternatives (link to postpartum nutrition / orthomolecular medicine article). (See also: Preventing & Treating Emotional Problems and a post about counseling and self help.)
Perhaps Prozac really helped Heather feel better mentally but that does not justify what could have happened to the baby. During her last pregnancy she says that she had panic attacks. I think I’ll take panic attacks over my baby dying. It wasn’t even until after her baby was born that she says she had suicidal thoughts. So, were those a result of a drug withdrawal, or did she have a hormonal imbalance after birth of estrogen or thyroid that so many women have? I can’t claim to know what caused Heather Armstrong’s depression after her birth of her first child, but I can guarantee that it was not a Prozac deficiency and that there are safe treatments available. However it still makes no sense to me why having PPD would lead someone to consciously decide to take drugs during a subsequent pregnancy. If you had PPD before, then by all means if you are going to take drugs for PPD, do so after the baby is born and don’t do it while nursing. The time it takes you to get your placebo effect should be well worth it considering the peace of mind and increased safety for the baby.
In my opinion the reason women do this sort of thing stems from the misinformation fed to them by their doctors or other people in the public doing the off label marketing spin. Off-label marketing, or promoting psychiatric drugs to pregnant women (no psychiatric drug is FDA approved for pregnancy), by the way, is currently illegal, but the drug companies usually find ways to get others to do it for them. That’s more than I can say for Pfizer’s criminal behavior with the illegal marketing of Geodon and Lyrica.
2) Just because Heather Armstrong’s baby was born without complications (and she had an unmedicated birth if I am not mistaken) does not mean that the drugs are safe. Nor does it mean that whatever drug she is feeding her daughter in her breast milk is safe for the baby. I am so thankful that her daughter is ok so far, because no baby deserves to suffer from these drugs and I truly hope that she continues to be ok.
But this does not excuse pushing drugs on the entire country with misleading information from conflicted “researchers.”
Here is what you will probably not see on ABC any time soon:
(I hope ABC will prove me wrong, but so far no such luck)
Look at these devastating photos and ask yourself if it is really worth it to expose your baby to something that can cause a birth defect like this, when there is no taking back the exposure. I lived through suicidal and homicidal thoughts for four months because of Zoloft and I would not want to live through that again, but I would rather go through it (drug-induced or not) a hundred more times rather than have to live through losing a baby or having a baby born with a severe birth defect.
Everyone is bound to go through sad times, depression, grief and despair at some point in their lives but that does not mean that the entire human population suffers from serotonin deficiencies (when in reality serotonin excess is what leads to problems in the first place) or “chemical imbalances.”
I enjoy occasionally drinking wine or mixed drinks, but that doesn’t mean that because I feel relaxed while drinking alcohol, that I should drink when pregnant or that I suffer from an alcohol imbalance.
Women deserve to know the truth about what can happen with these drugs. They deserve to get the truth about what is causing their emotional problems (not some sales tactic like attributing it to an unproven, unprovable chemical imbalance) and how to safely deal with them with “alternative” medicine, orthomolecular medicine, proven hormone therapy, counseling, etc. They deserve support and understanding and compassion. They do not deserve to be fed deadly lies. But mostly, their babies deserve for the mothers to know.
ABC quotes doctors who say you cannot separate the health of the child from the health of the pregnant mother. This is an illogical catch phrase that they use in order to try and make us feel guilty for insisting on drug free options because some women obviously already take antidepressants and find it impossible to stop (again, this is caused by horrific withdrawal and the drug companies seem fine with that). Try and think about what this really means. They are saying that the mother’s mental health cannot be ignored during pregnancy because doing so hurts the baby. They are saying depression is more dangerous than drugs to the baby. Aside from the fact that this is clearly untrue, and that antidepressants do not reduce birth defects, but rather, increase them, think about whether you have ever been sad during pregnancy. Does feeling sad during pregnancy or being depressed cause PPHN, cardiac defects, the lack of a forebrain, and stillbirth? Or do toxic drugs with mystery chemicals that dangerously elevate serotonin and affect the organ development of babies cause these problems?
Something most people don’t know is that Fen-phen which was taken off the market for heart and lung-related deaths is actually a serotonergic drug which was a chemical mirror image of an SSRI. As I have said repeatedly and will say again, when you have drugs leading to heart problems and PPH in adults, how could they possibly not hurt babies the same way or worse?
Even after considering the fact that antidepressants actually cause depression and suicide, and work about as well as a placebo, this catch phrase makes about as much sense to me as saying that a mom who is addicted to crack, or drinks 5 coffees a day, or smokes, or is an alcoholic, should be told to keep doing those things if it eases her anxiety or fatigue while pregnant. Or about as much sense as telling women to go take Thalidomide because we’re not really sure that Thalidomide causes problems and it was probably actually the morning sickness causing the birth defects and not the Thalidomide. The jury is still out on whether swallowing RAID or drinking bleach while pregnant is bad for your baby. Perhaps working in a nuclear plant or handling plutonium should be considered safe for pregnant women too.
In reality, you cannot separate the need for the baby to be healthy and to survive from the mother’s mental state. How many mothers honestly do not worry that something could go wrong with their babies or do not feel responsible for protecting their children? How many women who lost children can go on day by day not feeling anything about that loss? Which antidepressant are you supposed to take to help with depression if you’re dealing with loss after your baby dies from an antidepressant?
Stop lying to women about what are confirmed, known risks.
If the jury were still out, the FDA would not be issuing warnings like:
“Infants born to mothers who took SSRIs after the 20th week of pregnancy were 6 times more likely to have persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) than infants born to mothers who did not take antidepressants during pregnancy.”
See more FDA MedWatch Data here: http://www.cchrint.org/psychdrugdangers/MothersAct.html
I can only hope that every person responsible for off-label marketing will be held accountable in some way. I am no expert in FDA or criminal law, but when you essentially have money laundering taking place – drug companies giving donations to organizations, who then promote drugs through their own organizations via blogs, press releases, and speeches, it would seem that either the drug companies, or the individuals doing the marketing should be held to account for the off label promotions.
Warnings/Studies Showing Risks Associated with Antidepressants and Pregnant Women or New Mothers:
There is ample evidence to support the risks associated with placing pregnant women or new mothers on antidepressant drugs:
- September 7, 2005: The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration issued an information sheet to health professionals warning that SSRI antidepressant use—especially Paxil—in early pregnancy could cause congenital [defect at birth] heart abnormalities in newborns.[i]
- September 27, 2005: The FDA and GlaxoSmithKline issued a warning that pregnant women taking Paxil or other antidepressants during their first trimester of pregnancy, placed their newborns at increased risk of major congenital and cardiovascular [heart] malformations at birth.[ii]
- February 9, 2006: The New England Journal of Medicine found that mothers who took SSRI antidepressants in the second half of their pregnancies were 6 times more likely to give birth to infants with a lung disorder called persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN). The condition occurs when a newborn’s circulation system does not adapt to breathing outside the womb and causes high pressure in the blood vessels of the lungs making them unable to get enough oxygen into their bloodstream and can be fatal. Between 10% and 20% of infants with PPHN would die even if they receive treatment.[iii]
- March 10, 2006: Based on the New England Journal of Medicine study, Health Canada issued a warning that SSRI antidepressants and other newer antidepressants when taken by pregnant women placed newborns at risk of developing the rare lung condition; persistent pulmonary hypertension or PPHN.[iv]
- April 7, 2006: A Canadian study from the University of Ottawa published by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, found pregnant women who used SSRI antidepressants were more likely to have premature and low birth weight babies.[v]
- June 2006: An Archives of General Psychiatry study found women who take antidepressants during pregnancy at risk of giving birth to children with respiratory problems.[vi]
- July 19, 2006: The FDA warned of the risk of a fatal lung condition in newborns whose mothers took SSRIs during pregnancy. The agency added it was seeking more information about persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns from the drugs. It asked drug makers to list the potential risk on their drug labels.[vii]
- November 2006: The journal Epidemiology published a study entitled “Maternal Use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Risk of Congenital Malformations.” Researchers did the study from Aarhus University. It found that pregnant women who take SSRI antidepressants are more likely to have babies with birth defects than mothers who don’t take these drugs.[viii]
- August 2007: The American Journal of Psychiatry published a study that determined that antidepressant use during pregnancy was associated with premature births.[ix]
- September 18, 2007: A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine of nearly 500,000 women by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center found that nearly 50% of women taking a prescription drug that could cause birth defects did not receive warnings to avoid pregnancy.
- Moreover, experts say the seriousness of a life-threatening lung disorder found six times more often in infants born to mothers who take antidepressants during pregnancy is not being adequately conveyed to women while they are considering whether to use the drugs.[x]
- The Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR) states: “Like many other drugs, paroxetine [chemical name for the antidepressant Paxil] is secreted in human milk, and caution should be exercised when Paxil…is administered to a nursing woman.”
Selected SSRI Antidepressant Studies/Warnings on Suicide Since 2001:
- March 22, 2004: The FDA warned that SSRIs could cause “anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia [severe restlessness], hypomania [abnormal excitement] and mania [psychosis characterized by exalted feelings, delusions of grandeur].”
- February 18, 2005: A study conducted at the Ottawa Health Research Institute and published in the British Medical Journal determined that adults taking SSRI antidepressants were more than twice as likely to attempt suicide as patients given placebo.[xi]
- June 30, 2005: The FDA issued a Public Health Advisory entitled “Suicidality in Adults Being Treated with Antidepressant Medications,” that there could be an increased risk of suicidal behavior in adults taking antidepressants. It recommended that physicians monitor adults who took antidepressants for suicidal tendencies.[xii]
- August 4, 2005: The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration published an Adverse Drug Reactions Bulletin reporting evidence supporting an association between SSRI use and “new onset of suicidality” in adults.[xiii]
[i] “Information for health professionals concerning the use of SSRI antidepressants in pregnant women,” Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration,” 7 Sept. 2005.[ii] “Important Prescribing Information,” Letter to healthcare professionals by GlaxoSmithKline, Sept. 2005; Miranda Hitti, “New Study Links Paxil to Twice as Many Birth Defects as Other Antidepressants,” WebMD Medical News, 27 Sept. 2005.[iii] Christina D. Chambers, Ph.D., M.P.H., Sonia Hernandez-Diaz, M.D., Dr.P.H., Linda J. Van Marter, M.D., M.P.H., Martha M. Werler, Sc.D., Carol Louik, Sc.D., Kenneth Lyons Jones, M.D., and Allen A. Mitchell, M.D., “Selective Serotonin-Reuptake Inhibitors and Risk of Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn,” New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 354, 2006, pp. 579-587.
[iv] Health Canada Advisory, “Newer antidepressants linked to serious lung disorder in newborns,” 10 Mar. 2006.
[v] Andre Pickard, “Prozac-type drugs increase birth risks, study finds,” Globe and Mail, 4 June 2006.
[vi] Tim F. Oberlander, M.D., FRCPC; William Warburton, Ph.D.; Shaila Misri, M.D., FRCPC; Jaafar Aghajanian, B.Sc.; Clyde Hertzman, M.Sc., M.D., FRCPC, “Neonatal Outcomes After Prenatal Exposure to Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Antidepressants and Maternal Depression Using Population-Based Linked Health Data, Archives of General Psychiatry, Vol. 63, 2006, pp. 898-906.
[vii] “Antidepressants should list new risks: FDA,” Reuters, 19 July 2006.
[viii] Wogelius, Pia, Nørgaard, Mette, Gislum, Mette, Pedersen, Lars, Munk, Estrid, et.al. “Maternal Use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Risk of Congenital Malformations,” Epidemiology, Vol. 17, No. 6, Nov. 2006.
[ix] Rita Suri, M.D., Lori Altshuler, M.D., Gerhard Hellemann, Ph.D., Vivien K. Burt, M.D., Ph.D., Ana Aquino, B.S., Jim Mintz, Ph.D., “Effects of Antenatal Depression and Antidepressant Treatment on Gestational Age at Birth and Risk of Preterm Birth,” American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 164, Aug. 2007, pp. 1206-1213.
[x] Evelyn Pringle, “Women not warned about SSRI-related lung birth defect,” Countercurrents.org, 2 October 2007.
[xi] “Drugs Raise Risk of Suicide; Analysis of Data Adds to Concerns on Antidepressants,” The Washington Post, 18 Feb. 2005.
[xii] “Suicidality in Adults Being Treated with Antidepressant Medications,” FDA Public Health Advisory, 30 June 2004.
[xiii] “Suicidality with SSRIs: adults and children,” The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Adverse Drug Reactions Bulletin, Vol 24, No. 4, Aug. 2005, p. 14.
Antidepressants For Women of Childbearing Age
(What Big Pharma Wants)
Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD
Director of the National Foundation, March of Dimes, West Michigan Birth Defects Clinic, 1965-1975
Author: The ADHD Fraud
In the Women Speak blog from Obstetrician-Gynecologist, Dr. Tameeka Law of the Medical University of South Carolina, (MUSC), addresses the question: ‘Can I Continue to Take Antidepressants in Pregnancy?’ http://tinyurl.com/mlyjqc
Dr. Law’s first obligation, like that of every prescribing physician involved in the care of women-of-reproductive-age is to the physical-medical health and well-being of possibly-pregnant, pregnant, or just-delivered women, whether nursing or not, as well as to the embyo, fetus or baby in the equation.
And yet we find Dr. Law espousing views about psychiatry and psychiatric drugs not consistent with her Hippocratic obligation to assure the physical-medical well-being of the patient or patients—mother and embryo, fetus or child.
Consider at the start that Dr. Law and I, and all physicians, regardless of what specialty we enter—go to medical school for 4 years, study all thing normal (biological chemistry, anatomy and physiology) all things abnormal (pathology, diseases) and, in their clinic years, how to tell those who are normal, disease-free, from those who are abnormal—diseased. The other thing we learn going through medical school is that there are no physical abnormalities-diseases in psychology and psychiatry. There is no such thing as a mental, psychological, psychiatric ‘disease.’ But this is not the impression one gets today as the almighty pharmaceutical industry (big pharma) with its bought-and paid for control over psychiatry, the entire medical profession and its medical schools and faculties insists, commands that all things emotional, behavioral, psychologic and psychiatric be called diseases or chemical imbalances so the public will see no logic but to forego “strength of character,” ‘pulling oneself up by the bootstraps,” love, talk therapy, etc, and commit to the drugs, pills, and ‘chemical balancers’ for ‘chemical imbalances’ of the brain they are, drum-beat, told they have (by virtually all of their physicians, joining the making “patients” of normals) and have come to believe they have.
And now, back to Dr. Law and the pregnant mother’s question “Can I continue to take Antidepressants in Pregnancy?”
Having said “depression affects 10 to 15% of pregnant women (how many million in this ‘epidemic’?) Dr. Law admits depression’s symptoms are “difficult to differentiate from normal changes of pregnancy.” In fact depression is a blue, dark, or melancholy mood to which all human beings are subject, from which virtually all emerge. Appropriately, Dr. Law lists the psycho-social factors that can lead to depression but claims that depression alone, as if a disease, “is associated with an increase in such negative physical outcomes of pregnancy as prematurity, low birth weight, and poor fetal growth.” Has Dr. Law been ‘bought,’ influenced? Has her department? Medical school? Is she stacking the deck in favor of antidepressants, in favor of the psychiatry-big pharma cartel—the biggest drug cartel of all time?
Next, ignoring the well-known physical-medical reproductive risks of SSRI antidepressants, Dr. Law says “overall antidepressants are safe to use during pregnancy” (for mother, developing embryo, or fetus) or while breastfeeding (for mother and nursing infant) and their use has not been shown to cause birth defects” Quite a blanket exoneration—this.
As if a salesman, Dr. Law continues to minimize the well-established, well-known risks of SSRI antidepressants for all women of child-bearing age. She continues: “… approximately 1 in 10 women will have major or minor depression sometime during pregnancy and the postpartum period.” Again, a target population of millions as is the well-worn strategy of “biological” psychiatry.
Contrary to glowing assessment of Dr. Law, numerous studies have shown that exposure to SSRIs late in pregnancy has been associated with complications in newborns that include jitteriness, seizures, respiratory distress, rapid respirations, weak cry, poor muscle tone, and an increased rate admission to the neonatal intensive care unit (meaning, in essence that their life is in the balance). Further, the use of Paxil (paroxetine-Prozac like) during the first trimester of pregnancy has been associated with an increased risk of congenital heart malformations leading the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a public health advisory and require the manufacturer to change its pregnancy category from “C” to “D” meaning the drug has been found to be harmful to human fetuses (refers to the unborn from weeks 7-9 of pregnancy to delivery)
We begin to get a different picture than that painted Dr. Law for the pregnant women of South Carolina. The mother’s symptoms from SSRIs antidepressants can include insomnia, rashes, headaches, joint and muscle pain, stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea; reduced blood clotting increasing the risk for stomach or uterine bleeding; diminished sexual interest, desire, performance, and satisfaction, and, finally, the increased risk that antidepressants will incite violent or self-destructive actions (toward any and all present–family members, the embryo, fetus or newborn). When compared with a sugar pill, a.k.a. placebo, all antidepressants, including SSRIs, seem to double the risk of suicidal thinking, from 1%–2% to 2%–4%, in both children and adults.
And what of this? With all these side effects, SSRI antidepressants are no more effective that the sugar pill-placebo in curing depression.
In December, 2006, pro-psycho-pharmaceutical drugging statement, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said to the women of child-bearing age of America that decisions about depression treatment should involve the obstetrician and the mental health clinician (MFCC? Psychologist? Social Worker?) along with the patient, ideally prior to pregnancy. However, the ACOG recognized the inconvenient truth that “because approximately 50% of pregnancies are unplanned, preconception planning for women with depression will not always be feasible, and treatment decisions about SSRIs will undoubtedly occur during pregnancy,” i.e., after mother and the already-conceived, embryo, fetus, child-to-be has been intoxicated, poisoned by the antidepressant which is not known to target a defined abnormality/disease, not in anyone.
Given the facts above, we have every reason to believe nothing would be better than to return to the un-perverted medical science and ethics of the 1960s and 1970s, which would dictate that there being no such thing as a psychiatric disease, there is no such thing as an essential psychiatric drug, especially not for women who are pregnant or could possibly be.
There is no group or classification of psychiatric drugs proved to be without physical-medical risk, short-term or long, to the embryo, fetus, newborn, nursing newborn, nursing infant, or nursing toddler and, for that matter there is no group or classification of psychiatric drugs known to be without physical-medical risk, short-term or long- for their mother or father or for any member of the human race. Look at the rates of Sudden Cardiac deaths with antidepressants (Whang, et al, 2009), Ritalin and all ADHD psychostimulants (Gould et al, 2009), and antipsychotics (Ray et al, 2009). After all they are exogenous compounds, foreign to the body, with no abnormality to make normal, no abnormality to make less abnormal. They are, like all drugs—poisons.
What’s more all physicians, especially those at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists know this. But knowing this their industry economic ties are such that they, like Dr. Law, can no longer speak the truth, not even to their patients: mothers who will give birth to children—healthy and whole or defective, deformed, subnormal, who–whichever they are–that parent will have to care for all of their life.
To restore both the scientific basis of its medical practice and its conscience the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists should immediately acknowledge there is no such thing as a psychiatric ‘disease’ or an essential psychiatric drugs and immediately re-write its ACOG’s Committee Opinion #354, “Treatment with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors During Pregnancy,” published in the December 2006 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, to read “the best possible, psycho-social-familial management should be assured in every case, eschewing all non-essential (including all psychotropic medications) medications.
Grieving Mother Christian Delahunty Warns Others About Effexor During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
by Amy Philo
“Please I beg you to learn more. Learn everything you can while there is time… Drugs, whether legal or illegal, should not be used during these most precious months of creation.”
April 2, 2009 — Christian Delahunty of Utah believes Effexor is to blame for the death of her six-week-old daughter Indiana, who passed away last September. Given the overwhelming evidence on the toxicity of Effexor and other psychotropic drugs for adults, children, and babies, it seems to be the obvious cause. But in the minds of those responsible for pushing Effexor on Christian and similar drugs down the throats of pregnant women across America, it may be “impossible” to prove that’s the case.
It is only with that mindset of denial, or simple ignorance, that anyone could possibly justify pushing for the passage of the federal legislation called “The MOTHERS Act,” that will increase the number of pregnant women and new mothers taking psychotropic drugs.
Following the birth of her son Anaid in 2001, Christian first started taking antidepressants around six months postpartum – but primarily for stress, fatigue, and trouble coping with her mother’s death. Eventually Christian settled on Effexor because it gave her the most energy. She says she felt medication was her only option because nearly everyone in her family, from aunts to her mother, had been on some kind of antidepressant and she believed that she probably suffered from some sort of hereditary chemical deficiency.
Although Christian had three children – Gavin, Ayla and Anaid, she knew her mother would have wanted more grandchildren. In 2004, she added another baby, Jake, to her family. During that pregnancy Christian switched from Effexor to Zoloft, a milder antidepressant, at her doctor’s recommendation, but went back on Effexor after she finished nursing.
In 2007 Christian approached a new family doctor about whether she should switch back to Zoloft because she wanted one more baby. She was taking 300 mg of Effexor XR (extended release). But the doctor told her, “Oh no, you and the baby will be fine. There are no studies that prove that the Effexor is even transferred to the baby in utero or in the breast milk.”
During her last pregnancy, Christian had developed gestational diabetes (a known effect of antidepressants), went into premature labor two months early (another effect of Effexor), and had to be put on bed rest. She delivered baby Indiana a few weeks early, one month before the due date (37 weeks is considered full term and 38-42 is a normal length for a pregnancy).
When Christian found out that the doctors planned to break her water rather than try to stop contractions, she says that she told her husband, “Matt you’ve got to grab me my Effexor.”
The attending doctor abruptly reacted with, “What?!”
This doctor, who worked with Christian’s regular OBGYN, explained to Christian and Matt that he had delivered many Effexor babies and had seen a lot of problems. “It’s not good for the baby and it needed to be stopped in the first trimester,” he said.
Next he called and warned the NICU to get ready because an Effexor baby was coming.
When Indiana was born she had trouble breathing, scored low on her APGARs, and wouldn’t cry. Christian says she was floppy, excessively sleepy and nearly impossible to feed, and states:
“She was just a really sleepy baby and wouldn’t eat. She would eat for maybe ten minutes and fall asleep. To try and nurse her was extremely difficult. In the NICU they would have to shove a bottle into her mouth just to get her to have a little bit. I would have to wake her up to eat because she would go for too long and she was having problems with keeping her food down anyway. I would burp her and she would usually throw up most of what she would eat and I would try the other side.”
Indiana spent a while in the NICU during the hospital stay and had to be on oxygen and have an IV. She was also in and out of the hospital and doctor’s office after they got to go home. Indiana had jaundice and had to be checked for bilirubin levels four different times. She had been losing a lot of weight so she also had to go in for numerous growth checkups.
Christian says she had to work really hard to wake Indiana from a deep sleep for almost every feeding and that she had to wake her up to switch sides. Her excessive sleepiness never improved, even by five weeks of age.
On September 7, 2008 Christian nursed Indiana at 8 am and then put her down for a nap. Christian went back in to wake her up at 10 and found she was not breathing.
Indiana was rushed to Children’s Hospital by paramedics. The staff was finally able to revive her after 45 minutes and she spent the next five days on life support. But it was too late. MRIs showed Indiana’s brain had badly deteriorated and the family had to let her go. She died on September 13 at six weeks of age.
As reported by Vera Sharav, “In April, 2004, the National Toxicology Program – Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (NTP-CERHR) panel issued a Report after examining all the available published evidence about infants exposed to an antidepressant in utero and / or breast fed by mothers taking an antidepressant.”
Sharav continued, “The NTP-CERHR expert panel found reason for concern:
Late pregnancy exposures were associated with increased incidence of prematurity, reduced birth weight and length at full term, and poorer neonatal condition characterized by admission to special care nursery and adaptation problems (e.g., jitteriness, tachypnea, hypoglycemia, hypothermia, poor tone, respiratory distress, weak or absent cry, or desaturation on feeding).
“The authors concluded that the observed effects are specific to SRI exposure rather than underlying maternal depression.”
This report, titled “The REPRODUCTIVE and DEVELOPMENTAL TOXICITY of FLUOXETINE”, was originally available at http://cerhr.niehs.nih.gov/news/fluoxetine/fluoxetine_final.pdf.
As if the conclusions of the report were not bad enough, various studies demonstrate that antidepressants double spontaneous abortions and stillbirths and quintuple preterm births. Babies exposed to SSRIs have a six-fold increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN), a potentially fatal lung problem. Nearly a third of women who take SSRIs have a baby who dies, is premature or underweight, or who has seizures.
It seems that certain sectors of the medical industry aren’t paying attention. From 2004-2008 (through the 2nd quarter only) the FDA MedWatch Adverse Events Reporting Database amassed 647 adverse reaction reports (amounting to 432 babies’ cases, since some reactions are reported by lawyers, doctors and consumers for the same child) for prenatal or neonatal Effexor exposure, including four reports of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Two Effexor-SIDS cases were specified as a breast milk exposure only, while one was listed as pregnancy exposure. For the other, with a coma followed by SIDS, the timing of exposure was not specified.
There were also 18 intrauterine deaths, 2 neonatal deaths, 2 stillbirths, 51 miscarriages (spontaneous abortions), and numerous other fatal or life-threatening birth defects, for a total of at least 77 deaths from Effexor alone, not counting the prenatal and neonatal deaths caused by the numerous other psychotropic drugs taken by women during pregnancy or breastfeeding over those four years.
Multiply these totals by a factor of between 10 and 100, because the FDA estimates that only 1-10% of adverse reactions are ever reported. (To see the 2004-2008 reports go to http://www.psychdrugdangers.com/MothersAct.html and then select SNRIs, and Venlafaxine from the drug tables.)
The American Academy of Pediatrics publishes and disseminates a long list of drugs that “may be of concern” in breastfed infants. The tables also appear in The Breastfeeding Answer Book (BAB) published by La Leche League (2003), which is given to leaders and subsequently used to counsel nursing mothers when they request information about drugs and breastfeeding.
In these tables, following a list of psychotropic drugs that “may be of concern” but nonetheless are claimed to have “no reported effects,” is a list of “Food and Environmental Agents” that have effects on breastfeeding. On the list are aspartame (NutraSweet) with the warning, “Caution if mother or infant has phenylketonuria” and a “Vegetarian Diet” with the warning, “Signs of B12 deficiency.”
It’s good to warn women about aspartame and diet, but what about drugs that do not have giant warnings plastered on them like NutraSweet does with PKU?
Effexor is not listed anywhere in the AAP drug tables. It seems psychotropic drugs must be incredibly safe in the mind of the Academy because even though numerous patients have nursed babies on the new antidepressants in the last two decades, there are apparently “no reports” of adverse effects on babies for most of them, at least according to the AAP.
“Drugs of Abuse” such as Amphetamine and Cocaine, Heroin and Marijuana are listed in the table with side effects identical to those listed for antidepressants in current warnings. These same side effects are absent from the AAPs tables for prescription psychotropics, with the exception of Prozac and a few antipsychotics.
The effects of street drug on infants include “Irritability, poor sleeping pattern” for Amphetamine, “Cocaine intoxication, irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, tremulousness, and seizures” for Cocaine, “Tremors, restlenssness, vomiting, poor feeding” for heroin, and none reported for Marijuana.
Prozac must be the only unlucky antidepressant that’s bad for breastfed infants, even though according to Thomas Hale, Ph.D. and kellymom.com (a breastfeeding information site), it’s the only antidepressant that’s “recommended” for pregnancy. Prozac side effects listed in the BAB for nursing infants include colic, irritability, feeding and sleep disorders, and slow weight gain. Although in a 2002 Mothering Magazine article titled “But Is It Safe For My Baby? Medications and Breastfeeding,” Dr. Hale wrote that Prozac had been shown to induce coma in breastfed infants.
According to kellymom.com’s summary of Dr. Hale’s recommendations, “Effexor can also be used in breastfeeding mothers if it is efficacious. It may be effective against hyperactivity.”
However, kellymom.com later implies that Celexa is no safer than Effexor even though it’s an SSRI and therefore supposedly “weaker” because “There have been two cases of excessive somnolence, decreased feeding, and weight loss in breastfed infants,” according to Hale.
Kellymom.com does note that, “Lithium use by the breastfeeding mother is dangerous to the breastfed infant. Valium use by the breastfeeding mother entails a greater risk of infant sedation, and may perhaps increase the risk of SIDS.”
Finally, a “Drug Hierarchy” of Hale’s first to last choice is listed as: Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Effexor, and Prozac.
“Dr. Hale concluded his talk by saying that breastfeeding should be supported fully and not interrupted by mom’s needs for medication; and that treatment of postpartum depression can be accomplished relatively safely in breastfeeding mothers. So, in his consideration, moms should continue breastfeeding and should get drug treatment as needed for depression.”
However according to Candace S. Brown, PharmD, BCPP, CFNP, writing for femalepatient.com, “Illet et al studied three cases of breast-feeding women using venlafaxine [Effexor], and reported M/P ratios of up to 4.7.28… Given their high M/P ratios and the limited amount of information available on these antidepressants [venlafaxine, bupropion, trazodone, and nefazodone], they are not recommended in lactating women at this time.”
Milk-to-Plasma Ratio: Medication concentration in milk is frequently compared with the concentration in maternal serum to quantify the extent of passage; this is known as the milk-to-plasma ratio (M/P). In general, compounds that are weakly protein-bound, highly lipid-soluble, weakly basic, and small in molecular size have higher M/P ratios. Ratios greater than 1 indicate that the medication is present in higher concentrations in breast milk than in maternal serum. The higher the M/P ratio, the greater the infant exposure to medication.
The article further explains that:
Infants’ abilities to absorb, metabolize, and eliminate drugs determine how these drugs will affect them. Compared with adults, infants have a higher gastric pH, causing basic compounds, which remain un-ionized, to have higher absorption rates than do acidic compounds. Infants also have lower levels of albumin, resulting in higher amounts of free/unbound (and therefore active) medication. Liver metabolic enzymes are immature in infants, decreasing the rate of degradation of medication. In addition, neonates’ kidneys have a glomerular filtration rate that is 30% to 40% of that in adults. Finally, the blood-brain barrier in newborns is not fully developed, and central nervous system concentrations of some lipid-soluble compounds may reach levels that are 10 to 30 times those in serum. As a result of all of these factors, medications that reach the serum in neonates, as compared with those that reach the serum of adults or children older than 6 months, are more likely to be active, less likely to be metabolized and excreted, and more likely to cross into the brain.
Given the confusing and contradictory information found with so many varying sources, whether it’s their La Leche League leader or lactation consultant, a magazine article, or even a breastfeeding website, most new mothers will probably ask for a professional opinion from a doctor or pharmacist. Either one should be readily able to offer the following information straight from the Effexor label, which can be found by merely “Googling” Effexor in breastfeeding or pregnancy:
[Effexor during pregnancy in animal studies resulted in a] “decrease in pup weight, an increase in stillborn pups, and an increase in pup deaths during the first 5 days of lactation, when dosing began during pregnancy and continued until weaning. The cause of these deaths is not known. Venlafaxine appears to cross the human placenta near term.
In a prospective study pregnancy outcomes of 150 women exposed to venlafaxine during first trimester were compared with the pregnancy outcomes of a group of pregnant women who received selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants and a group of women who received nonteratogenic drugs. The majority of the women in the venlafaxine group took 75 mg/day (range 37.5 to 300 mg/day) of venlafaxine immediate release form. Among the 150 women who were exposed to venlafaxine during pregnancy, 125 had live births, 18 had spontaneous abortions and seven had therapeutic abortions; two of the babies had major malformations.
Yet when Christian Delahunty approached her family doctor about switching from Effexor to a different medication when she wanted to have another baby, she was told that there were “no studies” showing that Effexor even gets to the baby during pregnancy or breastfeeding. According to Christian, the maximum dose of extended release Effexor is 225 mg. She was on 300 mg at the start of her pregnancy and throughout Indi’s life.
Perhaps Christian’s OBGYN and family doctor only recently graduated from medical school, or maybe they both had gone on vacation and missed reading emails when the FDA MedWatch and Wyeth issued a warning letter on June 28, 2004, specifically for doctors on the dangers of Effexor in pregnancy and stated in part, “Neonates exposed to Effexor, other SNRIs (Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors), or SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), late in the third trimester of pregnancy have developed complications requiring prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support, and tube feeding.”
Today, Christian spends the days coping with the loss of her daughter but says she feels inspired by baby Indi to help others not have to go through the same tragedy. Christian switched to Lexapro after Indiana died because she wanted nothing to do with Effexor, and then started tapering off the drug slowly. Her last dose was four days ago. Already she says, “I am actually starting to feel better because I don’t feel so controlled by a substance… If you don’t take your dose it affects you horribly. This is the first time I’ve been sober in eight years. It makes me want to cry because it did have so much effect on every part of your life. I was just on a rollercoaster ride, that’s what it feels like.”
“I cope by just praying to God, and in my mind having conversations with Indi. I have an incredible support system and I have to believe – and I think one of the biggest things helping me through this – is that I believe this was her purpose. We had to go through what we had to because she needed to make a difference. She needed to help other people realize that this is serious and it is real.”
“I told my OBGYN at my first consultation that I was on Effexor and she didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. Throughout the pregnancy, I had my doubts and my first instinct was that this wasn’t right, but I was being told that it was just fine. The delivering doctor brought up Effexor. After Indi passed away the thought just kept coming back to me and then I started doing my research and found out how dangerous it was. I Googled Effexor baby, Effexor dangers, Effexor and pregnancy… I was so shocked because it was so easy to do that and I should have done that before. Why didn’t the doctors know that? There is so much controversy over it, why don’t the doctors research more into it without taking the rep’s point of view saying it’s just fine?”
When asked what she thinks about The MOTHERS Act, Christian said:
“It puts so many babies at risk for developing so many different problems. And it puts the mother at risk. Postpartum is normal, it’s natural. It’s learning how to cope with your stress and your situation, rather than just taking drugs to forget about it or to mask what’s natural. There are so many people out there who I know are thinking like I thought – you either have family members on antidepressants or you know somebody – it’s just kinda normal, you know we’ll all start taking an antidepressant… Just because it’s prescribed from a doctor it doesn’t make it safe.”
“I trusted my doctor and that mistake – it cost me. It cost my whole entire family. That is why I have to believe that this was Indi’s purpose. Educate yourselves. If the doctors aren’t going to be educated then we need to. We need to take the power back.”
By the way, the March of Dimes, a pharma-funded group that endorses The MOTHERS Act as well as the use of antidepressants during pregnancy, does warn against the use of caffeine in pregnancy due to a risk of miscarriage.
Note: This article was updated with the latest MedWatch information on July 28,2009. For more reports on drugs commonly given to nursing mothers such as antidepressants and Zyprexa, go to http://momsandmeds.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/breastmilkexposure/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2009
Alaska Admits It Is Incapable of Protecting Children and Youth in Its Care from Harmful Psychiatric Drugging
Today, responding to the State of Alaska’s admission in PsychRights v. Alaska that it was incapable of protecting the children and youth in its care from improper and harmful psychiatric drugging, the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights®) told the court it must step in.
PsychRights v. Alaska was filed last Fall to halt the State of Alaska’s practice of administering and paying for In trying to get PsychRights v. Alaska “thrown out of court” the State admitted it was incapable of protecting the children and youth in its care as follows: being given children and youth without safeguards being in place to make sure proper decision making occurs.
A reading of the Complaint makes obvious that the true subject of plaintiff’s grievances is not the Department, but prescribers of psychotropic pharmaceuticals, the pharmaceutical companies which produce and market them, and the overall culture of pediatric psychiatry. The implication that the Department possesses meaningful authority and control over these matters-or is in any realistic position to administer the relief requested even if the court were to order it-is a fiction.
“The point is the State has the responsibility to properly care for the children and youth in its care regardless of the ‘culture of pediatric psychiatry,'” according Mr. Gottstein. Today’s court filing tells the court, “It is shameful the State is abdicating its responsibility when it should be working to correct the problem.”
In the absence of the State being willing to address the problem without court intervention, the lawsuit seeks to solve it by obtaining a court order prohibiting the psychiatric drugging of children and youth by the State unless and until
(i) evidence-based psychosocial interventions have been exhausted,
(ii) rationally anticipated benefits of psychotropic drug treatment outweigh the risks,
(iii) the person or entity authorizing administration of the drug(s) is fully informed of the risks and potential benefits, and
(iv) close monitoring of, and appropriate means of responding to, treatment emergent effects are in place.
Practically every day brings revelations that pediatric psychopharmacology is the result of illegal drug company actions to improperly influence psychiatrists to prescribe extremely harmful drugs to children and youth, in spite of there being no real evidence of their efficacy. “Rather than meeting its mandate to properly care for and protect these children and youth from harm, the actions of the State are reprehensible,” Mr. Gottstein declared, adding “The State is also trying to hide its complicity by stopping the discovery process.”
The defendants in the lawsuit are the State of Alaska, its Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), and responsible officials, Sarah Palin, Governor, William Hogan, Commissioner of DHSS, Tammy Sandoval, Director of the Office of Children’s Services (OCS), Steve McComb, Director of the Division of (DJJ), Melissa Stone, Director of the Division of Behavioral Health (DBH), Ron Adler, CEO of the Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API), and William Streur Deputy Commissioner and Director of Medicaid. All of the substantive filings in the lawsuit are available on the Internet at http://psychrights.org/States/Alaska/PsychRightsvAlaska.htm.
The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights is a public interest law firm devoted to the defense of people facing the horrors of unwarranted forced psychiatric drugging and electroshock. PsychRights is further dedicated to exposing the truth about psychiatric interventions and the courts being misled into ordering people subjected to these brain and body damaging drugs against their will. Extensive information about these dangers, and about the tragic damage caused by electroshock, is available on the PsychRights web site: http://psychrights.org/.
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