The Mental Illness and Criminality Connection

prisonConvicted felons are diagnosed as mentally ill at a rate 2-4 times that of the non-criminal population.

It would be easy to make the supposition that anyone who commits a crime is in some degree mentally ill. And not many would argue.

But criminal behavior does not automatically equal mental illness. Even if it did, the push towards psychotropic drugs as a means to control the prison population is backfiring dangerously.

Daniel Harr, an inmate who has served time in state prisons and is now somewhat of a whistle blower on the massive over-prescribing of psychiatric drugs has this to say:

“It is now commonplace to see 50—even 60—percent or more of a prison population sleeping in their bunks for 22 hours a day due to the effects of psychotropic drugs they’re being fed like candy.”

Harr says that getting hold of the drugs is as simple as requesting to see a psychologist for a 5 or 10 minute interview, during which he or she claims to have a psychological problem. Next the inmate is referred to a psychiatrist for another 5-10 minute interview.

With no testing or evaluation of any kind, the inmate is then prescribed whatever he or she asks for. And they don’t always take the drug themselves. Some of them merely pocket it and sell it to fellow prisoners.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the nation’s largest prison system has spent $36.5 million on psychotropic drugs in the past 4 years to treat thousands of inmates. Nearly 20,000 prisoners are on these drugs.

Almost 10% of 216,000 inmates are being treated for depression, bipolar disorder or acute schizophrenia.

Psychotropic drugs can make the sane insane, according to many reports. It goes without saying that giving these drugs freely to those who are already guilty of harming others is not a wise course of action.

Some well-known side effects for anti depressants, for instance, are:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Panic Attacks
  • Hostility
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Impulsivity
  • Severe Restlessness
  • Mania
  • Suicidal thoughts or action

Dr. Breggin, a practicing psychiatrist who is adamantly against psychiatric drugs, cites several examples of formerly normal individuals (not criminals or inmates) who committed violent acts while under the influence of these drugs.

In one case, a teenage boy taking Zoloft beat an elderly woman to death when she complained about his music being too loud. There are many cases involving adults losing control while taking antidepressants.

Dr. Breggin notes: “In at least two cases judges have found individuals not guilty on the basis of involuntary intoxication with psychiatric drugs and other cases have resulted in reduced charges, lesser convictions, or shortened sentences.”

The effects of psychotropic drugs are not unknown, especially to those who diagnose mental illness and prescribe drugs to treat the condition. Thus responsibility for crimes committed by those under the influence of psychiatric drugs lies squarely on the shoulders of mental health professionals who are doing the prescribing.

In this situation, it is not difficult to see who the true criminals are.

http://breggin.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=196

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/07/24/prisoners-mental-illness/13093899/

 

 

Posted in Abilify, Antidepressants, Antipsychotics, Depression, Disorders, Drug Warnings, Health Care, Mental Health Human Rights, Mental Illness, Over Prescribing Meds, Psychiatric Abuse, Psychiatry, Psychotropic Drugs, Risperdal, Thorazine | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Mental Health and Diet

One’s diet and one’s mental health could be very directly related. So much so, that instead of reaching for a prescription drug to “cure” depression, ADD, Bi-Polar Disorder and other mental manifestations, one might do well to take a closer look at what passes for nutrition in the 21st century.food

For example, one prime offender found to contribute to hyperactive behavior in children is food dye. This is according to a study done in 2007 by the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency.

These researchers discovered that hyperactive behavior by the 8 and 9 year olds studied increased with the addition of mixtures containing artificial coloring additives. Obviously, the solution here is easy. Don’t feed the kids foods or drinks with artificial food dyes added.

There are other nutritional factors. Depleted soils, chemically treated produce, and overly processed foods can affect the amount of nutrition actually gleaned from a meal. The brain is an organ, and has nutritional requirements like any other organ of the body.

In fact, according to the online site The Neuro Link – Neurotransmitters there are specific amino acids that our brains need in order to create transmitters. Unfortunately, these are often found lacking in the modern diet.

Phenylalanine and glutamine are two such amino acids. Phenylalanine is found in most fish, including cod, tuna, salmon and sardines. Other seafood contains healthy amount of this amino acid as well. And bacon, beef, turkey, liver and chicken are also rich in this nutrient. Dairy is another good source of phenylalanine. (Phenylalanine is also found in the artificial sweetener Aspartame, but in this case it is in a chemically altered form.)

Other important studies involve the effectiveness of fish oil in the diet of those experiencing mental illness. In this case, it is the Omega 3 fatty acids that are closely examined.

In Psychology Today online, psychiatrist Emily Deans notes “Omega 3 fatty acids play a huge role in brain health and neurocommunication.”

Dr. Joseph R. Hibbeln of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism makes this bold statement:

“The strongest evidence was found for managing major depressive symptoms, with the effect of omega-3s being at least as great, if not greater than, antidepressant medications.” He also adds, “… deficient intakes may increase risk for mental distress.”

In a Norwegian study of almost 22,000 people, it was proven that those who took cod liver oil on a regular basis were nearly 30% less likely to have depression than those who did not consume this nutrient. And the longer the cod liver oil was consumed, the less likely they were to have symptoms of depression.

Dr. Sarah M. Conklin, postdoctoral scholar in Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine of the Dept. of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburg has reported that “The omega-3 fatty acids have widespread biological functions in the body including the brain. Our research has shown that individuals who have higher levels of these fats in their blood are less likely to report symptoms of depression. Similarly, those who have lower levels of these fats in their blood score higher on measures of impulsiveness.”

It is clear that there are ways to handle the symptoms of mental illness inexpensively and safely, without dangerous side effects. The mental health worker would be wise to read up on the studies his peers have done proving the worth of nutritional handlings versus dangerous antidepressants and other psycho pharmaceuticals.

 

http://www.livestrong.com/article/317897-list-of-foods-that-contain-phenylalanine/

http://www.iwr.com/becalmd/transmitter.html

http://www.lef.org/magazine/2007/10/report_depression/Page-01

http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/food-dye-adhd

 

Posted in Alternatives, Informed Consent, Mental Illness, Over Prescribing Meds, Parents Rights | Leave a comment

One life-long thing that can dramatically impact learning

sleepI plan for 8-9 hours. My husband aims for less – maybe closer to 6 hours. My best pal tallies around 7 hours. What am I talking about? No, it’s not study or homework time. It is the time allotted for SLEEP. Yes, jokes aside, I have been told by some pals that I have sleep hours that mimic a toddler. I, however, resoundingly disagree. Why? It’s simple really. I base it on direct action of the clients that I work with and many parents that I meet. Need an example? OK – let’s talk about several Kindergarten students; in all fairness, those little people that we would consider to be toddlers. Do they get 9 hours of sleep a night? Sadly, no.

The toddlers from my client sampling each got 6-7 hours of sleep a night on average. Before we get too far into this writing, these students included both boys AND girls. They were the typical, active young people, curious about a great many things, steadily developing, involved in sports/crafts, enrolled in private as well as public schools, some with siblings, others had divorced parents, and none of them were neurologically labeled with processing issues. Why was I involved as an advocate? The documented behavior and escalating reactions in classrooms noted by teachers.

The summer for all of them was fairly smooth as dictated to me from the parents. What changed as the school year progressed was a variety of things. Moments of noticeable despondent actions in specific settings. Some had increased loss of focus in class. Others had little to no recall of information presented during the school week. A couple of the kids would lash out with little to no trigger at all. When all of the behaviors and patterns were deeply discussed together – one of the first things that I honed in on was SLEEP. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Adults are routinely lacking in sleep… so it’s no wonder that it can also start to leak into the habits and routines of the younger folks residing in the home.

There was a medical study where the effect of 17-19 hours without sleep on adults was measured. After just one moderate ‘blip’ in sleep length; the adults had a cognitive decline equal to a blood alcohol level of 0.1*. That level is deemed intoxicated. That’s also a measured effect on a grown adult… not a growing child. This is a child bombarded with new information almost hourly. This is a child learning to emotionally self-regulate. This is a child learning social cues and body language. How well would the inebriated adult perform in these areas? Not so well. Why would we anticipate a small child navigating any part of their day with wide-spread, chronic, sleep deprivation without a great deal of stress, struggle, anxiety, or frustration?

When a customized sleep routine was arranged for each home – care to guess what happened? Yes, the noted behaviors all showed marked improvement. The biggest and most surprising shift of all happened within the FAMILY. They started to behave as a whole unit – better enabled to come together. There was more communication. Less arguing. Improved levels of cooperation. One household started with the sleep shift for their 2 children and soon it was embraced by the entire group (2 households). Everyone had a ‘’bedtime’’ mode. The father in this family said the routine gave him more creative time in the evenings to problem-solve his business. He was enjoying time with the family more because he knew he would have the free time later to think on things, make lists, or read up on content. The impact went beyond that of an academic issue in the family…and it led to deeper connections within the home.

Don’t just take my word for it. Pay closer attention to your own sleep schedule or that of your children. Modify it and see what happens.

*(Occup Environ Med. Oct 2000. (57):10. 649-655.)

Heather Lascano is the founder of Neuro Touch Inc. – an IRS designated 501c3 and Florida Corporation. Neuro Touch focuses on bridging connections in education through unique advocacy and services. Mrs. Lascano utilizes her professional experiences in conflict negotiation, sensory motor skills, stress management, and drug development research to connect with families, educators, and professionals who support children with learning delays.

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Can Medical Conditions Cause Severe Psychiatric Symptoms?

doctor5Yes, they can. Many people end up receiving psychiatric medications and other treatments when undiagnosed and untreated medical conditions are the true cause of their so-called mental illnesses.

Dr. Ronald J Diamond is a Professor in the Dept. of Psychiatry at the Univ. of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. He’s also Medical Director of the Mental Health Center of Dane County and serves as a Consultant to the Wisconsin Bureau of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

He’s worked over 30 years with community based treatment of persons with severe, persistent mental illness and has written clear messages to his peers stating that overlooked physical conditions are very often the source of the mental symptoms of patients.

He writes, “Every time a patient comes into your office, your emergency room or your hospital, there is a very real possibility that what seems to be a psychological problem is caused by some physical illness.”

For example, an under active thyroid gland may lead to symptoms of depression. Someone with panic attacks could have a tumor that excretes too much epinephrine (adrenaline). Or a brain tumor could cause someone to become so irritable that their personality change is leading then towards a marital breakup and they are given a psychiatric drug instead of medical care.

Dr. Diamond cites many studies involving detailed physical exams on those receiving psychiatric care which show the per cent of cases where the psychiatric symptoms were  caused by untreated medical conditions ranges from 10% to as high as 39%.

For those in the mental health profession prone to go straight to a prescription for a psychiatric drug, he has this advice:

“The most common problem, however, is that we do not think about the possibility of medical illness and, therefore, we do not specifically look for medical illness. IF YOU DO NOT LOOK FOR IT, YOU WILL NOT FIND IT.”

Mental health practitioners, family and the person himself should always consider the possibility of organic disease and explore that first.

Dr. Diamond has written a paper entitled “Psychiatric Presentations of Medical Illness-An Introduction for Non-Medical Mental Health Professionals” which gives instructions to mental health workers not trained as MD’s that shows them how to observe behaviors and symptoms that are caused by medical conditions and when to order more physical tests on a patient prior to psychiatric treatments.

Here are some important factors that indicate a medical illness could be present

  • a patient over 40 with no previous psychiatric history suddenly has symptoms
  • a history of head injury
  • a change in headache pattern
  • visual disturbances, either double vision or partial visual loss
  • speech deficits
  • abnormal blood pressure, pulse, temperature
  • disorientation and/or memory impairment
  • fluctuating or impaired level of consciousness
  • abnormal body movements
  • significant weight change, gain or loss
  • hallucinations that are visual and vivid in color, that change rapidly
  • olfactory (smell) hallucinations
  • illusions: misinterpretations of stimuli
  • frequent urination, increased thirst (possible symptoms of diabetes)

Sometimes medical emergencies cause a patient to arrive at a hospital emergency room with mental symptoms that are in fact caused by an acute medical condition.

These could be delirium caused by low blood sugar or very high blood sugar, unusual behavior caused by acute vitamin B-6 deficiency most often found in alcoholics when the brain is actually getting damaged, hallucinations caused by withdrawal from drugs or alcohol and acting delirious and “mad as a hatter” from an overdose of over the counter drugs or anti-depressants.

There are specific illnesses that can manifest themselves just like psychosis in some cases. Included are multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Encephalitis (viral infection of the brain, syphilis of the central nervous system, HIV infections and AIDS. Or the patient might have a brain tumor, brain abscess or bleeding within the skull.

Additional types of medical problems include disorders in metabolism, nutritional deficiencies and endocrine disorders. All of these categories can create behavior that appears to be a mental condition when it is a physical one.

And, of course, there is a large variety of psychiatric drugs, prescription drugs and street drugs that worsen mental stability and create psychosis on a temporary or longer term basis. Dr. Diamond, to his credit, is not afraid to list these out for his fellow psychiatrists and mental health workers to consider before trying to “help” a patient with more drugs.

It’s quite clear today that the first step of any “mental health diagnosis” should be a complete medical exam that looks thoroughly to discover any untreated illnesses and physical injuries. These repaired the patient is often no longer a patient but has returned to his normal state of mind and is actively getting on with his life.

No psychiatric treatment needed.

http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/articles/diamond.htm

 

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Mental Health and Diet

One’s diet and one’s mental health could be very directly related. So much so, that instead of reaching for a prescription drug to “cure” depression, ADD, Bi-Polar Disorder and other mental manifestations, one might do well to take a closer look at what passes for nutrition in the 21st century.Green Apple on Books

For example, one prime offender found to contribute to hyperactive behavior in children is food dye. This is according to a study done in 2007 by the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency.

These researchers discovered that hyperactive behavior by the 8 and 9 year olds studied increased with the addition of mixtures containing artificial coloring additives. Obviously, the solution here is easy. Don’t feed the kids foods or drinks with artificial food dyes added.

There are other nutritional factors. Depleted soils, chemically treated produce, and overly processed foods can affect the amount of nutrition actually gleaned from a meal. The brain is an organ, and has nutritional requirements like any other organ of the body.

In fact, according to the online site The Neuro Link – Neurotransmitters there are specific amino acids that our brains need in order to create transmitters. Unfortunately, these are often found lacking in the modern diet.

Phenylalanine and glutamine are two such amino acids. Phenylalanine is found in most fish, including cod, tuna, salmon and sardines. Other seafood contains healthy amount of this amino acid as well. And bacon, beef, turkey, liver and chicken are also rich in this nutrient. Dairy is another good source of phenylalanine. (Phenylalanine is also found in the artificial sweetener Aspartame, there it is in a chemically altered form.)

Other important studies involve the effectiveness of fish oil in the diet of those experiencing mental illness. In this case, it is the Omega 3 fatty acids that are closely examined.

In Psychology Today online, psychiatrist Emily Deans notes “Omega 3 fatty acids play a huge role in brain health and neurocommunication.”

Dr. Joseph R. Hibbeln of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism makes this bold statement:

“The strongest evidence was found for managing major depressive symptoms, with the effect of omega-3s being at least as great, if not greater than, antidepressant medications.” He also adds, “… deficient intakes may increase risk for mental distress.”

In a Norwegian study of almost 22,000 people, it was proven that those who took cod liver oil on a regular basis were nearly 30% less likely to have depression than those who did not consume this nutrient. And the longer the cod liver oil was consumed, the less likely they were to have symptoms of depression.

Dr. Sarah M. Conklin, postdoctoral scholar in Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine of the Dept. of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburg has reported that “The omega-3 fatty acids have widespread biological functions in the body including the brain. Our research has shown that individuals who have higher levels of these fats in their blood are less likely to report symptoms of depression. Similarly, those who have lower levels of these fats in their blood score higher on measures of impulsiveness.”

It is clear that there are ways to handle the symptoms of mental illness inexpensively and safely, without dangerous side effects. The mental health worker for would be wise to read up on the studies his peers have done proving the worth of nutritional handlings versus dangerous antidepressants and other psycho pharmaceuticals.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/317897-list-of-foods-that-contain-phenylalanine/

http://www.iwr.com/becalmd/transmitter.html

http://www.lef.org/magazine/2007/10/report_depression/Page-01

http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/food-dye-adhd

 

Posted in Alternatives, Antidepressants, Antipsychotics, Benzodiazepines, Children, Depression, Disorders, Mental Health Care, Mental Illness, Parents Rights, Professional Opinions, Psychostimulants, Psychotropic Drugs, Schools | Leave a comment

Are Mass Shootings on the Rise?

Anti-psychotics in Juvenile JailsRecently, there has been some debate about whether mass shootings are on the rise or not.  Studies have been done using different kinds of criteria thus resulting in different answers.  One study includes gang killings and shootings in the home due to domestic violence.  Three other studies have solely the criteria of randomly killing four or more people in a public place.  Their results show that this kind of mass shooting is definitely on the rise.    The ones that fall into this category are Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, the movie theater in Aurora, CO just to name a few.  These are mass shootings that demand investigation as to why they keep occurring, but instead are being ignored. 

A criminologist from Northeastern University did a study of mass shootings that took place from 1976-2012 and put his results on a graph.  He included gang killings and also shootings that resulted in the home due to domestic abuse.  The actual number of incidents doesn’t seem to increase over the years, but the number of victims shows a general upward trend.  It is puzzling as to why he claims mass shootings are not on the rise when his own graph shows otherwise. 

This same criminologist says the circumstances of the shootings are irrelevant.  He claims whether it takes place in a mall by a stranger or in the home by a family member doesn’t matter.  It does matter.  All mass shootings can’t be lumped together for one reason and that is motive.  Shootings that take place by gangs or due to domestic abuse usually have specific victims in mind.  Sometimes innocent people do get in their way, but in general they are after someone in particular.  However, mass shootings that randomly take place in public places are literally just that, random with no motive other than to kill.  This is a completely different category which warrants investigation. 

A study was done looking at the time between mass shootings, instead of the number of shootings per year.  From 1982-2011, on average there was one shooting every 200 days.  Since September 2011, the rate tripled to one every 64 days on average.  This data does not include Sandy Hook, the Washington Navy Yard, Fort Hood or the one near University of Santa Barbara nor the many others that have taken place since then.  

This study did not include gang or criminal shootings or those in the home, but those that took place in a public place with four or more victims resulting in death.  The FBI also did a study of shooters looking to kill in public places with no regard to the number of casualties.  Their results align with the above study and cover the same time period.  Keep in mind that the FBI has more law enforcement resources than any other group since they are a government agency.  As a result, we know these results are good solid information.  The Harvard School of Public Health also did research on public mass shootings and their findings are that mass shootings have become much more frequent as well. 

So here we have serious reasons to be concerned about public safety.  Random mass shootings in public places are increasing and are unpredictable.  They could occur anywhere at any time.  When a mass shooting takes place, the media focuses on easy access to guns as the problem.  Perhaps that is part of the problem, but what makes the shooter pick up the gun in the first place and what makes him go to a public place and open fire?  That is the question that needs to be addressed. 

These mass shootings in public places are not done by the disgruntled employee or the jealous spouse or vindictive family member.  The media often says the shooter was mentally ill or he didn’t get enough treatment in time.  There has been no clear definitive answer or common denominator reported by the media as to why these shootings in public have taken place.  The media does not give any rational answer as to why innocent people are being killed for no reason. 

However, there is a perfectly reasonable explanation.  There is one common denominator between these mass shooters and that is psychiatric drugs.  It is a fact that almost every shooter in the past fifteen years has either been taking psychiatric drugs or withdrawing from them.  Side effects of such drugs are aggressiveness, homicidal ideation and increased suicidal thoughts.  From 2004 to 2011, there were 11,000 reports to the FDA MedWatch System of psychiatric drug side effects linked to violence.  This is a staggering number, yet it can be considered inaccurately low as less than ten percent of most incidents get reported.  

Antidepressants in particular are responsible for these violent behaviors.  People get depressed but are not violent until they take the drug.  It’s the drug that makes them want to kill.  Of course not every single person that takes an antidepressant instantly becomes a mass murderer.  But the risk is there, because the drug does alter brain chemistry and for some that produces severe adverse side effects. 

A good example of this is what happened to a twelve year old boy while participating in a clinical study of children on Prozac.  After about five weeks on this drug, he had violent nightmares of killing his classmates until he got shot.  He had dreams of killing himself and of his parents dying.  It was difficult to come out of the dream even when he woke up, as it all seemed so real.  Fortunately this child did not act on those feelings.  However, fourteen percent of kids in the study did become violent or aggressive while on Prozac. 

This one example of homicidal and suicidal ideation certainly lends itself to the frame of mind of mass shooters in public places.  Perhaps their dreams and thoughts were worse so that they felt compelled to go somewhere and open fire.  Furthermore, what confirms that it is the drug that creates that frame of mind, is once the twelve year old boy was fully off Prozac, his violent thoughts disappeared. 

It only makes sense that the drugs upset the normal brain chemistry, creating an imbalance, which manifests itself in mania, suicidal ideation and homicidal ideation.  The FDA even requires a Black Box Warning on every antidepressant stating these potential side effects.  The question is why doesn’t any federal or state government connect the dots here?  With the above information in mind, isn’t it obvious that psychiatric drugs have a part in mass shootings? 

The reason you won’t see this information on the front page of the newspaper is because drug companies have a lot of influence.  They have many lobbyists, they subsidize psychiatry and have lots of money to use as leverage.  This is all for the purpose to keep their profits up and without regard to public safety or anyone’s well being.  

Since psychiatry is based on an opinion and not a lab test or x-ray, their drugs only harm and don’t help.  It would be wise to steer clear of these and  in addition, let other people know this information.  The less people on psychiatric drugs, the less likely another mass shooting will occur.  Until then, another one could occur anytime and anywhere.

    

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/06/mass-shootings-arent-on-the-rise.html 

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/mass-shootings-rising-harvard 

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/crime/item/14655-prescription-for-murder

   

Posted in Alternatives, Antidepressants, Antipsychotics, Benzodiazepines, Big Pharma, Drug Warnings, Drugs in Florida, Mental Illness, Over Prescribing Meds, Psychiatry, Psychostimulants, Psychotropic Drugs, Schools, Suicide Prevention | Tagged | Leave a comment

Comment? Opinion? Decision? Oh my. (Heather Lascano, CEO)

Child with OCDNope. That won’t work – my mom tried that with me when I was his age. No, my friend told me that they didn’t help at all with her son and it was a waste of time. No – A couple other families told me that their daughters didn’t get any benefit from that at all. Do any of these comments seem relatable? Have you heard any before? Have you stated any yourself?

How about one of these? My friend’s son is the same age and they did XYZ for nearly 2 years with absolutely no improvement. This mom from my kid’s soccer club told me to go have my daughter checked for ABC because their child had the same symptoms and they get all sorts of help now. Does anything stand out to you?

As a local advocate, I have seen my fair share of insurmountable obstacles and emotional reactions from adult to child alike. I have also been witness to incredibly dramatic and impactful, positive outcomes as well – some even other-worldly and almost what some would be deemed miraculous. Wrapped up in all of this emotional reactivity with scores of supports that one can contemplate – what bothers me the most is to bear witness to a child being generalized. As if the child were wearing a stark white t-shirt with ‘’KID” slapped on the front. While that may seem a wee-bit harsh, I want to impart a visual that conceptualizes what I see.

Why does this bother me? Well, this starts many years ago – back to my college days in the medical library. During one of my undergrad classes, we did a journal review that focused on sets of identical twins and studies based on learning, perception, and identities. Since that time and in repeat studies – what has been well documented is that twins have separate and distinct ways that they each individually learn. It has been concluded that twins perceive the world around them in different ways, pattern that information differently, and learn distinctly differently. So, thinking back to the “KID” emblazoned t-shirt – if identical twins perceive their world entirely different than the other twin – doesn’t it stand to reason that each and every single one of us perceives our world different? Different from our family members, our friends, our colleagues, our neighbors, our soccer families, and strangers that we meet? So why would it be plausible to expect exactly the same results and experiences for ourselves, our families, and our children when compared to someone else? Let’s take that “KID” shirt off of the child that we seek supports for.

That initial string of comments that are listed at the very beginning of this post – that was taken from one interaction that I had with a single parent. This particular person was desperate for intervention and wanted to try whatever was available to help a young boy who struggled with multiple issues that hindered his learning. Despite the list of things to ponder and research, no options were considered. What was so interesting to me was that the rationale was based SOLELY on someone else’s experiences. Please don’t take this to mean that the opinion of another is not worthy. In many cases it is – especially in instances of fraud or miscommunications. What I ask of those that I work with is that it be recognized it for what it is. An opinion. I encourage the sharing of a ‘’thank you’’ with the person sharing information; while at the same time still being open to considering the opportunity for your own child and family. Just because something may not have been of great benefit to someone you know does not mean that it cannot be of benefit for you and your child. Take that “KID” t-shirt off your child. Remember, we are all unique.

In the role of advocate, Mrs. Lascano draws upon experiences utilizing sensory motor movement, negotiation/conflict resolution, coaching, positive psychology, drug development, and outside-the-box tools. Connections between Neuro Touch Inc. and other local professionals ensures additional options and resources can be provided to those who are seeking help for a child or family concern.

Neuro Touch Inc.          ‘’bridging connections in education’’         www.synapse-sync.org

Posted in ADD, ADHD, Alternatives, Children, Disorders, Informed Consent, Mental Health Human Rights, Parents Rights, Professional Opinions, Success Stories | Leave a comment

What Might Florida Be Like if Medical Marijuana Wins?

marijuanaAs November approaches, sheriffs and medical doctors all over the state have been coming out strongly against Florida Constitutional Amendment 2 that would establish medical marijuana in Florida.

Dr. Alan B. Pillersdorf, president of The Florida Medical Association that represents 20,000 physicians in the state announced “Providing compassionate care to our patients is something we do everyday. We believe the untended consequences of Amendment 2 are serious and numerous enough for us to believe they constitute a public health risk for Floridians”

The FMA’s House of Delegates voted unanimously to oppose Amendment to at its July conference. This organization represents 20,000 physicians in Florida.

He also stated, “The lack of clear definitions in the amendment would allow healthcare providers with absolutely no training in the ordering of controlled substances, to order medical marijuana.”

What exactly is the scene in other states where “medical” marijuana has been legal for some time?

WFTV’s Eyewitness News anchor Greg Warmoth went out to Venice Beach, Ca. to see how easy it is to get a doctor’s approval for medical marijuana. Venice Beach is a top tourist area, second only to Disneyland, and has some similarities to the resort beaches of Florida.

The reporter discovered that simply telling a doctor you have problems sleeping can help you secure a prescription for pot.

“Visitors to Venice Beach are encouraged – by salespeople – to get their prescriptions right there alongside the boardwalk.  The Marijuana cannot be sold at the Doctor’s office but you are directed there with even a card for a “free joint” or “free edible”.

Medical marijuana is being broadly dispensed for a list of around 198 ailments including back pain and lack of sleep. In his article he reported seeing teens and young adults with no visible signs of illness picking up a license to buy pot at the many dispensaries found up and down the boardwalk.

One man told Greg, “Fill out a couple of forms with your address and ID and sit down with a doctor. Tell them your ailments, and if the doctor deems that the medicine will be beneficial to you, she signs a piece of paper and you’re out in a half hour, and you’re all legal.”

The reporter spoke to three men who appeared to be in their 20s, walking away with their marijuana cards.

“But what was your medical reason?” Greg asked.

“I told them I can’t sleep at night,” the patient said.

“You just told them you can’t sleep?”

“Yeah.”

A group of teens also bragged about how easy it was to get weed.

“What kind of problem?” Greg asked.

“Legs. Can’t sleep. My legs hurt. I said, ‘My legs hurt,’” one of the teenagers said.

When Greg went in to get his own card he was told to say that he had trouble sleeping.

“Prescription” in hand he went to the recommended dispensary and got a card redeemable for a free joint. There are so many places to buy pot there’s an app to help tourists locate them – 13 within one mile – basically one on every block which is more than the number of Starbucks.

No record of his purchase was made and he was told that if he was going to bring the pot back to Florida, he should pack it inside something with a strong smell to throw off drug-sniffing dogs.

Sarasota County sheriff Thomas M. Knight shares similar concerns. “Can you imagine Siesta Key Village or St. Armands Circle with marijuana dispensaries at every turn?”

He also writes that many voters may think that medical marijuana will truly be limited to those with chronic, life-threatening conditions or severe, unmanageable pain. “We must not delude ourselves into thinking that this will be our reality if it passes.”

He goes on to cite these facts about medical marijuana in Colorado:

  • average user is a male in his 30’s – no terminal illness and a history of drug abuse.
  • 2 percent of Colorado medical marijuana patients report being treated for cancer
  • less than 1 percent report treatment for HIV/AIDS
  • 1 percent report treatment for glaucoma
  • medical marijuana is largely a cash business due to banking restrictions
  • last Nov. the DEA raided several Colorado dispensaries suspected of having ties to Columbian drug cartels

An additional problem was found by University of Colorado School of Medicine researchers who analyzed fatal motor vehicle crashes in Colorado. They reported that Colorado drivers in a fatal motor vehicle crash who were marijuana-positive rose from 4.5 percent in 1994 to 10 percent at the end of 2011. The biggest jump occurred following the commercialization of medical marijuana which began in the middle of 2009. No such jump happened in the 34 states that did not have medical marijuana legalized.

Kevin Sabet is Director, Drug Policy Institute and Assistant Professor, University of Florida College of Medicine, Division of Addiction Medicine, Department of Psychiatry opposed legalizing marijuana and has written a book called “Reefer Sanity – Seven Great Myths about Marijuana”

They are:

1. Marijuana is harmless and non-addictive.

2. Smoked or eaten marijuana is medicine.

3. Countless people are behind bars simply for smoking marijuana.

4. The legality of alcohol and tobacco strengthen the case for legal marijuana.

5. Legal marijuana will solve the government’s budgetary problems.

6. Portugal and Holland provide successful models of legalization.

7. Prevention, intervention, and treatment are doomed to fail—So why try?

In recent articles of his, Professor Sabet discusses what’s been happening in Colorado since recreational use of marijuana was also made legal. (It’s pretty clear that recreational use is the ultimate goal of those starting in on Florida with the medical marijuana Amendment 2.)

He writes in a CNN article, “Special-interest “Big Tobacco”-like groups and businesses have ensured that marijuana is widely promoted, advertised and commercialized in Colorado. As a result, calls to poison centers have skyrocketed, incidents involving kids going to school with marijuana candy and vaporizers seem more common, and explosions involving butane hash oil extraction have risen. Employers are reporting more workplace incidents involving marijuana use, and deaths have been attributed to ingesting marijuana cookies and food items.”

A Denver man who, hours after buying a package of marijuana-infused Karma Kandy from one a new recreational marijuana shop, began raving about the end of the world and then pulled a handgun from the family safe and killed his wife.

There has been a sharp rise in Colorado home explosions, as people play with flammable butane to make hashish oil. Despite all the legal, regulated marijuana stores across the state, prosecutors say a dangerous illicit market persists perhaps because of the high cost in the state licensed store.

In February in the Denver suburb of Aurora, a 17-year-old planning to rob an out-of-state marijuana buyer accidentally shot and killed his girlfriend.

On Colorado’s northern plains a fourth grader showed up on the playground one day in April and sold some of his grandmother’s marijuana to three classmates. The next day, one of those students returned the favor by bringing in marijuana edible he had swiped from his own grandmother.

In March, the state recorded what its first death directly tied to legal recreational marijuana when a 19-year-old African exchange student, Mr. Pongi , plunged to his death in Denver. He and three other students had driven from their college in Wyoming to sample Colorado’s newly legal wares. He ate marijuana-infused cookies, began acting wildly and leapt from a hotel balcony – the medical examiner’s office said marijuana intoxication had made a “significant” contribution to the accident.

But now it’s very big business and much harder to roll back or control. Sabet describes Colorado newspapers and magazines with pages of pot ads, coupons and cartoons aimed at children and teens – the ages most easily harmed by marijuana.

Al Bronstein, medical director of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center recently said, “We’re seeing hallucinations, they become sick to their stomachs, they throw up, they become dizzy and very anxious.”

Special interest groups and marijuana businesses try to deny the drug is addicting but scientifically it’s not debatable: The NIH states 1 in 6 kids who ever try marijuana will become addicted to the drug. Baby boomers nostalgic for the mild pot of their youth do not realize today’s marijuana can be so much stronger than the marijuana of the past.

More than 450,000 incidents of emergency room admissions related to marijuana occur every year, and heavy marijuana use in adolescence is connected to an 8-point reduction of IQ later in life, irrespective of alcohol use.

Colorado also has the distinction of being the first state in which the President of the United States was offered a joint. While mingling in an upscale Denver bar Obama was greeted by someone with who called out “Do you want to hit this?”

If Florida hopes to maintain its old fashioned charm, resort beach communities, productive businesses and the health and sanity of its children and teenagers we should definitely give Amendment 2 a resounding defeat in November.

 

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/political-pulse/os-florida-medical-association-votes-to-oppose-medical-marijuana-20140804-post.html

http://kevinsabet.com/my-book

http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/10/opinion/sabet-colorado-marijuana/

http://www.science20.com/news_articles/medical_marijuana_involvement_in_fatal_accidents_in_colorado-136481

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/us/after-5-months-of-sales-colorado-sees-the-downside-of-a-legal-high.html

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20140209/COLUMNIST/302099997?p=3&tc=pg

http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/9-investigates-could-marijuana-be-floridas-next-pr/nbhBW/

 

Posted in Alternatives, Big Pharma, Drugs in Florida, Health Care Fraud, Informed Consent, Involuntary Commitment, Mental Health Care, Mental Health Screening, Mental Illness, Professional Opinions, Psychiatry, Teens | Tagged | Leave a comment

Your Kid can Dial-a-Shrink at School – Florida Medicaid Will Pay

computer 2Florida Medicaid has rolled out a provision hidden in the pages of the Obamacare bill and parents of kids in 13 Florida counties now have health clinics right in their public school buildings.

Back in March this statement was made about Obamacare,   “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it away from the fog of the controversy”

There are plenty of parents who won’t like this piece of Obamacare found on page 1137 of the bill:

8. MENTAL HEALTH IN SCHOOLS: The law provides grants for the operation of school-based health centers. These school-based health centers are required to include: mental health and substance use disorder assessments, crisis intervention, counseling, treatment, and referral to a continuum of services including emergency psychiatric care. Grant preference will be given to communities that have “evidenced barriers to primary health care and mental health and substance use disorder prevention services for children and adolescents.”

Florida has turned over Medicaid for the state’s 3 million Medicaid recipients to private insurance coverage.

According to a recent article in the “Miami Herald”, more than half of those receiving Medicaid in Florida are under the age of 18. In Florida, 55 percent of Medicaid recipients are children from low-income families. Most of the rest are their parents, pregnant women and those with disabilities.

The state wants to keep these kids out of emergency room visits that are expensive to the state. The solution is a clinic in the school itself. Fifty such clinics are now operated around the state by a company called Amerigroup.

Caring physicians, nurses and dentists could actually help the health of these kids and help their families who have very little time or transportation to be taking their kids to doctor visits outside of school.

But lurking in the same program is the greedy hand of the psychiatric profession and the pharmaceutical companies who create and profit from psychotropic drugs for kids.

Note the word required in this piece of the law: “These school-based health centers are required to include: mental health and substance use disorder assessments, crisis intervention, counseling, treatment, and referral to a continuum of services including emergency psychiatric care.”

Amerigroup runs school clinics in 13 Florida counties including Pinellas and Hillsborough and they offer behavioral health benefits.

Their website tells us that “Medicaid is the largest payer of mental health services in the United States, contributing more than any other private or public source of funding.” Back in 2006 Medicaid spent $241 billion on mental health services which was one sixth of the nation’s total health care spending.

Today, in 2014, Obamacare and unemployment have swelled the Medicaid insurance rolls across the country to over 66 million Americans – more than 1 in every 5.

Behavioral health care accounts for roughly 38 percent of Medicaid expenditures for children. This is big business.

Amerigroup explains their mental health benefits with these comments:

“Sometimes, the stress of daily life can lead to Depression, Anxiety, Family and Parenting Problems, or Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

Services:

  • We can give you the name of a doctor if you need one.
  • We’ll also set up outpatient behavioral
  • Health care services and inpatient hospital stays.
  • You DON’T need a referral from your primary care physician to get behavioral health and/or substance abuse services.

Behavioral health conditions:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Substance abuse
  • Smoking cessation

Amerigroup has a list of drugs your doctor can choose from. It is called a Preferred Drug List (PDL). It includes all medicines covered by Medicaid.”

For kids the preferred drug list includes antidepressants, antipsychotics and drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The minimum age for a Medicaid recipient to get prescriptions for these drugs is 0 (though some psychiatric drugs are withheld until age 6).

The maximum age for a Medicaid recipient to get prescriptions for these drugs is 999 years old! They’re apparently quite optimistic about the life enhancing properties of these “medicines”.

The one saving grace here in Florida is that parents have a right to fully informed consent and are, by law, required to sign a legal consent form prior to their child receiving these drugs:

“INFORMED CONSENT FOR PSYCHOTHERAPEUTIC MEDICATION

[Children 0 to < 13 Years Old -F.S. 394.492(3)] F.S. 409.912(51)

The Agency may not pay for a psychotropic medication prescribed for a child in the Medicaid program without the express and informed consent of the child’s parent or legal guardian.

The physician shall document the consent in the child’s medical record and provide the pharmacy with a signed attestation of this documentation with the prescription.

I have discussed possible other treatments with the parent/guardian providing informed consent.

I have discussed the reason for treatment(s), the expected outcome(s), the approximate length of treatment, and how the treatment will be monitored with the parent/guardian providing consent. I have also discussed the benefits and risks of this psychotherapeutic medication(s) including the possible side effect, the potential medication interactions, contraindications and the potential effects of stopping the medication with the parent/guardian providing consent. It is my clinical opinion that the person understands the information provided.”

Because no one gets paid unless the form is signed, doctors and other behavioral health workers might be careful to get the form signed but are very unlikely to tell parents and guardians the true alternatives or the true side effects.

Explaining the possibility of weight gain, heart problems, permanent neurological damage, suicide thoughts and actual suicide, violent homicidal behavior, murder and death are side effects certain not to be discussed with parents before a consent form is signed.

Parents often sign consent forms at the start of the school year thinking their kids will get yearly check-ups, vision and hearing tests, etc. not realizing that consent now includes mental health therapy.

Schools with Amerigroup now offer evaluation, testing and counseling services, therapy and treatment services provided by a psychiatrist or behavioral health care provider.

The school clinics also do telemedicine appointments with psychiatrists.

Your child might go to school one day and end up on the phone or a video call to a psychiatrist who from a remote location and a few minutes conversation prescribes a mind altering psychotropic drug.

Today’s parents need to know what is going on in the health care clinic at their child’s school.

It probably requires more time and attention than the fun stuff – back to school shopping for clothes, shoes and backpacks. But your child’s life could be on the line.

Here’s an example of an ambiguous statement at Amerigroup’s website:

“Psychotherapeutic drugs are antipsychotics, antidepressants, antianxiety medications and mood stabilizers.

Anticonvulsants and ADHD medications (stimulants and nonstimulants) are not included at this time.

If your child uses one or more of the generic medications listed below, informed consent is needed.”

This is followed by a long list of antipsychotics, antidepressants, antianxiety medications and mood stabilizers.

But is this saying that the school can put your child on Ritalin or other ADHD medication without your consent?

You’d better find out.

http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/572b433267a144caa926928bcadac1ca/FL–Florida-Medicaid-Privatization

https://www.myamerigroup.com/fl/pages/welcome.aspx

https://www.myamerigroup.com/Documents/FLFL_SMMCMMA_BenefitsOverview_ENG.pdf

https://www.myamerigroup.com/Documents/FLFL_PharmacyPrescriptionDrugs.pdf

https://www.myamerigroup.com/Documents/FLFL_CAID_PDL_ENG.pdf

http://www.amerigroup.com/sites/amerigroup.com/files/files/Behavioral-Health.pdf

http://www.cchrflorida.org/healthcarebill/

http://www.betterhealthflorida.com/pdf/110818_Consent_Form_interactive.pdf

https://www.myamerigroup.com/Documents/FLFL_CAID-MK_MHB_ENG.pdf   2013

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/11/17/david_gregory_asks_pelosi_about_pass_the_bill_so_you_can_find_out_whats_in_it_comment.html

http://kff.org/medicaid/fact-sheet/the-medicaid-program-at-a-glance-update/

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Posted in ADD, ADHD, Alternatives, Big Pharma, Children, Drug Warnings, Drugs in our Schools, Florida Patient's Bill of Rights, Health Care, Informed Consent, Mental Health Care, Mental Health Human Rights, Mental Illness, Professional Opinions, Psychiatry, Psychotropic Drugs, Schools | Tagged | Leave a comment

Mental Health Services in our Public Schools

children americaWhile the U.S. Supreme Court examines the constitutionality of Obama Care (Affordable Care Act) the current administration plunges ahead with their “School-Based Health Centers.”

Taxpayers are funding the building and renovating of health clinic inside schools. But this seemingly altruistic intention to provide dental and physical health to underprivileged children has a dark side.

Proclaiming a federal role in making health part of the public school curriculum is chilling enough, but per the statement of the Healthy Schools Campaign, ‘wellness is not relegated to an occasional health lesson or physical education class—it is part of math, science, lunch and everything in between. It means providing teachers with professional development related to children’s physical and emotional development, and integrating health into every subject, reward system and classroom management strategy.’

Teachers, in other words, are going to be involved (with government sanction) in every child’s emotional development and evaluation.

Encouraging educational professionals to identify a child’s supposed psychological disorder is extremely dangerous, especially when that child is then referred to a mental health care provider.

Psychiatric whistle blower Dr. Peter Breggin has this to say about the practice:

“First, there’s the obvious cookie cutter problem. People can’t be easily fit into the prefabricated labels contained in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders from whence all official diagnoses emanate. Diagnoses frequently change, often in an effort to justify this or that drug. It’s not realistic, enlightening or empowering to reduce yourself or your child to one of these diagnoses. Psychiatric diagnoses are simplistic.

“Psychiatric diagnoses are not genuinely medical; they are not based on biological defects or disorders. There are no objective tests. They are not about the body; they are about the mind and spirit. The medical aura that surrounds psychiatric diagnoses give them a false validity. Psychiatric diagnoses are not rooted in science but in opinion.

“Psychiatric diagnoses take power and authority over your life, and the lives of your children, out of your hands. They place that power and authority in the hands of health professionals. Often it takes but a few minutes in an office to transform you or your child from a complex human being into a product on the psychiatric assembly line–and endless assembly line that can lead to a ruinous lifetime.“

Dr. Breggin points out the worst thing about these diagnoses are the drugs prescribed to handle them. In his words, “Psychiatric drugs are toxins to the brain; they work by disabling the brain.”

If School Based Health Centers adhered to actual health care, in other words handling a child’s dental or purely physical disorder, there would be little argument with their existence. But when the state empowers educational system employees to identify a child with emotional problems, leading to labeling and possibly poisoning him with psychiatric drugs, we are viewing a “civilized” version of Nazi Germany, when psychiatry’s reign of terror tortured and murdered millions.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-peter-breggin/mental-health-the-hazards_b_618507.html

http://guardianlv.com/2013/09/nazism-and-psychiatry/

 

 

Posted in ADD, ADHD, Alternatives, Big Pharma, Children, Disorders, Drug Warnings, Drugs in Florida, Drugs in our Schools, Florida Patient's Bill of Rights, Health Care, Legislation, Mental Health Care, Mental Health Screening, Mental Illness, Parents Rights, Schools | Leave a comment