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23 Jul
0

Psychiatry Continues To Rip Off Florida Medicare System

According to the United States Department of Justice, our Federal government continues to battle Medicare fraud to the tune of tens of billions of dollars each year, edging close to $100 billion.[1] As a result, in 2007, a multi-agency team created a Medicare Fraud Strike Force in order to stop criminals from bilking our taxpayers.

South Florida is a well-known hotbed for Medicare corruption, especially when it comes to mental health providers.[2] Although there is corruption around the country, it is noted that Florida submits over six hundred times as many mental health Medicare claims as Michigan does (which is also a problem zone for Medicare scams).[3]

One of the most far-fetched examples was when the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services found a Broward County mental health facility billing Medicare for a patient that resided in Hawaii![4] They took creative billing to a new level.

However, the most egregious crimes cost taxpayers billions of dollars in false Medicare claims.[5] In the Southern District of Florida alone, one hundred defendants were charged with schemes totaling over $200 million in fraudulent billings, some of which were for mental health services.

Former US Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer describes the Medicare corruption problem as being like a “game of whack-a-mole.”[6] With all the government subsidizes for elderly health care, corruption is rampant. The elderly are often packed into poorly run assisted living facilities and forced into mental-health programs, so that the agencies don’t lose their funding.[7]

Another scam involved assisting patients who were looking to live in the United States by any means possible. Falsifying their immigration forms by citing mental illness, they could avoid taking the citizenship test.[8]

Philip Esformes and his cohorts scammed Medicare and Medicade to the tune of one billion dollars in South Florida in 2016.[9] They were reported to have run many patients through their facilities despite the fact that the people never needed treatment, including mental health services.

Also in 2016, Miami psychiatrist Dr. Fernando Mendez-Villamil pled guilty to defrauding various government institutions. U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno sentenced him to twelve years and seven months in prison and ordered that he repay the $50.6 million he stole from four different government agencies through his multiple elaborate schemes. Dr. Mendez-Villamil’s crimes included flooding the streets of Miami with anti-psychotics, then billing Social Security for disability benefits for his so-called “patients’” medications.[10]

This particular psychiatrist had a long history of outrageous criminal fraud. He first attracted attention from Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, who reported to officials that Mendez-Villamil had purportedly written 96,685 prescriptions within two years.[11]

Recently, two employees of the American Therapeutic Corporation, a Miami psychiatric care facility, were denied an appeal for their part in defrauding Medicare of $200 million in false claims. Rodolfo Santaya, one of their patient recruiters, would troll low-income areas for elderly candidates and bring them in, receiving a kickback for each new patient. Many had no medical need, so Santaya told them to lie about their symptoms in order to qualify.[12]

Unfortunately, our government and private health insurance forks over billions of dollars a year to psychiatrists and psychologists in an attempt to treat mental illness, only to be defrauded by the so-called professionals who have claimed a monopoly over the field of mental health.[13] It’s vital that we continue to bring these criminals to justice.

 

 

[1]http://www.miamiherald.com/news/health-care/article91393077.html

[2]http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime–law/south-florida-medicare-cheats-switch-strategies-elude-feds/4rZqgTPh8deZ5cuT0H6GRI/

[3]http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime–law/south-florida-medicare-cheats-switch-strategies-elude-feds/4rZqgTPh8deZ5cuT0H6GRI/

[4]http://miami.cbslocal.com/2012/08/30/report-no-area-of-u-s-cheats-medicare-more-than-s-fla/

[5]http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/cultural-psychiatry/fraud-waste-and-excess-profits

[6]http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime–law/south-florida-medicare-cheats-switch-strategies-elude-feds/4rZqgTPh8deZ5cuT0H6GRI/

[7]http://miami.cbslocal.com/2012/08/30/report-no-area-of-u-s-cheats-medicare-more-than-s-fla/

[8]https://federalcrimesblog.com/tag/health-care-fraud-prevention-enforcement-action-team/

[9]http://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/22/1-billion-alleged-medicare-fraud-money-laundering-scheme-leads-to-florida-arrests.html

[10]http://www.miamiherald.com/news/health-care/article91393077.html

[11]http://www.miamiherald.com/news/health-care/article53792465.html

[12]https://www.healthcarelaw-blog.com/2017/04/convictions-will-stand-mental-health-employees-200-million-medicare-fraud-case.html

[13]http://www.cchr.org/cchr-reports/massive-fraud/introduction.html

 

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23 Jul
0

Psychiatry Attempts New Screening Tool For Adult ADHD

A new tool to screen adults with ADHD has been created. Interestingly, this test was devised to match The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5 (DSM-5) criteria.[1] (The DSM is the psychiatric handbook for diagnosing mental disorders.)

The DSM-5 is a controversial guidebook with information contested by many in both the psychiatric and psychological professions. For example, several divisions of the American Psychological Association wrote an open letter critical of DSM-5. According to an article in Psychology Today by Allen J. Frances, M.D. this  “letter summarizes the grave dangers of DSM-5 that for some time have seemed patently apparent to everyone except those who are actually working on it. The short list of the most compelling problems includes: reckless expansion of the diagnostic system (through the inclusion of untested new diagnoses and reduced thresholds for old ones); the lack of scientific rigor and independent review; and dimensional proposals that are too impossibly complex ever to be used by clinicians.”[2]

Any proclamation by the American Psychiatric Association should be viewed askance, especially when based on the supposed validity of the DSM-5. Thus the creation of a “new tool” to screen adults with ADHD contains a “fox guarding the henhouse” mentality.

Dr. Frances continues his scathing remarks on DSM-5:

“… Despite the obvious impossibility of many of its proposals, it shows no ability to self correct or learn from outside advice. The current drafts have changed almost not at all from their deeply flawed originals…”[3]

Is ADHD Real?

Dr. Bruce D. Perry, one of the world’s leading neuroscientists, asserted that Attention Deficit/Hyper-Activity Disorder, or ADHD is “not a real disease.”

Dr. Perry has warned of the dangers of psycho-stimulant medications, stating that the so-called disorder is actually a description of a wide range of symptoms that children as well as adults can display at some point in their lives.

He states, “It is best thought of as a description. If you look at how you end up with that label, it is remarkable because any one of us at any given time would fit at least a couple of those criteria.” [4]

Dangers of Psychotropic Medications to Treat ADHD

Those already suspicious of the pharmaceutical industry’s motivations in promoting prescriptions of stimulants to treat ADHD (including parents and concerned activists) have welcomed Dr. Perry’s voice. He has this to say about such pharmaceuticals:

“If you give psychostimulants to animals when they are young, their rewards systems change. They require much more stimulation to get the same level of pleasure.

“So, on a very concrete level they need to eat more food to get the same sensation of satiation. They need to do more high-risk things to get that little buzz from doing something. It is not a benign phenomenon.

“Taking a medication influences systems in ways we don’t always understand. I tend to be pretty cautious about this stuff, particularly when the research shows you that other interventions are equally effective and over time more effective and have none of the adverse effects. For me it’s a no-brainer.”[5]

It is important to question the money-motivated pharmaceutical industry as well as the vast majority of psychiatrists that promote their dangerous drugs. Voices like Dr. Perry’s are being increasingly heard, and cannot be ignored.

The herd mentality of psychiatric “know best” is floundering, and doctors like Dr. Perry are leading the way to a long overdue reform in the psychiatric industry.

The public must question psychiatric “breakthroughs” such as a “new tool to screen adults with ADHD.” This and other so-called developments are just avenues to increase the revenue of pharmaceutical industries and keep the false authority of psychiatry in place.

 

[1] http://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/adhd/adhd-screening-tool-dsm-criteria-machine-learning/article/665339/

[2] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dsm5-in-distress/201110/psychologists-start-petition-against-dsm-5

[3] ibid

[4] https://realfarmacy.com/adhd-real-disease-says-leading-neuroscientist/

[5] ibid

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17 Jul
0

Autism and Antidepressants

Per Merriam Webster, autism is “a variable developmental disorder that appears by age three and is characterized by impairment of the ability to form normal social relationships, by impairment of the ability to communicate with others, and by repetitive behavior patterns…” [i]

Autism has been increasing at an alarming rate. In the 1970s and 1980s only one in 2,000 children were diagnosed with this developmental disorder. But today, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that one in 150 eight-year-olds are affected.[ii]

Are Antidepressants to Blame?

It has been discovered that pregnant women who take antidepressants may be more likely to give birth to autistic children.

In a Scientific American article, researchers reported in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) Pediatrics that mothers-to-be who took antidepressants in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy were 87% more likely to have children with autism. [iii]

The culprits were selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) including drugs Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft and Celexa. According to the Scientific American article, SSRIs were linked to a more than doubled risk of autism.[iv]

Rueters Health goes even further, stating that the use of antidepressants right before pregnancy may be linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children. [v]

Remember Thalidomide?

In 1957 thalidomide entered the German market. It was hailed as a “non-barbiturate sedative” safe even for pregnant women. By 1960 it was used in 46 countries, and was nearly as popular as aspirin. [vi]

When Dr. William McBride, an Australian obstetrician, discovered it alleviated morning sickness in patients he began prescribing it for this purpose. Unfortunately, this set a world-wide trend. [vii]

By 1961, Dr. McBride associated thalidomide with severe birth defects in babies he delivered. They were born with phocomelia; shortened, absent or flipper-like limbs. A German newspaper reported 161 babies adversely affected by the drug. The makers of the drug were forced to stop its distribution within Germany, and by the spring of 1962, the drug was banned in most countries where it had been sold previously. [viii]

Psychiatry Learned Nothing from Thalidomide Tragedy

Because an autistic child has no physical deformity, his disability is not as apparent. But his quality of life has been compromised through no fault of his own.

He or she may have difficulties with social interaction, difficulties beginning or carrying on conversations, a hard time understanding rules. Making friends can be a real challenge for autistic individuals. Some autistic kids or adults follow inflexible routines and rituals, have repetitive body movements and can be hypersensitive to sounds. [ix]

Since there is evidence that giving pregnant women antidepressants during pregnancy can contribute to autism, these drugs should certainly be banned in favor of other (non-psychiatric) treatments.

Thalidomide was taken off the market for pregnant women fifty five years ago.

It is appalling that the tragic lesson learned over five decades ago has been seemingly forgotten. Psychiatrists have no business prescribing powerful pharmaceuticals with serious side effects to pregnant women.

Autistic Kids Subject to Psychiatric Drugs

Since the only way psychiatrists can change behavior is through drugs, naturally they turn to their pharmaceutical arsenal to “take care of” autistic children.

Children as young as six years old are given risperidone and aripiprazole for the treatment of behavioral problems associated with autism spectrum disorder, even though they had no effect on social or communication deficits, according to Scientific American. [x]

Some of the “more common” side effects of risperidone are:

  • aggressive behavior
  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • changes in vision, including blurred vision
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty speaking or swallowing
  • inability to move the eyes
  • increase in amount of urine
  • loss of balance control
  • mask-like face
  • memory problems
  • muscle spasms of the face, neck, and back
  • problems with urination
  • restlessness or need to keep moving (severe)
  • shuffling walk
  • skin rash or itching
  • stiffness or weakness of the arms or legs
  • tic-like or twitching movements
  • trembling and shaking of the fingers and hands
  • trouble sleeping
  • twisting body movements [xi]

Aripiprazole (Abilify) has equally horrific side effects, including choking, tremors, muscle spasms, suicidal thoughts, seizures and a host of others. [xii]

Florida Passes Law Exempting Autism as a Mental Disorder

According to a law recently passed in Florida, “‘Mental illness’ means an impairment of the emotional processes that exercise conscious control of one’s actions, or of the ability to perceive or understand reality, which impairment substantially interferes with the defendant’s ability to meet the ordinary demands of living. For the purposes of this chapter, the term does not apply to defendants who have only an intellectual disability or autism…” [xiii]

In other words, children (or adults) with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and some other disabilities are not considered mentally ill under the law in the state of Florida, and are legally exempt from psychiatric meddling.

Florida also passed House Bill 39, titled Autism Awareness Training for Law Enforcement Officers which requires continued employment training of police officers in the recognition of the symptoms of autism. It also requires the law officers respond appropriately when dealing with such a person in order to stay employed or appointed as a Law Enforcement Officer.

Despite this, CCHR Florida (Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Florida) continues to receive calls from the families of men, women and children suffering from autism that have been Baker Acted (sent for involuntary psychiatric examination). These families are requesting the help of CCHR to obtain their family member’s release.

Florida’s legislators should be applauded for taking a major step in the right direction, but clearly there is still work to be done.

Psychiatrists are not responsible, able or ethical enough to be in charge of anyone’s mental or physical health, especially that of a vulnerable autistic child. Hopefully Florida’s lawmakers will influence those of other states in recognizing the harm done to autistic individuals, including children, when they are subjected to barbaric psychiatric treatment.

 


[iv] ibid

[vii] ibid

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17 Jul
0

Psychiatric Drugs Behind Teen Tragedy

Michelle Carter reacts as she listens to Judge Lawrence Moniz before he announces his verdict on Friday, 6/16/17. Her attorney Joseph Cataldo is seated next to her. She was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the suicide of Conrad Roy III. Photo by Glenn Silva/Fairhaven Neighborhood News/POOL

There is no argument that Michelle Carter urged her 18 year old boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, to commit suicide. But some are asking if psychiatric drugs were responsible for her uncaring attitude towards Conrad.

On the surface, the facts are agonizingly clear; a young woman actually encouraged her disturbed young boyfriend to kill himself. The details are horrific; at one point Conrad, who had connected his truck to a water pump (which released carbon monoxide) opened the truck door and got out before he was overcome by the fumes. Apparently he was ready to abort his suicide attempt. But Michelle told him to get back into the poisonous environment. Tragically, he obeyed her.

His body was found the next day.[i]

Obviously, this was an evil act on the part of Ms. Carter. Without delving into the woman’s background, one could merely assume she herself was “bad.” In a world before psychiatric drug prevalence, there would be no other explanation.

But unfortunately, that world is in the past, and psychiatric drugs are being increasingly scrutinized for terrible side effects, both physical and emotional.

Psychiatric Drugs and Behavior

Psychiatric drugs have been proven time and again to influence behavior negatively.

In this case, Carter took Prozac in 2011 for eight months. She was only 14 at the time. The dosage was reduced then halted. But later, she was back on the drug. In April 2014 she was prescribed Celexa, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drug. [ii]

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor exposure has been occasionally associated with both behavioral apathy and emotional blunting.”

The report also refers to “… a number of distinct emotional themes in affected patients, including a general reduction in the intensity or experience of all emotions, both positive and negative; a sense of emotional detachment; “just not caring…” [iii]

It doesn’t take much creative thought to see that a person blunted emotionally by psychiatric drugs such as Celexa could cause harm to someone they were close to. The tragedy of Conrad’s suicide, as encouraged by Carter, is a case in point.

On the other side, Conrad himself may have been subject to psychiatric drug influence with suicidal side effects.

The Real Murderer

Michelle Carter may go to jail for involuntary manslaughter, but the real culprit, the psychiatrist, is free to continue dispensing his mood-altering and dangerous drugs.

According to the American Psychological Association, “The use of psychotropic drugs by adult Americans increased 22 percent from 2001 to 2010, with one in five adults now taking at least one psychotropic medication, according to industry data. In 2010, Americans spent more than $16 billion on antipsychotics, $11 billion on antidepressants and $7 billion for drugs to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The rapid growth of all three classes of drugs has alarmed some mental health professionals, who are concerned about the use of powerful antipsychotic drugs by elderly nursing home residents and the prescription of stimulants to children who may have been misdiagnosed with ADHD.” [iv]

Tragedies like the suicide of Conrad Roy III can be averted with parental education. Basing the mental health of one’s son or daughter on the flawed treatment of psychiatry is playing Russian roulette with that child’s future, sanity and life.

 

[i] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/16/opinion/michelle-carter-didnt-kill-with-a-text.html

[ii] https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/06/12/michelle-carter-ssri-hampered-her-ability-feel-empathy-make-good-decisions-psychiatrist-says/zCrOp77pYoDNZldPlT7TSI/story.html

[iii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2989833/

[iv] http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/06/prescribing.aspx

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29 Jun
1

New Florida Law Makes Giant Leap Forward To Secure Rights Of Children

CLEARWATER, FL. June 27, 2017 – Acting as a strong voice working to protect children from unnecessary involuntary psychiatric examinations, commonly referred to as a Baker Act, CCHR applauds Florida lawmakers for making great strides in the restoration of human rights this week when the Governor approved House Bill (HB) 1121 titled Child Welfare.

The Baker Act allows for the initiation of involuntary psychiatric examination of children without parental knowledge or consent and according to the Annual Report of Baker Act Data, 32,475 minors were sent for examination during fiscal year 2015 to 2016.[i]  The passage of HB 1121 changes the Baker Act process for a child and will now require that a minor sent for involuntary psychiatric examination be evaluated within 12 hours of arriving at a facility instead of 72 hours.

“A recent analysis of the calls CCHR receives from parents revealed that over 70 percent of these children did not meet the criteria for a Baker Act,” said Diane Stein, President of CCHR Florida.  “Requiring that a child receive an evaluation within 12 hours will mean that those that never met the criteria in the first place will be released to their parents that much sooner.”

Perhaps even more important than the change in the Baker Act process for a minor, HB 1121 also creates a new task force overseen by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) for the purpose of determining what is behind the large number of children being sent for involuntary examinations.  This task force joins together multiple state agencies and has also been charged with, among other actions, identifying and recommending alternatives to the involuntary psychiatric examination of children as well as the elimination of inappropriate Baker Act initiations.

“The changes that have been made are a step in the right direction and we are looking forward to the recommendations of the task force but we will not rest and will continue our campaign until the abusive use of the Baker Act is a thing of the past,” said Stein.

CCHR’s campaign educates parents on the existing law, their rights and provides families with a form they can fill out and file with their children’s school.  This form uses existing state law to help protect parental rights and can be downloaded on the CCHR Florida website at http://www.cchrflorida.org/florida-non-consent-forms/. For more information on this campaign please contact CCHR at 727-442-8820 or visit the center at 109 N. Fort Harrison Ave in Clearwater, Florida.

[i] The Baker Act The Florida Mental Health Act Fiscal Year 2015/2016 Annual Report, Released March 2017 – Prepared for the Florida Department of Children and Families by the Baker Act Reporting Center

http://www.usf.edu/cbcs/baker-act/documents/annual_report.pdf

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29 Jun
0

Ketamine: Club Drug And Rapist Tool Now Psychiatric Drug For Depression

Ketamine, a drug that distorts perceptions wildly, is currently being considered by the psychiatric community as an optional treatment for depression.[1] Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Ketamine as an anesthetic and pain reliever, this drug has been known to cause hallucinations in its users.[2]

Some people report having nightmares years after having taking the drug![3]

It’s interesting to note that Ketamine is also known to be an illicit party drug, used by rapists to control their victim’s movements.[4] It’s odorless and tasteless, easy to slip into an unknowing recipient’s beverage. The victim passes out and suffers Ketamine’s amnesiac and devastating effects. It’s hard to imagine how this “Club Drug” could be hailed by some psychiatrists as a potential solution for suicidal patients.[5]

“Feeling better faster, getting the mood to improve faster – that’s why Ketamine is very promising,” psychiatrist Alan Manevitz from Lenox Hill Hospital states. He does admit that while this drug takes a patient away from their depression for a moment, it doesn’t handle the complex issues underlying the depression.[6]

Along with a variety of side effects that are common with mind-altering drugs are a few alarming ones specific to Ketamine:

  • Convulsions
  • Difficulty breathing or not breathing
  • Bloody urine
  • Bluish lips or skin
  • Itching and hives
  • Irregular heartbeat

And mentally, there are some frightening consequences to Ketamine ingestion:

  • Seeing, hearing or feeling things that are not there.
  • Confusion as to time, place or person.
  • Holding false beliefs that cannot be changed by fact.[7]

Another serious side effect of Ketamine is addiction.[8]

As with any substance creating euphoria, the patient wants to continue to feel that high and escape the realities of life. Ketamine has been classified as a Schedule III controlled substance because of its addictive qualities.[9]

It goes without saying that when the drug wears off the patient will probably go back to feeling depressed. However, in addition, they may have a loss of memory and have increased anxiety, as well as nightmares and other ill effects.[10]

Looking back on the history of psychiatry, LSD gained its popularity through the broad distribution and experimentation of psychiatrists in the 1940’s – 1960’s.[11] Psychologists Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert conducted experiments on Harvard students in the early 1960’s through the Harvard Psilocybin Project. They used LSD and psilocybin, a hallucinogen found in some mushrooms on various students, promoting them for recreational use as well as treatment.[12]

Today, the FDA has given permission for UCLA psychiatrist Dr. Charles Grob to continue studying the effects of psychedelics on patients.[13] Grob made this irresponsible and unsubstantiated statement, “The positive effects seem to sustain over a significant period of time.” Crazy as it sounds, this dangerous and illegal substance might make a comeback if psychiatrists have their way.

It’s clear that psychiatry has a horrifying track record of using hallucinogenic drugs to “treat” mental conditions.

Bottom line; like LSD, Ketamine is a terrifying and irresponsible option for depression. While it may give the user a temporary feeling of euphoria, the side effects are too ghastly to make it a viable treatment.

Then again, psychiatry has never been a profession of healing, but one for profit and control.

 

[1]http://www.webmd.com/depression/news/20140923/ketamine-depression#1

[2]http://time.com/4326167/depression-ketamine/

[3]http://www.thehealthsite.com/diseases-conditions/date-rape-drug-ketamine-effects-p114/

[4]http://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/prescription/ketamine.html

[5]http://www.webmd.com/depression/news/20140923/ketamine-depression#1

[6]http://www.webmd.com/depression/news/20140923/ketamine-depression#1

[7]https://www.drugs.com/sfx/ketamine-side-effects.html

[8]http://americanaddictioncenters.org/ketamine-abuse/

[9]http://americanaddictioncenters.org/ketamine-abuse/

[10]http://www.thehealthsite.com/diseases-conditions/date-rape-drug-ketamine-effects-p114/

[11]http://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/lsd/a-short-history.html

[12]https://psychology.fas.harvard.edu/people/timothy-leary

[13]http://www.cbsnews.com/news/psychedelic-therapy-tried-by-patients-for-mental-health-psychological-conditions/

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04 Jun
2

Mental Health Funding In Florida: Why Floridians Should Not Support the Fraud

Lately Floridians have been subject to accusations of “Florida does not support mental health,” “Florida is 50th in the nation in mental health funding,” and “Florida does not care for its citizens in need.”

But instead of caving to these charges, Florida seems to be holding the line. There is wisdom to this position.

According to the Office of Inspector General (OIG), US Department of Health and Human Services, one large mental health care facility (American Therapeutic Corporation) “concocted a $205 million fraud scheme involving fictitious companies, fabricated patient files, patient recruiters, kickbacks, and elaborate cover-ups. They also illegally prescribed unnecessary psychotropic medications. Prosecutors for the case charged dozens, and the three owners/operators received a combined 120 years in prison.”

The OIG reports that the commission of fraud by Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) such as this one are nothing new, and the case is not isolated. In fact, a report called Questionable Billing by Community Health Centers found “approximately half of CMHCs had unusually high billing for at least one of nine questionable billing characteristics. These characteristics include billing for patients with no mental health diagnoses, billing for patients who participated in CMHCs outside their own communities, or billing for patients who were not referred by health care facilities.” i

According to the Psychiatric Times, “In 2014, the former Inspector General of the federal Department of Health and Human Services claimed that ‘many health care fraud investigations believe mental health care givers, such as psychiatrists and psychologists, have the worst fraud records of all disciplines.’” ii

Should Floridians Feel Guilty?

Are Floridians supposed to become stressed over statements such as the following, made by Howard Moon in a recent article “There is a mental health crisis in Florida. Some 700,000 Floridians suffer from some form of mental illness and nearly 200,000 of them are children.” iii

For one thing, it is overwhelmingly easy to throw numbers around. And further, one might ask if these “700,000 Floridians” have been diagnosed by the DSM, the psychiatric bible that even psychiatrists and psychologists express distrust over.

According to psychotherapist Gary Greenberg, the disorders contained in the DSM are not real, but invented. Greenberg says, “… the reason there haven’t been any sensible findings tying genetics or any kind of molecular biology to DSM categories is not only that our instruments are crude, but also that the DSM categories aren’t real. It’s like using a map of the moon to find your way around Russia.”

Mr. Greenberg continues:

“The American Psychiatric Association owns the DSM. They aren’t only responsible for it: they own it, sell it, and license it. The DSM is created by a group of committees. It’s a bureaucratic process. In place of scientific findings, the DSM uses expert consensus to determine what mental disorders exist and how you can recognize them. Disorders come into the book the same way a law becomes part of the book of statutes. People suggest it, discuss it, and vote on it.” iv

Normal Childhood Behavior Labeled Mental Illness

Mr. Moon’s argument that out of “700,000 Floridians with mental illness 200,000 of them are children” is especially egregious. To give him the benefit of a doubt, perhaps Mr. Moon is not familiar with the horrific side effects children suffer from psychiatric drugs, including the risk of suicide. v

According to Dr. Allen Frances, who supervised the fourth edition of the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders (DSM 4), using the DSM V as a diagnostic tool can misdiagnose normal behavior as mental illness. This is especially troubling when it concerns our children, and could explain Moon’s misperception that there are 200,000 mentally ill children in Florida.

Dr. Frances says, “The worst suggestions in DSM V will turn normal grief into major depressive disorder, will turn the forgetting of old age into mild neurocognitive disorder, will turn worrying about your cancer into somatic symptom disorder, will turn temper tantrums in kids into disruptive mood disregulation disorder, will have attention deficit disorder be virtually ubiquitous and an easy means of getting stimulant drugs for performance enhancement and for recreation.” vi

Instead of listening to the propaganda of the psychiatric industry, proponents of increasing mental health care in Florida should do their homework.

 

i https://oig.hhs.gov/newsroom/spotlight/2013/cmhc.asp

ii http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/cultural-psychiatry/fraud-waste-and-excess-profits

iii http://www.ocala.com/opinion/20170505/howard-moon-mental-health-crisis

iv https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/05/the-real-problems-with-psychiatry/275371/

v http://www.uptodate.com/contents/effect-of-antidepressants-on-suicide-risk-in-children-and-adolescents

vi http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2013/s3763502.htm

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04 Jun
0

Psychiatric Drugs Replaced by a Walk in the Woods?

The American Psychiatric Association recently approached the subject in an article called “Healing the Mind With Nature: Another Tool for Psychiatry” published in their May 3rd 2017 online edition of Psychiatric News.

The article cited one practicing psychiatrist who gave up his thriving psychiatric practice and academic career to explore eco-therapy (also known as green or nature therapy). [1]

It also cited a study done in the University of Essex in the United Kingdom in 2007 in which “researchers reported that a walk in the country reduced depression in 71% of the participants. As little as five minutes a day in a natural setting, whether walking in a park or gardening in the backyard, improved mood, self-esteem, and motivation.” [2]

A further examination of green therapy reveals that these common sense techniques are much more than just “another tool for psychiatry” to use along with doses of psychiatric drugs.

These green therapies can eliminate the need for psychiatric drugs and their deadly side effects and actually help a person regain emotional and physical health and become a happy person, capable of doing productive work and becoming involved in positive relationships with family and community.

The British mental health organization called Mind published a 36 page report on the research done at the University of Essex. The details of the report provide even more evidence that something as simple as walks in the woods or gardening can bring relief to those struggling with depression and other mental conditions – all done without the use of dangerous psychiatric drugs.

Mind has 200 local groups in various spots in England which the University had access to in its research.

Impressive Statistics Compared to Psychiatry Drugs

In one study they surveyed 108 people involved in green exercise activities including gardening projects (52%), walking groups (37%), conservation work (7%), running (3%), and cycling groups (1%).  They found:

  • 90% of people who took part in Mind green exercise activities said that the combination of nature and exercise is most important in determining how they feel.
  • 94% of people commented that green exercise activities had benefited their mental health. Some of their comments included:

“I feel better about myself and have a sense of achievement.”

“I am more relaxed, have better focus of mind, greater coordination and greater self-esteem.”

“It improves my depression, helps me be more motivated and gives me satisfaction in doing things. Since starting the project I have been able to improve on my quality of life. Coming here has helped me overcome most of my problems.” [3]

In a second study they looked at what changes in self-esteem, mood and enjoyment occurred while walking in 2 different environments.

They compared the results of walking in Belhus Woods Country Park in Essex, which has a varied landscape of woodlands, grasslands and lakes to the results of walking around a shopping centre in Essex. They found:

Self-esteem

  • 90% of respondents had increased self-esteem after the green walk compared to 44% of people who experienced reduced levels of self-esteem following the indoor shopping centre walk.

Mood

  • 71% of respondents reported decreased levels of depression following the green walk while feelings of depression increased for 22% of people following the indoor shopping centre walk. (33% expressed no change during the indoor walk)

Anger

  • 53% of respondents said feelings of anger decreased after the green walk, but after the equivalent walk indoors, feelings of anger had only decreased for 33%, and 45% experienced no change.

Tension

  • 71% of participants stated that they felt less tense after the green walk and no one reported any increased levels of tension. 50% said their feelings of tension had increased after the shopping centre walk.

Mood

  • 88% of people saw an overall improvement in mood after the green walk. The shopping centre walk left 44.5% of people in a worse mood, 11% showed no change in mood and 44.5% had an improvement in their overall mood. [4]

The Mind report also pointed out 2 earlier validations of exercise as a replacement for medication.

“Research has demonstrated that a supervised programme of exercise can be equally as effective as antidepressants in treating mild to moderate depression” (Halliwell, 2005; Richardson et al., 2005). [5]

A report by the Chief Medical Officer stated: “physical activity is effective in the treatment of clinical depression and can be as successful as psychotherapy or medication, particularly in the longer term.” (Department of Health, 2004). [6]

Even a representation of the outdoors helps the well-being of mental patients.

“A study in a Swedish psychiatric hospital looked at the amount of vandalism to paintings on walls over a 15-year period. It found that damage was only ever inflicted on abstract paintings. There were no recorded attacks on landscape paintings.” [7]

The University of Essex research has tested more than 3,000 people over the years and has identified three key benefits from green exercise such as walking, gardening, cycling, horse riding, fishing, canal boating and conservation activities:

  • It improves psychological well-being by enhancing mood and self-esteem, while reducing feelings of anger, confusion, depression and tension
  • It has a wide range of physical health benefits
  • It facilitates social networking and connectivity

Patients Describe Their Success with Green Therapies

The words of participants in these programs tell the beneficial story even better than the statistics do.

Almost 20 years ago Ron O’Regan was suffering from agoraphobia , a fear of wide, open spaces. He found it difficult to leave his front door. Using the Mind garden project, he recovered and is now helping others to do the same

Ron said, “When I moved to a house that had a garden, I decided to use this as a training ground to help me tackle my problems. I set myself a target of spending a period of time each day in the garden to get used to being outdoors.

“Whenever I had feelings of anxiety I would go out into my greenhouse rather than stay inside. Gradually, I built up the confidence to go down the street until I was able to spend more time outside.” [8]

Tony Barrell is one of the people helped by Ron. He states, “In September 1997, I was forced to give up employment and all other social networks as I was suffering from an anxiety disorder coupled with depression. Over the following two or three years I was prescribed various antidepressant drugs by different consultant psychiatrists, none of which helped with my increasing mental health problems.

“Eventually in 2003, it was suggested I attend Thurrock (a place in the county of Essex) Mind’s garden project. While the mere thought of it was frightening, I decided to give it a try. The first thing that struck me about the manager, Ron, was the way that he seemed to have time for me and a genuine interest in my problems. This was something that I had never experienced with the statutory services (services provided by the National Health Services) and for the first time in years I felt that I was treated as an equal citizen.

“I began attending just half a day a week. I can’t pretend that this was easy for me but after just a few months I started to attend once a week. During this time Ron would offer me help and advice on the ways that I could deal with my ongoing mental health problems. Working in a safe environment, free from stigma, my confidence slowly began to grow.

“During 2005, I was able to attend Mind’s six-week volunteering course and I am now a volunteer with both the advocacy and befriending services. I have also recently completed an Open University course. I feel that all these positive steps have built my confidence and self-esteem.” [9]

Another success is David Digby. For 16 years David needed a family member with him to go outside. In April 2005, his occupational therapist referred him to the garden project.

“When I first started to visit the project I went for just half a day a week and my occupational therapist had to attend with me. Working in the garden project was a great boost to my confidence and gradually I started to go on my own but with my parents picking me up at the end of the day.

“By September, Ron asked if I would like to join some of the other group members selling plants at a local show. I was in two minds because I did not wish to let anyone down so I said that providing my dad could pick me up at lunchtime I would attend. On the day, I was feeling so good that I decided to stay the whole day.”

Within a month David was doing so well he began a City and Guilds program (a vocational education organization in the United Kingdom) to qualify him in gardening so that upon graduation he can get employment for pay working in the community.

“I have come a long way since I first joined the garden project. I am now passing on my knowledge to others and this is giving me added confidence.”  [10]

Using Green Care Agriculture to Improve Mental Health

Britain is also using green care in agriculture, also known as “care farming”. It has been defined as the use of farms and agricultural landscapes to promote mental and physical health.

In other European countries other names are used including “farming for health”, “care farming” and “social farming”. There are several hundred green care farms in Norway, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Austria, Belgium and Slovenia.

The Mind report describes how it works.

“Farms are tied to local social and health services, and are a key component of care in the community in some European countries. Someone visiting a doctor or in a psychiatric hospital or with high social care needs may be referred to a ‘care farm’ to work for a particular period of time (i.e., one day a week, or for a continuous period of a number of weeks).

“Participation is optional and farmers are paid for providing a health service. This helps maintain the economic viability of their farms – they benefit from the additional labour and can sell the agricultural produce.

“Green farming projects in Europe include people experiencing mild to moderate depression and people in mental health wards, as well as people with learning disabilities, people with a history of drug problems, disaffected young people and elderly people with mental and physical health problems.” [11]

Psychiatry Lags Far Behind

Rather than embrace these new proven safe and inexpensive techniques, psychiatry continues to hold onto its highly profitable approach to mental health – drugging the patient.

Some psychiatric facilities do have hospital gardens now but they use them incorrectly.

Since psychiatric treatments are based on punishing bad patient behavior using drugs or shock, their use of the gardens reflect this attitude.

One respondent stated “staff used trips to the garden as a reward and withheld them as a punishment.” [12] Of course this runs counter to the policies of the National Health Service in Britain whose guidelines recognize that something as simple as access to visit a garden helps calm patients.

These simple discoveries by people who truly care about the patients need to be widely promoted.

[1] http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.pn.2017.4b19

[2] Ibid

[3] https://www.mind.org.uk/media/273470/ecotherapy.pdf

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8] Ibid

[9] Ibid

[10] Ibid

[11] Ibid

[12] Ibid

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22 May
0

Another Creative Artist Killed by Psychoactive Drugs: Chris Cornell’s Wife Blames Suicide On Antianxiety Medication Ativan (Lorazepam)

Initial evidence points to the anti-anxiety medicine Ativan as the cause for Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell’s untimely death.

Chris was found dead Thursday morning following his concert in Detroit the night before.

Why did this artist who had been happily married for 13 years, with two beautiful children and many creative music projects under way, suddenly decide to end his life by hanging himself in a motel room?

His wife, Vicky Cornell , issued a statement on Friday, focusing the blame directly on an overdose of the anti-anxiety drug Ativan.

She wrote “His world revolved around his family first and, of course, his music second. He flew home for Mother’s Day to spend time with our family. He flew out mid-day Wednesday, the day of the show, after spending time with the children. When we spoke before the show, we discussed plans for a vacation over Memorial Day and other things we wanted to do.” [1]

She went on to say, “When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different. When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him. What happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details. I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life.” [2]

An attorney for the Cornell family, Kirk Pasich added, “Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris — or if any substances contributed to his demise. Chris, a recovering addict, had a prescription for Ativan and may have taken more Ativan than recommended dosages. The family believes that if Chris took his life, he did not know what he was doing, and that drugs or other substances may have affected his actions.” [3]

A later police report stated that Martin Kirsten, Chris’s bodyguard, had given Chris two Ativan after the Wednesday night concert. [4]

Only 45 minutes after giving Chris the Ativan, Martin received a panicked call from Vicky Cornell asking him to check up on her husband as he had not sounded okay to her during their call.

Kirsten broke into the locked hotel room door and found Chris already dead.

Ativan linked to Suicidal Behavior

Ativan is the brand name for the drug Lorazepam. It is in the class of drugs called Benzodiazepines  which are widely and profitably  sold as sedatives and anti-anxiety medicines.  Xanax, Valium, Librium, and Klonopin are other familiar names in this class. They are considered benign medications by drug manufacturers and many physicians and psychiatrists. Yet the facts contradict this perception.

The Lorazepam Abuse Help organization operates inpatient and outpatient facilities around the US because Ativan is both very addictive and very easy to overdose on.

They cite a recent study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that revealed several important facts about Lorazepam.

“The study found that sedative-hypnotics like Lorazepam are the most widely abused prescription drugs and account for 35% of drug-related hospital emergency room visits. Benzodiazepines are the most commonly used sedative in these cases, and Lorazepam is the third most commonly used benzodiazepine. The same study found that benzodiazepines are the most commonly used pharmaceutical drug in suicide attempts, with 26% of attempted suicide cases involving benzodiazepines.” [5]

Incriminating Evidence against Ativan Found on its FDA Insert

The following warning is present on the Ativan informational insert:

“The use of benzodiazepines, including lorazepam, may lead to physical and psychological dependence. The risk of dependence increases with higher doses and longer term use and is further increased in patients with a history of alcoholism or drug abuse or in patients with significant personality disorders… Addiction-prone individuals (such as drug addicts or alcoholics) should be under careful surveillance when receiving lorazepam or other psychotropic agents.” [6]

According to this warning (since Chris had an earlier history of abusing alcohol and drugs) he never should have been given a prescription for Ativan.

The warning insert also states:

“Pre-existing depression may emerge or worsen during use of benzodiazepines including lorazepam. Ativan (lorazepam) is not recommended for use in patients with a primary depressive disorder or psychosis.”

Chris had spoken of his depression in the past but seemingly had moved beyond it into a new life with his new family.

Did whoever wrote Chris’s current Ativan prescription consider this drug warning?

“In general, benzodiazepines should be prescribed for short periods only (e.g., 2 to 4 weeks). Extension of the treatment period should not take place without reevaluation of the need for continued therapy. Continuous long-term use of product is not recommended. Withdrawal symptoms (e.g., rebound insomnia) can appear following cessation of recommended doses after as little as one week of therapy. Abrupt discontinuation of product should be avoided and a gradual dosage-tapering schedule followed after extended therapy.” [7]

More data is needed as to how long Chris was taking Ativan and at what dosages and whether re-evaluation by a doctor ever took place. Was he experiencing withdrawal symptoms and thus decided to take more after the concert?

The Lorazepam label lists over 40 physical and mental withdrawal symptoms including anxiety, depression, insomnia, confusion, hallucinations, panic attacks and short-term memory loss.

The label goes on to state, “In patients with depression, a possibility for suicide should be borne in mind; benzodiazepines should not be used in such patients without adequate antidepressant therapy.” [8]

Did Chris Cornell ever get this information from his doctor?

“To assure the safe and effective use of Ativan (lorazepam), patients should be informed that, since benzodiazepines may produce psychological and physical dependence, it is advisable that they consult with their physician before either increasing the dose or abruptly discontinuing this drug.” [9]

Finally, the warning includes a list of over 65 adverse reactions to Ativan including slurred speech. This is exactly how his wife described Chris’s behavior during their final phone conversation. [10]

Suicidal ideation and attempt is also on the list of adverse reactions. [11]

Latest Statistics Show Benzodiazepine Prescriptions (And Deaths) Still on the Rise

The profits in handing out these drugs and promoting them as essentially harmless has resulted in their dramatic growth in the US

Data from the annual Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys between 1996 and 2013 found that the number of adults with benzodiazepine prescriptions grew by more than two thirds, from 8.1 million to 13.5 million people. [12]

Chris Cornell appears to have been one of those unlucky “patients” who suffered the deadly adverse effects of a drug that claims to be an anti-anxiety medicine yet causes anxiety, that claims to sell a happy life yet causes suicide.

Could his tragic ending have been averted with medical care that paid attention to the warning included with the drug itself?

Once again, a psychiatric drug has destroyed the life of a bright artist, leaving his family and fans in mourning.

[1] http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/chris-cornells-wife-issues-statement-w483179

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4523770/What-happened-inexplicable-Chris-Cornell-s-wife-breaks-silence-revewife-breaks-silence-xxxx-kills-self-says-d-taken-extra-ati-slurring.html

[5] http://www.lorazepamabusehelp.com/how-to-know-when-a-lorazepam-user-needs-emergency-help

[6] https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/017794s044lbl.pdf

[7] Ibid

[8] Ibid

[9] Ibid

[10] Ibid

[11] Ibid

[12] http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/02/29/benzodiazepine-prescriptions-overdose-deaths-on-rise-in-us.html

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ECT
22 May
0

ECT: Psychiatric Abuse of Elderly Patients

ECTWhy do psychiatrists increasingly treat the elderly with electro convulsive therapy (ECT)?

One of the greatest fears of those approaching old age is memory loss. The fading or complete disappearance of one’s major life events and precious memories is a horrifying thought. Entire associations worldwide have been created to help the elderly treat symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Yet psychiatry specializes in a “treatment” for the elderly with an admitted side effect of memory loss.

Despite claims that electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) is safer than ever, a review by the standing committee of the New York Assembly concluded in 2002 that the elderly “were more likely to receive ECT,” even though “permanent cognitive deficits, memory loss and premature death were among the increased risks from ECT faced by older people.” This same report called for safeguards to protect the elderly. Assemblyman Felix Ortiz remarked at the time, “The use of this controversial method of treatment is deeply disturbing, particularly when you consider that its use results in damage to the brain and lapses in memory.

What is ECT?

ECT is practiced by applying 70 to 150 volts of electric current to the brain. The purpose is to create a grand mal seizure in the patient. ECT “treatment” is usually 8 to 20 shocks given every other day. But some patients receive up to 40 shocks.

Half of all patients are over the age of 65, thus considered “elderly”. Since ECT can drastically alter behavior and mood, psychiatrists have concluded that this is an improvement. [1] The patient, friends and family may think otherwise.

In the Words of an Anonymous Psychiatric Nurse

In 1990, a psychiatric nurse made the following statement:

“Some people seem to undergo drastic personality changes. They come in the hospital as organized, thoughtful people who have a good sense of what their problems are. Weeks later I see them wandering around the halls, disorganized and dependent. They become so scrambled they can’t even have a conversation. Then they leave the hospital in worse shape than they came in.”[2]

Psychiatrists claim that ECT is “safe and effective” for the elderly and for children (yes, electroshock is also given to children with developing brains). But in real medicine (not psychiatry) a grand mal seizure is a serious event that may require medical intervention. This alone should answer the question “Is ECT safe to give to the elderly?”

Why do Psychiatrists Favor ECT?

The mystery of why ECT is gaining popularity with psychiatrists may be answered when looking at the cost of this “treatment”.

A single ECT treatment is between $300 and $800. Since 8 treatments is the norm, a course is between $2,400 and $6,400. In other words, there is profit to be made from sending a few cents worth of electric current through someone’s brain. [3]

Whether drugging a young child with antipsychotics or frying an elderly person’s brain with electricity, the industry of psychiatry has no real interest in helping those experiencing mental distress.

Combating Depression Naturally

One of the best ways for an older person to defeat depression is to find an area of interest he or she can volunteer in. Helping others has a long and proven record of helping a person achieve happiness in his or her life. [4]

Psychiatry with its destructive “treatment” will never be a solution to elderly depression.

[1] https://www.ect.org/effects/headinjury.html

[2] Ibid

[3] https://www.ect.org/resources/apa.html

[4] https://www.livhome.com/5-ways-volunteering-can-benefit-seniors/

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