What’s going on in America? From the government shutdown to violence in DC perpetrated by out-of-control citizens, we seem to be moving toward chaos.
Hopelessness about life is the ultimate reason many people take their own lives. Among the military, as in civilian life, suicide often results when individuals feel isolated, abandoned, and without hope. Our military and veterans need to know that we Americans appreciate their sacrifices and the horrors they have endured, and that we want to extend them help. But what kind of help should it be?
This brief analysis is offered in response to information that the Navy Yard mass murderer, Aaron Alexis, was taking the antidepressant trazodone. Alexis was reportedly started on trazodone for sleep on August 23, 2013 at the Veterans Administration (VA) clinic in Providence and refilled on August 28 at the VA in Washington, DC. Twenty days later, on September 16, he committed the violent assaults.
The very misleading headline on the August 1st PEW report summary says, “A Rising Share of Young Adults Live in Their Parental Home.” In reality, between 1968 and 2012 the percentage of young adults ages 18-31 living at home rose a meager 2 percent. This slight increase from 32 percent to 34 percent is hardly worth mentioning but has received nearly all the press coverage.
There are solutions to madness, psychosis, and personal crises. What I mean by madness is an experience of overwhelming emotional distress that leaves us feeling isolated, abandoned, frightened and helpless. Sometimes we feel it as demoralizing guilt, at other times burning shame or terrifying anxiety, and sometimes all three at once. We may escape into frustration, anger and rage, but beneath always lies fear and helplessness.
Watching TV coverage of about the escape of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight from sexual enslavement in Cleveland, I found myself becoming increasingly uneasy. I knew I would be talking about it to millions of Americans on a nationwide radio talk show that night, but didn’t know what I wanted to say.
As I predicted in my blogs on Naturalnews.com and on my website, the left and the right have indeed found common ground in wanting to increase the power of psychiatry and the mental health establishment with the goal of preventing gun massacres. But as I’ve also warned in my reports, psychiatrists have no special ability to identify potentially violent offenders. Even more striking, they have no drugs that prevent violence, but they prescribe many drugs that can cause violence, including antidepressants, benzodiazepines, stimulants, and antipsychotic drugs.
Ben Goldacre’s TEDTalk describes the selective bias in research and publishing which strongly favors articles with positive outcomes. In my field of psychiatry, this bias is only the tip of the iceberg. In many cases, the articles are not even written by the scientists whose names appear on them. They are “ghostwritten” by drug company minions.
There have been recent calls for a national Mental Health Registry, and then additional calls to link such a registry to gun licensing. In the dreadful wake of Newtown, both the left and the right and the current US federal administration are demanding that we tighten mental health statutes to make it easier and even mandatory for health care providers including psychiatrists and psychotherapists to incarcerate people on suspicion of perpetrating violence.
Three years ago my wife Ginger and I decided to form the Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, Education and Living (a nonprofit 501c3). The organization is founded on twin principles of equal importance: First, modern psychiatric theory and practice does more harm than good. Second, all human services, from […]