Welcome to the archived web site of
Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. Psychologist (1950-2013)
California License No. PSY 10092
 
Specializing in Presence-Centered Therapy
balancing mind and heart, body and spirit

Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated

 


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Health Insurance / Care & Medications


Health Care, Health Insurance & Volunteering | Medications / Drugs / Medical Interventions

Health Insurance & Mental Health Parity Law

New Patient's Bill of Rights under the Affordable Care Act (the health insurance reform legislation of 2010): These rights aim to stop insurance companies from limiting care you need and to remove insurance company barriers between you and your doctor. Moreover, there are new consumer protections starting as early as Fall 2010 that include no pre-existing condition exclusions for children under age 19, no arbitrary rescissions of insurance coverage, and phasing out of annual dollar limits on coverage and protecting your choice of doctors.
speaker.gov/blog/?p=2341
whitehouse.gov...giving-americans-control-over-their-health-care~

The top ranked 227 Health Insurance Plans, according to a May 2011 report by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) who accredits health insurance plans and ranks them according to consumer satisfaction, treatment and prevention. The top dozen plans are: 1) Harvard Pilgrim Health Care; 2) Tufts Associated Health Maintenance Organization; 3) Harvard Pilgrim Health Care of New England; 4) Capital Health Plan; 5) Geisinger Health Plan; 6) Grand Valley Health Plan; 7) Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin; 8) Fallon Community Health Plan; 9) Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado; 10) Health New England; 11) Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts; and 12) CIGNA HealthCare of New Hampshire. Caveat Emptor (Latin for "Let the buyer beware").
HPR2010_Plan_Ranking_Summary_Report_Private10[1].26.pdf

More adults going without medical care because of costs, according to the American Medical Association's American Medical News in March 2011: A 2010 survey showed that more than 70% of an estimated 26 million adults who attempted to buy coverage in the individual market over the past three years reported difficulties finding affordable plans that met their needs with nine million being turned down, charged a higher price or had a condition excluded from coverage given a preexisting condition. Within the past two years, an estimated 43 million working-age adults reported that they or their spouses lost their jobs, and among these nearly half said they initially lost their health benefits. Only 14% of these people continued coverage through COBRA and a quarter went on their spouses' insurance plans or found coverage elsewhere. Thus 57% of those who lost both a job and health coverage were added to the ranks of the uninsured with the number of uninsured adults rising during the last decade to an estimated 52 million or 28% of the working-age population from 38 million, or 24%.
ama-assn.org/amednews/2011/03/28/gvsa0328.htm

Len Saputo, M.D., author of the 2009 book A Return To Healing: Radical Health Care Reform and the Future of Medicine and early pioneer of a multidisciplinary center for Complimentary and Alternative Health Care, responds to three questions posed by the San Francisco Chronicle in a 10/11/2009 article regarding the current debate on health care reform in the United State. His replies are very clear, highly informed and remarkably astute. He speerheaded the Health Medicine Forum located in Walnut Creek, California, "a group of health care practitioners from all disciplines who are dedicated to the collaborative exploration, practice and advancement of the emerging discipline of Health Medicine." Len Saputo, M.D. and his wife Vicki Saputo, RN have a brief daily and extended weekly radio program "Prescriptions For Health" on San Francisco's KEST radio, AM 1450. Highly recommended
sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/10/11/BAGP1A0DDI.DTL
alternativehealth.com
healthmedicineforum.org/events.htm

Mental Health Parity Law now in effect—Greater psychological treatment health insurance reimbursement given the Mental Health Parity Law went into effect on January 1, 2011, and few Americans are aware of this law broadening access to psychological treatment: A survey recently conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that 89 percent of Americans said they had not heard of the Mental health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, a federal law now in effect for people who have health insurance through a group or employer plan and only a mere 7 percent of respondents recognized the phrase "mental health parity." The law equalizes the out-of-pocket costs of mental health treatment to those of physical health coverage. Excerpts of the press release dated January 24, 2011 from the APA stated: "More than 26 percent of American adults have a diagnosable mental health disorder, but of those, only 33 percent are receiving care, according to data from the National Institute of Mental Health. And of that number, one-third is receiving treatment that is considered only minimally adequate." and "More than half of respondents (56 percent) selected cost of care as a reason why they or a family member might give for not seeking treatment. The other commonly selected reasons pointed to a need for improved communications about mental health treatment: not knowing how to find the right professional (42 percent) and not knowing if seeking help is appropriate (40 percent)." and "Mental health disorders are the leading cause of disability in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, and suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the country in 2007." While several links below predict that most large employers will comply with mental health parity law and few employers will drop mental health coverage, it does not appear to be working out that way in many cases. Most alarming is that many insurance companies are simply eliminating mental health / psychological services coverage instead of complying with Mental Health Parity Law to avoid paying for these very necessary health services!! This is a scandalous scuttling of the intent and spirit of the parity law. Shame, shame, shame on these companies and the health insurance industry for denying this critical coverage.
apa.org/news/press/releases/2011/01/law-mental-health.aspx
apa.org/helpcenter/parity-law.aspx
apa.org/helpcenter/parity-law.aspx#
washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/01~
nmha.org/go/faqs/parity-laws-when-seeking-treatment
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_Health_Parity_Act
cms.gov/healthinsreformforconsume/04_thementalhealthparityact.asp
ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=14352
minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/10/03/parity_finalpassage~
hhs.gov/news/press/2010pres/01/20100129a.html
spdbayarea.org
eba.benefitnews.com...most_large_employers_are_in_compliance~
origin-www.hewittassociates.com/Intl/NA/en-US/AboutHewitt/Newsroom/PressReleaseDetail.aspx?cid=8172&print=1&print=1
ctmirror.org/story/8877/advocates-trying-spread-word-mental-health-parity
soa.org...2010-06-16-soa-mental-health-parity-law~

A March 2011 article in Psychiatric News summarizes data on three indicators suggesting that while parity increased identification of new cases of substance abuse, it had little effect on treatment for substance abuse. March 2011 Wall Street Journal article "10 Things Health Insurers Won't Say" outlines the unintended consequences of parity—not to be missed!
pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/46/6/1.2.full
smartmoney.com...10-things-your-health-insurance-company-wont-say~

Resources for finding affordable medications and health insurance: Sources of free and low-cost medications and affordable health insurance courtesy of Ken Pope.
kspope.com/medications/index.php 

Health Care: Affordable Insurance & Medication

Resources for finding affordable medications and health insurance: Sources of free and low-cost medications and affordable health insurance courtesy of Ken Pope.
kspope.com/medications/index.php 


Health Care, Health Insurance & Volunteering | Medications / Drugs / Medical Interventions

Overprescription / Side Effects of Medications / Dangers & Risks

Overprescription of Medications: Medical Doctors are massively overprescribing drugs, according to June 2011 research findings: A new report finds U.S. doctors too quick to prescribe drugs and often give little thought to side effects and non-drug alternatives. According to experts, overprescription is rampant with nearly half of all Americans having used at least one prescription drug in the past month. Medical doctor Joseph Mercola notes the latest statistics from Kaiser Health Foundation showing that the average American, aged 19 to 64, now takes more than 11 prescription drugs. The average annual prescription rate for children is now almost 4 prescriptions per child (age 0-18) and more than 31 prescriptions per senior (aged 65 or over)! Other links offer a sobering picture of overprescription of medication in the U.S. today, including the February 2011 research finding that estimates almost 700,000 Americans went to emergency departments for drug-related poisoning in 2007!
articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/07/02/new-study-finds-doctors-are-massively-overprescribing-drugs.aspx
msnbc.msn.com/id/43385827/ns/health-health_care/t/us-docs-are-overprescribing-drugs-study-finds/
dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1325663/Are-pills-dangerous-Overprescribing-rife-millions-given-drugs-dont-need.html
bluesci.org/?p=2769
goodtherapy.org/blog/antidepressant-medication-over-prescribed-psychotherapy/
worstpills.org/public/page.cfm?op_id=3
classicalmedicinejournal.com/the-classical-medicine-journal/2010/9/2/over-prescription-of-psychoactive-drugs-to-children-long-ter.html
usatoday.com/news/health/2006-05-01-kids-overprescribe_x.htm
dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2011/02/28/er-trips-over-prescription-drugs-estimated-at-700000-a-year.html

Average Drug Label lists over 70 Side Effects!—Joseph Mercola, MD that on average, if you take one prescription drug you'll be exposed to 70 potential side effects. Further, if you take one of the most commonly prescribed drugs, the potential drug reactions rise to about 100, with some drugs even carry over 500! MSNBC reports in May 2011: “The greatest number of side effects was found in antidepressants, antiviral medications and newer treatments for restless leg syndrome and Parkinson's disease. In general, medications typically used by psychiatrists and neurologists had the most complex labels, while drugs used by dermatologists and ophthalmologists had the least.” The Latin saying, "Caveat Emptor" ("Let the Buyer Beward") rings truer and truer every day.
msnbc.msn.com/id/43141690/ns/health-health_care/?ocid=twitter
articles.mercola.com...average-drug-label-lists-over-whopping-70-side-effects~
articles.mercola.com/sites...what-are-americas-most-popular-drugs~

Skyrocketing Increase in Psychoactive Medications in past two decades: Antipsychotic drug prescriptions triple in the U.S. in the last fifteen years research shows. antidepressant use in U.S. has almost doubled between 1996 and 2005 and is a part of a 20-year trend. A 2009 British study found the number of prescriptions of antidepressants doubled with the caused by a year on year increase in the number of people taking antidepressants on a long-term basis. Use of multiple psychotropic medications is on the rise, specifically research results showed that from approximately 1996-7 to 2005-6, the percent of visits at which two or more psychotropic medications were prescribed increased from 42.6% to 59.8%.
newscientist.com...antipsychotic-drug-prescriptions-triple-in-the-us~
health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2009/08/03/antidepressant-use-in-us-has-almost-doubled
sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091022114359.htm
psychcentral.com/news/2010/01/05/use-of-multiple-psychotropic-meds-on-the-rise~

America's Most Popular Prescription Drugs, including the most popular medications for psychological conditions: In rough news for the pharmaceutical companies, only three branded medicines are left on the top 25 list of best-sellers—Lipitor, Plavix, and Singulair—and the overall volume of prescriptions sold in 2010 increased at barely more than 1 percent. the overwhelming majority of the top 25 drugs are composed of generics. With so many drugs going off-patent, the new focus is on cancer drugs. Dr. Mercola comments that prescription drug spending rose to $307.4 billion in 2010, which translates to nearly $900 spent for each and every American. He further mentions naturalistic approaches to help make sure you are not one of the millions taking these widely prescribed medications. On a positive note, the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics in their 2010 report found that the number of doctor office visits went down over 4 percent and the number of patients starting new treatments for chronic conditions declined 3.4 million. Also peruse a listing of the most popular "Mind medicines" or medications for psychological conditions, including a slide show, in 2009 according to Forbes.
articles.mercola.com...2011/05/03/what-are-americas-most-popular-drugs~
socialanxietysupport.com...article-americas-most-popular-mind-medicines~

Pharmacological Treatment of Mental Disorders in Primary Health Care: A free 68-page guide copyrighted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2009 on the web attempts to provide simple, adequate and evidence-based information to health care professionals in primary health care, especially in low- and middle-income countries to be able to provide pharmacological treatment to persons with psychological challenges.
bit.ly/KenPopeWorldHealthOrganization

Psychotropic medications can cause birth defects: Danish researchers reported in June 2010 that between 1998 and 2007 psychotropic medications were associated with 429 adverse drug reactions in Danish children under the age of 17 and concluded that more than half of these cases were serious and several involved birth defects. Further, 42 percent of adverse reactions were for psychostimulents (like Ritalin) that treat attention deficit disorder (ADD), 31 percent were for antidepressants (such as Prozac) and 24 percent for antipsychotics (including Haldol).
sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100625101512.htm
nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/mental-health-medications/complete~
mhsanctuary.com/rx/medications.htm

Narcotic (vs. nonnarcotic) painkillers may pose risk to elderly with 2X death risk, 4X bone fracture risk, 2X heart attack risk along with gastrointestinal bleeding: December 2010 research reported in The Archives of Internal Medicine and reported by The New York Times as the first large-scale effort to look at the comparative safety risks for the elderly taking different classes of painkillers. It found that the elderly with arthritis who take narcotic-based drugs to relieve pain face a much higher risk of bone fracture, heart attack, gastrointestinal bleeding and death when compared to those taking non-narcotic drugs.
nytimes.com/2010/12/14/health/14drug.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

Weight Gain Associated With Antipsychotic Drugs: an October 27, 2009 New York Times article reports on a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association that found that young children and adolescents who take the four of the newest generation of antipsychotic medications risk rapid weight gain and metabolic changes that could lead to diabetes, hypertension and other illnesses in the biggest study to date of first-time users of the drugs. Zyprexa showed the most severe effects on wight and metabolism, followed by Risperdal, Seroquel and Abilify.
nytimes.com/2009/10/28/business/28psych.html

A summary of a 2006 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that physicians, specifically family physicians, internists and cardiologists, often fail to communicate critical elements of medication use. Adverse medication effects are discussed only 35% of the time, length of time to take the medication discussed 34% of the time, and overall doctors communicate 62% of the information required for perfect patient communication when discussing medications.
prweb.com/releases/2006/11/prweb478103.htm

More than a quarter of U.S. kids and teens taking one medication, and 7% are on two or more such drugs, on a chronic basis: A December 2010 report by Hedco Health Solutions Inc., the biggest U.S. pharmacy-benefit manager with about 65 million members, children and teens are taking a wide variety of medications once considered only to be for adults, from sleeping drugs to statins to diabetes pills according to figures provided to the Wall Street Journal by IMS Health, a research firm. There is limited research available about many drugs' effects on kids and the consequences of using medications for the rest of a patient's lifespan are little understood.
online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203731004576046073896475588~

Pharmacological Treatment of Mental Disorders

Helpguide.org: This non-profit resource provides balanced authoritative information about psychoactive medications and their side-effects, withdrawal effects and interaction effects for being an informed health consumer
helpguide.org/mental/medications_depression.htm

Pharmacological Treatment of Mental Disorders in Primary Health Care: A free 68-page guide copyrighted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2009 on the web attempts to provide simple, adequate and evidence-based information to health care professionals in primary health care, especially in low- and middle-income countries to be able to provide pharmacological treatment to persons with psychological challenges.
bit.ly/KenPopeWorldHealthOrganization

Overprescription of Medications: Medical Doctors are massively overprescribing drugs, according to June 2011 research findings: A new report finds U.S. doctors too quick to prescribe drugs and often give little thought to side effects and non-drug alternatives. According to experts, overprescription is rampant with nearly half of all Americans having used at least one prescription drug in the past month. Medical doctor Joseph Mercola notes the latest statistics from Kaiser Health Foundation showing that the average American, aged 19 to 64, now takes more than 11 prescription drugs. The average annual prescription rate for children is now almost 4 prescriptions per child (age 0-18) and more than 31 prescriptions per senior (aged 65 or over)! Other links offer a sobering picture of overprescription of medication in the U.S. today, including the February 2011 research finding that estimates almost 700,000 Americans went to emergency departments for drug-related poisoning in 2007!
articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/07/02/new-study-finds-doctors-are-massively-overprescribing-drugs.aspx
msnbc.msn.com/id/43385827/ns/health-health_care/t/us-docs-are-overprescribing-drugs-study-finds/
dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1325663/Are-pills-dangerous-Overprescribing-rife-millions-given-drugs-dont-need.html
bluesci.org/?p=2769
goodtherapy.org/blog/antidepressant-medication-over-prescribed-psychotherapy/
worstpills.org/public/page.cfm?op_id=3
classicalmedicinejournal.com/the-classical-medicine-journal/2010/9/2/over-prescription-of-psychoactive-drugs-to-children-long-ter.html
usatoday.com/news/health/2006-05-01-kids-overprescribe_x.htm
dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2011/02/28/er-trips-over-prescription-drugs-estimated-at-700000-a-year.html

Average Drug Label lists over 70 Side Effects!—Joseph Mercola, MD that on average, if you take one prescription drug you'll be exposed to 70 potential side effects. Further, if you take one of the most commonly prescribed drugs, the potential drug reactions rise to about 100, with some drugs even carry over 500! MSNBC reports in May 2011: “The greatest number of side effects was found in antidepressants, antiviral medications and newer treatments for restless leg syndrome and Parkinson's disease. In general, medications typically used by psychiatrists and neurologists had the most complex labels, while drugs used by dermatologists and ophthalmologists had the least.” The Latin saying, "Caveat Emptor" ("Let the Buyer Beward") rings truer and truer every day.
msnbc.msn.com/id/43141690/ns/health-health_care/?ocid=twitter
articles.mercola.com...average-drug-label-lists-over-whopping-70-side-effects~
articles.mercola.com/sites...what-are-americas-most-popular-drugs~

Skyrocketing Increase in Psychoactive Medications in past two decades: Antipsychotic drug prescriptions triple in the U.S. in the last fifteen years research shows. antidepressant use in U.S. has almost doubled between 1996 and 2005 and is a part of a 20-year trend. A 2009 British study found the number of prescriptions of antidepressants doubled with the caused by a year on year increase in the number of people taking antidepressants on a long-term basis. Use of multiple psychotropic medications is on the rise, specifically research results showed that from approximately 1996-7 to 2005-6, the percent of visits at which two or more psychotropic medications were prescribed increased from 42.6% to 59.8%.
newscientist.com...antipsychotic-drug-prescriptions-triple-in-the-us~
health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2009/08/03/antidepressant-use-in-us-has-almost-doubled
sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091022114359.htm
psychcentral.com/news/2010/01/05/use-of-multiple-psychotropic-meds-on-the-rise~

"Big Pharm" (Pharmaceutical or drug companies) biggest defrauders of U.S. Government; 14.8 billion in penalties in 5 years (2006-2010)—Yesterday Public Citizen published a study "Rapidly Increasing Criminal and Civil Monetary Penalties Against the Pharmaceutical Industry: 1991 to 2010." U.S. spending on prescription medications has dramatically increased from 40 billion in 19990 to 234 billion in 2008. Excerpts: "The lack of criminal prosecution that would result in jailing of company executives has been cited as a major reason for the continuing large-scale fraud, in addition to the fact that current settlement payouts may not be a sufficient deterrent."; and "For example, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer have paid out a combined total of $7.44 billion in financial penalties overthe past 20 years."; and "Of the 165 settlements comprising $19.8 billion in penalties during this 20-year interval, 73 percent of the settlements (121) and 75 percent of the penalties ($14.8 billion) have occurred in just the past five years (2006-2010). These two companies made a combined $16.5 billion in global net profits in one year alone.'; and "Former pharmaceutical company employees and other "whistleblowers" have been instrumental in bringing to light the most egregious violations and have been responsible for initiating the largest number of federal settlements over the past 10 years. From 1991 through 2000, qui tam (whistleblower) cases made up only 9 percent of payouts to the government, but from 2001 through 2010, they comprised 67 percent of total payouts." Shocking.
medicalnews.rosblog.com/2010/12/17/merry-christmas-big-pharma-naughty-not-nice/
citizen.org/hrg1924
democracynow.org/2010/12/17/pharmaceutical_drug_industry_tops_defense_industry

Original study:
webcache.goog...freepdfhosting.com/53888d5b53.pdf Rapidly+Increasing...Penalties+Against+the+Pharmaceutical+Industry~
bit.ly/KenPopePharmaStudy

Psychotropic medications can cause birth defects: Danish researchers reported in June 2010 that between 1998 and 2007 psychotropic medications were associated with 429 adverse drug reactions in Danish children under the age of 17 and concluded that more than half of these cases were serious and several involved birth defects. Further, 42 percent of adverse reactions were for psychostimulents (like Ritalin) that treat attention deficit disorder (ADD), 31 percent were for antidepressants (such as Prozac) and 24 percent for antipsychotics (including Haldol).
sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100625101512.htm
nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/mental-health-medications/complete~
mhsanctuary.com/rx/medications.htm

Medication Alone Treatment for outpatient psychological issues is a growing trend—Growing percentage receiving outpatient care for psychological issues are being treated only with psychotropic medications, according to an analysis of a recent survey published in the January 7, 2011 issue of Psychiatric News: An increasing number of people are receiving outpatient care from mental health specialists and an increasing proportion of the treatment provided by mental health professionals consists solely of prescribed psychotropic medication and little or no psychotherapy. U.S. residents receiving any type of outpatient mental health care increased form 16.1 million in 1998 to 23.2 million in 2007, the percentage treated only with medications grew from 44 percent in 1998 to 578 percent in 2007, and smaller proportions of respondents received either psychotherapy only (16 percent in 1998 and 11 percent in 2007) or psychotherapy in combination with medication (40 percent in 1998 and 22 percent in 2007). In an accompanying editorial, Benjamin Druss, M.D., M.P.H., interprets the findings as "pointing to a major shift in mental health services delivery away from psychotherapy and toward psychopharmacology." One result of this shift may be a reduction in the range of treatment options available to patients. Mark Olfson, M.D., M.P.H., made the following observation to Medscape Medical News published in September 2010 based on this national survey: "We found that for an increasing number of Americans, mental healthcare involves medications but not psychotherapy, and this trend is evident especially for depression and for bipolar, anxiety, and child disorders." Other links below explore this issue, particularly the pioneering work of psychiatrist Peter Breggin, M.D..
pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/46/1/8.1.full
medscape.com/viewarticle/728040
sitemaker.umich.edu/findingvoice/medication
breggin.com/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1

May 2008 News: Half of Insured Americans on Prescription Medications
clevelandleader.com/node/5531
sandiego.jobing.com/blog_post.asp?post=10922
bulletin.aarp.org/yourhealth/medications/articles~

SSRI Antidepressants Research Findings

Continuous antidepressant use was significantly linked to risk of developing diabetes: December 2010 research findings found that continuous antidepressant use was significantly associated with diabetes risk.
care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2010/08/27/dc10-1033.abstract
aaps.org/bin2/news/display_news_detail.asp?ID=497942

Antidepressants linked to thicker arteries which may raise the risk of heart disease and stroke, according to research findings released to the public by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in April 2011.
/news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/health/2011-04/03/c_13811058~
esciencenews.com...antidepressants.linked.thicker.arteries~

Antidepressants may be linked to 48% higher risk for stoke, according to a March 2011 research study published online in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
medscape.com/viewarticle/739084
ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/appi.ajp.2010.10071064v1

Antidepressants Don't Work For Over Half—Major New Findings from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine help us understand why antidepressants don't work for more than half the people who take them for depression: New research reports strong indications that depression actually begins further up the chain of events in the brain, far earlier than the current crop of antidepressants that aim to boost neurotransmitters given the popular molecular or biochemical theory of depression being the result of decreased levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. The newest antidepressant medications have focused on the effect and not the cause, thus aiming at the wrong target. This does not come as any real surprise to so many people who have had less than stellar results from being on SSRI antidepressants. The research findings show that antidepressants treat stress, not depression. Furthermore, the biochemical events that ultimately result in depression actually begin in the development and functioning of neurons. At the 2009 Neuroscience conference in Chicago, new research appears to have toppled two strongly held beliefs about depression: (1) stressful life events are a major cause of depression; and (2) an imbalance in neurotransmitters in the brain trigger depressive symptoms. Back to the drawing board...
northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2009/10/redei.html
articles.mercola...2009/11/10/Why-Antidepressants-Dont-Work~
articles.mercola...2010/03/09/antidepressants-are-no-better-than-placebo~
articles.mercola...2009/01/29/10-antidepressant-alternatives-proven-to-work~

Analysis finds limited value in antidepressants for people experiencing mild and moderate depression: In mild and moderate cases of depression, SSRI antidepressant Paxil and imipramine were no more effective than placebo pills for most patients according to a January 2010 analysis in six studies of 718 men and women. People experiencing very severe depression, the benefits of medications over placebo is substantial. Thus the magnitude of benefit of antidepressant medication compared with placebo increases with severity of depressive symptoms and may be minimal or nonexistent, on average, in people with mild or moderate symptoms.
latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-sci-depression6-2010jan06~
sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100105161538.htm
medpagetoday.com/Psychiatry/Depression/17797
jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/303/1/47?rss=1

Research findings suggest that popular SSRI antidepressants are no more effective than a placebo, and may be worse, in a research-based February 2010 Newsweek cover article: Read it below along with reactions since its publication.
newsweek.com/id/232781/output/print
psychcentral.com...newsweeks-take-on-antidepressants-more-reactions~
http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/vol-27-no-7

A Contrarian Perspective: In Defense of Antidepressants by Peter D. Kramer, MD psychiatrist, published in July 2011 in the New York Times—Kramer asks, "Could drugs that are ingested by one in 10 Americans each year, drugs that have changed the way that mental illness is treated, really be a hoax, a mistake or a concept gone wrong?" and answers it by saying they work "ordinarily well, on pare with other medications doctors prescribe," sees the questioning of their efficacy in particular areas as sometimes on the basis of shaky data and suggests that the idea that they are not effective in general as influencing treatment. A few excerpts: "It is hard to locate the judicious stance with regard to antidepressants and moderate mood disorder. In my 1993 book, “Listening to Prozac,” I wrote, “To my mind, psychotherapy remains the single most helpful technology for the treatment of minor depression and anxiety.” In 2003, in “Against Depression,” I highlighted research that suggested antidepressants influence mood only indirectly. It may be that the drugs are “permissive,” removing roadblocks to self-healing;" and " Still, my approach with mild depression is to begin treatments with psychotherapy. I aim to use drugs sparingly. They have side effects, some of them serious...But if psychotherapy leads to only slow progress, I will recommend adding medicines. With a higher frequency and stronger potency than what we see in the literature, they seem to help."
nytimes.com...10antidepressants.html~

SSRI antidepressants like Prozac and Celexa do NOT mix well with Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and other painkillers, according to April 2011 research results: Research found that painkillers such as aspirin and ibuprofen appear to decrease the effectiveness of a popular class of SSRI antidepressants, which may help explain why even the most effective antidepressants don't work for everyone. Apparently, at best only about two-thirds of people respond effectively to Celexa and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.
online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704132204576285183033104082~

Antidepressant use associated with 48% greater risk of both ischemic and hemorrhagic types of stokes, according to March 2011 research results released in the American Journal of Psychiatry—Stoke is the second leading casue of death and the sixth leading cause of disease burden globally. A growing body of research has shown that antidepressants, especially SSRIs, may induce bleeding complications and vasoconstriction of the large cerebral arteries.
medscape.com/viewarticle/739084
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21406464

SSRI antidepressants side-effects: As reported in April 2010, the journal Psychiatry details how across a cross-section of real-world patients taking SSRI antidepressants citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, and sertraline, 38 percent of the approximately 700 patients surveyed reported experiencing a side effect, the most common being sexual functioning, sleepiness, and weight gain. 25 percent of the side effects were considered "very bothersome" or "extremely bothersome" and 40 percent mentioned the side effects to their prescribing physicians.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2719451

Analysis of the clinical trials of newer SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), including Prozac, Effexor, Serzone and Paxil, found that in most cases that patients given the active drug did only marginally better than those given dummy placebo pills. In a February 2008 study published in the journal PLoS Medicine, researchers were able to track down comprehensive unpublished trial results from the drug makers themselves through the Freedom of Information Act before the drugs were authorized for sale in the United States. Significant effects were shown only in the most severely depressed patients, and that was largely because the very depressed did not respond as much to placebos. A 2007 article and video (below) of Helen Fisher, Ph.D., author and research professor of anthropology at Rutgers University, shares her disturbing finding that SSRI antidepressants strongly inhibit the sex drive and the "ability to fall in love and stay in love." March 2010 research found that some SSRI antidepressants bring a higher risk of developing cataracts.
time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1717306,00.html
thehealthyskeptic.org/placebos-as-effective-as-antidepressants
plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050045
futurepundit.com/archives/005034.html
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_serotonin_reuptake_inhibitor
nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_96430.html
sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100308151100.htm

Helen Fisher, Ph.D. article "My Dangerous Idea": helenfisher.typepad.com
Helen Fisher, Ph.D. Video: youtube.com/watch?v=IcG6J-8OwAo

Psychotropic medications can cause birth defects: Danish researchers reported in June 2010 that between 1998 and 2007 psychotropic medications were associated with 429 adverse drug reactions in Danish children under the age of 17 and concluded that more than half of these cases were serious and several involved birth defects. Further, 42 percent of adverse reactions were for psychostimulents (like Ritalin) that treat attention deficit disorder (ADD), 31 percent were for antidepressants (such as Prozac) and 24 percent for antipsychotics (including Haldol).
sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100625101512.htm
nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/mental-health-medications/complete~
mhsanctuary.com/rx/medications.htm

Caffeine

Caffeine—Sources and Impact of Caffeine use, largely in coffee, soft drinks, energy drinks, black teas, cocoa, and chocolate as well as withdrawal effects in coming off Caffeine. Water decaffeination with coffee and CO2 decaffeination with black teas avoid the use of chemical solvents. This "drug" is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, the world's most widely consumed psychoactive substance, 90% of of adults consume caffeine daily, and strongly contra-indicated for those that are anxious, nervous and stressed. For coffee, chemical decaffeination that removes 97% to 99.9% is far different from water decaffeination that removes 99.9% of the caffeine and retain most if not all of their flavor and smell without using chemicals. Black teas that are decaffeinated use either a chemical in the direct method or a CO2 method that avoids the use of potentially harmful solvents. Again, forewarned is forearmed.
medicinenet.com/caffeine/article.htm
pe2000.com/caffeine.htm
ww.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-negative-effects-of-caffeine.htm
examiner.com...Anxiety-and-Mood-Altering-Effects-of-Caffeine~
web1.caryacademy.org/chemistry/rushin...1998/Caffeine/effects.htm~
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caffeine
caffeinedependence.org/caffeine_dependence.html#withdrawal
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decaffeination
swisswater.ca/process
wilsonscoffee.com/carticles/gdc.html
amazing-green-tea.com/decaffeinated-green-tea.html
teasetc.com/tea/...Decaffeination+Green+Tea+and+Benefits~

Aspirin

Aspirin: Benefits and risks—Aspirin reduces cancer death risk by 20% according to the British medical journal Lancet in December 2010 through arranging an early release of an article. Other links point out both the benefits and the risks of daily aspirin therapy. Apparently one risk is that in stopping daily aspirin therapy can have a rebound effect that may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. Previous research has cautioned healthy middle-aged people run the small risk of bleeding in taking Aspirin regularly. Whether you need daily aspirin therapy depends on your risk of heart disease and stroke. A number of medical conditions are counter-indicated for daily aspirin therapy as detailed on the MayoClinic.com site below. Another link asks whether low-dose aspirin can prevent cancer and whether it is worth the side-effects. Once again, awareness is everything.
thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article.../abstract~
sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101206201240.htm
mayoclinic.com/health/daily-aspirin-therapy/HB00073
ehow.com/facts_5901631_effect-aspirin-kidney-function-decline.html
steadyhealth.com/about/side_effects_of_daily_aspirin.html

Electroshock therapy

F.D.A. is reportedly studying the risk of Electroshock devices: According to a January 2011 article in the New York Times, federal regulators are weighing whether to downgrade the risk classification from the high-risk category to a medium-risk category upon the recommendation of the American Psychiatric Association and other leading specialists. This move can be viewed as controversial. An excerpt from those opposing this move: "Opponents, including some groups of former patients, maintain that electroshock can cause memory loss and brain damage that outweigh its short-term benefits. “It’s all trial and error—it’s all experimental,” said Vera Hassner Sharav, president of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, an advocacy group in New York. Advocates of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) tout it as a treatment for the most severe forms of depression. “All the years it’s been controversial and there have not been clinical trials. Why not?” The links below present a research-based, balanced and in depth look at ECT including personal experiences of patients. Also look at the next couple of links, especially psychiatrist Peter Breggin, M.D., for a powerful critique of ECT and other psychiatric interventions.
nytimes.com/2011/01/24/business/24shock.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroconvulsive_therapy
mayoclinic.com/health/electroconvulsive-therapy/MY00129/DSECTION=why-its-done
webmd.com/depression/guide/electroconvulsive-therapy
healthyplace.com/depression/ect/all-about-ect-electroconvulsive-therapy/menu-id-68
antipsychiatry.org/ect.htm
nmha.org/go/information/get-info/treatment/electroconvulsive-therapy-ect
bipolar.about.com/od/ect/a/sfe_shock1.htm

Psychiatrist Peter Breggin, M.D. is the author of many books, including the 1994 modern classic Toxic Psychiatry, and scientific papers confronting psychiatric excesses of prescription psychoactive medications and treatments. He has been called "the conscience of psychiatry" and is a courageous pioneer in exposing the dangers of the collusion of the psychiatric establishment and the pharmaceutical industry, which he calls the "Psychopharmaceutical Complex." His website and his interviews are authoritative and most illuminating. breggin.com
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Breggin
Interviews: mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc~
breggin.com/index~
  


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