Excerpts from interviews with two different psychiatrists this week

I will make virtually no comments. Why don’t all of you have at it?

From The New York Times.

Q. AND WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND?

A. I haven’t published this yet. But I have spoken about it in public lectures. The big finding is that people with schizophrenia are losing brain tissue at a more rapid rate than healthy people of comparable age. Some are losing as much as 1 percent per year. That’s an awful lot over an 18-year period. And then we’re trying to figure out why. Another thing we’ve discovered is that the more drugs you’ve been given, the more brain tissue you lose.

Q. WHY DO YOU THINK THIS IS HAPPENING?

A. Well, what exactly do these drugs do? They block basal ganglia activity. The prefrontal cortex doesn’t get the input it needs and is being shut down by drugs. That reduces the psychotic symptoms. It also causes the prefrontal cortex to slowly atrophy.

While Dr. Salzman in Newsweek, also this week clearly has his head up his ass if we can believe our own experience. I know my brain has been fried and I don’t need no MRI.

What is the toll on the brain of taking psychoactive medications for 15 years or more? Can this contribute to permanent physical brain damage?
When psychiatric medications are taken as directed by a physician, there are no long-lasting harmful effects on the brain. In fact, it is clear that some medications, such as antidepressants, may actually be helpful for the parts of the brain that regulate emotions.

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters

11 Responses

  1. I’ve heard the “helpful”-thing before, also in context with stimulants and lithium, somewhere. Reminds me of this Danish shrink, that says, psych drugs, no matter what kind of, preserve people’s personality. Yeah, sure…

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  2. jo

    “When psychiatric medications are taken as directed by a physician, there are no long-lasting harmful effects on the brain.”

    and physicians are not only entirely informed, uncorruptible, deeply caring, intellectually brilliant, highly attuned to their patients’ needs and desires and profoundly committed to listening to their patients’ input, but also they are infallible and omniscent. gee, i had no idea.

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  3. Gianna,

    I hate to paraphrase a Buddhist teaching, but can’t find the exact words (maybe one of your readers will know it by heart), but it goes something like “Don’t believe anything that goes against your own common sense” (my apologies to any of your readers who might be Buddhist, and feel offended by such a paraphrase)….

    This is what I drew from the articles….what these professionals had to say lacked common sense….

    ECT – How can they say one minute that ECT works, and at the same time, admit they have not a clue with how it works?

    ….Seems a bit risky, wouldn’t you say? “Hey, lay down for a minute – We’re gonna zap the ever-lovin tar outta your brain with some electrical current, and your depression will soon disappear….we have no idea how this works….but just lay down, and we’ll be done in just a moment”…..

    It lacks common sense…..

    Schizophrenia – “Seems to us that it must be related to dying brain cells….Not to worry, we’re gonna kill some more for you….Don’t sweat it…..We have no idea how the drugs work, other than they interrupt messaging from the basal ganglia to the pre-frontal cortex…..Trust us, we know what we’re doing”…..

    It lacks common sense….

    I don’t know Gianna – I’m glad you put the post up, and it was a reminder of so much of what I’ve read these past couple of years….but, I’m not sure I can read much more of this stuff for a while….It’s just too disheartening and depressing…..Maybe I’m in need of a break…I dunno – but, thanks for the reminder that these clowns are still out there…..

    It just seems so obvious to me anyway – that it makes much more sense…much more common sense…. to try anything and everything before trying psychiatric medications….anything – everything…..until a person finds some things, or combinations that help them…..

    And now, the FDA and others are trying to make sure we can’t take natural forms of such things as vitamin
    b-6…..big pharma stands ready on the side-line with a pharm grade b-6 with lots of nasty “side effects”…..but, it would be “monitored” by a doctor……translation – “a lot of cash to be made”……

    These two articles are like all the others I’ve read…..in the sense that they aren’t “medical” – they’re political…..and money-driven…..

    I exhausted myself on trying to understand this entire thing in a medical sense…..”Why do these people at the NAMH, NAMI, FDA keep doing the same thing when it doesn’t work? When it causes much more harm than good?”, I remember asking myself for months….years…..

    And, then it finally hit me – to stop trying to understand it in medical terms, and try to see it in political terms, and as a money-driven system…..Then, these types of articles began to make perfect sense to me……

    Don’t mean to sound so cynical…..But, it’s just the way I have come to see it, and to understand it.

    Be well,
    Duane

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  4. Duane: “…I’m not sure I can read much more of this stuff for a while….It’s just too disheartening and depressing…”

    You’re not alone, Duane. Actually, and quite interestingly, I sometimes experience what psychiatry then would term “symptoms”, reading this kind of stuff. I came to the conclusion that it’s due to the inherent bottom line message, which, IMO, is clearly a double bind (in a way the opposite of common sense, and, indeed, deeply political): “We know what we’re doing” – NOT, “It’s only for your own good” – NOT. I do react (violently) to double binds… But seeing double binds “everywhere” also is a “symptom”, “paranoid”, of course…

    When I started to have a closer look at all these theories and stuff, I had sort of an intuitive feeling in my gut that something was profoundly wrong with it altogether. No matter how scientifically convincing the “arguments” seemed at first glance. I smelled a rat, without knowing it was a rat, you might say. I’ve always smelled rats without knowing it were rats. Now that I’ve seen the rats with my own eyes, no one tells me anymore they aren’t there. While this exactly is, what I would be told… am told, indirectly, reading this kind of stuff.

    I like Ron Bassman’s view: “Do I still have more of the capacity to become paranoid than most people? Probably. I am not frightened of my paranoid tendencies. I regard them less as a sign of weakness than a potential ability. It would be more accurate and less emotionally charged to call it a tendency to be sceptical, questioning or cautious.” (A Fight To Be)

    One maybe could add “sensitive” and/or “aware”. Makes the use of especially tranquilizers, but ultimately of all psychiatric “treatment”, being nothing but awareness/sensitivity reducing “treatment” measures, perfectly logic.

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  5. If you’ve visited my blog, lately, you’ll know I’ve set up a tropical fish tank. It’s an interesting excercize, in that the fish give one almost instant feedback, if something is wrong: the fuckers die on your arse!

    Now, that might be disheartening, initially, but it tells one something important: something’s wrong. The fish can’t be specific, so one then needs to use one’s diagnostic tools and skills to establish what’s awry, and then put it right before anything else snuffs. And then, knowing that [whatever-it-was] will kill one’s fish, if one allows it to happen, again, one ensures that it does not.

    Now, I’m evidently a stupid fuck, because this is not the logic that the psychiatric profession follows – something goes wrong (ie, a patient doesn’t get better), and they carry on doing the same thing. What’s wrong with this picture?

    Matt

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  6. Oh, and what’s more, in the case of the psychiatrist-patient relationship, the shrink is perfectly at liberty to ask the patient to be specific. It seems they don’t ask, or else they don’t like the answers their given, for some reason.

    Matt

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