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Could Lead Exposure Underlie Your Child’s “ADHD”? Study Says Under the Age of 6, Chances Are 50/50

Half of the youngest U.S. children have detectable levels of lead in their bodies, which can go untreated if behavior problems are only diagnosed as “ADHD.”

By CCHR National Affairs Office

The importance of checking for possible lead exposure in children whose behavior is labeled as “ADHD” is underscored by a recent report showing that half of U.S. children under the age of 6 were found to have detectable levels of lead in their blood, a condition known to cause hyperactivity and inattentiveness.

The study from Quest Diagnostics and published in JAMA Pediatrics analyzed blood lead tests from 1.1 million children under the age of 6 living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia over the 17 months through February 2020.  Most of the children (71%) were under 3 years of age.

The analysis revealed that 50.5% of the children tested had detectable levels of lead in their blood, despite years of lead reduction programs in the United States.

Children in poorer areas and areas with older houses are at the highest risk of lead exposure.  The study found that 60.2% of children living in areas with the highest level of poverty had detectable blood lead levels, as compared to 38.8% of children in areas with the lowest levels of poverty.  More children from predominately African American and Hispanic areas (57.6% and 56%, respectively) were found to have detectable lead levels than predominately white areas (48.7%).

Lead is a toxic metal, known to cause serious health and mental health problems, especially in young children whose bodies are in a state of growth and development.  Additionally, the absorption of lead occurs more quickly in children than in adults.

Despite progress in reducing sources of lead exposure in the United States, lead is still found in the paint dust in older homes, schools and other buildings, and in older water pipes, the soil and air around heavy industry and highways, and some consumer products.  Young children breathe lead dust or touch and put contaminated objects into their mouths.

The CDC says that approximately 24 million housing units have significant lead-based paint hazards, including deteriorated paint and lead-contaminated house dust.  About 4 million of these are home to young children.

No safe level of lead exposure in children has been found.  Even the lowest levels of lead in children can cause brain and nervous system damage, slowed growth and development, hearing and speech problems, and memory and learning difficulties.

“The first signs of lead poisoning in children are often subtle neurobehavioral problems that adversely affect classroom behavior and social interaction,” according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry of the CDC.

The physical effects of lead in a child’s body can cause the child to become hyperactive or inattentive, behavior that can result in the child being labeled with “ADHD.”  The “diagnosis” of ADHD is inexact and completely subjective and includes behavioral criteria so broad that they could be found in any child.  A child’s behavior resulting from lead exposure is likely to be found in the wide-ranging “ADHD” criteria.

At higher lead levels, behavior can worsen, with children refusing to play and showing aggressive and antisocial behavior – behavior for which they potentially can be labeled with still other “mental disorders.”

With the psychiatric labels comes the increased likelihood of children being prescribed powerful, mind-altering psychiatric drugs that carry many dangerous, even life-threatening side effects.

The psychiatric drugs side effects database of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) currently lists 34 drug regulatory agency warnings and 32 research studies showing adverse effects for children under the age of 18 from the stimulant drugs typically prescribed for “ADHD.”

Those side effects include slowed growth, high blood pressure, heart problems, depression, suicidal thoughts, hostility, anxiety, psychosis, mania, violence, and sudden death.  The psychostimulant drugs also carry the risk of addiction, with experts referring to them as “kiddie cocaine” because of their many similarities to cocaine.

The risk of these adverse effects from taking “ADHD” drugs potentially compounds the physical difficulties a child with lead exposure is already enduring.  The child’s life is further endangered if the true diagnosis of lead poisoning is missed, and only a “diagnosis” of “ADHD” is given for the child’s behavior.  Therefore, it is important for health providers and parents to consider a blood lead test for a child whose behavior is a cause for concern.

If lead is detected, parents can take action to help their child.  The CDC offers recommendations for what parents can do to lower their child’s lead level, starting with making a plan with the child’s physician, which may include more testing for the child.

Parents should take immediate action to find and fix any lead hazards in the home.  A home inspection should be done by a licensed lead inspector.  By removing lead sources, lead levels should drop noticeably in the child’s blood in a month or two, according to Joel T. Nigg, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and professor in the departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at Oregon Health & Science University.

The CDC recommendations also direct parents to feed their child healthy foods that contain calcium, iron, and vitamin C, which are protective against lead absorption, and to have the child tested for possible iron deficiency and insufficient dietary calcium.

“For the potentially lead-exposed child, adequate intake of iron, calcium and vitamin C, beyond their requirement for overall good nutrition, can specifically minimize absorption of ingested lead,” says the Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention of the CDC.

The levels of lead in a child’s body can be reduced by taking these steps, with corresponding improvement in the child’s physical and mental health.

CCHR has long recommended that children experiencing behavioral problems should get a complete physical examination with lab tests and nutritional screening to discover any underlying physical conditions that could be causing the behavior.

With the latest study revealing that so many children have detectable levels of lead in their bodies, parents would do well to discuss with their physicians whether their children should be tested for lead exposure.  Now is a perfect time to do so, with National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week starting on October 24.

WARNING:  Anyone wishing to discontinue or change the dose of a psychiatric drug is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a physician because of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you know has been harmed by a mental health practitioner or psychiatric drugs, we want to talk to you. You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225. All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.

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News for Colorado

Colorado Springs Teen With History of Psychiatric Drugs Arrested For Fatal Stabbings of Young Siblings

A Colorado Springs teen, Malik Vincent Murphy, arrested yesterday morning for the fatal stabbings of his 5-year-old sister and 7-year-old brother and the nonfatal stabbing of his father reportedly has a history of psychiatric drugs.

Psychiatric drugs have known links to violence.  There are 28 warnings from international drug regulatory agencies concerning violence-related side effects of psychiatric drugs.

Psychiatric drugs were found disproportionately linked to acts of violence in a 2010 analysis of prescription drug side-effects data from the Food and Drug Administration’s adverse event reporting system.

Murphy’s history of psychiatric drug treatment dates at least as far back as earlier this year, according to published accounts.

Murphy was arrested for setting his family’s SUV on fire in March.  A judge ordered psychiatric treatment and ordered the teen to take all prescribed psychiatric drugs, according to the county state attorney involved in the case.

More recently, Murphy’s great-aunt has said he was on court-ordered drugs.

Murphy told police that he had homicidal thoughts and wanted to kill his family, according to his arrest affidavit.  A family friend who said he grew up with Murphy claimed that the young man had suicidal thoughts.

Suicidal and homicidal thoughts are known adverse effects of some psychiatric drugs, including antidepressants.

It is not yet known what psychiatric drugs Murphy was prescribed, or when or how he took them.

However, the incident, if true as alleged, joins a long list of “inexplicable” acts of unspeakable violence committed by adults and children taking psychiatric drugs.

Only by fully investigating mind-altering psychiatric drugs’ known links to violence and homicide can we hope to prevent such tragic bloodshed in the future.

Warning: Anyone wishing to discontinue a psychiatric drug is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you know has been harmed by psychiatric drugs, we want to talk with you.  You can contact us by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.

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Colorado Congressmen Sponsor Bill To Review Suicides By Veterans On Psychiatric Drugs and Opioids

In an attempt to combat the epidemic of suicides by veterans on psychiatric drugs and opioids, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO 6th district) has introduced legislation in Congress to review the link between prescription drugs and veterans’ suicides.  Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO 2nd district) is a co-sponsor of the bill.

An average of 20 veterans a day committed suicide in 2014, the latest year for which data is available, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.  Veterans, who made up less than 9 percent of the U.S. adult population (ages 18+) in 2014, accounted for 18 percent of the adult suicides.

The Veteran Overmedication Prevention Act of 2017 (H.B. 2652), introduced May 25, calls for a thorough and independent review of all suicides, violent deaths, and accidental deaths during a five-year period among veterans who received treatment at a VA facility during the five years leading up to their deaths.  The review would be done by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine under an agreement with the VA.

The bill calls for a review of all drugs identified in the toxicology testing of the decedents, with a separate listing of those drugs that also carried a black-box warning (required by the FDA to emphasize the serious or life-threatening risk of the drug), were prescribed for an off-label use, were psychotropic (mind-altering), and/or carried warnings of the risk of suicidal thoughts.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights has long advocated the investigation of the link between veterans’ suicides and psychiatric drugs.

Between 2005-2011, military prescriptions for psychiatric drugs increased nearly seven times (682%) – more than 30 times faster than the civilian rate.  One in six American service members takes at least one psychiatric drug.

(To view “The Hidden Enemy: Inside Psychiatry’s Covert Agenda,” the Citizens Commission on Human Rights documentary detailing how psychiatry uses the military as its testing ground, click here and then click on “Military Documentary.”)

This is despite the nearly 50 international drug-regulatory agency warnings that psychiatric drugs can cause suicidal thoughts and actions.

Dr. Bart Billings, a retired Army psychologist who has treated thousands of veterans suffering from what is commonly called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), has said  that the surge of prescriptions since 2005 “coincides with the gradual increase, to this day, of suicides in the military.  I feel there’s a direct relationship.”

House Bill 2562 is the counterpart to a bill of the same name introduced in the U.S. Senate (S. 992) on May 1 by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and a companion bill to the Veteran Suicide Prevention Act (H.B. 4640) introduced in the House by Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) in 2016.

WARNING: Anyone wanting to discontinue psychiatric drugs is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

If you or a veteran or other member of the military you know has been harmed by psychiatric drugs or other mental-health treatment, we want to talk to you.  You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.

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Mother Who Killed Her Kids Before Committing Suicide Was On Antidepressants

The Highlands Ranch mother who recently shot and killed her two young sons before turning the gun on herself was on antidepressants, making the incident yet another stunningly tragic act of violence linked to psychiatric drugs.

Jennifer Laber had two antidepressants, desmethylvenlafaxine and bupropion, in her system when she took the lives of her sons, ages 3 and 5, and then ended her own life on November 29, according to the autopsy report released by the Douglas County Coroner’s Office.

Desmethylvenlafaxine, marketed as Pristiq among other trade names, has known side effects that include depression and suicidal thoughts and actions.  Pristiq was ranked #10 on the list of the top 10 prescription drugs most linked to violence compiled by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices in 2010, after analyzing reports of drug side effects filed with the FDA.

The other antidepressant Laber was taking, bupropion, is marketed as Wellbutrin and Zyban among other trade names, and its known side effects include suicidal thoughts and attempts and thoughts of hurting or killing others.

Laber also was taking the anti-convulsant drug lamotrigine, marketed under the trade name Lamictal, which is sometimes prescribed for depression.  Known side effects of Lamictal include changes in mood, aggression, depression, and suicidal thoughts and attempts.

The 38-year-old mother was prescribed all three of these drugs despite her long history of depression, which included suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, according to the autopsy report.

Laber is not the first Colorado mother on antidepressants who killed her children.

Stephanie Rochester, a 34-year old mother in Superior, was prescribed the antidepressant Zoloft the week before she smothered her infant son in his crib in 2011.

A 38-year-old Lamar mother, Rebekah Amaya, was on antidepressants when she drowned her 6-month-old son and 4-year-old daughter in their bathtub in 2003.

To date, 160 drug regulatory agency warnings from 11 countries and 225 research studies from 31 countries have warned about antidepressants’ dangerous side effects, which include:

  • suicide, suicidal thoughts, and suicidal attempts
  • hostility, violence or aggression
  • self-harm
  • mania or psychosis
  • hallucinations or delusions
  • depression
  • homicide and homicidal thoughts

Half of the top 10 prescription drugs most linked to violence are antidepressants, according to the 2010 study from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.

Research Showing Antidepressants Are Neither Safe Nor Effective

Numerous research studies point to antidepressants being harmful, ineffective, and an obstacle to recovery from depression.  Among the more recent studies:

  • Researchers in a 2011 study published in the Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics found that antidepressants can cause chronic and deepening depression in adults and suggest that discontinuing the drugs is the solution. (See important “Warning” below on discontinuing antidepressants.)
  • A 2012 report from the Associate Director of the Placebo Studies Program at Harvard Medical School, an expert who has studied the effects of placebos (pills with no drug in them, or “sugar pills”) for 36 years, has concluded that antidepressants are no more effective than sugar pills for most people – and the placebo has none of antidepressants’ dangerous side effects.
  • In a 2012 research paper published in the online journal Frontiers in Psychology, a team of researchers reviewing previous studies of the effects of antidepressants concluded that, by disrupting many different processes in the body that are regulated by serotonin, antidepressants are actually doing patients more harm than good.
  • In a 2015 study posted by the journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, researchers who reviewed prior research on antidepressants concluded the unproven theory that low levels of the brain chemical serotonin cause depression appears to be wrong, and that the best available evidence appears to show there is more serotonin in depressed individuals, not less – which actually makes antidepressants an obstacle to recovery from depression.

An epidemic of mothers killing their children – and doing so by more and more violent methods – began in the early 1990’s, according to Ann Blake Tracy, executive director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness.  “These [mothers] were often described as the very best and most caring mothers,” she notes.

What was driving these mothers to such violence?  “The most common denominator was the use of an antidepressant by the mother who had killed her children,” Tracy said.

Antidepressants Are The Most Common Denominator in Mass Murders

Beyond the tragic instances of mothers taking the lives their children, antidepressants are the most frequent common denominator in other “inexplicable” acts of violence and mass murder.

At least 35 school-related acts of violence in the U.S., including at least 14 school shootings, have been committed by individuals taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs, especially antidepressants.  (In other school shootings, information about the shooters’ psychiatric drug use was not released.)

In Colorado, shooters in the mass murders at Columbine High School and at an Aurora movie theater were driven by antidepressants.

Tracy points out that the same common denominator of antidepressants is found in other mass murders, such as the mass murders committed by the truck driver who plowed into a crowd and killed 84 people this past summer in France, the German Wings co-pilot who deliberately crashed his jet into the French Alps and killed 150 people in 2015, and the bus driver who crashed into the wall of a Swiss tunnel and killed 28 people in 2012.

Tracy, an expert who frequently testifies on the adverse effects of antidepressants, points out that antidepressant drugs are most similar in action to the hallucinogens LSD and PCP.

“Neither homicide nor suicide is an acceptable ‘side effect’ to what we are calling safe and effective ‘medications,’” she said.

Warning: Anyone wishing to discontinue an antidepressant or any other psychiatric drug is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you know experienced violence or suicidal thoughts or actions from taking an antidepressant or any other psychiatric drugs, please report it to the FDA by clicking here.  And we want to talk to you about your experience.  You can contact us by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept strictly confidential.

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Aurora Theater Shooter Felt Mania and Hatred After Taking Psychiatric Drugs Linked To Violence

The first time they met, the psychiatrist who treated Aurora theater shooter James Holmes prescribed him psychiatric drugs linked to violence and homicide, even though Holmes openly admitted he was obsessively having thoughts of killing people.

In fact, Holmes told the psychiatrist that his homicidal thoughts “were the worst they had been.”

Some time after taking the psychiatric drugs, Holmes writes in a notebook that the “first appearance of mania” occurs, that he has “no fear of consequences,” and that his “hatred [is] unchecked.”

Holmes is currently standing trial on charges related to his killing 12 people and injuring 70 others in an attack on the Aurora Century 16 movie theater during a packed, midnight screening of the film “The Dark Knight Rises” on July 19, 2012.

Holmes was a graduate student in the neuroscience program at the University of Colorado when he contacted the Student Mental Health Center for help with his obsessive thoughts of killing people and his anxiety in social situations.  He was referred to psychiatrist Lynne Fenton for treatment.  He met with Fenton five times in the final months before he dropped out of school.  He went on his deadly rampage a few weeks later.

In a notebook where Holmes recorded his thoughts during the time he was meeting with Fenton, he noted that at their first meeting, Fenton “immediately prescribed antidepressants.”  The notebook entry went on to report that the drugs were ineffective: “No effect when needed.”

This is followed by a chilling series of statements:  “First appearance of mania occurs, not good mania.  Anxiety and fear disappears.  No more fear….  No fear of consequences…  No more fear, hatred unchecked.”

Meds psychiatrist prescribed are on list of drugs most associated with violence

According to Fenton’s court testimony, Holmes told her at their first meeting about his obsessive thoughts about killing people.  He used the psychiatric term “OCD” (obsessive compulsive disorder) to describe the recurring thoughts.

Fenton testified about Holmes having these homicidal thoughts (“ideation”): “He said that his OCD symptoms – and that was referring to his thoughts of homicidal ideation – were the worst they had been.”

Fenton prescribed the psychiatric drugs sertraline and clonazepam to Holmes for his anxiety at that first meeting.

Both drugs are on the list of prescription drugs most associated with incidents of violence reported to the FDA, according to a 2010 study in the Public Library of Science ONE (PLoS One).  After reviewing data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s adverse event reporting system, the authors of the study concluded that 31 drugs were disproportionately associated with violent thoughts and actions – including homicide.  These 31 drugs accounted for 79% of all the reports of violence the FDA received from 2004 through September 2009.

Sertraline, marketed under various names including Zoloft, is a drug in the newer class of antidepressants known as SSRIs (selective serotonin uptake reinhibitors).  To date, 34 studies and 26 warnings issued by international drug regulatory authorities have warned about the dangers of sertraline and other SSRI antidepressants.  The very long list of dangerous side effects include abnormal behavior, emotional changes, suicide, anxiety, agitation, aggression and violence.

Clonazepam, marketed as Klonopin, is a DEA schedule IV controlled substance in the class of addictive drugs known as benzodiazepines, which the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) warns can cause hostility.  The Canadian national public health department, Health Canada, warns that clonazepam can cause hallucinations and delusional thinking.

The next two meetings between Fenton and Holmes were short “meds checks.”  Fenton discontinued the clonazepam when Holmes reported it was ineffective.  She recommended another antipsychotic drug, quetiapine, marketed as Seroquel.

Quetiapine (Seroquel) is also on the PLoS One’s list of the 31drugs most associated with violence.

Holmes declined to take Seroquel.

Psychiatrist testifies: “No indication of any threat from him”

In her meetings with Holmes, Fenton asked him to tell her more about his obsessive thoughts of killing people, according to her testimony in court, but he withheld any further information, saying he “won’t give details” or refusing to give any answer at all.

He did admit to her that he hated people.  Fenton testified that in one meeting, Holmes emphasized he wouldn’t hurt himself, but she said that he left her with the impression he could hurt others.

Holmes told her that he “had read Nietzsche, Kaczynski, and the Tylenol terrorist.”  Nietzsche was a German philosopher whose rejection of any universal moral law was summarized in his statement “God is dead.”  Ted Kaczynski is the serial killer known as the Unabomber.  The so-called Tylenol terrorist caused deaths through drug tampering.

Still, Fenton apparently believed him when he said he had no specific plans for killing and no specific targets in mind.  She testified that there was “no indication of any threat from him.”  She saw no change in his demeanor during the months she met with him, testifying that there was “no difference in presentment” between their first and last meetings.

Meanwhile, Holmes’s notebook shows that during the time he was meeting with Fenton, he was actively formulating elaborate plans for mass murder.  He acquired weapons, explosives, and other equipment to carry it out.  He practiced shooting at a target range.

Fenton testified that at her final meeting with Holmes on June 11, she “still had significant concerns about his homicidal thoughts and dangerousness.”  But she also testified that she “thought he was functioning well” and that his plans for his life after dropping out of graduate school “made sense.”

After their final meeting, Fenton never called or followed up with Holmes.

Five weeks later on July 19, Holmes suited up in body armor, armed himself with weapons, a gas canister and gas mask, and set out to commit mass murder.  He also left his apartment booby-trapped with explosives in an attempt to cause even more fatalities.

Holmes sent his notebook to psychiatrist to educate her

Entries in his notebook show contempt for Fenton and another psychiatrist, Robert Feinstein, whom Fenton brought into two of the five meetings she had with Holmes.  He referred to the psychiatrists as “mind rapists.”

After writing that he intended to “deflect incriminating questions” from the psychiatrists about his thoughts of killing, he indicated they made that easy, noting: “Oddly, they don’t pursue or delve farther into harmful omissions.”

He challenged Fenton in one meeting, asking her “Are you just a pill pusher?”

Holmes mailed his notebook to Fenton just hours before his deadly attack on the theater.  In an interview two years later, Holmes said he mailed the notebook to Fenton to educate her so that “something like this wouldn’t happen again.”

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Antidepressants Found In Home Of Germanwings Co-pilot Who Deliberately Crashed Plane

German police have reportedly found antidepressants in the home of the co-pilot suspected of deliberately crashing a Germanwings jet into the French Alps, killing himself and the other 149 people on board.

Initial reports said investigators seized a number of “medicines for the treatment of psychological illness” in the apartment of Andreas Lubitz, and found evidence that he had been treated by psychiatrists and neurologists.  The psych drugs have now been identified as antidepressants.

Lubitz suffered a “severe depressive episode” six years ago, the German newspaper Bild reported, and spent 18 months in psychiatric treatment, which almost certainly involved antidepressants at that time.

Another report indicated Lubitz also had been treated for anxiety in 2010 with injections of an antipsychotic drug.  Still other reports suggest other psychological problems and treatment.

Apparently after all the years in the hands of psychiatry, after their diagnoses and their treating him with psych drugs that included antidepressants, Lubitz had not even received enough help to prevent him from committing mass murder and suicide.

What’s more, the antidepressants he was prescribed could well have been a cause or contributing factor in this tragedy.  Antidepressants are known to cause worsening depression, suicidal thoughts and actions, self-harm, anxiety, panic attacks, mania, delusional thinking, hostility, aggression, psychosis, violence, and even homicidal thoughts.  The side effects can occur at any time during use or withdrawal from the drugs.

While the psychotropic (mind-altering) drug policies of Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, are not known, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows the use of antidepressants by pilots, a policy instituted in 2008.  This is despite the fact there have been 134 warnings from regulatory authorities in 11 countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Russia, Australia, New Zealand and Italy, cautioning that antidepressants can cause suicidal thoughts.

Not the first pilot to commit suicide by plane

If antidepressants were involved in Lubitz’s crash, it would be the latest in a growing number of such incidents.

In 2007, the FAA issued a report on the connection between U.S. fatal air crashes and the newer class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.  It found that of the 61 fatal civilian aviation accidents between 1990-2001 in which the pilot was found to have taken this type of antidepressant, the “pilot’s psychological condition and/or SSRI use was reported to be the probable cause or a contributing factor in 31% (19/61) of the accidents.”

Pills (2)Nor would Lubitz be the first troubled commercial airline pilot to crash a plane intentionally while on antidepressants.

A suicide by plane is believed to have occurred in the 2008 crash in Mount Airy, North Carolina, which killed all six people on board.  In 2010, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a report on the probable cause of the crash.  With toxicology tests showing the pilot had the antidepressant Zoloft in his system at the time of the incident, the NTSB reported:  “Officials say the pilot ‘displayed non-professional behavior’ and that a cockpit voice recording documented the pilot singing, ‘Save my life, I’m going down for the last time’” shortly before crashing the plane.

Former girlfriend feared Lubitz’s erratic behavior

Lubitz reportedly had been exhibiting more disturbed behavior than just depression, behavior that would be consistent with some of the serious behavioral side effects of antidepressants.  Lubitz’s personal problems and erratic behavior had become so severe, according to a former girlfriend, a flight attendant, that she ended their relationship out of fear of his increasingly volatile temper.

“During conversations he’d suddenly throw a tantrum and scream at me,” she said.  “I was afraid.  He even once locked me in the bathroom for a long time.”

The woman also described him as erratic and controlling, and said he frequently woke up with nightmares.

Whether or not Germanwings co-pilot Lubitz at the time of the crash was on antidepressants or in withdrawal from them, there is more than enough evidence of the dangerous behavioral side effects of antidepressants to justify a ban on their use by pilots, both in the U.S. and abroad.

This ban would be all the more justified in light of numerous studies that have shown that antidepressants are no more effective in treating depression than placebos (sugar pills).  Recent research even suggests that antidepressants may actually make it harder to recover from depression.

If you or someone you know has been damaged by psychiatry or psychiatric drugs, we would be interested in hearing from you.  Contact the Colorado chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  We welcome your comments on this article below.

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General News News for Colorado

Major Study Reveals ADHD Drugs Were Never Proven Safe Or Effective

Ritalin pills and warning label.A recent study led by researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital, the Department of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and several other institutions, concludes that the clinical trials for drugs approved as treatment for so-called ADHD were not designed to assess adverse events or long-term safety and effectiveness.

According to investigative journalist Kelly Patricia O’Meara, researchers identified 32 clinical trials used to obtain approval of ADHD drugs and found the following:

  • Eleven drugs (55%) were approved with less than 100 participants.
  • The median length of time that the drug was tested prior to its approval was only four weeks.
  • 38% of the drugs were actually approved with participants studied less than four weeks.

Drug regulatory agencies in eight countries have issued 44 warnings that ADHD drugs/stimulants cause harmful, even life-threatening side effects, including abnormal heart rate/rhythm, depression, hallucinations, homicidal ideation, insomnia, irritability, hostility, mania/psychosis, seizures, stunted growth, stroke and sudden death.  These drug warnings can be accessed through CCHR International’s psychiatric drug side effects search engine.

With no medical tests to prove the existence of ADHD, leading neuroscientists have stated that “ADHD” is no more than a description of behaviors, not a true medical disease requiring drugs to treat it.

WARNING: Anyone wishing to discontinue psychiatric drugs is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you know has experienced harmful side effects from an ADHD drug, we want to talk to you. You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence. We welcome your comments on this article below.

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Please Sign CCHR’s Petition Demanding Investigation of Link Between Psychiatric Drugs And Violence

Image by Circe Denyer
Image by Circe Denyer

In all the speculation about what is causing the recent wave of shootings, the one thing they have in common has been largely ignored when it should be receiving urgent attention:  the shooters have received psychiatric treatment, which these days almost always means psychiatric drugs with known links to violence: 

  • From 2004 to 2011, over 12,700 reports of violent side effects from psychiatric drugs were reported to the FDA. (Only 1%-10% of side effects are ever reported to the FDA, so the actual number of violent side effects from these drugs could easily be 10 to 100 times higher.)
  • At least 14 school shootings were committed by individuals taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs.  (In other school shootings, the shooters’ mental health history was not made public.)
  • The New York State Senate recognized the violence-inducing side effects of psychiatric drugs as far back as 2000, citing “a large body of scientific research establishing a connection between violence and suicide and the use of psychotropic drugs.”  [Psychotropic drugs = mind-altering psychiatric drugs]

CCHR is calling on U.S. lawmakers to immediately open an investigation into the role of psychiatric drugs in school shootings and similar acts of violence, given that  supporting data has to date been ignored by the U.S. government and the mental health agencies.

Please click here to read and sign CCHR International’s petition calling for this investigation. 

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News for Colorado

COLORADO HEAT WAVE SPIKES RISK OF DANGEROUS OVERHEATING FOR THOSE TAKING PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS

 

By Petr Kratochvil
Image by Petr Kratochvil

Colorado’s current heat wave increases the risk of heat-related illness and death for those taking psychiatric drugs, most especially antipsychotic and “ADHD” drugs.

Psychiatric drugs cause people taking them to be less sensitive to signals from their body.  Many of the drugs also directly interfere with the body’s ability to respond to heat.  As a result, individuals taking psychiatric drugs can overheat when temperatures soar and not realize it, running a greater risk of heat exhaustion or life-threatening heat stroke.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, psychiatric drugs that interfere with the body’s ability to cool itself down include antipsychotics, tranquilizers, and tricyclic antidepressants.   These drugs make individuals more susceptible to dangerous overheating.

Antipsychotic drugs, in particular, are known to increase the risk of heat stroke, as evidenced by a medical alert issued in April by the New York Office of Mental Health.  Children and the elderly – the most physically vulnerable – who are taking antipsychotic drugs face a still higher risk.

The risk of heat-related illness and death is also increased by stimulants, including the stimulant drugs prescribed for so-called ADHD.

Stimulant drugs raise body temperature, as well as interfere with the body’s ability to cool itself down, so that high summer temperatures cause body temperatures already elevated by these drugs to go higher still.

Those taking psychiatric drugs should limit their exposure to summer heat and strenuous activity and drink plenty of water.  Seek medical attention for someone who becomes disoriented, whose skin is dry and hot, or who has difficulty waking up, with particular attention paid to children and the elderly.

WARNING: Anyone wishing to discontinue a psychiatric drug is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you know has experienced adverse effects from psychiatric drugs, we want to talk to you.  You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225. All information will be kept in the strictest confidence. We welcome your comments on this article below.

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A Question of Medical Ethics: Researchers Conclude Antidepressants Do More Harm Than Good

Image by George Hodan
Image by George Hodan

A team of researchers reviewing previous studies into the effects of antidepressants have concluded that the drugs are doing patients more harm than good, according to a research paper published yesterday in the online journal Frontiers in Psychology.

“The thing that’s been missing in the debates about antidepressants is an overall assessment of all these negative effects relative to their potential beneficial effects,” says professor Paul Andrews, an evolutionary biologist at McMaster University in Canada and lead author of the study. “Most of this evidence has been out there for years and nobody has been looking at this basic issue.”

Most antidepressants alter the level of serotonin naturally produced by the human body in an attempt to alter mood.  But serotonin also regulates other important functions in the body, including digestion, reproduction, and the blood clotting to seal a wound.

“Serotonin is an ancient chemical,” said Andrews.  “It’s intimately regulating many different processes, and when you interfere with these things you can expect,  from an evolutionary perspective, that it’s going to cause some harm.”

Quoting from his research team’s paper:

“Because serotonin regulates many adaptive processes, antidepressants could have many adverse health effects….  Antidepressants can…cause developmental problems, they have adverse effects on sexual and romantic life, and they increase the risk of hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood plasma), bleeding, stroke, and death in the elderly.  Our review supports the conclusion that antidepressants generally do more harm than good by disrupting a number of adaptive processes regulated by serotonin.”

The full paper can be read here.

 

Proven risks outweigh questionable benefit

Following on the heels of other research on both the ineffectiveness and the risks of adverse effects of antidepressants, this latest research raises serious questions about whether physicians can ethically prescribe antidepressants for their patients.  After all, a cornerstone of medical ethics is that it may be better to do nothing than to risk causing more harm than good.  Antidepressants now have been shown in a growing number of research studies to cause proven harm, while providing questionable benefit.

For example, in an explosive report that aired recently on CBS’s 60 Minutes, an expert on placebos said that the difference between the effects of antidepressants and sugar pills is clinically insignificant for most people. (see “Expert Finds Antidepressants No More Effective Than Sugar Pills”).  Another recent study shows antidepressants can considerably worsen depression (see “Antidepressants can cause chronic and worsening depression”).  An earlier study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2006 linked antidepressants to an increased risk of major birth defects.

(For international studies and warnings on the side effects of antidepressants, go to CCHR International’s psychiatric drug search engine.)

Professor Andrews believes his research shows the critical necessity of reevaluating the use of antidepressants.

“It could change the way we think about such major pharmaceutical drugs,” he says. “You’ve got a minimal benefit, a laundry list of negative effects – some small, some rare and some not so rare. The issue is: does the list of negative effects outweigh the minimal benefit?”

 

WARNING: Anyone wishing to discontinue antidepressants or other psychiatric drugs is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous, even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

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