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David Healy's in North America March 2012: Speaking engagements


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http://davidhealy.org/category/news

 

I will attend his talk "Eclipse of Medical Care" March 19 in San Francisco.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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I am planning to go to at least 1 in Los Angeles. Possibly more depending on how I'm feeling.

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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Just had to share this quote from Healy I just read on his site:

 

We are in a world where increasingly we need protection from the latest miracle cure to ensure we do not die prematurely.

Stone. Cold. Badass.

Been on SSRIs since 1998:

1998-2005: Paxil in varying doses

2005-present: Lexapro.

2006-early '08: Effexor AND Lexapro! Good thing I got off the Effexor rather quickly (within a year).

 

**PSYCHIATRY: TAKE YOUR CHEMICAL IMBALANCE AND CHOKE ON IT!

APA=FUBAR

FDA=SNAFU

NIMH=LMFAO

 

Currently tapering Lexapro ~10% every month:

 

STARTING: 15 mg

11/7/10: 13.5 mg

12/7/10: 12.2 mg

1/6/11: 10.9 mg

2/3/11: 9.8 mg

3/3/11: 8.8 mg

4/1/11: 7.8 mg

4/29/11: 7 mg

5/27/11: 6.4 mg

6/24/11: 5.7 mg

7/22/11: 5 mg

8/18/11: 4.5 mg

9/14/11: 4 mg

10/13/11: 3.6 mg

11/9/11: 3.2 mg

12/7/11: 2.6 mg

1/3/12: 2.1 mg

2/2/12: 1.8 mg

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  • 3 weeks later...
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Yes, that's what Pharmageddon is about.

 

I saw Dr. Healy speak today. He believes iatrogenic damage from overmedication is rampant and calls it "pharmacosis."

 

I introduced myself. He recognized me from my postings on his blog. He was on his way to his next engagement in Los Angeles but graciously invited me to have tea with him and his companions. We had a good talk. He's very personable.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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So glad you got time with him Alto ~ you are a key person in the big picture -

Curious as to how he was received or any other thoughts you can share ~

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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It was in a small room, about 30-40 people were there, among them several doctors, which I thought was a good sign.

 

The topic was The Eclipse of Medical Care, meaning caring by the doctor; I'm sure those who were attracted to the topic were already those with misgivings.

 

One point he brought up was the questionable quality of evidence underpinning "evidence-based care." He used antidepressant studies as examples.

 

In q and a after the talk, I asked Dr. Healy if the Cochrane Review folks realized yet that they were working with incomplete data sets, since pharma mainly permits only positive studies to be published. He said Cochrane had recently done a study regarding flu treatments and found it was missing data. He mentioned the importance of registering clinical trials, so negative trials can't just be disappeared.

 

I also asked him how journals can be held to a higher standard in the articles they publish. I wanted to ask more, but we didn't have time.

 

Later, over tea, I asked Dr. Healy about how his talks have been received. He said the audiences were friendly. He's very involved in development of his new site, http://RxISK.org. He and his partners want to gather adverse events reports from patients and create their own post-marketing database about drug risks.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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Alto;

 

He seems very interesting and communicates well... saw him on NZ TV... He has obviously been absolutely major in getting people and even the medical establishment to begin thinking differently....

 

My thoughts are that over 20 years there will be a major shift... When I first started on benzos in the mid 80s it was still contestable if they were addictive.. think there were only about 25 yrs on the market then... I think there is much grater understanding now... I certainly don't have to explain to any docs why I dont want benzos during health procedures etc.

 

But the change of thinking is yet to happen with ADs... and probably the definition of "addiction" needs to change... which reflects street drugs and alcohol.. which have an instant affect...

 

Am interested where Healy sits now on the "Prozac Bridge"... probably devised when many people were first feeling their way out of the conundrum...and sound analogous to changing to Valium from a short acting benzo...which worked pretty well for me 21 yrs ago..

 

So part of my 25% taper in Nov, involved "cross tapering" to Prozac... which i began to feel very quickly was going to destabilise me further... and with more research on the Boards... began to understand that unnecessary changes to drug usage...in brands or doseage... would probably not be helpful..

 

Seems many people have had similar experiences... is he still advocating the Prozac Bridge... and what are his current thoughts on tapering...do you think it reflects the wisdom and first hand experience of the Boards.. ie very slow and small increments..?

 

Rob

Ativan: quite 1990

96-2001: Aropax (Paxil), Luvox. two CTs (bad)

2001-2012: 300 Effexor

Nov 2011: 25%, 2 week reduction (v bad)

Dec:2011" reinstate to 300mg

(Chronic pain condition, well managed)

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I believe his latest position on the Prozac bridge was that it is unpredictable.

 

I didn't get a chance to talk to him about this.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Clinical trial registration and oversight by an independent party would be a tremendous step although not an easy one -- husband (MD) and I were talking about that after Irving Kirsch's appearance on 60 Minutes recently and researched enough to find out several ways that clinical trials can disappear even after being registered (altering the design is one I remember)~ I'm sure it's far more complicated than the bit I read -

 

Definition of addiction v dependence v tolerance is a mess ~ there are still no requirements (that I'm aware of) to document dependence (by any withdrawal symptom upon discontinuation) which could be shown in a few weeks in some cases ~

Not news to you- I realize - but good to hear it is being brought to the forefront ~

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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Definition of addiction v dependence v tolerance is a mess ~ there are still no requirements (that I'm aware of) to document dependence (by any withdrawal symptom upon discontinuation) which could be shown in a few weeks in some cases ~

Not news to you- I realize - but good to hear it is being brought to the forefront ~

 

As regards myself, I'd say I was addicted to psychiatric medication. If you said I was then an addict, that'd be okay with me. Actually, I'd love it if all psychiatric patients were referred to as "Addicts" as this would be dissuasive towards patients accepting psych meds in place one. (Dissuading? I prefer the sound of dissuasive though I'm not sure it's a word.)

 

Speaking of addiction and dependence and the DSM...

 

I've never met a professional in the field of addiction & recovery who uses DSM criteria to "diagnose and treat" chemical dependency. The criteria are entirely meaningless in the reality of substance abuse treatment as I've seen it conducted in 18 months as a patient in 4 inpatient rehab centers, 1 long term psychiatric hospital, 2 outpatient rehab centers, & 2 sober living/transitional living houses.

 

Inventories are sometimes used and, on paper, I've been given the diagnosis of chemical depndency. But "off paper" it's quite a different story.

 

I've discussed my case with professionals in the field of chemical dependecy, including treatment center medical directors, psychiatrists in recovery and/or employed at rehabs, PhD psychologists/LCDC case workers at rehabs/psychiatric clinic, etc. They all subscribe to the 12-step belief system which forbids all but self-diagnosis.

 

According to convention, there is no one who can tell another they are an addict or alcoholic. There isn't a 100% litmus test. An LCDC can use tools to try to open a man's eyes, but only the patient, the alcoholic/addict, can decide if his substance abuse requires attention.

 

From my experience in that, it seems silly that there is a set of "criteria". It's like having a criteria to diagnose another as mean, ugly, cheap, or lazy.

 

Besides, the criteria as I remember them basically would have applied to me (an continue to apply to me) as a psychiatric patient:

 

1. I continued to take the meds in spite of massive physical/occupational/health consequences

2. Had my doctor stopped writing them, I'd gone "doctor shopping" to find another doc who'd prescribe them as I believed I needed them.

3. My dosages increased over time. But, honestly, this is a worthless criterion. For instance, many crack cocaine addicts take less crack as their addiction progresses because they run out of money. The reduction in use, however, is a sign of advancing disease not of improvement.

4. Wanted to avoid withdrawal. I never had withdrawal symptoms from alcohol or cocaine use. I never worried of them nor needed detox services. I was terrifed of Effexor and wanted to do whatever to avoid the w/d. I am terrified of benzo w/d, thus I keep taking them.

5. Tolerance. Over time I "tolerated" my psych drugs. This is why my doctors would increase dosage. By comparison my drinking career plateaud. For a time I increased my weekly alcohol consumption but then the amount leveled. The treatment center still admitted me and invited me to call myself an "alcoholic" even though tolerance effect didn't lead to more booze for Alex in 2007 than he had in 2004.

 

Thus I think of myself as a recovering psychiatric medication addict, certainly more than I think of myself as an ex-alcoholic. (I fear I can never take another dose of Effexor so long as I live; but a whiskey, while it'd be a poor choice,... see what I'm saying?)

 

(I actually think of myself as neither. This is just food for thought.)

 

Anyway, I guess the point is that it's a bit beside the point. The folks who write the criteria for dependency are the same people making a living writing psych scripts and they don't believe those drugs are the same as say alcohol (true obviously) so the criteria will reflect that.

 

The interesting thing to me, as I said above, is that professionals in the business of treating chemical dependency... Well, I've not known any who consider the criteria anything more than commonsense guidelines (granting they give any consideration to the criteria) and never met one who "treatment plans" with an eye to the DSM. Certainly, no treatment plan -- in the history of 12 step rehabs -- has been crafted to remedy each behavior worthy of a check next to any of the criteria. That is, the plan is never to get the alcoholic to decrease the frequency of use to reverse tolerance or to reduce risk of adverse consequences by any variety of means or to teach the patient how to expend less time using and recovering, yet achieving any of the above removes the applicability of that criterion, pushing the patient further from the diagnosis of chemical dependency.

 

So why do rehabs insist patients abstain from their destructive drug of choice? Why not eliminate the diagnosis by working the criteria? I'm certain for every substance there are meaningful lessons on how to "Reduce characteristic withdrawal symptoms" that could be imparted? Because it's obvious. No one experienced in the field approaches a patient with the goal of getting them under 3 affirmatives before the checklist. That would be a ridiculous approach and one illustrative of the irrelevance of DSM "criteria" in real-world outcome-oriented treatment.

 

That then many psychiatric patients don't exactly fit the criteria per se, doesn't mean much to me. Though these are medical terms, they are moreorless just proposed, debated and printed. And while there's a huge difference between an alcoholic and a patient on antidepressants or other psych meds, there is also a huge discrepancy between the implied risk of each substance. I've said before, as an ex-addict, that if given the choice of reliving my life and either taking a.) just my addictive drugs or b.) just my "non-addictive" psychiatric medications, I'd take my chances with the booze & cocaine of option a.) every time.

 

OK, so this got way off topic... I'm glad to hear Healy talk went well. Also it sounds Alto, like you got a great opportunity to exchange some ideas in person which is terrific.

 

Alex

 

PS - In the real world there is only one test for addiction: Do you continue to use in spite of negative consequences and a desire to stop using? Each human can only answer for him or herself. Frankly, a lot of individuals currently on psychiatric medication, assuming clarity of mind allows rigorous honesty, would answer affirmatively, that they are addicted to their medication...

 

PPS - I meet three of the DSM-IV's criteria for chemical dependency:

a.)Use continues despite knowledge of adverse consequences

b.) Persistent desire or repeated unsuccessful attempt to quit

c.) Characteristic withdrawal symptoms; substance taken to relieve withdrawal

 

Diagnostically I am in active addiction suffering from a chemical dependency disorder with benzodiazepines as the drug of abuse. See, what nonsense passes for sense?!

 

EDIT: I keep editing this post. Dunno.

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman

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Perfectly stated Alex ~

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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Although I'm in 12 step. I recognise that just stopping (a bit like Nancy Regan's "Just say no!!") is not applicable for ADs..which I had to find out the hard way......if I am to remain sane...So my previous twelve step principals don't apply...

 

But with slow tapering, I have half a chance... I had an appointment a few years ago with a 25 yr sober, head of D&A at a major city hospital, who had trouble acknowledging to me that EFX was addictive... But we were probably arguing over definitions.....

 

Sad thing is, too many detox centres get people on to ADs... while they get off other stuff... and they don't look addictive because they are not instnat in their affect.

 

Im am happy to take a long time coming of EFX, and also to attend AA for its general "wellness" principals..

Ativan: quite 1990

96-2001: Aropax (Paxil), Luvox. two CTs (bad)

2001-2012: 300 Effexor

Nov 2011: 25%, 2 week reduction (v bad)

Dec:2011" reinstate to 300mg

(Chronic pain condition, well managed)

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Another brilliant post, alex.

 

Perhaps we can break it and responses to it out into a separate topic, maybe "Dependence or addiction?"

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Bump it :-)

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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Here's a pretty good summary of the same talk Dr. Healy gave in San Francisco http://recoverynetworktoronto.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/rxisk-org/

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • 2 weeks later...

David Healy is an advocate of electric shock treatment.

 

For the best help, advice & information ever about psychiatric drugs please visit Dr Peter Breggin's website & listen to his radio show on tonight at 10pm I think on the progressive radio network.

 

http://prn.fm/shows/health-shows/dr-peter-breggin-hour/

 

http://www.breggin.com

 

http://www.empathictherapy.org

 

http://www.toxicpsychiatry.com

 

Dr Breggins book, 'Your Drug May Be Your Problem' is absolutely a must read. Read up on the classes of psychiatric drugs too on breggin.com where you'll find scientific papers which tell you the truth about these awful drugs & how to break free from the misery they cause.

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Yep, all our heroes have flaws. Sigh.

 

Still, Dr. Healy is devoting his career towards minimizing the use of psychiatric drugs.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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