Editorial Note: Sally’s first Go Figure post with its 100 comments outlines the basic dilemma facing RxISK – how can anyone who has been injured by treatment get people who have not yet been injured to wake up. The next 5 – 10 posts will pick up various ways this dilemma has been answered over the last century. All comments welcome along with any posts – something more than a comment – anyone figures they have.
In 1861, the Furth Provincial Medical Association reported on mercury poisoning among mirror workers in the Furth-Nuremberg area. Along with Venice, Nuremberg was a center of the European mirror industry. The first Guild for Mirror Makers opened here in 1373. The craftsmen were using a technique developed in Venice of silvering the backs of mirrors with a mercury tin amalgam to improve the reflection.
The workers were suffering. Few complained. Their problems were only detected when they came to the doctor with other issues or if some new treatment, such as electrotherapy appeared, that some workers figured might be worth getting the doctor to try to manage the problems they were having.
The workers could see in the mirror exactly what mercury was causing when doctors hadn’t – a flush, tremors, irritability, and madness. It caused their feet to burn or go numb.
But against these risks, the only cure was to stop working which brought the certainty of pauperism and maybe death. So the workers lied to their doctors out of fear of losing their jobs. Besides pay was tied to risk – make the job safer and the rates of pay were likely to drop. Did they want a safer job or more pay? The factory owners denied the link.
Mercury had been causing problems for centuries. It was used in felt hats and caused confusion and disorientation to hatters, leading to the phrase Mad as a Hatter and to the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland in 1865.
Administered as a paste for syphilitic sores from 1600 onwards it seemed to help them heal. This led to its use internally and after 1780 to the use of the stronger form – mercuric chloride or Calomel. Soon after this began to be used widely, dementia paralytica appeared, a psychotic disorder commonly put down to syphilis but which only happened where mercuric chloride was used in its treatment. The combination of syphilis and mercury likely did for Mozart (kidney disease), Beethoven and Schubert. See The Day the Music Died.
But in 1861 the link between mercury and health problems, always known at one level but persistently denied, didn’t go away. Adolf Kussmaul, a university physician, agreed with the link the Furth “general practitioners” were proposing.
There was another factor. Chemistry was flourishing and Justus Liebig and others came up with alternate ways to silver mirrors. Mercury was no longer needed and in 1886 its use for silvering was banned.
Faced with a plague, many of us emigrate, a smaller number stay and resist, but most of us get on the train. It is only if there are options that anything else happens. In Furth there were options in terms of new ways to make a living and perhaps some unusual doctors.
In 1848, revolutions across Europe led to changes of government. Doctors played a big part in these uprisings as they had in Paris in 1790. Two of the revolutionaries in Germany, Rudolf Virchow and Karl Marx, had an enduring impact on politics and healthcare politics. Virchow saw doctors as a revolutionary class, where Marx saw workers.
Industrial health issues, exactly like those the Furth mirror workers demonstrated, triggered the formation of a German Workers Association in 1863. A German Socialist party appeared in 1869. There was a growing number of strikes. In 1869, the response from Bismarck, the German Chancellor, was a Factory Act that left owners free of obligations other than those they voluntarily took on. Factories were regarded as private property – not part of the public realm, and not subject to inspections.
In 1875, the Worker’s Association and Socialist party merged to form the Socialist Workers Party, later the Social Democrats. The socialists accepted the validity of the state and the need to work with its institutions to bring about change – workers health and safety were a critical testing ground for whether this was possible.
Industry argued that technology was so diverse and growing so rapidly that it was not possible to legislate in a way that would work. Bismarck again accepted the employers’ argument that money put into health and safety was a tax on jobs and at a time of growing international competition this was not in the national interest.
In 1878, he enacted a set of punitive Anti-Socialist laws.
But he also took another step. Just as the Republican President Dwight Eisenhower put in place a program of interstate highway construction in the United States in the 1950s as a form of state socialism, so in the 1880s Bismarck put State sponsored health insurance schemes on the table as a means to stave off revolution:
“A duty of a state preserving policy should be to cultivate the conception among the non-propertied classes which form at once the most numerous and the least instructed part of the population that the state is not merely a necessary but a beneficent institution”.
The certification or not of workers as sick was a new role that opened up for doctors, a source of income. But it also made them part of the apparatus of the State. They “matured”. As Adolph Beyer in a lecture to the German Association for Public Health in 1877 put it:
“Precisely in this field, prudence and caution are necessary and one should not try to support a safety which risks or neglects the main priority, the securing of the daily bread. That is why it is necessary to openly oppose those immoderate demands which hide behind their pleasant mask of safety and humanitarian ends quite different aims. One should not let emotions reign, but considerations and experience”.
Copyright © Data Based Medicine Americas Ltd.
Many people are awake I believe they are just either not interested as it doesn’t concern them or they are sceptical. That’s my belief anyway.
I’m aware of many charity’s and campaigns but you can’t help everyone.
I really believe myself that people only get involved in things if it has affected them personnelly. They also want a realistic fix like the forums for withdrawral support e.t.c. and if it’s not avaliable then they move on.
If you look at a news paper everyday there is always some kind of campaign or charity happening. People are being overloaded with them to the point of ignoring them all.
I wonder if people would be more concerned if they knew what the pills they swallow as anti depressants and antipsychotics actually contain? In Scott Stossel’s excellent book, ‘My Age of Anxiety’, he describes some of the ingredients – for instance, antifreeze (surely brains are not car engines?) and mustard gas which we also know was a constituent of organo phosphates, which can cause neurological damage, affecting acetylcholine. I am no scientist but my son Olly thought this book was important, and he was doing biochemistry at Bristol Uni till Seroxat and RoAccutane messed his brain up.
When we point out to people that Roche initially developed RoAccutane as a chemotherapy drug (possibly for brain tumours), and that it can change DNA and shut down the immune system ( and for some unfortunates, that doesn’t switch on again when they cease taking it), they do sit up and take more notice, and begin to wonder what they are trustingly putting into their mouths.
I think it would be helpful if more information was available to the public (hence the end customer) about what’s in what they are taking, and exactly what it’s supposed to do, and whether there is a logical scientific reason for it’s being there.
Scott Stossel is am ambiguous figure. He has never seemed to want to publish anything about adverse effects on antidepressants and very recently reviewed Peter Kramer’s new book Ordinarily Well – as extraordinarily good –
I guess I found Scott Stossell’s book enlightening from the aspect of trying to stand in my late son’s mind and feel what he may have been feeling when he described what Anxiety did to him. It was however the info on what extraordinary stuff got put into antidepressants that amazed me. I know my son had faith in antidepressants cos he, like so many, believed the myth of unbalanced brain chemistry, as did even his professer at Uni whose opinions he valued very highly.
I have extensive and short -term lived experience because of an ‘innocent’ benzodiazepine taken at a time of great stress. My reaction to benzo withdrawal led to a prescribing frenzy and almost every diagnosis in the DSM. Drug-free free for 12 years, I try to play goalie between people and the labels and pharmaceuticals doctors shoot at them. Sometimes I fail. A friend told me her doctor would never prescribe anything that would harm her and she had to trust her doctor. The first antidepressant given was citalopram – my friend reported it was making her suicidal. She told me her doctor said that was impossible and increased the dose. She also prescribed a sleeping pill – a plentiful supply. My friend took her own life. I am an executor of her will. I will be handing out RxISK cards at her wake.
Maie Liiv – A sad story indeed. Are there prepared ‘Rxisk cards’ as you call them or are you preparing your own? Guess we should all make a supply of those for handing out.
Heather – your recent comment went up after I’d sent my previous comment – guess I should’ve waited a while before sending that one!
So sorry, Maie Lilv, to hear about your friend’s tragic death. There, but for the grace of God went I.
Citalopram was the first SSRI I was prescribed – within 48 hours I was beside myself with akathisia presenting as insomnia, anguish, and just an awful, awful internal terror….
I contacted my doctor, as a matter of emergency (it was a Saturday) – I was merely told that it was very likely that I would get ‘worse’ before I got better, that the meds take quite some time to have an effect (they were, infact, working immediately, causing me great harm) and I was given some diazepam to help me sleep – WHY, OH WHY is our medical profession so VERY IGNORANT……
Of course, they have to follow NICE Guidelines, by and large, and this is what NICE recommend – add some benzos and/or some sleepers to the toxic SSRI – there really is no hope, is there?
I am going to be campaigning to get NICE Guidelines on SSRI adverse effects altered and have recently had a meeting at the BMA when I raised this with them – I was told lack of resources prevents the BMA from addressing this issue at present – I told them that even I could easily rewrite the guidelines for NICE – it’s only a couple of sentences and doesn’t require any real resource at all!
I shall soldier on …. if anyone wishes to join my ‘campaign’ do please contact me – I hope David Healy can pass on my email address to anyone who’d like to get in touch directly.
Has anyone found detailed statement of conflicts of financial interests in those writing these dangerous and misleading guidelines for psycholeptic “medication” please? (Or None?)
When guidelines were first introduced, doctors were told that these were only “to guide”. Medics were allegedly to retain their freedom to prescribe according to their patients best medical interest.
Very soon, they became, in effect, “mandatory”. Doctors soon risked being reported if they knew of (or believed that they knew of) risks with guidelines, and prescribed out-with the new dogma!
Also, might it become an objective of the contributors to this, and related blogs to demand by public campaign of adverse publicity – that NICE issue AKATHISIA WARNING with SSRIs and SNRIs?
Similar warnings for “antipsychotics”to include akathisia, iatrogenic brain/neurological, endocrine, integumentary and metabolic adverse drug reactions?
Also, RISK OF ADRs mis-diagnosed as “Severe Mental Illness”?
Isn’t it time that NICE carried the can for these dreadful ADRs?
Your common sense has been around for a while on MIA and NICE, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence have such a grandiose title where there is only one way to fall/fail….
The Guidelines have been abused, plague like, and nothing is being done about it.
One would have thought a Warning Would Be Sent Out to All Doctors, post haste as they have caused an epidemic
Here is a comment you made earlier..nice to see you, here and thanks for canning NICE
I am a particular fan of Mr. Hickey……no flies on him
Nice to see Ove, there as well..
• TRM123 on March 25, 2015 at 6:02 pm said:
This is the reality. Thank you.
On reflection it may be too late for my recent appeal to mainstream psychiatry to consider a
“wider commitment to critical self vigilance and scientific humility” as a “contribution to a necessary conflict resolution”.
These are the fundamental characteristics of all of those compassionate, empathetic, scientifically and therapeutically advancing specialities in medicine where long, medium and short term outcomes have been fastidiously observed and openly shared for verified gains in holistic, integrated patient care. This foundation of evolutionary, constantly improving medical and clinical practice. It demands honesty and integrity in sharing with patients and their loved ones our inevitable, episodic misjudgements during our lifetime of medical practice. We are required to identify acknowledged risks with our patients and their families. Of course, these ideals may not always be delivered but they are the basic common denominator of “patient focused care”.
I am deeply saddened that I have not (initially) observed these attributes or witnessed their delivery in the last four years of having to live with an acute medical emergency in a close family member – (Serotonin syndrome and gross SSRI induced akathisia – masquerading under an erroneous psychiatric diagnostic label.)
The individual cost, in terms of iatrogenic injuries resulting from enforced, CNS, endocrine, metabolic and dermatologic psycho-tropic drug toxicity as well as destruction of emotional. relationship, employment and social life chances, are now incalculable.
How do we rehabilitate those who have been forcibly detained entirely as a result of the behavioural toxicities of “medication” they were compelled to consume?
Of course there is no anti-cardiology, anti-dermatology, anti-orthopaedics or anti- any of the wide range of specialities within Medicine with whom I have studied, worked or referred patients to, during 46 years of learning and practising as a doctor.
These specialities will have little difficulty in meeting the imminent “Duty of Candour” currently being developed by the G.M.C.
Why does Psychiatry appear to mean “Never having to Say You’re Sorry?”
I am not “anti-psychiatry”. Those few academically honest , sincere and compassionate psychiatrists we have had the great fortune to have address the above suffering will remain amongst the most respected and gifted Physicians I have encountered. Their respect is further enhanced by the professional risk, retribution and adversity which is the price they elect to pay for their dedication to practise psychiatry with maximum benefit and minimal harms.
trm – retired consultant physician.
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) set out clear recommendations, based on the best available evidence, for health care professionals on how to work with and implement physical, psychological and service-level interventions for people with various mental health conditions. (Read more about the guidelines’ development by NCCMH.)
Thanks for such encouraging feedback Annie.
I feel these arrogant and profoundly ignorant, cruel and almost cult-like mainstream psychiatrists simply cannot contemplate how profoundly wrong they are.
Similarly, they cannot and will not countenance the scale of human suffering and destruction of lives and families for which they are unquestionably responsible.
They are demonstrably unable to differentiate syndromes entirely due to the appalling adverse drug reactions of their prescribed “medications” – from the Serious Mental Illnesses they believe they diagnose with “expertise”.
There is however a “higher order” in the professional food chain who have failed catastrophically in their raison d’être.
That is of course the “Regulators” with their mighty rhetoric of fastidious care, concern and commitment for ensuring that the profession of medicine is practiced with primary diligence afforded to “Patient Safety”.
They surely are accountable for such unrelenting, lamentable failure in the regulation of psychiatry?
Other registered medical practitioner.
Been on Setraline 150mg daily for years, feels like it has destroyed my brain, but no one believes me. Not Dr’s, Psychiatrists or therapists… why would I want to taper off something gradually or slowly when I know in my mind, heart and soul that it is killing me. Will I survive if I just stop it altogether..
No one seems to think so… but if u knew something was toxic, would u keep ingesting it?!?!
Heather, – with all due respects to Olly, I wonder who was delivering the lecture that gave birth to his glowing report of the importance of this book? I must add that I don’t know the book – it may well be an excellent book of truth, I don’t know and that ‘s besides the point here.. My point is that, as students, our ideas were coloured very much by our lecturers. I am sure that Olly was ‘his own man’ and quite capable of making up his own mind about things. However, should the lecturer be ‘supplied’ by a pharma company, then the arguments that Olly and others heard, as well as facts that they were given, would have been biased. Maybe it was a book that he read quite apart of his course – then I take back all that I’ve said concerning Olly’s name – but, the fact remains that who we listen to, and their facts that we believe, are not always as pure as they seem.
It is difficult to know which is most detrimental to us, the public, – biased knowledge or no knowledge. Biased knowledge can taint us but possibly give us the chance to think things through and find both sides of the story for ourselves. No knowledge gives us nothing – I sometimes feel that our main problem lies just there. These medications are handed out – after all we demand to be instantly made better. Does anyone tell us what they are and what they may do? no. Do we tell the outside world about what they can do? – rarely. If we broadcast far and wide, we may be told that we are biased in our opinions but, at least, we would open up a discussion.
I had my eyes opened this weekend, when speaking to a young girl about her mental health problems. I asked if she’d ever heard of Rxisk or David’s blog – she hadn’t but immediately looked them up ( as youngsters do!) and thought they looked really interesting. I gave her a few tips about what she would find where and her reply was “How do you know all this? You’ve taught me more now than the mental health team has in all my meetings with them.” Doesn’t that say it all? She is medicated, she has a diagnosis but she has been given very little in the way of information that would help her to come to grips with what she’s going through. Her final words for the night were “Mary, its people like you that help and encourage open minds” I bless her for that!
Mary, apologies, I didn’t explain well. I don’t think Olly saw this book at Uni, I read it after hearing about it on Radio4. I think it came out after he died. At the risk of sounding utterly ridiculous, (but I think Leonie, if she reads this may understand), this book has a very distinctive cover picture and Olly sometimes appears in my dreams. One time he did this and held this cover up in front of me and said “read this Mum, it’ll help you to understand how ghastly I felt sometimes”. So I got it and read it. I totally agree about the disconcerting parts, and I should have made that clear. I hope anyone reading this will not think me a complete nut, but I personally have had so many instances of what is proof for me of an afterlife, that I cannot disregard them. I think he rated the book for the author’s clear description of his own crippling anxiety. I can only cope with the loss of Olly by believing that we’ll meet again someday, or of course, there will be oblivion in which case we all float away to become stars and nothing matters any more anyway…hope this doesn’t upset anyone. Each to our own opinions 🙂
How beautifully put. Interesting about the similarities between your experiences and Leonie’s. I don’t think you’ve said anything that could upset anyone Heather as you say, each to their own. The purpose of every belief is to make our journey through life as smooth and bearable as possible ( in my opinion) – you, Leonie and many others deserve as much support, whichever way possible, to come to terms with the horrific circumstances that life has thrown up in your faces.
Any sign of a meeting do you think ? – Jane’s gone quiet – maybe on holiday? Maybe having a Wi-Fi break!
Yes Heather, I absolutely understand.. Good man Olly! Thanks Mary, I do hope we’ll all meet up one day; wouldn’t that be fab?
Totally going off-track as usual.. re the afterlife, I agree with Heather, I’m not that bothered with the whole death thing. If there is something after our demise, great.. I’ll get that hug that I now only get in my dreams. If there isn’t, I won’t know any different will I?
As for living in the now, I get great comfort in knowing that this over-medicated and flawed era of medicine will eventually be looked upon as the real ‘madness’.
I absolutely believe David Healy when he said – “I believe the SSRI era will stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine.”
Sooner rather than later would be nice.
Maybe it’s our belief in your DH quote that keeps us motivated to carry the battle on?
It is my belief that, if the NHS ( can’t comment on any other health service) had been financed sufficiently so that ‘talking therapies’ etc. could be offered to each and every patient in need of intervention, rather than going straight down the medication route, the mental health of our communities would be in far better shape. That lack of funding led to a crisis which, in turn, gave pharma companies a foot in the door of our NHS. Their money, in a variety of ways, has helped fill the emptying purse. At the moment, providing talking therapies – without any outside support as far as I know – just drain the system drier. If we are ever going to manage to reverse the situation, we need a radical change at the top of the tree. Once filled, the NHS purse would become self-supporting on a reasonable funding surely – as patients would be more likely to recover ( therefore cheaper) and, possibly, less likely to need a string of repeat prescriptions(another massive cut in expenses) – and, even ( wishful thinking here!) recovering patients able to offer support to new patients therefore cutting down on another expense. Unless we have, at the top of the tree, a leadership willing to see matters in this simple way, I fear that the grip of pharma and privatisation of the whole of the system is inevitable. That loss is unthinkable.
Thanks for your understanding. The whole afterlife thing tends to be a taboo subject but when one tentatively mentions it, it always amazes me how many people cite lovely uplifting experiences they’ve had. Fear of the finality of death is a deep one, and it makes the role of the doctor, supposedly being able to ward off death as long as possible for us all, very godlike. But it has been shown that patients with some kind of personal faith, believing that some force for good watches over every one of us (maybe a guardian angel) leads to better mental health outcomes sometimes – Dr Raj Persaud mentions this in his books. For me, the belief that good always in the end, overcomes evil, is what keeps me going. Also that some good can be found in every ghastly situation, if one can hold on tight and get through it. This whole Blog, what it’s revealing, uniting, working towards, is a clear example. I have a strong feeling that things are on the turn, and Olly has definitely indicated that to me in several dreams, which are not like the usual fluffy vague dreams, so I log them at once in detail in a notebook beside the bed to refer back to in the cold light of day.
Hi – sorry to have been quiet – been moving house (last weekend) and then moving my (very elderly – 91 and 93) parents to live with me AND, over the last 2 days, dealing with my Father’s very recent serious prescribed drug adverse reaction !!! (antibiotics needlessly prescribed which raised his warfarin levels to a serious INR of 8 – but things are moving in the right direction now thanks to me putting him on a high vitamin K diet (lots of healthy food stuffs) and he’s managed to avoid the antidote injection (which no doubt, would have had it’s own adverse reaction)
Fun ‘n games all the way!
So, please bear with me, and, in a week or two, I will get planning a meet up of interested folk at a location that suits a majority.
In the meantime, if you’d like to contact me directly please ask David Healy to give you my email address – maybe we can get a Facebook and/or Whats App Group going to facilitate communication.
Welcome back Jane – had you having a whale of a time on holiday! So far from it. Hope your father recovers very soon. You can have my email address by all means – I am on Twitter, though but David hasn’t got that info anyway, but not on Facebook etc.). Private email, rather than discussing on here, would suit me fine – not to leave others out but to save taking away from the run of comments.
( or to be seen by unwanted eyes – David, I am slowly learning to take care!!!!!)
I can see sallys frustration in a way. Plus everyone has different problems and reasons for being involved.
The one thing everyone shares though is wanting to prevent others from being harmed or killed.
My problem involves the criminal justice system and now legal aid. I have already been to my Mp and as sympathetic as he was and he did write a letter to the dept of health only to get a standard non helpful letter back he didn’t really help me at all but he did advise me to get a solicitor and if I couldn’t get one he would find one for me.
As Walter said going to court seems to be the only way.
I think books, blogs e.t.c are great it brings awareness and helps people to a certain degree but people with my kind of problems need evidence and legal help mostly.
Here we are then, the BMA-NEW-GUIDE-MEDICINES-DRUGS in 2007
Here we were then,
This is so tragic Maie Liiv; you didn’t fail, it’s just that people trust their doctors, naturally, and the hard pressed doctors trust the Pharma companies. My son worked sometimes with a local printer. This man was overworked and a bit stressed, and was given Citalopram. Within a week he was feeling suicidal, for the first time in his life. Knowing that our son had been on this drug, the printer shook himself out of an almost trance-like state and lobbed them all down the toilet. He’d only taken about 4 days’ worth. He vowed never to take anything like that again. And yet, today I spoke on the phone with my cousin, a farmer who suffered bereavement last year, and has a lot of physical pain in his demanding work. He went to a Pain Specialist last week who said that the Citalopram he’s now taking, is the best possible thing for his pain. Even knowing that our son died, (he was his godfather) he prefers to trust the doctor. I tried to say ‘watch out for side effects’ etc but he wasn’t really listening. So you did your best for your friend, you knew from experience what could happen, but you can’t do more. It’s so good that you are raising awareness at the Wake. So sorry for the sadness you must feel.
The award winning, stunningly beautiful work of photojournalism, “Minamata”, by Eugene Smith and his wife, of the damage done to the citizens of Minamata, Japan, by the dumping of mercury into the waters by a chemical company, is the most eloquent take on corporate harm – including lives lost and maimed – that I have ever seen. The images of justice earned – executives of the company forced to apologize – are also burned in my brain.
Perhaps, instead of words alone, we need the images to go along with them. The photos of saddened families who have lost their loved ones to prescription drugs. Photos (faces blocked) of pre-adolescent boys with breasts – side effect of Seroquel, or is it Risperdal. Faces of people protesting outside annual psychiatry meetings, and so on.
Images sometimes stick in consciousness long after words fade away…
Absolutely agree, Tessa, we need images alongside words – and maybe need to include an image of millions of ££££s going up in smoke – to illustrate the huge waste to the NHS, let alone the awful pain, mental and physical, inflicted on us victims by doctors who profess to “first, do no harm”.
Seems to me that it’s more like:
first, lets try to inflict harm and then if we succeed let’s inflict more and more harm – poly-medication rules OK !!!
When coping with depression or anxiety, or even just feeling ‘low’ as we all do sometimes, a book of beautiful calm scenes in photograph form, or paintings, with just a word or two as text, is a wonderful resource. Olly always intended making and publishing one, using his images. He said that looking at, for instance, a still Scottish loch at sunrise, helped him greatly, carried him away. Pictures and even videos of the sea are great for this too. Even apparently looking at works of art can help – Sarah Rainer mentions this in her ‘Making Friends with Anxiety’ craft resource book. We all find comfort in seeing the beauty of colours in nature. The great problem is that we have to keep coping with every demands of life, jobs, earning money, stress of pain and illness, and it’s not so easy to sidetrack and get off the hamster wheel for a little while. And needless to say, if on medication that has messed up your powers of thinking, it’s virtually impossible. But if beautiful calming images are available, we might just be able to latch onto them for a while perhaps.
Though I am no photographer, I live by the sea, which is an inspirational spot in which to take photographs. However, it is also a creative place to live, and to heal. Perhaps I will make some of the collages about Big Pharma that I’ve always envisioned…let me practice first on images of the California wild fires – then we’ll see.
GSK talks up ‘depression’ w/out mentioning their ‘anti-depressant’
Cambridge University’s Prof Bullmore is leading the consortium. But we interviewed him at his other employer, GlaxoSmithKline.
James Gallagher @JamesTGallagher Aug 24
Depression: A revolution in treatment? Tonight @BBCRadio4 at 9pm
We might have guessed that there would be a pill to work wonders appearing before the end of the article!
Of great interest to me as my sister has just told me that her daughter (the medical statistician) has said something recently about ‘new trials about depression/antidepressants’ that she, I assume, is involved with. Shall investigate!
What would we do without your investigations and links Annie – Thanks again for this. I have a particular interest (another one) as knew Prof Bullmore (as a patient in the distant past) so shall listen with great interest..always good to know where the research is going now
the whole ‘inflammation’ theory is weird to me….it’s been around for a while but all seems so vague. So far as I understand it, the sole identifier for any inflammation in the body is a raised blood protein – which could be caused by arthritis, IBD – anything, anywhere. Shall be very interested to hear more from the expert.
The idea that workers could and should be protected against industrial accidents and disease is presumably founded on retaining an efficient system, which is thus more economically productive. Workers had a long established right to compensation for injury caused by careless employers through the courts – but who could afford to hire a lawyer until the trades unions provided legal representation? Health and Safety legislation was very, very slow in arriving in the UK – not till the 1970s during an expansionist period of protecting and extending the rights of citizens: along with the Equal Pay Act 1970, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Unfair Contract Terms Act and the Consumer Credit Act and the Sale of Goods Act in 1979. All these new Acts curbed the hitherto absolute sanctity of the freedom to trade, unfettered by the state.
But – all those pieces of liberal/humanitarian law were grumbled about before they were passed and have been widely regarded by big and small business ever since as a fetter on the freedom to make goods, sell them and create profits. The trading community has long maintained that any interference by the state in what they pay their workers, and the conditions in which they work causes business to collapse like a pack of cards. The ‘red tape’ trope – widely and incorrectly believed here in the UK to have been imposed by the EU – has, apparently, strangled expansion and innovation at birth. Fact is, really small businesses have always been exempt from much H&S regulation but it’s a dearly held belief. They suffer much more from high local taxation on their premises.
I’m not sure where you are going with this series David and even less idea what I’m saying here – except that the freedom to trade has always trumped the safety of workers – except and unless workers’ safety and wellbeing is in the economic interest of the state. So, to extend the theory to medicine, only if one can make a convincing argument for the economic benefits of less medication rather than more – are things likely to change.
Possibly there’s a link to the 21st century’s obsession with preventative medicine? As I understand it, the economic argument for widespread and costly screening for diseases or conditions which people didn’t know they had (and which might have caused them no bother anyway) was premised on saving money in the long run. Economics, not altruism. Start treating diabetes, or raised blood pressure early – and the burden on the NHS will be less in 10 or 20 years time. Frankly, although it’s an attractively easy equation to understand, I have yet to see any evidence whatsoever of money saved by the vast screening programs with which anyone over 50 is badgered and bullied into complying with. No figures. No evidence. No actual sums of money.
No figures either for dollars handed to Big Pharma by the desperately financially stretched NHS for the drugs used to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and so on – when a ‘pre-disease’ is identified.
In animal health – the much sought-after golden eggs were in finding drugs for heart or liver conditions in ‘companion animals’ – dogs, cats and rabbits, which (arguably) required lifelong medication. That traded on the deep affection people have for their pets. No insurance company was likely to fork out a hefty monthly sum for chronic conditions, so the cost falls on pet owners. And the basic, very simple equation used for the cost of the drug to them was – as much as they would pay.
Very well put Sally. Medicines etc. given out for ailments from which you may never, ever suffer – where are we heading? We’ll end up not daring to sneeze or splutter for fear that someone will come along and mutter the words ” for your future good – take this”. Us of a certain age ( old in other words!), standing in Boots for our prescriptions (for already present ailments) can, periodically have a gentle arm taking us to the consulting room ” would just like a little word about your meds.” they say as they lead you away. Behind the closed door comes the comment “we’ve only got you down for 2(in my case) medications, can you help me complete your med. list?” Back goes – not in the best tone of voice I regret to say! “you have a list of two because that is the full list!”
Beginning to wonder if their hearing is even worse than my own, I hear ” what about paracetamol or ibuprofen – could those be on the list?” By then, my blood pressure is probably in need of attention but I press on “Look, I do not touch painkillers and as for ibuprofen – don’t you realise, from your list, that I’m asthmatic? And for your record, the second medication I’m on I use only when I feel a cold coming on – as per specialist recommendation. However, the pharma company(guess who?) declares that I must throw it all away two months from opening therefore I waste a lot of it”.
Not satisfied with all of this, there comes the clincher “Can’t believe that’s all you’re on AT YOUR AGE!!!”. I’m no spring chicken but honestly! This is the way it goes isn’t it. Sticking to your guns, believing in common sense in all matters medicinal is seen as unusual. Being lucky enough to be healthy is, in their eyes, your downfall.
Believe in medicating? – yes, when absolutely necessary. Believe in screening etc.? – yes, up to a point. Believe in taking allsorts incase you may one day suffer? definitely not, as all that that does is line the pockets of the pharma companies.
How do we change things? We must get the NHS back on its feet, throw away every single ‘private’ intruder and start living within our means – giving what is naturally within us the chance to keep us healthy or heal us when necessary thereby needing less of our doctor’s time and prescriptions. Of course there are exceptions to this rule but let’s stop the exceptions BECOMING the rule now, before it’s too late. The NHS is in a critical condition and, unfortunately, its list of needs is a lot longer than my med. list but it is not beyond saving – despite its age!
August 27, 2016 at 5:47 pm
We have to look at where this all began…..
“if we get information which gives us cause for anxiety then we are going to communicate it to the regulator quickly”
“In the case of Seroxat..
The word ‘anxiety’ causes his hand to go to his head..
“What did you think when you heard I had tried to kill myself”
I asked the local psychiatrist.
His eyes displayed a fractional uncertainty and confusion.
It passed in a millisecond.
The shocking truth of Gross Misconduct, Grievous Bodily Harm and Bullying was Laid Bare in my Medical Records.
Criminal Acts by Doctors
The GMC, the MHRA, the NICE, the RCPsych are living in a world of their own
Identifying and addressing professional misconduct and malpractice is the raison d’être of the General Medical Council.
Their web-site addresses this protection-of-patients role on a case by case basis.
It appears that the G.M.C. modus operandi is incapable of addressing the institutional failure of psychiatry to recognise the harms inflicted upon so many people.
Hence psychiatry continues to routinely and collectively inflict grievous harms.
This includes hurting those with real mental illness and those who never had any illness at all, until their akathisia induced by SSRIs was mis-diagnosed as an SMI, and they were subject to incarceration and multiple, enforced prescription drug injuries (or death).
Psychiatrists injure mind, body and soul on a daily basis, and cannot be called to account.
The G.M.C. is arguably responsible for their “professional” actions.
Surely our voice (which, unlike psychiatry is tempered with reason and fastidiously evaluated evidence) must be heard demanding that this body addresses its function of protecting patients from harm?
Several people have tried to get academics or doctors who have “colluded” with companies in keeping data secret referred to GMC but GMC have refused to engage with these issues.
The psychiatrist (also a Head Trainer in Neuro linguistic programming for many years, linked to the work of Paul McKenna) who we feel drove our son to end his life, had been up before the GMC before, reported by a psychiatrist who worked with him, on safety issues in 2007. On that occasion, he said his memory had failed him, and was not called to account. His ‘confrontational’ approach and way of making snapshot diagnoses, not listening to Carers, has caused a lot of concern. He is not a great supporter of the use of psychiatric drugs (we understand) but neither does he seem able to understand that once a patient is on such medication, to stop it suddenly can cause horrendous reactions. He appeared, in our son’s case, to have taken a quick decision that his collapse in reasoning was attention-seeking non-cooperation and berated him for it. It was like kicking a wounded animal when it could not defend itself.
After this appalling treatment, leading, in our opinion to his suicide, we approached both the Mental Health NHS Trust CEO, and later the GMC. Although the treatment had been witnessed by several other mental healthcare professionals, including one doctor, these people were not interviewed by the GMC, nor was the psychiatrist himself. He was offered the opportunity to do speak and initially said he might, but then, after a long delay whilst maybe he was mulling it over, as the time deadline approached, he declined. He was not interviewed, as far as we know, now from reading their conclusions. He was excused any blame, even though he had told our son to stop taking Venlafaxine at once – he having been also on Zopiclone and Escilatopram for the preceding months, so the shock to his system must have been enormous. He had only met our son a couple of times for an hour or so each time. He told him in front of us all that he was sure he would commit suicide but would rather he did this in hospital than out in the community(!) but he was not offering inpatient treatment, in fact, he was stopping Home Treatment, which my son had found supportive but had only had for barely two weeks. I guess we were relieved then that our son would NOT be under his care in hospital, later knowing about the 2007 GMC inquiry. We were astonished at the attitude of the GMC as we had been told, by a psychiatrist friend, that their approach these days is much more ‘patient friendly’. I’m afraid we felt the GMC, far from being supportive, were really a waste of time. Their conclusion was that it was our son’s decision to stop the Venlafaxine suddenly (although we had all witnessed him being told to do so by the psychiatrist with no instructions about tailing it off gradually) and that being humiliated in front of us and the Team, was for his and our own good so that we realised he was suicidal….we had been reporting this ourselves for weeks! The psychiatrist was away from work for several months after our son died, and then returned. No one was held to account. This has made us lose all faith in justice for the mentally ill patient and their family. The GMC seems a totally inept and useless institution.
What a dreadful way for one human to treat another. How did you manage to put up with his onslaught Heather? I know I couldn’t have. You showed great strength in holding back! I’ve often felt, from the attitude of certain psychiatrists, that they almost ENCOURAGE suicide. I know it’s not illegal, but even so we do expect a certain amount of encouragement to LIVE to be handed out don’t we. Unfortunately, the same ones usually have a very low opinion of parents and carers too! My heart bleeds for you. Olly is now safe – he won’t have to listen to any more condescending comments from anyone. He will now be revelling in the beauty of his new surroundings – free of pain, anxiety and hurt.
I think the problem close relatives in our position face, when a 32 year old son is unwell, like Olly was in June/July 2012, is that we must of course stand back and leave decisions to him but his mind was in confusion and full of self doubt and fear. Also, to be honest, we were scared too. He was in so much pain and we assumed the doctors knew best. On meeting this frankly ghastly psychiatrist for the first time, my husband, who is very polite and reasonable at all times, commented, as he drove away, “he’s a showman’. He did not inspire confidence at all. But the second (and last) time we saw him, we actually thought he must be mad. I know there are jokes about mad psychiatrists and all that, but this man was seriously scary. So much so that a GP who had known Olly for many years told us after he died that it was our public duty to go to the GMC and stop him harming others. I have written elsewhere here how hard we tried, but they didn’t seem to want to face the issues. And the witnesses were scared to whistleblow, we feel. And who can blame them?
Olly had not only been told to stop Venlafaxine immediately, he had to stop Zopiclone as well. So everything was stopped, with NO tailing off. Then when the withdrawal symptoms were terrible, he was described as ‘not co-operating’ cos he said he felt so suicidally ill, and given Olanzapine and Sertraline.
What really worries me is that this psychiatrist seems to feel that his hypnotic personality ( and maybe his NLP Head Trainer methodology) can be substituted for common sense and compassion. I would almost wonder if there wasn’t a touch of megalomania involved, as the man was not open to opinions other than his own snapshot diagnosis. We were calm and polite at all times, as was Olly. We didn’t feel we should make a scene, as it would have upset Olly and worried him and might have made things even worse for him.
I do fear that the NLP idea is being rolled out behind the scenes as a quick fix for mental neuroses for the NHS. They claim to be able to fix people in 4 days, with no return, and are lobbying NICE we think, to get this approved. Of course patients don’t come back after 4 days, they are either terrified, cynical, suicidal, or dead. Google BBC Wales investigation at Porthcawl of army PTSD victims being offered a 3 day quick fix of NLP and see what local doctors said about having to pick up the pieces afterwards. ‘Combat Stress’ is another example of NLP, using peer support who have been taught hypnosis which they can use. Hypnosis is a very powerful tool which I feel should only ever be used by very skilled medical practitioners, particularly in relation to mental illness, when the mind is already struggling to cope and regain it’s normal functioning.
So Mary, yes, I know Olly is safe now, but how awful that behaviour like this is tolerated and power given it such a man, and there is not much we can do about it, except pass the word and warn others. I guess our deep fear of seeing a loved one mentally distressed makes many of us feel inadequate and ready to accept what we assume is good professional help which is bound to know best. We were wrong and we failed Olly. The whole thing has had far reaching family sadness which I can’t go into here, but the 11 years of struggle has thrown up some extraordinary challenges and unsought losses.
I too heard the Radio 4 programme last week (Wed 9pm) re new perspectives on treatments for psychosis and depression. I have to say that some new research I read about the discovery of immune pathway links to the brain, by scientists at the University of Virginia had already kindled my interest. However, I think the ‘inflammation’ connexion could be very interesting. I always have a bit of difficulty with neck pain, having broken it in a car crash in 2001 and had it fixed with titanium ‘nuts and bolts’. Recently I’ve been doing more work on the computer than normal, and it became much worse so I’ve been going weekly for a sports massage. I had also strangely been feeling very sad and anxious. The neck did not seem to improve but on one recent session the therapist said ‘goodness, the whole neck and back are so inflamed, I will not do any deep tissue work today’. She did a shorter gentler massage but actually the alarm bells should have told her to do nothing more at all, although I’m sure she meant for the best.. In the end, home again and feeling almost too giddy to stand, we rang the osteopath for whom she works, only to learn that massage once a week can soften and weaken muscles, causing pain & giddiness as well as inflammation. I have stayed away from the typing for several days, (including this Blog – hence the silence Mary) rested the back and neck and stopped the massage sessions. The pain has abated, and I am not so giddy. But best of all, the sadness and weird depressed feelings have abated too. So I do wonder whether perhaps there is something in the theory we heard in the Radio 4 programme – that inflammation can affect mood..
I am going to raise my computer on a bench so I have to stand at it. Apparently lots of companies do this in their workplaces now. Thinking about DH’s opening salvo on this string about work and the necessity of coping with technology. One is aware how much a lot of us use our computers from maybe uncomfortable sitting positions, I wonder if some of us do suffer inflammation which in turn causes the symptoms of depression?