Homeland Security

March, 20, 2012 | 6 Comments


  1. I watch homeland and noticed the same things. Its actually a bit of a problem in American TV shows. I have seen and episode of House, where they pushed the whole ‘Chemical Imbalance’ theory of depression, and a episode of Glee that was more like a advertisement for SSRI pills.

    I wonder sometimes if this is just due to poor research on the part of the writers, or if its a little more sinister than that. Sometimes, like in Glee, the story came out of the blue and seemed almost forced into the show.

  2. http://www.independent.ie/health/health-news/split-personality-disorder-youve-got-it-all-wrong-3046623.html

    Last week this Article was in the Irish Independent. It’s about Schizophrenia and quotes Professor Patricia Casey, a member of the Irish College of Psychiatry, who gives her opinion on Clozapine. No mention of any side effects though…

    “Schizophrenia is treated with anti-psychotic medication and most people do well, but a small proportion go on to develop negative symptoms which consist of social withdrawal, apathy, poor self-care, lack of motivation.

    “Clozapine is used to treat this stage of the illness, but it is first important to identify the acute illness as early as possible in order to prevent the transition to negative symptoms.”

    Generally, she says, about one-third of patients do well and experience a complete recovery. About one-third do moderately well and can function but, she says, perhaps not to the level they previously did.

    “A further third do badly, although that figure has probably improved in recent years with the availability of Clozapine and the realisation that early detection of the illness itself and aggressive treatment is crucial.”

  3. Thank you for pointing out the misconceptions about psych meds fed to the public in various forms, including popular television shows.

    In a real life case, Deidra Sanbourne, named as the plaintiff in Florida’s landmark civil rights case, Sanbourne v. Chiles, spent nearly twenty years being treated unsuccessfully in Florida’s state mental hospitals.

    A Google search on Deidra’s name will result in dozens of sites listing her death was a result of neglect while living in a boarding house.

    The source of this information is cited as being from Pete Earley’s book Crazy: A Father’s Search through America’s Mental Health Madness:

    Diedra Sanbourne’s death, as reported in the book Crazy, occurred from a bowel obstruction while being treated in a psychiatric unit at Westchester General Hospital and not from neglect in a boarding home.

    Deidra’s symptoms were diagnosed as schizoaffective disorder and she spent over 20 years being treated unsuccessfully in psychiatric wards. When I read the fact the cause of her death was from a bowel obstruction I immediately considered the possibility that a psychiatric medication prescribed to Deidra could have caused the bowel obstruction that led to her death.

    A quick search on Medline revealed the medication Clozapine is used to treat severe cases of schizophrenia. Clinical research suggests Clozapine has caused bowel obstructions leading to death in individuals being treated for symptoms described as schizophrenia.

    It is unfortuante that Deidra has been made into a “poster child” for advocates of forced treatment with psych meds when there is a likely chance the medications and treatment in a psych ward could have been the cause of her death.


  4. In Tonights Waterloo Road On BBC 1. A teenage boy has been prescrbed clozapine after having a psychotic episode after smoking cannabis.

  5. There’s no way on earth that clozapine is showing up in these TV shows accidentally or through sloppy research. A few celebrity cuss-words may slip through … but this is Product Placement, which is taken VERY seriously (and usually paid top dollar for!) Just as no TV character “just happens” to sip Diet Coke or drive a Jeep, none will “just happen” to take a certain drug.

    Here in the U.S., NAMI has apparently endorsed “Homeland Security” as a great antidote to stigma against the mentally ill:


    I guess the show has already incorporated the key NAMI subplot: at one point the character STOPS TAKING HER MEDICATION, leading first to her own collapse and then bringing us all to the brink of “international devastation.” Given NAMI’s tight relationship with pharma companies, this blog post may itself be a piece of Product Placement.

    A scandal broke in Chicago a few years ago about a psychiatrist named Reinstein with 1,200 patients on clozapine and three wrongful-death lawsuits … so far. He’s now promoting the one form of the drug that’s on-patent: FazaClo, a dissolvable formulation with a pleasant minty taste. Currently marketed by Jazz Pharmaceuticals of Ireland. I have to wonder if this has provoked Dr. Casey’s enthusiasm. It is startling to read a popular press article in which this very risky drug is the ONLY one mentioned for the treatment of schizophrenia.

  6. There is a major area of psychotropic risk that is mentioned in the medical literature from time to time but has not been adequately exposed, probably because it affects mainly the elderly and psychiatric inpatients. The incidence of asphyxia due to psychotropic drugs, mainly antipsychotics, has been noted since the 1950s as being common in psychiatric patients but only relatively recently in the elderly in nursing homes. While choking deaths are not only tragic, they are dramatic and notable, but there is a far more pernicious adverse effect in the institutionalized elderly viz. malnutrition and dehydration. The parkinsonian adverse effects of many psychotropic drugs affect the ability to chew and swallow. It takes much longer to feed a dependent older person who has swallowing impairment so that many fail to receive the full, prescribed diet. Contrary to popular belief, the most difficult substance to swallow without misdirection, is water and, because of a completely misguided concern about the aspiration of water, a majority of these patients are either directly deprived of adequate liquids or supplied with unpalatable “thickened” liquids that have been proven to contribute to dehydration. In spite of the availability of simple ways of compensating for the impairment, the cascade of disaster proceeds thus: psychotropic medications, impaired swallowing, reduced food and water intake, increased weakness, blood pressure fluctuations due to dehydration, falls, broken bones – usually hips or skulls- acute hospital admission, pneumonia and death.
    Yet we continue to allow, even recommend in some cases, the use of antipsychotics in the elderly.

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