Many people experience Depression and Anxiety and feel alone with their struggle. You are not alone! The right to know the risks of the treatment for depression and for anxiety and the right to know the alternative treatment, is your right. Many individuals are not given this right when they go for help.
Little do most people know, but there exists a medical test that can evidence if mental health treatment, which is most often a drug, will predictably cause adverse reactions in a patient, prior to giving them the drug. Mental Health drugs carry strong FDA warnings of hallucinations, mania, psychosis, suicidal and homicidal actions and thoughts and more tragic consequences. The medical test is available through your physician and you have the right to ask for it. Mental health treatment is, by law, under the established legal boundaries of Informed Consent (the right to know the risks of the treatment and the right to know about the alternative treatment).
The scientific study of drugs (pharma) and genetics (inherited characteristics) is called “Pharacogenomics”. This study looks at how genetic characteristics influence medication response and can evidence the inability of a person’s body, to absorb and utilize a drug.
Individual’s responses to drugs are largely influenced by drug metabolism and the ability to metabolize is influenced by the activity of enzymes (electron transfer agents in pathways of the body that are responsible for metabolism). Added variables are the more than fifty different genes that affect the behavior of the metabolic enzymes. Even more variables exist and they include a group of enzymes that have several different versions of each enzyme due to one’s genetic make-up. There are, also, proteins, within the body that play a role in whether the body can break down and assimilate a drug or whether the drug will simply act as a toxin
Medical science has known about these variables for years and has had a way to test these variables to determine the dangers that the drugs may cause to the individual patient. The public is not made aware that this test exists. This includes testing for drugs that are prescribed for physical ailments as well as mental health symptoms
Ones hereditary characteristics adds up to a lot of variables that determine whether an individual can predict that they are likely to experience the FDA adverse effect warnings of mania, psychosis, hallucinations, sudden death, paranoia, delusions, suicidal thoughts and homicidal thoughts and more.
The absorption, distribution, metabolism or elimination of the drug is all influenced by hereditary factors.
Mental health treatment has no medical test done, prior to the prescribing of the drugs, to determine that an individual needs that drug. It is unlike medical science used for determining a physical ailment and this, most definitely, excludes mental health treatment from the realm of scientific fact. It is a field strewn with opinion. Individuals have the right to full factual information so that they can better their lives. (search through the site www.mentalhealthrights.org to find out more)
The following is a table, from the FDA, of the many factors that can influence whether a drug will cause an adverse response.
Factors Influencing Drug Response
|Absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion|
|Genetic polymorphism of drug-metabolizing enzymes|
|Absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion|
Source of Table: Adapted from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. International Conference on Harmonisation: guidance on ethnic factors in the acceptability of foreign clinical data; availability. Federal Register 1998;63(111):31790–31796. http://www.fda.gov/cder/guidance/2293fnl.pdf. Accessed October 17, 2007.
Other source of information: Drugs and Genes
Coriell personalized medicine collaborative https://cpmc.coriell.org/Sections/Medical/DrugsAndGenes_mp.aspx?PgId=216
Kristen Stewart speaking out against mental health drugs, is quoted as saying “… especially in America, teens are overprescribed and overmedicated. It seems, in many cases, like a lazy catchall solution to dealing with young people’s inherent emotional volatility.”
Not only young people, but individuals of every age are being prescribed mental health drugs, when, in fact, the diagnoses they are given are not based upon science. With no medical test to evidence the existence of depression, bipolar, or any of the mental health disorders, prescribers are getting away with prescribing and billing and the result is a tremendous rise in use of prescription drugs. These drugs carry warnings such as psychosis, mania, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, violence, and homicidal thoughts, among many others, including the fact that many of them are highly addictive.
Scientific American, tells us that “Antidepressant use among Americans is skyrocketing. Adults in the U.S. consumed four times more antidepressants in the late 2000s than they did in the early 1990s. As the third most frequently taken medication in the U.S., researchers estimate that 8 to 10 percent of the population is taking an antidepressant.”
A real-life story of a famous and successful man is but one of millions of stories and has led to more public awareness of the harms of the mental health drugs and the lack of science behind the diagnosing and prescribing. Luke Montagu, an education and media entrepreneur , was prescribed antidepressants at the age of 19, when he was not depressed and had never had the diagnosis of depression. He was a college student who had just had sinus surgery that resulted in him having headaches and not feeling quite himself. A doctor put him on Prozac and from there he was put on a number of drugs for a number of diagnoses. One pill that made him feel wired and another to counteract and get him to sleep. When he checked himself into a medical facility to try to come off of the drugs, he was tapered off too fast and went through a “tidal wave of horrific symptoms”. The FDA makes clear, in their warnings, that these drugs are highly addictive and Montagu’s real-life story communicates just that. He has formed a group called the Council For Evidence-Based Psychiatry, because what he learned through his own experience is the following:
“Psychiatry is a corrupt and dishonest business: it treats so-called illnesses that don’t exist with drugs that don’t cure and can cause great harm. And once you have been harmed, it then diagnoses further illness and prescribes yet more drugs. I know they can help some people in the short term, but they’re just psychoactive like alcohol or cocaine – they can make you feel better initially, but over the long term they cause dependence and destroy your physical and mental health.”
CEP’s mission is “ To reduce psychiatric harm by communicating the latest evidence to policymakers and practitioners, by sharing the testimony of those who have been harmed, and by supporting research into areas where evidence is lacking.”
Sources: Scientific Americanhttp://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-rise-of-all-purpose-antidepressants/
Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry
There are certain things that we hold close to our hearts. This, for me, is one of them. I’m going to tell you something a little personal, but it’s true. When I got out of the Marines in 2013 I was elated to be “free”. What I didn’t realize was how my life was going to change. The Marine Corps took good care of me. I knew where to be, when to be there and what to wear. They fed me, not always the best food, but I was fed nonetheless. They gave me a roof and a bed to sleep in. They gave me brothers and sisters; companionship.It was not until I became a civilian that I realized that I was alone. That my gunny will not be there to help me when I really needed it. That I would have to find a means to feed myself and a way to put a roof over my head. It was terrifying! Simply recollecting the list of things I needed to #survive in this world gives me anxiety. The MC was a safety net. It was home.
Depression is real and I’ve been there. I’ve felt it and took the pharmaceuticals that removed my “sadness”, in fact it removed my happiness too. #drugsarentalwaystheanswer
It was hard to get out of that depression but with love and support I made it. Have I gone in the clear no, because I think depression is something that can always sneak up and wrap its arms around your throat, you just have to know to keep your chin in and keep breathing.
Life is hard. That is undoubtably the truth, but life is also #beautiful and in time things pass and we need to look into each other for #love and support. #PTSDis not limited to #military personnel. It is a disorder that can effect all #humans. We must be #empathetic to others and their situation(s)
ex: a person who I will not name once told me “come to me when you have a real problem” after I confessed that “I’m not feeling like myself I’m really sad and I’m not really sure why, but the best way to describe it would be…lost. Like when I was little and I couldn’t see my mom . I kind of panicked” after her comment my anxiety and depression escalated because I felt… Stupid for feeling lost and sad. For me going from civilian to marine was empowering and marine to civilian was debilitating. #vet
Parents who are concerned about their babies’ mental health, please be aware that there are severe risks in the use of mental health drugs and infants. The drugs carry warnings such as hallucinations, delusions, mania, psychosis, aggression, suicidal thoughts and more. Babies’ mental health is an entire revenue source for prescribing doctors and for pharmaceutical companies. Yet, parents are nearly never told of the true harms that these drugs carry. Nor are they told of the fact that traditional, non-mental health doctors, can perform medical tests to evidence what physical ailment is causing the unwanted behavior in the infant, toddler, child and even adult.
In an article from the Wall Street Journal, titled, “Why Are So Many Toddlers Taking Psychiatric Drugs?”, it is cited that, in 2013, that “over 274,000 infants (0-1 year olds) and some 370,000 toddlers (1-3 years age) in the U.S. were on antianxiety (e.g. Xanax) and antidepressant (e.g. Prozac) drugs. This report also found that over 1,400 infants were on ADHD drugs.” Additionally, in 2014, The New York Times published the figure of over 10,000 toddlers on ADHD drugs.
The article continues to shock the reader by reporting that children going to doctor’s offices for the diagnosis of bipolar disorder had risen 40 fold over the past decade.
One of the most important points, made in this article, written by Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, Professor of Psychiatry and medicine at Duke University Medical Center, is that there are alternative treatments that are not made available due to the lack of incentives for doctor’s to steer parents in the direction of less harm. Babies’ mental health is being compromised by these mental health drugs and parents are not given full information on the FDA warnings nor the alternative treatments.
Wayne Ramsay, Attorney at Law, published an article, titled “Psychiatric Drugs: Cure or Quackery?” and in this article, he quotes multiple doctors who give their statements on the harms of psychiatric drugs. Among their statements are the following:
“…all psychiatric drugs have serious long-term adverse effects and tend to produce chronic brain impairment (CBI).” Psychiatrist Peter R. Breggin, M.D.,
As well as this, “There is no evidence that any class of psychiatric drug acts by reversing or partially reversing an underlying physical process that is responsible for producing symptoms.” Joanna Moncrieff, MBBS, MSc, MRCPsych, MD — Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Sciences, University College, London
Mr. Ramsay brings up the point that psychiatric drugs harm the brain and often permanently. He quotes Dr. Breggin as having written that “…except for the brain dysfunction and biochemical imbalances caused by psychiatric drugs, there are no known abnormalities in the brains of people who routinely seek help from psychiatrists…”
Mr. Ramsay’s article discusses nearly every aspect of psychiatric drugs, from the fact that the drugs are harmful, to the fact that there are alternative treatments, that psychiatric drugs do cause harm to the brain, disturb sleep, specifically dreams, deep sleep, how the drugs cause disease, how the FDA is in bed with pharmaceutical companies, the violent effects of the drugs, a review of each class of drugs and more. It is highly informational and factual and quotes leading doctors throughout.
In an article, titled, “Babies on psychiatric drugs: crime with no punishment, by Jon Rappoport, he cites statistics of babies on drugs in 2013, as:
“In the US, babies 0-1 years old are ingesting psychiatric drugs at these rates (for the year 2013):
Anti-anxiety drugs (e.g., Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan)—249,669 babies.
Antidepressants (e.g., Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil)—26,406 babies.
ADHD drugs (e.g., Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta)—1,422 babies.
Anti-psychotic drugs (e.g., Risperdal, Seroquel, Zyprexa)—654 babies.
Meanwhile, major media outlets waffle and wobble about the crime, experts in journals debate the crime, no one in the mainstream calls it a crime, the Department of Justice does nothing, and the pharmaceutical companies make billions.”
The long and short of it, for parents, is to do your homework! Babies’ mental health depends upon parents’ being fully informed. Take a look at the facts that are published all over the net. Look at the actual facts, not conjectures or hypotheses. The bottom line is that there are non medical tests, no brain scan, no chemical imbalance test, no blood test that can evidence one-single mental health disorder. The diagnoses are voted into existence by
Sources: Wall Street Journal
Wayne Ramsay, Attorney at Law
Federal law recognizes that psychiatric drug withdrawal is an adverse drug reaction. According to, 21 U.S. Code § 355–1 an adverse drug experience is defined as “any adverse event associated with the use of a drug in humans, whether or not considered drug related, including:
(A) an adverse event occurring in the course of the use of the drug in professional practice;
(B) an adverse event occurring from an overdose of the drug, whether accidental or intentional;
(C) an adverse event occurring from abuse of the drug;
(D) an adverse event occurring from withdrawal of the drug; and
(E) any failure of expected pharmacological action of the drug.”
For more than 20 years, World-wide media has reported about adverse effects of psychiatric drugs including suicidal ideation, homicidal ideation, mania, paranoia, delusions, psychosis, worsening depression and/or anxiety, and more. Yet, it is not widely known that withdrawal from the drugs include equally severe effects. This is one reason why it is vital to always consult and work with a qualified physician when considering to taper off a mental health drug.
Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal is an Adverse Drug Reaction and so are the horrific results of one’s actions while on the drug, even if the drug was prescribed by a doctor. Adverse events are classified as such and statistics are monitored throughout the world, yet this doesn’t help the millions of individuals and families who suffer as a result of the adverse reactions. Unfortunate as this is, it can be prevented with the use of medical testing.
According to the FDA report, Preventable Adverse Drug Reactions: A Focus on Drug Interactions, “ADRs are one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in health care. The Institute of Medicine reported in January of 2000 that from 44,000 to 98,000 deaths occur annually from medical errors.1 Of this total, an estimated 7,000 deaths occur due to ADRs. To put this in perspective, consider that 6,000 Americans die each year from workplace injuries.”
More currently, and according to a medical journal report, written by Xiao-Wu Chen, Wanging Liu and Shu-Feng Zhou “
Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are one of the major causes of patient morbidity and mortality”, and that “A meta-analysis of 39 prospective studies from hospitals in the United States suggests that approximately 6.7% of hospitalized patients have serious ADRs and 0.32% of them have fatal reactions, and thus there are probably more than 2,216,000 serious ADRs in hospitalized patients, causing over 106,000 per year in the US . This figure appoints ADRs between the 4th and 6th leading causes of death in patients.” This article continues by relaying the long-known information about genetic testing. Testing that can be done prior to anyone ever taking a drug, revealing the likelihood of the person experiencing an adverse reaction. This test is available to the public and unfortunately most people don’t know it exists and, therefore, do not know to ask there doctor for this test prior to taking the prescribed drug. The medical report states that, “There are numerous factors which contribute to the occurrence of ADRs and variation in drug responses in different individuals. Some of these factors include patient age, sex, body weight, nutrition, organ function, infections and co-medications. Also, poor prescribing behaviour, for example, prescribing inappropriate doses in the presence of a contraindication or co-prescribing two drugs with a potential interaction may also result in an ADR. “
Important to note, that despite removing these factors, “a substantial proportion of ADRs remain present due to a genetic predisposition. It has become evident in recent years that genetic factors may also significantly alter drug responses or increase the risk for ADRs.”
Psychiatric drug withdrawal is considered an adverse effect and can be reported to the FDA. More importantly, working with a non-mental health doctor to get the genetic testing prior to taking any mental health drug, can possibly save lives.
Pharmacogenomics-Guided Approaches to Avoiding Adverse Drug Reactions http://www.omicsgroup.org/journals/pharmacogenomics-guided-approaches-to-avoiding-adverse-drug-reactions-2167-065X.1000104.php?aid=10081
Most people who contact a Mental Health Rights Advocate or a Baker Act attorney wonder how to fight the Baker Act. There are those who meet the criteria for involuntary examination and the legislator who enacted this law, Maxine Baker, had in mind to assist those individuals and to prevent any harm. Yet there are many who do not meet the criteria and still, they are Baker Acted.
How to fight the Baker Act, has everything to do with understanding the criteria as stated in the Florida Law. When that is understood, then the individual and their friends or family members can understand whether they have grounds to fight it or not.
Sometimes, individuals are perceived as having a disability or a mental illness because they have just received bad news and have a strong emotional reaction; or some people have had too much alcohol and start talking in a depressed manner; others may have a medical illness which symptoms are taken for mental health symptoms instead of physical. The individuals who do not meet the criteria are placed under the 72 hour hold and they cannot leave the facility just because they don’t think they belong there. It’s a law, and the law is very specific on this. To assist yourself in fighting the Baker Act, first get familiar with the criteria and then it may be very beneficial to work with a Mental Health Rights Advocate and/or a Baker Act attorney.
Involuntary commitment law exists in every state across the country and while some aspects of the law vary state-to-state, they all have commonalities such as the length of stay, the mandatory aspect of the stay and the fact that only a qualified mental health professional can grant release of the patient.
Afterwards, the involuntary examination becomes a part of the individual’s medical records and will follow them throughout their life. This is one aspect that should be considered when in the situation. Of course, if the person didn’t meet the criteria, it is a very irritating aspect. There is not a lot that can be done about it after the fact. You always have the right to file appropriate complaints to state agencies in regards to the Baker Act and specific aspects that you feel violated Florida law. Again, this is best accomplished with the help of an advocate or attorney.
Disabilities and/or abilities are determined by majority opinion in the field of mental health. They are not evidenced by medical tests in the way that Diabetes, Cancer or any other physical ailment is diagnosed. If an individual is “regarded as having a disability” there are certain legal actions that can be taken if the person is treated in an unfair way that violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. That’s interesting because the disabilities law allows for the fact that some people are “regarded as having disabilities” when they don’t and yet, the Baker Act law does not take this into consideration at all. Once someone is deemed to meet the criteria, they are determined to have a mental illness, per the criteria.
In a report, written by Risa M. Mish, titled, “Regarded As Disabled” Claims under the ADA: Safety Net or Catch-all?, Ms. Mish enlightens us as to what this legal concept of “regarded as disabled” actually means. On a rare occasion if someone was Baker Acted and during the stay at the facility, was treated in a way that violates the Americans With Disabilities Act, then a Disabilities Attorney might have reason to file suit on the patient’s behalf.
Per Ms. Mish’s report, “The ADA regulations provide that an individual is “regarded as disabled” if she: (1) has a physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit major life activities but is treated by an employer as constituting such limitation; (2) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities only as a result of the attitudes of others toward such impairment; or (3) has none of the impairments specified in the ADA subsection, but is treated by an employer as having a substantially limiting impairment. Therefore, an individual will be “regarded as disabled” when others behave toward that individual as if she had a substantially limiting impairment, regardless of whether the individual actually has such an impairment.
This is offered as food for thought! If you find yourself in a situation where a friend of family member has been Baker Acted, you can keep this in mind. Additionally, there is a lot of information on this site that you may find helpful in asserting your rights and fighting the Baker Act.
First and foremost, know that your friend or relative has all constitutional rights despite having been involuntarily committed. This right is assured by the Baker Act law, Florida Statute394.459 Rights of patients.
The law states: RIGHT TO INDIVIDUAL DIGNITY. A person who is receiving treatment for mental illness shall not be deprived of any constitutional rights.
The circumstances just prior to the person being taken to the psychiatric facility, largely determine if he or she met the criteria or were perceived to have met the criteria. An experienced Mental Health Rights Advocate or a Baker Act attorney can help you to sort that out. Each year, the state publishes an annual report in regards to how many Baker Acts there were, statewide, during the year. Startling as it may be, there were over 170,000, per the most recent annual report. That leaves a lot of people wondering what their rights are if their child, husband, daughter, friend, mother, father, sister or brother was Baker Acted. Family members have rights as well as the individual who is being examined.
Those rights include the right to visit their loved one during visiting hours. Visiting hours vary per facility and it may be one of the first things you want to find out so that you can ensure your right to see your loved one as soon as possible. The rights of the patient are, by law, supposed to be posted in a visible place within the facility and you can mention that to the person being held. They can get familiar with what options they have at the point they are admitted.
Additionally, you have the right to communicate with your friend or family member, at “reasonable times”. Again, this varies according to policies at each individual facility and you may want to find out when it is you can speak to your loved one over the phone.
You have the right to file a Writ of Habeas Corpus on behalf of the individual being held and that gets filed in the courthouse of the county where the facility is. The Writ is a formal request to find out why the person is being detained. You, also, have the right to help your friend or family member to report any violations of rights and privileges of the patient.
The law states:
VIOLATIONS.—The department shall report to the Agency for Health Care Administration any violation of the rights or privileges of patients, or of any procedures provided under this part, by any facility or professional licensed or regulated by the agency.
POSTING OF NOTICE OF RIGHTS OF PATIENTS.—Each facility shall post a notice listing and describing, in the language and terminology that the persons to whom the notice is addressed can understand, the rights provided in this section. This notice shall include a statement that provisions of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act apply and the name and telephone number of a person to contact for further information. This notice shall be posted in a place readily accessible to patients and in a format easily seen by patients. This notice shall include the telephone numbers of the Florida local advocacy council and Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities, Inc.
Drew Lynch is the young, 20 something comedian who hit it big on the talent show, “America’s Got Talent”, with his incredibly inspiring personal story of how to dismiss your disability and create a positive, and with his truly humorous comedy act. Drew Lynch has a story that could have been tragic, but he found a way and a will to make sure it wasn’t. Instead of focusing on a changed ability, and giving up on his dreams, he used his strong ability to make people laugh and creates a joyous and successful life for himself. That is what it is to dismiss your disability and create a positive.
According to his website, he was hit in the throat by a softball at the age of 20 years old. The damage created by this impact was to his vocal cords and it caused Drew to have a stutter. Where once he was aspiring to be a successful actor, and per his own words, on television, the guy he used to be would not have spent time with the guy he is now, he went through many life changes that only some of us might be able to understand.
Drew Lynch is not alone in his journey. So many people have an ability that has been taken from them, due to medical illness, injury or trauma. If it were more acceptable in society to be unique and different, these injured abilities would not be referred to as a disability with the same connotation that they dream up for us in our current day. Whether it is the inability to hear, or see, or walk, or talk, or to travel, or to go in an airplane, to swim in the ocean, to focus on our work, or any other ability that is not necessarily like others, what we call a disability, is an opportunity to reach bigger and higher and it is individuals like Drew who help to inspire us to do so.
At times, Drew performs with Samuel J. Comroe, a fellow comedian who has had Tourette’s all of his life. Together they make people laugh, they inspire and help to show them a positive slant to all that happens in life. This is true art and talent and leadership on their parts.
Additionally, it is often said that someone who cannot hear or cannot see, has heightened abilities in other areas. Scientific American published an article on this exact subject. In their report they referred to The Journal of Neuroscience and a study that was done that shows that there is “mounting evidence that people missing one sense don’t just learn to use the others better. The brain adapts to the loss by giving itself a makeover. If one sense is lost, the areas of the brain normally devoted to handling that sensory information do not go unused—They get rewired and put to work processing other senses.”
Perhaps we each have stronger abilities in one area because of a lesser ability in other areas. We do have the choice to use our stronger abilities for the good of many, including ourselves.
Too often, the American public and in fact the public, worldwide, are told that an ability that doesn’t function like others, a disability, is a mental health or behavioral health problem that can only be treated by pharmaceuticals. How untrue this is and in each of our own way, we can take a page from the book of these two young men and many other heroic athletes, performers and individuals who go beyond the expectations of the mental health community and take charge of their lives.
Easier said then done! To dismiss your disability and create a positive! This is the genuine challenge each of us has. Imagine the possibility of first, working with a qualified medical professional to accurately and precisely discover the potential physical cause of your unwanted condition, your disability, and then working with the traditional, non mental health professional, to treat that physical ailment to create a marked improvement in life. Then, to look at your strengths, the abilities you excel at, that bring joy to others, and to use that ability for good. Such as Drew Lynch has done! This is the challenge we all face and with help perhaps the more individuals who choose to do this, the more we can help each other to succeed at it.