Advocating For Effective And Humane Psychiatric Care
As you will know, if you read this blog, I have been donating my time to interview guests for the On Your Mind podcast hosted by Journey's Dream. The list of interviewees is available at journeysdream.org/podcast. Many of the guests have been professionals who help those experiencing mental health challenges, and some of those have experienced their own mental health challenges. Recently I interviewed someone who suggested the book The Zyprexa Papers by Jim Gottstein, and I instantly ordered it and listened to it on Audible. While I know that most people won't take the time to read a book like this, I found it compelling on many levels and want to share some key points I gleaned from the book.
The first huge takeaway is that the drug companies are much more focused on profits than they are on helping us as consumers. The next big takeaway is that the court system is based on precedent, not on truth, or the pursuit of what is good and best for the individuals who find themselves embroiled in that system. The court system is much more concerned with maintaining its system than it is with protecting truth, morality, or justice.
I am listing here four other books suggested by the author of The Zyprexa Papers which have just moved to the top of my reading list. If you know someone who is struggling with mental health challenges please let them know if the resources at journeysdream.org, or samehereglobal.org, and/or these three books.
In most cases, there are numerous good alternatives to a lifetime of psychotropic medications. While there is a role for psychotropic medication, every medication I have ever learned about is designed for short-term usage and has increasing negative consequences the longer it is used.
The Zyprexa Papers Hardcover – June 1, 2021by Gottstein Jim (Author)
On December 17, 2006, The New York Times began a series of front-page stories about documents obtained from Alaska lawyer Jim Gottstein, showing Eli Lilly had concealed that its top-selling drug caused diabetes and other life-shortening metabolic problems. The "Zyprexa Papers," as they came to be known, also showed Eli Lilly was illegally promoting the use of Zyprexa on children and the elderly, with particularly lethal effects. Although Mr. Gottstein believes he obtained the Zyprexa Papers legally, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn decided he had conspired to steal the documents, and Eli Lilly threatened Mr. Gottstein with criminal contempt charges.
In The Zyprexa Papers, Mr. Gottstein gives a riveting first-hand account of what really happened, including new details about how a small group of psychiatric survivors spread the Zyprexa Papers on the Internet untraceably. All of this within a gripping, plain-language explanation of complex legal maneuvering and his battles on behalf of Bill Bigley, the psychiatric patient whose ordeal made possible the exposure of the Zyprexa Papers.
The Fight To Be: A Psychologist's Experience From Both Sides of the Locked Door
Once a twenty-two-year-old man, stripped naked, shackled in restraints, and subjected to mind-numbing drugs and forty life-threatening insulin comas all in the name of treatment, Dr. Ronald Bassman painfully and slowly reconstructed his shattered life. Today a teacher, therapist, activist, and internationally sought after speaker, Dr. Bassman takes us inside his extraordinary journey of recovery, challenges the medical community's reliance on pharmaceutical solutions as the only path to healing, and explodes the myths of diagnostic certainties and limitations. Drawing on his and others' first-hand stories, he explores new compassionate paradigms of transformation and recovery. Riveting, horrifying, and ultimately uplifting, A Fight To Be is a story of courage, determination, resilience of the human spirit, and above all, hope and possibility. Dr. Bassman's unique insight from both sides of the locked door challenges readers to open their minds and their hearts, reexamine assumptions, discard limitations and embrace possibilities. A ground-breaking book, A Fight To Be speaks directly to individuals, families, students, professors, and clinicians with a compelling message: we can and must do better.
The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It
During her two decades at The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Marcia Angell had a front-row seat on the appalling spectacle of the pharmaceutical industry. She watched drug companies stray from their original mission of discovering and manufacturing useful drugs and instead become vast marketing machines with unprecedented control over their own fortunes. She saw them gain nearly limitless influence over medical research, education, and how doctors do their jobs. She sympathized as the American public, particularly the elderly, struggled and increasingly failed to meet spiraling prescription drug prices. Now, in this bold, hard-hitting new book, Dr. Angell exposes the shocking truth of what the pharmaceutical industry has become–and argues for essential, long-overdue change.
Currently, Americans spend a staggering $200 billion each year on prescription drugs. As Dr. Angell powerfully demonstrates, claims that high drug prices are necessary to fund research and development are unfounded: The truth is that drug companies funnel the bulk of their resources into the marketing of products of dubious benefit. Meanwhile, as profits soar, the companies brazenly use their wealth and power to push their agenda through Congress, the FDA, and academic medical centers.
Zeroing in on hugely successful drugs like AZT (the first drug to treat HIV/AIDS), Taxol (the best-selling cancer drug in history), and the blockbuster allergy drug Claritin, Dr. Angell demonstrates exactly how new products are brought to market. Drug companies, she shows, routinely rely on publicly funded institutions for their basic research; they rig clinical trials to make their products look better than they are; and they use their legions of lawyers to stretch out government-granted exclusive marketing rights for years. They also flood the market with copycat drugs that cost a lot more than the drugs they mimic but are no more effective.
The American pharmaceutical industry needs to be saved, mainly from itself, and Dr. Angell proposes a program of vital reforms, which includes restoring impartiality to clinical research and severing the ties between drug companies and medical education. Written with fierce passion and substantiated with in-depth research, The Truth About the Drug Companies is a searing indictment of an industry that has spun out of control.
I have also read and been enlightened by:
Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America
In this astonishing and startling book, award-winning science and history writer Robert Whitaker investigates a medical mystery: Why has the number of disabled mentally ill in the United States tripled over the past two decades? Every day, 1,100 adults and children are added to the government disability rolls because they have become newly disabled by mental illness, with this epidemic spreading most rapidly among our nation's children. What is going on?
Anatomy of an Epidemic challenges listeners to think through that question themselves. First, Whitaker investigates what is known today about the biological causes of mental disorders. Do psychiatric medications fix chemical imbalances in the brain, or do they, in fact, create them? Researchers spent decades studying that question, and by the late 1980s, they had their answer. Listeners will be startled - and dismayed - to discover what was reported in the scientific journals.
Then comes the scientific query at the heart of this book: During the past 50 years, when investigators looked at how psychiatric drugs affected long-term outcomes, what did they find? Did they discover that the drugs help people stay well? Function better? Enjoy good physical health? Or did they find that these medications, for some paradoxical reason, increase the likelihood that people will become chronically ill, less able to function well, more prone to physical illness?
This is the first book to look at the merits of psychiatric medications through the prism of long-term results. By the end of this review of the outcomes literature, listeners are certain to have a haunting question of their own: Why have the results from these long-term studies - all of which point to the same startling conclusion - been kept from the public?
Thanks for reading -
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