Tag Archives | Psychiatry

Was Adam Lanza On Psychopharmaceutical Medication?

At the Daily Kos, it is argued that Adam Lanza might very well have been on some form of psychopharmaceutical medication before his rampage in Newtown, CT, which started with his mother and ended at Sandy Hook Elementary School:

According to a neighbor of Adam Lanza he was on medication for some type of personality disorder.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/…

Yesterday, I speculated that AP reports of his condition suggested to me he was medicated for it.  I sloppily slung together a diary trying to force my concerns to the surface and the diary didn’t get the kind of attention I feel this topic deserves.

I am deeply troubled by the potential toxic side effects of long-term prescription drug use of psychotropics.

First, drugs are typically approved based on clinical trials of adults with fully developed brains.  A child may be prescribed psychotropics as young as age 5.

http://www.nytimes.com/…

I challenge anyone to locate a significant peer-reviewed clinical trial of psychotropics where all test subjects are pre-pubescent.

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The Mentally Ill Are More Likely to Be Victims Than Perpetrators of Violence

Picture: Vitaly Efimenko (CC)

Graham Brown writing at Bipolar World, from 2005:

In this article there is summarised the results of just a few studies regarding mental illness and violence from a number of very respectable sources to allow a fair and unbiased assessment of the risk posed by those with a mental illness for you, the reader, to consider.

Firstly, from the Canadian Mental Health Association and it’s pamphlet – “Violence and Mental Illness”,

In today’s media reports about mental illness, there is a tendency to emphasise a supposed risk between violence and mental illness.  News stories regularly suggest that there is a strong connection between mental illness and crime.  In fact, people with a mental illness are more likely to be the victims, rather than the perpetrators of violence.”

“Recent studies have showed that alcohol and substance abuse far outweigh mental illness in contributing to violence.  A 1996 Health Canada review of scientific articles found that the strongest predictor of violence and criminal behaviour is not major mental illness, but past history and criminality.”

On the question of does mental illness cause violence?  The CMHA does go on to say:

“Mental illness plays no part in the majority of violent crimes committed in our society.  The assumption that any and every mental illness carries with it an almost certain potential for violence has been proven wrong in many studies.

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Perfection in Deception?

Picture: Public Domain

You, too, can be a perfect liar…with the right training. Don’t believe me? Why would I lie to you?

Via Medical News Today:

New Northwestern University research shows that lying is more malleable than previously thought, and with a certain amount of training and instruction, the art of deception can be perfected.

People generally take longer and make more mistakes when telling lies than telling the truth, because they are holding two conflicting answers in mind and suppressing the honest response, previous research has shown. Consequently, researchers in the present study investigated whether lying can be trained to be more automatic and less task demanding.

This research could have implications for law enforcement and the administering of lie detector tests to better handle deceptions in more realistic scenarios.

Researchers found that instruction alone significantly reduced reaction times associated with participants’ deceptive responses.

The researchers say that with enough training, it might also be possible to regulate the physiological cues that give away liars.… Read the rest

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Standard Psychiatric Manual Drops Asperger’s And Gender Identity Disorder, Adds Hoarding

The American Psychiatric Association catches up to progress regarding transsexualism, and recognizes the form of insanity which best represents our epoch: hoarding. Via CBS News:

Asperger’s syndrome will be dropped from the latest edition of the psychiatrist’s “bible,” the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) announced on Saturday the changes to its flagship manual that doctors use to diagnose patients with mental disorders. It’s the first major rewrite in nearly 20 years.

The familiar “Asperger’s” will be lumped together under autism spectrum disorder, “to help more accurately and consistently diagnose children with autism,” the APA said in a statement. Other changes include entries for new disorders such as “hoarding disorder.”

[APA is also] eliminating the term “gender identity disorder,” which has been used for children or adults who strongly believe that they were born the wrong gender. But many activists believe the condition isn’t a disorder and say calling it one is stigmatizing.

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Wider ADHD Medication Use Would Cut Crime Rates Significantly

Will medicating of the crime-prone someday be mandated? COSMOS Magazine reports:

When comparing the behaviour of adults suffering from ADHD during periods when they were medicated, with periods when they weren’t, researchers found that medical treatment reduced the risk of committing crimes by 32%.

Individuals with ADHD have previously been shown to be at greater risk of entering a life of crime. “It’s said that roughly 30 to 40% of long-serving criminals have ADHD,” said Paul Lichtenstein, co-author of the study at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. “If their chances of recidivism can be reduced by 30%, it would clearly affect total crime numbers in many societies.”

The study, which tracked more than 25,000 people over four years, found that medication had the same effect on those who had committed relatively minor infringements as on those involved in more serious and violent crimes.

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Ketamine Eyed as a Potential Treatment for Tough Depression

Picture: USDOJ (PD)

NPR: Scientists with the National Institute of Mental Health and Harvard may have succeeded in unlocking the mechanisms that allow some people to feel near-immediate relief from depression after taking popular club drug, ketamine. Animal studies seem to indicates that the drug encourages new synaptic growth between neurons, and the same thing may be occurring in depressed humans who take the drug.

Researchers are ecstatic – as are the big drug companies. One company, Naurex, is already testing a drug that works like ketamine, only without the hallucinations.

Ketamine isn’t the only “party drug” that has been cited as a possible depression cure. Just weeks ago an article in the Guardian reported similar research regarding MDMA, also known as Ecstasy, and psilocybin, the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms.

More at NPR.

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Thomas Szasz, Psychiatrist Who Disputed Existence of Mental Illness, Dies at 92

Picture: NIH (PD)

John Mariani reports for syracuse.com:

Dr. Thomas S. Szasz, a psychiatrist who questioned the existence of mental illness and fought against the forced treatment of patients, died Saturday at his home in Manlius. He was 92 and died from complications from a fall and a spinal compression fracture, his family said.

In “The Myth of Mental Illness,” published in 1961, Szasz argued that behaviors that colleagues attributed to diseases of the brain actually described “problems in living.” He called treating people against their will “a crime against humanity” in a 1992 profile in The Post-Standard.

“I am probably the only psychiatrist in the world whose hands are clean,” Szasz told the newspaper. “I have never committed anyone. I have never given electric shock. I have never, ever, given drugs to a mental patient.”

The approach Szasz rebelled against treated people as patients whose behavior somehow failed to meet the expectations of government or some other authority, said Dr.

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Jared Loughner Rumored to Plead Guilty in Arizona Shooting

Via CNN:

Following a mandatory course of psychiatric medications Jared Loughner is rumored to now be competent to stand trial. Sources say that he will plead guilty to all charges:

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said it is not confirming or denying reports that Jared Loughner will plead guilty in last year’s shooting rampage outside a Tucson, Arizona, supermarket.

The attack killed six people and wounded 13 others, including then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

On Saturday night, the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal reported that Loughner, 23, is now mentally competent to understand the charges against him and that a status hearing on his competency, scheduled for Tuesday morning, will now be a change-of-plea hearing.

The Los Angeles Times attributed the information to “knowledgeable sources,” while the Wall Street Journal said its source was an “official familiar with the case.”

Read more at CNN.

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Is The Internet Driving Us Crazy?

Newsweek magazine just ran a front-cover story asking, “Is the Web driving us mad?” It cites new scientific research to argue that the internet is causing depression, changing our brain structure, and creating other mental illnesses. One UCLA research director tells the magazine “the computer is like electronic cocaine,” fueling a similar cycle of highs and then lows, and they also cite California psychologist (and book author) Larry Rosen, who believes the internet “encourages – and even promotes – insanity.”

Hachimaki (CC)

But at least one response argues that Newsweek is deliberately overstating the research, citing misleading sentences like “When the new DSM is released next year, Internet Addiction Disorder will be included for the first time, albeit in an appendix tagged for ‘further study’…”

Here’s the beginning of the Newsweek story by Tony Dokoupil:

Before he launched the most viral video in Internet history, Jason Russell was a half-hearted Web presence.

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