Saturday, 21 June 2014

The Dark Side Protest

at 9:00am - 1:00pm

Royal College of Psychiatry, 21 Prescot Street, London, E1 8BB

Darth Vader invites you to join him in protesting outside the new headquarters of the Royal College of Psychiatrists during their 'College Tours' and AGM ahead of their International Conference. Nearest tubes Tower Hill, Aldgate, Aldgate East. Nearest DLR is Tower Gateway.

We have decided to protest outside their new headquarters during the AGM rather than the conference at the Barbican as it is not conducive to protests.

Dr. Peter Gotzsche has created a controversy and sparked criticism over what he sees as a damaging over-prescription of drugs by psychiatrists.
Gotzsche recently compiled a list of ten common myths held not only by the general public, but also trained psychiatrists concerning the safety of psychotropic drugs, and the rationale for their use.
As an internist, Gotzsche remarked that since he was outside of the political orthodoxy of the world of psychiatric medicine, he was free to express what he believed to be the sentiments of many psychiatrists who must remain quiet in their objections for fear of hurting their careers.
1.  Mental diseases are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain
"We have no idea about which interplay of psychosocial conditions, biochemical processes, receptors and neural pathways that lead to mental disorders and the theories that patients with depression lack serotonin and that patients with schizophrenia have too much dopamine have long been refuted."
2.  It's easy to go off antidepressants any time you want to
Here, Gotzsche points to drug trails involving agoraphobics and people suffering from panic disorder, whom were not depressed.  Fifty percent of the patients found it difficult to come off antidepressants even though they were gradually reducing their doses.  It could not be that the patients saw their depression returning, as they were not depressed to begin with.
3.  Psychotropic drugs are to mental illness as insulin is to diabetes
"When you give insulin to a patient with diabetes, you give something the patient lacks, namely insulin. Since we've never been able to demonstrate that a patient with a mental disorder lacks something that people who are not sick don't lack, it is wrong to use this analogy."
4.  Psychotropic drugs reduce the number of chronically ill patients
"In 1987, just before the newer antidepressants (SSRIs or happy pills) came on the market, very few children in the United States were mentally disabled. Twenty years later it was over 500,000, which represents a 35-fold increase. The number of disabled mentally ill has exploded in all Western countries."
5.  SSRIs don't cause suicide in children and adolescents
"The companies and the psychiatrists have consistently blamed the disease when patients commit suicide. It is true that depression increases the risk of suicide, but happy pills increase it even more, at least up to about age 40, according to a meta-analysis of 100,000 patients in randomized trials performed by the US Food and Drug Administration."
6.  SSRIs don't have side effects
"Patients care less about the consequences of their actions, lose empathy towards others, and can become very aggressive. In school shootings in the United States and elsewhere a striking number of people have been on antidepressants."
7.  SSRIs are not addictive
"The worst argument I have heard about the pills not causing dependency is that patients do not require higher doses. Shall we then also believe that cigarettes are not addictive? The vast majority of smokers consume the same number of cigarettes for years."
8.  The prevalence in depression has increased a lot in recent history
Gotzsche points out that this is difficult if not impossible to determine, as the criteria for being diagnosed as clinically depressed has been drastically lowered over the last 50 years.
9.  The main problem is not overtreatment, but undertreatment
"In a 2007 survey, 51% of the 108 psychiatrists said that they used too much medicine and only 4 % said they used too little. In 2001-2003, 20% of the US population aged 18-54 years received treatment for emotional problems."
10.  Antipsychotics prevent brain damage
"Some professors say that schizophrenia causes brain damage and that it is therefore important to use antipsychotics. However, antipsychotics lead to shrinkage of the brain, and this effect is directly related to the dose and duration of the treatment."
As for a solution, Gotzsche states that he is not against the use of psychiatric drugs, but that doctors must do everything that can before resorting to their use, and only then as a short-term solution.

More info

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

June Newsletter

Dear Friends,

June's meeting for the Friends of East End Loonies is taking place next week, on Monday the 16th, between 18:30 - 20:30 pm, at LARC 62, Fieldgate Street E1.
Please join us as we'll be celebrating two friends 70th birthdays, discussing future events and making the most of our gathering.
We've got the confirmed date for our Open Mic at the Shuffle: this will be on Sunday the 3rd of August, on the closing and uber-filled day of the festival
Does anyone want to be part of a documentary telling FEEL story? Jo is coming along to present his filming project.

Congratulations to CoolTan Arts for winning the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service
A couple of their events happening soon:
-Mad Hatter's Tea Party: on Saturday 14th June, 1pm-6pm: four free workshops and the official opening of the new art exhibition, 224-236 Walworth Road, London SE17 1JE

-Largactyl Shuffle – Summer Solstice Midnight Walk: Saturday June 21st 2014, 11.45pm – 5am, Sunday June 22nd 2014
Start: Tate Modern (outside The Turbine Hall entrance), Bankside, London SE1 9TG
Ends: Maudsley Hospital, Denmark Hill, SE5 8AZ

Lots is happening around London with the new Anxiety Festival, curated by the Mental Health Foundation, running up to the end of the month

More locally, Community Options are promoting two events this week:
-11th June 11am-4pm Wellbeing Sports Day for Mental Health Service Users and staff through Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham at The Copper Box, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford E20 3HB
 -12th June: Your Say Your Day at The Brady Arts Centre 192-196 Hanbury Street London E1 5HU, 2-5.30pm
NSUN and the University of York are inviting people who currently access mental health services (or have accessed them in the past) to take a course ran by MindApples on wellbeing, mental effectiveness and resilience. The training is free. Please register before 23 June using this LINK 

ASA (Advertising Standard Agency), is trying to limit the scope of natural health practitioners, not allowing to use terms such as therapy, diagnostic, treatment, etc, or claim to treat medical conditions. However natural therapies are the ones likely to help most of conditions with the least, if any, side effects. Consumers when unsure are easily tricked by the media. Now an investigation on ASA has been called. Watch this video and please sign the petition