ANTIDEPRESSANT: Suicide: Soldier: Iraq/Kentucky

Paragraph 16 reads:  “Depression first struck in the
summer of 2002, and Ala admitted himself to Ten Broeck Hospital, now called The
Brook. He was prescribed an anti-depressant, his parents
said, and later in the year saw a doctor at Fort Knox who determined he was fit
to stay in the Guard. He was deployed the next year to the Middle
East.”

Paragraphs 20 through 23 read:  “But in 2004, they began to
notice troubling signs. Arylane Ala said her son always wore black and went on
binges with vitamins, nutritional supplements and workouts. Sometimes he
would hide, saying he heard helicopters.
And he would get
extremely agitated while driving, occasionally slamming his car
into park, and running away, disappearing for hours or even
days.

In June 2005, Ala was hospitalized at the Louisville
VA Medical Center and diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which the
VA later ruled service-connected, which made him eligible for financial
benefits.

He was prescribed lithium, but his parents said he sometimes
skipped his medication. At nursing school, he highlighted passages about bipolar
disorder in his psychiatry textbook, writing “me” in the
margins.

Finally, after a fight with his fiancee that resulted in her
obtaining an emergency protective order against him, Bryan Ala went to his
parents’ home. The Alas said he promised not to do anything rash. But after they went to work on Aug. 10, 2007, he took a rifle from
under his father’s bed and ended his life.

SSRI Stories note:

Antidepressants Can Cause Bipolar Disorder to Develop.  This is
stated in many scientific studies.  Bipolar Disorder Can Contribute to
Suicide.

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20090913/NEWS01/909130330

Suicide takes growing toll among military, veterans

By Laura Ungar • lungar@courier-journal.com
September 13, 2009

As soon as Arylane Ala walked into her house that day
in 2007, she saw blood ­ a red pool stretching from the coffee table to the
fireplace. Then she saw her youngest son face down on the floor, an antique
rifle by his side.

She didn’t approach his body, she said: “I didn’t
want to see his face … his expression.”

Four tumultuous years after
serving in the Middle East with the Kentucky Air National Guard, 25-year-old
Bryan Ala of Louisville took his life ­ part of a rising number of military
and veteran suicides as the Iraq war continues and fighting intensifies in
Afghanistan.

“Life goes on after you lose a child,” said Bryan’s father,
Rich, 60. “But sweet is never as sweet as it was. The sun’s never as bright.
I’ve got a hole in my heart that will never heal up.”

The federal
government estimates that 5,000 veterans commit suicide each year, and Dr.
Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, said suicides
among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans could top combat deaths.

He made the
statement last year at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric
Association and cited a study by Rand Corp., a nonprofit research organization,
showing as many as 20 percent of veterans returning from these conflicts will
suffer major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, and seven in 10 won’t
seek help from the departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs.

The toll
is also rising in the active military, with the Army reporting the most
confirmed suicides ­ 140 last year. Locally, Fort Knox reported five
confirmed suicides in 2008 and 2009. Fort Campbell reported 24 suspected or
confirmed suicides in the same period and in late May suspended regular duties
for everyone for three days so commanders could better help soldiers at
risk.

Driving these numbers are pre-existing mental illnesses,
post-traumatic stress disorder and relationship or financial problems worsened
by long or repeated deployments, say mental health experts, who also point to
the stigma against seeking help in a culture known for toughness.

Many
families and veterans organizations argue that more needs to be done to stop the
deaths. And military and Veterans Affairs officials say they are taking the
problem seriously, beefing up mental health resources and suicide prevention
programs.

“We’ve got to hit it head on,” said Maj. Gen. Donald Campbell,
Fort Knox commander.

In July, Fort Knox played host to Maj. Gen. Mark
Graham of Georgia and his wife, Carol, who told a standing-room-only crowd about
the 2003 suicide of their son Kevin, 21.

The ROTC cadet at the University
of Kentucky suffered from depression before his sister found him hanged from a
bedroom ceiling fan. The Grahams, who have made military suicide prevention a
personal cause, shared Kevin’s story before attending a ceremony dedicating a
building to their other son, Jeffrey, who was killed in action in Iraq in
2004.

“We lost two sons,” said Mark Graham, who spoke again on Aug. 21 in
Frankfort. “Both our sons died fighting different
battles.”

History of mental illness

Mental illness also proved
too strong an enemy for Bryan Ala.

Growing up, he was adventurous and
loved caving, rock-climbing, fishing and going to the shooting range with his
father, a Vietnam vet. At 18, Bryan Ala joined the Air National Guard to help
pay for college, later enrolling in the University of Louisville’s nursing
school.

Depression first struck in the summer of 2002, and Ala admitted
himself to Ten Broeck Hospital, now called The Brook. He was prescribed an
anti-depressant, his parents said, and later in the year saw a doctor at Fort
Knox who determined he was fit to stay in the Guard. He was deployed the next
year to the Middle East.

Capt. Stephanie Fields, deputy state surgeon for
the Kentucky National Guard, said soldiers are not deployed if they have been
diagnosed with depression less than three months earlier because the soldier
needs to show stability. But otherwise, she said, decisions are made on a
case-by-case basis, according to Army policy, by a treating physician who
consults with the soldier‘s commander. If they are deemed too ill to deploy, she
said, they may still be able to stay in the Guard. Fields said soldiers have two
mental health evaluations before deployment.

Rich Ala said he worried
that serving abroad might aggravate his son’s depression, but didn’t say
anything because he figured his son was an adult who could take care of himself.

Bryan Ala spent six months as a medic in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab
Emirates and Qatar, where his job was to care for an air crew and help at a
military field hospital. He didn’t talk much with his family about what he saw
during his tour, beyond the different cultures and the harsh conditions of a
desert tent encampment.

Back in the United States, he served another six
months as a medic with a hospital group at the Kentucky Air National Guard base
in Louisville, and his parents said everything seemed fine.

But in 2004,
they began to notice troubling signs. Arylane Ala said her son always wore black
and went on binges with vitamins, nutritional supplements and workouts.
Sometimes he would hide, saying he heard helicopters. And he would get extremely
agitated while driving, occasionally slamming his car into park, and running
away, disappearing for hours or even days.

In June 2005, Ala was
hospitalized at the Louisville VA Medical Center and diagnosed with bipolar
disorder, which the VA later ruled service-connected, which made him eligible
for financial benefits.

He was prescribed lithium, but his parents said
he sometimes skipped his medication. At nursing school, he highlighted passages
about bipolar disorder in his psychiatry textbook, writing “me” in the
margins.

Finally, after a fight with his fiancee that resulted in her
obtaining an emergency protective order against him, Bryan Ala went to his
parents’ home. The Alas said he promised not to do anything rash. But after they
went to work on Aug. 10, 2007, he took a rifle from under his father’s bed and
ended his life.

Combat haunts vet

Psychologist Lanny Berman,
executive director of the American Association of Suicidology in Washington,
D.C., said the military generally does a good job screening out people with
severe mental conditions.

But he said many soldiers suffer pre-existing
depression or develop mental illness during or after service ­ magnifying
everyday stresses and compromising already disrupted relationships.
(4 of 4)

Berman, who serves on a federal task force to prevent military suicides,
said the Iraq and Afghanistan wars pose the particular challenges of long tours
and close-range combat, and many veterans suffer post-traumatic stress
disorder.
Advertisement

Army Sgt. Cecil Harris of Pikeville, Ky., was one of them.
After serving in Iraq in 2003, he was flown to Germany with respiratory
problems, severe headaches and a bacterial illness, said his mother, Sharon
Harris of Louisville.

But long after the physical healing began, she
said, his combat memories haunted him, and he was diagnosed with PTSD at the
Lexington VA hospital.

In May of this year, in the midst of a divorce, he
called his mother in Las Vegas, where she was working as a traveling nurse. He
talked about difficulties with a new medication.

On May 17, Harris, 33,
was found hanged from a beam of an apartment under construction in
Danville.

His mother recalled his last words to her:

“Promise me,
Mom, if something happens to me, that you’ll be my voice to the boys who come
back so they get better medical treatment.”

Care gets beefed up

Military and VA officials said
they are trying to do just that.

Nationally, the VA has suicide
prevention coordinators in each of its hospitals and in 2007 started a suicide
hot line for veterans that has received more than 120,000 calls. The Louisville
VA Medical Center provides mental health care and outpatient group sessions for
once-suicidal veterans.

Joe Verney, suicide prevention program manager at
Fort Campbell, said his was the first Army installation in the continental
United States to create a council of leaders from medicine, religion, behavioral
health and other disciplines, in 2007, and to hire a suicide prevention
coordinator, in 2008.

The base also contracts with 29 behavioral health
professionals available for round-the-clock, anonymous consultations, and trains
soldiers in a suicide-prevention program called “Ask, Care, Escort,” which
stresses accompanying others to help.

Fort Knox officials said they are
taking similar steps, trying to eliminate the stigma against seeking
help.

“Our Army is clearly moving in the right direction,” said Mark
Graham, who used to command Colorado’s Fort Carson. “But it’s not moving fast
enough.”

The changes come too late for the Alas, who argue that mental
health needs to be treated like physical health, with the ill getting intensive
treatment.

Arylane Ala said problems with mental health care in the
military and VA reflect problems in the larger civilian culture. “Mental health
in general … should be more readily available,” she said. “People should be
treated more frequently. Having a (psychologist) to speak with every three
months is not enough when the illness is serious.”

Two years after their
son’s death, she and her husband often visit his ashes at a cemetery near Fort
Knox, placing plastic toy soldiers nearby to symbolize his service.

“You
hope nobody goes through the loss of a child,” said Arylane Ala, her eyes
filling with tears. “Life’s not meant to be that way.”

Reporter Laura
Ungar can be reached at (502) 582-7190.

 1,975 total views

ANTIDEPRESSANT: MILITARY SUICIDE: IRAQ/KENTUCKY

Paragraph 16 reads:  “Depression first struck in the
summer of 2002, and Ala admitted himself to Ten Broeck Hospital, now called The
Brook. He was prescribed an anti-depressant, his parents
said, and later in the year saw a doctor at Fort Knox who determined he was fit
to stay in the Guard. He was deployed the next year to the Middle
East.”

Paragraphs 20 through 23 read:  “But in 2004, they began to
notice troubling signs. Arylane Ala said her son always wore black and went on
binges with vitamins, nutritional supplements and workouts. Sometimes he
would hide, saying he heard helicopters.
And he would get
extremely agitated while driving, occasionally slamming his car
into park, and running away, disappearing for hours or even
days.

In June 2005, Ala was hospitalized at the Louisville
VA Medical Center and diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which the
VA later ruled service-connected, which made him eligible for financial
benefits.

He was prescribed lithium, but his parents said he sometimes
skipped his medication. At nursing school, he highlighted passages about bipolar
disorder in his psychiatry textbook, writing “me” in the
margins.

Finally, after a fight with his fiancee that resulted in her
obtaining an emergency protective order against him, Bryan Ala went to his
parents’ home. The Alas said he promised not to do anything rash. But after they went to work on Aug. 10, 2007, he took a rifle from
under his father’s bed and ended his life.

SSRI Stories note:

Antidepressants Can Cause Bipolar Disorder to Develop.  This is
stated in many scientific studies.  Bipolar Disorder Can Contribute to
Suicide.

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20090913/NEWS01/909130330

Suicide takes growing toll among military, veterans

By Laura Ungar • lungar@courier-journal.com
September 13, 2009

As soon as Arylane Ala walked into her house that day
in 2007, she saw blood ­ a red pool stretching from the coffee table to the
fireplace. Then she saw her youngest son face down on the floor, an antique
rifle by his side.

She didn’t approach his body, she said: “I didn’t
want to see his face … his expression.”

Four tumultuous years after
serving in the Middle East with the Kentucky Air National Guard, 25-year-old
Bryan Ala of Louisville took his life ­ part of a rising number of military

and veteran suicides as the Iraq war continues and fighting intensifies in
Afghanistan.

“Life goes on after you lose a child,” said Bryan’s father,
Rich, 60. “But sweet is never as sweet as it was. The sun’s never as bright.
I’ve got a hole in my heart that will never heal up.”

The federal
government estimates that 5,000 veterans commit suicide each year, and Dr.
Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, said suicides
among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans could top combat deaths.

He made the
statement last year at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric
Association and cited a study by Rand Corp., a nonprofit research organization,
showing as many as 20 percent of veterans returning from these conflicts will
suffer major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, and seven in 10 won’t
seek help from the departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs.

The toll
is also rising in the active military, with the Army reporting the most
confirmed suicides ­ 140 last year. Locally, Fort Knox reported five
confirmed suicides in 2008 and 2009. Fort Campbell reported 24 suspected or
confirmed suicides in the same period and in late May suspended regular duties
for everyone for three days so commanders could better help soldiers at
risk.

Driving these numbers are pre-existing mental illnesses,
post-traumatic stress disorder and relationship or financial problems worsened
by long or repeated deployments, say mental health experts, who also point to
the stigma against seeking help in a culture known for toughness.

Many
families and veterans organizations argue that more needs to be done to stop the
deaths. And military and Veterans Affairs officials say they are taking the
problem seriously, beefing up mental health resources and suicide prevention
programs.

“We’ve got to hit it head on,” said Maj. Gen. Donald Campbell,
Fort Knox commander.

In July, Fort Knox played host to Maj. Gen. Mark
Graham of Georgia and his wife, Carol, who told a standing-room-only crowd about
the 2003 suicide of their son Kevin, 21.

The ROTC cadet at the University
of Kentucky suffered from depression before his sister found him hanged from a
bedroom ceiling fan. The Grahams, who have made military suicide prevention a
personal cause, shared Kevin’s story before attending a ceremony dedicating a
building to their other son, Jeffrey, who was killed in action in Iraq in
2004.

“We lost two sons,” said Mark Graham, who spoke again on Aug. 21 in
Frankfort. “Both our sons died fighting different battles.”

History of mental illness

Mental illness also proved
too strong an enemy for Bryan Ala.

Growing up, he was adventurous and
loved caving, rock-climbing, fishing and going to the shooting range with his
father, a Vietnam vet. At 18, Bryan Ala joined the Air National Guard to help
pay for college, later enrolling in the University of Louisville’s nursing
school.

Depression first struck in the summer of 2002, and Ala admitted
himself to Ten Broeck Hospital, now called The Brook. He was prescribed an
anti-depressant, his parents said, and later in the year saw a doctor at Fort
Knox who determined he was fit to stay in the Guard. He was deployed the next
year to the Middle East.

Capt. Stephanie Fields, deputy state surgeon for
the Kentucky National Guard, said soldiers are not deployed if they have been
diagnosed with depression less than three months earlier because the soldier
needs to show stability. But otherwise, she said, decisions are made on a
case-by-case basis, according to Army policy, by a treating physician who
consults with the soldier’s commander. If they are deemed too ill to deploy, she
said, they may still be able to stay in the Guard. Fields said soldiers have two
mental health evaluations before deployment.

Rich Ala said he worried
that serving abroad might aggravate his son’s depression, but didn’t say
anything because he figured his son was an adult who could take care of himself.

Bryan Ala spent six months as a medic in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab
Emirates and Qatar, where his job was to care for an air crew and help at a
military field hospital. He didn’t talk much with his family about what he saw
during his tour, beyond the different cultures and the harsh conditions of a
desert tent encampment.

Back in the United States, he served another six
months as a medic with a hospital group at the Kentucky Air National Guard base
in Louisville, and his parents said everything seemed fine.

But in 2004,
they began to notice troubling signs. Arylane Ala said her son always wore black
and went on binges with vitamins, nutritional supplements and workouts.
Sometimes he would hide, saying he heard helicopters. And he would get extremely
agitated while driving, occasionally slamming his car into park, and running
away, disappearing for hours or even days.

In June 2005, Ala was
hospitalized at the Louisville VA Medical Center and diagnosed with bipolar
disorder, which the VA later ruled service-connected, which made him eligible
for financial benefits.

He was prescribed lithium, but his parents said
he sometimes skipped his medication. At nursing school, he highlighted passages
about bipolar disorder in his psychiatry textbook, writing “me” in the
margins.

Finally, after a fight with his fiancee that resulted in her
obtaining an emergency protective order against him, Bryan Ala went to his
parents’ home. The Alas said he promised not to do anything rash. But after they
went to work on Aug. 10, 2007, he took a rifle from under his father’s bed and
ended his life.

Combat haunts vet

Psychologist Lanny Berman,
executive director of the American Association of Suicidology in Washington,
D.C., said the military generally does a good job screening out people with
severe mental conditions.

But he said many soldiers suffer pre-existing
depression or develop mental illness during or after service ­ magnifying
everyday stresses and compromising already disrupted relationships.
(4 of 4)

Berman, who serves on a federal task force to prevent military suicides,
said the Iraq and Afghanistan wars pose the particular challenges of long tours
and close-range combat, and many veterans suffer post-traumatic stress
disorder.
Advertisement

Army Sgt. Cecil Harris of Pikeville, Ky., was one of them.
After serving in Iraq in 2003, he was flown to Germany with respiratory
problems, severe headaches and a bacterial illness, said his mother, Sharon
Harris of Louisville.

But long after the physical healing began, she
said, his combat memories haunted him, and he was diagnosed with PTSD at the
Lexington VA hospital.

In May of this year, in the midst of a divorce, he
called his mother in Las Vegas, where she was working as a traveling nurse. He
talked about difficulties with a new medication.

On May 17, Harris, 33,
was found hanged from a beam of an apartment under construction in
Danville.

His mother recalled his last words to her:

“Promise me,
Mom, if something happens to me, that you’ll be my voice to the boys who come
back so they get better medical treatment.”

Care gets beefed up

Military and VA officials said
they are trying to do just that.

Nationally, the VA has suicide
prevention coordinators in each of its hospitals and in 2007 started a suicide
hot line for veterans that has received more than 120,000 calls. The Louisville
VA Medical Center provides mental health care and outpatient group sessions for
once-suicidal veterans.

Joe Verney, suicide prevention program manager at
Fort Campbell, said his was the first Army installation in the continental
United States to create a council of leaders from medicine, religion, behavioral
health and other disciplines, in 2007, and to hire a suicide prevention
coordinator, in 2008.

The base also contracts with 29 behavioral health
professionals available for round-the-clock, anonymous consultations, and trains
soldiers in a suicide-prevention program called “Ask, Care, Escort,” which
stresses accompanying others to help.

Fort Knox officials said they are
taking similar steps, trying to eliminate the stigma against seeking
help.

“Our Army is clearly moving in the right direction,” said Mark
Graham, who used to command Colorado’s Fort Carson. “But it’s not moving fast
enough.”

The changes come too late for the Alas, who argue that mental
health needs to be treated like physical health, with the ill getting intensive
treatment.

Arylane Ala said problems with mental health care in the

military and VA reflect problems in the larger civilian culture. “Mental health
in general … should be more readily available,” she said. “People should be
treated more frequently. Having a (psychologist) to speak with every three
months is not enough when the illness is serious.”

Two years after their
son’s death, she and her husband often visit his ashes at a cemetery near Fort
Knox, placing plastic toy soldiers nearby to symbolize his service.

“You
hope nobody goes through the loss of a child,” said Arylane Ala, her eyes
filling with tears. “Life’s not meant to be that way.”

Reporter Laura
Ungar can be reached at (502) 582-7190.

 2,266 total views

Merrill Osmond’s Amazing Alternative Health Transformation

merrillThe following is Merrill Osmond’s story from the 3/04 issue of UT Health Magazine about his long term use of medications and his journey back to health using Young Living Oils:

OVERVIEW:

Stress, depression, stokes and a host of health professionals pumping his body with a buffet of chemicals took its toll.

“They were telling me it was possible to completely get off the stuff I had been on since I was twenty one! Getting off the Lithium alone was a real no-no. My doctors would have killed me. It’s what was maintaining my moods and controlling my depression. The whole borderline diabetes Glucophage® thing was another huge issue.

“Here I was listening to these physicians who were telling of other breakthroughs and new ideas. They told me it was between me and my family and God, but emphasized that they really could help me go in a new direction. ‘We can help you, Merrill,’ they kept telling me.

“I said, ‘Okay. I’ll give it a shot.’

“I will swear to you on a stack of everything I know to be true, that I’m off of everything, and have been for over six months!” exclaims Osmond. “I’ve had all my tests updated, and I’m not a hundred percent yet, but I do feel one hundred percent better. I feel so great. And I’m much better off now, too. I’m drug free and I’m sleeping well,” boasts Osmond.

And the depression?

“Absolutely under control. I’m getting around better and functioning better than ever and handling more stress than ever.

Change is Good
Merrill Osmond’s Amazing Alternative Health Transformation

By John A. Anderson

In the best shape of his life, Merrill Osmond is breaking the mold and branching out. He’s trying new things and surprising even himself with the positive results.

If you’ve been doing something effectively since you were four, would you change it now? After 46 years entertaining audiences, that’s exactly what Merrill Osmond is doing.
“I’ve been performing this since I was four years old, and it’s my first solo tour!” quips Merrill.

Wearing his retro-black color, Merrill is off to England this month for a virtually sold-out ‘Back in Black’ solo tour. He is also releasing a new CD with Curb Records and writing four new songs for the project.

“Looks like we’re back in the record business in England,” Osmond says enthusiastically.

Why the hoopla in England, you might wonder?

“England is a second home to the Osmonds. They took a liking to ‘One Bad Apple’ in the early 70’s and the whole Jackson-Osmond thing took root. We’re a lot more popular in the U.K. than in America – in Japan too,” Osmond explains.

“England has always seemed to embrace the family. The critics and the press in England wanted more of the music and wanted to hear what we had to say. Asia really took a liking to the Donny & Marie Show, and that’s been a huge PR tool for our family ever since.”

Osmond Paraphenalia

The Osmonds were the original boy band, with Merrill’s gritty-smooth lead vocals setting the pace for their impressive track record. In cooperation with his brothers, Merrill has written the music and lyrics for five number one hit records and sang lead to the group’s 27 gold records – many of which he shared the production credits.

Merrill has received two “People’s Choice Awards,” four number #1 “Billboard Hits,” and two “Grammy Award” nominations. Not only that, but collectively the Osmonds have produced 47 platinum and gold records.

The Osmonds received their star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in August of 2003. And it was well deserved considering their decades of music industry success.

In fact, the Osmonds still hold a music industry world record – most gold records earned in one year by a recording artist.

Not even the Beatles were able to receive eleven gold award certificates in one year, but the Osmonds still hold that record today.

In fact, Paul McCartney even took sides with the Osmonds after Beatles drummer Ringo Starr volleyed negative blasts their way over this issue. Hey Ringo – what do you call a guy that hangs out with musicians? A drummer. “We were dumbfounded that Ringo would be so vocal about us since we had never even met him. But the next thing we knew, Paul McCartney comes out, front page, blasting Ringo for blasting us. We’ve had a great relationship with Paul ever since,” Merrill says with a smile.

Bitter-Sweet Success

But spotlights cast shadows as they illuminate. Glittering success is a two-edged sword and Merrill Osmond began paying the price early. Stress, depression, stokes and a host of health professionals pumping his body with a buffet of chemicals took its toll.

“When I was 21 I had two ‘mini’ strokes that put me in the hospital. On top of that I had a heart condition. Soon thereafter I began to be very depressed, which was actually the worst of all. In fact, depression is kind of the Osmond thing – Donny’s had it, Marie’s had it. For me, depression was so severe that it almost got me to take my life. It was bad. It was especially difficult because very few were addressing it back then.

“Even though I held hope and had vision and tremendous blessings and promises, something wanted me to go away. I took the knife and did the whole ten yards. But something empowered me to continue on.

“During my late 20’s and early 30’s I was doing our shows and decided that I couldn’t handle it anymore. I felt depressed, and had begun to have a sugar imbalance issue. Doctors said I was a borderline Diabetic. I couldn’t sleep so I was taking Ambian, coupled with the other meds doctors were giving me. I was really suffering, and not surprisingly I was hospitalized all the time. The doctors kept me in the hospital scratching their heads about why I wasn’t responding to their treatments.

“Then came the most unbelievable experience of my life. I got this skin condition that caused such a problem that I couldn’t stand it. The treatment was a high form of Methotrexate. After I got done with that treatment, the skin condition came back twice as bad!

“So I was suffering with all that and trying to maintain the performances. The show must go on. I endured it with high doses of everything you can imagine. About fifteen years ago, in my early 40’s, we were doing our shows in Missouri and I passed out on stage. I thought that was the end of my professional road.

“I went back to Duke University – where our family goes whenever we have health problems. The doctors noted that my kidneys were failing, my heart continued to have issues, and then I had two more little strokes. The doctors said to call my family; that my body was going into serious ‘shut-down’ mode.

“Only by the grace of God was I able to make it through. Blessings, prayer, and meditation – everything I was able to muster – went into that process. I exercised all my faith and went into a very spiritual mode, which helped come out of it. And yes, the doctors were watching me like a hawk!

“Just when I felt a little balance, the financial problems hit. Everything compounded at that point, so my health began to sink again. And that brings us up to about a year ago,” Osmond tells me.

SEEKING ANSWERS IN ALTERNATIVES

“Think of this,” says Merrill. “I had been under a doctor’s care since I was 20 and had received everything from injections to you name it. Then my son Shane calls me and encouraged me to come down to the clinic where he worked Young Life Research Clinic in Springville, Utah. I was totally suspect because I had been working with some of the best doctors in the nation. In terms of alternative or natural medicine, I didn’t trust a thing.

“I go in there and sit down with their medical doctors. I have always felt there were a lot of ‘quacks’ in the natural medicine arena. While that’s still true, it became obvious that I didn’t understand natural medicine. Frankly, I was surprised that I was meeting with actual MDs. They sat with me and listened to my whole story. They took notes. They took me into these rooms for about four days. They did the cleansing, the diagnosing, the dry blood workups.”

“I literally found it hard to believe what they were telling me initially, but I told myself to put my faith and trust in this process and just see how things would go,” Merrill recalls.

What was so difficult to believe?

“They were telling me it was possible to completely get off the stuff I had been on since I was twenty one! Getting off the Lithium alone was a real no-no. My doctors would have killed me. It’s what was maintaining my moods and controlling my depression. The whole borderline diabetes Glucophage® thing was another huge issue.

“Here I was listening to these physicians who were telling of other breakthroughs and new ideas. They told me it was between me and my family and God, but emphasized that they really could help me go in a new direction. ‘We can help you, Merrill,’ they kept telling me.

“I said, ‘Okay. I’ll give it a shot.’

“I will swear to you on a stack of everything I know to be true, that I’m off of everything, and have been for over six months!” exclaims Osmond. “I’ve had all my tests updated, and I’m not a hundred percent yet, but I do feel one hundred percent better. I feel so great. And I’m much better off now, too. I’m drug free and I’m sleeping well,” boasts Osmond.

And the depression?

“Absolutely under control. I’m getting around better and functioning better than ever and handling more stress than ever. I’ve got this new solo tour to worry about, my new DVD project, and I just signed another three-year contract in Branson producing all our shows. Before I could have never held up without the medications.

“But here I am, medication free and starting a fresh new chapter of my life feeling better than ever,” says Osmond.

NATURAL MEDICINE’S APPROACH

So what’s the secret formula to Merrill’s amazing health success? Dr. David K. Hill, clinic administrator of the Young Life Research Clinic explains:

“The premise of natural medicine is that, regardless of the condition, you’ve got to seek for and find the underlying cause. The holistic approach is exactly that – a look at the whole of emotional, spiritual and physical makeup for each individual. Sometimes its dietary issues, sometimes it’s hormonal, or chemical, or environmental. Whatever the case may be, true medicine must find the source of the condition. That’s the norm in holistic medicine.

“Because of the environment we live in we are almost always going to find toxicity – in the bowels, the liver, etc. We find a lot of chemical toxicity associated with different organs of the body. So there must be a cleansing process that takes place.

“And there is uniqueness. While you and Merrill Osmond might come in with the same issues, the treatment approach is always unique. For instance, somebody with diabetes may require that we use geranium. For Merrill’s diabetes, coriander, dill, phenol and geranium is a pretty standard protocol. But Merrill also has the psoriasis and eczema, so we know he has high acid in the body, so we put him on dietary restrictions as well. We had Merrill stay away from dairy, many meat proteins, many sugars. We were pretty specific about what he should and shouldn’t eat.

“Then we looked at Merrill’s chemical structure in terms of his anti-oxidant levels. We were looking for free-radical damage, vitamin and mineral deficiency. We developed a supplementation protocol to create the necessary change.

“But again, all these things are for naught if we don’t discover why these issues are taking place. There’s the uniqueness that comes into it.

“We aren’t just looking for quick fixes, but rather, long-term solutions that require lifestyle changes and commitment. Unfortunately, we live in a society of quick fixes – a pill to take or the top 10 things I can do today to restore my health. Optimal health doesn’t work that way.

“Merrill has seen dramatic success, in part because we outlined what he needed to do, but more importantly because he was willing to do it and radically change his daily lifestyle. Merrill’s health turnaround is directly tied to his willingness to make the changes,” says Hill.

You can see Merrill online at (www.merrillosmond.com). You might also want to check out his autobiography – ‘Let The Reason Be Love.’

See Dr. Hill online at (www.younglifeclinic.com)

MERRILL OSMOND – THE REST OF THE STORY

As a member of the legendary Osmond family, Merrill Osmond sang lead vocals on some of the band’s biggest hits including ‘One Bad Apple’, ‘Down By The Lazy River’ and ‘Love Me For A Reason.’ Embarking on his first ever tour as a solo artist the show will feature some of The Osmonds’ greatest hit songs including ‘Crazy Horses,’ ‘Let Me In,’ ‘Going Home’ and ‘The Proud One.’

Fame isn’t free. It comes with a price, as Merrill Osmond well knows. “It begins with the stress of a four year old.”

“At four years of age I am singing with my brothers to raise money for our family and our future. The next thing you know we’re singing barbershop harmony because my dad liked it – we liked it. We got a job working at Disneyland. Walt Disney gave us our first big television show.

“We were having a ball, but we all wanted to do things right so we worked our tails off to come up with the right routines and the tight harmonies. It was during that time that Andy Williams’s father saw our program and invited us to audition for Andy.

“Talk about stress. Andy liked us and said he’d put us on one show to see how things would go. One show became another, and soon it was show after show. It was wonderful, but it took its toll. In this business, you’re only as good as your last show so we were constantly creating new things.

“The show producers would say, ‘Next week we are doing a big band theme – what instruments do you play? None? Well, you have a week to learn.’ We’d come back literally in a week playing those things. Another week it was ice skating with Peggy Flemming. ‘Do you ice skate? No? You have a week to learn.’ We’d come back in a week knowing how to do ice flips with firecrackers in our hands and blisters on our feet. We really put our heart and soul into our performances. The foundation of my life since age four was constant challenges like these.

“Of course we were told that we’d never make it in the rock-n-roll business because we were too clean cut. So we went out to prove we could do that. 100 million records later we demonstrated that you could still be in this world, but not of it, and still have some fun recording music.

Power of Perspective

You mentioned the Jackson – Osmond rival of the 70’s. Now Michael Jackson claims that so many of his present woes are due to his stolen childhood. Do you feel the same?

“I love the Jackson’s (though I was appalled by what when on at this year’s Super Bowl!) I still talk to Jamaine all the time, so I am very familiar with their feelings. I feel bad for the Jackson’s because I care about them and love them. I really care about their mom right now. She has a real spiritual depth about her, and I can imagine that she is completely distraught by what happened at that halftime show.

“But there are huge differences between our families. Obviously, they experienced the same basic stress levels and experienced the same types of pressures. The key difference is our belief system. We came home and we knew why we were doing what we were doing. Strutting your stuff on TV and in front of crowds is one thing, but it had to be within a proper perspective,” Osmond explains.

It seems that to remain at the top of the pop music world, musicians have to keep pushing the envelope. It looks to me like the two famous Jackson’s are doing whatever they can to be discussed.

“Oh yes, that happens. It’s been interesting to hear the networks and the participants squirm out of the responsibility for this Super Bowl halftime show, but you and I both know it was all strategy. It comes from the very top, and you’re right, everybody is just looking for the next big thing, and it’s a manager’s job to make sure their star remains on top,” admits Osmond.

Have you guys ever felt that pressure to compromise? I remember reading that during Donny’s mid-80’s cooling career his buddy Michael Jackson told him to change his name and get a new image. Sure, Michael rode the wake of his Thriller success, but twenty years later, honestly, whose life would you rather have?

“Exactly. That is the moral to life in general. It’s difficult to be in the world but not of it. Yes, Michael suggested that Donny should change his name and start over, which is strange.

“The Osmonds have been in the world and beat up because of it. We have literally lived horror stories at times. It took everything we had and money we didn’t have to put together a machine that would cause the industry to take a look at us. In our own way we did what we had to do to be noticed, but we certainly feel we didn’t compromise anything.

“In the case of Donny, he went through his ‘80’s, and oh, I could tell you stories. He was tempted beyond reason to do certain things. For instance, executives wanted him to be arrested for doing drugs as a way to get him back on the charts. I mean, what does that have to do with talent and musical ability? But there’s the whole image thing that the world seems to assume a musician must have. Donny basically threw his hands up in the air and came home.

“Many, many times all of us wanted to quit. But, John, when you have a ‘lifetime calling’ you just plain do what you’ve got to do.”

I have always been impressed that the Osmonds have held true to their values over the years. Describe what you mean when you say ‘lifetime calling?’

“I’m sure you don’t want to get into too much spiritual stuff here, but when you’re 15 years old and called into the Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City, and there’s the prophet (President Harold B. Lee) and the twelve apostles basically calling you on a lifetime mission, you take a different perspective on fame and fortune. You get an understanding of ‘why’ we’re doing it.

“Obviously that’s probably not what you want to write about, but that’s really what kept the Osmonds moving forward – that’s what we held on to, and there were times that this calling from a prophet of God was all we had. We feel that it’s a calling from God, and to date we have not been released from it.

“Also, our patriarchal blessings matched what the prophet was asking us to do. So we had a fairly profound sense of purpose in what we were doing and why we were doing it. When the hard times and the pressures came, we had a different understanding of why they were happening. We didn’t let the world beat us up on it. After all, a prophet of the Lord had spoken to us and blessed us with our ‘callings.’

“Obviously, the Jackson’s were hit huge by the world. The Osmonds were also hit, but we were always able to regroup and discuss the eternal aspect of it all.

“The secret of our success over the years is perspective in a world that’s full of clouds and spiritual distractions, and all kinds of temptations.

From MerrillOsmond.com –

Quote: “This Life is fragile and needs to be nurtured with loving care. Each moment we live, think about the air you breathe, the heart that beats within you, and the relationships that are important to you. Don’t take anything or anyone for granted.

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A 17-Year Old’s Story on Prozac, Paxil, Effexor and Wellbutrin

“I saw electricity around everything–it looked like electricity was going around the air and around my room”

 

Hi. I’m 17 years old… Over the years, since I was about 14, I’ve been on (and quit) Prozac, Lithium (which I didn’t even need), Paxil (which I tried to kill myself for the first time–on about the 2nd day I was prescribed it), Effexor, and Wellbutrin… This story is about Wellbutrin, and how awful my experience with it was.

I was 16, and about April last year I decided (well, mainly my boyfriend of the time decided) I should go on the Depo-Provera birth control shot, which was the worst decision possible. I had depression problems before, but not NEARLY as bad as what I experienced on the shot. I had never had anxiety problems or scary as hell anxiety/panic attacks before, until the shot. After going through the worst torture all summer ever imaginable (the shot’s evil effects, bastard boyfriend’s cheating and breakup without even letting me KNOW! until I went back to SCHOOL, and + parent’s divorce), I decided to go on Wellbutrin. At first, I felt a lot better. I didn’t care about my boyfriend’s disappearance and decided to make my own life over without him. I was a lot happier, despite the worsening of my anxiety attacks (which I thought was strange, since my doctor said the Wellbutrin would help STOP my anxiety…..) . I was just glad to not be depressed anymore, so I never second-guessed the Wellbutrin. Obviously, smoking cigarettes hindered the effect of it after a while, so I needed a higher dose…eventually 400 mg a day. 400!!! That’s ALOT……..

I tried to quit smoking one day. It seemed like the medicine started working better, but within a few days I had an extremely schizo moment (which I had some schizo-effects from Wellbutrin before, but tried to ignore- like feeling like everyone was staring at every little movement I did–even my BREATHING, feeling spaced out as hell, breathing problems, farther from reality each day) . That night, I started feeling really great. After I while, I started wondering why I felt soooo euphoric– my music sounded sharper than ever and I was extremely energetic. Soon, I started TRIPPING OUT–it turned into something like a heavy bad-acid trip. I started getting an awful headache and felt like I was about to have seizures (which, I might add, I had once from Wellbutrin). I felt completely flipped out, like I lost my mind. I started going schizo–I was scared to death. I saw electricity around everything–it looked like electricity was going around the air and around my room. I was up all night. I was actually scared of the dark because I was so messed up–I had to turn my music back on because of the horrifying sound of BUGS crawling everywhere. So, after that freak out, I lowered my dose MYSELF, since I knew it would be worthless to talk to my doctor about it. I then had a seizure about a month later, so needless to say, I quit the Wellbutrin. Hopefully, nobody else will have to ever go through an experience like this.

3/12/2002

This is Survivor Story number 40.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

 2,451 total views,  1 views today

Hope through alternatives even after long-term use of Prozac

 

“The doctors said that I needed the drugs to pull through. I finally said, ‘No more drugs!'”

 

My name is Tammy.

I was diagnosed with bipolar depression about seven years ago. I have been in and out of the mental ward three times in the seven years.

This may be kind of long, but I feel that it is very important for those who have this condition. I would like to let you know that there is away to heal from this, other than the use of drugs.

I was under doctors’ care with the use of drugs — lithium, Prozac etc. These drugs did nothing for me. I still sheltered myself from life outside the home. Was afraid to speak to anyone about what I was going through. I slept all the time, had nothing that interested me at all, just sat and watched TV. If I slept, then nothing could go wrong and I would not have to face reality.

I had to give my children to the state foster care system. This was the hardest thing I ever had to do. My children where very young and did not understand why we where not together. We told them what I was going through, but at the age they where they did not understand. I still managed to visit with them when I was allowed to. I cried when I left them, for they were in different homes. This made me feel even more alone.

I would cry sometimes all day and for no reason. I had no control. Was unable to do my job at work so they let me go. Now, no job no children. I had to move back to my parents’ home. A home of nothing but abuse.

The doctors said that I needed the drugs to pull through. I finally said, “No more drugs! They are not doing me any good.” So I took myself off all drugs. The doctor said that she would not recommend me doing that but she could not make me take them. I have managed to deal with this for years. No friends, no family, no fun.

Till I met Bev. I met her at a very tiring time in my life. My mother was diagnosed with (cholangio Carcinowa), Bio-duct cancer. Grandfather had died a month before my mother. I was a mess. Went to work and all anyone had to say was “Hi, how are you?” and I would fall all apart.

This gal Bev saw that I was not alright, so she began giving me some of the Young Living Essential Oil supplements (mentioned in Dr. Tracy’s book and tape on withdrawal and rebuilding). I took them and she would come around later and asked me how I felt. I did feel better but was not sure if the supplements were the reason why I could work.

Bev took me to a massage therapist and I had an emotional release done. Boy, after that was done I did not think that it worked. As we left I told Bev get me home — I really needed to get home. Not sure why I had to get there but just get me home. I had a business appointment right when I got home. I called and canceled it, felt that I could not do it right then.

A few hours passed and I was at home when I started to have a large crying spell. I cried so hard that I had dry heaves. I could not keep anything down and could not sleep. Could not sit still, this went on all day and night. Called Bev to tell her I was afraid and what I was going through. The next day I felt as though nothing at all happened to me. I was better than fine, I was happy and could not wait to go somewhere. My concentration improved, I got out doing things again.

Bev helped me with my diet, supplements, the essential oils, etc. This is what I feel saved my life. This was my last chance, for I had tried everything and nothing worked. But the Young Living Essential Oils products worked!

I have a ways to go but feel that Young living will see me through all the changes. I hope that this will help other people to believe that there is something out there that will work and without drugs. I am stronger than I ever have been and I owe it all to Young Living Essential Oils.

Thank you, Bev and Young Living, from the bottom of my heart! You saved me!!!!!!!!

Tammy

2/18/2001

This is Survivor Story number 1.
Total number of stories in current database is 34

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Study Links Older Bipolar Drug to Fewer Suicides

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/17/health/17SUIC.html

Dr. Frederick K. Goodwin, senior author of the study and director of the psychopharmacology research center at George Washington University Medical Center

Journal of the American Medical Association

The new study, published today in The Journal of the American Medical Association, found that patients taking Depakote were 2.7 times as likely to kill themselves as those taking lithium. Earlier studies by others had also found that lithium could prevent suicide, but today’s report is the first to compare suicide and attempted suicide rates in lithium and Depakote users. The study was based on medical records of 20,638 patients aged 14 and older in Washington State and California who were treated from 1994 to 2001.

Lithium, an old and inexpensive drug that has fallen out of favor with many psychiatrists, is better than the most commonly prescribed drug, Depakote, at preventing suicide in people who have manic-depressive illness, researchers are reporting.

People with the illness, also called bipolar disorder, swing back and forth between bleak spells of depression and periods of high excitability that may run the gamut from euphoria to rage. From 1.3 percent to 1.5 percent of people in the United States suffer from bipolar disorder, and their risk of committing suicide is estimated to be 10 to 20 times that of the rest of the population.

Perhaps because patients are more likely to seek medical help when they are depressed than when they are manic, the disorder is often misdiagnosed at first as depression alone, but antidepressants are not the correct treatment for bipolar disorder and may in fact make it worse.

The new study, published today in The Journal of the American Medical Association, found that patients taking Depakote were 2.7 times as likely to kill themselves as those taking lithium. Earlier studies by others had also found that lithium could prevent suicide, but today’s report is the first to compare suicide and attempted suicide rates in lithium and Depakote users. The study was based on medical records of 20,638 patients aged 14 and older in Washington State and California who were treated from 1994 to 2001.

Solvay Pharmaceuticals, a maker of lithium, paid for the study, but did not influence the findings or the way they were reported, the authors said.

The study included 53 actual suicides and 383 attempted suicides that led to hospitalization. But the researchers, as well as Depakote’s manufacturer, cautioned that because this study was based only on patients’ records, it was not conclusive.

Precisely how lithium might prevent suicide is not known, although it is believed to help regulate levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences mood.

“Lithium is clearly being underutilized,” said Dr. Frederick K. Goodwin, the senior author of the study and director of the psychopharmacology research center at George Washington University Medical Center. The drug can save lives, he said, adding, “The real tragedy is that a lot of young psychiatrists have never learned to use lithium.”

Lithium, which can smooth out the highs and the lows of bipolar disorder, was first used in the 1950’s, and in the 1970’s was the first drug to be designated a “mood stabilizer” by the Food and Drug Administration. But the drug has been around for so long that its patent has expired and generic versions exist, meaning that lithium cannot generate substantial earnings for industry, Dr. Goodwin said. Drug companies promote newer, more profitable drugs like Depakote.

Some difficult cases referred to Dr. Goodwin turn out to be people who have never taken lithium because their psychiatrists, often under 40, never thought of prescribing it. But Dr. Goodwin also emphasized that lithium did not work for everyone and that other drugs like Depakote were also needed.

Dr. John Leonard, a spokesman for Abbott Laboratories, the maker of Depakote, questioned the findings. Dr. Leonard said that studies looking back at patients’ records were inherently flawed and not as reliable as studies in which patients were randomly assigned by researchers to take one drug or the other. He said conclusions could not be drawn from the data, and doctors should not base treatment decisions on it.


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