ANTIDEPRESSANT: Girl (11) From Bedwetting to Agitation & Psychotic Break

NOTE BY Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org):

What a TRAGIC case and all too common! It compares with the
case of the 15 year old girl given Zoloft for warts – yes warts – and ended up
committing suicide. Of course Pfizer tried as hard as they could, albeit
unsuccessfully, to convince the court in her wrongful death suit that it
was the warts that drove her to suicide, not the Zoloft! And this case is also
very similar to the case of the little girl I discuss in my book, “Prozac:
Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare” who was given Prozac because as
an A student it was felt she spent too much time doing homework! (I thought that
was how you became an A student!) She was described before the meds as an
excellent student and well behaved child.  Yet, within days on
Prozac she was throwing herself downstairs. They then took her off the meds
and then put her back on the meds at higher doses and the Yale
study ends with her pulling her hair out and being locked in a psych
ward where she would jump up and down on her Teddy Bear screaming “Kill, kill!
Die, Die!” As I have asked for years, how many productive and caring lives have
we cut off from us all by these deadly drugs?!
Paragraph three reads:  “He also includes the stories of
individual patients, all of whom fared poorly on psychiatric medications and did
better after coming off them. One was of a young woman from Seattle
prescribed an antidepressant at age 11 to treat her bed-wetting, who then became
agitated and spiraled into full-blown psychosis.
When Whitaker met her
at age 21 she was living in a group home for the severely mentally ill, mute,
and withdrawn. Her story is heartbreaking, and the implication is that her
deterioration was triggered by the medications she was given.”

http://www.boston.com/ae/books/articles/2010/04/14/tying_the_rise_in_mental_illness_to_drugs_used_in_its_treatment/

Tying the rise in mental illness to drugs used in its treatment

By Dennis
Rosen

April 14, 2010

ANATOMY OF AN EPIDEMIC: Magic Bullets,
Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America
By
Robert Whitaker

Crown, 416 pp., $26

In “Anatomy of an Epidemic’’
Whitaker presents his theory that the dramatic increase in mental illness in the
United States since World War II is the direct result of the medicines
psychiatrists have been prescribing to treat it, and that this itself stems from

an unholy alliance between the pharmaceutical industry and corrupt physicians.
However, although extensively researched and drawing upon hundreds of sources,
the gaps in his theory remain too large for him to succeed in making a
convincing argument.

Whitaker cites studies showing better outcomes for
patients with depression or schizophrenia who have come off their medications
than for those who have stayed on them, but doesn’t consider the possibility
that this may be because those with milder disease recovered and no longer
needed medications, while those who were sicker to begin with simply could not
do without them.

He also includes the stories of individual patients, all
of whom fared poorly on psychiatric medications and did better after coming off
them. One was of a young woman from Seattle prescribed an antidepressant at age
11 to treat her bed-wetting, who then became agitated and spiraled into
full-blown psychosis. When Whitaker met her at age 21 she was living in a group
home for the severely mentally ill, mute, and withdrawn. Her story is
heartbreaking, and the implication is that her deterioration was triggered by
the medications she was given.

But how can one be certain of this?
Perhaps she was destined for mental illness through a combination of her genes
and the environment in the same way that some children develop cancer,
irrespective of any medications they may be taking. Perhaps without the
medications given to treat her psychosis her course would have been even worse.
Many children are treated with tricyclics for bed-wetting and the vast majority
do fine. A single case does not prove the rule, and here lies the basic problem
of this book. As Whitaker himself points out, there simply are not enough data

from well-designed, trustworthy studies. And without this information, it is
impossible to conclude anything meaningful about cause and effect.

Though
there remain unanswered questions about the efficacy of some psychiatric
medications in some patients and their long-term consequences, there is no
denying that they have brought about a huge improvement in quality of life for
millions. While it is reasonable for Whitaker to raise his concerns, it is
critical to remember that hypothesis is no substitute for data.

Ignoring
this can lead to disastrous consequences, such as occurred in South Africa at
the turn of this century. Thabo Mbeki, then president of that country, refused

to accept that AIDS was caused by the HIV virus, believing instead that it was a
side effect of malnutrition and the medications used to treat AIDS itself. In
the absence of an effective treatment and prevention program, it is estimated
that 365,000 South Africans died prematurely of AIDS between the years 2000-05
(currently, 18.1 percent of South African adults have HIV/AIDS).

Those
who would seize the opportunity to cast psychiatry as a discipline into the
rubbish heap without consideration for the benefits it has brought to so many
would do well to remember how Mbeki’s inability to distinguish between theory
and fact exacted such an enormous toll in human life and
suffering.

Dr. Dennis Rosen is a pediatric lung and sleep specialist
at Children’s Hospital Boston and an instructor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical
School.
[]
© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper
Company.

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS ARE FAR FROM ALONE IN DANGERS! & BEWARE OF DRUG ADVERTIZING!

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org):
The following article on drug advertising, “Side Effects Include Denial” is an
EXCELLENT article on how the public is brainwashed into using drugs without a
thought. This is how we have ended up on all of these new “Designer Drugs” that
seem to be more the norm in our society now than the abnormal. When I was
growing up someone who was ill was out of the ordinary. Most we well. Now it
seems the exact opposite with even the very young discussing their serious
disorders – things we never saw in children before.

Although our site has focused on antidepressants for many
years, that focus has nothing to do with lack of concern over a myriad
of other deadly medications. The focus on antidepressants has been due to
the extremely widespread use of these drugs along with their potential to lead
the user to extreme out of character violence toward themselves or others
coupled with their potential to lead to many other drugs being prescribed for
the antidepressant side effects they suffer (new symptoms such as a
diagnosis for Psychosis or Bipolar Disorder, Panic or Anxiety attacks,
extreme insomnia, sleep apnea and other sleep disorders, Restless Leg Syndrome,
alcohol or nicotine use/abuse, diabetes, Fibromyalgia, thyroid problems,
headaches, IBS, MS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, ADHD, etc., etc., etc.)
Many of the newer medications out there were designed specifically for the
increase in patients with these “symptoms” that are nothing more than
antidepressant side effects which would subside upon the safe withdrawal of the
individual from the offending medication – the antidepressant. And far too many

of these new drugs are just remakes of antidepressantsfar too similar in
action to these drugs. One example would be Chantix’ similarity to Zoloft.
Sarafem, prescribed for PMS, is nothing more than Prozac with a new name and
different color capsule (pink to give it a feminine touch). Duloxetine
is the chemical name for Lilly’s Cymbalta and the name generally given to a
patient prescribed the drug for urinary incontinence so that they
remain unaware that it is really an antidepressant (antidepressants have LONG
been given to children for bed wetting). Yet another antidepressant is
prescribed for tuberculosis. Then there are all of the headache medications and
too many pain killers which all have serotonergic effects and can cause many of

the same serious adverse reactions that antidepressants cause.

WE URGE YOU TO USE EXTEME CAUTION, NO MATTER THE DRUG PRESCRIBED!!!
PRESCRIPTION DRUGS ARE KILLING FAR MORE NATIONWIDE THAN ILLEGAL DRUGS!! READ
ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING BEFORE EVER PUTTING A DRUG IN YOUR MOUTH!!! INSIST ON A
PACKAGE INSERT RATHER THAN THE SHORT HANDOUT ON THE DRUG PROVIDED BY THE
PHARMACACY WHCIH DOES NOT EVEN SCRATCH THE SURFACE IN GIVING YOU THE TRUE
WARNINGS REFLECTED IN THE PACKAGE INSERTS.
__________________________________________
But last July the Food and Drug Administration, which approved Chantix in
2006, said it had received 4,762 reports of “serious psychiatric events” —
including paranoia, homicidal thoughts, hallucinations, 188 attempted suicides
and 98 suicides — and it ordered Pfizer to put a “black box” warning on the
drug.
Pfizer’s not worried for the same reason that Bristol-Myers Squibb isn’t
worried about its Abilify ad, with piano music under, showing a happy family’s
outing to a pier, accompanied by a voiceover about seizures, thoughts of
suicide, risk of death or stroke. It’s why Sanofi-aventis, the manufacturer of
Ambien, doesn’t mind spending half an ad (sleeping lady, rooster, harp) warning
of side-effects like sleep-driving and sleep-eating. And it’s why
GlaxoSmithKline is unconcerned about undercutting the effectiveness of its Requip ad

for Restless Leg Syndrome (relaxing lady, crossword puzzle, strings) with
warnings about (this is my favorite) compulsive gambling.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marty-kaplan/side-effects-include-deni_b_463996.html

Marty Kaplan

Director, Norman Lear Center and Professor at the USC
Annenberg School
Posted: February 16, 2010 12:31 PM

Side
Effects Include Denial

Why would Pfizer spend $100 million on two-minute TV ads that use a minute of
that time admitting that their drug Chantix can cause “changes in behavior,
hostility, agitation, depressed mood,” “weird, unusual or strange dreams,” and
“suicidal thoughts or actions”?

Because they have to, and because it doesn’t matter.

With the patent on Pfizer’s cash cow Lipitor expiring next year, Chantix, a
smoking cessation pill, had been one of their big hopes for the future. Chantix
sales in 2007 approached $900 million; by 2009, it accounted for 90 percent of
smoking cessation prescriptions. But last July the Food and Drug Administration,
which approved Chantix in 2006, said it had received 4,762 reports of “serious
psychiatric events” — including paranoia, homicidal thoughts, hallucinations,
188 attempted suicides and 98 suicides — and it ordered Pfizer to put a “black
box” warning on the drug.

What to do? One tack Pfizer took was to launch a “help-seeking ad” that’s now running all over cable TV. You might easily mistake it
for a public service ad. As a voiceover reads sentences appearing on a black
screen, a match-flame turns the words to smoke: “You wanted to quit before you
got married… You wanted to quit before you turned thirty-five. You wanted to
quit when you had your first child.”

At the end, you’re invited to go to MyTimeToQuit.com, which takes you not to
the Surgeon-General or to the American Cancer Society, but to a Pfizer site that
in turn leads you to Chantix. There’s no legal requirement to include the
suicide warning on the faux-PSA, because it never mentions Chantix by name.

Pfizer’s other marketing tactic was to air a testimonial. We spend two
minutes getting to know Robin, a real-life success story. In her kitchen, over a
lovely soundtrack, Robin tells us how Ben, one of her boys, asked her to stop
smoking. Her doctor prescribed Chantix. As she and her family walk around a
neighborhood of gracious lawns and fall foliage, we hear what good support and a
good drug can do. Back at home, her husband makes coffee while she slices apples
and cheese for a snack at the kitchen table. Radiant, laughing, she says that
Ben finally tired of counting the days since she quit. At the end, an
announcer’s voiceover invites us to “talk to your doctor to find out if
prescription Chantix is right for you.”

But wait a minute — literally. During half the ad, that same announcer is
also telling us about the mental health problems that can be worsened by
Chantix. Not once, but twice, he says what should be alarming words: agitation,
hostility, depressed mood, suicidal thoughts or actions. The words appear yet a
third time in the same ad, in a boxed text at the bottom of the screen.

Why isn’t Pfizer nuts to spend so much money scaring us to death about their
product? While Robin is slicing that apple, why isn’t Pfizer worried that the
voice warning about suicidal thoughts or actions will make us fret whether it’s
safe to let Robin be around sharp objects?

Pfizer’s not worried for the same reason that Bristol-Myers Squibb isn’t
worried about its Abilify ad, with piano music under, showing a happy family’s
outing to a pier, accompanied by a voiceover about seizures, thoughts of
suicide, risk of death or stroke. It’s why Sanofi-aventis, the manufacturer of

Ambien, doesn’t mind spending half an ad (sleeping lady, rooster, harp) warning
of side-effects like sleep-driving and sleep-eating. And it’s why
GlaxoSmithKline is unconcerned about undercutting the effectiveness of its Requip ad
for Restless Leg Syndrome (relaxing lady, crossword puzzle, strings) with
warnings about (this is my favorite) compulsive gambling.

Pictures are more powerful than words. Language and logic don’t have the kind
of immediate access to our brains that images and instruments do. Feeling comes
before thinking. We can be as skeptical about marketing as we like, but media
literacy isn’t much of a match for music. No wonder Plato banished the poet in

The Republic: he couldn’t think of a curriculum that could protect people from
being enthralled by fiction, spellbound by illusion. The bards who sang the
Homeric epics were the ancestors of today’s Mad Men.

Robin’s harmless kitchen knife brilliantly neuters the suicide warnings, as
does the rest of her happy-ending story. In 2005, Duke University researcher Ruth Day presented a study to the FDA demonstrating how ads
can use distracting images and music to minimize attention to risk warnings. Her
infamous example: the fast-fluttering wings of the Nasonex bee (voiced by
Antonio Banderas) prevented viewers from remembering the side effects
information. Partly as a result, last May the FDA issued draft regulations declaring that ads will be judged by their
net impression as a whole, not just whether they’re technically accurate.

Pfizer denies that increased regulatory oversight led them to
raise the time devoted to safety warnings in its Chantix ads from 14 seconds to
a minute. I suspect they could run a two-minute crawl about suicide risks, and
it still wouldn’t distract from Robin’s heartwarming testimonial. We’re suckers
for mini-movies. No wonder the corporations just unleashed by the Supreme Court
to spend unlimited funds on campaign ads are salivating at the opportunity to
enthrall us.

This is my column from The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.
You can read more of my columns here, and e-mail me there if you’d
like.

Follow Marty Kaplan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/martykaplan

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ANTIDEPESSANT: 8 Yr Old Boy Antidepressant-induced Psychosis

Paragraphs five and six read:  “However for Brayden, the
effects of the treatment offered were terrifying, and
five weeks after starting a course of antidepressants he
suddenly experienced his first psychotic episode.”

” ‘His
behaviour deteriorated to the point where he got out of control and
attempted to harm himself
,’  Ms Rowley said.”

http://www.dailyadvertiser.com.au/news/local/news/general/another-boy-falling-through-mental-health-gaps/1682052.aspx

Another boy falling through mental health gaps

MICHELLE WEBSTER
19 Nov, 2009 01:00 AM
WAGGA boy Brayden Rowley has
a good heart, a wonderful sense of humour and a generous soul his loving mum
just hopes others can see that.

Annette Rowley is desperate for a
diagnosis for her beautiful eight-year-old son, but having exhausted every
available avenue through the NSW mental health system, is now not sure where to
turn.

After reading Karene Eggleton’s journey in The Weekend Advertiser,
the mother of four young boys felt compelled to come forward and let others know
Ms Eggleton’s son’s struggle to find appropriate care is not an isolated one.

While Brayden had displayed obvious signs of anxiety previously, his
condition began to escalate in February this year, and after seeking advice from
his school Ms Rowley turned to Community Mental Health for assistance.

However for Brayden, the effects of the treatment offered were
terrifying, and five weeks after starting a course of antidepressants he
suddenly experienced his first psychotic episode.

“His behaviour
deteriorated to the point where he got out of control and attempted to harm
himself,” Ms Rowley said.

“He felt so bad and he thought he was so bad
that we would be better off without him.”

On one particular occasion, Ms
Rowley called for an ambulance only to be informed none were available and
Braydon was then escorted to hospital in the back of a police van.

Ms
Rowley has since decided to cease Brayden’s antidepressant treatment and has
subsequently seen an improvement in her child.

Brayden has been through
extensive testing at Ms Rowley’s expense, including a cognitive assessment which
determined Brayden fell into the gifted and talented category, and testing by
ASPECT which revealed he is not affected by autism.

Ms Rowley
understands that her son does not fit neatly into any category but without a
diagnosis and individualised treatment, is concerned that he has been placed in
the too-hard basket.

“If the professionals don’t know what to do what am
I supposed to do?” she said.

Greater Southern Area Health Service
(GSAHS) chief executive Heather Gray yesterday said she was concerned that
Brayden’s family felt he was not receiving the level of care and treatment
expected from the mental health service.

Ms Gray said a senior manager
from the Wagga Wagga Community Mental Health team was attempting to contact Ms
Rowley today to discuss her concerns.

She said the GSAHS was unable to
comment publicly on individual cases.

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ANTIDEPRESSANT: Murder : Man Kills Wife with Hammer: England

Paragraph 22 reads:  “Ignatius Hughes, defending, said
that in June 2008 his client was “on the brink” psychologically and had a long
history of depression for which he had been
prescribed medication.”

http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/homepage/Bristol-mum-bludgeoned-death-lump-hammer/article-1449304-detail/article.html

Bristol mum bludgeoned to death with a lump hammer

Saturday, October 24, 2009, 07:00

A man who bludgeoned his partner
to death with a lump hammer while in the grip of psychosis has been told he may
never be released from jail.

Paul Ford, aged 51, told police he thought
he had hit mother-of-five Debra Ford “hundreds and hundreds and hundreds” of
times in the face at the home they shared in Oldland Common.

He was
jailed indefinitely at Bristol Crown Court yesterday for what a judge described
as a “truly terrible” killing, which left his victim unrecognisable.

The
court heard the couple shared the same surname because Mrs Ford, 45, had
previously been married to the defendant’s brother Geoffrey, with whom she had
two children, and had also been married to his brother Steve.

Her three
other children were by another man.

Ford initially faced a murder charge
but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished
responsibility.

Doctors later confirmed a combination of drug use,
post-accident stress disorder and depression all contributed to his psychosis at
the time.

Imposing an indefinite sentence for public protection, Mr
Justice Royce said Ford would serve a minimum of three years before he could be
considered for release. But he stressed that he considered Ford to be dangerous
and, if it was deemed appropriate by the Parole Board, he could face the rest of
his life behind bars.

Ray Tully, prosecuting, told the court the couple’s
relationship, which had started in 2007, was “volatile on both sides”.

In
the 48 hours leading up to the killing they were seen in two pubs; in one Ford
scuffled with a man and in the other Debra was seen “goading” the
defendant.

Mr Tully said Ford attacked his partner in the living room of
their home at The Clamp, Oldland Common, on the evening of September 3 last
year.

“She was battered round the head with such force her facial
features became indiscernible,” said Mr Tully.

“He walked next door,
still carrying the hammer, he spoke to a neighbour and asked her to call the
police.

“He said: ‘I hit her, I killed her, I done it so my boys will be
safe’.”

Mr Tully said Debra Ford had for a long time associated with a
large number of people who led a criminal lifestyle.

He said that, at the
time of her death, she was waiting to be sentenced for dishonesty and drug
supply, and had been a regular user of amphetamine and cannabis.

Mr Tully
said: “There is clear evidence Debra Ford could be argumentative and
manipulative.

“Her daughter said that she also suffered from bad health,
having had surgery in 2003 for an abscess to her back which made her wheelchair
bound. Thereafter she walked with calipers and used walking sticks to get about
and she was considered frail and vulnerable.”

On the day of the killing
Ford ate with his parents and brothers and told Geoffrey: “You know I’m an angry

man. I’m an angry man at the best of times.”

He was then seen to turn up
at The Clamp, and was alone with Debra when he unleashed the fatal
attack.

The court heard Ford told police: “We had a scuffle and I just
did her. I don’t know where I got it (the hammer) from. I just grabbed it from
something. I thought that there were people upstairs; I thought I was being
trapped and cornered. I’m turning into a paranoid wreck. I’ve had so much
hassle; I thought I was being trapped.”

Ignatius Hughes, defending, said
that in June 2008 his client was “on the brink” psychologically and had a long
history of depression for which he had been prescribed medication.

He
said it would be impossible to establish what degree of real threats Ford
experienced as opposed to his perceived threats because of psychosis.

Mr
Hughes said the relationship was the catalyst, which made a re-occurrence most
unlikely.

The majority of psychiatrists who examined Ford did not
conclude it would be appropriate for him to be treated in a psychiatric
institution.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Royce told Ford: “This was a
truly terrible killing. The lives of those closest to her have been terribly
scarred in consequence.”

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ANTIDEPRESSANT: Psychiatrist Goes Nuts: Diagnosed Bipolar as They All Are!

Paragraphs 6 through 9 read: “Munn lost his license to practice psychiatry in Montana in 2003, after having an ongoing sexual relationship with one of his patients. His marriage dissolved around the same time. Already being treated for depression, Munn’s condition was rediagnosed, and with the help of counseling and medicine, he rebuilt his life into one where he’s succeeding while living with a mental illness.”

“Anti-depressants didn’t help the manic side of Munn’s bipolar disorder. At times his thoughts raced. He didn’t sleep. He had grandiose ideas ­ like how to fix the entire mental health system in the state of Montana.”

“And he believed he could do anything he wanted.”

“’I felt rules didn’t apply to me. That would be grandiosity,’ he said. ‘But they do. And that’s accepting that you have a mental illness’.”

http://www.helenair.com/articles/2009/08/02/top/55lo_090802_mh2.txt

Psychiatrist brings himself back from the brink of suicide

By JOHN HARRINGTON – Independent Record – 08/02/09

Eliza Wiley Independent Record – Nathan Munn has fought back from some very low places. Rather than ending his life, the psychiatrist chose to seek treatment for his bipolar disorder and began a new career teaching psychology courses and developing a mental health direct care program at University of Montana-Helena.
In 2003, with his career and home in very public shambles, Nathan Munn nearly committed suicide.

But rather than end his life, the psychiatrist chose not to pull the trigger one fateful night. He subsequently got treatment, including psychotherapy and medications, for his bipolar mood disorder.

Now, Munn is an instructor at the University of Montana-Helena, teaching psychology courses and developing a mental health direct care program that trains students how to be direct caregivers, counselors and other types of mental health professionals.

“I’m really thankful for my job at UM-Helena,” said Munn, 49, in a candid interview last week. “And I hope that my story can be of some inspiration along with my teaching. It’s my intention that I’m still helping in the community, but now with education as opposed to direct providing of psychiatric care.”

Munn admits somewhat nervously that his past is still “hard to talk about.” He chooses his words carefully, often pausing between sentences. He’s told his humbling story before, and maybe it’s getting a little easier ­ but not much. Remorse hangs deep in his eyes.

Munn lost his license to practice psychiatry in Montana in 2003, after having an ongoing sexual relationship with one of his patients. His marriage dissolved around the same time. Already being treated for depression, Munn’s condition was rediagnosed, and with the help of counseling and medicine, he rebuilt his life into one where he’s succeeding while living with a mental illness.

Anti-depressants didn’t help the manic side of Munn’s bipolar disorder. At times his thoughts raced. He didn’t sleep. He had grandiose ideas ­ like how to fix the entire mental health system in the state of Montana.

And he believed he could do anything he wanted.

“I felt rules didn’t apply to me. That would be grandiosity,” he said. “But they do. And that’s accepting that you have a mental illness.”

Mental illnesses are by no means limited to those on the fringes of society. Millions of Americans of all walks of life ­ blue collar and white, laborers and professionals ­ live daily with schizophrenia, depression, bipolar mood disorder and other diagnosable and treatable conditions.

Mike Larson of Dillon is director of the State Bar of Montana’s Lawyer Assistance Program, which was created in 2006 after several attorneys committed suicide in Missoula.

“Lawyers, from the first call in the morning to the last e-mail at night, are busy dealing with everyone else’s problems,” Larson said. “So what do they do when their own problems kick in?”

Larson said that from a population of 2,800 members of the bar in Montana, he takes calls from eight to 10 new clients a month, around a third of which are related to mental illness, with another third dealing with chemical dependency. He said many lawyers are reticent to call the program, either out of fear that others will learn of their treatment and their careers will suffer, or from simple denial.

“There are a lot of stereotypes out there about what mental illness is, and there’s that whole component of not wanting to be under the stigma of mental illness,” Larson said.

For Munn, day-to-day life means a regimen of a mood-stabilizing drug and an anti-depressant, acknowledgement of and taking responsibility for the mistakes he made and a resolve to move forward knowing the illness will likely be with him for the rest of his life.

“It’s not like there’s one day that you no longer have a mental illness,” he said. “On appropriate treatment, it can be in remission. And you stay on your meds and you do the psychological work necessary, and you move forward.

“I hate to say it because it sounds like it’s bragging, but it takes courage. You have to face this, you face what you did, you face having a mental illness, and you accept other aspects of your life.”

Munn doesn’t hide from his condition, and hopes that sharing his story will comfort others who find themselves in similar positions.

“One of the main things I want to say is when you have a mental illness, you have to acknowledge that that’s there, and that you have it,” he said. “I have a bipolar disorder, I am not bipolar. It is something that I have, it is not something that I am. A lot of people say, ‘I am bipolar.’ Well, what does that mean? You don’t say, ‘I am congestive heart failure. I am sinusitis.’ It’s not who you are, it’s what you have.”

Just as there are ways to characterize people living with mental illness, there are productive ways to discuss the illnesses themselves, Munn said.

“(People) talked about the dark recesses of the mind. That’s not the way to talk about it,” he said. “The term ‘dark recess’ has such a negative connotation, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, that’s not it. They’re not dark recesses. It’s neuropathology. It’s limbic system disregulation. And it’s the cognitions, the thinking that goes along with it.

“That’s a tough thing for people to get, but I think it’s crucial for people to get that as they’re recovering from a mental illness, that our brains and our minds are the same thing. So when I have negative cognitions, when I’m thinking that people would be better off without me, that’s the psychological part.

“And that’s a key point for people, is that what you’re thinking psychologically and what your brain is doing physically, we don’t know how it’s the same function, but it is the same function. The subjective psychology that you’re feeling as a person with a mental illness, is the psychological aspect of the biological process, and yes, it is a real illness. The idea that a psychological illness is somehow not real is just absurd. That’s crazy.”

Many mental illnesses can be directly traced to chemical imbalances or other physical abnormalities in the brain. But having a mental illness can’t by itself be an excuse for any actions, good bad or otherwise.

“You don’t want to use it as an excuse to justify behaviors. You have to take accountability. Personal accountability is necessary for recovery, it just is,” he said. “It takes humility, it takes a lot of work, it takes compliance.

“I made huge mistakes. My choices were horrible. Despicable, really, is the term to use. I hurt a lot of people. I hurt patients that I had, the person herself and her family, and of course my family. I feel sorry and apologetic about that every day. Especially for my children, I feel horrible and always will.

“One of the points I would like to make is, yes, I have this bipolar disorder. To deny I do would be to deny I have a mental illness. But I also completely accept responsibility and accountability for my actions. And that’s a very important point: recovery requires personal accountability. Yes, I have a major mental illness, and yes, I am responsible for my actions. Those aren’t mutually exclusive.”

Treating a mental illness isn’t a guarantee of happiness. Life still presents challenges, and treatment gives those suffering from mental illness a better chance at facing those challenges head-on and coming out ahead.

“Life has struggles, with or without a mental illness,” Munn said. “Having your mental illness treated doesn’t mean your life is wonderful. You’re still going to have the struggles that everyone has. But you’ll also have wonderful things. I’m a grandfather. And that’s wonderful. If I had killed myself, I wouldn’t have known this joy of having a granddaughter.

“You have to accept mental health care of various types, and you need to know that it’s worth it, that treatments are available, the science is there, people do recover, illnesses do go into remission. Of all chronic illnesses to have, having a mental illness is not bad. Treatments are available, and you can live a long, good life having your mental illness treated.”

Larson of the Lawyer Assistance Program acknowledged that people need to want to treat their illnesses.

“There are a lot of people out there that still need the help that haven’t come forward or recognized they need the help,” Larson said. “Not only are they in denial that they have a problem, they’re in denial that everyone knows they have a problem.”

And even if the disease goes into remission or becomes manageable, a person must be diligent, even when things are going well.

“It’s not something you mess around with. And that’s OK,” Munn said. “Mental illnesses are chronic illnesses. People have the idea that, ‘Oh no, I’m going to be on medications for life.’ Well yeah, you are. And that’s all right, you have a chronic illness. There are a lot of chronic illnesses, not just psychiatric ones. And people who have those, like type 1 diabetes, will be on insulin. It’s accepted. So it’s a chronic illness, you accept that.”

And the more acceptance there is, across a broader swath of Montana at large, the easier it will be for people to summon the strength to get the help they need, to confront the illness, and to assume the places so many of them deserve as productive members of society.

To view the complete series on mental health care services in Montana, click here.

John Harrington: 447-4080 or john.harrington@helenair.com.

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10/09/2000 – Congressman attributes son’s suicide to Accutane

msnbc.com

Lawmaker tells of acne drug’s risk

Rep. Bart Stupak.

NBC’s Dr. Bob Arnot discusses the possible health risks of Accutane and
alternative treatments for severe cases of acne.

Congressman attributes
son’s suicide to Accutane

MSNBC STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich., Oct. 5. A Michigan congressman whose
17-year-old son committed suicide earlier this year went public Thursday with
criticism of the Food and Drug Administration, charging on NBC’s Today
show that the agency had failed to warn consumers that the popular acne
medicine Accutane may cause depression.

If it can happen to our family it certainly can happen to you, and we
don’t want anyone to have to go through that. REP. BART STUPAK

BART STUPAK JR., known as B.J., shot himself in the head with his
father’s gun in the early hours of May 14. Stupak, a popular football player,
killed himself after a prom-night party.

His father, Rep. Bart Stupak, a four-term Democrat from Menominee,
said Thursday that he blames Accutane, a powerful acne drug B.J. had taken
for six months prior to his death. We knew our son, we loved our son, he
said.

The congressman and his wife, Laurie, said they had considered every
possible explanation for B.J.’s suicide and the only thing we can find is
Accutane.

FDA ADVISORY

In 1998, the Food and Drug Administration advised doctors who
prescribe Accutane to watch their patients for signs of depression.
Afterward, the company notified doctors that the drug may cause depression,
psychosis, and, rarely, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and suicide.

But Stupak said the FDA had done a poor job spreading the word. B.J.’s
medication package included no warning and the doctor didn’t tell the parents
about the link to depression, his father said.

If it can happen to our family it certainly can happen to you, and we
don’t want anyone to have to go through that, Stupak said.

Hoffmann-La Roche, which manufactures Accutane, contends no
link has been proven between the drug and depression or suicide. In 1998, the
company argued that more than 4 million Americans have taken Accutane since
it was approved in 1982, and the possible side effect is very rare. It said
teen-agers, prime acne sufferers, often suffer depression, and hormones
involved with acne also may contribute to depression.

B.J.’s death stunned family and friends. In the Today interview,
his parents said he was a happy young man with a bright future.

COMPLETELY OUT OF CHARACTER

This is contrary to everything he lived for, everything he thought,
everything he wanted in life … completely out of character for him, Stupak
said. He would not do something like this.

B.J. left no note and the autopsy showed no drugs in his system,
although he apparently had taken a couple of drinks.
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The only suggestion of odd behavior came the night before his death.
During a party following his junior prom, B.J. began reading the Bible and
said he wasn’t going to college because of his grades, and that his parents
probably hated him for that, according to an account on the Today program.
The Stupaks said there was no reason for him to think such a thing.

An FDA science advisory panel last month suggested requiring
Hoffman-LaRoche to give patients information about potential risks, agency
drug chief Janet Woodcock said.

INSUFFICIENT DATA

But Woodcock said there still was insufficient data to establish a
definite connection between Accutane and depression or suicide.

It’s really hard to nail this down, she said in a telephone
interview Wednesday. The bottom line is there is evidence against there
being a link and evidence for being a link.

During the advisory panel meeting, FDA staffers presented evidence
that some people had become depressed when taking the drug and had gotten
over their depression after stopping use of the drug, Woodcock said.

But experts for Hoffman-LaRoche countered with evidence suggesting no
link, she said. The committee recommended further study.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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