Friday, July 08, 2005

Tom Cruise Sets The Tone

Tom Cruise isn’t the first person to catch on to the fraud of psychiatry. Groups like The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) have been trumpeting it for years – even decades. But Tom Cruise has a greater audience than the rest of us. A few courageous remarks by him on national media and suddenly everyone is starting to take a second look at psychiatry and psychology, especially psychiatric drugs. It’s about time.

The worm has turned. It seems like only a short time ago those of us who knew what Prozac and other similar psychiatric drugs could do were just lonely voices in the wilderness – listening to the echo of our own words, unheard by the bustling busy world of people coming and going from work and school, making their way through the maze of life.

The workplace killings didn’t do it – even though psychiatric drugs are a proven part of most of these crazy events where a disgruntled worker shows up with a gun and kills his boss, his co-workers, then himself. The United States Post Office was one of the earliest large employers to offer psychiatric coverage on their health plan. Not long after, so many postal workers had gone psychotic that the term “going postal” became a synonym for the condition.

Then the school killings started. The kids who do it are usually under the influence of psychiatry, taking “anger management” therapy and/or downing Prozac or other similar (SSRI class) drugs. But nobody looks at that. In many cases the fact that the killer was on psychiatric drugs was an afterthought from the viewpoint of the news. Hours of interviews with grief-stricken friends and relatives focuses on supposed causes like how “the other kids teased him” – always missing the one common denominator. Many times I’ve followed a major case for days – like the recent one in Red Lakes, Minnesota where 17-year-old Jeff Wiese killed 10 people – before it finally came out, usually from some casual remark by a friend or relative, that psych drugs were involved.

And to make things worse, the psychiatrists have invented a disease called ADHD. Unlike pneumonia or AIDS or measles, ADHD has no scientific basis. There is no blood test, no microscopic microbe, no saliva test… nothing. Only opinion, by someone who makes his living drugging children, that the child shows one or more of the incredibly common “symptoms” of ADHD, such as being unable to sit still in one’s seat, looking out the window instead of paying attention to teacher, or running around madly on the playground. The cure for this “disease”? It’s another drug, of course. A cocaine-class stimulant called Ritalin, that may make junior sit still in his seat, but his education goes right out the window as he stares through the fog of a drug experience intense enough to satisfy any 1960s hippie druggie.

But times they are a changin’, in the words of Bob Dylan.

First the psychiatrists grabbed onto LSD soon after its discovery in 1938. During the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s, LSD was a “therapy” drug, used by psychiatrists not only with individual patients, including some famous ones like Cary Grant and Time Magazine owners Henry Luce and Clare Booth Luce, but also as a part of wicked CIA and military-backed mind-control experiments, in conjunction with electric shock and other Neanderthal tortures. Then psychiatrist Timothy Leary went public with the drug and suggested everyone should try it. The disastrous effect when “everyone” did immediately identified the drug for what it was – a way to cause insanity, not a way to cure it. It was quickly relegated to the status of an illegal street drug, and everyone forgot it was introduced to the world by psychiatry. Other psychiatric drugs followed suit, going from therapy status to street-drug ignominy, including PCP and Ecstasy. Other psych favorites like downers and uppers bounce back and forth between legitimacy and infamy.

So the makers of psychiatric drugs forged ahead, wiser for their failures. The introduction of Prozac, about 20 years ago, was incredibly well planned. Dozens of tests were performed with the drug, but only the successful ones were presented to support its acceptance by the FDA. Years later we find out about multiple suicides even in early test groups. Britain and Germany at first rejected the drug as unsafe, but when the FDA in the United States pushed it through, it became a juggernaut. Nobody noticed that the board that approved it for the FDA was populated with psychiatrists, drug company employees, ex-drug company employees, and others who were beholden to the drug industry for their livelihood.

Years later, the protest built to a crescendo. The FDA was forced to act. They voted to place the “black box warning” about children and suicide on Prozac/SSRI class drugs (including Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox and others) in spite of the nay votes of the psychiatrists on the panel. Then a few weeks ago, on the same day Brooke Shields appeared on the front page of the old Henry Luce/Clare Booth Luce rag Time Magazine, recommending psychiatric drugs, the FDA went further and issued a new warning that extended to adults as well.

Recognizing where the weakness in the system was, Congress has passed a law that prevents anyone who is on the payroll of the drug companies from serving on the FDA drug approval committee. That should help. Another law that recently went into effect prevents schools from requiring parents to place their children on psychiatric drugs and gives parents some rights in the matter. Until recently, there have been repeated horror stories about parents whose children were taken away from them on the pretense of child abuse for refusing to give their children the drugs they “need”.

Now we need to take it a step further and get the psychs out of the schools. Then we need to dry up the government funding for psychiatry. Without it psychiatry would have no means of support – most people don’t consider psychiatry valuable enough to pay for it on their own.

But what about the drugs? Like LSD and the others that are now “street drugs”, Ritalin is already developing an underground trade. And why not? It’s readily available, unlike its relative Cocaine. It’s not too hard to get a prescription to the stuff, and the pills sell on the playground.

We have a job to do. It’s not even clear what steps we’re going to have to take to handle the problem. But at least America is becoming aware of it. Thank you, Tom Cruise. You may be an actor, but you’re also a man with the courage to speak his own mind. As one news article said, this characteristic is “very refreshing” in a business that’s intensely public relations conscious and controlled by press agents. Good luck to you… and to us all.

In the 1960s, when LSD broke out everywhere, the bard of the day was Bob Dylan. What does he say today about psychiatry? In a Rolling Stone interview he said, “I never read Freud. I've never been attracted to anything he has said, and I think he's started a lot of nonsense with psychiatry and that business. I don't think psychiatry can help or has helped anybody. I think it's a big fraud (pun not intended) on the public. Billions of dollars have changed hands that could be used for far better purposes.” Maybe he's been talking to Tom Cruise? Or maybe Tom isn’t the only person who sees that the emperor has no clothes.