Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.

Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.
e-mail: batushkad@yahoo.com

Friday, December 21, 2007


I recently received an anonymous comment that stated that persons 'need stimulants' to live a 'normal life'. First- what does this 'normal' possibly mean? To conform means we need a highly addictive narcotic? A few shots of whiskey at the end of the day may make me feel a bit more mellow, do I need this for a 'normal' life? The comment goes on to say that if we do not give stimulants to a person with this 'admitted;y vague disease' (at least they recognize that), that the person will become a future drug addict and all other assorted grim things. Has this person read the recent study from University of Buffalo that shows in the long term NO difference between drugged or non drugged kids other than the fact that the drugged kids had growth suppression and other adverse events or Lambert's study stating that stimulants themselves actually lead to a rise in addictive behavior, not to mention the addictive nature of stimulants in themselves? Then this person continues on that I need to have 'compassion'. This has been the entire theme of my work, to offer a more compassionate mental health system. Lastly, this person suggests that I hang out with unmedicated "ADD' people as if this is some dreadful thing. Well, I do. Everyday. Is there a problem with this? Whose problem is it?

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

Monday, December 17, 2007


I had the experience of encountering a young man who had been given the diagnosis of 'schizophrenia'. He had been through years of therapy and had been through multiple psychiatric hospitalizations. Mental health professionals spoke of him only in clinical terms and I found this disturbing. His chart was reams and reams of paper painting the picture of an immensely helpless and hopeless character. The scholl system sought to exile him as well. I tossed aside all the clinical records, they only reported on his behavior, not his experience. It is the experience that is the 'soul' of the person. Psychiatrists never really spoke to the young man, they deffred to his parents, or spoke at him, judging his behavior and assign their labels. I embarked on becoming his therapist and in this did not want to judge his behavior, I wanted to know the person. So our sessions involved a process of my merely listening, of connecting. I did not seek to judge him, label him, or dismiss his experience. I only sought to join him where he was at. He began to relate to me his pain, his feelings of isolation and aloneness. He shared with me about the voices he heard and the beings he saw. I would converse with him about these beings, treating them as real as he was before me. Over time, I saw that these things were fragments of himself, they were dreams he had, hopes he envisioned, people he wanted to meet who never arrived. He had immense fear, and I journeyed with him in understanding the roots of this fear. I stood by him as he sought out new ways of living and coping. I understood the circumstances which led to his 'madness' and set forth some new possibilities, but at his pace, at his comfort level.
He has overcome a lot, and we continue to have periods of conversation though we do not see each other as frequently. We forged a bond as two persons with very different experiences, but each seeking to understand the human condition, each seeking to know about this thing we call life.

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


When we look at those who are labeled delusional, we must realize and understand that society itself is delusional. The difference is that in one situation the majority has accepted the delusion whereas with the one labeled so, it is the delusion of one.
It is often when one faces the sense of feeling alone or being alone in this world, of seeking to define a sense of self before realizing their existence itself, that angst arises. Mental distress arises from not finding any point or purpose to existence and then feeling that in this, the person stands alone. The person then must seek to define or be defined. Being defined means to be labeled.
What ultimately is the human condition? Has psychiatry and psychology truly answered the questions about it? Has it really offered solutions? People remain troubled and in spite of research and studies and psychiatric inquiry, little has changed, in fact, it has become worse. Because we have not really looked at the human condition, we have not faced the things that would lead persons to a better existence, instead we have developed systems based on self-interest, seeking not to understand the human condition and do something about, but to create a sense of 'groupthink', to solely make persons more amenable to the oppressive environments they encounter. We see it in schools, where children are stifled and drugged if they dare not comply with the demands of a system that has become less and less about learning and more about how to think. We see it in the divisions between class. It is all around us.

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.
International Center for Humane Psychiatry

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Sitting in a meeting for a child, the first topic of the special education director was 'well, we need to get this child back on medication". After an explanation of the flaws of the MTA study and the recent study of University of Buffalo showing no difference in the long term between drugged kids and those not subjected to drugs as well as growth suppression and adverse events amongst the drugged, this did not sway any opinion. Rather, this person stated he had 'connections' to the psychiatrist and would see to it that this was accomplished. Of course, when the topic of the child's behavior being communication and my awareness of what his current distress is about, this conversation was basically ended. Instead, it became a conversation on how to force the child into compliance to a situation that he finds uncomofrtable and distressing. But in this, the special education director found that if he could shirk repsonsibility and out it upon another to create a behavioral assessment that this would also be positive. Once again, blame the brain, blame the child, but exonerate yourself from examining the situations which have led the child to distress. And if that does not work, warehouse the child somewhere where he will not be a bother to anyone. This is the sad state of affairs under which we operate. As Laing had noted once that children in the UK had a higher chance of entering a mental institution than college and that it could be the way we educate children that is driving them mad.

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


1. Premium Non Notre...or...Do no Harm.

* Drugs create altered states of mind by artificially increasing or decreasing neuro-functioning, and this causes harm to neuroconnections (e.g. downregulation, upregulation, tardive dyskinesia, EPS, Allostatic load, etc…) See reference list.

2. Use least intrusive method possible when treating.

* It is less intrusive to conduct psychotherapy than to administer a psychotropic mood and thought altering drug that always carries negative side effects. Drugs “work” by causing brain pathology and disrupting the normal neurotransmitter functioning and levels. See reference list.

3. Psychotherapy is MORE EFFECITVE than Drugs, especially in the long run.

* Psychotherapy is more effective than medication, especially in the long run, and psychotherapy plus medications show no greater benefit than therapy alone.(There are numerous studies showing this effect, most notably: Effectiveness of Psychotherapy: Michigan State Study. Seligman, M., **Consumer Reports, 1995.)

* Even exercise shows greater benefits for symptom reduction than anti-depressant medications. (Mercola, J., British Journal of Sports Medicine, April 2001: 35: p.114-117.)

* Psychotherapy can work better than drugs even for insomnia. (U.S. News and World Health Report, December 3, 2004. Visit www.behavioralhealth.typepad.com)

* Recovery rates are almost 3 times better in unindustrialized countries than in the U.S., where we use psychotropic drugs to “treat” patients. It is quite simple as to why we suffer more by attempting to suppress our suffering with technology. Freud stated “civilization is the root of our neurosis.”

Harrison, G., Hopper, K., Craig, T., Laska, E., et al. (2001). Recovery from psychotic illness: a 15- and 25- year international follow-up study. British Journal of Psychiatry, 178, 506-17.

Hopper K. & Wanderling J. (2000). Revisiting the developed versus developing country distinction in course and outcome in schizophrenia: results from ISoS, the WHO collaborative follow-up project. International Study of Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 26(4), 835-46.

Hopper, K., Harrison, G., Aleksander, J., & Sartiorius, N. (2004, In Press). Recovery from schizophrenia: An international perspective. Madison, Connecticutt: International Universities Press, Inc.

Indian Journal of Medical Research, August 2004; WHO studies published in 1992 and 1996; US SAMHSA; Washington Post.

Jablensky, A., Sartorius, N., Ernberg, G., Anker, M., Korten, A., Cooper, J. E., Day, R., Bertelsen, A. (1992). Schizophrenia: Manifestations, incidence and course in different cultures, a World Health Organization ten country study. Psychological Medicine Monograph Supplement 20, 1-95.

Leff, J., Sartorius, N., Jablensky, A., Korten, A., & Ernberg, G. (1992). The international pilot study of schizophrenia: five-year follow-up findings. Psychological Medicine, 22, 131-145.

Murphy, H. B. & Raman, A.C. (1971). The chronicity of schizophrenia in indigenous tropical peoples: Results of a 12 year follow-up survey in Mauritius. British Journal of Psychiatry, 118, 489-97.

* Psychological interventions are at least as effective as pharmacological treatments for depression (Antonuccio et al., 1995; DeRubeis et al. 1999.)

* Even for people diagnosed Schizophrenic (no or minimal drug usage references):

Alanen, Y.O.; Ugelstad, E.; Armelius, B.A.; Lehtinen, K.; Rosenbaum, B.; and Sjostrom, R., Eds. (1994) Early treatment for schizophrenic patients: Scandinavian psychotherapeutic approaches. Oslo, Norway: Scandinavian University Press.

Alanen, Y.O.; Lehtinen, V.; Lehtinen, K.; Aaltonen, J.; and Rakkolainen, V. (2000) The Finnish model for early treatment of schizophrenia and related psychoses. In: Martindale, B., Bateman, A., Crowe, M., and Margison, F., Eds. Psychosis:

Psychological approaches and their effectiveness. London: Gaskell. (The centerpiece of their approach is rapid in-home family and social network intervention to avoid hospitalization and medicalization.) Ciompi, L., Duwalder, H.-P., Maier, C., Aebi, E., Trutsch, K., Kupper, Z., & Rutishauser, C. (1992). The pilot project "Soteria Berne": Clinical experiences and results. British Journal of Psychiatry, 161(suppl. 18), 145-153. (A replication of Mosher and co-workers Soteria Project in California. Similar results-about 2/3rds of newly diagnosed psychotics recovered without neuroleptic drug treatment)

Lehtinen, V. et. al. (2000). Two-Year Follow-up of First Episode Psychosis Treated According to an Integrated Model: Is immediate neuroleptisation always needed? European Psychiatry, 15(5): 312-320. (44% of the randomly assigned subjects received no neuroleptic drug treatment-vs. 6% of the controls- over the two-year period and their outcomes were comparable or better than those treated with drugs.)

Matthews SM, Roper MT, Mosher LR, and Menn AZ. (1979) A non-neuroleptic treatment for schizophrenia: Analysis of the two-year post-discharge risk of relapse. Schiz. Bull. 5: 322-333. (Soteria treated patients-as compared with hospital treated-had a significantly lower rehospitalizaton rate over two years despite few being neuroleptic maintained. First cohort analysis)

Mosher, L.R. & Bola, J.R. (2000) The Soteria Project: Twenty-five Years of Swimming Upriver. Complexity and Change, 9: 68-74. (Soteria patients-43%- who received no neuroleptics over the two year follow-up period did substantially better than those who did. As a group the Soteria treated patients had better outcomes than a control group that received "usual" hospital and drug treatment. The subgroup of "poor prognosis" subjects treated at Soteria had better outcomes than the Soteria group as a whole. First combined cohort analysis)

Mosher LR & Menn A Z (1978) Community residential treatment fornschizophrenia: Two-year follow-up. Hosp Comm Psych 29: 715-723. (Better psychosocialoutcomes for Soteria treated 1st and 2nd episode patients compared with control subject receiving "usual" treatment. First cohort.)

Mosher LR, Vallone R, and Menn AZ .(1995) The treatment of acute psychosis without neuroleptics: Six-week psychopathology outcome data from the Soteria project. Int. J. Soc. Psych. 41: 157-173. (2nd cohort: as was true of the 1st cohort, at six weeks the Soteria group had improved as much without meds as the hospital group-all of whom received neuroleptics.)

Tuori, T. et al (1998) The Finnish National Schizophrenia Project 1981-1987: 10 year evaluate on of its results. Acta. Psychiatrica Scandinavica 97: 10-18. (In the presence of comprehensive "need adapted"psychosocial treatment, drugs are unneccesary for the most part and may, in fact, prevent recovery.)

4. No Evidence for Biological Basis, so Why Use Biological Intervention?

* "There is no definitive lesion, laboratory test, or abnormality in brain tissue that can identify mental illness." in Surgeon General's report on mental health December, 1999.

* “psychiatry is the only medical specialty that…treats disorders without clearly known causes…including disabling diseases such as schizophrenia.” In American Psychiatric Association. (1998). Textbook of Psychopharmacology.Washinton, DC: American Psychiatric Press, AND American Psychiatric Association. (1999). Textbook of psychiatry. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press. (Texts used by Psychiatry Students)

*"Brain Disease Hypothesis for Schizophrenia Disconfirmed by All Evidence" by Al Siebert, PhD., Ethical Human Sciences and Services, Vol 1, No. 2 1999

* “there are no data to indicate that ADHD is due to a brain malfunction...After years of clinical research and experience with ADHD, our knowledge about the cause or causes of ADHD remain largely speculative." Nov. 1998 National Institute Health (NIH) Consensus Conference on ADHD concluded (see quote above).

* Leo, J. & Cohen, D., Broken Brains or Flawed Studies: A Critical Review of Neuroimaging Research, In The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 2003, Volume 24, Number 1, pp 29-56

* Joseph, J. (1998). The equal environment assumption of the classical twin method: A critical analysis. Journal of Mind and Behavior, 19, 325-358.

* Joseph, J. (1999). A critique of the Finnish Adoptive Family Study of Schizophrenia. Journal of Mind and Behavior, 20, 133-154.

5. Psychotropic Drugs Create, not correct, Chemical Imbalances & Disorders.

* Psychotropic drugs create potential permanent Downregulation and Upregulation: increasing the susceptibility to having the very symptoms or problem they are attempting to reduce. Dr. Peter Breggin, MD, Harvard Graduate, Psychiatrist and Researcher, Breggin, P. & D. Cohen. (2000). Your Drug May Be Your Problem: How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Medication. New York: Perseus Books. Also see Grace Jackson, M.D.(2005) Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs: A guide to Informed Consent.

* Untreated Initial Psychosis: Relation to Cognitive Deficits and Brain Morphology in First-Episode Schizophrenia, by Ho, Alicata, Ward, Moser, O'lLeary, Arndt, and Andreasen, American Journal of Psychiatry 2003; 160:142-148. This studies' "results suggest that large-scale initiatives designed to prevent neural injury through early intervention in the prepsychotic or early psychosis phase may be based on incorrect assumptions that neurotoxicity or cognitive deterioration may be avoided.

6. Many Psychotropic Drugs Increase Risk of Suicide-Aggression.

* Taking almost all of the SSRI antidepressants increase the patient’s risk of having and acting upon suicidal thoughts, agitation and akathisia. Dr. David Healy, MD, medico-legal expert witness/researcher, former Director of North Wales Dept. of Psychological Medicine and Secretary of British Association of Psychopharmacology, author of over 120 peer reviewed articles and 12 books.

7. We Don’t Really Know If The Drugs Are Safe or Risks All Known.

* “Our current drug approval system has demonstrated that we don’t always understand the full magnitude of drug risks prior to approval of products.”

Dr. Steve Galson, director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research,reported in the N.Y. Times, Nov. 6, 2004, in FDA’s Drug Safety System Will Get Outside Review.

* Since 1997, almost two dozen prescription drugs have been taken off the market due to serious side effects–some causing numerous deaths. (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/prescription/hazard/)

* Whitaker, R., The case against antipsychotic drugs: a 50-year record of doing more harm than good, Medical Hypotheses, Volume 62, Issue 1 , 2004, Pages 5-13.

8. Drugging your problem is MORE Expensive.

* Psychotherapy is Less Costly Than Drugs, basically because suppressing the problem does not help you work through, solve, HEAL, AND because therapy produces natural brain changes (Antonuccio et al. 1997; Cuijpers, 1997; Smith et al, 1997.) Especially since psychological treatments can be successfully delivered in a group format or even as bibliotherapy with minimal therapist contact.

* Pharmacotherapy alone increases vulnerability to depression relapse (Hollon et al, 1991; Segal et al, 1999) and there is virtually no evidence of antidepressant efficacy in children (Ambrosini et al, 1993; Hazell et al., 1995.)

9. Drugs simply do not work.

* Greenberg et al in 1992 outlined how effects of medication were significantly smaller than normally reported.

* Approximately 75%-90% of sugar pills were EQUALLY EFFECTIVE as SSRI-Antidepressant drugs, and that when the sugar pill-placebo gave a side effect,there was NO CLINICAL DIFFERNCE BETWEEN THE DRUG AND THESUGAR PILL. (J. Moncrieff & I. Kirsch, July 16, 2005, British Medical Journal, doi:10.1136/bmj.331.7509.155 2005;331;155-157 BMJ.

* Kirsch, I,. & J. Thomas, at el, The Emperor's New Drugs: An Analysis of Antidepressant Medication Data Submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,, In Prevention & Treatment, Volume 5, Article 23, posted July 15, 2002.

10. Saying Yes to a Psychotropic Drug is almost Never an Informed Choice.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Calls to end stigma of schizophrenia ‘label’
By Adam Forrest

Word is a disease in itself, patients and experts say

IT IS a label that feels like a life sentence, dooming sufferers to a life of verbal abuse and second-class-citizen status.

Ron Coleman, diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1982 and treated with electro-shock therapy and drugs, has cited his own nightmare experience in the psychiatric system to call for the term to be dropped altogether.

The 49-year-old from Fife said: "I lived the schizophrenia label instead of living as a person. People treat you as if you're a piece of crap, talk to you like a non-person. I got people battering on the door, shouting psycho' and throwing things at the window. I spent 10 years in a drug-induced, zombied haze.."

"I still hear voices, but I've found a way of living with them. It was only when I turned away from psychiatric medication that my life totally turned around. Since then I've got married, had kids, got a house and love going to work every day."

A growing number of mental health experts in Scotland agree that cases like Coleman's demonstrate the need to scrap the term schizophrenia, since it has, they believe, become a stigmatised and scientifically redundant category.

"It's a loaded, dated label and it can be difficult to see beyond," said Eddie McCann, senior lecturer in mental health at Napier University. "It gives the impression that it is a perpetual state, but people do get better and lead fulfilling lives.

"The label is connected to approaches dating back almost 100 years ago. We have to think about new categories based on different types of distress. Drugs have a place, but there are huge possibilities for therapeutic work."

Traditionally, advocates of the schizophrenia diagnosis argue that the illness is a deteriorating condition arising from increased activity in the brain of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Yet the success of behavioural therapies and counselling at the Scottish Hearing Voices Network in Dundee suggests that it may be traumatic experiences and other social factors that lead to the development of psychoses.

"The idea that you've got a brain disease from which you'll never recover is just not true," said Paul Hammersley, a cognitive-behavioural therapist leading the Campaign for Abolition of the Schizophrenia Label (CASL). "The claim that there is a medical condition called schizophrenia doesn't stand up to scrutiny. It's an appallingly stigmatising diagnosis. It can ruin lives."

Coleman added: "It's clear to me that hearing voices was created by my experience of abuse, not biology, not this thing we call schizophrenia, which itself disables people."

In Japan, the term schizophrenia has been replaced with the term "integration disorder", although some believe stigma would soon become attached to any new label. Instead, there is growing support for splitting the symptoms into new sub-categories including sensitivity, anxiety, trauma-related and drug-induced psychosis, since these may point toward more nuanced methods of recovery.

Andrew Moskowitz, senior lecturer at Aberdeen University's department of mental health, said: "When it was first proposed almost 100 years ago, it was called the group of schizophrenias. There's a long-standing belief in sub-groups. The challenge is in re-classifying an individual's symptoms so you can actually help them."

Yet Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity Sane, believes the word is still necessary to raise awareness and attract funding. "While we recognise that the term can act as a stigmatising label," she said, "without identifying this condition as a serious illness, how can there be any hope of researching it and providing better treatments?"

But Paul Hammersley is adamant that such reluctance is unhelpful. "If schizophrenia is a flawed concept, then we have to question what we're raising awareness and money for," he said.

Dr Andrew Gumley, senior lecturer in clinical psychology at Glasgow University and a consultant at Gartnavel Hospital, said the term schizophrenia told doctors and carers very little about the best modes of recovery. "Scotland has been really strong about new approaches, and there's a growing recognition that there needs to be an individualised understanding of recovery," he said.

Friday, October 26, 2007


At a hearing that began Thursday morning, Dr. Joseph Glenmullen of
Boston testified that since those trials, FDA studies of the side
effects of antidepressants, including Zoloft, culminated in a 2005
warning that children and teens taking the drugs can experience
aggressiveness and hostility.

The so-called "black box" warning, because it appears in a black box at
the top of use instructions, is "the highest level of warning the FDA
issues," Glenmullen said. "It's just short of removing the drug from the

Defense attorney Roy Black also led Glenmullen through a transcript of
the 1999 trial in which expert witnesses for the prosecution called
Zoloft a safe and effective treatment for depression.

That might have been the general knowledge about the drug at the time,
Glenmullen testified, but Zoloft "is neither effective nor is it
entirely safe for use among children and adolescents based on the FDA
warnings we have now."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Fear leads to great emotional turmoil. Other so-called mental disorders also often arise from a sense of fear. A fear of individuals, a fear of society, a fear of having been hurt and maybe being hurt again, a fear of life, a fear of death, a fear of not understanding who we are or maybe even being afraid of discovering who we are or what we were, a fear of the uncertainty surrounding what we may become. A fear of persons, a fear that maybe we are not a person, or our identity as a person. A fear of challenges, a fear of not knowing the answers, or maybe a fear of not understanding the question, or even a fear of not knowing what questions to ask. A fear of not being loved, or maybe a fear of not knowing what love really is, or what it could be, or what we have been told that it is. A fear of being controlled, a fear of our freedom being taken away. A fear of what others may do to us, or have done to us, or will continue to do to us.
This is the human condition, we all have levels of fear, some more, some less. We all have the desire for security, for safety, for solace. If we begin to understand this, we will then begin to understand life, we will be able to connect with others, and realize that the only way out of this fear is for us to journey together. Life is a journey, it is filled with moments where we stray into thorns, yet it is filled with moments of delight. To truly describe day, we must see night. To truly describe that which is beautiful we must have something to compare it to. Thus, we have the conditions of suffering. We would not know joy fully, unless we had something to compare it to.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I recall working with a young man who had undergone sexual trauma at the age of 4. He lived in a chaotic family with an aggressive, addicted father. There was little positives spoken to this young man. He had an extensive history of psychiatric hospitalizations. What I began to note was that within the hospital setting he was able to 'conform' and was discharged in only a few weeks, but problems would erupt again once sent home leading to further hospitalizations. In one instance, this young man stayed in the home of those outside his family. Though there remained some challenges, he apeared calmer and more able to communicate.
I recall a similar instance with another child. The step-father was abusive both verbally and physically. The mother often because of her own fear would 'cover' for the step-father's actions. The child in one on one settings never created any disturbance. However, his behaviors in the home were often 'disturbing'. I was pleased that during my work with him he was not hospitalized at any point nor on psychiatric drugs. However, I was aware that he had a prior history of this many times over. In both of these situations, I saw the fmaily dynamics as oppressive and detrimental and tried my best to help the children navigate through the challenges with the system doing little to collaborate in meeting these children's needs.
In light of these two situations, and hearing of others from colleagues, I determined that it was the home, the family dynamics that was the catalyst for making these children 'mad'. When apart from these dynamics, they were able to conform to the rules of the institutions because they were forced to do so. But really what were the psychiatrists accomplishing for them? They merely subdued them with drugs, forced their compliance, and returned them to the same oppressive environment which led to their being hospitalized in the first place. It became evident that the psychiatric establishment could really care less, for each admission added to their coffers. The family was pleased to create a scapegoat rather than addressing the core problem and to ahve a place to send the 'disturbed child' to so that they could continue in their own self-interest.


The medical model was derived to address physical ailments of the body. In order to attempt to gain credility, psychiatrists adopted this same model to utilize with events related to the human soul, of how people live, cope, adapt, and find meaning. It is interesting how the term 'psyche' means 'soul' yet is not present within the current psyxhiatric establishment. The medical model thus reduces human experience to categorization and mere chemical processes, there is nothing explored or examined beyond this.
I believe it is important to differentiate the roles of psychiatrist, psychologist, and psychotherapist.

First, all require a certain level of educational training. However, ot should be noted that the psychiatrist and the psychologist do not necesaily know how to conduct psychotherapy or are even remotely interested in doing so. The psychiatrist iperates solely under the medical model, prescribes drugs or in some instances makes use of electroconvulsive 'therapy' to address a categorization of behaviors that the psychiatrist subjectively views as maladaptive. Psychiatry has no cures and does not purport otherwise. Psychology is basd on research of animal and human behaviors, and is intertwined as well into the medical model for its categorizations. It is more focused on subjective tests to assess human actions. Psychotherapy literally means 'healing of the soul', and in the right sense is a partnership between two individuals where the psychotherapist employing empathy and relaitonship seeks to help the other to develop meaning in life, understand their experiences, and develop a life map that will lead them to a greater sense of fulfillment.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


One of my clients had posed to me some interesting thoughts. He expressed to me that he felt that in the past mental health professionals saw him 'as a dollar sign'. He told me he did not feel I viewed him in this way, however suggested that if I did not have a professional relationship I would probably not associate with him or others who are disadvantaged. It is unlikely I would encounter him outside of a professional relationship but I cannot say I am one who is an elitist.
This caused me to think about the issues of power and class and how they impact the therapeutic relationship. Within the current psychiatric establishment, the psychiatrist is almighty and holds all the power as well as the supposed knowledge to 'fix life' for the person. The problem is that much of what has led to individuals being oppressed, distressed, and disadvantaged was created by those in power. So, it is evident that those in power prey on the vulnerable, and only become more powerful.
It is necessary to eliminate hierarchies and the sense of power and control vested only in the psychiatrist or therapist. There must exist mutual understandings and sharing on an equal level.

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

Monday, September 24, 2007


I am currently working on the development of a project to help individuals (adolescents and adults) undergoing extreme states of mind to be able to feel safe and supported and to limit the dependency on toxic psychiatric drugs. For more information see my website at www.DrDanEdmunds.com
I continue my work with drug free approaches for children who have been given the diagnosis of "ADHD".

Thursday, September 20, 2007


According to Fox News, psychiatrists are the least religious of all physicians. It is interesting to note that psychotherapy literally means, 'healing of the soul', yet the current psychiatric establishment lacks a soul. It does not concern itself with udnerstanding spiritual issues or the human condition, but rather is focused on subjective diagnosis and suppression of behavior through drugs.
If Jesus Christ were to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, what diagnosis would be formulated? It is likely that Christ would fall into many of the criteria that psychiatrists have laid out for so called mental disorder.
The proclamation of Himself as the Son of God- delusional thinking? narcissism?
time spent in the desert tempted by the devil- visual and auditory hallucinations?
The Agony in the Garden of Gethesemane- anxiety issues?
after the Crucifixion- Post Traumatic Stress?
overturning the money changers tables- intermittent explosive disorder?
challenging the Pharisees- some oppositionality, possibly anti-social traits?

Monday, August 13, 2007


I had the pleasure to meet with Jack Walters and Fred Strugartz at the IAM Counseling Retreat Center in New Albany, PA. Jack Walters made a striking comment to me about how people today desire to be 'numb'. I began to reflect on this further. In the past, individuals were more willing to delve into the core issues that impacted their emotional well being. Today, we frequently have a generation of apathy. There is no longer this desire to address pain and distress, to go through the process (which can often be painful), to go through the catharsis that may lead to transformation. Instead, society looks for escape and to be numb. The psychiatric establishment greatly profits and enjoys this new societal development and are able to prescribe the very things to create this 'numbness'. Managed care companies are accomplices, not beng concerned about psychotherapy which would produce long lasting results and address a person as a human being, but are rather concerned with the less costly avenue of inducing the numbness.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Three Jewels

In Buddhism is identified the Three Jewels- the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
Whether ine is a Buddhist or not, these three jewels are an important part of wholeness and being able to overcome adversity and emotional distress.
First, the Buddha does not reflect just a historical figure, but enlightened mind. To have a mind that is not centered in the past or grasping for the future, but can find peace and joy in this present moment that is often so fleeting. If individuals truly thought about how time is fleeting, how short our span is, they would not spend their time in quarrels and in greedy attachment.
Second, the Dharma implies truth. Within this lies conceptions of how one should relate to others and the virtues involved. If we live a life of Truth, a life of virtue, we can become more content and our human relations and society itself will prosper.
Lastly, Sangha. Sangha implies community. If we can once again forge into community, to be able to reach consensus, to share our thoughts, feelings, and our selves with one another, and to be able to form unity, our existence will be more harmonious. I see this often in the breakdown of families, where the sense of community has been lost and it is also responsible for the breakdown of society itself.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Another part of the problem with psychiatry, is that these are individuals who are trained to suppress behavior by drugs but have no training in understanding experiences. What causes people emotional distress are often questions of meaning and are spiritual problems. Psychiatrists, with no understanding of this, enter into a realm where they can do nothing but tranquilize a person. People in innocence come to them thinking their suffering can be relieved. But the form of alleviating suffering often only brings further suffering of another kind later. A pill cannot relieve the spectrum of emotion thought and emotion that leads to distress. Destroying the brain through psycho-surgery or by numbing it with drugs does not bring anyone a lasting peace. As Laing states, "Doctors in all ages hae made fortunes by killing patients by means of their 'cures'. The difference in psychiatry is that it is the death of the soul."

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Child Protective Services is a misnomer. They do not protect children. CPS has become an arm of bio-psychiatry and often functions in a gestapo like manner. Many parents who have become informed of the dangers of psychiatric drugs and refused to give them to their children have been threatened by CPS with removal of their children from their home. While CPS is busying itself with this infringement of parental rights, real situations of abuse are overlooked. I recall two nightmare experiences of my own with CPS. One involved a 5 year old boy who it was certain was being sexually abused. The teacher and myself made repeated calls to CPS about the situation who took no action until the 10th call. They removed the child for a brief time only to insist on placing the child abck with the mother who while not the offender was well aware of the abuse and completely inept in her skills as a parent. There was no change required on the part of the mother, and no protection given to the child that future problems would not impact him. In another situation, I was aware of the abuse of an 11 year old by his step-father. The step-father had an extensive history of abusive behavior. The mother remained in a state of denial to protect the step-father and the expense of the child. I found this child a bright young person with a lot of creativity and in one on one situations he was a great kid. His environment was one of chaos and despair, a horrible vortex taking the life out of him and leading him to self-destruction. CPS had been involved many times here. Nothing was ever accomplished and their final recommendation was for residential treatment of the child. Why is it the child's fault? What exactly is he being 'treated' for whereas the abusive environment is not being treated in any fashion at all. Psychiatry has its hands on another child who will be a cash cow. It is not their concern to prevent the abuse anbd resolve the distress impacting the child, instead they will send him to residential treatment, ply him with their drugs, and make a nice buck in the process. When they are done, they will return him again to the abusive home environment only for the cycle to start again. Who benefits? The psychiatric establishment. The child is taken from one abuse only to face another of a different kind.

Monday, July 30, 2007


Often, adults become overly controlling or overly permissive with their children.
Both are destructive. The overly controlling parent must 'let go' as the child demonstrates responsibility. C Discipline literally means 'teaching' and it should be employed only where their exists harm to another person. Children, as do all people desire freedom and autonomy. Freedom comes with responsibility. Freedom is not to be equated with chaos or merely doing what one so chooses without thinking of the community around them. Children want their parents involved, but they as everyone else do not desire to be controlled.

I have noticed that in conflicts between children, adults are often rushing to intervene. How is a child expected to learn conflict resolution unless they are given the opportunity to work through their own conflicts (even if it takes many attempts). With the current divorce rates and the current number of conflicts in the world, children themselves may be better at handling conflicts than most adults! Once again, the adult only need intervene where their exists serious harm to another, and in this, the role of the adult is to provide feedback and guidance, not to suppress or merely provide the solution. The child will never think critically if this is done.
Parental hypocrisy is another problem and frequently noticed by children. The idea of 'do as I say but not as I do". This is often a tactic of control. Families often also establish forbidden fruits. For instance, little Johnny says the word 'shit'. The parents tell little Johnny- 'don't say that word, its not allowed." Not to mention, mom and dad are frequently shouting it out at various occassions. Now it has become something little Johnny finds immensely curious and wants to do frequently. To me, the use of swear words as an expression is not as much an issue as the person who spreads malicious gossip. Of course the person who uses these swear words throughout their conversation, for no apparent reason, or compulsively will be looked upon in a negative way. But the occassional release of such a colorful word is not something that is something to make into a enormous issue. Actually making it an issue, does exactly that- makes it an issue!
Humiliation is often a tactic employed by adults on children. Making them an example is thought to 'set them straight'. It only causes them to shut down and become emotionally distraught. In many situations where children no longer have a zeal for learning in school and a lack of motivation, it often stems from a period where humiliation was used upon them.
Parents and teachers often pressure children to adhere to their definition of 'success'. They MUST learn! But children learn in spite of school. Many of the greatest lessons I learned in life were certainly not in a classroom. Learning should be tailored to the innate strengths of the child. Learning should be a desired activity not a mundane one. However, when one pressures a child or forces them to conformity to rote tasks, learning will become a mundane activity, motivation will decrease and possibly never be regained.

In my work with families, I have often developed a family constitution. This is a list of what all feel are their rights and responsibilities. It is designed collaboratively and certain laws are agreed upon. Grievances are worked through at family meetings where each party is given a voice and the right to speak uninterrupted to present their viewpoint. This helps to work through conflicts and use shared energy for problem solving. The family meeting also allows for together time, something very important but sorely lacking in today's society. It helps families to once again come together in community.

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.


We see the man on the street corner conversing with himself and dishelved. Most often turn away in fear. Why are we afraid? Because this man speaks of the human condition- of how a disordered society can break any of us. What has been termed in the DSM IV as 'mental disorder' is entirely subjective and the product of the voting of psychiatric committees. The disorders are often a product of their imagination and designed for their ultimate profit. The diagnoses are categorized under the guise of help, but who benefits? Solely those making the diagnosis. In the 1970's Rosenhan and his colleagues conducted an interesting study in which pseudo-patients were sent to mental hospitals across the country. They has no history of psychiatric concerns and were told to tell only one lie to the psychiatrist- that they heard the word 'thud' in their heads. Otherwise, they were to behave 'normally'. All of these individuals were admitted to the hospital. The only means for their release was to submit to the idea they were insane but were getting better by the 'treatments' of the psychiatric staff. The psychiatric establishment was appalled and said this was merely a fluke and suggested Rosenhan send pseudo-patients again and they would be able to identify them. Rosenhan stated he would send 40 pseudo-patients. The psychiatrists stated they had found the 'fakes' but the fact was Rosenhan actually sent no one else. In all of this, we see that experience is ignored. Instead, we have categorized behaviors, all in the eyes of the beholder, and medicalized it. It does not matter any longer what the experience of the person is, the objective of psychiatry is to suppress the behavior, and suppression then leads to oppression. If we were to truly be pro-active and psychiatrists were motivated by a true desire to do no harm and to seek for person's mental health, then we would not be merely suppressing, but rather seeking to understand. In addition, we would be targeting those issues which often create mental anguish for persons to begin with. We would be addressing issues of social justice. Instead, psychiatry exonerates institutions from taking responsibility and blames the brain of the person with no evidence provided that their brains are actually dysfunctional. Theory has become fact in psychiatry. Psychiatry has its free advertising through the workings of the so called support groups and through its alliance with the pharmaceutical industry. Such groups as NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) and CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit) have received large amounts of funding from the pharmaceutical industry who now have access to many new consumers of their products and who benefit from promoting the concept of 'chemical imbalances' to further the sale of their toxic drugs. Schools have now become not about education at all, but rather mental institutions for children. Children are stifled and are not given the opportunities for critical thinking, but rather to be proper test takers and to become cogs in the industrial machine. When they fall out of line with the desired result, they are labeled and drugged. Social Security payments for 'ADHD' or other behavioral disorders become a temptation for poor, struggling families to encourage their compliance with the status quo. Psychiatry has also taken over the cause of child welfare. In California, it was seen that over 90% of foster children were on psychiatric drugs, often multiple drugs, with no apparent reason to support the use, not to mention that potential for serious adverse events. These drugs are being implicated more and more in causing violence, mania, and suicidal ideation in children. The only reason for these foster children to be treated in such manner is solely greed and to perpetuate a corrupt system geared at control of the vulnerable. The abused are being further abused by the psychiatric system. The elderly are subjected to ECT at 3 times the rate at age 65 than age 64. Why? Because at age 65 Medicare will pick up the tab. Once again, abuse of the vulnerable. We must awake to this fraud. When we can begin to understand the human condition, work for social justice, and take responsibility for a disordered society, then it will be that 'disorders' will fade away and true mental health will arise.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Children learn in spite of school. In today's environment schooling has become an unpleasant experience for children based on making them to become good test takers and cogs in the industrial machine. The modern American educational system does not value those who are critical thinkers or who might be more independent minded. It also does not value those who have different means of learning (such as those who are more hands-on). The system exepcts a certain level of conformity and those who do not conform are either considered for remediation or are considered to be 'mentally ill', labeled thus, and prescribed drugs that will force them to adhere to the system as it is. It is never examined if the system itself is broken, rather it is the child who is considered defective.
Children are bright creatures and often suprise adults with their ability to be reflective. There is an innate zeal for learning, and in early childhood it is amazing what in a short period of time children are able to absorb. Children are innately good. What behavior that we perceive as problematic always arises because the child is unhappy, and in most cases it arises from what they have seen modeled to them from the adult world. It is interesting that we find that adult society is filled with conflict and turmoil and poor choices, however in spite of this, many adults continue to interact with their children in an authoritarian way, feeling that the children have no voice and they have all the answers. To some it may appear odd, but adults could actually learn alot from children.

Friday, July 13, 2007


It was stated by Breggin that children do not have disorders but live in a disordered world. I find that the DSM easily exonerates us from taking action towards social change and justice as we can easily dismiss experiences and blame the brain. Problems lie with the child, never society.
Our society is 'bipolar'- think after September 11th, people were rallied into a frenzy of flag waving, flag bumper stickers, along with an extreme of patriotism. Now that people are seeing the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan for what it is, we now find sadness and disllusionment among the public.
Our society has attention deficit- we amuse ourselves with all sort of entertainments, and pay no mind any longer to our children or to what should be our priorities.
Our society is 'schizophrenic'- our politicians are deluded and they delude people into believing the most outrageous of lies.
Our society is 'anti-social'- violence, greed, and corruption abound.
Who is 'treating' society?

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


In collaborating with teens, there are a few themes that we work together towards:


Let me explain each of these concepts:

Community is important. Human beings cannot survive alone. We are all interconnected in some fashion. To forge into community means we become capable of understanding, of forging relationships, of creatively resolving dilemmas together, and finding what our common strengths and weaknesses are. A community is able to resolve conflicts, they are able to share in common goals, and they have concern and regard for one another.

It is my belief that there are levels of respect. Even those who we find undesirable do not need to be treated in a demeaning way. We can remain courteous even when we disagree. We can disagree without being disagreeable. However, the higher levels of respect is where one earns our admiration by what they model to us. As stated, this is earned, not immediately given. It is earned by modeling virtue.

Teens are all seeking autonomy. They are in the critical phase where they are separating themselves from childhood, wanting the things of aduthood, but not yet ready to assume the responsibility that comes with taking the step into the adult world. Therefore, it is necessary to emphasize with teens the importance of how freedom or autonomy is attached with responsibility. Many individuals confuse the concept of freedom with what would really be destructive chaos.

Empathy implies the Golden rule, that we seek to treat others as we desire to be treated. But it goes beyind this that we seek to understand and even embrace the experiences of others. When teens and other individuals are able to develop this important skill, we begin to gain better understanding and the ability to work through conflicts. We are able to understand more fully what it means to be part of the human family.

In establishing these objectives collaboratively with the teen we work on the following:

1. life map
2. listening partnerships
3. defining problems in terms of needs
4. setting one's own goals and priorities rather than 'rehashing' what others have stated to us
5. seeking to connect to the experience of others
6. understanding of our own experiences, and oru strengths and weaknesses.


I had the pleasure of presenting a workshop at the 4th Annual Alternative Education Resources Conference. I met many interesting individuals representing various movements within alternative education. It has always been my belief that force and coercion never motivate any person and we must also realize that our definition of 'success' may not always be another person's definition. Education wishes fosters responsibility and accountability, encourages autonomy, novelty seeking, and the importance of forging into community is crucial for our children. We can longer have 'cookie cutter' education or a system which only rewards children for being good test takers. It is time we begin to understand the innate qualities of our children, respect the ways that they learn, and develop the means by which learning is not merely geared towards becoming a cog in the machine, but where the child has a zeal for exploration and to realize his or her interconnectedness with others.

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


The summer day arrived where the child entered this world. The mother laid hemorrhaging, barely conscious, and the child upon birth was whisked away from the mother to the neo-natal unit. The sounds of medical equipment, the frantic voices of the medical staff, bright lights, and poking and prodding by invasive medical instruments greeted the child’s entry to the world. From the hospital, the child would enter the family’s home for the first time. Once again only to be subjected to grave brutality as on the night he entered the home, his father intoxicated begins to savagely beat the mother. “I told you to shutup dammit!” the father shouts and with a loud crack across the mother’s cheek, she falls to the ground clutching the infant in her arms. And this would continue day after day until the police one day arrived to escort the father to a long incarceration for his violent crimes and drug possession. A few days before the arrest, the mother leaves the home to obtain groceries for the family. She instructs the father to bathe the child and place him in bed. The father once again becoming intoxicated places the child in the bathtub but too sedated to realize the temperature of the water, scalds the child, and he is left with a large burn upon the side of his head. A scar that still remains both physically and emotionally. For the next four years, the child barely speaks. The trauma of his world has muted him. The mother in desperation seeks for another relationship that will ease the financial burden and maybe find her the fulfillment she has longed for. But again, she stumbles into an abusive relationship. The new man in her life is more a monster than the first. Day after day he subjects the child to demeaning words. “You retard! Why can’t you do anything right?” “If you don’t get out of here, I will smash your head in.” One night the child sees the mother and her boyfriend fighting and shoving one another. He goes to bed only to awaken to find the mother and her boyfriend sitting at the breakfast table casually chatting. He asks about the night before. “What are you talking about? You must have been dreaming.” The child dazes off confused and questioning his sense of reality. Was it a dream? The child became the scapegoat for the family. “If we never had you around, life would be good.” “You are the one who causes all the problems.” “Look what you have made your sister into.” Day after day, his esteem plummets to nothing. The family continues their civil war. The demons of hopelessness and despair overtake the child. His light is nearly extinguished. The child begins to curse God. Where is God in this? Why must I endure this pain and turmoil. He expects to hear God speak to him, but he hears nothing. God appears distant, or maybe dead. The child has no voice and no relationships. No one to console him, no one to hear his cries. And God too does not respond to his pleas. But even in this darkest night of his soul, the light is not extinguished. The child encounters one who for the first time hears his voice, and he begins to embark on a journey of renewal. The war around him has not ended, nor is there a cease fire to come, but the child through this alliance begins to realize that he is loved and that he is heard. He is encouraged to find value in himself. He looks deeply within and finds that life is impermanent. He begins to understand the cumulative sufferings we all endure. But in this he realizes that there is a better way. The way out does not exist in self-destruction. Death and despair is not a better way but merely an escape. He begins to realize that he cannot change circumstances, he cannot change others, but he can change himself and he can change his mind. The child begins to lay aside the cumulative traumas. They no longer torment him but become an opportunity for sharing and growth. He unites his sufferings to the sufferings of others and realizes that his experience is valuable and maybe through his experience, he may lead but another soul out of the darkness.

Monday, May 07, 2007


In 1973, Rosenhan had conducted a study having individuals function as pseudo-patients. He concluded:
“Powerlessness was evident everywhere…He is shorn of credibility by virtue of his psychiatric label. His freedom of movement is restricted. He cannot initiate contact with staff, but may only respond to overtures as they make. Personal privacy is minimal…”
Bioethicist Carl Elliott of the University of Minnesota (2001) stated that 'the best way to sell drugs is to sell psychiatric illness."
The late neurologist Sydney Walker III stated, "... a child who sees a DSM-oriented doctor is almost assured of a psychiatric label and a prescription, even if the child is perfectly fine. ... This willy-nilly labeling of virtually everyone as mentally ill is a serious danger to healthy children, because virtually all children have enough symptoms to get a DSM label and a drug."

Psychiatrist David Kaiser states, "...years of medication ... have done nothing except reify in them an identity as a chronic patient with a bad brain. This identification as a biologically-impaired patient is one of the most destructive effects of biologic psychiatry. At the level of the individual patients this means a growing number of over-diagnosed, overmedicated and disarticulated people less able to define and control their own identities and lives."

The introduction to DSM III stated- ""For most of the DSM-III disorders ... the etiology [cause] is unknown. A variety of theories have been advanced, buttressed by evidence not always convincing to explain how these disorders come about."

Former Chief of the National Institutes of Mental Health Center for Schizophrenia Research Dr. Loren Mosher, M.D. stated, "Finally, why must the APA pretend to know more than it does? DSM IV [the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Edition 4] is the fabrication upon which psychiatry seeks acceptance by medicine in general. Insiders know it is more a political than scientific document. ... It is the way to get paid."

In 1994, Dr. Thomas Szasz, M.D. stated, "The young and the old are defenseless against relatives who want to get rid of them by casting them into the role of mental patient, and against psychiatrists whose livelihood depends on defining them as mentally ill." In 1997, Szasz concluded, "The child psychiatrist's authority is altogether beyond the reach of his denominated patients. This elementary fact makes the child psychiatrist one of the most dangerous enemies not only of children, but also of adults who care for the two precious and most vulnerable things in life - children and liberty. Child psychology and child psychiatry cannot be reformed. They must be abolished."

Things have not changed immensely, it is possible to say they have become worse.
I have had the honor to meet many psychiatric survivors presently. Among them are victims of improper restraint, individuals with tardive dyksinesia brought on by psychiatric drugs, individuals who sought help but were harmed by those claiming to in the helping profession. I treat these individuals with dignity as persons, respect their experience, and call many of them friends. This has earned me insulting labels and epithets by so-called colleagues whose interest is not ultimately the well being and freedom of individuals but how much money they can milk from the individual. I now wear these labels with a sense of pride, for in it is draws me more into the experience and understanding of individuals undergoing distress who themselves are labeled and who are so often shunned and misunderstood.
It strengthens my resolve to fight as a person of principle and ethics for a mental health system that no longer looks upon people's experiences as the result of faulty wiring and damaged brains but as people with a story to tell, people who need to be and must be heard. Some colleagues may seek to deprive me of opportunity because of my stand, but many of the psychiatric survivors have endured far worse- being robbed of their dignity completely. I can certainly withstand certain losses and even the occassional insult.
I was trained as a pastoral counselor, here may be one problem- Bio-Psychiatry sees man as solely a a conglommerate of chemical processes. "Mental illness" is when things go haywire chemically. It does not see life beyond this, as something more precious, more meaningful. Emotional distress is a struggle of the human spirit. We are all interconnected, we need love, relationships, community. To see it this way runs completely opposed to the bio-psychiatric position. There is and can be no 'soul' if we ascribe to bio-psychiatry. How ironic that the term 'psychotherapy' literally means "healing of the soul", but nowhere is that to be found in the current mental health system.
The problem is enormous, but though being one person, if I take a stand for ethics and justice, I know I have made a difference.
Christ stated, "Be not afraid for I have overcome the world." So, I continue forward in a struggle, unafraid.

- Rev. Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.


Lilly's Worst Zyprexa Nightmare Comes True

May 7, 2007.
By Evelyn Pringle

Washington, DC: Eli Lilly is not all that worried about personal injury lawsuits related to Zyprexa because the company has enough money to pay the relatively small pay-outs that arise from such actions, according to Attorney Barry Turner, a professor of law and ethics in the UK and a leading authority on consumer fraud litigation involving the pharmaceutical industry.

But he says the Medicaid fraud lawsuits filed by 9 states thus far, under the Federal and State False Claims Act are another matter. "The biggest penalties so far in Federal and State False Claims Act
Evelyn Pringle violations," Mr Turner reports, "were awarded against drug companies
and there are very many more cases under seal."

But an even larger nightmare for top Lilly officials, he says, arises when a product like Zyprexa causes deaths and injuries to consumers and shareholders face huge losses including the millions of people who have their pensions invested in the company.

When a blockbuster drug is announced, Mr Turner says, it attracts huge investment and if that investment has been attracted to a product that Lilly knew was faulty, the company has risked shareholder funds beyond the pale.

This kind of behavior, he notes, is a Sarbox violation. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act was enacted to restore investor confidence in publicly traded companies in the wake of Enron and similar debacles by improving corporate accountability. Its official title is the "Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002," named after its sponsors Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) and Representative Michael G Oxley (R-OH), and is commonly referred to as SOX.

One of the features of SOX is the ability to bring an action against those who recklessly and fraudulently deal with stockholder's money and, "promoting the off label use of a drug with undeclared dangerous side effects, or being negligent as to such promotion, is the kind of behavior justifying an action under Sarbanes Oxley," according to Mr Turner.

"Those at the top of Eli Lilly," he states, "gambled with the lives of patients and the money of stockholders in equal bad faith when they engaged in fraudulent and dishonest behavior that allowed a dangerous drug to be marketed."

"The lifeblood of a business," he says, "is the investment that goes into it and in the case of Eli Lilly it means the investment of millions of shareholders."

"Anyone who defrauds them," he explains, "is defrauding people not business."

Mr Turner says it is easy to think of shareholders as "rich lazy fat cats" living off the efforts of others but it is fundamentally wrong by ethical standards to think that if they are defrauded that perhaps they deserve it. "What needs to be understood," he says, "is that many millions of people who own no stock at all get defrauded in scams all the time."

"Those who pay into pension funds," he explains, "are vulnerable to the financial shenanigans not only of fund managers but of boards of companies and CEO's that fail to police the companies activities or in some cases actively encourage fraud and reckless business practices."

The worst of all legal nightmares resulting from the Zyprexa "shenanigans," occurred over a period of 9 days between April 2, 2007 and April 11, 2007, when not one, but 4 shareholder class action lawsuits were announced against Lilly and "certain of its officers and directors" filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, for violations of the Securities and Exchange Act alleging that the defendants hid the side effects of Zyprexa and engaged in illegal off-label marketing campaigns.

On April 2, 2007, the Law Firm of Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler, issued a press release to announce that a class action was filed on behalf of all securities purchasers of Lilly from March 28, 2002 and December 22, 2006, charging the defendants with disseminating false and misleading statements regarding Zyprexa.

More specifically, it alleges that they were aware of a "clear link" between Zyprexa and diabetes; and yet failed to warn the public and engaged in an illicit scheme to offset a drop in sales that was certain to occur, and did occur, when reports of Zyprexa's side effects emerged, by creating a marketing plan which included the evaluation and pursuit of sales for the drug based on "off-label" uses and that the off-label marketing program was a direct violation of Lilly's own code of conduct.

The complaint further alleges that concealing the side effects and engaging in a massive illegal marketing campaign potentially subjected Lilly to substantial regulatory fines, penalties and other legal action, compromising the company's overall financial condition and prospects.

The complaint reports that between 2002 and 2004, sales of Zyprexa grew from $3.69 billion to $4.42 billion, and that between July 18, 2002 and May 7, 2004, Lilly's stock value increased from $43.75 per share to $76.95.

Throughout the class period, the lawsuit says, Lilly had information about the link between Zyprexa and extreme weight gain and diabetes and in the face of mounting research linking the drug to diabetes and weight gain, and the lawsuits filed by persons who developed these conditions, "Lilly emphatically denied any such link."

The complaint alleges that when public warnings were issued about the safety of Zyprexa, sales slowed and between May 7, 2004 and October 25, 2004, stock prices dropped from $76.95 per share to $50.34, representing a loss of market capitalization of over $30 billion.

The press release cites reports in the New York Times between December 17 and 21, 2006, as disclosing for the "first time" that Lilly had engaged in a decade-long effort to play down the risks of Zyprexa; and actively marketed the drug for illegal off-label uses such as treating elderly patients with symptoms of dementia.

Therefore, the lawsuits alleges, the over $30 billion decline in stock value between May 7, 2004 and October 25, 2004 was the direct result of defendants' fraudulent conduct.

In addition it says, the publication of the Times articles caused another $3.49, or 6.4%, decline in stock value and represented a further market loss of approximately $3.5 billion.

Two days after the first class action was announced, on April 5th, the Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins Law Firm announced that another had been filed.

The second complaint also charges Lilly and certain of its officers and directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act, and alleges that at the beginning of the class period, defendants contended that Zyprexa did not cause diabetes-related side effects and that once the clinical data rendered that position untenable, defendants argued instead that Zyprexa did not cause any more side effects than its competitors.

Eventually, the press release notes, more and more clinical data showed that, in fact, Zyprexa does cause such side effects and to a greater extent than its competitors and the "revelations sharply curtailed the sales growth of Zyprexa and resulted in thousands of product liability lawsuits against Lilly and hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements."

It also alleges that defendants intentionally suppressed and misrepresented data showing that Zyprexa causes weight gain, high blood sugar, and diabetes, citing the series of articles in the Times, with excerpted "documents detailing defendants' deception."

The release says the documents revealed that defendants intentionally misled patients, doctors, and investors and as a result, "the price of Lilly's stock declined almost 6% in the five trading days during which the series of articles was published."

The members of the class, it notes, invested in Lilly securities unaware that defendants' fraud had artificially inflated the prices of those securities and when "the truth was finally revealed those investors lost many millions of dollars as a result of defendants' fraud."

Four days after the second lawsuit was announced, on April 9th, the Schatz Nobel Izard Law Firm announced the third case seeking class action status on behalf of all persons who purchased or otherwise acquired securities of Lilly between March 28, 2002 and December 22, 2006.

This lawsuit also alleges that the same defendants violated securities laws by making misleading statements and specifically that they "contended that Zyprexa did not cause diabetes-related side effects," and later that, "Zyprexa did not cause more side effects than its competitors."

This press release also quotes the Times articles as showing "that defendants intentionally misrepresented the side effects of Zyprexa," and "suppressed and misrepresented data showing that Zyprexa causes weight gain, high blood sugar, and diabetes "

"In the five trading days during which the series of articles was published," the press release advises, "the price of Lilly's stock declined almost 6%."

Two days later, on April 11th, the Harwood Feffer Law Firm announced a fourth class action accusing the same defendants of making misleading statements and specifically that they failed to disclose: (i) dangerous side-effects resulting from the use of Zyprexa; (ii) the decade-long illegal campaign to increase sales by marketing Zyprexa for off-label uses not approved by the FDA, in violation of FDA regulations that proscribe such marketing.

As a result of these fraudulent business practices, the press release states, sales of Zyprexa rose from $3.69 billion to $4.42 billion between 2002 and 2004, and the value of stock increased from $43.75 per share to $76.95, between July 18, 2002 and May 7, 2004.

The release says defendants had knowledge of a link between Zyprexa and extreme weight gain and diabetes and when sued by private individuals who developed these adverse effects, "the Company adamantly refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing."

The Law Firm goes on to note that as public agencies raised warnings about Zyprexa, sales plummeted and stock price dropped from $76.95 per share to $50.34, between May 7, 2004 and October 25, 2004, amounting to a loss of market value of over $30 billion.

Subsequently, the press release alleges, after the Times published a series of articles the price of Lilly stock "collapsed" an additional $3.49 per share, or 6.4%, and amounted to a further loss of market value of approximately $3.5 billion.

Zyprexa was FDA approved for the limited use of treating adults with the most severe mental illnesses, schizophrenia and manic episodes of bipolar disorder, but it quickly became Lilly's best selling product.

In order to find that Lilly did not make the drug its top seller by illegally promoting it for off-label uses, a jury would have to believe the highly unlikely scenario that doctors in every field of medicine came up with the idea of prescribing a schizophrenia drug to patients as young as 2 and as old as 100, for every kind of condition imaginable from anxiety and attention deficit disorder to autism and dementia.

On April 25, 2007, the New York Times reported that the FDA was examining whether Lilly provided the agency with accurate data about the side effects of Zyprexa. However, that may be a dead issue in light of the fact that on May 4, 2007, Lilly issued a press release of its own to announce that Alex Azar II will be joining the company as a senior vice president, who until February 3, 2007, just happened to be the Deputy Secretary of the US Health and Human Services Department.

According to Lilly, "Azar supervised all operations of the HHS, including the regulation of food and drugs," and among others, agencies under his direction included the FDA.

Friday, May 04, 2007


NSW launches 'Ritalin kids' probe
b.. May 02, 2007
THE NSW Government will launch a statewide investigation into attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) amid warnings doctors were creating a "Ritalin generation".
Health Minister Reba Meagher has also called for a national inquiry into the issue, citing concern among experts about the use of the drug to treat ADHD, News Limited newspapers reported.

It follows claims by a leading judge that doctors prescribing Ritalin had created a generation who were now committing violent crimes and coming before the courts.

Since 1992 the number of Ritalin prescriptions has risen from 11,114 to 264,000 last year.

Australia's ADHD diagnosis rate is among the highest in the world and 32,000 NSW school students are medicated for it.

"Community concern is escalating around prescriptions and use of these types of drugs to treat conduct disorders of children," Ms Meagher said.

She said there was "significant debate" in the clinical community about ADHD treatment.

"I have therefore established a review committee to carefully consider current practice in NSW public health services."

The committee will be comprised of some of the state's top clinicians, including Clinical Excellence Commission chief Professor Clifford Hughes.

It has been instructed to report back to the minister within three months.

Ms Meagher backed federal Labor health spokeswoman Nicola Roxon's call for a national investigation.

"The availability and prescription of these drugs is largely a matter for the commonwealth, so we believe this is best looked at at a national level," she said.


ADHD guru quits over Ritalin link
By Janet Fife-Yeomans

May 05, 2007 12:00

THE head of the Federal Government's ADHD review has stood down after The Saturday Daily Telegraph queried his links to two major ADHD drug companies.
Health Minister Tony Abbott yesterday said paediatrician Dr Daryl Efron had "done the honourable thing".

Mr Abbott said it was "not a good look" that Dr Efron was on the advisory boards of Novartis, which makes the controversial drug Ritalin, and Eli Lilly, maker of Strattera, which goes on to the PBS in July.

The move came as Mr Abbott joined Prime Minister John Howard in voicing concerns about the use of drugs to treat ADHD.

Mr Abbott said he "instinctively questioned" the long-term use of drugs for non-life threatening conditions.

He said while he had faith in Dr Efron's impartiality, it was important the public had confidence in the outcome of the first review in 10 years of the escalating diagnosis of ADHD and other treatment options.

The Royal College of Physicians committee will recommend new clinical guidelines for GPs and specialists, who have more than doubled prescription rates for Ritalin and the related drug, dexamphetamine - from 116,320 to 264,296 - in the past decade.

Mr Howard last week said he was worried about reports of over-prescription of Ritalin.

Dr Efron publicly supports the use of Ritalin in some circumstances to treat ADHD in children younger than the current cut-off age of six.

"I want to see new clinical guidelines but I stress it is up to the experts to carefully weigh all the issues," Mr Abbott said.

Dr Efron's decision to step down was welcomed by the Australian Childhood Foundation.

"It makes us more hopeful that there will be an examination of the whole range of issues around ADHD treatment rather than being focused on medication," foundation CEO Joe Tucci said.

"We are hoping the guidelines will provide practitioners with research about all the potential problems that can be called ADHD, like diet, trauma and family relationships at home."

The new chairman, Associate Professor David Forbes from the University of Western Australia school of paediatrics, could not be contacted yesterday. Dr Efron could also not be contacted.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


In these days, greed is rampant and it infects many institutions. We see situations where chemicals are dumped in people's backyards, illness arises, but the dumping does not cease in spite of the knowledge of the harm because money has bene placed above human interest.
So it has become in the mental health system- psychiatrists and other mental health professionals know there is a problem. But one dare not mention it or confront it or they will be smashed by the huge egos of those in power. It is the Emperor's New Clothes. Greed infects this system as well, and many of those in powerful positions reap enormous profit at the expense of individual lives all the while claiming to be 'helping'.
Emotional distress is largely an issue of power and politics. Individuals who are distressed are often those who have been oppressed.
We are entering an era with such things as Teen Screen and rampant psychiatric drugging of entering into a society envisioned by Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World'.
People need to wake up and take a stand.


The Sunday Independent (Ireland)
The drugs don't work, warn top psychiatrists
A DAMNING indictment by the country's most eminent psychiatrists paints a picture of patients' lives being needlessly put at risk by a cocktail of dangerous drugs, and a profession which is in the back pocket of vested interests in the pharmaceutical industry.

"The psychiatric world has to be cleaned up - it's appalling. There are over 200,000 people on over-the-counter tranquilliser drugs," says Dr Michael Corry, a consultant psychiatrist. "In Ireland, there are 25,000 people on Zyprexa and 20,000 people on Seroxat. With Seroxat, there is a one-in-500 suicide risk. They get totally overwhelmed by a sense of disinhibition, and they literally feel they can't go on, and they kill themselves." Coincidentally, a damning Oireachtas report on the adverse side effects of pharmaceuticals, which was released last week, has come to more or less the same conclusions.

The report stated that "the influence of the pharmaceutical industry is unhealthy". It also called into question the relationship between the pharmaceutical companies and psychiatric doctors, who are financially rewarded in the form of payments for ghostwriting medical-research reports, get free travel, research grants and numerous other perks.

The all-party committee report also took a swipe at the widespread prescribing of psychiatric drugs. "Their [drugs] use in therapy represents unwarranted medical intervention in what are often normal emotional difficulties," said. "The side effects include behavioural disorders, physical illness, dependence and even suicide."

The report went on to say that some of the drugs "were of doubtful benefit" and that "where side effects are well known, they seem not to be appreciated or are ignored by prescribers".

The Oireachtas Committee is now calling for the setting up of a Patient Safety Agency.

Other senior doctors raise the issue of the use of drugs such as Clozaril, a widely used schizophrenia drug which can produce a litany of life-threatening reactions.

"It's a very dangerous drug - and it's not the only one," said Dr Corry, who runs the Dun Laoghaire-based Institute of Psychosocial Medicine. "It's an absolute scandal that the Medicines Board has licensed these drugs - surely they can unlicense them, seeing as we have clear irrefutable evidence they are dangerous?"

Professor Pat Bracken, consultant psychiatrist and clinical director of the West Cork Mental Health Service, says that many of the woes befalling psychiatry can be directly traced to the vast influence which the pharmaceutical industry now wields over the academic faculties that teach psychiatry - an influence gained through the doling out of vast research grants.

"There are growing concerns about the way in which the pharmaceutical industry has come to dominate psychiatry," he warns. "The profession should be independent and be seen to be independent. And if it is not, it is a concern for everyone."


1. The practice of psychiatry (from the Greek: soul healing) has been usurped by the medical establishment. Political control of its public aspects has been seized by medicine and the language of soul healing has been infiltrated with irrelevant medical concepts and terms.

Psychiatry must return to its non-medical origins since most psychiatric conditions are in no way the province of medicine. All persons competent in soul healing should be known as psychiatrists. Psychiatrists should repudiate the use of medically derived words such as "patient," "illness," "treatment." Medical psychiatrists' unique contribution to psychiatry is as experts on neurology, and, with much needed additional work, on drugs.

2. Extended individual psychotherapy is an elitist, outmoded, as well as nonproductive form of psychiatric help. It concentrates the talents of a few on a few. It silently colludes with the notion that people's difficulties have their sources within them while implying that everything is well with the world. It promotes oppression by shrouding its consequences with shame and secrecy. It further mystifies by attempting to pass as an ideal human relationship when it is, in fact, artificial in the extreme.

People’s troubles have their cause not within them but in their alienated relationships, in their exploitation, in polluted environments, in war, and in the profit motive. Psychiatry must be practiced in groups. One-to-one contacts, of great value in crises, should become the exception rather than the rule. The high ideal of I-Thou loving relations should be pursued in the context of groups rather than in the stilted consulting room situation. Psychiatrists not proficient in group work are deficient in their training and should upgrade it. Psychiatrists should encourage bilateral, open discussion and discourage secrecy and shame in relation to deviant behavior and thoughts.

3. By remaining "neutral" in an oppressive situation, psychiatry, especially in the public sector, has become an enforcer of establishment values and laws.

Adjustment to prevailing conditions is the avowed goal of most psychiatric treatment. Persons who deviate from the world's madness are given fraudulent diagnostic tests, which generate diagnostic labels that lead to "treatment" that is, in fact, a series of graded repressive procedures such as "drug management," hospitalization, shock therapy, perhaps lobotomy. All these forms of "treatment" are perversions of legitimate medical methods, which have been put at the service of the establishment by the medical profession. Treatment is forced on persons who would, if let alone, not seek it.

Psychological tests and the diagnostic labels they generate, especially schizophrenia, must be disavowed as meaningless mystification& the real function of which is to distance psychiatrists from people and to insult people into conformity. Medicine must cease making available drugs, hospitals, and other legitimate medical procedures for the purpose of overt or subtle law enforcement and must examine how drug companies are dictating treatment procedures through their advertising. Psychiatry must cease playing a part in the oppression of women by refusing to promote adjustment to their oppression.

All psychiatric help should be by contract; that is, people should choose when, what, and with whom they want to change. Psychiatrists should become advocates of the people, should refuse to participate in the pacification of the oppressed, and should encourage people’s struggles for liberation.

Paranoia is a state of heightened awareness. Most people are persecuted beyond their wildest delusions. Those who are at ease are insensitive.

Psychiatric mystification is a powerful influence in the maintenance of people's oppression.

Personal liberation is only possible along with radical social reforms.

Psychiatry must stop its mystification of the people and get down to work!

This piece is taken from a chapter from the book Innovative Psychotherapies by R. Corsini.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


When the news reports first came of this very tragic event, one of my first thoughts was the possibility that this shooter was taking an 'anti-depressant' drug. My thought was later confirmed. The FDA has issued warnings and it is being learned that in some individuals the potential for these drugs to induce mania, violence, psychosis, and suicidal ideation is possible. These drugs can sadly send already troubled individuals 'over the edge' and this appears to be the situation in regards to Mr. Cho.
Cho is now the 9th school shooter who was under the influence of an 'anti-depressant' drug.
The mental health system failed in this situation and because of its subjectiveness, it cannot truly ascertain who is a threat and who is not. Cho had committed criminal acts in the past, yet nothing was done of this because he was looked upon as being 'treated' in the mental health system. This would have been the deterrent.
First, the mental health system did nothing to seek to understand the origins of his experience and dangerous thought processes. As usual, it merely prescribed a drug which has been found to evoke mania, violence, and suicide in some individuals and has severe withdrawal effects. Because Cho was put into this system against his will and already had violent reactions to various aspects of society, this certainly could not have helped alleviate his resentment and anger. It made it worse.

My thoughts and prayers goes to all those who have been impacted by this tragedy.

-Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

Monday, April 09, 2007


In examining the issues related to the current state of the mental health system- we must ask ourselves can one truly be 'neutral'. The notion of 'neutrality' is a convenient stance as it allows us to remain ignorant and continue on a path even if it is an erring path. In reality, there are two sides to the coin in the mental health system- either one subscribes to the bio-psychiatric paradigm or one does not. The common abuses within the psychiatric system occurred when there was no individuals willing to speak out and take a stand. Actually, throughout history we will see some of the most grave attrocities arising from periods where individuals simply accepted the status quo and chose not to ask critical questions. It is necessary to be critical at times.
Individuals have personal freedom. One can choose to follow various conceptions. It is never my intent to take away personal choice and freedom.
The issue lies in informed consent. Many are unaware that alternatives do exist to the bio-psychiatric paradigm and are often unaware of such information as to the subjective nature of diagnosis, that black box warnings exist on anti-depressants discussing increased suicidal ideation, that the FDA has stated that stimulants can cause psychosis in some children, among other concerns. Should individuals be completely aware of these concerns and choose this avenue, this is their perogative.
It appears an ethical responsibility faced with these dangers, that parents should be informed of alternatives and also that these dangers exist.
In addition, I have seen a number of disturbing situations, for example parents seeking to obtain financial gain from having their child diagnosed and medication presctibed. The story of 4 year old Rebecca Riley comes to mind. This child's parents are now being charged with murder as they fabricated various symptoms which the psychiatrist did not question, was prescribed psychotropic drugs from which she later overdosed. Also, there have been situations where parents have disagreed over the means to address their child's needs. In these situations, it would appear the least restrictive option would take precedence, and this would be to utilize alternatives to psychotropic drugs and implement psycho-social approaches. Most would agree that a physical restraint is a restrictive option and should be avoided, so one must then ask why is it not equally valid to state that psychotropic drugs which are a chemical restraint should be avoided as well?
It is not to say that in certain situations that psychotropic medications could not have a place. If we can demonstrate through objective means that an actual physical abnormality exists, and that the individual is dangerous to self or others, it could be seen as valid for psychotropic medication to be incorporated, but even in this circumstance, this does not need to be permanent and certainly is not the solution to the challenges. Psychotropic drugs are never a cure for anything but mrely subdue certain behaviors. The long term use of such drugs as anti-psychotics actually increases the potential for the development of tardive dyskinesia, a permanent debilitating neurological condition.
Is what is 'mainstream' always correct? We must remember the days when cold, dark psychiatric institutions where electroshock and insulin coma were accepted practices. People were treated without dignity. This was the mainstream. Or we may look at various social injustices and inequalities throughout history which were part of the 'mainstream'- if there was no one to take a stand, there would have been no change to such inhumanity.
My stand has been simply this- that science must be equated with ethics, and that the experience of the individual must be heard not simply diagnosed.
Martin Luther King Jr. stated, "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

Saturday, April 07, 2007


I was asked by some colleagues as to how I have come to some of my viewpoints in regards to mental distress and the means to address it. In my first experiences, I encountered victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. From this, I was able to see the impact of trauma on the lives of individuals. When I first began work with a pediatric population, I had been 'indoctrinated' into the mainstream psychiatric viewpoint and I had no challenge to it, I assumed that this was the appropriate course and had faith in those who instructed me. It was through experiences that my viewpoint began to shift and I began to question a lot of what was taught to me that I had merely accepted at face value. The experiences were my encounters with individuals who had been diagnosed with serious emotional distress (such as schizophrenia). I always noticed how these individuals appeared often lonely and shunned by the world. Most dismissed them as people whose behavior was random and without any meaning. As I began to encounter these individuals, and I actually began to sit with them and listen to them, I found that actually they each had powerful stories to tell, however often these stories were shrouded in symbols and metaphors. But with compassion and understanding, and a non-judgmental attitude, I began to realize that these individuals' experiences could be understood. My next experiences were to see the devastating effects of tardive dyskinesia, I saw this initially with adults, and then later I saw a child. I saw children whose only desire was to be heard, who had undergone extensive abuse, and were reacting to their painful world. It always seemed that it was the child who received the label, and their behaviors were simply subdued by various drugs. It was said to be an 'improvement' if the child was subdued, quiet, and gave no problem to the adults around them. But in this, I saw that the child's pain remained. This caused me to question if there was really something disordered within the child or maybe it is society that is disordered. From this, I began to research the effects of psychiatric drugs as well as the theory of 'chemical imbalances'. I began to see that these drugs often evoked more harm than good and that the idea of chemical imbalances have not been validated. I began to realize that a medical model of mental distress does not address experience and that there is a more humane and dignified method.

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


This tragic story of a 4 year old child should be a wake up call to us all.
This now deceased child was drugged solely for profit- by the family and by the psychiatrist.
This is only confirmation towards my recent post listed below, "Abuse by the System".
Hopefully, individuals will take action.

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

Friday, March 30, 2007


Similar to psychiatric diagnoses, individuals who do not understand my conceptions of the need for a paradigm shift in the field of mental health are prone to ascribe labels. The common label I have received is to be part of 'anti-psychiatry'. First, similar to Laing, I do not deny the value of aiding individuals undergoing mental distress, rather I disagree with the means to carry this out and am opposed to means that would be oppressive, forced, coercive, or do not respect the autonomy and dignity of the individual. It is my view that merely seeing the emotional world of individuals as chemical accidents rather than examining experience is a misguided and mistaken approach. Thus, I can view current psychiatric practice as akin to a materialistic religion, and it often has become the replacement for spirituality today. My other objection comes in that whereas we may find things to have an evidence base, we also need to be reality based- science must always be tied with ethics and the premise of to first do no harm. Because we can scientifically validate something does not always mean it is ethical and good.
What has becoming particularly distressing is to see within psychiatric practice, that a 10 minute or less interview with information solely obtained from sources who in some instances may have their own agendas can produce live long labels and scripts for often dangerous drugs. One example that a colleague related is that a mother who has many abusive relationships had a child who began acting out after he himself was a victim of abuse. The communication between the mother and child was poor and the home environment was frequently chaotic. The history of trauma was never explored in a less than 10 minute interview, and the child was placed on multiple psychiatric drugs which teachers and others who know the child have left him to be in a subdued, 'zombie-like' state. This is one of only countless similar stories related to me. Are we expecting that this type of 'treatment' is supposed to evoke some sort of 'cure'? To whose benefit is this sort of 'treatment', and what do we expect the exact outcome to be? Where is the child's experience heard in the midst of this 'treatment'. It appears that the child who was abused has only been abused further by the system udner the guise of 'help'. The bottomline is money. The complaint has always been that psychotherapy and human services are costly and time consumming. But what we fail to realize is that these drugs are not only expensive in themselves but expensive in their cost on human lives. To actually address the core root of the child's distress may take some time, but would produce an outcome far better than making the child a life long mental patient required to take toxic drugs for an indefinite period of time. It is also unfortunate that disadvantaged families are often lured into the psychiatric system because for many it is seen as one of few ways out. The government provides money for a psychiatric diagnosis, its cheaper to pay out these checks than to really invest in programs that would address the needs of children and tackle issues of poverty and social justice. And yes, there sadly do exist some parents who in selfishness would prefer to have their child considered to be incapicitated (though they are not) than to actually address the reasons for their distress.
If labels must be used, I would prefer to use 'post-psychiatry' and in this what I mean is that the entire system must be deconstructed. The medical model must vanish and be replaced with a model which takes into account the experiences of individuals and which ties science with ethics. It may be then that we have a system that is humane and abuses for once might become a thing of the past.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


It was discussed with me the idea of childhood 'behavioral disorders', particularly ADHD in terms of the Emperor's New Clothes. Though, ADHD as the NIMH has stated itself cannot be validated and the diagnosis remains subjective, it continues to be perpetuated. The same can be said of the idea of mental health concerns being the result of a 'chemical imbalance'. In the story of the Emperor's New Clothes, the Emperor is conned to believe that he is adorned with the finest clothes. Those around him afraid to challenge the fraud, instead go along with this fraud, saying to the Emperor what beautiful clothes he has though he in reality is naked. It takes an innocent child to point out the fraud. The pharmaceutical and psychiatric industries have sold the public and professionals on this fraud of 'chemical imbalances' and many who know it is suspect, continue to go along with it for various reasons, one being fear to speak out. Once the lie is told so many times or becomes so big, no one dare challenge it. Hopefully, there will be individuals with virtue as the child in the Emperor's New Clothes who will come forward to expose the fraud for what it is.

-Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.