See an expanded video of ISEPP member Mary Vieten, Ph.D. and the staff of Operation TOHIDU here.
ISEPP In Action
Operation Speak Up just launched an online petition here. We ask that you sign it and share it widely.
Mary Vieten, Ph.D., ABPP, has launched Operation Tohidu (see http://www.melwood. org/articles/articles/view/148). This is an effort to create a non-medical, non-psychiatric alternative for veterans and military members who suffer from war trauma. The second retreat was just completed and two additional ones are scheduled this Spring and Summer. It is getting very good responses from the participants. They are expressing relief that there is somewhere they can get help beside the VA and psychiatric drugging. It is receiving local media attention (see http://www.myfoxdc.com/Clip/11180158/veterans-ptsd-retreat-in-maryland). Great job Mary!
Jay Joseph’s new book, The Trouble with Twin Studies: A Reassessment of Twin Research in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (published by Routledge), is now available. The book approaches twin research from a critical perspective, including research produced by fields such as behavioral genetics, psychiatric genetics, psychology, and political science, with a special emphasis on studies of “reared-apart” twins. Although he has examined various aspects of twin research in two previous books, in his new book he examines the major issues in much greater detail, with a fresh perspective based on the latest research findings. In the process, he challenges the conclusions and theories of many of the world’s leading genetic researchers. While the book is intended mainly for use in academic settings, the major topics and controversies are described and analyzed in ways that are accessible to a wider audience. See Jay's website at: http://jayjoseph.net/publications.
Thanks to Jonathan Leo & Jeffrey R. Lacasse for their article entitled, "The New York Times and the ADHD Epidemic", which details how one of the leading newspapers has helped perpetuate the explosion of ADHD.
There is now almost universal acknowledgement that too many children in the United States have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD). Over the past decade, the age range for those diagnosed with ADHD has greatly expanded – in both directions. At one end of the spectrum, many adults are now labeled with “Adult ADHD,” and at the other end of the spectrum, more and more preschoolers are being diagnosed with ADHD. According to a recent CDC report, more than 10,000 toddlers, aged 2 to 3 years, are currently medicated for ADHD....
Thanks to Joanne Cacciatore for sending this story. In March of 2013, a young, vibrant mother of three children (all under 18 years of age) was prescribed several psychiatric medications after she sought help for some personal difficulties around the failure of her business and several interpersonal relationships. Within days of going on the medications, friends noticed she became akathesic. She was always agitated, began drinking during the day to cope with her agitation, and developed unusual bodily movements. Within weeks after going on the medications, she shot and killed herself. She was a woman loved by her family, friends, and others. This piece is written by a 17 year old girl who grew up with her and her children in a close neighborhood community.
Watching Over You, by your third daughter
Dedicated to a Beautiful Soul…C.A.
Personality change...a difference seen only by those who stand close to you.
The panic...anxiety...nightmares...only the beginning of a vast road winding in the direction of despair.
Withdrawal from us...from your family and friends...unlike you to walk away.
Why? It began. It continued. It came to an end. And through it all, nobody knew what you were seeing, what you were thinking, what you were planning.
We promise to fight for you. Our power as a whole will surpass the once invincible ring of governmental influence and will protect your reputation. They will not blame you and move on.
You will not go down as the being that chose to cease its own existence nor the unstable patient whom had it coming to you all along. You will be known for your strength, compassion, and unstoppable wanting for adventure.
The blame lies on the drugs. The blame lies on your psychiatrist--a deceitful man is drowning in your innocent blood and desperation has risen. You're gone and he is to blame. His drastic fault? The trusting of desperate patients whose hands hold few of the many murderous drugs made in Hell.
By your own hand, a single shot pierced your chest; another took your life. A note, prepared for reading after your departure, flutters to the floor and lies, waiting not for a seeker, but for an unlucky finder; and all because he chose not to watch over you. Your reaction was immense and now you are dead.
Yes--you take your own life, but only after you're already gone--the Zoloft, Paxil, and Prozac, laid before you without worry, have already taken you. You don't eat. You don't sleep. You don't talk. You aren't you. You have become the drugs. With this, we will make it our goal to fight against this so-called medication--to fight against the careless people who assign this death-sentence. We will spread the warning. We have lost you; but we will lose no more. We will prevent existence from becoming nonexistent.
We love you C.A. I will always love you.
~Tatum M., 17 years of age, Arizona
March 26, 2015 by Monica Cassani.
Professional Denial is a Form of Retraumatization.
A psychologist recently felt scandalized by my post: “Psychiatry ignores trauma with Bessel van der Kolk” — she felt my comments in the text of that post were completely irresponsible. I essentially talked about the traumatizing nature of psychiatry and the mental health system. Go read the post to see.
Monica Cassani was selected for the Mary Karon Memorial Award for Humanitarian Concerns and Reaching Out to Others. See Monica's site here http://beyondmeds.com for a great resource for those who have been harmed by psychiatric drugs.
Operation Speak Up is an ISEPP effort to change our government’s policy regarding the treatment of service members and veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress. At present, the government’s first-line of treatment is the prescription of dangerous psychiatric drug cocktails that are ineffective at best and deadly at worst. This harm includes the typical “side effects” that cause serious health problems, chemical insults to the brain and its functioning, and a dampening of important emotional signals that result in an “I don’t care” attitude among those taking these drugs. This last problem can diminish concern for the consequences of one’s actions and increase the risk of impulsive and reckless behavior. The government’s first-line treatment is driven by the idea that post-traumatic reactions are symptoms of the disease called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and therefore, must be medicated. In reality though, there is nothing abnormal about such reactions to war.
Over the last few years we have witnessed a rash of news reports of unusually high suicide rates, sudden cardiac deaths, and acts of violence committed by those who have been prescribed these chemical cocktails. ISEPP maintains that psychiatric drugs can significantly increase the risk of these terrible events.
ISEPP’s view of post-traumatic stress differs greatly from the prevailing view. We assert that post-traumatic reactions are normal and expected responses to horrific and shocking experiences. We urge the government to abandon their reliance on psychiatric drugs, and instead use various forms of exposure-based talk therapies, group therapy, and peer counseling, all of which show strong empirical evidence of effectiveness without the risks that drugs have. These safer and more effective forms of treatment help integrate the traumatic memories, express the horrors, find meaning, and develop a sense of bonding with others who understand. They also allow those so affected to address the broader moral questions about war and its use as a political tool.
The name “Operation Speak Up” was chosen to highlight not only our desire to speak up about this problem, but also to reflect our hope that PTSD survivors speak up about their experiences instead of being shut up by psychiatric drugs.
Mary Vieten, Ph.D., ABPP is the current Director of Operation Speak Up.
Melwood, a non-profit agency in the greater Washington, DC area, and dedicated to enriching the lives of people with disabilities, has asked Dr. Vieten to design a veterans retreat for the treatment of Operational Stress Injuries. The program will kick off this fall. This program features an unapologetic zero drug approach and “PTSD” education modules. These modules are designed to empower active duty members and veterans who have served in combat. The focus is on teaching them about the fallacies in mental health (e.g., our DSM labeling system and the problem of referring to traumatic reactions as “illnesses") and psychopharmacology claims, while front loading them with over 10 hours of education on various interventions that can actually effect change in their overall condition and time and opportunities to implement many of these interventions.
Dr. Vieten, Dr. Joe Tarantolo, and Dr. Toby Watson met with several congressional staffers in Washington, DC to discuss Operation Speak Up and the problems with the manner in which the Department of Defense and Veterans' Affairs are treating our military and veterans who have experienced war trauma.
They met with the Republican VA Subcommittee on Health, Democratic VA Staff Director, Democratic Staff Director for Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, the Legislative Counsel for Congressman Mike Coffman, the US Senate VA Committee, and lastly with Bill Chatfield, a well-connected Republican operative who is concerned about the over-medication of troops and veterans, and who has expressed a personal mission to rectify this problem.
A letter writing campaign was initiated to encourage Congress and the Departments of Defense and Veterans’ Affairs to implement the 2013 Defense Authorization Act’s provisions, and to include ISEPP as part of any team that reviews the scientific literature to identify safe and effective treatment of post-traumatic stress.
Chuck Ruby, Ph.D., Lieutenant Colonel (retired) has been named the Director of Operation Speak Up. Operation Speak Up is an outgrowth of earlier work by Al Galves, Ph.D. (former ISEPP Executive Director) to encouraged Defense Department and Veterans' Affairs officials to discourage the use of psychiatric drugs in treating PTSD. The name "Operation Speak Up" was suggested by Joe Tarantolo, M.D. (former ISEPP Chairman of the Board of Directors)