Host Bill Heid talks to the New American’s Rebecca Terrell, a practicing nurse who has written about America’s addiction to psychiatric medicines and the problems that ensue. Did you know the Navy Yard shooter was on a psychiatric drug? Have you heard that dozens of incidents of school violence have been related to these medicines?
When tragic mass shootings occur, the media and left-wing pundits quickly point the blame at firearms and America’s gun laws, overlooking the one problem that too often is at the center of the shooter’s mental state: psychiatric medicines.
Off The Grid Radio
Released: October 31, 2013
BILL: And welcome everybody; this is Bill Heid back in the office, back in the studio today with another episode of Off The Grid News. Today we’re going to talk to Rebecca Therell, about psychiatric meds of all things. Rebecca is a writer for the New American, she’s a licensed practical nurse who holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She also has an MBA from the University of North Alabama. Rebecca, welcome.
REBECCA: Hi, Bill. How are you doing?
BILL: I’m fabulous, fabulous. Great to be able to talk to you. So we wanted to talk a little bit today about just these meds, these psychiatric meds. And the reason that I’m so curios and interested, with ObamaCare sort of floundering, and maybe I’m a little more of a conspirationist than you are, but I am almost expecting to see another shooting or something happened, to sort of divert attention.
So when I read your article, this was a little while back, in the New American, I was really… here’ s another guy that fits this profile of a lot of folks that have taken antidepressants and gone on to do some nasty things. So I kind of wanted just to get your feedback on really, what do you think is going on?
REBECCA: Well, as far as a conspiracy goes, I’d hate to go that far because conspiracy means that something is hidden, that they are doing something behind the scenes. And this isn’t hidden. We have a social security disability of funds more mental health cases than any other, it was established the health people with down syndrome and cerebral paralysis things like that. This is right out in the open. We have proof that psychiatric drugs are related to violence. The black box warnings on the FDA labels prove it. And I just don’t see conspiracy when it is right here in front of our noses. I’m not sure that I would link anything to ObamaCare directly. I’m not sure where you’re going with that.
BILL: Here’s where I’m going. Is just seems like there’s always some kind of event. And I guess if we’re going to get conspiracy of the table, that’s fine. But when politicians flounder, usually something happens. President Clinton blue up an aspirin factory in Africa. Somebody needs to divert attention and so, things come up and maybe sometimes things come up when they do come up, at least in appearance randomly. But it seems like something always comes up. And whenever they’re these moments, like right now as I watch, I’ll tune into some network TV, I’ll just flip through and get the zeitgeist of what’s going on. And I kind of see this floundering of the ObamaCare system so I’m thinking, “What do people in power typically do?” We talked about birch society stuff a little before we went on the air. But what do politicians do? Well, they do a lot of things. We can document that there’s a lot of things that happen somewhat mysteriously and we think that perhaps the architectural structure is in the elite where to divert attention from whatever the crises is into something else.
BILL: That’s kind of the only place that I’m going in. And I don’t know or understand, there is a little bit of this, I think we can make a separation really between the young people that have taken this like the Columbine kids. The young people think is Prozac.
BILL: That’s a separate group. But these guys that have been in the military, there’s a little bit of a history there, where it seems like folks in the military, maybe something else is going on and its starts kind of with Lee Harvey Oswald maybe. And goes all the way up through Tim McVey and other people like what creates these kind of things? I’m not claiming that I know the answer, I’m just claiming that it is an unusual thing to me.
REBECCA: Right. Right. Well, I don’t think that they have to set anything up. They know things like these are going to happen. There’s still shootings that was just the other day, was it in Nevada? A children brought a gun to school and rounded two of his classmates and killed a teacher who was a former marine. I mean things like this are going to be happening because we have this psychiatric drugs. So overused. Especially by teens. Young children and teens on these psychiatric drugs. So all they have to do is wait a few days and another one is going to happen.
BILL: Sure. Sure. Sure.
REBECCA: Since 1995 we have 31 cases of school violence alone that are documented as relating directly to a psychiatric medicine used wrong. These are the cases that are documented. And might involve guns, they might involve knives, clubs. They might involve actual killings or woundings or please God, no killings or woundings. There’s going to be plenty of this type of stuff that continues to go on because the psychiatric profession is drug based therapy almost exclusively now. And that change has happened over the course of the past 200 years in psychiatry. It’s gone from talk therapy, to different theories, especially Freud. And now if you go to a psychiatrist, you’re going to get a prescription for a drug. You’re not going to have talk therapy or other types of non-drug interventions. Your either going to get drugs, or you’re going to get electroshock.
BILL: What’s interesting, Rebecca, is that is seems like every time one of these events happen, you mentioned the number of events, every time an event happens, what usually follows up on the heels of that are all of the psychiatric med professional industry types that come on the talk shows and make the circuits. What do they do to solve these problems? They bring out the proponents of psychiatric meds as proof that we need more psychiatric meds. It’s Aurelian, in a sense. Don’t you think?
REBECCA: Yeah. I think you’re right. Absolutely. They are does who do say, who do bring up… I remember after the Columbine shooting there was a lot of talk, people who were blaming psychiatric meds. But again, no investigation into it. And if you want to talk conspiracy… If they don’t want people accusing them of conspiracy, why aren’t they federal investigations? Why is it all a blind eye turned towards this? I can see why people come up with all these conspiracy theories, because there’s nothing there.
There’s hundreds of federal investigations, the role the guns play or the role that these violent video games play, or other thing. And there are no investigations. One thing, and I’m certainly not happy it happened, I don’t mean to imply that, but one thing that has come out the navy yard shooter is that finally there is a federal investigation. The house committee of veteran affairs under Jess Miller is conducting an investigation. And he has already said, he hasn’t said what drug it was, but there was one drug that the shooter was on that is problematic. I think he used that word or something like it.
So, I’m like, oh good. Finally we’ll have some type of an investigation into this issues. I think is so terribly important, actually after I investigated and wrote that article, I ordered a whole bunch of copies of the New American, that issue to give out to school principals and people in the school system or in the area where I live. Because I think is so important for them to know.
BILL: And it seems like if you try to say what’s problematic, it’s good that we educate, we need to educate not only principals and super intendants and teachers but parents as well. What seems problematic though is what other solutions to these problems exist. Do we have…? It almost seems like if a child comes to you with x symptom, it’s almost required of you as medical or sociological professional to prescribe one of these drugs.
BILL: Is there something in the books, you know, kind of that guide behavioral issues at school where they make it? Drugs are on autopilot with our kids?
REBECCA: Well, in a matter of speaking yes, that’s what’s going on. The American Psychiatric Association publishes periodically the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of mental diseases DSM and it’s followed by a number according to an edition. The current edition is number five, which was just released this year.
Back in the 50’s when there was the second edition, there were about 180 something diagnosis, separate diagnosis for mental disease. And now there are … the fourth edition I know it had more the 360. I actually don’t know how many this edition has, I haven’t even seen it. But the psychiatric profession … Back in the day of talk therapy, psychiatrist who were medical doctors, had to compete with psychologist and social workers, because things were basically based on talk therapy. Well, psychiatrist through the American Psychiatric Association differentiated themselves because we were able to write prescriptions. So, we aren’t competing any more with psychologists. If you are a psychiatrist and you’re seeing patients, say one patient an hour with talk therapy, you can make a lot more money when you’re seeing three or four patients an hour with drug therapy.
REBECCA: And, so they have an incentive to go with the drug therapy. Especially because you give somebody a drug, it makes them happy. When the FDA approved psychiatric medications, they required that the company that’s producing that medicine, produced two tests, two studies where that medicine is more effective than a placebo. Now, the company can conduct as many test as it wants in order to come up with those two tests. And for these psychiatric… I’m especially talking about antidepressants.
There are various kinds of psychiatric meds, I’m specifically talking about antidepressants here. Very rarely are they better than a placebo. And what’s happening in a test is since the drug has side effects and the placebo hasn’t, the people who are in the test can figure out that they’re the ones getting the drugs and they’re more inclined to report positive effects. And in most of the tests conducted even of the FDA, there is either no difference or the placebo is better than the drug.
But the studies that are published, and marketed the doctors, are the ones where the drug is more effective than a placebo. So what’s happening is the pharmaceutical manufacturers are promoting those tests and they’re promoting these drugs with the doctors. And it’s a snowball. It just continues going and what you said, you asked about a solution, if there’s a solution. Yes, there’s a solution. We need to get away from drug therapy. Drugs need to be the last resort, rather than the first resort.
BILL: What’s going on with voices? One of the things that it seems like you’re always looking for a common denominators in these things. What is it about voices in the head that kind of fits a familiar patterns here too? As a nurse I’m sure you’re thinking of things, you’re trying to analyses things, what could cause this. But what is it about the voices in the head? So many of these that follow so many of these as one of the symptoms.
REBECCA: Well, what exactly are you asking about voices? You want to know what causes them?
BILL: It seems like the people that kind of snap, a lot of them including the most recent one that you wrote the column about, Aron Alexis, had voices in his head.
BILL: It’s like it created … You know you mentioned that people are happy. Well, he didn’t seem really happy.
BILL: Taking this drug.
REBECCA: Sure. Every drug has side effects, effects to people differently. What happens in the brain when you’re taking this drugs… these drugs are actually originally developed as ad junks to antibiotic therapy. It was only when they were discovered to produce this feelings of euphoria or what have you in certain people that the psychiatric profession started using them, labeled them as antidepressants. So they weren’t actually developed for the current use that they’re in today.
What happens in the brain is neurons, which are the cells in the brain communicate with each other by releasing chemicals to each other called neurotransmitters. And when you disrupt that half way, which is what this medications do, they either increase or decrease the reactivity of neurons to neurotransmitters, things are going to go on. It’s like, well, Parkinson’s medication, which, I’m not saying we shouldn’t have Parkinson’s medication; people with Parkinson’s disease need them.
REBECCA: But they effect the neurotransmitters and one of the side effects, very common side effect with Parkinson’s medication is hallucinations because you’re messing with the neurotransmitters. So voices in the head or voices behind a wall or under the floor or whatever they’re coming from, it’s because the neurotransmitters are being bickered with. I mean, that’s the explication for what happens here. Now, I’m not saying that there are not valid mental disorders. When I was in nursing school, I did my psych rotation in clinicals.
I remember a girl, young girl, early twenties at the most, pregnant with her third child by a family member. She had seven different personalities. One of them was Jesus. Another one was some devil, I can’t remember his name. And then other, various other men and women, who she would be at different times. That woman had a serious problem. And it was not drug induced. She had a problem before she started any drug therapy. And the drugs were necessary to subdue her on some of her more violent times. So I’m not saying we shouldn’t use drugs at all.
I’m not saying it isn’t a time and a place for them. But to use them so randomly. Travidon, which is what they discovered the Navy Yard shooter was taking, is not a sleep medicine. They use it to treat insomnia, because it is very sleep inducing. But the sleep inducing component of the Travidon is a side effect. Travidon is a powerful medication which effects neurotransmitters and can do exactly what it did to Aron Alexis, the Navy yard shooter.
BILL: And then all of a sudden, one day he finally snaps and he went to his auditory hallucinations as you’re suggesting. And then one day he just plain snaps. It also seems, Rebecca, that there is a kind of detachment that exists in some of these case where, I’m not saying that they are exactly the same, but is almost as if somebody’s seeing the world through playing out a video game or something. They seem very detached to humanity. Because you must have to be in some ways to sort of ruthlessly slaughter people. Any ideas of where this detachment side comes from?
REBECCA: Well, again, it’s the neurotransmitters. They say that mental diseases and depression and things like that are caused by chemical imbalances. They don’t have any proof of that claim. None at all. The chemical imbalances start when you start taking these medications. There’s a teen, I’m sure his now in his twenties, who lived through his experience. He brought a gun to school, thank God, he didn’t shoot anybody. But he doesn’t even remember the experience. The drugs he was on, Zoloft and one other, I can’t remember what it was of the top of my head. But he doesn’t remember anything about what went on. Neurotransmitters are not something to be played around with. They control the flight response. They control a lot of things. Everything. They control communications between the cells in your brain.
BILL: I guess, here’s a question then. You mentioned the validity of psychiatric meds in term of there are cases. Of course there are cases where we see this is being something that’s valid. But how do you and society go from that point to the point where it becomes like candy, and it seems like the laxity it gets and any sort of stops get erased just in the name of what you said earlier.
Maybe efficiency, maybe of just trying to see how I can maximize the number of patients that I’m going to see in any given period of time. You know, we are trying to be more efficient. And everyone would say well-being more efficient is a good thing. In this care maybe being more efficient by just prescribing the drugs seems like it’s really changing our society. Now, for every shooter there’s all kinds of cases that don’t get published of, family disruptions, horrible things that happen, relationships broken. That doesn’t make the headline news. But it’s still, it creates a burden on our society. What’s the way out? In other words, how do you use it for the cases when you need to use it and how do you know who fits that paradigm?
REBECCA: Again, I think drugs should be a last resort rather than a first resort. There are a lot of other interventions that can be used, especially talk therapy. I do think that psychiatric professionals to blame for denying also the spiritual aspect of what goes on. Man is a physical creature, but he is also a spiritual creature, and there’s a supernatural element here that’s being completely ignored.