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U.S. | Health, Housing, and Public Services

Psychiatry admits it has no cures.
by Consuelo
Tuesday Jun 12th, 2012 7:39 AM
In 1963, the United States’ National Institute of Mental Health implemented community mental health programmes. By 1994, the program had spent £30.5 billion and was clearly a failure—with associated clinics becoming little more than legalised drug pushers for the homeless.
“We do not know the causes [of any mental illness]. We don’t have the methods of ‘curing’ these illnesses yet.” —Dr. Rex Cowdry, psychiatrist and director of National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 1995
“The time when psychiatrists considered that they could cure the mentally ill is gone. In the future the mentally ill have to learn to live with their illness.” —Norman Satorius, president of the World Psychiatric Association in 1994
“What’s a cure?…it’s just that it’s a term that we don’t use in the medical [psychiatric] profession.” —Dr. Joseph Johnson, California psychiatrist during court deposition, 2003
Psychiatrists were surveyed about their “fantasies” about their practice. Their Number 1 fantasy was: 1: “…I will be able to ‘cure’ the patient.” The Number 2 fantasy was: “The patient wants to know what his or her problem is.” —Dr. Sander Berger, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Michigan State University, Psychiatric Times, 1998
CCHR was co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology (Founded by L. Ron Hubbard), and Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus Dr. Thomas Szasz at a time when patients were being warehoused in institutions and stripped of all constitutional, civil and human rights. Visit http://www.cchr.org
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is a nonprofit mental health watchdog. responsible for helping to enact more than 150 laws protecting individuals from abusive or coercive practices. CCHR has long fought to restore basic inalienable human rights to the field of mental health, including, but not limited to, full informed consent regarding the medical legitimacy of psychiatric diagnosis, the risks of psychiatric treatments, the right to all available medical alternatives and the right to refuse any treatment considered harmful.
by Cannabis helps me from exploding
Tuesday Jun 12th, 2012 2:40 PM
One medicine that i am VERY thankful for is cannabis, as it keeps me from physically exploding.

Maybe the reason that my name is not in the same category (yet) with other schizophrenics like Ted Kaczynski, Jared Lee Loughner and Phil Garrido is that medical cannabis keeps me relaxed enough to limit my explosions to VERBAL ONLY!!

As of yet i have not decapitated anyone nor put my hands on anyone despite constant harrassment and humiliation from people who are prejudiced against the homeless. Hopefully Tony Hayward (former BP CEO) and Dick Cheney will not cross my path or i may become tempted to test out my new guillotine made from recycled wood.

There is a healthy paranoia that helps avoid the many traps and pitfalls in current capitalist corporatist society where corporations come before people.

Isolation and materialism do not help the self esteem of the mentally ill and can worsen conditions, maybe a reason why the U.S. leads the world in rates of mental illness.

Pharmaceutical products such as Navane, Triliphon, and others for schizophrenia are basically "zombie-making" tranquilizers. Just as well to take a horse pill as they say in the state hospital so that you can go to sleep through the boredom of institutional life. Fuck that bullshit!!

People with schizophrenia should avoid the hard drugs like meth, crack, heroin, bath salts, etc... as we are more susceptible and these drugs do not have the same calming influence as does cannabis. Alcohol, sugar and caffeine should also be avoided. Low grade cannabis may be a better balance as there is an antipsychotic in cannabis and that should balance against the lowest THC content to avoid excessive paranoia and though confusion.

Here's a recent article about an antipsychotic compound in cannabis

"A compound found in marijuana can treat schizophrenia as effectively as antipsychotic medications, with far fewer side effects, according to a preliminary clinical trial.

Researchers led by Markus Leweke of the University of Cologne in Germany studied 39 people with schizophrenia who were hospitalized for a psychotic episode. Nineteen patients were treated with amisulpride, an antipsychotic medication that is not approved in the U.S., but is comparable to other medications that are.

The rest of the patients were given cannabidiol (CBD), a substance found in marijuana that is thought to be responsible for some of its mellowing or anxiety-reducing effects. Unlike the main ingredient in marijuana, THC, which can produce psychotic reactions and may worsen schizophrenia, CBD has antipsychotic effects, according to previous research in both animals and humans.

Neither the patients nor the scientists knew who was getting which drug. At the end of the four-week trial, both groups showed significant clinical improvement in their schizophrenic symptoms, and there was no difference between those getting CBD or amisulpride.

“The results were amazing,” says Daniel Piomelli, professor of pharmacology at the University of California-Irvine and a co-author of the study. “Not only was [CBD] as effective as standard antipsychotics, but it was also essentially free of the typical side effects seen with antipsychotic drugs.”

Antipsychotic medications can potentially cause devastating and sometimes permanent movement disorders; they can also reduce users’ motivation and pleasure. The new generation of antipsychotic drugs also often leads to weight gain and can increase diabetes risk. These side effects have long been known to be a major obstacle to treatment.

In the German study, published online in March by the journal Translational Psychiatry, weight gain and movement problems were seen in patients taking amisulpride, but not CBD.

“These exciting findings should stimulate a great deal of research,” says Dr. John Krystal, chair of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, who was not associated with the research. He notes that CBD not only had fewer side effects, but also seemed to work better on schizophrenia’s so-called “negative symptoms,” which are notoriously hard to treat.

Negative symptoms include social withdrawal, blunting of pleasure and lack of motivation, which commonly occur in schizophrenia. Since current antipsychotic medications can themselves cause the same problems, however, it wasn’t clear whether CBD was better than amisulpride at treating these symptoms, or whether CBD simply caused fewer side effects to begin with.

Nevertheless, the new research helps elucidate the intricate complexities of the brain’s natural cannabinoid system and how CBD may work to alleviate symptoms of schizophrenia. Years ago, Piomelli and his colleagues discovered that people with schizophrenia have elevated levels of anandamide — a neurotransmitter that activates the same receptor activated by THC — in their cerebrospinal fluid, suggesting that they also had higher levels of it in the brain.

The difference was huge: anandamide levels were nine times higher in schizophrenic people than in mentally healthy controls, Piomelli says.

The researchers theorized that these radically high levels would correlate with hallucinations and delusions: the more anandamide bathing patients’ brains, the worse their disease would be. The thinking was, in essence, that people with schizophrenia are constantly high on their own natural THC.

But what the researchers actually found was the opposite. “What you get is not a positive correlation, but a negative one. The higher the levels of anandamide, the lower the symptoms,” Piomelli says.

It didn’t seem to make much sense at first, but research in both animals and humans now shows that anandamide is a natural stress reliever and antipsychotic. Piomelli thinks that the high levels seen in people with schizophrenia aren’t the cause of the problem, but the result of the brain’s attempts to solve it.

The new study confirmed that as CBD relieved patients’ symptoms, anandamide levels rose in concert. “It looks like anandamide is a signaling molecule that has evolved to help us cope with stress,” Piomelli says. “In the brain, everything it does seems to be related to ways of relieving stress. It can relieve anxiety and reduce the stress response. It is involved in stress-induced analgesia [when you stop feeling pain while fighting or fleeing]. These are all mechanisms to help us prevent [negative outcomes related to stress],” says Piomelli.

“If Dr. Piomelli is right, then the brain is exquisitely sensitive to changes in anandamide levels,” says Krystal.

This raises another question, however. THC itself mimics anandamide. If high levels of anandamide are helpful for schizophrenia, why does marijuana smoking intensify psychotic states?

Here’s where it gets complex. THC mimics not only anandamide, but also another cannabinoid, 2-AG, which fits the same receptors and is far more common. “There is 200 times more 2-AG than anandamide in the brain,” Piomelli says. “At the end of the day, the complexity is such that 2-AG has a whole cluster of effects. Anandamide has completely different effects, sometimes even opposite effects. That is why with THC you get a big mess.”

Complicating matters further, when chronic marijuana smokers build up a tolerance to THC, it may down-regulate the entire system, making it harder for anandamide to have its positive effects. This may be why some studies find that people with schizophrenia who smoke marijuana get worse.

So, where does CBD fit in? It doesn’t attach to a receptor like THC, or fool the brain into thinking that it’s getting extra anandamide or 2-AG. “What CBD seems to be doing is preventing anandamide from being destroyed,” says Piomelli. That allows the substance to exert its stress-reducing and antipsychotic effects on the brain longer, without the negative effects of THC.

If replicated, the results suggest that CBD may be at least as effective as existing drugs for the treatment of schizophrenia, without the severe side effects that make patients reluctant to take medication. The catch: “The real problem with CBD is that it’s hard to develop for a variety of silly reasons,” says Piomelli.

Because it comes from marijuana, there are obvious political issues surrounding its use. Extracting it from the plant is also expensive. But the biggest barrier may be that CBD is a natural compound, and therefore can’t be patented the way new drugs are. That means that despite the possibility that it could outsell their current blockbuster antipsychotic drugs, pharmaceutical companies aren’t likely to develop it — a particularly striking fact when you consider that every major manufacturer of new generation antipsychotics in the U.S. has so far paid out hundreds of millions or billions of dollars in fines for mismarketing these drugs. Yet they still reaped huge profits.

Piomelli and others are working to develop synthetic versions of CBD that would avoid such hurdles. “We have one and are hoping to move forward in the near future,” he says.

For people with schizophrenia and their families, of course, it is likely to be infuriating that non-scientific issues like marijuana policy and patenting problems could stand in the way of a treatment that could potentially be so restorative. While it’s possible that these study results may not hold up or that researchers could discover problems related to long-term use of CBD, it’s hard to imagine that they could be any worse than what patients already experience.

Maia Szalavitz is a health writer for TIME.com. Find her on Twitter at @maiasz. You can also continue the discussion on TIME Healthland’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIMEHealthland.

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2012/05/30/marijuana-compound-treats-schizophrenia-with-few-side-effects-clinical-trial/#ixzz1xcKZJisJ

by T DK
Thursday Jun 21st, 2012 11:10 AM
I met quite a few people who accidentally told me about their bipolar disorder as it is called today, it was nearly getting humorous, except that some cases whose treatment seemed homeopathic, made me think of holocaust. Sufferers of bipolar disorder often understood things other people had not begun to understand; they had believed that empathy is a form of culture, at least a human characteristic amid the more meddlesome emanations coming from the intruder they are even compensating for. And then there are those who only reflect on their own feeling, who are probably taken as the norm.