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40 Psychiatrists Lobby FDA to Legitimize Drug Restraints for Aggression

Mon, 21 Mar 2005

At first glance, a Newsday article--Hot Under the Collar?-- might appear as a hilarious parody of bio-psychiatry. It is not.

"Recently, 40 scientists met with two FDA officials to make a case for testing treatments specifically for aggression [and] to think about aggression [as] triggered by mental illness."

According to Newsday, this galloping posse of 40 psychiatrists was organized by Dr. Peter Jenssen of Columbia University. The purpose of their lobbying is to legitimize the current, medically unethical practice of prescribing powerful psychotropic drugs as chemical restraints for aggressive behavior. Children in foster care and the elderly are being heavily drugged--some have died as a result.

See: Philadelphia Daily News Lawsuit: State fired shrink for exposing abuse By Nicole Weisenseegan http://www.ahrp.org/infomail/04/07/07.php

Among the drugs Newsday mentioned that are currently used to pacify adults and children, are Zyprexa (olanzapine) and Risperdal (rispeeridone)--neither has been approved by the FDA for such use. These drugs are highly toxic--their labels include warnings about several potentially fatal drug-induced side effects.

The most severe lethal side-effects include: hyperglycemia, diabetes, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, and cardiac arrest and stroke. The drugs also produce brain damage, including involuntary facial and limb movements--tardive dyskinesia--which is disfiguring and often irreversible.

The larger purpose of the psychiatrists' maneuver is a covert effort to resurrect the discredited government-sponsored "violence initiative" of the 1990s which was championed by Dr. Frederick Goodwin, (then) director of the National Institute of Mental Health.

The 1990s "violence initiative" was derailed by a small group of critics and activists led by Dr. Peter Breggin, who publicly unmasked the government sponsored screening and drugging initiative whose target population was inner city black males. In the wake of public furor that followed, Dr. Goodwin was forced to resign.

"In 1992, for example, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council issued a 400 page report titled "Understanding and Preventing Violence." Funded in part by the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Justice Department, and the National Science Foundation, the report called for more attention to biological and genetic factors in violent crime. In particular it called for more research on new pharmaceuticals that reduce violent behavior, and it asked researchers to determine whether male or black persons have a higher potential for violence, and if so, why? At the same time, the Center for Disease Control submitted its own proposal in June of 1992 to coordinate the efforts of seven federal agencies in what they called a youth violence prevention initiative. (1)

Until Goodwin stepped down in April 1994 as NIMH director, he administered the Violence Initiative, a conglomerate of over 300 research projects focusing on screening out and treating preventively violence prone individuals.(2) This ongoing program, which Goodwin described as the U.S. government's highest science priority, applies the tools of behavior genetics to detect biological markers in at risk inner city children and to treat them with drugs at a very early age before they have become criminalized (Washington Post, July 29, 1992). The NIMH has already committed more than $150 million to the Violence Initiative, including a $12 million pharmaceutical study of Ritalin."

See: Breggin P and Breggin G. The War Against Children, (1994), St. Martin's Press and summaries at: http://www.breggin.com/Mehlerart.html;

However, the scope of the 1990s violence initiative pales by comparison with the current government endorsed mass screening for mental illness initiative--i.e., the President's New Freedom Commission for Mental Health. TeenScreen is up and running in "more than 200 sites in 41 states have been trained, and approximately 40,000 youth have been screened." See: (www.teenscreen.org)

Jamie Talan--many of whose articles cannot be differentiated from the promotional press releases issued by the psychiatric establishment--transmits psychiatry's latest buzz words and fuzzy, unscientific rationale for using psychotropic drugs as chemical restraints:

"Scientists have a name for [sic] reactive and defensive behavior: "hot aggression."

"Brain studies are showing a distinction between the aggressive nature of a criminal mind and impulsive aggression."

Aggression "is a clinical symptom, like fever is to an infection," said Peter Jensen, director of Columbia's Center for the Advancement of Children's Mental Health.

"It's amazing that there are no drugs indicated for aggression," said Hans Steiner, a psychiatrist at Stanford University and an expert on juvenile aggression.

"The studies show that hot aggression is a legitimate target for medication."

These wholly unsubstantiated claims are based on junk science which seems to dominate much of the American psychiatric literature. Like their predecessors in the 1990s, psychiatry is covertly attempting to expand the use of psychotropic drugs--if need be, by force. Today's claims are no different from the biological violence claims of the 1990s--they were based on junk science then, and they remain junk.

AHRP challenges Dr. Jenssen and the other psychiatrists to provide us with their research protocols and the full raw data set of the studies they refer to, and we will convene an international panel of experts to evaluate the legitimacy of the claims and render written analyses.

Psychiatry's eagerness to gain FDA legitimacy for the expanded use of psychotropic drugs prepares the ground for implementing phase II of the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health recommendations. Screening for mental disorders is phase I, drugging those who screen positive, is phase II.

This one-two punch is a diabolical drug assault on American citizens which will enrich the pharmaceutical industry while it will destroy normal brain function. It should serve as a rallying cry for our movement which seeks to divorce medicine from drug pushers.

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav
212-595-8974

http://www.insidebayarea.com/bayarealiving/ci_2607008
NEWSDAY
Hot under the collar? So are many others
By Jamie Talan, March 13, 2005

James McLellan of Long Island, N.Y., entered adulthood looking for a fight. Ten years ago, he realized that his impulsive rage was triggered by a chronic depression, a condition that probably began in his youth. Now, almost 15 years after he began treatment with medicines and psychotherapy, the 49-year-old cannot get over all the hurt he imparted.

"I was bad," he said. "I was in a self-destructive mode. Even when I knew things were wrong, I'd still do them."

Scientists have a name for this type of impulsive, reactive and defensive behavior: hot aggression.

They believe that it is a symptom of many forms of mental illness, one that is rather obvious in its manifestations but overlooked in treatment. Now some psychiatrists are calling on Food and Drug Administration officials to recognize it as a symptom that needs treatment all its own.

It can be a manifestation of a number of disorders, from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to bipolar disorder.

Aggression by itself is a normal human response to frustration, threat and anger. Dr. Peter Jensen, a child psychiatrist at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, says that society does not recognize the distinction between the normal and "hot" forms.

Psychiatrists say the latter is abnormal, fueled by impulsivity and mood disorders.

And it is not to be confused with "cold" aggression, the kind that defines a career criminal who harms people, animals or property < although psychiatrists say that people with untreated hot aggression do get in trouble with the law.

Brain studies are showing a distinction between the aggressive nature of a criminal mind and impulsive aggression.

The latter includes kids who "get hot and have a low threshold for handling stress," Jensen said. In contrast, "psychopaths are cool as a cucumber. There are very different brain mechanisms at work."

Recently, 40 scientists met with two FDA officials to make a case for testing treatments specifically for aggression.

"It's amazing that there are no drugs indicated for aggression," said Hans Steiner, a psychiatrist at Stanford University and an expert on juvenile aggression.

"The studies show that hot aggression is a legitimate target for medication."

"The FDA hasn't had a good way to think about aggression triggered by mental illness," said Jensen, who organized the meeting.

He said aggression is a symptom that often remains after other symptoms improve.

But Dr. Janice Hutchinson of Howard University raised the concern that a child can exhibit aggression in response to poverty and abuse.

Jensen agreed "it would be wrong to look for a pharmacological solution to a social problem. We can't and shouldn't pathologize all aggression."

While psychiatric drugs are routinely used to quell aggressive behavior in many psychiatric patients, those who advocate a new approach say drugs are needed that can work on the brain systems that govern impulsivity and aggression.

Jensen said medicines exist that work on aggression, but none has been put to the rigors of a clinical trial, a process that would recognize if they have value when tested against a placebo, a pill with no active ingredients.

Medicines now prescribed off-label for aggression include lithium, a common treatment for bipolar illness, and Risperdal, normally used in schizophrenia.

Aggression "is a clinical symptom, like fever is to an infection," said Jensen, director of Columbia's Center for the Advancement of Children's Mental Health. "It's what gets kids hospitalized or placed in residential settings, or lands them in the juvenile justice system."

As for McLellan, psychotherapy, medicine and soul-searching have helped him "turn the other cheek" when he finds himself up against something or someone frustrating. "I had a lost feeling for so long," he said. "Now, I have inner peace. I'm always looking at the glass half-full."

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