Psychiatrists, Physicians & Psychologists That Debunk Psychiatry as a Science
This article has been republished in this blog with permission from
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights
“No behavior or misbehavior is a disease or can be a disease. That’s not what diseases are. Diseases are malfunctions of the human body, of the heart, the liver, the kidney, the brain. Typhoid fever is a disease. Spring fever is not a disease; it is a figure of speech, a metaphoric disease. All mental diseases are metaphoric diseases, misrepresented as real diseases and mistaken for real diseases.”
— Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus
“There are no objective tests in psychiatry-no X-ray, laboratory, or exam finding that says definitively that someone does or does not have a mental disorder.” “there is no definition of a mental disorder.” “It’s bull—. I mean, you just can’t define it.”
— Allen Frances, Former DSM-IV Task Force Chairman
“…modern psychiatry has yet to convincingly prove the genetic/biologic cause of any single mental illness…Patients [have] been diagnosed with ‘chemical imbalances’ despite the fact that no test exists to support such a claim, and…there is no real conception of what a correct chemical balance would look like.”
— Dr. David Kaiser, psychiatrist
“There’s no biological imbalance. When people come to me and they say, ‘I have a biochemical imbalance,’ I say, ‘Show me your lab tests.’ There are no lab tests. So what’s the biochemical imbalance?”
— Dr. Ron Leifer, psychiatrist
“DSM-IV is the fabrication upon which psychiatry seeks acceptance by medicine in general. Insiders know it is more a political than scientific document… DSM-IV has become a bible and a money making bestseller—its major failings notwithstanding.”
— Loren Mosher, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
“All psychiatrists have in common that when they are caught on camera or on microphone, they cower and admit that there are no such things as chemical imbalances/diseases, or examinations or tests for them. What they do in practice, lying in every instance, abrogating [revoking] the informed consent right of every patient and poisoning them in the name of ‘treatment’ is nothing short of criminal.”
— Dr Fred Baughman Jr., Pediatric Neurologist
“Psychiatry makes unproven claims that depression, bipolar illness, anxiety, alcoholism and a host of other disorders are in fact primarily biologic and probably genetic in origin…This kind of faith in science and progress is staggering, not to mention naïve and perhaps delusional.”
— Dr. David Kaiser, psychiatrist
“In short, the whole business of creating psychiatric categories of ‘disease,’ formalizing them with consensus, and subsequently ascribing diagnostic codes to them, which in turn leads to their use for insurance billing, is nothing but an extended racket furnishing psychiatry a pseudo-scientific aura. The perpetrators are, of course, feeding at the public trough.”
— Dr. Thomas Dorman, internist and member of the
Royal College of Physicians of the UK
“I believe, until the public and psychiatry itself see that DSM labels are not only useless as medical ‘diagnoses’ but also have the potential to do great harm—particularly when they are used as means to deny individual freedoms, or as weapons by psychiatrists acting as hired guns for the legal system.”
— Dr. Sydney Walker III, psychiatrist
“The way things get into the DSM is not based on blood test or brain scan or physical findings. It’s based on descriptions of behavior. And that’s what the whole psychiatry system is.”
— Dr. Colin Ross, psychiatrist
“No biochemical, neurological, or genetic markers have been found for Attention Deficit Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Depression, Schizophrenia, anxiety, compulsive alcohol and drug abuse, overeating, gambling or any other so-called mental illness, disease, or disorder.”
— Bruce Levine, Ph.D., psychologist and
author of Commonsense Rebellion
“Unlike medical diagnoses that convey a probable cause, appropriate treatment and likely prognosis, the disorders listed in DSM-IV [and ICD-10] are terms arrived at through peer consensus.”
— Tana Dineen Ph.D., psychologist
“It’s not science. It’s politics and economics. That’s what psychiatry is: politics and economics. Behavior control, it is not science, it is not medicine.”
— Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus
Ronda is a wonderful woman that I met in the course of my work. I asked her to share her amazing story with you. We both hope this story will save lives and help others who find themselves stuck in the trap of taking antidepressants, looking for a way out. ♥
It started with the worlds greatest birthday gift.
Let me begin by introducing myself. My name is Ronda. I am 43 years old. I have two wonderful children and three amazing grandchildren. I am married to an incredibly supportive man and we are raising his fourteen year old son. I have a wonderful career. I own a beautiful home. I drive a nice car. For a woman with my history, I am pretty healthy. Life is good… Now…
My story begins on my 21st birthday. While most people spend their 21st birthday celebrating their first legal opportunity to drink alcohol and go to a bar, I was spending my day in a hospital giving birth to my first son. It was absolutely the most wonderful, magical day of my life! Not only was he MY birthday gift, but he was the first male child of his generation to be born on my husbands side of the family AND he was the first male child to be born for the last two generations on my side of the family. MY son was indeed very special! I gave him a name that honored BOTH families – Willie DeWayne – Willie after my father and DeWayne after my husbands father. Willie was our little prince. EVERYONE rejoiced at his birth. Willie was born on September 10th. He brought so much joy to all of our lives. Christmas was so much fun, even though he was only a few months old, Dad and DeWayne had so much fun buying him “boy” things. At just over three months old he already owned his first fishing pole, a football, a basketball and a baseball mitt.
As the New Year began, Willie got sick. He had what seemed like a horrible cold. On January 1st, it was bad enough that I called our pediatrician and voiced my concerns. Upon his advice I drove him to the local emergency room to be checked out. The ER doctor examined him, gave me a sample of a decongestant, told me he simply had a nasty cold and mildly scolded me for bringing him in for a “cold”. I took Willie home and gave him the medicine as directed.
On January 3rd, we visited my parents. Willie was resting but with the other children playing in the living room where he was sleeping, I was afraid they would wake him so I took him into my parents’ bedroom where he could sleep peacefully. We visited for about an hour. My baby sister was walking by the bedroom where Willie was sleeping so I asked her to take a peek and see if he was still sleeping. She was happy to do so. The next noise I heard was a sound I will never forget as long as I live. The sound that came from that room was blood-curdling. Everyone ran. I couldn’t move at first. I knew. In my heart, I knew. Things in the entire house became surreal. I was running to the bedroom but it seemed to be taking so long. I felt like I was in a strange place. Many of my family members had made it to the bedroom before me. They were trying to keep me out of the room. I remember crying. I remember my mother praying. I turned the corner and walked through the bedroom door, my dad’s brother was standing there, and he was holding my son. I reached for my child and my Uncle begged me not to take him. “He is gone”. I insisted he give me my child. He was cold. He was blue. I carried my child to the living room and began to perform CPR. Someone had already called for an ambulance. My sister and I performed CPR until the EMS arrived and they took over. They let me ride in the ambulance to the hospital. Those people worked so hard to save him. They continued to work at the hospital. I cannot tell you how long but after awhile, the doctor told us there was nothing more they could do. My prince was gone.
I went through the next few days in a daze. My husband and father made all of the arrangements. After the service was over, I went home and sat by his bed. I held his blanket close because I could still smell him. My family was by my side, I had a wonderful support system but I could not deal with it. I went days without sleep. I couldn’t stop crying. I was lost.
At the urging of my husband, I visited our family physician to see about getting something to help me sleep. Honestly, I expected him to say no and offer the names of some support groups for grieving parents. He did indeed say no to the sleep aid but instead offered a magic pill that would help me cope with this. He handed me a slip of paper and as I looked down at it, I had no clue that this one slip of paper would take thirteen years of my life from me.
I began the prescription for Prozac and took it exactly like I was told. They told me it would take awhile to build up in my system but that when it did, I would be able to handle “this”. I trusted this doctor. He had been my doctor for many years. I trust him and I pay him to take care of my health. He would never give me something that would cause harm.
After a couple months, my “symptoms” were no better. So, he increased the dosage and we waited. Several more months went by and after increasing my dosage to the highest he could and still no relief. At this point my doctor informs me that I am “clinically depressed” and that sometime Prozac just isn’t the right drug so we need to try something different. So we did. And several months later, when that drug didn’t work, he decided to try a combination of drugs. I can’t tell you how many different drugs we tried to “fix” me. As frustrating as it was, I did exactly what he told me to do. After all, he is a doctor right? He has all this education and knowledge and experience. So we kept trying. And I kept getting worse.
After about ten years of this vicious cycle, they had finally decided, I had a “chemical imbalance” in my brain. At the time, I never thought to ask, “How do you KNOW?”, “What test have you done to see this imbalance?” Trust…. I trusted him. By this time, they had settled on a combination of Paxil, Xanax, and Ambien. It was the perfect cocktail. I was dead inside. I felt nothing. EVER.
My life became almost robotic. I performed the necessary, required functions. I worked part time, I managed to take care of my two children, and I tried to “pretend” to be normal. Needless to say, this was unhealthy for my marriage. While I was medicated and refusing to be a part of this thing called life, he continued to live. He had little to no patience for my “condition”. I guess at one point he decided he had had enough and made several choices that ended our marriage. For many years, I placed the blame solely on him. Looking back, I can see that there were areas where his chosen path was a result of my lack of emotion.
I would tell you more about this time but to be honest, there isn’t much to tell. I had no life. I was numb inside. I slept as much as possible and when it became impossible to sleep, well, I just took more pills. It was easier that way. Although at one point during this dark time of my life, one good thing did happen. (Actually, I am sure MANY good things happened, I was just to numb to care) I became re-acquainted with an old friend who eventually became my husband. I’m not sure why but for some reason, he wanted to be part of my life. Maybe he thought he could rescue me — kind of like choosing to bring home the “damaged” puppy from the shelter as opposed to the “normal” puppy that has no issues.
Even with my new husband in the picture to care about me, somewhere along the line, I lost my will to live. Even the simplest, normal, every day events of life were too much for me to handle. I could not hold a job for very long at a time. I could not get out of bed. I didn’t talk to anyone. I didn’t eat. I slept. At the end of thirteen years, I was sitting on the edge of my bed looking at the bottles of pills and I simply decided I didn’t want to do “this” anymore. I picked up the brand new bottle of Xanax; I took off the cap and shook a couple out into my hand. And I looked at them. I shook a few more out. And I looked at them. Finally, I emptied the entire bottle into my hand, I put them in my mouth and I swallowed. I felt – relieved. It would be over soon. I lay back down in my bed and pulled the covers up and closed my eyes and waited for the peace to come. Just as the warmth was washing over me, my husband came in to check on me and saw the lid off the brand new, now empty bottle of pills and immediately took me to the ER. There they ruined everything. They gave me some awful charcoal stuff to drink and of course informed my husband that I needed to go into the “hospital” for a mandatory 72 hour hold. And I did. There I met with therapists and psychiatrists and they “adjusted” my meds and deemed me fit for society again.
I went home and at the pleadings of my long time friend, I began to question the medication for the 1st time. I had never been “clinically depressed with a chemical imbalance” before they started shoving pills in me. I got a new doctor and I asked to be removed from the drugs. “Just to see if I am normal without them”. But the answer was a resounding NO. I pushed and pleaded but I was not going to get help from her. I went to my psychiatrist and I begged. I pleaded. But he said NO. I went home and cried. I did not want to live like this. I could not live like this. So I went back to the psychiatrist and I let him know, he could take me off the meds in a controlled environment or I would take me off them without his help. Reluctantly he agreed. I agreed that if I had ANY problems once I was off the meds, I would go back on and give up my “silly” notion that the meds were the whole problem. At this point, my psychiatrist let me know all of the horrible things that “could” happen when I was no longer taking their magic pills. HE said it was my right to know and his responsibility to inform me. It’s funny, now that I think about it; it would have been nice to have been informed about all of the things that “could” happen to me when they gave me those magic pills all those years ago. So where were my “rights to know” and their “responsibility to inform me” back then? Back when my family was whole
So, I went into a facility and began the process of weaning off of the various meds. I admit, at first, I did not feel better. I actually felt worse, but – I felt. I remember being terribly sick a lot. I was plagued by some of the worst headaches I had ever experienced in my life. I would go for days without a good nights rest. I would sweat profusely even when I was in a temperature controlled environment. Violent waves of nausea seemed like they would never end. I remember refusing to let my doctor know just how horrible I was feeling for fear that my withdrawal symptoms would give the doctor fuel for his fight to keep me medicated. Even though my withdrawal was supervised, I felt I was fighting this fight alone. And still I was determined; I wanted to know how I felt. I wanted to feel. I wanted to know when I was happy. I wanted to feel when I was sad.
After about six months and constant monitoring of my “mental health”, I knew I was going to be ok. I was a fully functioning person again. I felt whole. Did that mean I was always happy? No. But it did mean that when something sad happened, I cried. It meant when something funny happened, I laughed. I learned how to smile again. I learned how to be angry, and sad, and mad.
Sometimes, when I am playing a game of tag with my grandson or reading a princess story to my granddaughter, I cry a little bit inside. The tears are mostly a mixture of joy and thankfulness for being whole enough to have this time with them but sometimes, they are tears of longing. Longing for what “could” have been… Longing for what “should” have been…
Thirteen years. They took thirteen years. All because some prescription drug company pays a kickback to the people I trusted with my life.
I am still angry about that. •
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ANTIDEPRESSANTS GO TO WWW.CCHR.ORG
If you are taking any prescription drugs, do not stop taking them based on what you read here. You could suffer serious withdrawal symptoms. You should seek the advice and help of a competent medical doctor or practitioner before trying to come off any psychiatric drug. This is very important
There is a world of difference between teaching someone how to think for themselves and telling them what they should be thinking about themselves. In drug rehab counseling this is a very significant difference that could make or break sobriety.
Typically a person who seeks help from a counselor for a mental pain or discomfort expects to be told why they feel or behave in a certain way; what they should be thinking or feeling; maybe they even expect to be labeled with a psychiatric label such as bipolar or ADD.
But is a counselor you? Is the therapist an expert about your life? Have they been with you since you were born and understand all your life experiences that culminated in what is happening right now?
No. No one knows you as well as you know—or can know—yourself. Ultimately, only you can solve your own problems – but you know this don’t you? If I only had a dime for every drug addict that said, “I want to solve this on my own,” no joke, I could happily retire right now and live a very comfortable life. The bottom line is and always will be that you are the author of your life and you will write the ending be it happy or sad.
So now that we are on the same page and I agree with you that you and only you can solve your problems, would you like to know how to solve a problem? Any problem? Would like to understand love and hate? Do you want to know how to tell what is a right decision verses a wrong one? It’s not always clear is it? – Yes? You really want to know? Good!
Now you understand what to look for in a drug rehab program or a counselor. Are they teaching you life skills or just telling you what you should be thinking and feeling? Are you going to be dependent on a counselor for the rest of your life or an independent thinker and doer? It’s your choice and these are the questions I would want to get answers for if it were I that was in search of a rehab program.
Ninety-nine percent of drug rehabilitation programs are “time based.” In other words their treatment is based on how much time the drug user spends in the program, e.g. 28 days, 60 days, etc.. Very few programs emphasize results or improved abilities. Most drug rehabilitation programs don’t even expect the drug user to be fully rehabilitated once they complete their “time”. And that’s just the point, the time-based rehab model expects that the drug user will relapse (several times even) and the drug addict is made fully aware of this.
The idea of continuously being “in recovery” regardless of when you last used drugs was not the original concept of AA. The AA steps were first published in 1939 in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered From Alcoholism. Notice that it says “recovered”– a much better concept since always being “in recovery”, particularly for a young addict, could give sufficient justification to use—after all he still sees himself as a “drug addict”.
If a drug user has been doing drugs for five to ten or twenty years and now his life is out of control, he has lost just about everything, including almost losing his life, then I ask: How is a 28-day program going to turn this person around in such a short amount of time? Well, come to find out, most rehab programs don’t deliver a full rehabilitation program. They may deliver three or four of the steps or phases and then expect the user to continue to attend meetings once they leave. Does that happen? Do young adults vigorously continue with meetings after 28 days? Are they motivated enough to do it? Probably not in general and in my experience, definitely not.
The amount of time spent in a program cannot determine results. Emphasizing time rather than results has resulted in, well, very little results. The only reason time would have any bearing is that not enough time could cut the process of recovery short and this leaves the user unstable — a very dangerous position to be in if you value your life.
A result-based program would be a program that required evidence of recovery, evidence of life skills gained or regained, proof of responsibility levels raised to a marked degree, self confidence restored, self appreciation and appreciation for others restored, etc. before a drug user can be considered rehabilitated. “Being clean” is just the first part of the recovery process. Staying clean and living an honest, healthy life style is the more important issue.
The reason that outpatient rehabs and short 30-day programs don’t work for the majority of drug addicts, and the reason that many programs tell you that “relapse is a part of recovery” is because these types of drug rehab programs only target the drug and the action of taking drugs but don’t address the real reason the person is taking the drug in the first place.
What are common reasons that people start taking drugs and alcohol?
To take a break from reality.
To have a good time.
To relieve mental or physical pain.
To relieve anxiety.
To help them get through the day.
To suppress painful memories.
To help them cope.
And many many other such reasons.
So what do all these reasons have in common? The addict’s inability to comfortably face the present, the past and/or the future.
What is shyness? It is simply an inability to comfortably be in same space as another person and communicate.
Why do people need to relax? What causes stress? Basically stress is the result of an inability to comfortably face the problems of the day and handle them.
Painful emotions and painful memories are only painful to the degree they are hard to face.
A person starts out taking a drug for one or more of the reasons listed above. When the drug “works” to relieve the mental or physical stress it becomes a “solution”. This solution is then used anytime the user is confronted with issues he cannot face.
Drugs are just a trick the addict employs to help him get around actually dealing with issues. But there is a payback: the issues are all still there – and getting worse by the day; not to mention new problems resulting from the drug use that are also dealt with in the same way – more drugs.
A true drug rehab program would fully address the addict’s inability to face his past, the present and his future. And until the addict can regain this ability, he will continue to find himself involved in “unsolvable” problems, through no fault of his own (he perceives), which pull him deeper and deeper into depression and drug use.
Often I get asked, what about a brain chemical imbalance? What about medications to help the addict cope? First, let’s be clear on the point that a brain chemical imbalance cannot be tested for and therefore cannot be verified. Two: since we cannot prove a brain chemical imbalance we also cannot prove a link between certain behaviors with this “brain abnormality”. And lastly, a drug is a drug no matter if it is prescribed or not. There is no drug that will fix what is really wrong with the a drug user – his inability to face the issues in his life.
Many drug addicts feel very strongly about their own ability to overcome their addiction. When you talk to them about rehab they reject the idea on the basis of, “I can do it on my own.” Even parents sometimes feel that their son or daughter should be able to just stop doing drugs on their own and get their life back together.
This is a very valid point. It is absolutely true that the individual is the only one that can overcome their addiction: no program, parent or counselor can overcome it for him.
The function of a real drug rehab program is to help the individual with maps, a compass and a couple of road signs, not unlike a school; the addict then has to walk the path out of the labyrinth. A counselor’s job is not to tell the addict what to think about his situation or what he must do but to provide him with information, show him what he can do and allow the addict to make up his own mind on whether he is going to do it or not. If done correctly, by gradually showing him bits of information and then allowing him to see if it works for him, he will stand up and walk on his own. And ultimately, that is exactly what you want as a parent or counselor: a person who can be in control of their own life.
The reason the addict found himself in the situation he is in is because of something he did not know – it was not his plan to ruin himself and his family; all he wanted to do was fix a problem and drugs seemed like a good solution. Now he is trapped, his body and mind are held hostage by a chemical and unless he recovers his ability to observe and decide for himself he will continue to walk around in circles.
Sometimes the word “help” is equated with control. Help equals control. If you help me you will be controlling me. In that way, it totally makes sense that the addict does not want to be “helped”. He does not want to be controlled; he rightfully wants to make up his own mind and solve his own problems.
And he absolutely can!
No matter how messy and horrible the addict’s life has become, it is a rare parent that does not still believe that their addicted son or daughter is special, smart and capable. And just about any parent would immediately and wholeheartedly agree that their son or daughter, the addict, has very low self-esteem.
Self-esteem is something that comes from the inside. There is no amount of cheerleading or pep talks that could, over the long run, withstand the self-criticism that drug users bring down upon themselves. Appreciation of self could only be stable and valid to the addict if it is known and observed by self.
The restoration of the self-appreciation is a critical component of any drug rehabilitation. It is our task as counselors to help the addict demonstrate competence and then recognize for himself that he accomplished something worth doing thereby increasing his ability to appreciate himself.
But before this can be successfully achieved there are a few preliminary steps that must be completed.
1. Restore the addict’s ability to observe. In order to be able to function well, one must be able to observe their environment and react appropriately. Drugs reduce a person’s ability to face reality and therefore the addict cannot clearly observe what is in front of him. This condition slows down the person’s reaction time and sets the stage for poor mental and physical performance which then leads to mistakes; some of which can be fatal.
2. Teach the addict how to study and learn. Unfortunately our education system does not teach this skill. Students are expected to just know how to study and when they don’t learn as expected they are labeled and in some cases drugged. The ability to learn is critical in the accomplishment of our ultimate goal – restoration of self-appreciation and confidence.
3. Restore the addict’s ability to persist and follow through. Learning is just the first part of increasing your ability to do something. Now comes the practical aspect of study – practice. There are ups and downs when you practice something new. Practice takes time and persistence. The ability to persist in spite of barriers is vital if one is going to accomplish anything worth doing.
By helping the drug user to see for themselves that they can learn, persist and accomplish what they set out to do, you are well on your way to establishing that appreciation of self-worth the addict needs to stay sober.
The addict’s self-respect, his ability to love and trust himself has diminished to such a degree that he is now doing things he swore to himself he would NEVER do: shooting up with needles, stealing from family and friends, selling drugs, selling sex, and so on.
In order to fully rehabilitate a drug user, you must also rehabilitate his self-respect. To rehabilitate means bringing back to a former condition or make something new again. The drug addict did not always fear himself; at one time he trusted himself to be a good person and to do the right thing for himself, his family, his friends and for mankind in general. He had goals: be a veterinarian and save the lives of animals; or be a fireman and bring people to safety; be an artist and make beautiful things for people to admire; and so on.
So what happened to that clean bright individual? Where did he go wrong? And how can he find his way back?
Somewhere along the line between the time he had self-respect and before he started taking drugs, the addict did something he was not proud of; he did something he thought was wrong. Likely it wouldn’t have seemed so wrong to you or me, but to him it was wrong. And it might not have been something really horrible but in his mind it was bad enough and a bit of his self-respect was gone. After that, doing things that were against his own moral code and against the moral code of his family or group, got easier and easier. One transgression led to the next and here you are with a son or daughter that can no longer do the right thing no matter how much you tell them to or how much they try.
The road out of addiction must include the restoration of the person’s ability to respect and love themselves. It is their certainty in their ability to do the right thing and their knowledge that they can be trusted by their family and friends, that will keep them sober.
If you want to sum up enabling, as it relates to drug addiction, that old Chinese proverb about fishing would fit perfectly; remember that one? “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Giving away “fish” is enabling. Very simple.
All the years that I have been helping families find solutions to addiction have taught me a very important and time-saving lesson: Find out who the enabler is. This seemingly little problem, the enabler, is actually the elephant standing in the middle of your living room that is either being completely ignored or disregarded as a major issue.
Most interventions are 90% about the family and/or other people enabling the addict. Once the enablers are spotted and handled or gotten out of the way, it’s like pulling the stopper in the bathtub—whoosh! Things start to move and resolve.
If you are enabling in any way, you are stopping or slowing down the forward progress of getting the addict into treatment. If you are not sure whether or not you are enabling, find out. The truth is a lot easier to face than you think and problems are much simpler to fix when the truth is known.
Examples of Enabling
1. Your son is 25 years old and using drugs. He lives at home and does not pay rent. He can reach into the pantry anytime he wants to and get food he did not pay for. You buy him a car to help him get to and from work, but he loses his job and now you fill up his gas tank so he can go to job interviews. You pay for his cell phone too, so he can get calls from prospective employers and all the while your son sleeps in late or all day, goes out evening and weekends, partying and treating life like a long summer vacation.
2. Your boyfriend moves in with you and you find out he is actively using drugs. He is not working and you continue to pay the full rent plus pay for his cigarettes, food and gas. You try and try to talk to him and get him to see that he is killing himself with drugs and that he needs to go do something about it. Meanwhile you still have to hold down two jobs because you have two kids of your own and they too need to eat.
3. Your 43 year old daughter is using meth. She lives at home with you and you cover all her bills for her – you even pay of a couple of drug dealers so that they won’t burn down your house or kill your daughter. Your daughter does not work and gets a regular unemployment check that you never see or get any part of. When she needs money, she hounds you and yells and screams until you give up and give her a 20.
4. Your wife of eight years is going in and out of the bathroom five times a night and her nose runs a lot. You go to a party with her and her new “friends” and she spends most of the time in the bathroom with some other girls. You have never done drugs before but after three years of seeing things get worse you suspect that she is doing cocaine because she admitted to you that before you guys met she was using. You confront her on it but she says you are imagining things. Meanwhile you are working forty to fifty hours a week but she is in charge of paying the bills and somehow you are late on your mortgage. And the kids? Well they look fed and you are not sure but you believe they are getting to and from school alright.
Make no mistake, when you are working to get an addict to treatment, you are selling him or her sobriety; and like any good salesperson knows, you must handle the buyers objections before you can close him – especially on big ticket items that require quite a bit of commitment.
At the same time that you are selling your loved one on why he or she should go to treatment the addict is selling you on why they should not. If you win, and sell the addict on going to treatment, the addict wins also; but if you lose, so does the addict.
My personal favorite is the “too far” objection. That is the one that if not handled correctly can mean the difference between success or failure – life or death.
90% of the time an addict would prefer to go to a treatment program close to home—and 90% of the time, going to a treatment close to home does not work. Why?
Who else is close to home? The drug dealer, the druggy friends, the girlfriend that uses, the family enabler (grandma, mom, dad, etc.); the boyfriend that wants to keep the drug addict under his thumb and will do anything to get her out of treatment no matter how much the parents beg her to stay in there.
I have yet to meet someone that doesn’t agree with the concept of sending a drug addict far away to treatment. If you watch intervention shows you know that at the end the addict gets on an airplane, not walks down the street to the closest outpatient rehab. Yet so often the drug addict has done such a great job of selling the family on “not going too far” or “staying close to home” that by the time the family calls for help they already have their mind totally set on “he won’t go too far” without realizing that they have been fully closed on one of the most damaging objections that could possibly exist.
If you have survived this long living with a drug addict, you know that you are not the one running this show—the addict is—or more correctly their addiction is.
If the addict were capable of making good sound decisions that created good effects and resulted in improvement, they would not be in the position they are in right now.
The only way you are going to turn this around, because in the end it is you that will have to take this bull by the horns, is to turn the tables: You are now the boss, you are calling the shots. Your job is to hold your position no matter what happens and never back down on what you know in your heart is going to save the addict’s life:
1. Treatment close to home does not work.
2. Long term treatment has by far a higher success rate.
3. Drug replacement as a form of therapy is not treatment – it’s trading one addiction for another.
Don’t let your loved one take shortcuts and cheat themselves out of real treatment and long term sobriety just because they cannot face going to a bona fide rehab. You have the power to help, you have the power to show them the real road out.
I deal with so much information regarding drugs that sometimes writing it down helps me to see things in perspective. During recent research for an article I was once again amazed at the statistics and comparisons between different category of drugs.
If you like to think with numbers here are some really interesting ones:
BIG PHARMA: IMS Health forecasts a global pharmaceutical market growth of 5-7 percent in 2011, reaching $880 billion. China, which is predicted to grow 25-27 percent to more than $50 billion next year, is now the world’s third-largest pharmaceutical market. The U.S. will remain the single largest pharmaceutical market, with 3-5 percent growth expected next year.
Pharmaceutical sales in the U.S. will reach $320- $330 billion, up from $310 billion. Antipsychotics remained the top-selling class of medications in the U.S., with 2009 prescription sales of $14.6 billion, similar to the 2008 level. Antidepressants became the fourth-largest class in 2009, up from its #5 ranking the prior year, with U.S. prescription sales growth of 4 percent to $9.9 billion.
In the US, over 100,000 Americans die annually from prescription drugs while a further 2 million are injured by them. Prescription drug abuse is on the rise. An estimated 20 percent of people in the United States have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons.
TOBACCO: With all the taxes, laws and regulations we have in place regarding cigarettes, smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death in the world. Smoking kills more people than all other legal and illegal drugs combined. In the US, 45-50 million smokers spend about $80 billion dollars a year on cigarettes. About 440 thousand of them will die each year. Nicotine is a highly addictive and poisonous chemical.
ALCOHOL: Americans spend an estimated $90-120 billion dollars a year on alcohol. Alcohol related deaths are about 80,000 people per year. The number of American adults who abuse alcohol or are alcohol dependent is about 14-17 million. Anheuser-Busch InBev, based in the US and Beguim, continues to hold the position of the world’s number one brewing company.
ILLEGAL DRUGS: If you combine all the money spent on illegal drugs in the US it comes out to about $65-80 billion a year which includes the cost of marijuana. Approximately 23 million Americans regularly abuse illegal drugs. Many of these people also use tobacco, alcohol and prescription pills.
COCAINE: Americans spend about $39 billion on cocaine. Approximately 1.5 million are addicted. I have seen some lower numbers but we’ll go with the higher one just to be sure. About 2500 die from cocaine abuse.
MARIJUANA: Americans spend $25 billion a year on marijuana. Millions of dollars worth of marijuana is grown right here in the US. People don’t overdose on marijuana but most people that go on to use heroin, cocaine and other illegal drugs, started with marijuana and/or use marijuana along with other drugs. The effects of marijuana can be see on the documentary at www.drugfreeworld.org. THC, the drug in marijuana, is a powerful psycho-active chemical.
HEROIN: Americans spend about $12 billion per year on heroin. Heroin addicts switch from heroin to pharmaceuticals grade pain killers if they cannot get heroin. Numbers are a bit vague but approximately 2500 die from heroin each year.
METH: Americans spend about $1.5 billion on meth. I could not find numbers of death or addiction but considering how much less people spend on meth, we can probably assume that less die of meth than those that use heroin or cocaine.
OTHER ILLEGAL DRUGS: Americans spend $2.3 billion on other illegal drugs.
The difference between detox and rehab is great. The terms get confused because they may seem like the same thing, but they are definitely not.
A medical detox takes about 3-10 days depending on the drug—average five days. The purpose of a medical detox is just to get the body to a point where it is no longer experiencing withdrawal symptoms. It is really that simple.
Is the person still addicted after detox? Absolutely. Are they now ready to face life and deal with their problems? No way! That would be like putting someone’s broken leg in a cast and sending him home without crutches – you can bet the person will fall flat on their face, break the same leg and some other body parts.
Often people have the idea that once you are “clean” and maybe go to a few meetings that the ability to handle life returns – even if it was never there to begin with. That is far from the truth and you can see that with examples in the media all the time.
When people relapse, often the “disease” is blamed rather than the fact that the drug user has no idea how to handle life. Another false notion is that once an addict, always an addict and you can at any point relapse no matter how hard you try to stay clean. I had a person tell me that the last rehab he went to expected him to relapse seven times! Sure, if you have no idea how to stay sober that would be 100% true. But if someone really believes that there are no-long term solutions to addiction they should not be working in treatment.
If you truly want to be free of addiction forever, you must have tools to do it. Life is not a guessing game. There are rules, there are methods of living, there are tools – these are the things that they don’t teach you in school or on reality TV shows and definitely not on video games.
Addiction can only come about when the person did not see the trap in the first place. People who are knowledgeable about life, can see traps from a long way away and often they don’t fall into them. Living life takes some learning– and from people that know what they are talking about.
The whole idea of rehabilitation is to help a person be drug free forever and to give them the tools to stand on their own two feet. Anything short of that is simply not rehab.
A mother called today about her 34 year old son. He has been having problems since he was 16 years old. Now he is having BIG problems with drugs, just had surgery, has no job, lost his wife, cannot work, and all he does is shoot up heroin. She has spent a lot of money paying his rent, bills, insurance, etc. only to find out that the money has been going to drugs. She is, understandably and justifiably, sick of it, sick of him and does not want to do anything more to help him.
Her point of view is she has done enough and that he should now step up to the plate and do something to help himself. He should pay for his own drug rehab program, he should make the calls, he should get all the insurance information and get himself to treatment.
I have been working in drug rehab for ten years and have dealt with 100s of families. I have heard and seen a lot. The chance of her son doing all that , or even any of that, is about zero. The basic reason he is in this situation is that he has no life skills, no idea of responsibility and no idea of how to survive. It is not realistic to expect that he would now, by some miracle, get himself together and do something that dramatic.
If she does not now do all she can to help him get to treatment, he will be on his own and could very likely die. And maybe some would say he deserves it. It’s not her fault. She already helped him enough. OK, maybe. But that is not going to save him right now and in the end, a funeral will cost about $15,000 — or more if the family will want more than just the bare minimum.
His only hope right now is his family and her help. If she refuses to help him no one will pick up where she left off and save him. There just are not enough resources in our country to do that.
It does take courage to help people. The disappointments and heartbreaks are definitely a potential. But the rewards far out-weigh the hardships and I pray that this mother will have a change of heart and help her son to freedom from the slavery of addiction.
At anytime during the process of getting a drug addict to treatment you can do an intervention. Honestly, I have seen so much time and thousands of dollars wasted and more importantly, death, due to delayed interventions, that at this point, I say just cut to the chase and do an intervention.
I know it can be confusing to the family. Why should you do an intervention if the addict is not willing to go to treatment? If you cannot convince him, who will?
A drug user is much more likely to listen to an outsider, not a family member or close friend, when it comes to going to treatment, especially if the person doing the intervention is a former user.
From my personal experience, if you find that after a couple of attempts you are not successful at getting the addict to treatment, it will be a lot faster, with a lot less drama, to hire someone that knows what they are doing and get it done.
No one wants to be a drug addict — it is a horrible life to live. But one can understand why the family would be confused and frustrated: You ask the user if they want help and they violently say, “No!”, steal your money, lie to you and break your heart and you say, “They must not be ready.” And no one blames you for thinking this — but realize that you are not dealing with a simple, single unit person. You are fighting a force that has taken over the basic personality of the user — the addiction itself, which so closely resembles the person you love, it can seem like one and the same — but it is not. You are dealing with two things here: the person himself (who wants to be happy, honest and loving) and his bio-chemical (drug addict) personality.
Being “ready” for treatment does not mean that the user has to admit being a user and that they have hit “rock bottom”. Being “ready” means that we have gotten enough agreement from the drug user that things in their life could improve and they are interested in change.
Per my good friend and associate, David Lee, who is a professional interventionist, 9 out of 10 of his interventions succeed — but only 1 out of every 10 families that reach out to him for intervention ever actually do one. So that means that out of a 100 families, where 90 could have ended up in treatment with the help of a professional intervention, only 9 ever do. Potentially, that is 81 drug users who could have been gotten into treatment faster and more effectively, with less drama and wasted money. Financially, it makes total sense to do an intervention and to do it fast.
Then you can sleep at night knowing your loved one is finally getting the help they need and are on their way to a drug-free, honest life. And wouldn’t that be nice?
I just got off the phone with a very nice elderly gentleman who unwittingly became the victim of prescription drug abuse. This is so common that it just boggles the mind that doctors who prescribe the pain medications and who are aware that addiction could develop, don’t closely monitor their patients or have a plan for them if they do become addicted.
This particular man that called today, has never been addicted to anything before; he is an active member of society, has been working the same job for 27 years, has a wife, two grown kids and two dogs, pays his bills, no drama in his life except that he broke both his arms within a six month period. That required a casts and some pain medications to help him through it. He found out he was addicted when he tried to quit taking the pain medication and discovered it was not that simple. The only reason he is now still on the medication is because he has not figured out a way to quit the drug without the pain of withdrawal.
This situation is so common that I wonder how it is that doctors are not trained to take their patients off medications safely if they are the ones who put them on those drugs in the first place. A plan “B” would be a logical precaution. No?
And what about the makers of the drug. Where is their responsibility? With all the clinical testing they do, why don’t they develop a program for people who want to get off their medication? I actually had a woman who was addicted to xanax call the maker of xanax to ask how to get off the meds. Their reply was that she call her doctor; his answer was go to detox. Detox could cost $500-$1,000 a day!
The rule of thumb used to be that if you did not use drugs before the age of 21, you were likely to never become a drug addict. In today’s world, with billions of dollars in prescriptions being sold around the world, this is no longer true. People who never had any addiction issues before, find themselves trapped with no way out and no help from the very people who betrayed their trust — their own doctor, the FDA and big pharma.
The solution to this issue is to become aware. Pass on what you know to others. Know that doctors are not perfect and they too could make mistakes. Learn all you can about any prescription you are given — that’s not hard to do in this wonderful age of the internet. This is your body, your health and you have the right to good information and good, reliable care — demand it and don’t be afraid to ask questions and GET answers.
In the past 13 years I have been working in the drug abuse prevention field as well as the drug rehabilitation field. I know one thing for sure: drug rehabilitation alone, will NEVER handle the drug problem in our society. Drug users are being created daily. Per the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, right now, there are more than 20 million persons in the U.S.A. who abuse or are addicted to drugs. There aren’t 20 million beds for all those people who need help. Some will end up in jail, some will die and some will sober up, but always new users will come up and join the ranks of those addicted to drugs. Prevention is absolutely necessary and if done right, can produce dramatic results in a very short amount of time.
In our program we have learned what it takes to effectively deliver drug abuse prevention presentations. Just to illustrate the effectiveness of true prevention, here are some comments that came in just in the past few days from students that attended our presentations.
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT DRUGS DID CHANGE. I WOULD NOT WANT TO BE A 55 YEAR OLD WOMAN SITTING AT MY HOUSE WITH NO BRAIN. I WANT TO BE SUCCESSFUL, AND I KNOW FROM THIS TALK TODAY, I CAN BE SUCCESSFUL WITHOUT DRUGS. 11th grade student.
I THOUGHT THAT IT WOULD BE SAFE TO TRY SOMETHING ONCE, AND THAT THERE WOULDN’T BE A PROBLEM IF I WAS CAREFUL. BUT NO, I LEARNED THAT IT DOES NOT WORK LIKE THAT. THANK YOU (C:
“I’VE SEEN FRIENDS I LOVE BECOME DIFFERENT JUST AFTER ONE YEAR ON DRUGS. IT HURTS TO WATCH, SO MAYBE NOW I CAN HELP THEM INSTEAD OF JUST STANDING ON THE SIDE LINE AND WATCHING THEM FADE.”
“I WAS THINKING ABOUT DOING SOMETHING [DRUG] SOMETIME THIS WEEK BUT AFTER LISTENING TO WHAT HAPPENS I DON’T WANT TO ANYMORE.” 9th Grader.
It is not true that all kids will try drugs. It is not true that kids inherit addiction from their family. It IS true that kids have very little information from reliable sources regarding drugs. They find out what drugs do from friends and drug dealers but they don’t know why drugs do that, or what happens to their body and mind when they ingest a toxic chemical. These are important bits of information that if taught the right way, could make the difference between deciding to do a drug or not to do a drug and subsequently the difference between life and death.
For some time it has been known that children in foster care are victims of over-prescribing by doctors and psychiatrists. The CCHR website says that “42 percent of all kids in foster care are taking three or more mood-altering drugs.” Does that mean that nearly half of foster care children are “mentally ill”? Is that even possible? Personally, in the course of my work, I have spoken to social workers who openly admitted to me that foster care children are prescribed an alarming amount of psychiatric drugs.
But worse than that, one of the most horrific situations I can think of is a foster child being used as a test subject by the drug companies as has been the case in Florida. But this week, finally, some sanity found its way to the Florida’s foster care system. A Florida spokeswoman said, “…the Department of Children and Families, not the FDA, is responsible for the protection of children in its care and takes those responsibilities extremely seriously. To that end, we have, by administrative procedures, prohibited the use of children in state care in clinical trials relating to the development of new psychotropic medications.”
This is great news.
So often I receive calls from people that went for help only to find themselves in a worse situation after going to a detox or rehab. Why? Prescription drugs. These people wanted to get OFF drugs only to find themselves on five, six or even nine medications, all of them addictive. How is a person supposed to get out of the trap if the only “help” they receive (from those they are supposed to trust) sabotages their intentions to stay clean?
But the ones that suffer most of all are the children who never intended to be drug addicts but due to a set of unfortunate circumstances found themselves in foster care being drugged, sometimes to death. These unsuspecting kids are being put on addictive, mind altering drugs at an alarming rate and yes, this is a great cause for concern for the drug prevention industry.
How the heck are we supposed to keep up with this onslaught of drug abuse? How are these unsuspecting kids supposed to fight back against the very people that are supposed to help them? And how is this country going to handle drug addiction related issues that result from this barrage of prescription abuse? Economically, this is a nightmare. Spiritually it is a disaster beyond measure.
If you know someone on medications, do a favor to yourself and them, and make sure you do all the research necessary to understand what the prescription is and what it is for.
And to get you started on your research, here are a couple of websites and videos:
In the field of drug rehab it is often believed that heroin addiction cannot be overcome. Many drug detox and rehab programs have given up trying to help heroin drug addicts to overcome their addiction and have turned to replacement drugs as a “solution”.
There are several theories behind drug replacement but the bottom line is that heroin addiction has not been cured and many who have gone the route of drug replacement found themselves in either the same situation they were in to begin with or in a worse one.
But there are some who have not given up the fight and have worked tirelessly to help heroin users to overcome their addiction without drugs — a totally drug-free approach that has been very successful.
Marc Murphy beat a 12-year heroin addiction and has a story to tell. This video is beautiful and gives one hope for a drug-free life.
I continue to be touched by the people I talk to every day. There is so much love and compassion out there; one just has to reach out when in need and someone will reach back. Bonnie Roberts is a lovely person that I had the pleasure of being it touch with while she was helping a friend through his addiction.
Bonnie sent to me an email with a poem she wrote. She said,“Before I share the poem, I just want everyone to know that it was written for a friend who has a problem with addictions. I wrote this looking through my friends eyes even though the words are through mine. I’ve seen this person lose everything from his woman, job, children, family, friends, earthly possessions and so forth…… My heart goes out to anyone who has to watch a loved one just give up everything because of an ADDICTION that runs their every waking moment.”
“BENEATH MY ADDICTIONS”
By Bonnie Roberts
Beneath my addictions; is a man who’s all alone
Has nowhere else to run to; pushed out my “comfort zone”
I chose this road I’m traveling; for years that’s all I’ve known
That’s how I try to stop the hurt; my life is not my own
I’ve lost all sense of self-control; for liquor and some pills
I let addictions create my path; they choose the way I feel
Abandoned all who loves me; temporarily insane
My mind stays filled with terror; I just want to stop the pain
I know down deep inside; there’s a man who longs to be
A father, a son, a brother and friend; but the addictions won’t let that be
I say that, “I can beat this”; but on my own it’s just not so
I know what kind of help I need; but my addictions scream, “Don’t go”
Why leave this friend you depend on; don’t you like the way I make you feel
Your mind tells you “I’m all the friends you need; a bottle and a pill
I’ve taken all who loves you; and I’ve pushed them all away
I’ve even took material things; so my friend only you would stay
Afraid to face the past alone; afraid to let it go
Scared of how life could really be; if you finally told me no
Without me pain would flood your thoughts; is that what you want to see
A life filled with love and happiness; but with me that will never be
I’ll take, and take, and take from you; as long as you turn to me
A friend is what you think I am; but in the end, you’ll only see
That I’ve stole from you your wives, your kids; your family and friends
A good woman who would’ve loved you most; if you could put me to an end
Beneath my addictions; hides the man I long to be
True freedom is just a step away; when I can finally say “Help me”
I need help to mend the rights I’ve wronged; Hearts broken along the way
Help to heal things that I’ve done; only the addictions made me do and say
I need help to heal the pain of war; for an army I proudly served
Help to find the “inner man” I lost; to regain the life that I deserve
Standing on my own two feet again; is where I long to be
I’ll try an reach for outstretched hands; to those who want to help set me free
Beneath my addictions; right now is where I am
I know with love and help from my true friends; back on top is where I’ll stand
Thank you Bonnie!