You! Stop It RIGHT NOW: ADHD meds and Psychosis

Alright, everyone STOP.

I found something to rag on already? Damn, it must be a divine plan for me to come back to this blog.

I need to stop this shit before it gets out of hand. I can’t even get through ten posts on my reader on WordPress without seeing: “ADHD medication may increase the risk of psychosis”. And I can’t read one fucking article related to that without getting this bullshit statistic of “rates of ADHD have increased by *enter bullshit number* within the last year”.

Let’s tackle this one stupid point at a time.

First of all, let’s review: The ADHD medications which are being talked about are stimulants. They are not, and let me repeat this, THEY ARE NOT CLEARED FOR NOR RESEARCHED FOR CHILDREN CONSUMPTION, and yet they are given to toddlers, pre-teens, teenagers, and people under 25. What do all those age brackets have in common? Their brains are still developing.

Some idiot doctor is quoted in this article saying “We compared amphetamines [Adderall and Vyvanse] to people who were prescribed methylphenidates [Ritalin and Concerta]. We found that the Adderall type drugs had an increased risk of psychosis”.

Wow, you guys! Really? Is that what you found? And did something similar happen when you asked people to mainline some meth? Bump some cocaine twice a day? And moreover, did you ask a thirteen year old to do it?

Someone please just take a bat to my fucking head so I don’t have to read this nonsense anymore. No one should be surprised that a type of amphetamine that has a very similar chemical structure to illegal amphetamines is causing something illegal amphetamines cause in otherwise healthy people quite fucking often.

If anything they need to take this opportunity to learn from this. They already fucked up multitudes of people’s lives. So do us all a favor. Do something you should have been doing from the beginning. Scan the brains of your patients before you put them on this shitty medication and scan their brains afterwards, when they decent into brutal, prescription induced psychosis, and publish the results. And tell us exactly what these psychiatric medications are changing in our brains.

But you won’t do that. That would harm your fucking business.

Now, obviously, not everyone experiences this side-effect. Don’t get fooled–that does not mean the structure of your brain doesn’t change. Let me share an article I posted on my job’s facebook page. And let’s really, really talk about this.

This article here is posted on Mad In America. It’s essentially an interview with a man who was on psychiatric medication, anti-depressants, and has his doctorate now, in medicine, and doing research on behalf of medication withdrawal. It was found in some studies that as much as 1/40th of a general starting dose of an antidepressant immediately effects every serotonin synapse, 70% of which are in your gut.

So let’s think about that. I was started out on 10mg on my antidepressant back in the day. 1/40th of that is .25. .25mg of that antidepressant would have had an immediate effect on me. Would I feel it? Probably not. But your body and your cells and your synapses would. And over time, eventually you would too.

Adderall is an amphetamine and therefore directly effects serotonin levels. The recommended starting dose of Adderall for adults is 30mg. Not quite sure how they came up with starting dose for anyone other than adults considering it’s never been researched on children.

.75mg of Adderall will have an immediate effect on your system. Think about that.

We have absolutely ZERO clue as to what any of these psychotropic medications do to our brains. That’s not me hating on the system, that, my friends, is simply a fact. The research is biased, often perpetrated by bribed researchers, and the media is so inept at reporting truth half of what the studies actually say are never reported. Don’t believe me? If you’re in college, take your university library card, get on the database, and go read some real journals. Trust me, if you understand statistics a lot of these studies will ultimately disappoint you.

On a child, on an underdeveloped brain, even half of 30mg is going to have a lasting effect on them.

This idea that ADHD is rising is also bullshit. Why? Firstly, doctors get paid to prescribe these medications. They get little kick backs from pharmaceutical companies. So, if you come in with your child who has a few tantrums a day and has trouble sitting in school, that doctor isn’t going to ask you what the nature of the classroom is or the nature of the household (i.e, whether or not the child is being stimulated in school, whether or not there’s enough physical activity, whether or not the child’s diet is overdosed with sugar, whether or not the child is glued to electronic devices, whether or not your parenting just sucks ass).

What this is doing is invalidating the people who really do have deficits in their attention. You could go in a doctor’s office and say you’re having trouble focusing and walk out with a fucking Adderall prescription.

Recesses are being taken out of schools or the time outside is being shortened. You think that’s not going to affect a child? Even though I was silent throughout my school years, when it was raining and we weren’t allowed to go outside I got fucking restless. Why? Because I was a fucking kid. That’s why.

I feel bad for the children who really can’t focus, who literally spend every day and every night fighting their brains, trying to finish a paragraph in a book they’re assigned to read. While their classmates talk out of turn one time and are suddenly given a prescription.

Then everyone wonders why, when that child turns 13, she has a psychotic break.

For example, I have attention problems. I start things and I don’t finish them. I space out when people are talking and then randomly blurt something. I’m either very interested in one thing, or interested in nothing. But I function like every other person. I love school, and learning, and my attention issues have never been a problem for me, even as a child. I didn’t grow up with the t.v on every second, with a smart phone in my hand, eating freaking Frosted Flakes with extra sugar. Whenever a psychiatrist asks me if I have attention problems I always say no because I’m not going get punched with a label I don’t need when there are people out there who literally have breakdowns because they can’t focus.

Everyone STOP this MASS HYSTERIA. And think CRITICALLY. Please don’t believe everything you read–including me. Go research for yourself.

And stop trying to find quick fixes for every little hiccup in your life. Because quick fixes don’t exist.

Quick Fixes. Let’s Talk About It.

For some weird reason, we think the mental health system today is more logical, humane, and helpful than the days of Lobotomy, Ice Baths, and Cold Blankets.

For some weird reason, we think giving someone muscle relaxers before hooking up electrodes to someone’s temples is more humane than just zapping them and watching their body convulse. For some reason, we repeatedly confirm that we have no idea if E.C.T does anything useful, and yet it gets recommended–and very often.

Let’s look at what came out of the Lobotomy era: Thorazine, that’s a pretty big one. The notable “Chemical Lobotomy” put the ice pick rearing mad scientist out of business. In fact, it put all that nastiness into the hands of the pharmacy companies. The only difference is you don’t get a black eye after you swallow a pill. Your organs do, but whatever, no one sees that so it’s okay.

So what went wrong? We go from believing mental health issues come from spiritual unrest (which I’m not going to argue against) to believing it’s hardwired into our system before our birth (which I’m also not going to argue against). That’s a pretty big leap.

I’m not going to argue against or for either option because arguing gets us nowhere. What I’ve noticed in the progression of how mental health is viewed in society (western society, mostly), is that it’s a social construction, much like Gender is considered. It changes with time. Homosexuality used to be a mental disorder. Now it’s not. There you go, simple as that. It’s taking terms and calling it one thing or another. That’s all “mental illness” is. It’s a social construction. What we call depression now might not be called that in fifty years, either due to science or enlightenment or whatever. And the funny thing will be that how people experience depression will change with it’s name–not because we’re changing it, but because we believe we’re changing it.

campaign_for_lgbtequalityFrom what I’ve heard from some LGBT communities, is that things aren’t as bad as they used to be. They’re still pretty horrendous, especially for people who identify as Transgender, but . . . the more acceptance there is online, in communities, and in families, the less of a surprise it is nowadays to hear someone is bisexual or lesbian or gay. Chances go up a good half a percent that someone you interact with won’t hate you for your sexual orientation. What kids in our future, provided acceptance continues, experience underneath any gender spectrum label will be ten times different than what kids today do. Not because the facts of the gender spectrum change, but because we see it differently. We treat people differently, so they treat themselves differently.

Now, if you’re experiencing psychosis for the first time and you get locked in a facility where people are grabbing you and forcing you onto cots and injecting you with things you don’t understand–you’re getting a very clear vision of what people think of psychosis. You might not know it at that moment because creatures are crawling out of the floor and nibbling on your toes, but the aftermath, the lack of support for many, the way you’re treated, what you’re told (you’re sick for life, no way around it, sorry): it says it all. It increases a sense of being trapped, controlled, which doesn’t help anyone if they struggle with paranoia or voices. It increases fear and psychosis feeds off of fear.

So what if how we view these experiences we like to call “mental illness” more like a brain’s distress call–kind of like someone giving you all their belongings, and a sealed envelope you’re not allowed to open until they’re “far away from here”. Would you tackle them to the ground and scream “you’re sick, you’re fucking sick! You need help, you psycho!” in their ear?

If we treat these experiences like a distress call, if we see it as an experience that deserves unique attention because each person’s experience is unique, it doesn’t matter whether the person has a “weird brain chemistry” or if they’ve been through trauma or if they’ve damaged something with drugs–whatever. It won’t matter because we’re not looking at what we¬†think their problem is, we’re paying attention to what they experience, and respecting that. Respecting their despair or fear or anxiety or compulsions. We’re respecting their past, if they have gone through trauma, and we’re respecting their shock if their life has been generally good and they suddenly woke up with God talking to them through a walkie-talkie.

For those of us with these struggles, this goes for us to: we have to respect our experiences. I don’t think it’s healthy to fight ourselves. I don’t think it’s healthy to limit ourselves to that kind of existence. I think it hinders our ability to grow and our ability to function.

What do I think went wrong? I think we got too obsessed with wanting answers to everything. I think, as humans, we get so caught up with believing everything must have a reason and that everything in life that isn’t a pleasant experience needs to be made into one. If negativity didn’t have a place in life then it wouldn’t exist. Then positivity wouldn’t exist. Then we’d all just be zombies wandering around the streets aimlessly, taking bites out of each other’s bodies every now and then because what the fuck else are we going to do? We’re propelled by our biological instincts and that’s it, right? Hunger will be our main experience. Looking forward to it.

When I say “mental illness” is a social construction, I am not saying these experiences don’t exist. If I said that, I’d get pounded into a bloody pulp by the comments and I’d be a lying liar. Instead what I’m saying is these experiences that are very real are being described and made into something they might not be.

I’m 21 years old. I could wake up tomorrow with ten times worse hallucinations than I currently have. I could wake up 24 years old at the mercy of delusions that last longer than a few weeks or a month–they could last six months or a year. I could wake up so far gone in my head that I forget my head even exists. But I’ll never call myself sick or ill. Never have, never will.

Food for thought, everyone.