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Friday, 14 January 2011

Mental Health and Pharmaceutical Drugs

Pharmaceutical treatment for mental illness has been, and continues to be a disaster. The BBC 4 programme 'Mental. A history of the madhouse' relayed on 11th January 2011 outlines how mental health treatment has 'developed' from the 1940's to 1990's. So how did ConMed, or 'scientific' or 'evidence-based medicine' set about the task.

* Electro-convulsive Therapy (ECT), or passing an electric current through the brain to cause a seizure. Was there any evidence for it? Did it work? Was it humane? Answer to all three questions - No.

* Insulin Therapy, or giving insulin injections until the patient went into coma. Any evidence for it? Did it work? Was it humane? No. The treatment led to several deaths, and was described as 'a harmful medical failure'.

* Lobotomy. This produced some of the most dreadful images in the programme. Was there any evidence for it? Did it work? Was it humane? Again, no, it was none of those things. There were, apparently, 15,000 operations, and the comment was made in the film - "they did not  know what they were doing - it was a disaster".

* New drugs, Chlorpromazine (Lagactil), Lithium; considered to be 'miracle' drugs at the time, that would 'solve the riddle of mental illness'; but 'worked' solely by drugging, sedating or tranquillising the patient, and used for containment rather than treatment. There was contemporary footage of people who suffered from this sedation, as well as personal testimony about the impact on the drugs of their lives at the time.

This is a dreadful history, and the programme showed visually just how hopeless and bad conventional medical treatment has been over the years. The only positive development outlined by the programme was the work of a group of psychiatrists in the 1960's and 1970's, led by RD Laing, who realised that mental health had something to do with the society we live in, and how some struggled to cope with the circumstances in which they were living. They realised it had little to do with the chemistry of the brain. Sadly, that strand of psychiatry did not prevail. They did not want to use drugs, so presumably they did not receive the support of the conventional medical establishment, monopolised as it is by Big Pharma interests.

No doubt, some conventional medical apologists would want to argue that drug treatment for mental health has improved, and indeed, there is a new generation of drugs now in use. However, they too have similar effects on those people given them (often, now, legally enforced).

All pharmaceutical drugs seek to interfere with natural brain chemistry, and for this reason, their side effects or DIEs (disease-inducing effects) are quite horrendous.

What this BBC film demonstrates, so well and so visually, is how hopeless conventional medicine has been over the years dealing with mental health issues. It has been the same for most physical illnesses too. From the days of leeches, blood-letting, right up to the present, and the disasters of today's toxic drugs, conventional medicine has few answers for our mental health.

Homeopathy can be more successful, and of course it is always safer. As a homeopathy student, I came across Catherine R Coulter's books, Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines; and Philip M Bailey's book, Homeopathic Psychology. Both outlined the personality profiles of some of homeopathy's major remedies, and those books are how always at my side. The homeopathic Materia Medica is full of remedies that have a beneficial impact on depression, and other mental health issues. And the Homeopathic Repertories describe those 'mental health' issues sometimes in great detail.

And linking the symptoms of the patient, with the symptoms of a remedy, can lead to some remarkable outcomes.