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An Interview with Fred Baughman MD: Better to Talk than to Drug

Jul 8, 2013 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy

1) Dr. Baughman, as more and more evidence and data comes to the attention of the medical community, it seems that the side effects, and possible suicide or heart death render many ” drugs ” (I don’t call certain things medication any more) simply dangerous. And for many conditions, it may simply be better to listen, and counsel many of our veterans. Agree or disagree?

As there is no psychiatric condition/diagnosis that has been proved to be a disorder/disease/physical abnormality (gross—evident to the naked eye, palpation, etc.), microscopic (cancer cells, infection, inflammation) or chemical—as in diabetes, uremia, PKU, galactosemia) it can never be said that the risk (morbidity, mortality) vs. benefit (to make normal or more nearly normal) ratio of any drug “treatment” in psychiatry is positive and medically justifiable.  In virtually all cases patients are told psychiatric conditions are “disorders”/ “diseases” for purposes of obtaining informed consent which, given the “chemical imbalance” lie is virtually never a valid informed consent.  And yet, this is the prevailing standard of practice in psychiatry today.

Dr John D. Griffith, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine presented the truth of the matter about amphetamines and about all drugs—exogenous chemicals:

“I would like to point out that every drug, however innocuous, has some degree of toxicity. A drug, therefore, is a type of poison and its poisonous qualities must be carefully weighed against its therapeutic usefulness. A problem, now being considered in most of the Capitols of the Free World, is whether the benefits derived from Amphetamines outweigh their toxicity. It is the consensus of the World Scientific Literature that the Amphetamines are of very little benefit to mankind. They are, however, quite toxic. …After many years of clinical trials it is now evident that this antidepressant effect of Amphetamines is very brief- on the order of days. If a patient attempts to overcome this tolerance to the drug, he runs the risk of becoming addicted and even more depressed.”

Griffith, I would say, was the last honest psychiatrist.

2) Obviously, what many veterans have experienced has been extremely traumatic. Thus it is understandable that the “tincture of time” will be needed to help them recover- do you concur?

I concur. My friend, Professor Emeritus Patrick Groff  (San Diego State University, School of Education) had this to say: “As a South Pacific combat Navy veteran in WW II, I have often wondered why there were so few of us who became psychologically “injured” by our duty, while so many of modern-day military personnel supposedly suffer so badly in that regard. For one thing, I cannot believe that fighting the Japanese navy was less scary than is soldiers’ duty in Iraq today.”

Where is the evidence that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are more horrific than those fought against the Japanese or the Nazis? Might it be because–as is

fact—those who fight (and many who don’t) are all told that PTSD, “clinical depression,” GAD, OCD, etc., etc. are “brain diseases,”  “horrible diseases” sure to get worse unless the drugs—the “chemical balancers” for the “chemical imbalances” of the brain are taken as ordered, as prescribed.  Some, I am sure, have had extraordinarily disturbing, fearful experiences requiring more than a “tincture of time”– but, love and understanding without end as they return to the womb of the community and family and empathetic talk therapy—individual and group.

3) Many times, an alcoholic will say that only another alcoholic really understands. Could this be true for our veterans who have really experienced things outside the usual realm of events?

I find that most soldiers, veterans, their families, and survivors strongly advocate cutbacks in the military’s use of prescription psychiatric drugs while urging that they make available all manner of non-drugging therapies, most of all group psychotherapy—talk therapy.  In that they have no actual diseases this is all that makes sense?

4) Group therapy has quite often been seen as important in many realms.  Should PTSD vets be participating in a group therapy experience?

Research has shown that group (talk) therapy is more effective than no (talk) therapy at all but not that it is superior to other non-drugging therapies.

Nonetheless, group therapy is most widely supported by soldiers, veterans and their families.  No form of talk therapy or non-drug therapy carries the inevitable morbidity and mortality that attends pharmacological therapy—especially psychotropic polypharmacy—a deadly symptomatic crapshoot.

5) Dr. Baughman, a global question- has the field of “psychiatry” become simply the pushing of pills with little encouragement, warmth, understanding, empathy, care and concern?

Tragically all in mental health use and believe in the DSM to some extent and bandy such pseudo-disease terms about sticking them on real people–children, most vulnerable of all. We know what happens when a label sticks–be it plain old “mentally ill,” “seriously mentally ill,” or “really, really seriously, mentally ill (discovered and described by my colleague, Chuck Ruby).  In 2005 American Psychiatric Association (APA) president, Steven Sharfstein, confessed that American psychiatry had “allowed the bio-psycho-social model to become the bio-bio-bio model (while) accepting kickbacks and bribes” from pharmaceutical companies leading to the over-use of medication and neglect of other approaches.  The term “bio-psycho-social” would have us believe that psychiatry and what it does is equal thirds biology, psychology and social which has now become entirely, bio-bio-bio. The fact of the matter is that there is no biology to psychiatry (or psychology)-none whatsoever. The extent to which anyone believe psychiatry deals with disease–biological abnormality is psychiatry’s and big pharma big lie bought and paid for, just as confessed by APA President Sharfstein. All of their “biological” research done on never-biological constructs has been bought and paid for by big pharma and is a total fraud. Believing that any part of a bipolar, ADHD, Asperger, or a conduct-disordered child is biological and there it is–their “need,” their justification, for biological treatment–pharmacologic most of all. No question, this is the greatest heath care fraud in history.

6) Dr. Baughman, we all know that there are copious amounts of alcohol and illegal drugs out there- and when patients mix alcohol, drugs and prescribed medications, this lessens inhibitions and causes other problems.  Are there really some very specific groups that should not be given certain psychotropic medication?

Here, I must elaborate.

On February 7, 2008, Surgeon General Eric B. Schoomaker, announced there had been “a series, a sequence of deaths” in the military suggesting this was “often a consequence of the use of multiple prescription and nonprescription medicines and alcohol.”

In March 2008 Sicouri and Antzelevitch (2008) concluded: (1) “A number of antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs can increase the risk of ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death,” and  (2)”Antipsychotics can increase cardiac risk even at low doses whereas antidepressants do it generally at high doses or in the setting of drug combinations.”

On May 24, 2008, the Charleston (WV) Gazette announced “Vets taking Post Traumatic Stress Disorder drugs die in sleep,”  Andrew White, Eric Layne, Nicholas Endicott and Derek Johnson, all in their twenties, died in their sleep in early 2008. There were no signs of suicide or of a multi-drug “overdose” leading to coma. All had been diagnosed “PTSD”–a psychological diagnosis, not a disease, and all were on the same prescribed drug cocktail, Seroquel (antipsychotic), Paxil (antidepressant) and Klonopin (benzodiazepine) and all appeared “normal” upon retiring ,

On April 13, 2009, I wrote the Office of  Surgeon General Schoomaker asking: “On February 7, 2008 the Surgeon General said there had been ‘a series, a sequence of deaths.’ Has the study of these deaths been published?” On April 17, 2009 the Office of the Surgeon General responded, “The assessment is still pending and has not been released yet.”

In a press release, (PRNewswire, May 19, 2009) I called upon the military for an immediate embargo of all antipsychotics and antidepressants until there has been a complete, wholly public, clarification of the extent and causes of this epidemic of probable sudden cardiac death.”

Googling “dead in bed,” “dead in barracks,” by April 16, 2009, we had Googled 74 probable sudden cardiac deaths; by May 2010: 128, and, by November 2, 2011: 247.  Today: 351 [see <> Soldiers Dying in their Sleep]

Pfc. Ryan Alderman, was on a cocktail of psych drugs when found unresponsive, dying in his barracks. Sudden cardiac death was confirmed by an ECG on  the scene.  And yet officials de-classified his death and reversed the diagnosis, calling it  a “suicide.”

In June 2011, a DoD Health Advisory Group backed a highly questionable policy of “polypharmacy” asserting: “…multiple psychotropic meds may be appropriate in select individuals.”  In fact psychotropic drug polypharmacy is never safe, scientific, or medically justifiable.   From 2001 to the present, US Central Command has given deploying troops 180 day supplies of prescription psychotropic drugs–Seroquel included. In a May 2010 report of its Pain Management Task Force, the Army endorsed Seroquel in 25- or 50-milligram doses as a ‘sleep aid.’ Over the past decade, $717 million was spent for Risperdal and $846 million for Seroquel, for a total of $1.5 billion when neither Risperdal nor Seroquel have been proven safe or effective for PTSD or sleep disorders. Meanwhile Heather Bresch, daughter of U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, (D-WV) was recently named CEO of WV drug-maker Mylan Inc., that recently contracted with the DoD for over 20 million doses of Seroquel.

Stan White, father of deceased veteran Andrew White, and I have repeatedly called upon the Department of Defense, Veterans Administration, House and Senate Armed Services and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees to tell concerned Americans and the families of fallen heroes what psychiatric drugs each combat and non-combat soldier and veteran were on. For the most part we are not even accorded the courtesy of an acknowledgement

While such probable sudden cardiac deaths, continue, right along  with their practice of psychotropic drug polypharmacy—the probable cause–the Department of Defense continues to refuse to acknowledge that any such deaths are occurring.  Why should a volunteer foirce of healthy 20-somethings need hundreds of millions of dollars worlth of antipsychotic drugs per year, billions of dollars-worth of psychotropics? Do they expect us to believe all of these deaths, still escalating, are “suicides,” accidental deaths,” or deaths due to soldier/victim-abuse of illegal or prescribed drugs?

Further dispelling any doubt, at the May 24, 2013 Heart Rhythm Society meeting Dr. Audrey Uy-Evanado presented data from the ongoing  Oregon Sudden Unexplained Death Study showing that both the second-generation (Zyprexa, Seroquel Risperdal) as well as the first-generation antipsychotic agents (Haldol, Thorazine) proved to be independently associated with a three to four-fold increased risks of sudden cardiac death, according to results from a large, population-based study. However, schizophrenia itself was not linked to an increased risk of Sudden unexplained risk for the simple reason that no psychiatric diagnosis/disorder has been proved to be a physical abnormality/disease.

Clearly, the military should have embargoed the use of antipsychotic drugs long ago.  They are, in fact, unfit for human consumption.

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