Saturday, October 28, 2006

Just got through watching the CBS documentary on the Jeremy Perkins case---

Jeremy was a paranoid schizophrenic. He and his parents were Scientologists. They refused psychiatric help because it was against their beliefs. Jeremy was treated with vitamins and sent to a Scientologist physician who recommended an intravenous treatment to remove toxic metals, possibly chelation therapy. Jeremy’s condition worsened, as did his delusions that his mother was “evil”, and he fatally stabbed her.

The show featured an interview with an official from the anti-psychiatry and Scientology front organization Citizens Commission on Human Rights which maintains that the drug industry has conspired to medicalize non-medical aspects of life by inventing mental illnesses.


The Lisa McPherson case


Anonymous said...

see citizens commission on human rights on the web for further details

Anonymous said...

Scientology is much maligned in the media. As a practicing Scientologist for 35 years, I can tell you from personal experience that it helps people learn to communicate better, and its study technology helps people (kids and adults) learn how to learn.

What they do with what they learn is up to them. Nobody is telling them what to think.

You've said a lot about the ethics of the funding of medical research by drug companies, and called to question other groups who publish medical research for pushing their own agendas. It does tend to be self-fulfilling, doesn't it?

There's an interesting essay about exactly how this scientific research is skewed when a particular result is desired, here:

Anonymous said...

And, it's not as if schizophrenics who are being treated with all the newest psychotropic drugs never kill their parents . . . . Proof by anecdote isn't.

Dr. RW, you're supposed to be into evidence based medicine, how much faith do you put in psychotropics? While I admit that there is convincing evidence for some mental disorders (like delusional schizophrenia), there is none for other disorders, like depression. (Sugar pills and plain old cognitive therapy do just as well.)

Deferring to the judgments of psychiatry is, as an historial matter, not too wise. Lobotomies for "troublesome" children, blaming mothers for autism, etc. Sigmund Freud? Ha, ha.

I think we should all be skeptical about psychotropics, which do raise serious ethical, let alone, scientific concerns.

R. W. Donnell said...

Thank you all for your comments. To anonymous #3-----

You're right, anecdotes are not high level evidence although dramatic examples such as the Perkins case are strong, and have some evidentiary value.

Regarding the efficacy of psychotropics and antidepressants--maybe we can agree on psychotropics for schizophrenia, with slimmer evidence for other indications.

I do believe antidepressants are better than placebo and I'll defer to the experts as to any evidence comparing them with cognitive therapy.

Psychiatry has a checkered history, having become more evidence based as it has matured.

Finally, I'm all for skepticism, and would like to think my reliance on drugs for certain indications is based on evidence rather than faith.

Anonymous said...

I'll pipe in with the proud name of anonymous.

Heck, we have 300 million people now in the good old USA. There is going to be a bell curve of goofy ideologies which will clog up the internet for decades to come. Scientology has it's nutty adherents and probably some less nutty followers as well. But as the above poster noted there are nutty folks in medicine as well.

Beliefs and pratices are bizarre ranging from not allowing blood (even autologous) transfusions to showing up in the ER asking for help after smoking 200 pack years worth of cigs to enjoying NASCAR racers burn tens of millions of gas per year to.... responding to an internet blog well after my bedtime.