June 3, 2013
DSM-5: Dr Healy
1. Dr. Healy
2.  What I think about it
About ME/CFS


Well... I believe I am still somewhat paying back my walk of 5 1/2 weeks ago, but I also seem to be getting out of it.

Then again, I keep sleeping too little, and last night - June 2/3 - I again did 6 1/4 hours, which is too little for me. Even so, it is better than it was in the months I had seriously sore eyes, and I tend to conclude now it is not because of my eyes (that are improving, though it may take another year to have them back to where they were in the beginning of May 2012 - yes: it was all quite serious).

1. Dr. Healy

I said on June 1 that I wanted to do some about dr. Healy, and this is it, in part at least. The "in part" is due to there being a large article on him on ... May 30 last, in Alternet, that I only got today.

So to start with, here is the link:
And here is the beginning of the article, that I am going to cite more of than I usually do, if only because Dr. Healy is special, and he can't get more than 10,000 visitors a month - which is less than my least well visited site does - and I am a mostly unknown person who has been ill for 35 years, and though my site is large, it also is mostly about philosophy and ME/CFS, which are far from popular subjects (I added a link in the first bit, for a reason mentioned below):
The pharmaceutical industry has compromised the Western medical establishment and hooked America on drugs. One psychiatrist is fighting back.


For the last 33 years, David Healy, an Irish psychiatrist and professor at Cardiff University School of Medicine in Wales, has written heavily researched university press books and academic journal articles on various aspects of psychopharmaceuticals. His output includes 20 books, 150 peer-reviewed papers and 200 other published works. He is not only well-pedigreed, with degrees and fellowships from Dublin, Galway and Cambridge medical schools, he is a widely recognized expert in both the history and the science of neurochemistry and psychopharmacology.

Yet Healy says his output and reputation have had little to no effect—both on the pharmaceutical industry he argues buries relevant information about prescription drug harms, and on the psychiatric and medical professions he claims are being “eclipsed” by drug companies.

“It’s been clear to me that writing books or articles banging on the risks and hazards of drugs is just going to increase the sale of drugs,” said Healy, who speaks calmly, dresses mostly in black and looks a bit like Rod Serling.

In case you wondered about Rod Serling (as I did: what do I know about TV, not having one since 1970?!) I have made a link: Presumably, the - female - journalist thinks Dr Healy is attractive.

Also, I have several times linked in both
but in spite of that:

Since the November 2012 launch, Rxisk has received only 10,000 visitors per month. But Healy, Applbaum and the other founders, like Nancy Olivieri, a senior scientist at Toronto General Hospital and University of Toronto Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine, and Public Health Sciences, are not particularly concerned and plan to ramp up and market their efforts slowly. “We’re doing something that’s new and it’s probably going to take awhile for people to cotton on to what’s new about it,” said Healy.

OK. He needs much more attention, but it is true he has been busy on Rxisk only half a year.

Now as to Healy himself:

David Healy does not consider himself a radical. He prescribes antidepressants and other prescription drugs to his patients. He runs a national university school of psychological medicine. “I’m fairly conservative. I’m a very mainstream doctor, really,” he said. But as New York Times reporter Benedict Carey pointed out in a story, the Irishman living on an island off the coast of Wales “has achieved a rare kind of scientific celebrity: he is internationally known as a scholar and pariah.”

Healy’s status as an outcast arises from his grave concern that blockbuster drugs like Prozac and other antidepressants can lead to suicide, murder and unforeseen mental health problems. In the 1990s, he began to publish academic journal papers providing evidence that antidepressants could increase the risk of suicide. Although many colleagues denied the link, by 2004 American and British drug regulators issued strong warnings supporting Healy’s and other’s claims.

Actually, I do not consider myself a radical - in fact, it is the standard APA spokesmen that are radicals: They claim many things about their pseudoscience (yes, that is radical) that are clearly lies - but then: I am a psychologist and a philosopher, and I know about these things, and that is one of the main problems:

That I am one of the few capable to judge, opposed against a horde of professional liars with strong financial support, who also are healthy, and also not supported by the vast majority or ordinary men and women, who just are not interested if they have no problems, and believe the advertisements if they do.

Then again, it is not really important what I consider myself to be. Here is more about the radical opinions of dr. David Healy, almost 13 years ago (!!):

In the Nov. 30, 2000 lecture, titled “Psychopharmacology and the Government of the Self,” he also made the following statements:
  1. “…The era of Depression that we have lived through in the 1990s in the West has arguably been a politically and economically constructed era that bears little relationship to any clinical facts. An era that has changed popular culture by replacing a psychobabble of Freudian terms with a new biobabble about low serotonin levels and the like.”
  2. “…Both psychiatry and anti-psychiatry were swept away and replaced by a new corporate psychiatry. [John Kenneth] Galbraith has argued we no longer have free markets; corporations work out what they have to sell and then prepare the market so that we will want those products. It works for cars, oil, and everything else, why would it not work for psychiatry? Prescription-only status makes the psychiatric market easier than almost any other market—a comparatively few hearts and minds need to be won.”
  3. “…The best-selling drugs in modern medicine do something similar—they don’t treat disease. They manage risks. This is clearly true of the anti-hypertensives, the lipid-lowering agents and other drugs. It is true also of antidepressants, which have been sold on the back of efforts to reduce risks of suicide."
What can I say other than that (1) to the best of my knowledge, dr. Healy is quite right and (2) it is an amazing shame almost no one in medicine takes up his points, for (3) there are many (former) patients who do - but these are mostly placed like me, except that they do not have a site and do not have the relevant university degrees, and "so" are also mostly simply avoided like the plague. And please note the last point is a shame: It is the patients the medicines are developed for, so ignoring their input is very falsifying.

Another subject:
More recently, Healy has tried to draw attention to the connection between the increasing use of antidepressants and antispychotics and the increasing number of school shootings.
Quite so, and he is quite right to do so: He very well may be right, especially since the manner of the shootings is unknown in the previous century.

One of Healy’s main problems these days is that few people listen to him. “I published a list of 98 drugs that can cause you to commit suicide or homicide. I was waiting for the world to come to an end, but nothing happened.” He continued, “If I make a claim and I don’t have scientific proof to back it up, pharmaceuticals are going to sue me.” There have been no lawsuits, which makes Healy think that silence is part of pharmaceutical companies’ tactics. “They’ve learned that the worst thing they can do is argue. If they jump up and down and say, ‘Listen to the foolish things Healy is saying,’ that would be a good way to hear about Healy. So they’re very good at not responding, maintaining their cool.”

All of this sounds rather paranoid, but then again none of the dozen university psychiatrists or drug company scientists I reached out to wanted to talk about Healy or his claims. Neither Eli Lilly nor GlaxoSmithKline could "find time” to respond to my inquiries about Healy and Rxisk.
Which is an f-ing shame - and please not that both Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline (1) have made - literally - many billions from selling very under-researched drugs, and (2) have been condemned legally to repay part of their profits, but (3) still made a lot of money.

And yet another thing, indeed paralleling more or less what I recently said:

Among David Healy’s many concerns about the state of modern medicine is the marginalization of doctors. Doctors, he’s said, are like cogs in a machine, spending a minimum of time with patients, doling out drugs pushed by pharmaceutical companies, and wrangling with insurance companies over costs.
Not only that: The doctors are definitely less well educated, if considerably younger than I am, and indeed, it strongly seems, are more tractable - to Big Pharma, and not to their patients.

And yet another thing:
In his 2012 book Pharmageddon, Healy argues (and provides evidence) that close to 30 percent of the clinical drug trials that have been undertaken remain unreported; and of the 50 percent that have been reported, almost all are ghostwritten by scientists for pharmaceutical companies.

Perhaps more frighteningly, Healy reports that roughly 25 percent of published clinical drug trials are statistically altered, to provide evidence that a drug works well and is safe. And in 100 percent of the cases, the data from the trials remain inaccessible to scrutiny. Yet, he writes, 80 percent of the reports on adverse consequences of drug treatment, dismissed as anecdotes, have turned out to be correct. “Given these facts,” Healy writes, “it is not reasonable to suggest that the observations of doctors and patients are less reliable than clinical trial evidence.”

If this does not worry you - whoever you are - you are not quite sane: "30 percent  of the drugs trials (..) remain unreported"; of the "50 percent that have been reported, almost all are ghostwritten" (as I have said before: most of the materials that reach you are NOT written by the well-known guys and gals who signed to it, but they did it for nice and hefty payments); and also: "roughly 25 percent of published clinical drug trials are statistically altered, to provide evidence that a drug works well and is safe. And in 100 percent of the cases, the data from the trials remain inaccessible to scrutiny."

That is quite insane - and not on the part of dr. Healy. But there is an obviously valid explanation:

“Many of drugs advertised are rigged to look better than previous generations of drugs and are costed sometimes 10, 20, 30, or 40 times higher than the generic drug,” Rxisk co-founder Applbaum said. “A bit of research through the data will show that the claims of improvement are false.”
Quite so. "It's all about the money, Leibowitz!"

Finally, what this has led to in the United States

Healy and Applbaum point to other galling statistics: the U.S. spends twice as much on healthcare as anyone else in the world, consuming a total of 45 percent of the world’s pharmaceuticals. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization ranks the country 37th in the quality of our care.
That is - I am sorry, but this is about the only adequate terminology - indeed  quite insane.

2. What I think about it

Originally, this section was to be about Dr. Angell. But I decided the above is quite enough for today, and Dr. Angell's - excellent - articles have to wait.

But I do have an opinion, which I'll introduce by a quotation from today's version of the Wikipedia's "

Scientists do not want to get involved to counter pseudoscience for various reasons. For example, pseudoscientific beliefs are irrational and impossible to combat with rational arguments, and even agreeing to talk about pseudoscience indicates acceptance as a credible discipline. Pseudoscience harbors a continuous and an increasing threat to our society. It is impossible to determine the irreversible harm that will happen in the long term. In a time when the public science literacy has declined and the danger of pseudoscience has increased, revising the conventional science course to address current science through the prism of pseudoscience could help improve science literacy and help society to eliminate misconceptions and assault growing trends (remote viewing, psychic readings, etc.) that may harm (financially
otherwise) trusting citizens.

Psychiatry clearly is a pseudoscience and always has been: There are no scientific data that support most of the opinions of psychiatrists, and there never were any, apart from a few cases.

The psychiatrists all know as much as any ordinary intelligent person knows about what makes him or her tick: Very little indeed, for the human brain's working is still mostly a mystery, nor is this a reason to undo all psychiatry, since clearly there are - which also is not a shame if this is honestly agreed - quite a few people who do need psychological help of some kind - unless almost all psychiatry consists of liars, who do not serve their patients, but who seek to enthrall 78% of them, namely by effectively selling the latest of the most expensive psychotropic medicines, for their own private interests.

And the last is the case: There are 400 supposed psychiatric diagnoses, in the DSM-5, all combined with their latest-greatest expensive medicines, of which at most a dozen are based on real verified scientific fact.

So: The reason this does not get discussed far more widely are that (1) "
public science literacy has declined", while (2) psychiatric pseudoscience has sky rocketed the last 33 years and (3) the leading psychiatrists have all given up their patients' interest, and lie publicly for money, to serve their own interests, while (4) almost no one cares: The psychiatrists do not care, for not caring serves their own interests very well, and the patients do not care, for most of them do not know about science, and anyway they almost all trust their doctors - who generally do not know about psychiatry, and anyway are less well educated than they were 30 or more years ago.

About the only one who is both honest, and is not a radical, and who speaks the - very well researched - truth about what he calls Pharmageddon [<- info] is dr. David Healy.

It is to get very depressive.
P.S. Jun 4, 2013: I made some small corrections

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

       home - index - summaries - mail