For the last time, psychiatric drugs do NOT cause school shootings

So I go to the vast cultural void that is Facebook, and I see people posting memes and bullshit about mass shooters and psychiatric drugs. You know, things like this…

People who post bullshit like this are the reason that seeking professional mental healthcare in this country is so stigmatized. You are all Luddites who are just as bad as anti-vaxxers, if not worse. You people, and please take that in the most derogatory way possible, are a bigger cause of mass shootings than the drugs you demonize. You are a big reason why people who are suffering in silence every day won’t go to get the help they need. Some of you may as well have pulled the trigger yourself.

Hell, let’s even analyze the pitiful meme I posted that’s being passed around the world’s restroom wall that is Facebook. I’m going to focus on the top row because those four are school shooters I recognize. From the top left, Dylan Klebold from Columbine was not on any kind of psychiatric drug. His partner, Eric Harris was on Luvox but he’s only half the equation. You can’t blame Columbine on psych drugs if only one of the shooters was taking them. Next is Cho Seung-Hui from Virginia Tech. No drugs, prescription or otherwise, were found in his system. And of course, the little troll on the end is Adam Lanza from the Sandy Hook shootings. While he had a history of psychiatric problems, no drugs were found in his body either. I’ll even give you a bonus one. Stephen Kazmierczak, who ten years to the day before the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killed 5 at Northern Illinois University. He had been taking Prozac but had stopped taking it three days before the shooting. However, Prozac doesn’t leave your system quick enough for there to be that much of an emotional change.

Then again, that’s another problem with your deadly conspiracy theory. You can’t make up your minds whether or not being on meds causes violence or being off of them does. And yes, it is a conspiracy theory. I defy you to find a peer-reviewed medical study that connects medications to school shootings. Not a link from WND or Free Republic and not one from Natural News or Huffington Post either since you dolts seem to run the political spectrum. Try not using the term Big Pharma either. You might as well say jet fuel can’t melt steel beams.

I was going through the archives of this site and I came across this post I made five years ago about a coalition who believed antidepressants caused school shootings. The coalition was made up of gun rights advocates, Scientologists and physician-skeptics. So that means people who shoot themselves while cleaning their guns, people who think essential oils can cure cancer, and a cult that believes evil aliens inhabit your body and will get rid of them for a nominal fee think that medicine is bad. That is the company you keep.

Again, you all need to learn the phrase ‘Correlation does not imply causation’.

In conclusion, you’re an anti-science Luddite who has no compassion for those with mental illness. You should feel bad, you’re a horrible person, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Thanks to Nick for the tip.

Valium did not cause the Las Vegas shooting

Valium did not cause the Las Vegas shooting

I didn’t plan on blogging about the Las Vegas shooting. I felt just as bad about it as I did when 9/11 happened. As a matter of fact because of my depression I haven’t been able to blog about two school shootings that took place recently. Then I saw something claimed about the shooter, Stephen Paddock, that made my blood boil and I couldn’t remain silent on this.

Some online political rag, who I won’t link to because they don’t deserve the traffic, used the headline of “Stephen Paddock: Another Mass Shooter on Psychiatric Meds”. The rag linked to another article from the Las Vegas Journal Review, which in my opinion was very irresponsibly written. Basically both articles insinuate that since Paddock was prescribed Valium it led to the shooting. The article claims one of Valium’s side-effects is ‘aggressive behavior’. According to the Mayo Clinic, the side-effect should be more properly referred to as ‘outbursts of anger’ and it’s not that common.

Paddock was believed to have taken the drug at prescribed intervals and didn’t abuse the drug. So you’re going to tell me this so-called aggressive behavior caused by Valium, or diazepam if you will, resulted in Paddock inspecting three different possible locations for his rampage, amassing a stockpile of weapons over a number of years and meticulously planning his crime to include cameras outside of his hotel room? I don’t buy it. Not only that, but it’s bad journalism.

The Las Vegas Review shouldn’t even be trusted as a news source since it was taken over by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Adelson is rumored to have bought the paper so it would no longer criticize his business practices. Adelson was also a large donor to the Trump campaign so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Adelson, through the paper, is trying to turn the debate away from gun control to prescription drugs.

There are a group of people who are so opposed to antidepressants or any medicine used for the treatment of mental healthcare, they almost always attach it to whatever mass shooting may have just occurred. To my recollection this has been going on since at least Columbine, when it was made a big deal that one of the shooters was prescribed Luvox for depression. Never mind that the other shooter was on no such meds. That’s not even mentioning that these people will blame the drug if the shooter was either on or off of the drug they were prescribed.

The worst part is these people are further stigmatizing mental healthcare, something that doesn’t need any further stigmatization in this country. Not everyone on Valium is a potential mass murderer, they’re more likely trying to stave off a crippling anxiety attack. Furthermore, people on antidepressants are more than likely just trying to function normally in society and not plotting the mass execution of dozens.

James Holmes is no friend to mental illness

James Holmes

James Holmes

After his arrest for the movie theater murders in Aurora, Colorado, a number of James Holmes fangirls showed up on the internet, mostly Tumblr, because…well…it’s Tumblr. Having dealt with a murder groupie or two in my time I wrote about the self-proclaimed ‘Holmies’ here.

With his recent conviction this article from Slate by Amanda Hess revisits with the Holmies to see if their attitude has changed towards their mass-murdering heartthrob. Surprisingly it has but not necessarily for the better. A number of them now see him as some sort of martyr for mental illness in this country. As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety on a daily basis let me make it clear that in no way, shape or form should this assclown be used as the poster boy for mental illnesses. To do so would be wrong for a number of different reasons.

First to portray him as some sort of sympathetic figure is akin to excusing him for the brutal murders of 12 innocent people. Secondly, there’s enough of a stigma against mental illnesses already that this would make people think that anyone with even the slightest psychological defect is a potential mass murderer. Lastly and most importantly it would further discourage people suffering from a mental illness from seeking treatment lest they be thought a danger to those around them.

If you want to make anyone the spokesperson for mental illness and treatment make it the person who suffers in silence since no one around them can understand how they’re feeling and who receive advice like “Have you tried not being depressed?” by people who don’t know any better.

Why is Autism the bogeyman of Luddites?

autism

For those of you who may not know what a Luddite is can read up on them here. Its more modern connotation is someone who is anti-science or anti-technology. So in my opinion it’s a fitting term for not only those who wield Autism as a weapon to forward some kind of anti-science agenda but also for those who fear Autism like it’s tantamount to the Black Death.

In the past Autism has been used as a reason why parents shouldn’t vaccinate their kids, which has been debunked by the way. It’s been used as a way to try to get women to not take anti-depressants. It’s been argued that it can be a cause of school shootings. All of those accusations are patently ridiculous but it doesn’t end there. Recently I read an article, from a website I used to think was reliable, that linked circumcision to Autism. The one commonality that these things have in common is that they all have factions that are dogmatically opposed to these practices. In the case of school shootings it’s defense lawyers looking for an easy out.

What makes these factions so effectual are the ignorant masses who are so deathly afraid of their kids getting Autism that they’ll buy just about any snake oil they think will protect them. In this case the old adage is true that people fear what they don’t understand. There are worse things than your kid having Autism, like having them die from a horrible disease that was once thought eradicated.

Autism is not some kind of punishment from God. It doesn’t mean you did something wrong prior to your child’s birth. It doesn’t mean your kid will become a mass murderer. Most importantly it does not mean that your child will be some kind of Hollywood stereotype of an Autistic that just rocks back and forth and screams.

I know several parents who have Autistic children and the majority of them are intelligent and artistic kids who just need a little bit of special attention. I’ve known some that have grown up to be more than productive members of society.

If someone tries to tell you that such and such causes Autism take pity on them for they’re obviously incapable of thinking rationally.

The FDA hates asthmatics

fdalogo

For years if not decades if an asthmatic needed emergency relief they could use the over the counter inhaler Primatene Mist. Four years ago the FDA forced Primatene Mist off the market for the harm its CFC propellant was causing harm the ozone even though by environmentalist standards the actual damage was infinitesimal.

R.I.P.

R.I.P.

Then came along Asthmanefrin. While its atomizer was a piece of junk that constantly broke down it was at least an option of relief for asthmatics. That was until recently. Today I was having asthma issues and went to several pharmacies looking for the EZ Breathe Atomizer. All the stores I went to had the refills but not the atomizer. There wasn’t even a place on the shelves for it.

atomizer

I went to the Asthmanefrin website and all they had listed on there was the box of refills and no atomizer. How is anyone supposed to use the medication without the atomizer? Not to mention that there has been no mention about any kind of any discontinuation or recent recall anywhere.

I went to various asthma related websites and forums and all that anybody knew were vague rumors that the FDA had the atomizer quietly pulled off the market leaving asthmatics with no over the counter relief options. While I can not verify that it does make a lot of sense.

Prescription inhalers are very expensive and the pharmaceutical companies know that they have asthmatics over a barrel. We need to pay their exorbitant prices or else we won’t be able to, you know, breathe. So they can’t have any OTC alternatives, that in my opinion are more effective, cutting into their market share and the pharmaceutical cabal can have a strong lobbying presence influencing policy at the expense of suffering patients.

Meanwhile I’m still having trouble breathing.

Trench on 'surprise' medical charges

medical-billing

Lately an article from the New York Times about surprise medical charges has been making the rounds on Facebook. Once again people are taking the article at face value without doing any further research. Luckily for you I’m here to tell you the real deal as I call upon my 20+ years experience in the healthcare field. If you doubt my credentials they just happen to be that I worked for a major health insurance company for ten years and for the next 15 I’ve been working in various medical clerical positions mostly including medical billing.

The article seems to be mostly focused on one man’s plight when he received a rather astronomical bill for a surgery that he had. The charge was for an assistant surgeon who was out of his insurance’s network. The article gives the impression that there is no recourse even though there is.

First off this is a rare occurrence in my experience. If you going to have surgery in a hospital that is in your network and the primary surgeon is in your network then the odds are that the assistant surgeon will be in your network too. If the assistant surgeon is not in your network a majority of the time the insurance company is willing to make a deal with the doctor and most doctor’s offices are more than willing to work with the insurance company. The article also seems to give the impression that doctor’s will know ahead of time if they’ll need an assistant surgeon. Usually an assistant surgeon is called in during the surgery when an anomaly or difficulty is discovered. Also if you read deep into the article you’ll find that the man’s insurance company did end up paying the assistant surgeon’s fee.

Here’s the one tip that everybody needs to keep in mind. Doctor’s do not know how billing procedures work. They are usually too involved in treating the patient to worry about each individual insurance policy covers. That’s what medical billers and coders are for and most of us bust our asses to get the most benefit from your insurance company.

Suicide is selfish

typeonegativesuicide

So as we all have heard by now a renowned celebrity killed himself recently. When my wife told me the news I said that I don’t get it. She said to me that I of all people should get it. What she means is that I suffer from depression, horribly. Also in my younger years I have attempted suicide. I tried in my teens because of a hellish situation at home and in my mid 20s because I experienced a drastic life change for the worse at the time. I have not made any attempts since then. That’s not to say the thought never enters my mind but I digress.

Getting back to the celebrity in question, the reason I don’t get it is because as far as I can tell he had the means and resources to get help. I’ve heard reports that he committed suicide due to financial issues but how bad could they have been? Would they be to the level where he would have to live on the street? I doubt it. I’m not faulting him for being successful in his career but he should have taken advantage of that success in order to get help.

Suicide mostly has to do with mental illness, no one knows that better than me, however it is also an act of selfishness. No matter who you are if you take your own life it will have repercussions among those closest to you for years to come and may affect someone in a negative way for the rest of their life.

Take me for example. Like I’ve mention ad nauseam I suffer from depression. I take medication for it which helps but there are still bad days. For example right now I’m unemployed. I have been for the past 7 months. I didn’t work at my previous job, which was a temp job, long enough to be able to collect unemployment. What little money I’m able to scrounge up comes from panhandling to friends and strangers on the internet. I can’t even get hired by retail or fast food let alone my own field.

My car is in a serious state of disrepair. Because of my financial situation I am unable to get the car repaired which means I can’t get inspected or registered for the year. Because of that the car has been ticketed multiple times for having expired tags. In less than 30 days I have to do one of the following, pay a $250 fine which only delays getting ticketed again, turn in the tags which leaves me with no transportation, or go to jail for not doing the previous two.

Speaking of my meds, I have to ration them because I don’t know when I’ll be able to afford them again or be able to afford a visit to the doctor’s.

The past seven months have been very hard not only on me but my family as well and yes there are some days where I’m so depressed that I pray for the release of death. A situation like this I’m sure has broken people before but I persevere. I have to. There is no other way. I have no choice. I have a family who would be devastated if I were to take my own life. I care for them too much to ever do that to them no matter how bleak my situation gets. I don’t tell you this for your pity, I tell you this because suicide is not a normal or healthy thought.

If you are considering suicide I urge you to get mental help as quick as you can. There’s no shame in admitting that you need help.

Asthmanefrin: DO NOT BUY

asthmanefrin

If you suffer from asthma and can’t afford a prescription inhaler you probably lament the loss of the Primatene Mist inhalers. So do I. If you go to your local pharmacy and see a product called Asthmanefrin, that is supposedly designed to replace Primatene, do yourself a favor, avoid it if at all possible.

Over the past couple of years I’ve purchased way too many of their starter kits that contains the inhalation solution and the EZ Breathe Atomizer.

atomizer

The reason I keep buying the starter kit is because the atomizer always stops working after about two weeks. Asthmanefrin will tell you that you have to clean it properly after each use for the atomizer to function properly. In my experience that doesn’t help. All the atomizers I’ve ever had no matter how I maintained them died after two weeks and once they die that’s it. You can’t get them working again. So to get a new one you have to buy the starter kit again which goes for $50 a pop and above. Still cheaper than prescription inhalers but less cost-effective if you’re having to buy a new one every two weeks.

Last year I worked for a pharmaceutical company and had access to industry news sources. At that time it was being reported that Primatene was on its way back to the market with a newly designed inhaler. As of the time I’m writing this it has not yet been brought to market. We can only hope it hits our store shelves soon.

Psychologist: Don't blame mass shootings on mental illness

psychiatry-symbol

Jeff Temple is a psychologist and a professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. He’s also a columnist for the Houston Chronicle. Recently he wrote a column with the headline of “Don’t be so quick to blame mental illness in shootings.” He says that we shouldn’t mistake correlation for causation. He also says that the majority of people with mental illness are non-violent and rather blames things like what he calls unfettered access to weapons, racism and hate, and misogyny.

In my opinion rational people, like myself, are not saying that mental health is the cause of mass shootings however as someone who suffers from a mental illness what we’re saying is that mental healthcare needs to be less stigmatized and more readily available. I also argue that there needs to be discussion on when the safety of the public outweighs the privacy of the mentally ill. Also , I agree with Dr. Temple that most people with mental illness are not violent however the ones that are show a very intense violent nature.

Adam Lanza was said to have been schizophrenic. NIU gunman Stephen Kazmierczak had a history of psychotic episodes and hallucinations. Cho Seung-Hui, was court ordered to receive mental health treatment but never went. Most recently Seattle Pacific University gunman Aaron Ybarra not only went off his meds but also had at least three psychotic episodes involving police or the ER but was not detained because his mother refused to have him committed.

While they’re may have been other extenuating circumstances you can not say that mental illness did not have a part in a lot of mass shootings.

I’m not saying that everyone with a mental illness is a potential killer however as I previously said mental healthcare needs to be less stigmatized so people won’t feel ashamed about getting help but we also need to discern when involuntary commitment is best before someone becomes a potential danger like the gunmen listed above.

Medical Experts: Don't blame shootings on Asperger's

autism

Blaming shootings on autism a mistake: experts:

I was going to just add this as an update to my post about the Isla VIsta shootings but I decided that this not only needs its own post and I didn’t want to give that narcissistic pissant any more undue attention.

Anyway, blaming killings on Asperger’s is nothing new. It didn’t start with Adam Lanza and probably won’t end with this latest assclown. As far back as 2005 I’ve been trying to make it clear to the more ignorant among us that Asperger’s does not cause nor is it an excuse for mass killings. If you won’t believe me will you believe a medical expert in the field of Autism?

Dr. Daniel Son, a Los Angeles psychiatrist, says Asperger’s actually does not exist as an official diagnosis among mental health professionals anymore, though it still is a commonly used term. He says as of a year ago, it now is simply considered part of the autism spectrum, and most who had been diagnosed with Asperger’s are thought to be high functioning and able to live relatively normal lives.

Son, who treats a number of young autism patients, says that obsessive behavior can result from the disease and patients can become fixated on certain issues. But other factors usually come into play when behavior becomes overwhelmingly violent.

“It’s really more associated with a troubled upbringing rather than the autism,” Son said.

Emphasis mine.

I’ll go one step further than that and say it was bad parenting. John Odgren was allowed to keep an extensive knife collection while having an unhealthy obsession with forensics and how he thought he could get away with the perfect murder. Adam Lanza was allowed unfettered access to guns even though his mother knew he had mental issues unrelated to Asperger’s. Lastly it seems that the no one told the Santa Barbara scumbag growing up that the world doesn’t owe him anything no matter how much money he has.

In reality these three are just more examples of how we’re raising generations of emotional marshmallows with an over-inflated sense of entitlement. The only things that are responsible for these crimes are the egomaniacs that committed them.