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Re: MAPS: [LA Times] The Unabomber: A "Volunteer" In CIA Mind-controlExperiments [fwd]

[...snippage about Kaczynski, which was interesting, although i really doubt
their premise is correct -- i think Ted would have been a nut without the
CIA -- anyway...]

> There are other human time bombs, primed in haste, ignorance or
> indifference to long-term consequences.  Amid all the finger-pointing to
> causes prompting the recent wave of schoolyard killings, not nearly enough
> clamor has been raised about the fact that many of these teenagers
> suddenly exploding into mania were on a regimen of antidepressants. Eric
> Harris, one of the shooters at Columbine, was on Luvox. Kip Kinkel, who
> killed his parents and two students in Oregon, was on Prozac.

The implication here is, of course, that Prozac and Luvox caused them to kill
("Homicidal Teenagers on Antidepressants, next on Oprah").  This, of course,
misses the obvious fact that you don't get Prozac or Luvox if you don't
already have some problems.  The fact that you can take a sample of troubled
kids (in this case _severely_ troubled kids) and find a bunch of them on SSRIs
does not, of course, imply that the SSRIs made them troubled.
> There are a number of other instances.  

Which should be explicitly mentioned and actual _statistics_ should be
compiled before coming to any conclusions.

> Apropos possible linkage, Dr.
> Peter Breggin, author of books on Prozac and Ritalin, has said, "I have no
> doubt that Prozac can contribute to violence and suicide.  I've seen many
> cases. 

Yes, he's authored "Talking back to Prozac" and "Talking back to Ritalin"
which makes him hardly an unbiased source.  Not mentioning this fact is really
lousy reporting on the part of Cockburn.

> In the recent clinical trial, 6% of the children became psychotic
> on Prozac.  And manic psychosis can lead to violence."

6% psychosis?  I'd like a reference.  I don't believe it.

> A 15-year-old girl

We've gone from Peter Breggin to a random 15 year old girl.  In all fairness
to Cockburn she probably *is* a better source to use than Breggin.

> attending a ritzy liberal arts school in the Northeast
> told me that 80% of the kids in her class were on Prozac, Ritalin or
> Dexedrine.  The pretext used by the school authorities is attention
> deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD,
> with a diagnosis made on the basis of questions such as: "Do you find
> yourself daydreaming or looking out the window?"

The implication here, of course, is that if you answer "yes" to just that
question, you will be diagnosed with ADHD.  This implication is, of course,
> Ritalin is being given to about 2 million American schoolchildren.  A 1986
> article by Richard Scarnati in the International Journal of the Addictions
> lists more than a hundred adverse reactions to Ritalin, including paranoid
> delusions, paranoid psychosis, amphetamine-like psychosis and terror.

Ritalin *is* an amphetamine.  It does not cause "amphetamine-like psychosis",
it causes "amphetamine psychosis."  Anyway, there's probably more than a
hundred adverse reactions to Aspirin.  If you have a point to make about
adverse reactions, it isn't useful to make it without data on the frequency of
the adverse reactions.

> Meanwhile, uncertainty reigns on the precise nature of the complaint that
> Ritalin is supposed to be treating.  

Well, I can introduce you to a friend of mine when he's off his meds and *you*
can try to keep up a conversation with him.  You can also try to get him to
complete any kind of task more complicated than getting a drink out of the
refrigerator.  I'd say that he suffers from significant impairment worthy of a
psychiatric diagnosis.

> One panel reviewing the proceedings
> at a conference on ADHD last year even doubted whether the disorder is a
> "valid" diagnosis of a broad range of children's behavior,

ADHD is not a "myth."  Talk with anyone who has a fairly severe case of ADHD
and it'll convince you.

> and said there
> was little evidence Ritalin did any good.

Take that same person and put them on some meds and see if there is any
improvement.  Ritalin is certainly not ideal, but in many cases it is better
than not using it.

> In 1996, the Drug Enforcement
> Administration denounced the use of Ritalin and concluded that "the
> dramatic increase in the use of [Ritalin] in the 1990s should be viewed as
> a marker or warning to society."

The DEA is also not particularly unbiased.
> Indeed.  Land mines now litter the terrain of our society, waiting to
> explode.


There are valid points to be made about overprescription of antidepressants
and stimulants in children, along with overdiagnosis, but Cockburn is not
making them.  Claiming that ADHD is a myth is not a particularly useful

Lamont Granquist (lamontg@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx)

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