Blog Archive: April, 2003

Blog subjects:

  • Pseudoscience in the mental-health industry

  • Unethical behavior among pharmaceutical companies

  • Whatever else strikes my fancy

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Note:  Starting in 2003, blog updates will occur sporadically.  I'm just too busy now to maintain a schedule of daily updates.  Thanks for understanding.

Saturday, April 19, 2003

A research team at Hebrew University in Jerusalem admit that antidepressants don't work very well, and yet they (the researchers) are trying to come up with some kind of fancy algorithm to improve the ultimate chances of a positive response.  I say, why screw around?  Just admit that the drugs are glorified placebos, and be done with it.


Dr. Michelle Young is a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington.  She says that treatment for sex offenders is largely ineffective.  Why is that?  The article provides a clue:  “[Young] said the sex offender counseling is similar to that given to alcoholics and drug addicts.”  If it doesn't work for alcoholics and drug addicts (and it doesn't), then why would we expect it to work for pedophiles?

Monday, April 14, 2003

Here's another reason why anti-psychotic drugs should be avoided:  Risperdal (generic: risperidone) has now been shown to increase the risk of stroke.

Wednesday, April 9, 2003

A new study confirms what many have long suspected anyway:  Weight Watchers doesn't work.  OK, to be fair, it works a little bit, but not very well.  Study participants lost an average of about six pounds over two years.  Six pounds.  Big deal.  As my friend Mike might say, I can lose more than that just by having one good bowel movement.  This whole thing reminds me of Alcoholics Anonymous – another highly over-rated organization.


So it turns out that Calvin Klein is a booze-hound or something.  He's going off to Hazelden to dry out.  While I have no ill-will toward Mr. Klein, I doubt that Hazelden is going to make much of a difference (remember the results of Robert Downey Jr.'s repeated stints in rehab?).  Roughly five percent of active alcoholics / addicts achieve sobriety per year, regardless of whether they undergo treatment.  People who are motivated to recover don't get any extra benefit from treatment, and people who aren't motivated can't be helped by treatment (which, in any case, usually consists of spiritual/religious indoctrination, sitting in a circle and complaining about one's childhood, and other such quasi-superstitious interventions.)  The irony here, of course, is that mental-health “professionals” (and society as a whole) are in a deep state of denial about the effectiveness of addiction-treatment centers.  For more information, see this excellent book:  The Diseasing of America, by Stanton Peele, Ph.D.

Tuesday, April 8, 2003

For years, British psychiatrist David Healy has been arguing that antidepressant use is associated with an increased risk of suicide.  Now a report claims otherwise.  I wasn't going to post a link to this latest study, but fair is fair – we have to look at the evidence with an open mind.  So who's right?  I don't know.  In any case, I object to antidepressants mainly because I think that they don't work (i.e., they don't relieve depression much better than a placebo), not because I think that they're especially dangerous.


Friday, April 4, 2003

Another step backward for addiction-treatment in this country.  National Public Radio (NPR) also had a good segment about this issue.


Wednesday, April 2, 2003

Sorry about the lack of blog updates recently.  I just haven't had time to scan the news feeds.  For now, see this long article about psychiatrist Lauren Mosher, who challenges many of the standard assumptions about schizophrenia and its treatment.