Thursday, 1 October 2015

More Harm Than Good

A couple of weeks ago our guest blogger, Anne Watmough, went along to this London conference - More Harm Than Good: Confronting the Psychiatric Medication Epidemic, organised by the Council for Evidence Based Psychiatry (CEP). The CEP website reports: "Global leaders in the critical psychiatry movement met for a one-day conference to address an urgent public health issue: the iatrogenic harm caused by the over-prescription of psychiatric medications." Anne kindly sent in a review of her experience of the day - read on.

I set out on Thursday the day before the conference at 9 o'clock in the morning and boarded the bus direct to London. My journey took five and a half hours. But I didn't mind as the coach was very comfortable.

I arrived at my small hotel to find my room cosy and spotlessly clean. I had a nice meal that evening at a Moroccan restaurant on King Street.

The next morning I rose early and went out to have a full English breakfast at a nice cafe. Where the chips were delicious. I allowed myself to eat this food because I was a traveller.

Then I took a taxi to Whiteland College, part of Roehampton University, over Hampstead Bridge.

I arrived to an empty auditorium - one of the very first people to get there. Then two women came to sit down beside me. These remarkable women both had sons like myself affected by psychiatry and psychiatric medications.

Amy, a most young looking natural blonde lady despite all of the transgressions her life has held, explained she was prescribed psychiatric medications whilst she was pregnant with her son. He was born handicapped and she has had his lifetime to regret what happened to her when she was most vulnerable and carrying him inside her.

She has devoted her life to caring for him.

The second woman I met was Jemima and she explained how she was fighting for her son who had had a bicycle accident when young. He was left disabled and in a wheelchair. She felt that when he was prescribed psychiatric medication his disabilities were made worse. How horrendous for a woman whose son was disabled for her to watch him become more disabled due to side effects of medication that is supposed to keep him healthy.

I listened to the wonderful speaker Peter Gotzsche and how he is fighting for the rights and care of people like myself. To keep us free!

There were several speakers who were educated renowned men.

But one of the speakers who most impressed me was the renowned American journalist Robert Whitaker. He wrote "Mad in America" and "Anatomy of an Epidemic". He has researched and investigated psychiatry and psychiatric medications. And the drug industry. He has a website - Mad in America - and his work is also on this along with that of other people. The epidemic of labelling and drugging is rife in America and also in Europe. More and more people suffering from normal emotional problems are sent to their GPs who go on to prescribe medications like anti-depresssants or refer them to a bio-psychiatrist. These medications do more harm then good. This award-winning journalist can be found also on YouTube.

The main speaker, and a man I totally am devoted to, was Dr. Peter Breggin. He came through from America on Skype. He couldn't attend because his wife Ginger was unwell and he felt he had to be by her side. He gave his talk and as I expected the audience gave him a rapturous applause.

Then he was up for some questions. I was the first to put up my hand to speak. The sound effects were an issue on that day and at first he couldn't hear me but I managed to speak loud enough and clear enough so my question could get through.

First, and this is the first time I ever had a chance to speak to him, I wanted to tell him I have read his books. "Toxic Psychiatry", "Your Drug May be Your Problem", "Withdrawing off Psychiatric Medications" are just a few of his wonderful writings. I have his latest book in front of me -  "Guilt, Shame and Anxiety" - which I think is his best book yet. My favourite being "The Psychology of Freedom" which he wrote in 1980 when my son was born. Which makes it 35 years old. Somehow my question got through to him despite the sound situation. And he answered me giving me hope about my own current brain damage.

Dr. Breggin has been a psychiatrist working in New York for 61 years. He started at the young age of 18 at Harvard University and went on to train. He never prescribes medication or sends off his patients to be incarcerated. He has never had a suicide on his books.

Which in my opinion makes the man incredibly remarkable.

After the joy of speaking to Dr. Peter the conference went on with the panel and people asking questions.

I am afraid my anger got the better of me on that day although I passionately expressed myself and did keep it in check. It is recorded on YouTube under the title of this article.

My son I feel has been damaged by psychiatric medications. And that they stirred in him mania which he may not have suffered from if given talking therapy which was suited to what ailed him emotionally at the time he was in crisis.

I have been in therapy these past two years and I feel I will never have another psychotic episode.

I became aware at the conference of the wonderful Sandra Breakspeare and her dream of starting up a farm called Chy-Sawel in St. Ives, Cornwall. Chy-Sawel is Cornish for ‘House of Health giving.' Sandra's son is incarcerated as we speak and has been in an institution over these past ten years. Which without a doubt makes this remarkable woman even more amazing.

This is an alternative to medication and is the way forward and will help millions. Anyone interested can find details online. Please do all you can to promote this.

I am also aware of Open Dialogue Therapy which is curing, with a 86% result, people who are suffering from first diagnosed psychosis. This is the way forward also. This nursing approach by psychiatrists and psychologists and trained nurses has been working in Lapland, Finland these past 20 years. It is slowly being introduced to the NHS in this country. Sandra is embodying this into her farm. Which is a non-profit making charity.

Open Dialogue UK is holding a conference next February in London. Anyone who wishes to attend can find details online.

I would say that not only has my therapy been a way forward to recovery for myself but attending this conference has also been life changing.

Simply Google Dr. Peter R Breggin psychiatrist, Robert Whitaker American journalist psychiatry, Open Dialogue Therapy Lapland Finland and Chy Sawel. And you will find these people.

Anne Watmough

Many thanks to Anne for telling us about this interesting day. If you want to find out more, you can watch videos of the event on the CEP YouTube channel.

Some names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

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