Mental Health News #17
An ezine brought to you by AlternativeMentalHealth.com and Safe Harbor, a nonprofit corporation.
Dan Stradford, Editor
Alan Graham, Assistant Editor
Gloria McTaggart, Assistant Editor
Feedback: We'd like to hear your comments and views. Please forward them to the e-mail address above. Contact information is below.
Did someone forward this ezine to you? You can subscribe for yourself by visiting our web site and using the
sign-up form there.
Complete unsubscribing instructions are at the end of this message. Or, you can reply to this message and ask to be removed from the list.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. ABOUT SAFE HARBOR
2. EDITOR'S COMMENT
3. ARTICLE: NOW ON SALE! AlternativeMentalHealth.com
4. ARTICLE: AMERICANS COPE NATURALLY WITH 9/11 STRESS
5. ARTICLE: STUDY LINKS ADHD WITH FOOD ALLERGIES
6. ARTICLE: NON-STIMULANT DRUG TESTED AS RITALIN ALTERNATIVE
7. ARTICLE: PARTICIPANTS SOUGHT FOR SPIRITUAL/HOLISTIC PRACTICES STUDY
8. ARTICLE: DR. PRISCILLA SLAGLE'S THE WAY UP FROM DOWN NOW FREE ON THE 'NET
9. ARTICLE: RETHINKING RESTRAINT FOR SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN
10. ARTICLE: RAVE DRUG APPROVED FOR "PTSD" EXPERIMENTS
11. ABOUT ALTERNATIVEMENTALHEALTH.COM
ABOUT SAFE HARBOR
Safe Harbor was founded in 1998 in the wake of growing public dissatisfaction with the unwanted effects of orthodox psychiatric
treatments such as medication and shock therapy. Seeking to satisfy the desire for safer, more effective treatments, the Project is dedicated to
educating the public, the medical profession, and government officials
on research and treatments that, minimally, do no harm and, optimally, cure the causes of severe mental symptoms. Our primary thrust is
education on the medical causes of severe mental symptoms and the use of nutritional and other natural treatments.
1718 Colorado Bl.
Los Angeles, California 90041
U.S.A. (818) 890-1862
WE WELCOME YOUR DONATIONS. AS A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION, SAFE HARBOR IS SUPPORTED SOLELY THROUGH THE GENEROSITY OF THE PUBLIC. DONATIONS CAN BE
MAILED TO THE ABOVE ADDRESS. WE ALSO ACCEPT VISA/MASTERCARD BY PHONE. THANK
A few weeks ago we attended the American College for the Advancement of
Medicine (ACAM) conference in Long Beach, California, and it was a true pleasure to see that alternative mental health approaches are thriving.
Harvard's Dr. Andrew Stoll was there, speaking on his remarkable research which has already shown fish oil to be as effective as
medication in treating "bipolar disorder." Dr. Stoll told me he is currently doing a "definitive" study on a larger group of people over several years which should show clearly to the medical community whether
fish oil should become a "drug of choice."
Numerous other treatments were available for examination. For example, hyperbaric chambers - which increase air pressure slightly - were on
display. They have been shown to be effective at increasing brain oxygen supplies for autistic children and stroke and brain-damage
victims. Another device called a Q-link clears up ambient electromagnetic pollution and was found to reverse "ADD" symptoms in a
The interest in non-drug approaches has never been higher. Last week a highly-place official in the California mental health system told me, "We really need to teach our doctors about non-drug approaches. They
really don't know much about them."
As we head into a new year, it is rewarding to see more promising times ahead for safe and saner treatment - a true Safe Harbor - in the field
of mental healing.
NOW ON SALE! AlternativeMentalHealth.com T-SHIRTS, BUMPER STICKERS
Just in time for Christmas! AlternativeMentalHealth.com T-shirts andbumper stickers are now available for purchase online
T-shirts feature a person putting his head on his shoulders with the caption: "Get your head on straight naturally -
AlternativeMentalHealth.com. Price: $15.00 plus shipping. (See picture)
Bumper stickers say: Support Alternative Mental Health. Price: $2.00 each plus shipping.
Also for sale: Video of the Montel Williams show of December, called "Alternatives for Children with ADD." This is a powerful video, a must for anyone doing talks on the hazards of drug treatment for "ADD."
Montel talks with many parents and children who have gone through drug treatment and have found alternative approaches. Safe Harbor uses this
video at the beginning of our ADD Seminars and we are frequently asked for copies so we now have them available. Price: $20.00 plus
AMERICANS COPE NATURALLY WITH 9/11 STRESS
Stress symptoms soared for millions of Americans who watched televised broadcasts of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon, even among those who lived far from where the attacks took
place, according to the results of a survey from RAND, a research institute in Santa Monica, California.
Of the 560 American adults interviewed, 44% reported one or more substantial symptoms of stress 3 to 5 days after the attack. Ninety
percent reported experiencing at least some degree of stress.
But the great majority found constructive ways to cope with their stress -- 98% said they talked at length about the events with others, 90%
turned to religion, 60% participated in group activities such as vigils or discussions, and 36% donated clothes, money or blood.
This positive approach is in keeping with the advice of prominent
psychologists, who cautioned against "medicalizing" normal reactions to the disaster in a letter circulated among their colleagues in the week
The letter warned that aggressive mental health interventions in disaster situations can backfire. Gerald Rosen, PhD, one of the letter's
authors, told Medscape: "Instead of people saying that it is common to have bad dreams or trouble sleeping when we are very stressed, they say
the reactions are 'signs of PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]' or that people 'have
PTSD.' Normally occurring stress reactions have become
confused with some type of illness state."
STUDY LINKS ADHD WITH FOOD ALLERGIES
A recent study shows that children with the collective symptoms known as
"attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder" are seven times more likely to have food allergies that other children.
Dr. Joseph A. Bellanti, Director of the International Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Immunology at Georgetown University Center
in Washington, DC, administered tests to determine the presence of food allergies in 17 children aged 7 to 10, and found that fifty-six percent
tested positive, compared with 6% to 8% positive results in other
Additionally, the children who tested positive, and their parents, were asked about reactions to certain foods, and 23.5% of them reported
adverse reactions in the past.
Dr. Bellanti concluded: " . . . this finding supports a possible relationship between food allergies and ADHD, and that this preliminary
study deserves further exploration."
NON-STIMULANT DRUG TESTED AS RITALIN ALTERNATIVE
A new twist has been entered into the controversy over drugging children labeled with "ADHD." As a response to the emotional debate over
Ritalin, on October 26, 2001, Eli Lilly introduced data about Atomoxetine, a potential treatment in Phase II trials for "ADHD," at a
child psychiatry conference in New York.
Market analysts tout Atomoxetine (a new name for the drug tomoxetine, which Lilly stopped marketing as an antidepressant in the mid-1980s due
to poor efficacy) as a "$1 billion drug" for Lilly. The key selling points seem to be that Atomoxetine is a non-stimulant with a better side
Russell Barkley, PhD, one of the researchers into the drug, and professor of psychiatry and neurology at the University of Massachusetts
Medical School in Worcester, told WebMD: "We're at the point where any drug not called Ritalin is going to have a leg up on Ritalin, because it
doesn't carry the name which, of course, has been so pilloried in the media."
Controversy regarding the abuse and over-prescription of Ritalin was exacerbated by recent findings that methylphenidate (Ritalin's chemical
name) is a more powerful stimulant than cocaine.
Lilly researcher Dr. John Heiligenstein told Reuters Health, "there is a
clear advantage for non-stimulant drugs that come to the market . . . we hope to cannibalize the stimulant market." That market is dominated by
methylphenidate, sold as Ritalin by Novartis (the pharmaceutical giant formed in the 1996 merger of Sandoz and Ciba-Geigy), and Shire
Pharmaceuticals' Adderall, with 50% and 30% of the $900 million US market respectively.
Atomoxetine, like stimulant drugs, does alter brain function, but works on a different neurotransmitter. Atomoxetine selectively inhibits the
uptake of norepinephrine. Ritalin, by comparison, works on dopamine. Norepinephrine and dopamine are neurotransmitters that affect attention
Reporte side effects of the new drug include decreased appetite and sleepiness at higher doses.
PARTICIPANTS SOUGHT FOR SPIRITUAL/HOLISTIC PRACTICES STUDY
We are pleased to pass along this notice for Dr. Zlatka Russinova of the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Boston University, Boston, MA
Have you used spiritual and/or holistic healing practices that had a positive effect on your psychiatric condition?
The Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Boston University is conducting a study to identify holistic and spiritual practices that
benefit persons with disabling psychiatric conditions. If you have a psychiatric condition and your mental health has improved through the
use of any holistic and/or spiritual practices, you have valuable knowledge that may help many other people with psychiatric conditions.
* As an adult, have you experienced a disabling psychiatric condition?
* Have you used holistic and/or spiritual practices for your
* Have any of these practices had a positive effect on your mental
If you answered "yes" to all three questions, Dr. Russinova invites you to participate in the study. As a participant, you will be asked to
complete a written questionnaire and will be compensated $10 for your time. It will take approximately 45 minutes to complete this
All the information given will be completely confidential. No names will be used in any report that is written about this study.
Phone (collect): 617/353-3549
DR. PRISCILLA SLAGLE'S THE WAY UP FROM DOWN NOW FREE ON THE 'NET
The Way Up from Down, the popular book by holistic psychiatrist Priscilla Slagle on natural treatment of depression can now be
downloaded at no cost on the internet. The book, originally published in 1987 and revised since then, contains in-depth information on exact
nutritional formulas for correcting faulty body chemistry that can contribute to depression.
The book also discusses in detail the role of food allergies, poor diet, bad habits such as tobacco, etc., and numerous other factors that can
lead to states of feeling low.
The Way Up from Down is available at Dr. Slagle's site, http://www.thewayup.com. The paperback version can also be purchased
from the site.
RETHINKING RESTRAINT FOR SPECIAL-NEEDS CHILDREN
by Ed Mahony and Steve Darby
reprinted with permission
Maggie's Grade 10 English teacher was away for a few days and was replaced by a substitute teacher. The class, reacting to the change, was
louder and more chaotic than usual. The substitute teacher presented special activities and did not follow the normal routines. On the second
day Maggie began rocking back and forth and humming loudly. When asked to stop, she smashed her head on her desk.
Joseph returned to his Grade 3 class after being sick for a few days to discover that Halloween mobiles, posters and activities had replaced the
Thanksgiving theme. Joseph responded by destroying a mobile and scratching his teacher's arm.
Inclusion of students with special needs is the order of the day in Ontario [Canada] schools. Many boards are working to break down barriers
that separate exceptional students from their peers. Segregated schools and classrooms are reducing in number with each passing year. Some
boards have adapted total inclusion policies. One jurisdiction, the Hamilton Wentworth District Catholic School Board is celebrating 30
years of inclusion.
Most students with special needs cope, work and play in integrated settings without incident. Unfortunately, a small number of students
with special needs sometimes find school so confusing and anxiety-producing that they act out their anxiety aggressively, creating
unsafe situations for themselves, peers and educators.
The labels and terms used to describe students with special needs include attention deficit disorder, Tourette's syndrome,
obsessive-compulsive disorder and autism spectrum disorder, to name but a few. We can become overwhelmed by the sheer weight of information
attached to these terms.
Fortunately there are strategies that, to a greater or lesser extent depending on the individual, apply to all children with special needs.
Crisis behavior can be minimized if we provide environments that are more predictable and do not over-stimulate.
Some students with special needs are distracted and over-aroused by the hustle and bustle of modern classrooms that most students take in
Brenna, a 17-year-old student with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, likened class to being in a room with 20 TVs on, all very
loud, on different channels, and being expected to solve problems being presented on one channel.
Another student with Tourette's syndrome might add that to understand his day, imagine that several of these TVs were producing a sound akin
to nails on a blackboard all day long.
We can turn off some of these imaginary TVs by recognizing sensitivities as an issue and using a variety of strategies to minimize
overstimulation such as:
* permitting headphones or walkmans that produce white noise
* providing written material on the board and on paper so that the
student does not have to depend solely on the spoken word
* understanding that loud and busy periods are stressful, and lessening
the load on the student to reduce anxiety.
We can also build anchors of quiet time into the students' schedule (quiet planning time in morning, library time, for example). Indeed, a
daily scheduled "escape" from class can be used as a carrot to motivate the student throughout the day.
One former student with obsessive compulsive disorder reminds us that the teacher must remember they, too, are part of the classroom
"When I was in Grade 8 my teacher would use quiet reading time as a chance to fix the bulletin boards and organize the room. It used to make
focusing on my work so hard ... I found myself having to follow what she was doing rather than working."
Sensitivity to fellow students and other people is not the only source of anxiety. The physical environment itself may also present problems:
* the hum and flicker of the fluorescent lights
* the sunlight passing through blinds blowing in the wind
* the flashing of the timer on the VCR
* the teacher's perfume or cologne
* the flushing of a toilet.
These can all be a source of agitation for some students, particularly some students with Tourette's syndrome and autism spectrum disorder.
Still another possible source of agitation is related to the change of seasons. As seasonal clothing changes from summer shorts to winter pants
and sweaters, the addition of cloth or removal of cloth from arms and legs can result in irritation. It might help to think of ourselves as
blind and deaf in the world of some of our students with special needs.
Once we understand that they experience stimulus so differently, we are able to look for reasons for crisis behaviour and make adjustments to
Creating predictable routines and spaces is another important way to reduce anxiety in many special needs students. A structured environment
where a student knows what is expected of him is essential for many.
Tina Kresina, a child and youth worker at St. Columba's Elementary School in Hamilton, [Ontario,] notes that, "With many children with
obsessive compulsive disorder, as well as other students with behavioural needs, one of the first things we do is start to create a
sustainable daily routine that we will be able to follow day in, day out.
"When a student has been in crisis, we often are able to trace its cause to a change in his living and school routines." Tina adds that routines
must be based on "skills and interests the student has and not simply imposed if they are to be successful."
Change is a fact of life that we sometimes cannot avoid. We can help students cope with change by giving them advance warning. Some students
benefit from reminders at regular intervals before a change of activity. Other students require visual reminders.
ASD (autism spectrum disorder) consultant Steve Darby recalls, "We helped a 15-year-old boy with ASD accept moving from one activity to
another by providing him with a timer that showed when an activity was over and a picture schedule that showed the student what activity was
Care must be taken, particularly with some students with obsessive-compulsive disorder, to not abruptly end activity before its
natural end and not to begin activity that cannot be finished.
Predictable space is space that does not appear to change over time. Many students with special needs, particularly those with autism
spectrum disorder, require some degree of predictable space. Predictability can be provided by allowing the student to use the same
desk every day and choosing a seat location that provides a more
constant field of vision, where there is less movement of other students.
Schools that use rotary systems pose an added source of unpredictability. Halton Separate Board educator Marilyn O'Brien
discovered a strategy to lessen the chaos for students. She allows students to carry a piece of predictable space with them into each
"We encourage students to carry a personalized laminated placemat from class to class," says O'Brien. "By placing the mat on their desk, they
create a desk that remains constant from room to room."
School hallways can be difficult spaces for students who require predictability. The constant movement of students provides little
predictability. One way to deal with crowded hallways is to avoid them altogether or choose times when halls are empty. This, however, is not
always possible or practical.
A "human shield" can be helpful in crowded and chaotic situations. An educator walks beside the student in such a way to shield the student
from as much of the movement of others as possible. The adult becomes the student's predictable space.
The degree to which sensitivity and predictability need to be addressed depends not on the label that follows the student but by each child's
unique personality and their set of needs as well as by the specific classroom environment. Many students require minor adaptations to their
program while a very few students require substantial changes.
Providing predictability and accounting for oversensitivity to stimulus are attractive strategies because they are positive, proactive and
preventive. Doug Trimble, principal of Highview Middle School in Hamilton, notes that these strategies focus on avoiding rather than
reacting to crises.
"It is far easier as caring people to provide an environment for another that promotes the least anxiety or aggression than dealing with the
consequences of an agitated person," he says.
[This article was originally titled "From Chaos to Order: Helping Special Needs Students Avoid Crisis
[Ed Mahony is a special education resource teacher at St. Mary's Catholic High School in Hamilton and Steve Darby is a crisis prevention
consultant in Hamilton. They teach "Rethinking Restraint," an accrediting crisis prevention/intervention course focusing on autism
spectrum disorder, to parent groups and educators throughout the province. They can be reached at
RAVE DRUG APPROVED FOR "PTSD" EXPERIMENTS
Research to study the effects of the illegal drug Ecstasy has been approved by the FDA. The study, sponsored by the Multidisciplinary
Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in Florida, will take place at the Medical University of South Carolina. The proposed research by
MAPS will study the effects of the drug in patients with "post-traumatic stress disorder" due to violent crime. Twelve patients will be given two
125 mg doses of the drug about 4 weeks apart along with counseling sessions. A control group of 8 patients will receive a placebo along
with their counseling. Patients involved must have already tried traditional antidepressant medications with no response in order to
qualify for the study.
Ecstasy is chemically known as MDMA (methylinedioxi-methamphetamine) and, like amphetamines, is a stimulant to the central nervous system. It
is more toxic than LSD or mescalin, and has been banned in the US since 1985.
A number of deaths have been associated with its use - usually when taken at 'raves', the euphoric dance-fests popularized in Europe and
exported to the U.S. when a clamp-down was issued by British authorities. Ecstasy is the drug of choice to create and enhance the
euphoric effects of the rave. Several raves have been hosted in the U.S.
by the son of deceased LSD evangelist Timothy Leary.
According to JAMA (1992), "In most of the serious cases reported, the users had collapsed unconscious or started to convulse while dancing. By
the time they were noticed and taken to emergency departments, their body temperatures had soared as high as 110 degrees F (43.3 degrees C),
their pulses were racing, and their blood pressures were plummeting. Despite treatment, death sometimes ensued from 2 to 60 hours after
admission." Similar articles have appeared in Lancet and other journals.
Side effects with even limited use have been severe. In a 1986 study reported in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, out of 29 volunteers
given 75 mg to 150 mg of pure MDMA, 28 lost their appetite, 22 had trismus (lockjaw) or bruxism (involuntary grinding or clenching of the
teeth), nine had nausea, eight had muscle aches or stiffness, and three had ataxia (inability to control muscle movements). Subsequently, 23
noted fatigue for hours or days, and 11 reported insomnia.
An article in Lancet, December 2001, acknowledges MDMA as a known serotonin neurotoxin, and recommends further studies to determine if the
damage done to the brain by MDMA is reversible.
In addition to approval from the FDA, the study still needs clearance from the university's Institutional Review Board and, since the drug is
illegal, a license from the Drug Enforcement Agency.
The Medical University of South Carolina has issued assurances that "ethical and legal standards" must be met before testing on its campus
can go forward.
ALTERNATIVEMENTALHEALTH.COM IS THE WORLD'S LARGEST WEB SITE DEVOTED exclusively to alternative mental health treatments. It includes a
directory of over 200 physicians, nutritionists, experts, organizations, and facilities around the U.S. that offer or promote safe, alternative
treatments for severe mental symptoms. Many of the physicians listed do in-depth examinations to find the physical causes behind mental
Also included on the site is an array of articles on topics ranging from the medical causes of schizophrenia to the effects of toxic metals on
Special AlternativeMentalHealth.com T-shirts and bumper stickers are available at our
online store, as well as a Montel Williams video on
alternative treatment for children labeled with ADD.
A bookstore page lists top books that cover many areas of alternative
treatments with titles like Natural Healing for Schizophrenia and Other Common Mental Disorders and No More Ritalin.
AlternativeMentalHealth.com has been created to educate the public, practitioners, and government officials on the medical conditions that
create "mental illness" and the many safe resources available for addressing and often curing severe mental symptoms.
and help us reach others with this information!
The information of this Website is for educational purposes only and is
not intended to replace the advice of physicians or health health care
practitioners. It is also not intended to diagnose or prescribe
treatment for any illness or disorder. Anyone already undergoing
physician-prescribed therapy should seek the advice of his or her doctor
before reducing the dosage or stopping such treatment.
questions or comments
about this site please E-mail us