Thursday, November 24, 2011

Drugging the irritable boy

A local grandmother filed this complaint against a local psychiatrist. It seems to me that the core of the problem here is that the schools will not do anything to accommodate a child with minor special needs. They want to treat the kid just like every other kid, or get the kid declared handicapped so that they can qualify for special govt programs. But once the parents acquiesce to that, they are going down the rabbit_hole. You might want to read this letter before you go there.
September 6, 2011
Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission
1300 17th Street, Suite 1000 Sacramento, CA 95811

Robert L. Brown, MD (C50186) is a psychiatrist with the Santa Cruz County Mental Health Services Agency. In 2006, he persuaded my son and his ex- wife to say that their, then, 7 year old son was mentally ill. The boy is Asperger Syndrome, a mental condition, not a mental disorder, let alone a mental illness. They did this because Santa Cruz County and the Pajaro Valley School District make no provision for Aspergers and the Rio del Mar Elementary School did not know what to do with him. The parents were told that if they took the boy to the county he could get in the new MHSA program. They would be able to get all the help they needed and they wouldn't have to pay for it. They weren't told, until they met Robert Brown, that their son would have to be declared mentally ill. Brown persuaded them to do this.

Once he got the boy into the program, Robert Brown prescribed Risperdal. Obviously, Dr. Brown knows nothing about Aspergers. Because it's a condition, drugs, especially an antipsychotic, would have no effect. An anti-anxiety drug can help Aspies with their anxiety, but that's all. Aspies need training to deal with society, not drugs. At least half my extended family are, or were, Aspergers; none was ever on drugs. But, once the boy was on Risperdal, Robert Brown would not deviate from his prescribing. He has the mother's approval, but not the father's.

Dr. Brown has been prescribing Risperdal for this little boy for 5-1/2 years. He sees the boy 3 or four times a year to order blood tests and write a new prescription. The boy, now 13, has had significant side effects. The father reported these to Janssen (subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson). The Janssen representative said that the boy had all the side effects exhibited by 10% of Risperdal users and that the `treatment should be stopped.' But Dr. Brown has ignored all these side effects and continues to prescribe this dangerous antipsychotic. He needs to keep boy on the drug and have him declared mentally ill for the boy to continue with the Santa Cruz County MHSA program. It's not just the 4 times a year Brown sees the child, the boy has been seen by a myriad of counselors, MFTs, and psychologists over the last
5-1/2 years. These latter are supposed to help the boy with his behavior, but they don't realize that the boy's behavior is all the side effects of Risperdal.

Janssen says that Risperdal is to be used `short- term' for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the `irritability' of autism. It's also to be monitored every three weeks. Dr. Brown has never done this. After 5-1/2 years this little boy has lost all his self-confidence and has become even more anxious. He has chronic sinusitis, has frequent stomach upsets and vomiting. His usual mental state is fuzzy, and frustration can make him erupt. They have kept him in Special Ed, something the experts say should not happen, as Aspies are very bright. He's lost the friends from the mainstream second grade class, and now only interacts with a kleptomaniac/compulsive eater, an autistic boy who doesn't speak, and an emotionally disturbed boy.

Santa Cruz County officials from the Mental Health Services Agency, CPS, and the Family Law Court have worked together to keep the boy in the MHSA program. The father is allowed no voice. The mother, who works for the county, is the only one allowed to speak and she denies that the boy has any side effects. She wants him quiet in his downstairs bedroom. The mother sued the father for full custody (didn't get it), but the father's lawyer, who doesn't support him in anything, told him not to fight it - `[he] could lose custody' - and had him go with a Parent Coordinator. This person with dubious credentials, a friend and colleague of the father's lawyer, sided with the mother and always against the father. She saw the boy once 3 years ago and put together a court order, signed by a judge who questioned none of it. There is no `Best Interest of the Child' in Santa Cruz County. The PC never spoke with Dr. Brown, yet said that the father must follow Dr. Brown's treatment. There was a second doctor who said that Risperdal should not be used. In the court order, the PC said that this doctor's `report' should be followed. However, the PC had told this doctor NOT to write a report, and the doctor did what she said. All the while, Robert Brown is ignoring the boy's side effects.

In addition to the unethical PC, Santa Cruz County has a couple of psychologists they use to do `Full Custody Evaluations.' One, a gay man who has spent years helping himself and others out of the closet, is, nevertheless, considered an expert on children and families. They use him over and over. His MO is to give custody to mothers (in this case, the mother drinks and has a live in alcoholic boyfriend.) But the mother wants to keep the boy on Risperdal and in the MHSA program, and the biased psychologist is in agreement with this. The fathers also have to take parenting classes, but the mothers never do. This psychologist, for no reason, gives full legal custody to the mother: she will, after all, keep drugging the boy. The father has been made impotent in matters of his child's health.

The Santa Cruz County Family Court is notorious for sitting on their hands and letting the lawyers and psychologists come up with their own plan, which the Family Court judge, unquestioningly, signs. Children have no rights to be drug free in Santa Cruz County. Not only does the boy not need the MHSA programs, his being in them denies the services to someone who really needs them. Dr. Brown is part and parcel to this waste. How many thousands of dollars have been spent on this one little boy? Dr. Brown's salary in 2009 was $205,000; very high for a county salary. He wants to protect this money, of course, and the boy is an easy patient. In addition to Dr. Brown are all the counselors, etc. And a little boy has to pay the price of this hubris. Dr. Brown has been quoted as saying that `were [he, Brown] in the private sector, [he] would not have [the boy] as a patient.' A very curious thing to say.
Risperdal was FDA approved for kids in 2006:
Risperdal has been approved since 1993 for the short-term treatment of adults with schizophrenia, and since 2003 for the short-term treatment of adults with acute manic or mixed episodes associated with extreme mood swings.

The product’s effectiveness in the symptomatic treatment of irritability associated with pediatric autistic disorders was established in two 8-week, placebo-controlled trials in 156 patients aged 5 to 16 years, 90 percent of whom were 5-12 years old. The results, which were evaluated using two assessment scales, showed that children on Risperdal achieved significantly improved scores for certain behavioral symptoms of autism compared to children on placebo. The most common side effects of the use of Risperdal included drowsiness, constipation, fatigue and weight gain.
So if you have a kid who has some annoying behavior, you can put him on this drug. It has been tested in an 8-week study.

It seems to me that since the FDA only approved it for short-term treatment in adults, and it was only tested for 8 weeks in kids, then it should have only been approved for short-term treatment in kids. And it should never be given based on a court order or against the wishes of the parents. I post below a NY Times story about how the drug is overused on kids by non-parental authorities.

Finally, I will get flack for this, but I must comment on the complicity of a gay shrink in this. Forty years ago, aspergers kids were considered normal and homosexuals were considered to have a mental disorder. It was the opinion of the psychiatry profession that gays were the ones who needed drugs to stifle their impulses and control their behavior. Even the gay psychiatrists considered themselves disordered. Now they are drugging the aspies. This whole story seems like black people dressing up in KKK white sheets and lynching Mexican-Americans.

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