LOS ANGELES, Sept. 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Citizens Commission on Human Rights International (CCHR), a 48-year mental health watchdog headquartered in Los Angeles, is calling for anyone who has a family member or friend abused in the mental health system to contact the group for assistance. In the last year, CCHR filed more than 6,000 complaints to state and federal health and mental health agencies, departments of justice, FBI and legislators on behalf of individuals whose rights, lives and insurance coverage were potentially endangered undergoing psychiatric treatment. Of these, over 4,000 involved the for-profit behavioral system that is estimated to be a $50 billion a year industry. Of this, the inpatient behavioral market, which largely provides psychopharmaceuticals and electroshock as its mainstay treatments, is worth around $20 billion."
CCHR operates a hotline and an online abuse report form for those needing assistance for a loved one that may be unable to speak up due to the damage they have experienced as a result of treatment in the mental health system. CCHR also receives scores of calls from those working in the industry providing information, especially courageous nurses that want to report their concerns about potential negligence, sexual and physical assaults on patients, dangerous prescription practices and over-billing. Nearly 60 percent of all mental health spending is from public funding sources in the U.S. and nurses report seeing that expenditure being wasted or abused.
Those contacting CCHR for information can also be assisted with educational materials on their rights under the law, such as the Federal Prohibition of Child Medication Safety Act. A video of five mothers whose information from CCHR helped protect or save their children's lives has been an inspiration to many. As one mother named Cindy said of CCHR, "Having so many people that I could reach out to, and give me advice to deal with the situation made a humongous change in his education.... It pretty much saved my child's life."
Jeri, another mother says, "I went to the internet and Googled, 'do I have rights not to drug my child' and CCHR popped up.... They told me I don't have to drug my child because it's against federal law.... I didn't know about the federal law until I spoke with CCHR and I was going to be able to keep my son without drugging him. That was probably the best day of my life."
And Lenore, the mother of a three-year-old prescribed stimulants and antidepressants with serious adverse effects adds, "CCHR is definitely not trying to make anybody feel like they did anything wrong for their children or their family. They're here to support you, they're here to help you seek out the correct information and weed through what is fact and what isn't fact." With medical assistance, her child is no longer on mind-altering psychotropic drugs. "Being off the medication has changed my son's life—it's changed my life...," Lenore says.
"CCHR works to ensure patient and consumer protections are enacted and upheld because there is rampant abuse in the field of mental health. One of the first protections an individual or parents can have is to be informed and CCHR helps people easily access information," says Jan Eastgate, President of CCHR International.
The group extensively researches current trends in mental health and remains concerned about the risks of psychotropic drugs, offering a psychiatric drugs side effects database online with which people can inform themselves. It also provides facts about electroshock. CCHR says it does so because many patients and their families are not fully informed about side effects.
"Psychopharmacological interventions are accounting for a larger proportion of all psychiatric care," according to a study published in The Psychiatric Bulletin. Between 1996 and 2008 alone, the increase in antipsychotics went from 9.3 million to 23.0 million. In 2015, Medicaid spent $2 billion on one antipsychotic alone. "The high rates of psychotropic medication use in the Medicaid population, risks associated with these drugs, and research documenting inappropriate prescribing, have raised concerns, especially for children involved in the child welfare system and older adults with dementia," a 2015 government report, "Use of Psychotropic Medications Among Medicaid Beneficiaries" found.
CCHR says that with prominent warnings now about psychotropic drug risks, the country shouldn't be witnessing the high numbers of Americans, especially children, being prescribed these drugs that expose them to potential long-term damage. For example, it points to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approving a new drug, valbenazine, to counter the iatrogenic (doctor/treatment caused) effects of antipsychotics—a movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia (TD). The symptoms of TD include lip smacking or pursing, chewing, facial grimacing, and tongue movements inside the mouth or tongue popping out. It is prevalent in an estimated 20–50 percent of all patients treated with neuroleptics (antipsychotics).
Yet valbenazine can cause gait disturbance, trouble with balance and coordination and fatigue—symptoms similar to those seen caused by antipsychotics. It's a win-win for the psychiatric-pharmaceutical industry, CCHR says, but not for the victims of it. Antipsychotics (and other psychopharmaceuticals) cause TD. Psychiatrists then redefine this prescription drug damage as another mental disorder: "neuroleptic-induced disorders," "medication-induced movement disorders" or "neuroleptic malignant disorder." These are inserted in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) with a billing code to obtain insurance reimbursement for their treatment. Based on IMS information, there were at least 6.84 million Americans taking antipsychotics in 2013. That means between 1.37 and 3.4 million people could be suffering TD caused by the very treatment prescribed to "help" them. Valbenazine costs around $64,000 a year, according to Market Watch.
Hypothetically, were each of those prescribed this latest drug, the manufacturer could benefit between $87.6 billion and $217 billion.
Victims of psychiatric abuse, as well as their friends and family, are encouraged to call CCHR's hotline at 1-800-869-2247 or fill out an abuse case report form on the CCHR website.
As a nonprofit, CCHR relies on memberships and donations to carry out its mission and actions to research and provide information so that individuals are better educated about their rights. It has already been responsible for helping get over 180 laws enacted that help protect rights within the mental health system. Click here to support the cause.
Contact: Amber Rauscher, firstname.lastname@example.org or (323) 467-4242.
 L. Mark Russakoff, "Private in-patient psychiatry in the USA," The Psychiatric Bulletin, Oct. 2014, 38(5): 230–235, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4180988
 L. Mark Russakoff, "Private in-patient psychiatry in the USA," The Psychiatric Bulletin, Oct. 2014, 38(5): 230–235, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4180988/
 Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), https://www.macpac.gov/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Use-of-Psychotropic-Medications-among-Medicaid-Beneficiaries.pdf
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SOURCE Citizens Commission on Human Rights International