The Journal of Neuroscience has a surprising case report of a patient who was treated with an implanted brain stimulator to treat severe movement side-effects from an extended period of taking antipsychotic drugs for behavioural problems.
This is the background to the case:
A 27-year-old woman with developmental delay and severe behavioural disturbance was treated with risperidone 6 mg/day from age 14. At age 20, she developed facial twitching, blinks, and truncal extension spasms, which persisted during both sitting and lying supine. By age 21, she was no longer able to walk due to the spasms. She became housebound and was forced to ambulate by crawling, to the extent that she developed post-traumatic cysts over both knees. She was unable to sit in a chair. She was forced to eat from a plate on the floor while kneeling because the extension spasms were too severe in other positions.
Icarista Nina Packebush Interviews Poet and Icarus Co-founder Jacks Ashley McNam, originally posted on The Literary Kitchen
I recently had the great pleasure of speaking with Jacks Ashley McNamara about writing and creativity, madness and identity, activism and survival. Jacks is a genderqueer writer, artist, activist, and Somatic healer. Jacks is the co-founder, along with Sascha Altman DuBrul, of the Icarus Project, an alternative, peer-run, mutual-aid mental health support network with over 12,000 members worldwide. The Icarus Project recently celebrated its tenth anniversary which happened to coincide with the release of Jacks’ new book of poetry, Inbetweenland, published by Deviant Type Press. Jacks was also the subject of the Ken Paul Rosenthal documentary Crooked Beauty. You may have even read about Jacks in the August 2013 issue of O Magazine as they talked about the history and future of the Radical Mental Health and Recovery Movement.
Evidence that antipsychotics cause brain shrinkage has been accumulating over the last few years, but the psychiatric research establishment is finding its own results difficult to swallow. A new paper by a group of American researchers once again tries to ‘blame the disease,’ a time-honoured tactic for diverting attention from the nasty and dangerous effects of some psychiatric treatments. In 2011, these researchers, led by the former editor of the American Journal of Psychiatry, Nancy Andreasen, reported follow-up data for their study of 211 patients diagnosed for the first time with an episode of ‘schizophrenia’. They found a strong correlation between the level of antipsychotic treatment someone had taken over the course of the follow-up period, and the amount of shrinkage of brain matter as measured by repeated MRI scans.
The fears of many European psychiatrists may soon be realized. Earlier this week, Psychiatric News reported that the American Psychiatric Association has begun petitioning the various agencies overseeing changes to the ICD, or International Classification of Diseases, to request that they adopt its most-controversial changes in DSM-5.
According to Psychiatric News, the APA has asked the ICD formally to include seven new disorders listed in DSM-5, though not in ICD-9-CM or ICD-10-CM. They include Binge-eating disorder, Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, Social (pragmatic) communication disorder, Hoarding disorder, Excoriation (skin picking) disorder, and Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, whose controversial history is relayed here. Additionally, the APA requested that ICD-10-CM include gender dysphoria in adolescents and adults, rather than the more-recently listed gender identity disorder, as the organization has “revised its conceptualization and terminology” of the problem defined.