This is going to be a very short post. Yet, I am sure you agree that my ‘golden rules’ encapsulate the collective wisdom of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM):

  1. Conventional treatments are dangerous
  2. Conventional doctors are ignorant
  3. Natural remedies are by definition good
  4. Ancient wisdom knows best
  5. SCAM tackles the roots of all health problems
  6. Experience trumps evidence
  7. People vote with their feet (SCAM’s popularity and patients’ satisfaction prove SCAM’s effectiveness)
  8. Science is barking up the wrong tree (what we need is a paradigm shift)
  9. Even Nobel laureates and other VIPs support SCAM
  10. Only SCAM practitioners care about the whole individual (mind, body, and soul)
  11. Science is not yet sufficiently advanced to understand how SCAM works (the mode of action has not been discovered)
  12. SCAM even works for animals (and thus cannot be a placebo)
  13. There is reliable evidence to support SCAM
  14. If a study of SCAM happens to yield a negative result, it is false-negative (e.g. because SCAM was not correctly applied)
  15. SCAM is patient-centered
  16. Conventional medicine is money-orientated
  17. The establishment is forced to suppress SCAM because otherwise, they would go out of business
  18. SCAM is reliable, constant, and unwavering (whereas conventional medicine changes its views all the time)
  19. SCAM does not need a monitoring system for adverse effects because it is inherently safe
  20. SCAM treatments are individualized (they treat the patient and not just a diagnostic label like conventional medicine)
  21. SCAM could save us all a lot of money
  22. There is no health problem that SCAM cannot cure
  23. Practitioners of conventional medicine have misunderstood the deeper reasons why people fall ill and should learn from SCAM


I am sure that I have forgotten several important rules. If you can think of any, please post them in the comments section.

41 Responses to The ‘golden rules’ of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM)

  • Scam says if it works on a petri dish of cells, it’s gonna work on you!

  • SCAM practitioners are highly trained.

  • Thanks , here is another one…..

    Scam never gives credit to the tincture of time as a healer and the bodies innate healing capacity …. it is always the intervention that is credited with the cure .

  • Golden Rules of Conventional Medicine

    1. Define a disease by a limited set of symptoms common to everyone who supposedly has this disease.
    2. Develop biomarker tests common to those having this disease.
    3. Find medicines to eliminate or relieve these common symptoms, with tolerable “side effects”
    4. Verify biomarkers have returned to “normal” range while taking medicines and declare success.
    5. Allow future doctors to worry about the long-term effects and worrisome side effects of the treatment.
    6. Doctors Ignore any other symptoms that are not in their specialty. They are irrelevant unless of course the treatment completely fails then they call it a psychosomatic disease and wash their hands of it.
    7. The more specialized the doctor’s practice and the more narrowly defined the disease, the better because it is easier to find a quick fix.
    8. Short term solutions are the best, i.e. short acting drugs, surgery, etc, since they have the biggest payoff
    9. Hype future treatments long before they have been proven effective and safe to build up a strong consumer demand.
    10. Let pharmaceutical companies drive conventional medicine: write the journal articles, define the diseases, provide the acceptable cures, train the doctors, finance the hospitals, finance the media that (mis)informs and hypes the public, manage the political & regulatory environment, provide the people who work for the regulatory organizations.
    11. Let insurance companies and medical boards define what is possible given what the pharmaceutical companies have provided.

    • You made a new contribution to the “golden rules of alt-med”!
      – Big Pharma runs everything in mainstream medicine; alt-med is pure.

    • @stan

      Tu quoque fallacy .

    • And you’re illustrating another “golden rule” of alt-med: Things that doctors who practice mainstream medicine sometimes get wrong, are arguments for alt-med. A very general golden rule.
      At least, it sounds like that’s the implication here.

      • It isn’t as simple as “sometimes getting it wrong”. The systemic problems in how medicine is practiced* are what usually drive people to seek out CAM treatment. Fixing those problems would go a LONG way towards keeping people from seeking alternative treatment. It would certainly be more effective than just shouting “SCIENCE” at people (not that science is bad, but it is an empty gesture when one is in pain and desperate to be told that their doctors who don’t listen and misdiagnose them is “following science”).

        *Including the problems above, systemic sexism, a default assumption that a thus far unexplained symptom is just ‘stress’, lack of attention paid to the client as a whole person, following treatment guidelines to a fault when the patient would clearly benefit more from another treatment, etc..

        • Many of us have had some awful experiences with doctors. I certainly have.
          But not awful in the particular ways that Stan or you mention. Those are stereotyped accusations, with a grain of truth: sometimes doctors do get it wrong in those ways.

    • another “golden rule” of alt-med: Things that doctors who practice mainstream medicine sometimes get wrong, are arguments for alt-med.

      Maybe a lot of alt-med providers spend part of their time with the patient, running down mainstream medicine.
      One I encountered did make a point of that.

    • To define medicine with no mention of evidence based practice betrays a remarkable lack of the slightest understanding of medicine, the scientific value of evidence of of medical ethics.
      It’s almost like SCAM practitioners are accustomed to giving treatments that have no evidence to support them.
      And insurance is irrelevant: in countries with social medical care you get evidence based treatment without reference to insurance. The only time finance has an impact would be if a treatment was ridiculously expensive and unlikely to be effective based on, guess what, the evidence. For example in the UK NHS medicines are reviewed by commissioners to make sure it is actually worth spending public money on them.
      That’s why you can’t get homeopathy on the NHS. 🤣

    • Stan,

      After 30 years’ practice as a doctor I find it hard to square your rules with what we actually do.

      1. If we come across a patient with a textbook case of something we generally want to show everybody (particularly the students) as this is so unusual. I don’t know anything that has a common set of symptoms in all patients.

      2. Biomarker tests are useful but they are seldom specific.

      3. While we do prescribe medicines to relieve distressing symptoms, mostly management is aimed at what is causing them. This may involve drugs, lifestyle changes or simply waiting for time to take its course.

      4. I was always taught to “treat the patient, not the tests”.

      5. Doctors worry a lot about potential long-term side-effects of treatment, and are always looking for ways of reducing them.

      6. In the UK doctors receive a fairly thorough general training before they can start to specialise; for instance, although I am an oncologist I can recognise quite a wide range of problems outside my own area of expertise and have some idea (probably out-of-date) how to manage them. More importantly it means that I know when to refer and to whom. Psychiatric causes of symptoms can only be diagnosed after physical causes have been excluded, and then it has to be a positive diagnosis, not a default.

      7. I have no idea what you mean by a “quick fix” as specialist treatments. Can you give any examples?

      8. By and large doctors are not interested in short-term solutions that don’t address long-term problems. In the NHS doctors are paid a salary, not according to how many patients they see or how many treatments they give. They are already overworked and don’t want patients to keep coming back with the same thing if at all possible.

      9. By-and-large treatments are evidence-based, though I have come across a few surgeons who adopt new techniques before they have been properly assessed. I believe the situation is a bit different in the US, where there are many clinics competing with each other for patients and wanting to be seen to have an edge. However, the healthcare system there is well-recognised to be seriously broken and isn’t representative of the rest of the world.

      10. Obviously pharmaceutical companies are the ones who develop drugs, but a lot of medical research is done by academic and government-funded institutions. I have never come across pharmaceutical companies being involved in the many roles that you claim, though possibly to some extent that may be the case in the US, which, as I have said, is not representative.

      11. In the UK we have a body called the National Instutute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) which looks at cost-effectiveness of treatment, and there are also Cochrane reviews that examine the evidence for many different treatments of specific problems. Insurance companies are not involved at all. In the private sector, the insurance companies usually insist that the treatment is similar to what would be offered on the NHS, though they do fund some treatments that would not otherwise be considered cost-effective.

      Where on earth do you get your information from? Or have you just made it up?

      • Julian,
        I found your description in part 1 absolutely fascinating. I’m not a doctor, I’m a mental health nurse and so have had years of seeing doctors doing mental state examinations.
        What fascinates me is my observation of psychiatrists is almost the exact opposite of what you describe because while psychiatry is probably the area you would least expect it, psychiatrists routinely track down textbook presentations of the various mental health problems. They only get excited at the unusual conditions! The most marked time I saw this excitement was with a lady and her sister who had folie a deux.
        Watching this as a member of another profession is fascinating and it’s very reassuring that even if it’s a locum junior doctor you’ve never met before, they’re asking about the same things in roughly the same order, you can see them tracking down which diagnosis best fits the symptoms.
        It’s reassuring because you can see the reality that diseases do follow the same pattern, and that apart from a few cultural differences the diseases follow the same progression the world over.

      • Psychiatric causes of symptoms can only be diagnosed after physical causes have been excluded, and then it has to be a positive diagnosis, not a default.

        Doctors do sometimes tell people that symptoms are all in their head, especially if their tests turn out negative. Probably this happens more often to women.
        But such a diagnosis can also sometimes be checked with blind testing.
        For example, it’s possible to have an allergy that doesn’t show up in standard allergy tests. This can happen with inhalant allergies – local allergic rhinitis or other conditions.
        And there are various immune reactions to foods for which there aren’t good lab tests. Such problems could be differentiated from a nocebo effect with blind testing.

  • Having a professional title that includes the word “doctor” indicates that someone is likely a good person to trust for one’s healthcare.
    Except in the case of MD’s; there, one has to be more discriminating 🙂

  • One more:

    People who do not practise SCAM are not qualified to criticise it.

  • “It works at the quantum level” (this was actually said to me once by a SCAM practitioner.

    It’s about vibration/energy.

  • – SCAM practitioners don’t make mistakes. At worst, they “misinterpreted symptoms.”
    – When a SCAM treatment does not have the desired effect, it is the patient’s fault(*).
    – When a patient’s condition deteriorates during SCAM treatment: ditto.
    – When a patient dies during SCAM treatment: ditto.

    *: E.g. through use of regular medicines, poor SCAM treatment compliance, negative energy etc..

    • I thought this one wase, ‘ when a patient’s condition deteriorates during SCAM treatment or they die, the side effects of paracetamol would still be worse’.

    • In practice, you can usually say the same for conventional practitioners. Look at the average time it takes for, e.g., endometriosis diagnosis, which is an appalling 10 years or so (and for no real reason).
      Conventional doctors will also refuse to admit mistakes and often blame it on the patient- for instance, telling them they’re just over stressed, or that their symptoms are happening because they need to lose weight (when the pain prevents the pt from exercising, they often gain some!), or that they’re being over dramatic. If conventional medicine wants to stop people going to CAM practitioners, they need to step up to the plate and stop actively driving patients into the arms of the nearest naturopath. All the evidence in the world doesn’t help if you don’t use it properly and/or just take the stress of your job out on the patient.

      • Thank you for doing the exact thing I was talking about.

      • Conventional doctors will also refuse to admit mistakes and often blame it on the patient- for instance, telling them they’re just over stressed, or that their symptoms are happening because they need to lose weight

        A lot of health problems are at least partly preventable. Being overweight or fat does cause or contribute to a lot of problems. If someone is energetically destroying their body with smoking, drinking, excessive saturated fat, etc. there is only a limited amount that doctors can do to patch up the damage.
        So if a doctor brings up lifestyle with a patient, that’s just being honest.
        Similarly for allergy patients. If someone has a pet they’re allergic to, severely enough that their doctor advises them to get rid of it, and they refuse – which happens a lot – this can cause problems the doctor can’t solve.
        The difference between that and what happens in alt-med is that in alt-med, patients are held responsible for things they aren’t responsible for.
        For example, Gerson therapy is an alt-med cancer treatment. It involves a strict diet of fruits and vegetables, where the poor patient drinks 20 pounds of crushed fruit and veg’s per day. And they get 3-4 coffee enemas per day (so, they’re hyped on caffeine all the time?) and take various supplements.
        Probably a lot of people don’t manage to comply with this, if only because they soon go nuts with hunger. So if the patient doesn’t follow the instructions and the cancer gets worse, the provider can blame the patient for the failure, rather than admitting that the treatment doesn’t work.
        So the patient-blaming that goes on in alt-med is an aspect of the ineffectiveness of the treatments. There’s a greater need to blame the patient than in mainstream medicine. Blaming the patient is probably part of how onerous alt-med treatments like Gerson therapy survive.

        or that they’re being over dramatic.

        Sometimes doctors do tell patients to go away because their symptoms aren’t serious enough. This sort of happened to me once, and it was very harmful. But there are probably a lot more problems with people not seeking treatment they need, than seeking treatment they need and the doctor denying it. Usually doctors do try to help the patient in some way.

  • It won’t hurt to try it.

    (but actually, it often does, if only by wasting effort and money)

  • @John

    Unfortunately for the patients, equally the antipsychotic medication is GLOBALY equal in that the meds are inadequate to have much benefit, other than masking the symptoms and drugging the mind (and body) into a state of compliance. All the while destroying the patients mind and body in many ways (including shrinking the brain and poisoning the organs, and creating obese people), and in the end retaining good paying customers for pharma corps.
    Pharma corporations create solutions for illness they are yet to understand, yet they create chemical compounds to “treat” the victims for illnesses of which they do not know the cause.
    Whatta terrific business !

    • Fascinating the way you’re following the rules at the top to the letter. 🤣

    • @James Joromat
      You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. And you most certainly have not experienced up close what horrors untreated psychosis can cause – both for the patient and their environment.

      One such case was a man who, thanks to his medication, had lived a relatively normal, even somewhat idyllic life for over 20 years: he lived in a nice house with his wife and their dog, enjoyed long walks in nature, and dabbled in poetry and painting. When his wife died, he was heartbroken, but still managed fine with help from friends and family.

      Until he met a new woman that is, who kept telling him the same nonsense that you are spouting here: that his medication was bad for him, and that he should manage his disorder not with ‘poison’ but with ‘natural medicine’. As a result, the man stopped taking his medication, lying to his doctor and counsellor about it. And sure enough, he perked up initially, feeling more energetic by the day. Over the course of several weeks, this developed into a manic state, where he hardly slept and got more frantic about everything he did. Neighbours started complaining about his night-time activities such as stomping around the house and reciting his poetry in a loud voice – but still his new partner did not do anything to help him; she was convinced that they were doing great.
      Eventually, and as people around him already feared, this erupted into a full-blown psychotic episode. One night, he started destroying all electronic equipment in the house, apparently believing that there were mind-control devices in every appliance; and when his partner tried to stop him, he turned on her. She only narrowly escaped with her life, with the police arriving minutes later.
      To cut a long story short: the man was placed in mandatory custody, and locked up in an institution, where he will probably spend the rest of his life – not just because of his extremely violent outbreak, but also because severe psychotic episodes such as these tend to cause irreversible brain damage, making future outbreaks more likely. All because he listened to someone who did not know what she was talking about instead of his doctors.

      The other case was even more horrible, but for reasons of privacy, I shall not get into details. Suffice to say that there too, a psychotic episode happened because a patient stopped taking medication, resulting in one death and one severe injury.

      • You make a very good point.

        Prior to the invention of chlorpromazine, the only way to manage agitated and violent psychotic patients was by means of a lobotomy. Once a simple and effective drug became available it fell out of favour.

        Psychiatrists are well aware of the long-term problems that major tranquillisers can cause – this is something they have to deal with on a regular basis. They are also well aware of the alternatives.

      • Antipsychotics can cause some severe side effects, such as weight gain and tardive dyskinesia.

        Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is a movement disorder that results from treatment with dopamine-receptor antagonists, including typical and atypical antipsychotics. TD is characterized by involuntary, repetitive movements that can affect any part of the body, but predominantly affect the oro-buccal-lingual area. A majority of TD cases (87%) are irreversible, despite discontinuation of the causative drug. TD symptoms can be socially stigmatizing and are associated with poor quality of life, increased morbidity and mortality. … TD has an estimated lifetime prevalence of about 16–50% of patients treated with antipsychotics [although this study found a lower prevalence: annual prevalence of 0.8 to 1.9% per patient per year].

        Antipsychotics, especially first-generation antipsychotics, can cause sometimes heavy sedation. Second generation antipsychotics cause sedation in about 1 in 5 people.

        When it comes to antipsychotics, finding a nonsedating option is like navigating between the fabled Scylla and Charybdis. Patients tend to experience akathisia when we select the less sedating options like lurasidone, risperidone, cariprazine, and aripiprazole. The more sedating ones, such as clozapine, olanzapine, quetiapine, and ziprasidone, are less likely to cause akathisia. When patients cannot tolerate either of these side effects, brexpiprazole and iloperidone are good options.

        Those aren’t drugs to take unless one absolutely has to. The people you talk about sound like they were in the “absolutely have to” category. Others aren’t.

      • @Richard

        I know that what you have described is a potential reality, I’ve seen it myself many times, so I don’t disagree. But as has been said here many times, correlation is not causation.
        Richard, sorry but I’ve already forgot more than you’ll ever know about mental illness…. and I mean that. I’ve studied schizo in and out for about sixteen years now, my child is a schizo patient. I’ve also been affiliated with NAMI … National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. {}, so I’ve conferred with many other family members of mental ill patients for years. You inform me of nothing I haven’t already heard and witnessed. The problem is that you don’t understand the reasons for the occurrences…. I do.

        Only about ten percent of schizo patients can live a “normal” life… not very good odds. The rest are doomed to a miserable life. So your beautiful story of success is not the norm.
        My child lives in solitude, doesn’t have a friend in the world (other than two parents), will never marry or have children. When my child became diseased at the age of twenty, the body weight was 160 pounds. Now sixteen later a current weight of about 360 pounds.

        The thing is this, the anti-psychotic meds weren’t designed for, nor tested to be administered continually (for life). They were designed to treat a patient for three to six months… four to six being the exception. After a number of months treatment and a response, the medication should be tapered down and halted. When taken continually, the drug won’t be effective without upping the dose to high levels and sedating the patient. This is much of the success of the medication, it you can call it success…. the patients are drugged and sedated into a pacificist state.

        So instead of medication reduction, most all MD’s believe that if they see success, then they should continue prescribing. So what happens is a problem that almost always occurs…. drug tolerance of the medication. So, the drug looses some effect.
        When the MD hears about the benefit slippage, he/she ups the medication dose. Most of these anti-psychotic drugs cause weight gain via side effects and lethargy, so the MD finds himself upping the dose again due to increased body weight. So after years of being over-medicated on a medication which was designed to be consumed for a few months…. a patient has become addicted to a mind altering drug…. both physically and mentally…. and becomes obese.

        Now, what happens in too many cases (as you described)… comes the patient halting the consumption of the anti-psychotic medication because they are aware that they are drugged and what to free themselves of the toxicity of the medication. NOW comes some of the terrible consequences that you described…. withdrawal from the medication WITHOUT PROPER TAPERING. This is tantamount to a drug addict not getting their fix ! …. you see Richard. Herein lies the great problem that you have described ! The patient NEVER should have been consuming such large doses for such a long period of time.

        But you’ll never convince the pharma industry, nor the MD’s most of which doctors are connected with the social services departments of the state, and have a vested interest in keeping their patients under their care. After all, it’s much like the Military Industrial Complex… only this is the Industrial Medical Complex, keep the money flowing, the control over the people.

        I’ve attempted to get the MD’s to taper my child’s dose many a time, it’s never occurred once. Yet I’m the one that sees my child many times per week, and knows my child much better than a shrink that sees the patient for twenty minutes per month. You think the doc really has an idea what is happening with his patient ? …. I don’t.

        Follow the money.

        • Well well.

          Look who’s back with another sockpuppet account but still spouting the same bumwash. How long until you flounce / get banned this time?

        • @James Joromat
          First of all I’m sorry to hear about your child’s plight. Yes, medication alters the state of mind of people with a mental condition (which of course is the whole point), and yes, it often has serious side effects. And yes, there are calls from experts to spend more thought and effort on reducing chronic use of these medicines.
          Where I think you have the wrong end of the stick, however, is your accusation that it’s all about money and control on behalf of Big Pharma.
          This fairly recent (2017) overview shows that many antipsychotics on average cost a couple of dollars a day; the cheapest ones cost about the same as what the average person spends on coffee. Any other treatment option is way more expensive; just one severe psychotic episode with hospital admission etc. easily costs a couple of thousand dollars.
          From what I see, the main motive for doctors’ reluctance to reduce medication in these patients is not so much financial but fear of relapse, with potentially very serious consequences for everyone involved. This explicitly includes the doctors themselves: when things go wrong, they are almost certainly faced with not only personal guilt, but also accusations of malpractice(*) and (especially in the US) ruinous lawsuits. (OK, fear of costly lawsuits is also a financial motivation …).
          The problem is also that even minor withdrawal effects can make patients feel significantly better in the short term, further complicating slow tapering. This improvement in cognitive and emotional functioning is a very potent temptation to stop altogether, so both doctors and patients should be very, very careful about the procedure.

          *: And of course every incident with a ‘disturbed individual’ in the news is accompanied by questions and accusations why this was not prevented …

          However, I am not a doctor and certainly not a psychiatrist, so I can’t judge how most people with this kind of mental condition are doing with and without these medications. What you describe indeed does not sound very nice. But in the two cases that I am intimately familiar with, life with chronic medication was absolutely preferable to what happened when they stopped. However, I agree that it may be worthwhile to do more research into getting people off medication in a safe way.

          Anyway, thank you for your elaborate response – I think I at least understand your motivations. Hopefully, you can find a way to improve your child’s life after all.

      • the man stopped taking his medication, lying to his doctor and counsellor about it.

        And a psych patient lying like a sneaky child to his doctor and counselor about taking medication suggests that he somehow lacked the normal rights of an adult, or at least felt he didn’t have the rights that an adult human being has.

  • @Richard Rasker

    Sir, that was a very good link. in fact… such a good link to substantiate my position that I will offer it here (for those that have an interest)

    “The review, published in Schizophrenia Bulletin in March, is the first ever scientific paper to outline exactly how antipsychotic medication should be reduced in order to minimize both the withdrawal effects as well as the risk of relapse.
    Withdrawal symptoms can be severe and may include psychotic symptoms similar to the underlying condition, which can result in patients being advised to remain on the medication indefinitely, even though the new symptoms might have been avoidable with a carefully-managed withdrawal.”

    “antipsychotics are one of the fastest growing classes of drugs being prescribed in England, growing from 660,000 people (9.4 million prescriptions) in 2015/2016 to 750,000 people in 2019/2020. They are often recommended life-long for people diagnosed with schizophrenia or other serious mental illnesses because they are effective at controlling psychotic symptoms in the short term and might reduce the risk of relapse. These drugs are also increasingly prescribed for conditions like insomnia and anxiety ‘off-label’ (without being licensed for these conditions by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)).”

    So yes Richard, there is plenty of profits to be gained from antipsychotic med sales. Prescribing off label antipsychotic pill is OK ? … but HCQ and Ivermectin NOT ? hmmmm The dangers of widespread off-label antipsychotic medication usage is horrific. SHAME SHAME SHAME on the Medical Industrial Complex.

    As I previously stated;
    “However, some people find the drugs do not help them or that the side effects (which can sometimes contribute to long term health complications) outweigh the benefits, while many people who then stop taking antipsychotics experience withdrawal effects, which can be severe. Some patients say they are helpful in the short-term but harmful in the long-term.
    Currently there are no established guidelines on how to stop taking antipsychotics, which is partly why psychiatrists are reluctant to do so. The authors of this proposal reviewed existing evidence into antipsychotic withdrawal, and the mechanisms of the drugs themselves. They describe research, which finds that people with schizophrenia who are slowly taken off their antipsychotics, have twice the chance of functioning well than those who stay on the same dosage, with no worsening in their symptoms.”

    “The reason for stopping drugs gradually is that our brains adapt to long-term use of drugs like antipsychotics (as they do to nicotine, caffeine or opioids). If drugs are stopped too quickly, people can get withdrawal symptoms (which for antipsychotics can include insomnia, tremors and sometimes psychotic symptoms) or can be de-stabilized by the process of coming off.”
    Yet Richard, there are no current protocols studied or assigned to these meds is pure recklessness on the part of the pharma industry. Do you assume they are not aware of the need ? Do you assume they are not aware of what they are doing ? Can we assume that if they knew how the pharma industry would happily taper patients off the meds, I think not. a

    As for the cost of the meds, a couple dollars a day is simply not the truth. Even using the link you provided, the cost is higher than it would appear (which is more than a couple dollars if you do the math). Those prices are deceptive anyway because many times multiple pill are needed to achieve the mg dose due to manufacturing limits of available dosages. So a 200mg dose can easily require two or three pills to achieve a 600mg dose for the patient…. yes Richard I know.

    There is much that doesn’t meet the eye unless you have first hand experience.

    Now, the good news is that there is some new study work going on to help patients taper, but families need the financial resources to get their loved ones. There are some doing the hard work. Ongoing research from independent organizations that are doing their own study work on reducing dependance on antipsychotics aside from med treatment alone.

    • Treating Mental Illness with Nutrition: The Walsh Protocol, by Harriet Hall, MD (2019), SBM.

      The Walsh Institute offers the Walsh protocol for the nutritional treatment of mental illness. This ‘orthomolecular psychiatry’ is not supported by any clinical studies.

      The Walsh protocol is basically just an updated version of a decades-old questionable approach called orthomolecular psychiatry. It is gussied up with recent science, with references to epigenetics, heavy metal overloads, and methylation. It might impress some readers as cutting-edge science but is really little more than lipstick on a pig.

      • @PeteAttkins

        Pete, it’s not difficult to find a dissenting view on the internet. The link you provide makes some reasonable arguments. I don’t have any ultra valid reasons to fully accept the claims of the Walsh Institute. I know of no one personally that has subjected themselves to the therapy. However, I have spoken with three of the six hundred worldwide medical professionals that are associated with the Walsh therapy. The common ground of the three that I found compelling to me was the willingness to attempt taper antipsychotic medication…. and that’s it in a nutshell. Conventional medical doctors are NOT willing to even make an attempt.
        No, there are no “clinical” studies. However, at least somebody is attempting to making a study of the problem with a different treatment of the problem with a means other than chemical meds. I can assure that the pharma industry has not nor is willing to do any studies of how to taper antipsychotic meds. The pharma’s involved in selling antipsychotic meds are akin to drug pushers on the streets, they might as well be selling OxyContin.

        I view the problem in my life of my child from the position of a parent…. right ?
        On average a schizoid patient will live fifteen years less than the normal life expectancy. I find that number to be on the low side. However Pete, it’s also a quality of life issue. For that reason, continuing with the status quo is largely unacceptable. The current quality of life for my child is woefully low. I did have hopes some years ago that the pharma industry might have better meds by now. However, I know more now, and I have lost faith that the pharma industry will offer any meaningful solutions in the near term.

        BTW- is it really so strange to assume that synthetic meds can offer a solution that dietary vitamins and minerals can not achieve. Not in my view, especially when you consider that sugar is both physically and mentally addictive.

        • James,

          Richard Rasker puts a great deal of thought into his comments and, in my opinion, we are fortunate to benefit from his knowledge and his time. He has given you a considered reply, with which I agree.

          You wrote “Pete, it’s not difficult to find a dissenting view on the internet.”
          Very true. However, Dr Harriet A. Hall, MD, seems to provide trustworthy information. I get the strong impression that she doesn’t criticise something unless it’s deserved.

          Perhaps the worst things we can do in a difficult situation is to build false hope, because when it becomes apparent that our hopes are ruined, we are in a much worse position than when we started. Quality of life at this point can be miserable, even intolerable. False hope is the mainstay of SCAM, pop psychology, and New Age self‑help ‘gurus’. I think that a good indicator of false hope is the sale of books on a topic BEFORE the publication of high‑quality research on the topic.

          Best wishes,

          Further reading:

          • Pete David & Richard

            Thanks to all for your thoughts, I do appreciate your views… even if I still disagree.
            I’ll give my final thoughts on the subject and leave it there.

            As I stated previously, after being involved in NAMI for fourteen years, I’m well aware of those that benefit from meds, I’m also aware of those that don’t. Those that do not are by far in the majority.

            I’m not advocating for not using the medication at all. What I’m promoting is resetting the patients by tapering off the meds for as long as possible, clearing the medication out of their system. Then later if the patient needs attention again they will be more responsive with less medication.
            They limit prescriptions of other drugs. Steroid prescriptions are strictly limited, and much of the time come with tapering protocols.

            I’m here to tell you that the feared episodes that so many speak of when psych patients stop taking medication is a direct result of OVER-MEDICATING. My issue revolves around the unwillingness of the medical community (with the exception of the fringe SCAMmers) to taper medication, and with the pharma industry whom created the addictive and damaging drugs. I condemn both for continuing to market them without an escape plan. This is at best irresponsible, greedy and convenient.
            Antipsychotic medication works the same way that much of the medication presented to us by the pharma industry. It does not cure, but suppresses symptoms as long as the patient keeps taking it. As it is for many drugs, more time taking the drug requires more medication.

            There are many many MD’s that agree with my position, or perhaps it is I that agree with them. Yet I feel I am qualified to make a determination after witnessing this illness firsthand for sixteen years.

            “in many cased they make a temporary psychosis into a permanent chronic problem.”
            “when you take the medication for a long time you can actually develop a psychosis ”

            “what they found was the sort of horrible fact, the drugs induced the very change in biology hypothesized to cause schizophrenia in the first place.”

            “it can be more difficult coming off antipsychotics than coming off opium.”

          • There’s been some interesting work going on concerning the use of powerful hallucinogens as one-off therapies in the treatment of mental illness. Whether psychoses are covered I don’t know – most of what I’ve seen has been has been concerning depressive illness.

  • James, I am sorry to learn that your son’s life has been so badly affected by schizophrenia. Naturally as a parent you want the best for him and you must feel terribly anguished and frustrated on his behalf.

    The fact is that schizophrenia, or schizo-affective disorders (if that term is broader or better in any way), when they are severe, impact a person’s life hugely, as you know only too well. It is only natural to hope for safer and more effective treatments, and disappointing if they do not materialise.

    But the reality is that without the existing medicines, imperfect as they are, the lives of those with schizophrenia would likely be drastically worse, and drastically shorter. Existing medications may not cure, but they can bring considerable improvement to quality of life. Without them, many of those with this mental disease, would be literally RAVING mad, horribly mentally tormented without letup. And while it is a nice idea to propose that dietary factors, including vitamins, might be a safe and effective treatment, there is simply no evidence that the idea is true. Psychiatrists would be delighted, I am sure, if they could increase the mental wellbeing of patients just by dietary manipulation.

    I am reflecting on the lives of three schizophrenia patients known to me (names changed); Elsie, eldest daughter of family friends, Ben, nephew of a work colleague, and Edward, neighbour of friends.

    Elsie is now in her early 70s, and became affected by schizophrenia in her late teens. A very severe case, she has had good times and bad times. For a time she was able to live independently with some community support, but for many years now she has been institutionalised, as she simply cannot function independently.

    Ben succumbed to schizophrenia at the time he started university, so that would be his late teens, and it terminated his studies. He will be in his late 20s or early thirties now. He is well enough to live at home, go about town, and go to coffee shops etc, but not well enough to hold down a job.

    Edward will be somewhere is his early sixties now, and like the others, his symptoms started in youth. He is much like Ben. He lives independently in his own place, in a nice location, with support, but is not well enough to work.

    All three of those are the only members of their respective families to suffer this mental illness. Medication has given two out of the three of them a life of some quality, with a degree of independence. Without the medication, all three of them would likely have been so psychotic and delusional as to have harmed themselves and/or others long ago.

    We would all like to see friends, family members, and acquaintances with terrible health conditions get cured, and it is so disappointing when faced with the reality that medical treatment has limited efficacy. And naturally we hope for the discovery of new and more effective treatment approaches. And yes, there will be times, no doubt, when existing treatment regimens, for a variety of reasons, are not optimally managed.

    But the answer to these challenging and troubling things, does not lie in placing hope and faith in persons selling ‘treatments’ which are without evidence of safety and efficacy.

    It is only natural, James, that you are saddened when you contemplate what your son’s life is, compared with what you and he would have liked it to be. But what would it have been without the medicines, imperfect as they are?

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