Reports and opinions in The Blade indicate how psychiatric medications draw attention, controversy, and misunderstanding.
Attention to these medications is very important. Psychiatric medications can be used to relieve the unnatural emotional misery and thought disruption in major psychiatric illnesses. Like any medication used for any illness, "psych meds" have the potential for helpful and undesirable effects. Predicting the benefit-risk ratio becomes complicated by a patient's size, symptoms, sex, age, other illnesses, and other medications taken. Violence to self or others as a result of mental illness or psychiatric medication is devastating but nonetheless rare and impossible to predict with certainty.
Controversy about medications, particularly medications that affect the brain/mind of children is desirable - if the controversy is based in science. Fact: Untreated suicide is second only to accidents as a cause of death in youth. Our scientific knowledge of these medications is constantly increasing. We will know things next year that we don't know now. Like other decisions in life, we must make the best informed decision we can today. With a patient of any age, a good physician has internal controversy. "Do I medicate or not? What are the risks of medicating? What are the risks of not medicating?"
Not providing medications when needed can lead to disabling and miserable disruption of emotion and thought, school and job failure, substance abuse and suicide. Countless researchers have concluded that a combination of psychotherapy and proper medication, over an extended time, produce optimum benefits.
Misunderstanding and condemning psychiatric medications is dangerous. Creating irrational fear of medications is destructive when it scares those who need the medications. A cautious, cooperative decision between well informed physician and a well informed patient can lead to safe and successful use of psychiatric medications that saves lives.
L.J. Archambeau, M.D.
Chief Clinical Officer
Mental Health and Recovery
Understanding a higher power
It seems the evolution vs. creation debate is starting again. One Forum contributor correctly pointed out that scientists once believed that the world was flat and the sun (actually all the heavens) revolved around the Earth. He failed to mention that this was taught in the church and the church clung to this belief long after is was plainly invalid, even persecuting Galileo for teaching otherwise.
Throughout human history a multitude of gods have been worshiped, Jupiter, Zeus, and Thor to name only three. Each were believed by their followers (Romans, Greeks, and Vikings) to be the most powerful of a host of lesser gods. Their priests held great power until these gods were displaced.
Even today there are various religions practiced throughout the world. How is a mere human to know which, if any, is the true God?
I acknowledge a power greater than myself created the universe. Since I don't know how to create a universe, this is true by definition. But I don't know the nature of that higher power or how it works. I don't believe any religion, past or present, does either.
It seems to me both religion andevolution theory are attempts to understand this higher power. If you believe otherwise, God bless you.
Joseph E. Pflager
Who's real champion of working class?
Our brilliant new governor, a Democrat by the way, had proposed earlier this year to cut back on funding for scholarships for higher education, particularly need-based grants. So much for being a man for the working class. Instead of backing his proposal, those supposedly rich, greedy, moneybags called Republicans in the Ohio House and Senate decided to actually expand funding for scholarships.
Take that, Gov. Ted Strickland. Who's the real champion of the working class?
Darren Paul Wurz
Regarding free speech in Venezuela
You reported the demonstrations in Venezuela protesting a decision by President Hugo Chavez to pull the plug on an opposition-aligned TV station, a statement only partly true. Columnist Mona Charen represented Mr. Chavez as "shutting down Venezuela's only opposition television," a totally inaccurate statement.
In the United States, TV stations are licensed for a period of eight years, and in Venezuela for 20 years, after which there is a review and a decision is made whether to re-license them. RCTV participated in inciting a military coup against the Venezuelan government in 2002 and broadcast fabricated coverage during the coup, a violation that would never be tolerated in the United States or probably any other country.
In addition, RCTV has a history of violations for which they have been censured by previous Venezuelan administrations. In spite of this, the plug is not pulled on RCTV. The non-renewal of the license only applies to RCTV broadcasting on public airwaves, and does not affect the TV station's liberty to broadcast in Venezuela through cable or satellite.
Ms. Charen's ridiculous statement is describing RCTV as "Venezuela's only opposition television." Three other major privately owned TV stations with broad coverage continue to be highly critical of President Chavez, as are many radio stations and newspapers. Despite this, Mr. Chavez was re-elected as president last December in a landslide victory covered by several international observer teams.
When I was in Venezuela last year with a faith-based delegation, the spokesperson for Red de Apoyo, a major human rights organization receiving funding from groups including Amnesty International UK, gave the Chavez administration a clean bill of health regarding freedom of speech and the press. It's time for our press to do its own investigative research on Venezuela, rather than accept propaganda generated by the Bush Administration.
Old Testament reference gratuitous
The horrific behavior, the murderous conduct, of a Kurdish community toward a young girl who followed her heart was appropriately excoriated by S. Amjad Hussain in his column dealing with honor killing in the Middle East.
His gratuitous reference to Old Testament law concerning the death sentence for sex outside of marriage as well as bestiality reflects upon his evidenced attitudes. It is true that the Old Testament does require the death penalty for certain social excesses. It is also true that no one has been stoned in some 2,000 years. Judeo-Christian law and practice have matured.
It may well be that the Qur'an does not proscribe a death sentence reflecting upon the honor of a family. Nonetheless, it is common in Muslim lands. Obviously, there are many Muslims who mouth the words of the Qur'an and practice the customs of barbarism. To compare the ancient religious text of the Hebrews with the present horrendous practices in Muslim society is specious and demeaning.
Rabbi Alan M. Sokobin
Pine Ridge Road
More than 200 years ago, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin had no knowledge of the harmful health effects of secondhand smoking, as we do now. So, I would like to reassure a June 20 letter writer that "the boys" would be proud of the citizens of Ohio for banning smoking from public places.
Andre Gilbert, M.D.
I visited my favorite local bar this week and it appears there are plenty of seats open for the nonsmokers who said they would suddenly start patronizing bars. Ironically, the service was not very good because the two employees who the smoking ban was meant to protect were outside having a cigarette.
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