Recently I received a very nice email from Laura Chapman. Here’s the text:
My name is Laura and I am emailing because I recently produced a guide on postpartum depression and wanted to share it.
Here is the guide I have helped to make – http://www.psychguides.com/guides/living-with-postpartum-depression/http://www.psychguides.com/guides/living-with-postpartum-depression/
Earlier this year a friend of mine suffered from maternity blues shortly after giving birth to her first child. Coaxing her through it, as I’ve had two children of my own, made me think about postpartum depression. It got me thinking about what advice or information to give new mothers and their family.
Please let me know what you think about the guide and whether it makes for a good resource on your site – behaviorismandmentalhealth.com/2013/04/24/postpartum-depression/. If you would like me to write a short intro to the piece for your own site, just let me know.
I don’t know anybody by that name, and although the email has a warm, fuzzy, personalized tone, I suspect it was mass-mailed to any blog that contained the string “postpartum depression.” (I wrote a piece on this topic on April 24 last year, and so I got the email.)
Anyway, I opened the psychguides.com link and took a look at the article (guide) that Laura apparently helped create. The letter-heading on the article page says:
Here are some quotes from Laura’s article:
“Antidepressants come in different forms, and there has been no evidence of these medications causing problems for nursing infants. If the depression is severe, medical professionals may urge a new mother to take medications to help treat the chemical imbalance in her brain. If a woman has become severely depressed and is having thoughts of suicide or psychotic thoughts, a doctor may want to keep her hospitalized to ensure her and her baby’s health and safety. Another rare type of treatment is electroconvulsive therapy, which doctors sometimes use when mothers do not want to take drugs or medications.”
“For extremely severe depression with psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions, an antidepressant may be combined with an antipsychotic like Haldol, Risperdal, or Zyprexa.”
“Women who aren’t treated for postpartum depression can have a negative effect on their children. Studies have shown that depressed mothers interact less with their children, which can impact the children’s later behavior.”
All of this aroused my curiosity, of course, so I checked out PsychGuides’ website, and found that they have a library of 115 articles on 24 different topics. Here are the titles of some of the other articles, and some interesting quotes:
“Medical experts have also isolated certain chemicals in the brain that are believed to play a role in the chemical imbalance that causes mood swings. Those chemicals are serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline. According to researchers, if the levels of these chemicals are out of balance in your body, it could lead to the symptoms associated with bipolar disorder.”
“Along with mood stabilizers, the doctor might also prescribe antianxiety medications or antipsychotics to handle mood issues. Antidepressants are also used to help the patient deal with the depressive phases. The use of antidepressants raises the likelihood of experiencing hypomanic or manic periods, so they are usually used in conjunction with mood stabilizers. For those patients who do not respond to medicine, electroconvulsive therapy might be used. This therapy consists of electrical currents applied to the patient while under anesthesia and will cause brief seizures when used. After the electroconvulsive therapy application, the physician may also use transcranial magnetic stimulation, which applies magnetic pulses of a high frequency to the patient’s brain.”
“Major depressive disorder is one of the most serious mood disorders. About 1 to 2 percent of people over the age of 65 face this condition. These people may have had depression in their younger years, but for some, this will be the first episode.”
“Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.”
“While sadness and some depression are expected in these situations, a physician should evaluate depressive episodes lasting for longer than two months after a loss.”
“For very severe depression that isn’t responding to medication, electroconvulsive therapy may be considered.”
“Most late-life cases of depression are treated with antidepressants that affect the brain’s chemistry to control moods. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most widely prescribed type of antidepressant.”
“Depression is typically treated with antidepressant medications. Antidepressants work to restore neurotransmitters. The specifically targeted neurotransmitters are serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.”
“If you have schizophrenia, you should know that the course of this brain disease varies greatly. Medication can often control your symptoms. If you take your medication exactly as directed, you will likely have a mild type of the disease.”
“The symptoms of schizophrenia can be controlled in most people as long as they take their medications. After the first episode, doctors recommend that patients stay on medication for 12 to 24 months before reducing the dose. Patients who have had more than one episode or those who have not fully recovered may need to be treated for a longer period of time, and some people may need treatment indefinitely.”
“People can also develop tardive dyskinesia when they take antipsychotics for a long period of time. This results in the uncontrolled movement of the mouth. If this develops, simply switching the type of antipsychotic can help.”
All of PsychGuides’ articles that I looked at had the same 24/7 toll-free helpline number and the tag: Provided by: Elements Behavioral Health.
ELEMENTS BEHAVIORAL HEALTH
According to Elements Behavioral Health’s website:
“Our current facilities include our luxury drug rehabs at Promises in Malibu and Promises Austin outside Austin; a specialized women’s mental health treatment program at Malibu Vista; young adult addiction treatment at Promises in Mar Vista; eating disorder, trauma, mood disorder, and sexual addiction treatment at The Ranch outside Nashville; adolescent treatment in Dallas, Texas; inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment at The Recovery Place in Florida and Right Step in Texas; and outpatient sex addiction treatment at The Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles.”
There are seventeen treatment centers listed under the Treatment Centers tab on their site.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek
“Elements Behavioral Health, Inc. operates substance abuse, sexual addiction, trauma, eating disorders, and other mental health disorders treatment centers in California, Texas, Florida, and Tennessee. It provides addiction treatment, adolescent rehabilitation, alcohol rehabilitation, Christian drug rehabilitation, drug rehabilitation, dual diagnosis treatment, eating disorder treatment, mood and personality disorders, multicultural addiction treatment, sexual addiction treatment, and trauma and PTSD treatment programs. Elements Behavioral Health, Inc. was formerly known as SUBACUTE HOLDINGS INC. and changed its name to Elements Behavioral Health, Inc. in May 2009. The company was founded in 2007 and is based in Long Beach, California.”
Psychiatrist, David Sack, MD, is President and CEO of Elements. His bio on the Huffington Post notes:
“Prior to joining Elements, Dr. Sack enjoyed successful careers in clinical, research, and administrative psychiatry. After receiving his medical degree from Rush Medical College, he completed his residency in psychiatry at the UCLA-Neuropsychiatric Institute. Dr. Sack served as a senior clinical scientist at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), where his research interests included affective disorders, seasonal and circadian rhythms, and neuroendocrinology. More recently, Dr. Sack served as Senior Vice President for Clinical Research for Comprehensive Neurosciences, where his research included investigations in schizophrenia, depression, insomnia, cognitive disorders, and alcohol dependency. Dr. Sack is board-certified in psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, and addiction medicine, and is a certified Medical Review Officer.”
And his bio on Elements states:
“Board Certified Psychiatry, Addiction Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine with extensive operational experience. Dr. Sack previously served as President of College Health IPA, now the largest behavioral health group in California, SVP Community Programs Aspen Education Group, a startup he grew to > $20M, Senior VP Clinical Research, Comprehensive Neuroscience, Inc , a CNS focused SMO, where he grew his division from $5M to $30M.”
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So what started out as a nice cozy email from Laura inviting me to use a piece she had written on postpartum depression, turns out, with just a minimum of searching, to be a well-orchestrated publicity campaign by a multi-million dollar treatment consortium promoting – believe it or not – the very same inanely simplistic chemical imbalance theory that Ronald Pies, MD, assures us, is rejected by all well-informed psychiatrists. Without much searching, I have found PsychGuides articles by Laura Chapman on ten different sites.
Needless to say, I won’t be using Laura’s article as a resource on my website.