- The Facts:
Policymakers and mental health providers are convinced that mental illness is organically formed or genetic. But there are 11 other proven contributors to the development of mental illness that we can no longer overlook.
- Reflect On:
What have you been led to believe about mental illness? And how many of these 11 hidden causes are embedded within your life or the life of a loved one?
Before you begin...
Every day in the headlines we hear about another school shooting or another teen suicide. What is going on? Why aren’t we getting to the bottom of this? What are we doing to help prevent the next tragedy? As I learn about another, I get more and more frustrated that nothing is changing.
We need to start taking a more in-depth look at why our children are so depressed, anxious, and angry – our lives depend on it. If not properly treated, obsessive thoughts turn into compulsive behavior, and we will hear about the next suicide or mass shooting when we turn on the news tomorrow.
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What Is OCD?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is categorized by the DSM-5 (the diagnostic manual and bible of psychiatry) as an anxiety disorder. However, it is a maladaptive coping skill that develops as a result of trying to manage the overwhelming fear or worry one feels. A person may start obsessively feeling nervous about a home intruder, so may check the alarm system or door locks fifty times before bed. One may fear the flu, so may wash their hands 50 times.
As an attempt to quiet the sense of alarm, the compulsion provides a “quick fix” for the negative intrusive thoughts. It gives a temporary sense of power over the problem and helps someone feel like they are doing something about it. But it’s a trap because it just feeds into a vicious cycle. The more one follows the rituals, the more they need to do them.
The Darker Side of Obsessive Thoughts & Behaviours “Harm-OCD”
Intrusive thoughts can be benign, like song lyrics that continuously play in one’s head or obsessive behaviors like overly tidying one’s apartment. However, if paranoia, feelings of isolation, anger, and depression are already brewing it could lead to sinister thoughts like harming themselves or others.
Some believe that OCD can masquerade as psychosis as it closely mimics the symptoms of the psychiatric disorder schizophrenia. When a person gets lost inside their depressed and chaotic mind, they become infatuated with their depressive thoughts, violent video games, building bombs, guns, and revenge. Some begin planning their suicide, while others start stockpiling weapons to carry out the next mass shooting.
A newer study published in the Journal of Molecular Psychiatry, concluded that “those with OCD are ten times more likely to commit suicide and patients with OCD are at significant risk of suicide, even in the absence of other psychiatric conditions.” Others with OCD have brutally violent thoughts of hurting others that consume one’s mind making it difficult separating visions from reality.
According to a study published in the Industrial Psychological Journal, anger attacks are associated with a surge of autonomic arousal. Symptoms include tachycardia, sweating, flushing, and a feeling of being out of control were present in half of the patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and they correlated with the presence of comorbid depression.
Policymakers and mental health providers are so convinced that these individuals have an organic or genetic mental illness. They have called off the search for a better understanding of these conditions. When they start recognizing the epidemic of teen suicide and teen violence, they call for more psychiatric labels and more psychiatrists to prescribe medication. However, they don’t acknowledge that medication does nothing to address the conditions that derail the mind in the first place. And, drugs often only mask symptoms without considering dangerous side-effects. Antidepressant medications are driving people to psychosis. In fact, Americans are admitted daily to psychiatric institutions as a direct result of psychosis caused by the drugs themselves.
The 11 Hidden Causes of Psychiatric Disorders Almost No One Considers
1. The Standard American Diet (SAD)
Neurotoxic chemicals and foods are void of essential nutrients and can lead to obsessive thoughts, depression and violent behavior. There are extreme amounts of refined sugar/salt and thousands of chemicals allowed in the American food and drink supply. Many of them are harmless, but others such as artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, emulsifiers, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oil, and glyphosate (GMOs) are not compatible with human bio-chemistry. They are destroying our immune system and causing many mental health symptoms. A CSPI report, Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks, further concludes that the nine artificial dyes approved in the United States are carcinogenic, cause hypersensitivity reactions and behavioral problems. Also, our food supply is so processed and refined that they do not contain adequate healthy protein and they strip away many vitamins and minerals that are essential to our health and replace it with synthetic substitutes.
In a 2014 article in the American Journal of Public Health, the relationship between diet and mental health in children and adolescents was evaluated. “There are numerous potential biological pathways by which diet quality may have an impact on mental health in children and adolescents.” First, a poor-quality diet that is lacking nutrient-dense foods may lead to nutrient deficiencies that have been associated with mental health issues. For example, the dietary intake of folate, zinc, and magnesium is inversely associated with depressive disorders, whereas dietary long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are inversely related to anxiety disorders.
2. Gut Dysbiosis
The gut microbiome has become a topic of major interest as of late, with a new focus specifically on psychiatric disorders. The human body hosts an enormous abundance and diversity of microbes, which perform a range of essential and beneficial immune and metabolic functions. In a June 2016 edition of the Journal of Molecular Psychiatry, the authors take a look at how microbes in the gut affect brain function, and how imbalances of gut bacteria can lead to mental illness. “Evidence is now emerging that, through interactions with the gut-brain axis, the bidirectional communication system between the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract, the gut microbiome can also influence neural development, cognition, mood, and behavior.” Functional medicine M.D.s recognize how poor diet, pesticides, antibiotics, steroid use and other factors are influencing brain function by destroying healthy gut bacteria and negatively shaping the gut microbiome.
3. Food Sensitivities
Often not recognized in the mainstream mental health model, food allergies and sensitivities can wreck-havoc on mental health. The antibodies produced when a person consumes food that they have an intolerance to can cause intestinal permeability and trigger inflammation in the brain which can lead many mental health symptoms, including increased anxiety/OCD, insomnia, brain fog, hyperactivity, impulsivity, irritability, and rage. Overaggressive behaviors are provoked by an immune reaction to every-day foods. Reactions range from irritability to aggression to psychosis. Some of the more common food intolerances are gluten, dairy, corn, soy, and nuts.
4. Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders (PANDAS or PANS)
PANDAS is associated with an unresolved strep infection. It wreaks havoc on the immune and neurological system, causing brain encephalitis/inflammation. Symptoms associated with this autoimmune disorder are facial tics, OCD symptoms, anorexia, depression, paranoia, irritability, hyperactivity, sleep disturbances, and psychosis. Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders (PANS) can be triggered by other infectious agents as well, including Epstein Barr and Lyme Disease. Many physicians who treat a large number of Lyme patients acknowledge that Lyme Disease can cause “Lyme Rage,” which includes psychosis and violent behavior. There are more than one hundred peer-reviewed medical journal articles linking tick-borne diseases to mental symptoms and quite a few that reference Lyme-induced rages. As Dr. Kenneth Bock, MD points out in his book, “Healing New Childhood Epidemics,” PANDAS/PANS cook the brain of these kids. The infection attacks the brain’s basal ganglia, causing severe thought malfunctions and maladaptive behavior. The affected person could fly into uncontrollable rages and violent behavior.
5. Genetic Mutations
Our genetic profile is not the end of our story. The environment in which we live and breathe, genetically modified foods and the chemicals we eat and inject have a direct influence on the expression of our genetic code, by altering the expression of genetic information. In the study of disease, researchers in the field of epigenetics are increasingly finding that the “turning on or off” of our DNA is affecting our mental health.
The MTHFR gene mutation inhibits the body’s ability to transform vitamin B12 into vital folate enzymes. A healthy MTHFR gene converts vitamin B12 to folate (B9), an essential vitamin for brain, spine, and nerve health. Deficiencies of essential B vitamins can lead to developmental problems, mood disturbances including increased anxiety and depression.
Faulty expression of the COMT gene can also cause a variety of problems including irritability, hyperactivity, mood swings, OCD, sleep issues, and lower frustration and pain tolerance.
The “Warrior Gene” MAO-A (Monoamine oxidase A) is one of the two genes that encode mitochondrial enzymes. It is responsible for catalyzing the oxidizing amines, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and adrenalin. Mutation of this gene results in Brunner syndrome. MAO dysfunction (too much or too little MAO enzyme activity) is thought to be responsible for many psychiatric and neurological disorders including depression, mood swings, OCD, schizophrenia, substance abuse, migraines, irregular sexual maturation. It is also associated with behaviors associated with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and autism.
6. Heavy Metal Toxicity
Brain damage and inflammation can also be caused by heavy metal toxicity – like mercury, aluminum, and lead. They can promote aggressive, antisocial and violent behaviors. Lead exposure is known to cause learning and behavioral problems. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry published a study that demonstrates the strong relationship between high levels of lead levels in blood and hyperactivity, aggressive and antisocial behavior in children.
7. Emotional Wounds & Trauma
Heightened anxiety due to upsetting life events in a person’s life can lead to OCD and depression. The lower a person’s resiliency, the higher level of sensitivity and dysfunctional thinking is believed to make a sufferer more vulnerable to developing it. Stressful situations and traumatic event(s) that can lead to OCD include but are not limited to a death of a loved one, divorce, an accident, a move, school pressure and bullying, as well as an upsetting or abusive home environment.
8. Video Gaming & Too Much Screentime
Screens are being used more and more as a method of escaping from the stress of life. However, it may be backfiring. Disassociating in this way is taking teens away from the dealings of everyday life and is creating an alter reality where they are not learning how to foster real or meaningful relationships. A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychological Science finds that “increased time spent with popular electronic devices — whether a computer, cell phone or tablet — might be contributing to an uptick in symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts.” The study established a correlation between long hours of daily screen time and symptoms of alienation. A 2016 article in the New York Post, “It’s Digital Heroin: How Screens Turn Kids into Psychotic Junkies” discussed how addicting these screens are and how they are affecting our kid’s mental health. “Brain imaging research is showing that they affect the brain’s frontal cortex — which controls executive functioning, including impulse control — in exactly the same way, that cocaine does. Technology is so hyper-arousing that it raises dopamine levels — the feel-good neurotransmitter most involved in the addiction dynamic — as much as sex.”
9. Too Much Caffeine
Teens are lining up at coffee shops and consuming an alarming amount of caffeine-loaded energy drinks. Highly concentrated caffeine aggravates obsessive/upsetting thoughts and can set anxiety out of control. This central nervous system stimulant can cause dependency and withdrawal and cause insomnia as well. Although some studies point to the positive mental effects of caffeine, it makes sense that energy drinks could be a contributing factor for kids and teens feeling both homicidal and suicidal. Caffeine intoxication keeps the body in “fight or flight” mode. This can leave people feeling very frightened and threatened. According to the Journal of BJPsych Advances, “In psychiatric in-patient facilities, caffeine has been found to increase anxiety, hostility and psychotic symptoms.”
10. Sleep Deprivation
In a 2011 pediatric OCD study published in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders, researchers found a strong correlation between insufficient sleep and severe compulsive behavior. While kids with OCD sometimes only exhibit compulsions (without the obsessions), the study reflected children with both the mental and behavioral symptoms. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, implicated obsessions are a likely culprit behind disturbed sleep. Based on patients’ self-reported assessments, researchers found a link between insomnia symptoms and obsessive thoughts. Shorter sleep and delayed ability to get to sleep are associated with repeated negative and distressing thoughts that are repeated over and over again, such as “my life is not worth living.”
11. Psychostimulant Medication
It has been known for the last 35 year that stimulants have the potential to induce psychosis-like or manic-like symptoms in children. Psychotic symptoms from Ritalin can include hearing voices; visual hallucinations, urges to harm oneself, urges to harm someone else, suicide, severe anxiety, euphoria, grandiosity, paranoid delusions, confusion, increased aggression, and irritability.
Preventing Future Tragedies
Could future suicides and homicides be prevented? I believe so, and it starts with taking better care of our children. We need to start acknowledging that people committing suicide or murder are medically ill; not mentally ill. And these causes of psychiatric symptoms need more attention. We need more doctors to be trained in functional medicine to get to the root of the mental dis-ease. We need our insurance companies to pay for testing and treatments that will actually help our children.
We need more due diligence in our healthcare system. And we need to stop the pharmaceuticals from leading us away from the truth. Just handing out medications to address symptoms and hoping the client follows through with recommended weekly individual psychotherapy appointments, is simply not enough. And quite honestly, these medications can be the final trigger in a homicidal or suicidal event.
I Am On A Mission
In 2012, I began counseling family members and first responders after the devastating tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. This led me to finish my book Healing Without Hurting. I consult with thousands of moms through social media and conduct workshops for medical professionals to teach them about holistic and natural solutions for healing mental illness and spectrum disorders.
I know from experience that addressing underlying medical issues significantly enhances the life, the health and the happiness of our children and our family. Also, I know my mission has been successful in helping to prevent such tragedies.
To receive more info on how you and your family can overcome ADHD, apraxia, anxiety and more without medication SIGN UP HERE.
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3 Powerful Tools to Help Overcome the Emotional Toll of the Pandemic
- The Facts:
The pandemic has had a significant effect on our lives. Possibly without realizing it, many are suffering from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
- Reflect On:
If you feel stressed or feel that you have PTSD resulting from this pandemic, try these suggestions before resorting to medication or maladaptive coping strategies.
Before you begin...
The pandemic has had a significant effect on our lives. Possibly without realizing it, many are suffering from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Every news cycle paralyzes us with fear of a new variant. Some feel grief over who or what they have lost or continue to have feelings of social disconnectedness. Despite what we have all been through, we need to start moving forward with our lives and truly live again. We must recognize that we have more control over our physical and mental health than advertised. The truth is that there are many helpful things that we can do.
PTSD is a stress-related disorder that may develop after exposure to a traumatic event or ordeal in which death or severe physical harm was a threat or occurred. Those with PTSD may experience agitation, irritability, hostility, hypervigilance, self-destructive behavior, social isolation, flashbacks, fear, anxiety, depression, attention difficulty, loneliness, insomnia, or nightmares.
Trauma can lead to feelings of powerlessness, but powerlessness can also keep us trapped in a PTSD cycle. The psychological imprint of trauma rewires the brain. There’s an old saying in neuroscience: “neurons that fire together wire together.” Our brain neurons begin firing in the amygdala, the emotional part of our brains, during a traumatic event. People can get stuck in an emotional loop, and the rational voice in their heads does not weigh in. This looping can cause a person to respond disproportionately to stress – freezing, panicking, or acting out in anger. Some dissociate or enter a trance-like state. Maladaptive coping skills can sometimes develop. Cutting, burning, overeating, drinking, drugs, overspending, etc., is all an attempt to dampen our painful emotional feelings. So, to avoid getting stuck in a PTSD cycle, we must act and take our power back.
Time to seek out the most effective help so that we can feel calm and in control again. What can we do?
1. Boost Your Immune System
If you fear getting sick, it’s time to live a healthier lifestyle and boost your immune system. Sadly, we are taught (with the help of pharmaceutical dollars) that health comes from a needle or a pill. Our “experts” recommend masks, hand-washing, social distancing, and mRNA vaccines. Still, they seldom suggest a healthy diet, supplements, and other natural remedies to help improve our health and support the body to fight off illness and disease. Click here for my article that includes 16 Tips on Boosting Immunity.
2. Embrace Spirituality
Over the last 20 years, I have been honored to have worked with many great therapists, healers, spiritual leaders, and trauma survivors to witness the power of Spirituality in healing. Spirituality is an inner belief system providing an individual with meaning and purpose in life. Whether it involves a higher power, nature, religious rituals, meditation, mindfulness, or prayer, the premise is to stay connected to the core of who we are. That place of stillness within us holding the memory of wholeness, peace, inner strength, and balance – despite what has happened. A spiritual philosophy or practice can provide us with a bigger context for our experiences and clarify our purpose. Spiritual methods also connect us with a sense of community and support. Finding our tribe is essential in the face of trauma and loss. The spiritual journey often allows us to go inside ourselves and listen to our inner guidance and “knowingness.” The inner voice may know, for instance, that the virus will not hurt us, or what we are being told by the media is untrue. Spirituality also helps us shift our perspective from “why me” to “what can I do about it. It brings us a sense of power and control.
3. Guided Imagery & Bilateral Stimulation
Both tools are essential for the trauma therapy toolbox. They are noninvasive and helpful for overcoming the effects of trauma. Guided imagery can help us alter the negative or stressful pictures and thoughts in our minds and help us create new, more peaceful ones—a form of instilling positive affirmations. Before you read on, I thought you might like to download my 10-minute exercise. This science-based, comprehensive video will help you to cultivate a sense of inner peace and give you a way to help overcome the effects of this pandemic – GET IT HERE
Is There Science Behind This?
Science, yes. Magic, no. This method requires regular practice if you want to make lasting, long-term changes to the ways that you think and feel. The good news is that both guided imagery and bilateral stimulation are widely practiced and well-established practices. However, I recommend that if you are still struggling after repeated listening, you find a qualified trauma therapist to continue the work you have already started.
A Look At The Research
Guided imagery is a behavioral technique using a series of verbal suggestions to guide oneself or others in visualizing an image in the mind to bring a desired response in the way of a reduction in stress, anxiety, or pain. A growing list of empirical literature supports the use of these techniques in various physical and emotional conditions. Guided imagery resulted in a clinically significant reduction in PTSD and related symptoms in a returning, combat-exposed active-duty military population. Positive affirmations can positively affect the brain’s circuitry. There is MRI evidence suggesting that specific neural pathways are increased when people practice self-affirmation tasks.
Numerous research articles have established that bilateral stimulation is one of the most effective treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some therapists practice Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a combination of psychotherapy and bilateral stimulation. EMDR is very effective for treating a wide range of mental health issues due to emotional and physical trauma. During bilateral stimulation, patients tend to “process” the memory in a way that leads to a peaceful resolution. And, often results in increased insight regarding both previously disturbing events and long-held negative thoughts about the self.
“Bilateral Stimulation induces a fundamental change in brain circuitry, similar to what happens in REM sleep. It allows the person undergoing treatment to process and incorporate traumatic memories into general association networks in the brain. This therapy helps the individual integrate and understand the memories within the larger context of their life experience.” – Robert Stickgold, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School
If you feel stressed or feel that you have PTSD resulting from this pandemic, try the above suggestions and download my helpful video before resorting to medication or maladaptive coping strategies. Also, you can discover the many mind-body practices you can do at home to help manage stress more successfully and so much more. SIGN UP HERE to receive your free download today. To purchase my book Healing Without Hurting, click here.
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Boosting Your Mood and Improving Your Health With Vitamin D
- The Facts:
Vitamin D is essential for proper immune functioning and alleviation of inflammation.
- Reflect On:
Are you or someone you love suffering from depression or an autoimmune disorder? When is the last time you checked your Vitamin D levels?
Before you begin...
Are you or someone you love suffering from depression or an autoimmune disorder? It appears vitamin D deficiency may be to blame.
Vitamin D is essential for proper immune functioning and alleviation of inflammation. The beneficial effects of vitamin D on protective immunity are due in part to its impact on the innate immune system and has numerous effects on cells within the immune system. Vitamin D is also involved in maintaining the proper balance of several minerals in the body. And, it helps to ward off the flu and many viruses and treat them. The latest research links vitamin D deficiency to many disease states. These disease states include cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, depression, arthritis, and just about every other degenerative disease.
“Vitamin D reduces depression. In a randomized, double-blind study, People with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed a marked improvement in their symptoms.” – Journal of Internal Medicine
According to the Nutrition Research Journal, as many as 80% of people are deficient in vitamin D. Inadequate exposure to sunshine, poor eating habits, malabsorption, the VDR genetic mutation, and accelerated catabolism due to certain medications, dark skin pigment color, and too much sunscreen can be to blame.
A doctor can check vitamin D levels with a simple blood test. Many mainstream doctors will suggest that you are within normal limits if your levels are 20-30ng/mL. However, for optimal health, the Endocrine Society and many functional medicine M.D.s and naturopaths will recommend levels of between 40-70 ng/mL for both children and adults. These doctors will also recommend a more aggressive replenishment program. For example, at age five, my son’s level was 24. The pediatrician recommended 500iu daily of supplementation, while our naturopath recommended 5,000iu daily for six months before retesting. Six months later, his levels were almost normal.
“Through several mechanisms, vitamin D can reduce risk of infections. Those mechanisms include inducing cathelicidins and defensins that can lower viral replication rates and reducing concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines that produce the inflammation that injures the lining of the lungs, leading to pneumonia, as well as increasing concentrations of anti-inflammatory cytokines” – PubMed
How to Increase Your Vitamin D Levels
Get enough sun. Vitamin D3, “the sunshine vitamin,” is the only vitamin your body that is made, with the help of the sun. So be sure to get enough sun exposure to help the body make this essential nutrient. Hold off trying to protect ourselves from the rays of the sun at every turn by slathering sunscreen. Allow yourself to play outside, garden, and enjoy the rays in moderation.
If you must use some sunscreen, avoid chemical sunscreens made with toxic chemicals that cause thyroid dysfunction, endocrine disruption, allergies, organ toxicity, reproductive toxicity, skin cancer, development, brain, and metabolism problems. Shop for natural mineral-zinc-based certified products instead. When exposed to scorching climates or in the sun for extended periods, we use sunscreens by Babyganics, Badger, Babo Botanicals, and Goddess Garden products.
Eat a well-balanced diet, with foods higher in vitamin D. Although it is believed that we only get twenty percent from the foods we eat. Some foods higher in D include cod liver oil, fish, oysters, eggs, and mushrooms.
Get checked for the VDR mutation. A blood test will determine if you have mutations in the vitamin D receptor. The consequence can be lower vitamin D levels and the inability to absorb vitamin calcium and many other minerals properly. According to a 2020 scientific report, supplementation of vitamin D can help improve VDR gene expression, so more supplementation may be necessary if you have this mutation.
“Something so simple. Vitamin D supplementation could improve the health status of millions and so becomes an elegant solution to many of our health problems today.” – Carol L. Wagner, MD – Medical University of South Carolina
Supplementation 101. Supplementation is often critical if you cannot properly metabolize or absorb enough vitamin D or not get enough sunshine. In areas with long winters and specific populations of people with darker skin color, supplementation may be even more critical. There are many supplements on the market. However, many tablet forms are not as bioavailable and harder to absorb. Therefore, it has been recommended that liquid forms are better. In addition, liquid D is often suspended in olive oil, which helps the vitamins to absorb more easily since it is fat soluble. One of my favorite brands is by Seeking Health. It does not contain any impurities or allergy-inducing ingredients.
Boosting the immune system naturally works on your body’s innate wisdom. It supports the body to operate like a well-oiled machine, protects it from unwanted pathogens and disease, and helps ensure a healthy body and mind.
Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!
Most Diabetic, Heart Disease & Alzheimer’s Deaths Categorized As “Covid” Deaths (UK)
- The Facts:
According to professor of evidence based medicine at Oxford Dr. Carl Heneghan , who is also an emergency GP, most diabetic, heart disease & alzheimer's deaths were categorized as COVID deaths in the United Kingdom.
- Reflect On:
How many deaths have actually been a result of COVID? Why is this pandemic surrounded with so much controversy? Why does mainstream media fail at having appropriate conversations about 'controversial' evidence/opinions?
Before you begin...
Dr. Carl Heneghan has an interesting view on the pandemic, not only is he a professor of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, he also works Saturday shifts as an emergency GP. This allows him to see healthcare from both the academic perspective as well as the healthcare experience, more specifically, it allows him to see COVID from both perspectives.
What Happened: In a recent article he wrote for The Spectator, he writes the following,
It’s hard to imagine, let alone measures, the side effects of lockdowns. The risk with the government’s ‘fear’ messaging is that people become so worried about burdening the NHS that they avoid seeking medical help. Or by the time they do so, it can be too late. The big rise in at-home deaths (still ongoing) points to that. You will be familiar with the Covid death toll, updated in the papers every day. But did you know that since the pandemic, we’ve had 28,200 more deaths among diabetics that we’d normally expect? That’s not the kind of figure they show on a graph at No. 10 press conference. For people with heart disease, it’s 17,100. For dementia and Alzheimer’s, it’s 22,800. Most were categorised as Covid deaths: people can die with multiple conditions, so they can fall into more than one of these categories. It’s a complicated picture. But that’s the problem in assessing lockdown. you need to do a balance of risks.
Evidence-based medicine might sound like a tautology — what kind of medicine isn’t based on evidence? I’m afraid that you’d be surprised. Massive decisions are often taken on misleading, low-quality evidence. We see this all the time. In the last pandemic, the swine flu outbreak of 2009, I did some work asking why the government spent £500 million on Tamiflu: then hailed as a wonder drug. In fact, it proved to have a very limited effect. The debate then had many of the same cast of characters as today: Jonathan Van-Tam, Neil Ferguson and others. The big difference this time is the influence of social media, whose viciousness is something to behold. It’s easy to see why academics would self-censor and stay away from the debate, especially if it means challenging a consensus.
This is something that’s been a concern since the beginning of the pandemic. For example, a report published during the first wave in the British Medical Journal titled Covid-19: “Staggering number” of extra deaths in community is not explained by covid-19″ has suggested that quarantine measures in the United Kingdom, as a result of the new coronavirus, may have already killed more UK seniors than the coronavirus has during the months of April and May.
According to the data, COVID-19, at the time of publication, only accounted for 10,000 of the 30,000 excess deaths that have been recorded in senior care facilities during the height of the pandemic. The article quotes British Health officials stating that these unexplained deaths may have occurred because quarantine measures have prevented seniors from accessing the health care that they need.
Fast forward to more recent research regarding lockdowns, and these concerns have grown. Professor Anna-Mia Ekström and Professor Stefan Swartling Peterson have gone through the data from UNICEF and UNAIDS, and came to the conclusion that at least as many people have died as a result of the restrictions to fight COVID as have died of COVID. You can read more about that here.
These are just a few of many examples. You can read more about the hypothesized “catastrophic” impacts of lockdown, here.
When it comes to what he mentions about academics shying away from debate, especially if their research goes against the grain, we’ve a seen a lot of that too. Here’s a great example you can read about from Sweden regarding zero deaths of school children during the first wave despite no masks mandates or lockdown measures. Jonas F Ludvigsson, a paediatrician at Örebro University Hospital and professor of clinical epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute is quitting his work on COVID-19 because of harassment from people who dislike what he has discovered.
Why This Is Important: Heneghan’s words are something that many people have been concerned about when it comes to the deaths that are attributed to COVID-19. How many of them are actually a result of COVID? The truth seems to be that we don’t really know. But one thing we do know is that total death toll caused by COVID doesn’t seem to be quite accurate.
That being said, we do know that people with comorbidities are more susceptible to illness and death from COVID, and that’s something to keep in mind. For people with underlying health conditions, covid, just like flu or pneumonia, can be fatal.
Ontario (Canada) Public Health has a page on their website titled “How Ontario is responding to COVID-19.” On it, they clearly state that deaths are being marked as COVID deaths and are being included in the COVID death count regardless of whether or not COVID actually contributed to or caused the death. They state the following:
Any case marked as “Fatal” is included in the deaths data. Deaths are included whether or not COVID-19 was determined to be a contributing or underlying cause of death…”
This statement from Ontario Public Health echoes statements made multiple times by Canadian public health agencies and personnel. According to Ontario Ministry Health Senior Communications Advisor Anna Miller:
As a result of how data is recorded by health units into public health information databases, the ministry is not able to accurately separate how many people died directly because of COVID versus those who died with a COVID infection.
In late June 2020, Toronto (Ontario, Canada) Public Health tweeted that:
“Individuals who have died with COVID-19, but not as a result of COVID-19 are included in the case counts for COVID-19 deaths in Toronto.”
It’s not just in Canada where we’ve seen these types of statements being made, it’s all over the world. There are multiple examples from the United States that we’ve covered since the start of the pandemic.
For example, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health stated the following during the first wave of the pandemic:
If you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live and then you were also found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death, despite if you died of a clear alternative cause it’s still listed as a COVID death. So, everyone who is listed as a COVID death that doesn’t mean that was the cause of the death, but they had COVID at the time of death.
Also during the first wave, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had to announce a change to how it tallies coronavirus deaths due to complaints that it inflated the numbers.
As you can see, we’ve struggled to find an accurate way to go about tallying COVID deaths since the start, creating more fear and hysteria around total numbers that are plastered constantly in front of citizens by news stations. That being said, a lot of people who are dying of COVID do have co-morbidities as well. But as the professor says, “it’s a complicated picture” and hard to figure out, and probably something we will never figure out.
There’s been a lot of “fear mongering” by governments and mainstream media, and some believe that lockdowns and masks are simply being used as a psychological tool to keep that fear constant, which in turn makes it easier to control people and make them comply.
Meanwhile, there are a lot of experts in the field who are pointing to the fact that yes, COVID is dangerous, but it does not at all warrant the measures that are being taken, especially when the virus has a 99.95 percent survival rate for people over the age of 70. There are better ways to protect the vulnerable without creating even more chaos that lockdown measures have created, and are creating throughout this pandemic.
That said, it’s also important to note that some calls for lockdown measures are focused on stopping hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Why do some places with very restrictions see no hospital capacity issues? Why do some places with a lot of restrictions see hospital capacity issues? Why do we also see the opposite for both in some areas? These questions appear to be unanswered still. That being said. Hospitals have always been overwhelmed. This is not a new phenomenon.
The main issue here is not who is right or wrong, it’s the censorship of data, science, and opinions of experts in the field. The censorship that has occurred during this pandemic has been unprecedented.
Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. COVID-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science. – Dr. Kamran Abbasi, recent executive editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal (source)
This censorship alone has been an excellent catalyst for people to question what we are constantly hearing from mainstream media, government, and political scientists. Any type of information that calls into question the recommendations or the information we are receiving from our government seems to be subjected to this type of censorship. Mainstream media has done a great job at not acknowledging many aspects of this pandemic, like clinically proven treatments other than a vaccine, and therefore the masses are completely unaware of it.
Is this what we would call ethical? When trying to explain this to a friend or family member, the fact that they are not aware of these other pieces of information, because they may be avid mainstream news watchers, has them in disbelief and perhaps even sometimes labelling such assertions as a “conspiracy theory.” This Brings me to my next point.
The Takeaway: As I’ve said in a number of articles before, society is failing to have conversations about “controversial” topics and viewpoints. This is in large part due to the fact that mainstream media does such a poor job at covering these viewpoints let alone acknowledging them. The fact that big media has such a stranglehold over the minds of many is also very concerning, because we are living in a time where independent research may be more useful. There seems to be massive conflicts of interest within mainstream media, and the fact that healthy conversation and debate is being shut down by mainstream media contributes to the fact that we can’t even have normal conversations about controversial topics in our everyday lives.
Why does this happen? Why can’t we see the perspective of another? To be honest, I still sometimes struggle with this. When it comes to COVID, things clearly aren’t as black and white as they’re being made out to be, and as I’ve said many times before when things aren’t clear, and when government mandates oppose the will of so many people, it reaches a point where they become authoritarian and overreaching.
In such circumstances I believe governments should simply be making recommendations and explaining why certain actions might be important, and then leave it to the people to decide for themselves what measures they’d like to take, if any. What do you think? One thing is for certain, COVID has been a catalyst for more and more people to question the world we live in, and why we live the way that we do.
To help make sense of what’s happening in our society today, we have released a course on overcoming bias and improving critical thinking. It’s an 8 module course and you can learn more about it here.
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