The Murphy Bill: Ethical Considerations for the State of Mental Health Care and Its Consumers

The following is a letter I sent to my congressman regarding Murphy’s latest hearing:

Having listened to ENERGY & COMMERCE COMMITTEE Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy — Mental Health: Why Greater HHS Leadership is Needed (Wednesday, February 11, 2015–10:00am) I have a number of comments, areas of agreement and disagreement, and would appreciate if you would pass them to the staff of Congressman Murphy and other members of the committee as well as to Richard G. Frank, PhD. Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation & Dr. Hyde, Administrator, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

HIPAA regs — These regulations came into being when many psychiatrists blamed parents for the mental illnesses of their children. Often these regulations work to prevent individuals from receiving appropriate care, including isolating individuals from their families. While they need reevaluation, keep in mind that some parents do have an adverse effect on their children. Suggest Emotional Alchemy — by Tara Bennett- Goleman for information on how childhood stress affects learned reactions to stress — and the problems that can result.

Anagostia (spelling) — This is one of Dr. Torrey Fuller’s red herrings. I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help by Dr. Amador presents the L.E.A.P. program to help individuals overcome their belief (often due in large part — to fear and past mistreatments) that they are okay and don’t need help.

America needs to support mental health, not mental illness.

People don’t fall neatly into the definitions SAMHSA’s and HHS use. Most of the people with a ‘mental illness’ periodically experience episodes where they will fall in and out of the various categories.

Greater coordination is needed.

Congresswoman Brooks question — How do people with serious mental illness get help?

All too often, the mental health system prevents people from getting the help they need.

Much research, including advancements in treating individuals with mental health problems comes from outside the pharmaceutical industry; however these advancements frequently are overshadowed by the loud voices and deep pockets of the drug companies. This has resulted in higher costs and less effective care for individuals with mental health issues. I go into this subject in much more depth in my newly released book, Liberty & Mental Health — You Can’t Have One Without the Other ( , but include here a few highlights.

“Many mental health programs are not staffed with physicians practiced in medical diagnosis and thus are unprepared to detect a large proportion of physical diseases in their patients…California’s state mental health programs fail to detect many diseases that could be causing or exacerbating psychiatric disorders”[1]

In 1995 a study found that from 5–40% of psychiatric patients have medical ailments that would adequately explain their symptoms.[2] The next year, in 1996, Sydney Walker III, M.D., a psychiatrist, in his book, A Dose of Sanity, claimed studies have shown that from 41% to 75% of individuals are initially misdiagnosed, often due to overlooked treatable conditions.[3] In 2009, it was found that up to 25% of mental health patients have medical conditions that exacerbate psychiatric symptoms.[4]

There are 4 reasons in the medical model for brain dysfunction 1: Anatomical abnormalities or damage. 2: Lack of oxygen or glucose 3: Electrolyte imbalance 4: Neurotransmitter deregulation: the imbalance of brain chemistry. (Biology and Human Behavior: The Neurological Origins of Individuality, Professor Robert Sapolsky, Stanford University, The Great Courses, The Teaching Company © 1996)

The use of the Koran Algorithm would significantly reduce the number of individuals misdiagnosed, however utilizing other research done since would also reduce the number of people diagnosed with various mental illness and steer them into appropriate treatments.

Trauma can result in shrinkage of the hippocampus which is adjacent to the amygdala, and can be considered the emotional center of the brain. This shrinkage affects the communication between areas of the brain and is responsible for heightened fear and anger responses. (Does Stress Damage the Brain, by J. Douglas Bremmer MD, Biologivcal Psychiatry 1999; 45:797–805; Traumatic Amnesia, Repression, and Hippocampus Injury due to Emotional Stress, Cortisosteroids and Enkephalins by R. Joseph, Ph.D. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 1998 Winter;29(2):169–85) This means trauma would fit into category 1. Several proven non-drug methodologies are available to treat trauma, including Somatic Experiencing (, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (, and Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises ( or the book The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process by David Berceli, Ph.D.)

Then there is magnesium deficiency — which falls into category 3, magnesium being an electrolyte, as well as a key component of serotonin. “…Magnesium is essential in regulating central nervous system excitability thus magnesium deficiency may cause aggressive behavior, depression, or suicide. Magnesium calms the brain and people do not need to become severely deficient in magnesium for the brain to become hyperactive… a marginal magnesium intake overexcites the brain’s neurons and results in less coherence — creating cacophony rather than symphony — according to electroencephalogram (EEG) measurements.” (Transdermal Magnesium Therapy ©2007 by Mark Sircus, Ac., O.M.D pg.5)

In order to reduce costs and improve treatments for those with a mental health diagnosis, we need to move away from a system dominated by the drug industry.

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” (Suzuki Roshi)

Robert Bennett
PAIMI Chair — Nevada

[1] A Medical Algorithm for Detecting Physical Disease in Psychiatric Patients, Hospital and Community Psychiatry Vol. 40 No. 12 Dec 1989, Pg. 1270 by Harold C. Sox, Jr., M.D., Lorrin M. Koran, M.D., Carol H. Sox, M.S. , Keith I. Marton, M.D., Fred Dugger, P.A., Teruko Smith, R. N.

[2] Allen MH, Fauman MA, Morin SF. Emergency psychiatric evaluation of “organic” mental disorders. New Dir Mental Health Serv 1995;67:45–55.

[3] A Dose of Sanity by Sydney Walker III, M.D. 1996, pg 13/ Hoffman, Robert Science News, Vol. 122,September 11, 1982; Herringm M.M., Debate over ‘false positive schizophrenics’ Medicine Tribune, September 25, 1985. Pg 3; Koranyi, Erwin K., “Undiagnosed physical illness in psychiatric patients,” American Family Physician, Vol. 41, No. 4, April 1990

[4] Christensen RC, Grace GD, Byrd JC. Refer more patients for medical evaluation. Curr Psychiatr 2009;8:73–74.