Drug-taking versus Therapy

by Chris Holmes

In response to the post Champix Kills, But Don’t Tell The Smokers a comment came in from James which raised a number of important points, so I have decided to reproduce it here, along with my response to the points he raised:

JAMES on October 27th, 2009 at 7:11 am Said:

I am in two minds regarding Champix. I have many friends who have taken it, the majority have stopped smoking for good (so far). One had a bad reaction and had to stop the course. Depression.

I will be getting the pills tonight and I am optimistic about them. Even though I have read many, many of the horror stories surrounding the drug, I have read many, many, many more that support its use from satisfied patients.

I suggest having a look through this forum: http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/interactive/discussion/viewtopic.php?t=6901&f=11&postdays=0&start=1

There are many people on there who are using/used the drug, detailing all their side effects and most of them come out on top, even after suffering the more drastic ones such as depression. Funny that, I don’t think a single one ever mentioned “suicidal tendencies or thoughts”. I don’t deny this, but when it comes down to either Tobacco companies generating insane amounts of revenue at the cost of my health, or a Chemical company offering me something with a 20% (based on your figure) success rate of quitting smoking that has many people praising, or spending hundreds of pounds on hypnotherapy.. I’m going with the pill.

The one thing I DO agree with, is that the NHS / Health Associations are all corrupt. I read Alan Carr’s book, which helped me stop smoking for 6 months previously. Reading it again does not have the same appeal, naturally, but his points do stand. If the NHS actually thought for themselves, or did some research, they really would find out that hypnotherapy is far more successful than NRT, although the costs of such would not necessarily benefit them. I imagine hypnotherapy is more expensive than patches!!

It does not suprise me that hypnotherapists are very anti-champix, as naturally, it is one-side fighting for revenue against another. Saving lives is the most important, but this can really split peoples trusts.

Needless to say, I will be taking Champix, I am aware of the risks and will keep an eye on my mental state very closely (along with the help of others). If I don’t quit using it, I cannot afford hypnotherapy. Therefore, its either the cigarettes or the Champix that will no doubt, one day kill me.

Even though you have your own ideas about Champix already, and can back them up, if it helps 20% of smokers to become non-smokers, then withdrawing it is a BIG mistake.
Those 20% who do quit with it, may not be able to afford the several-hundred pounds cost of hypnotherapy (based on last time I checked a session at an Alan Carr clinic). You could be giving them a death-sentence, if they continued to smoke.

Smoking is expensive enough, I’ll take my chances with a prescription fee ;)

James

P.S.. Interesting read, nonetheless!!

CHRIS on October 28th, 2009 at 5:45am Said:

Hi James, thanks for your thoughts.

I had a look at the “netdoctor” site, and what struck me immediately was that nearly all the posts on the first page are from people on Day 1 or Day 3 of the course! These are “so far, so good” posts that many champix blogs are littered with, which create a totally false impression. That’s like someone sending you a text message that says they’re 12 minutes into their hypnotherapy session, and so far they haven’t wanted a cigarette! Only people who have been off the tablets for weeks or months can truly report their own experience as a success. Don’t forget, half the people in the original trials who were counted as successes were smoking again within 28 weeks.

Most of the horrific side effects have kicked in after weeks on the drug, so please don’t be falsely reassured by these early comments.

Who or What is netdoctor?

Down at the bottom of the homepage it says that netdoctor.co.uk is a trade mark. Is it? And what trade might that be, then? And do you suppose that the lack of posts reporting serious side effects might be because the site moderators think that those sort of reports might be bad for “trade”, so they don’t get approved for display on the site?

Hypnotherapy v. Champix?

I’m not against Champix simply because it is competition. If it were as straighforward as that I would be against the Allen Carr people and acupuncturists too, but as anyone can see from reading Truth Will Out, I am not – in fact I recommend them. I do claim hypnotherapy has the greatest success of the three, but then I back that up in the Evidence section. This site is all about evidence, and so is the book. You don’t have to buy the book to see that, because I publish a lot of it here for free.

The Relative Costs

Although I often state that the Allen Carr Easyway method is a form of hypnotherapy – which is true – it is not the best form by a long way. In fact I would suggest to anyone that the best version of the Allen Carr approach is to read the original book, the one that actually made him famous in the first place. The group sessions involve too many people, it complicates matters and brings down the overall success rate. The book is something you contemplate, and can return to – there are fewer distractions, just as in a one-to-one hypnotherapy session it is a more personal experience.

Please don’t assume hypnotherapy costs hundreds of pounds just because the Allen Carr franchises charge hundreds of pounds for their stop smoking sessions. I confidently regard myself as an expert in this field, but I only charge £120 for the Stop Smoking session I offer. I also have a reduced-fee back up session, so even those smokers who need two sessions – most do not – only pay £160 in total. Most smokers save that back in a month.

Now, some colleagues have suggested that I should charge more, and I certainly could charge more. But it is also true that some smokers – like yourself – would not choose hypnotherapy if I did that, so it would be the opposite of promoting the wider recognition of hypnotherapy as a therapeutic mode, something to which all professional hypnotherapists are supposed to be committed.

You are suggesting that Champix is attractive because you only pay a prescription fee. For many people that may turn out to be true. But over the last two years I have been told of many people who have paid a much higher price. Some of them are dead. So what you are suggesting only remains a valid conclusion if none of that happens to you personally. It is exactly the same “It won’t happen to me” assumption that many smokers adopt with regard to heart attacks and cancer – but in your case you have transferred it to Champix instead, accepting the suggestion that “it has to be better than dying of cancer”, as if those were the only choices! It’s a marketing suggestion and it apparently works very well, but it has a very hollow ring later for the unlucky ones.

Is it really about money? Those people who have posted their horror stories here and on other blogs, the ones who are terrified they will never feel normal, happy and healthy again – how much money would they pay to get their health back, or to be able to turn back the clock and never take the damn stuff in the first place?

How much did you pay for your last holiday? Was it £120? That was over in a flash, and now you have only your snapshots and your memories, but the benefits of stopping smoking last a lifetime.

What I am telling everyone is the truth, and I don’t just state it, I’m providing plenty of evidence and plenty of references so people can find out more – far more than the drug company lackeys are telling them. Then I am suggesting that you make an informed choice, and I think it is logical to try all the non-risk options first: hypnotherapy, the Allen Carr method and acupuncture have never harmed anyone, but they have certainly helped a lot of people to quit smoking.

In the context of your safety, your good health and the whole of the rest of your life, the investment in these non-risk approaches is peanuts, really! How much money do we burn up every year simply on our own idle entertainment?

I am only suggesting that the use of methods that have already harmed people should only be considered when all the safe methods have already been tried. You would think doctors would agree with that, wouldn’t you? As for the NHS funding hypnotherapy sessions for smoking cessation, HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!

Too many fingers in too many pies, my friend. The annual NHS bill for medications alone topped £10 billion some time ago, and it is rising still… do you really think the use of pharmaceuticals saves the NHS money?

It is killing the NHS. And we’ll see the end of the NHS before we see the end of the stranglehold the drug companies have over the medical profession. Hypnotherapists can’t stop it. Doctors can’t stop it. Even the drug companies can’t stop it, because they are in competition with other drug companies, and they have obligations to their shareholders. They have to sell more drugs, which means the NHS has to buy more drugs, which means people – such as yourself – have to take more drugs. They can’t have you going off to see a hypnotherapist – if everyone started doing that it would only mean one thing for drug companies: hard times. So of course they do everything in their power to steer you away from that, and netdoctor.co.uk is doing its bit there.

The question is, who do you trust? Those of us who have never hurt anyone but have helped thousands of people to safely stop smoking, or the people who have a long and apparently shameless history of killing and maiming tens of thousands of ‘unlucky ones’ with a whole list of nasty concoctions over the years, every one of which was mistakenly passed as “safe”?

Whatever you choose to do, James, I wish you well. Please do keep us posted about your progress.

*This exchange was four weeks ago.  So far James has not been back to tell us whether he did start taking Champix that night as he planned, or how the first four weeks went.

the safest quit smoking method is also the most successful

On a Lighter Note…

by hypnotherapist Chris Holmes

This development, I am certain, has nothing whatever to do with the Truth Will Out Campaign, but it is a bit ironic: I’ve just been invited to become an Associate Member of the Royal Society of Medicine!

This is because I am involved – to quote the letter – “in one of the many medical and related professions”.  There are several advantages to attaining this status, which the letter goes on to list, including: “The comfort and exclusivity of a ‘Members-only’ Society” – which sounds a bit snobbish to me – “Private fine dining” – which I’m not really into – and “access to one of the most modern medical libraries in Europe”.

Question: Has it got my book in it yet?  it’s called:

Nicotine: The Drug That Never Was

Volume I: The Biggest Medical Mistake of the Twentieth Century

No?  Thought not.  In that case I’ll say: Thanks, but no thanks.  Ask me again when it does, because that will indicate that medical science is finally beginning to catch up with the world of Hypnotherapy.

My name’s Chris Holmes by the way. And if you’ve never heard of my book yet, Doc, don’t worry.  You will. It is the first book ever to prove, by clear, logical argument alone – in other words, scientifically – that the nicotine tale is a lie, and that Nicotine Replacement products are entirely based upon a myth.

Cravings are behavioural impulses controlled by the Subconscious mind which we can easily shut down in hypnotherapy on request, usually in a single session.  Tobacco smoking is entirely a compulsive habit, not a drug addiction and the whole ‘nicotine’ angle is bogus and incorrect, which is the main reason NRT has no long term success outside of the normal willpower range of about 6%.

So you can ignore it if you like, Doc, but smokers aren’t ignoring it! They are reading it in ever-increasing numbers and the reviews are terrific.  In fact I challenge anyone – anyone at all, it doesn’t have to be a smoker because the book is about compulsive habits generally, not just smoking – to read that book cover to cover, and then tell me they still believe in a thing called nicotine addiction.  And that’s why doctors are going to have to address this sooner or later whether they like it or not, because the plain fact is they are wrong.  They are wasting smokers’ time with NRT, and vast sums of money that actually belongs to the taxpayer, and they have the temerity to blame the failure of all that on the smoker.  But the Truth Will Out.

hypnotherapy info

Ageism and the Chemical Cosh

by Chris Holmes

Twice before I have mentioned the scandal of people of a certain age who are more frail and confused than they used to be being knocked senseless by GPs with the use of powerful anti-psychotic drugs, and now this scandal is back in the news again.

Deliberate Mis-Prescribing

No-one is suggesting that the job of a GP is easy.  A great number of the decisions a GP will make when considering whether to prescribe a certain medication or whether not to, will be a judgement call, and it is possible to get that wrong.  That’s why they have advisory bodies like N.I.C.E. to give them guidelines.

The trouble is, quite a lot of GPs are ignoring the guidelines.  These drugs are designed for people who are psychotic, but of the 180,000 people currently being prescribed these drugs in care homes, it is reckoned that about two-thirds of them aren’t psychotic – they are confused, suffering from some form of dementia or are just agitated about the transition of going into care.

The Telegraph’s Health Correspondent Beezy Marsh wrote:

The findings emerged in Keep Taking the Medicine, a report by Paul Burstow, the Liberal Democrat spokesman for older people, who obtained information through parliamentary questions.

Last night he said: “The chemical management of older people is a continuing scandal.

“It denies older people dignity and robs them of a better quality of life. Pressures on care providers are not an excuse for inappropriate medication.

When I first commented on this a year or so ago, I was horrified by the estimate that in the previous five years, these medications were reckoned to have killed about seven hundred people – mainly through causing strokes and pneumonia.  Now the estimates are between 1000 and 2000 elderly people being killed in this way every year yet the N.I.C.E. guidelines are that unless the patient is psychotic, these drugs should not be used to sedate them.  They are so powerful that they are now being spoken of as a kind of “chemical cosh”, and the accusation is that this dangerous practice is simply to make these people less troublesome and easier to handle.

The Telegraph again:

Frank Ursell, chief executive of the Registered Nursing Home Association, said accused Mr Burstow of “pointing the finger of blame”. He said: “We want to disassociate this idea of these drugs being used as a chemical cosh, because it is just not true.

“If you are running a home, you do not want people wandering around in a sleepy state. They can be useful to help people settle in, because it can be very traumatic for elderly people when they first arrive, to bridge that gap.

“It is the GP who prescribes the drug and to suggest that there is inappropriate prescribing is a scurrilous attack on GPs.”

“Help people settle in”?  Settle in to what, a shroud?  And this is not just a “suggestion” that the drugs are being mis-prescribed – clearly the guidelines are being ignored which is causing the deaths of over a thousand people a year!

Look, if someone is upset or agitated, or having trouble adjusting to a new way of life, you could just give ’em a Valium or something like that.  You don’t have to put them on a tablet designed for something completely different that also has the slight drawback of killing a thousand people a year, thus deliberately ignoring the official guidelines that tell you not to do that.  Forgive me, but that is not “a scurrilous attack on GP’s”.  And yes, it is “pointing the finger of blame” because GP’s ARE to blame for that one!  There are times, Mr Ursell, when pointing the finger of blame is entirely appropriate, and when GPs cause unnecessary deaths by choosing to ignore the official guidelines – not just once or twice but in thousands of cases annually, then clearly the blame lies WITH THEM… not with N.I.C.E., not with the care homes, not even in this case with the drug companies who manufacture the damn stuff, but the individuals that sign those prescriptions.

I did call it, last time, a Licence to Kill.  GPs know that if any of these old folk die as a result, no-one is going to sue them personally.  How is this different from Shipman’s arrogant assumption that he should remain untouchable if he killed people off with the inappropriate use of medication?  And it is clearly ageism: would they even dream of deliberately knocking out any other section of the population en masse with these drugs?  It isn’t really to help them settle in, otherwise it would be used on children during their first few weeks at boarding school.  It isn’t really to manage difficult behaviour, otherwise the same drugs would be used on half the prison population, but no – these nasty, deadly drugs are only being mis-prescribed to the elderly.  So Paul Burstow is right when he states that the chemical management of older people is a scandal.

I make no apologies for once more making the point that people like Edzard Ernst, who spend so much time atacking complementary medicine or trying to damn it with faint praise say nothing – NOTHING – about things like this, even though Ernst used to be actively involved in the work of the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency!  No, conventional medicine and general practitioners can kill as many people as they like, that’s fine by Ernst.  But he’ll be very quick to warn you about things like acupuncture or homoeopathy… as if that is where the danger lies!

This is just one of many examples that prove that the overall drive is to medicate, medicate, medicate.  Not all doctors are pill happy but too many clearly are, and it is now killing people in vast numbers but for some really scary reason, the trend is to prescribe even more despite that, and the guidelines, well… they might as well be in the bin.

Central Hypnotherapy

Are Medical Authorities Secretly Reading This?

by Chris Holmes

Since the launch of this site in March 2008 I have been urging medical authorities to press governments to do something about the madness of ‘internet pharmacies’ from which people can buy prescription medications without any doctors or prescriptions being involved.  Occasionally I had heard people like Dr Chris Steele ( a TV Doctor here in the U.K.) gently warning the public that some of the medicines might be fake, and that is why it’s not a good idea.

That is just one of the reasons it is not a good idea. Someone just deciding that they could do with some Valium, some hydrocodone and maybe some anti-depressants but they can’t be bothered to consult a medical professional about whether or not that’s safe or appropriate… but they have a credit card, and the people who push drugs on the internet have certainly got the greed if not the scruples to be concerned that their customer might be about to end up like Heath Ledger… these are some of the other reasons that internet drug shops are not a good idea.

Anyway I have suggested a number of times that the medical profession should be very seriously concerned about this and move to oppose it, mainly because it is dangerous and unethical but also because if people don’t need a prescription they might soon conclude that they don’t need doctors either, or that they can be their own doctor now by reading up about their condition on the internet and simply buying a treatment – without any objective, experienced, wise or properly-qualified opinion being involved.

I know a lot of people read this website, in fact it is increasing all the time.  Some of those people are smokers.  Some are therapists.  I know this because they send me comments and messages, some for publication on the site.  As yet, no doctor has ever sent me a message of any description via the Truth Will Out site, although I do have some contact with doctors and other medical people through my hypnotherapy practice.  (I even did some work for the NHS last year – unheard of!)  But that doesn’t mean medical folk never read this stuff.

So I was interested to see a new billboard, whilst travelling in to the office this morning, featuring a corpse on a gurney in what I suppose was an autopsy room, covered over with a sheet.   It said “You might pay with more than a credit card, if you buy medications on the internet.”  Then the slogan: Get Real – Get a Prescription.

Elsewhere on this site I have mentioned alarming figures about the harm done by medications that have been prescribed by doctors anyway, but I think it is important to get these things in perspective. I don’t expect everyone to turn away from drug therapies and embrace alternative therapies en masse – nor should they.  It would be a much better idea to establish which methods are genuinely most useful and safest for the wide variety of symptoms requiring treatment, so people can benefit from all forms of therapy, not just drug treatments.

But I certainly don’t want to see doctors being edged out of the picture by the drug industry via internet drug shops, so it is nice to see somebody is finally doing something about it.  It’s not enough, but it’s a start and I really welcome that.  Well done, whoever is behind that one.  Good on you.  Doctors are not expendable, and when I got that email last year from an internet pharmacy that was titled: “Prescriptions are a thing of the past!” I just had to write about that (See Posting Comments 2 if you want to read it).

It may be, of course, that the people behind this new billboard campaign just came to the same conclusions as I did, without reading any of my ranting about it here on the Truth Will Out site.  But if so, they took a hell of a long time to come to that conclusion considering that these drug shops have been flogging dangerous drugs for years now, and although none of that affects me directly it certainly affects them.  And also, although I wrote the original rant about that back in June 2008, according to my stats package it remains, surprisingly, the most frequently read page on the site after the homepage.

Now, that’s not because of any links that I’m aware of, so it does suggest that people are sending that link quietly to each other.  And people do have to have a shared interest in that subject to do that, don’t they?  So that rules out smokers and hypnotherapists for a start.

So – hope you’re keeping well, Doc.  All the best.