Daniel Johnson, MD
100 Central Ave.
Asheville, NC 28801
Office phone: (828) 708-7001
Please check him out at http://danieljohnsonmd.com/ if you live in the NC/TN area.
Check out this news article about him
here is an excerpt from the article, very encouraging.
Asheville psychiatrist Daniel Johnson didn’t set out to transform his profession. But he’s now part of a growing movement, both locally and nationally, that’s challenging the most fundamental assumptions about mental illness.
Dr. Johnson launched a private practice here in 2010 and, like most psychiatrists, he prescribed medications for his patients. But a controversial article he read nearly a year and a half ago got him thinking and eventually led to a profound shift in the nature of his work (see sidebar, “By the Book(s)”).
By the book(s)
In 2011, The New York Review of Books published a two-part essay by Dr. Marcia Angell that would have a profound impact on Asheville psychiatrist Daniel Johnson and others who are championing new approaches to treating mental illness. Angell, a harsh critic of the pharmaceutical industry who’s now a lecturer in Harvard Medical School’s Division of Medical Ethics, reviewed three books deploring the use of psychiatric drugs.
Two of those books proved particularly influential for Johnson. Both Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness by journalist Robert Whitaker and The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth by psychologist Irving Kirsch reject the theory that chemical imbalances in the brain cause mental illness, challenging the usefulness of the drugs routinely prescribed to treat such problems.
Kirsch, noted Angell, merely “concludes that antidepressants are probably no more effective than placebos.” Whitaker, on the other hand, “concludes that they and most of the other psychoactive drugs are not only ineffective but harmful.”
“Unfortunately, and sadly, more often than not, medications do more harm than good,” Johnson now maintains. “And of course I had contributed to all that in my own practice. I had a lot of soul searching and reckoning to do on a personal level.”
Nonetheless, Johnson — a graduate of the UNC School of Medicine who spent several years working in Mission Hospital’s inpatient psychiatric unit — says he did “a lot of apologizing” to clients, including those who later experienced a difficult withdrawal from a particular antidepressant he’d prescribed: “They put a lot of trust in me, and I feel like I led them astray.”
Many in the field would disagree with that position. And while Johnson says he’s gotten some support from colleagues, psychiatrists who help patients safely withdraw from psychiatric drugs are few and far between.
Asheville resident Faith Rhyne, a former patient of Johnson’s, says, “There’s something very reductionist about the conventional approach to mental health, which … really is that you have a chemical imbalance, and it’s a disease, and you have to take medication in order to fix that.”
With Johnson’s help, she’s been off psychiatric meds for more than a year. “I feel so much better,” she reports.
Rhyne belongs to the Asheville Radical Mental Health Collective, one of several local alternative support networks (see sidebar, “Helping Hands”). “You are more than your diagnosis,” she declares. “You are more than whatever quick answer might have been handed to you.”
What started Johnson on his revisionist journey was an essay by Dr. Marcia Angell, a former editor at The New England Journal of Medicine, that reviewed three books condemning the use of drugs to treat mental illness.
Although the essay sparked push-back from the medical establishment in the form of letters to the editor, for Johnson, those books’ conclusions “opened my mind to a line of thought which challenged a lot of my convictions but also made a lot of sense, and presented a very compelling argument for re-examining the work I do.”
Around the same time, Johnson decided he was tired of fighting with insurance companies, so he stopped accepting insurance altogether. That, he says, forced him to listen more closely to what his patients were actually saying rather than trying to align what they told him with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders so he could get reimbursed for services rendered.
Johnson’s quest to learn more about the subtleties of medication withdrawal led him to the work of Dr. Peter Breggin, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist basaed in Ithaca, N.Y., who’s written extensively about the dangers of psychiatric drugs and electroconvulsive therapy. Breggin’s website (breggin.com) warns that psychiatric drugs are dangerous both to start and to stop, and the latter should be “done carefully under experienced clinical supervision” to avoid “life-threatening emotional and physical withdrawal problems.”
To safely taper patients off their medications, Johnson works with two compounding pharmacies in town, which create successively smaller doses of the drugs, rather than the standard dosages available from pharmaceutical companies. Depending on the number of meds involved, the process may take a couple of years. In addition, individual and group therapy help patients process what they’re feeling.
Once they’re weaned from the drugs, says Johnson, they can get a clear view of their inner self and are better able to do grounded bodywork with some of the many alternative and complementary medicine practitioners in town.
“When people start believing that there’s hope that they can live off of meds, that sense of self-empowerment … can be transformational,” he reports.--------------------------
I will be seeing this doctor in July of 2014. I will keep you informed in my introduction thread. God Bless you all on your journey.
Prozac 1999-2009 quit semi cold turkey.
2012 Placed on Seroquel 25 mg, Tranxene (Clorezepate) 3.75 mg 3x a day, Remeron 30 mg for anxiety/akathesia.
Weaned off Seroquel and Tranxene .to Remeron 15 Mg.
In May 2014 tried quitting Remeron at its lowest dose. Had severe withdrawals.Reinstated Remeron at 30 mg by doctor. August 5 2014 entered hospital. Doctor pulled the Remeron and bridged it to Pamelor (Nortriptyline) 40mg and Zyprexa 2.5mg.After removing the Remeron all my bad symptoms went away and I am stable.
9/11/14 - 7.5 mg tranxene, 40mg Pamelor, Zyprexa 2.5mg
12/29/14 - 20mg Pamelor, 1/6/15, 7/31/15 3.5mg, 8/10/15 3.2 mg, 9/15/15 2.2mg, 10/15/15 1.8mg
(Feb 2016 - 1.4mg Pamelor only - OFF OF TRANXENE AND ZYPREXA SINCE DEC 2014 BENZO FREE Since 2014. Nortrityline (Pamelor) .8mg Aug 2016
March 2017 DRUG FREE