How Many Deaths Will It Take Till We Know?

Alice Keys, M.D.

May 21, 2012

Each time I see the initials for Mad In America, MIA, I think of the Vietnam war and lost young men. I remember engraved steel MIA bracelets, each with the name and birthday of one man lost to our world. We girls wore the ID bracelets of those lost men as if we were going steady with them.

Men. They seemed older to me then. But they were men only because they fought in a war. Had they stayed home, they would have been teenagers and college students waiting to be old enough to drink and vote.

They’re lost boys to me. They were eighteen or nineteen when they were sent away from home to kill and die.

Today, forty-five sounds young to me. Forty-five is a young age to die an unnecessary death.

I listened to a recent talk by Robert Whitaker that’s posted on Mad In America. Although I feel troubled by his report of the increasing numbers of Americans receiving disability payments for mental disorder diagnoses, I am more troubled by all the early deaths.

These deaths are very early deaths among patients taking psychiatric drugs. When I heard Mr. Whitaker quote one recent study that put the average age of death among a group of medicated patients at 45, I was stunned. Forty-five years old.

With such a large percentage of the American population taking psychiatric drugs, this is a deadly epidemic. This is a medical emergency.

Why aren’t we all wearing bracelets engraved with the names of these dead and lost children, brothers, sisters, parents and neighbors? Where are the black armbands like those we wore after the shootings of student war protesters at Kent State University?

In the spring of 1969 we sang about the “dawning of the age of Aquarius” and “the mind’s true liberation”. Our music almost seemed to transform the nightly death counts into the birth pains of a new age.

Then, in December of 1969, we watched television while they picked birthdays for the draft as if they were winning lotto ticket numbers. Except the prize was a one-way ticket to the killing fields.

The nightly news reports kept the reality of war in our faces every night. “Our boys” were dying on the six o’clock news.

Because of this media coverage, a public outcry arose.

We had peace marches and war protests, armbands and bracelets. People spoke up on the news against the deaths. As a nation, we managed to shut down that “unpopular war” at last. But before we stopped the killing, over five million people had died.

How many deaths will it take till we know that too many people have died?

There is a woman I see when I walk. Beth. She walks a lot too. She seems a gentle woman and wears a soft name. I guess the prescription drugs she takes from the way she moves and the things she says.

Each time I see her and say hello, she asks if she knows me. I introduce myself again. We shake hands. Each time we meet, she wants to know if she’s ever said anything that would make me think she’s “a nutso”. She encourages me to let her know if she says “anything crazy”. Each time, I reassure her of my pleasure at our meeting.

Since we spoke last, I can think only of Beth’s increased risk of an early death. She leaves the soft shadow of a real person on my mind. But a year from now I may not remember her.

The war and the muddy soldiers in their blotchy-green fatigues crouched a world away and, at the same time, crouched with us at our round oak dinner table. While we nine ate our boiled potatoes from heavy plates in our kitchen, those young men died far from home.

I remember them. The television made certain of this.

My head can’t tell the difference between my memories of digging our potatoes in the fields behind town and my recollections of the faces of those men who walked with their guns slung loose in their hands at dinner time.

When I listen, in my memory, to the sound of machine-gun fire on the evening news from half a century ago, I compare it to my memory of the blue jay’s summer screech. They both sound equally real to me. My memories of stitch-lines of dirt plumes raised by bullet strikes are more compelling than my memory of that jay’s blue feathers.  

Television left a false reality trail as bright as real life even before advertisers got really, really good at it.

Mr. Whitaker said that eighty percent of Americans in a survey reported believing that chemical imbalances in the brain are the cause of emotional distress. My customers walked in the door proud to have this knowledge. They came prepared to engage with me in scientific discussions of neurotransmitters with information they had gleaned from television commercials and the internet.

Not one of them talked about signing up in a lottery for the chance at an early death.   

I see the initials MIA and recall images of tropical forests, men wading the muddy Mekong delta, red blood and a man trapped inside a low, close cage in the tropical sun far from the fields of home.

These images are imprinted forever inside me, courtesy of television.

There have to be faces on the numbers, names on these statistics for there to be a public cry of outrage large enough to stop the advertising and give us a chance to put the brakes on this deadly epidemic.

It took faces every night on the evening news to stop the Vietnam war.

But who will show us their faces?

We’ve lost access to the ordinary media channels. Money speaks louder than truth in America.

These are actors’ faces we see over dinner now. Tragic faces bloom with new happiness after a kind doctor lets them have helpful pills developed by scientists.

Today’s commercials are more compelling than ordinary life. Their messages are bigger, louder and more seductive than anything real can ever be. Their messages grab hold and dig in.

Real life is made of quiet, soft, forgettable people.

How many deaths will it take before we change how we do business in America?

 

Thanks for reading.

Alice

 

 

 

 

Alice Keys, M.D.

Necessary Phoenix:  Can one physician help heal the practice of medicine? After  two and a half decades of work as a psychiatrist in private practice, community clinics and inpatient units, Dr. Keys shares her personal perspectives on the devolution of medical care and the needed  resurrection.

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182 thoughts on “How Many Deaths Will It Take Till We Know?

  1. Millions will have to die before this. Luckily for psychiatrists they’ll die old, wealthy and happy, and with legal immunity just like Defense Secretary McNamara did after being responsible for Agent Orange and the escalation of Vietnam.

    No one is safer than a psychiatrist from becoming one of these millions.

    I like the Vietnam analogy though. You’ve got the people who thought they were signing up for the good fight (people who walk into your office indoctrinated with neurotransmitter mythology) and then on the other hand the people who were drafted. Really drafted. By coercion. The POWs.

    And then there’s the whole powderkeg of how psychiatry has lined up with government and military to medicalize the sorrows of war. If actual soldiers don’t die on the front lines, they’ll die 20 years younger from the drugs they are sold by psychiatry to numb the memories of war.

    It’s like ‘here kid, take this gun and go over to Afghanistan’ and then when they get back it’s PTSD labels and hospitalizations and then they take the guns off them.

    • anonymous,
      Thanks for your support and reading today.

      I wish we had real numbers or, better yet, real names. With over 20% of the American population now being prescribed psychiatric drugs, arithmetic can give us the number of Americans that could be at increased risk of early death.

      .20 X 311 million = over 62,000,000 Americans are at risk.

      You may believe that psychiatrists, and the many other health car providers prescribing these pills, are “safe” from the effects of psychiatric drugs. You would be wrong. I know an awful lot of physicians, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners and mental health professionals that are on mental health drugs as well. This would be a good percentage number to discover. It may be a lot higher than the general population.

      Please understand that people that prescribe these drugs believe in them, take them and give them to family members as well.

      Thanks again.
      Whenever I hear from you, I think new thoughts.
      Keep readin, writing and thinking.
      Alice

      • Thank you for this statement regarding prescribers taking the drugs they prescribe. As a consumer married to an MD/consumer, I know this to be true. I also know that my former psychiatrist takes psychotropics as does his family. It adds a level of complexity (denial?) to the miasma. For doctors to accept and admit that these drugs are harmful, they must accept that they have done harm to themselves and own family. It is a realization that is a painful process. It digs at the core of their life work and identity.

        I’m not saying this as any type of excuse but as one seeing this from both perspectives.

        Regarding slowing the tide… as long as DSM criteria are used to diagnose and justify treatment, no legal action will happen. The criteria for Bipolar, for example, can loosely and subjectively fit most people at some time. Agitation, elevated mood, increased energy, lack of need for sleep, low periods, etc. Once that determination is made by a physician during a brief interview, just about any class of psychotropic is fair game (aside from stimulants). I believe it is the initial diagnosis that opens the door to use of any drugs and combinations. That door can never be closed again.

        Thank you for your work.

        • Barbara,
          Thanks for your support and encouragement.

          I appreciate your ability to see things from other perspectives. Seeing things from wider perspectives is not the same as making excuses. I think of it as gaining useful understanding.

          The increasingly stretchy criteria for bipolar disorder have troubled me as well.

          Best,
          Alice

  2. Genocide is a very strong word but accurate. We pulled Vioxx off the market for a 4 fold increase in heart attacks. By contrast, combining antidepressants with antipsychotics causes an 18 fold increase in heart attacks. But our lives are supposedly worth less than older people with arthritis who vote so we haven’t heard about this yet.

    The total deaths due to the increased mortality from Vioxx equaled all the Americans who died in the Vietnam war. I think if someone crunches the numbers, we’ll find that the number of people killed by psych meds equal the number of Americans who died in all the wars in all the history of our country.

    But how are we going to stop it? Why complain without a solution? I think entrepreneurship points to many more solutions than begging governments and charities for funding. Let’s start some new, innovative, effective, businesses! Some businesses that can grow big enough to reach across this whole problem. There is a time to grieve our losses and a time to create solutions, and both times are NOW!

    • Corinna,
      Thanks for reading.

      Genocide is a strong word indeed. In this situation it is inaccurate as well. “Genocide”, by definiation, requires the group being killed to be of one genetic or ethnic group. For example, killing people of Jewish descent or middle eastern descent or Albanian desent is genocide if the aim is to destoy the entire group.

      Putting over 20 percent of the adult and child population of the USA at risk for early death is big, important and scarey, but it’s not genocide. Currently, these people are not being sorted by genetic or ethnic similarity (unless you believe there is a genetic predisposition for “mental illness”)but rather by access to third party payment for drugs. You don’t have money, you don’t get the drugs.

      I include the following 1944 defintion of genocide from wikipedia:

      By ‘genocide’ we mean the destruction of an ethnic group . . . . Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves.

      How we use words is important.

      Thanks for your input. It gave me a chance to look it up today.
      Alice

    • If we can’t use the word “genocide” what is the word to use when a group of people are singled out, labelled and then systematically poisoned. Nazism? That’s a strong word that comes from another country in another century. You are aware of course, from reading Whitaker that there is a strong connection between eugenics and the treatment of the labelled. The gas oven technology was first tested on crazy people in the United States.

      I have been a peer worker/advocate for over 20 years. I believe I was drugged by a misogynistic male doctor because he was threatened by the fact that I took my kids and left my husband and then sued my father for 12 years of childhood rape. I am watching my peers become demented and experience multiple organ damage from the drugs they are prescribed. I took the drugs for 20 years until I realized that I was being euthanized for profit. I am 59 years old and I expect to die of stroke or heart failure at any moment because of the systemic damage to my entire body.

      I am not invisible. But nobody will look at me or listen to me because as a labelled person I am categorically invalid. When I die no-one is going to hold the doctors and drugs companies accountable for their eugenic practices.

      • Jeane,
        I think “genocide” is a great word when it’s used for an ethnic or national group that’s been singled out for extermination. I certainly know there has been a history of murder of the mentall ill. Genocide happens around the world with wars today.

        The use of psychiatric drugs is so widespread now that they no longer encompass a defined group of people with a “mental illness”. Everyone everywhere in this country and many other countries (any country with finanacial resources) is now in the target market population.

        With the new DSMV push to “pre-diagnosis” this is a clear step toward marketing to people who someone thinks might someday become mentally ill. Even now the target market population is so big and vague as to be non-specific.

        The edges of a “genocide” boundary for meantl illness are gone. Everyone is at risk in any country with money to purchase the products. People die. But I have a hard time labeling what’s happening right now as “genocide” or “nazi”

        What would be the word for selling products with disregard to health and safety to anyone with money to buy them? There must be a more accurate word than “genocide” or “nazi”.

        My concern is that when we use these less accurate and inflammatory words, we will drive away the people who need most to hear the messages.

        There are a lot of people who may not know they are at risk. The message must get out to them. This is important.

        Keep reading, thinking and writing.

        All the best,
        Alice

        • So what do you suggest, we should all stop using metaphors that bring to light uncomfortable similarities? When I use, for example, the word ‘rapist’ to characterise what psychiatrists do when they force drugs into people’s bodies, I do so because I believe that they are cognate phenomena, the differences being trivial. True, if one were feeling pedantic, you could say that rape is a sexual act, but if we were to do a kind of eidetic reduction on these supposedly distinct phenomena, they can be interpreted as essentially the same; both involve the use of force against a person by a powerful person against a powerless person; both involve sticking things into people’s bodies, although what psychiatrists do when they coerce is more analogous to being raped by somebody with HIV or some sort of contagious brain disease. I could go on but I digress.

          It is all really about whether the person considers the metaphor appropriate. I consider some of those metaphors mentioned by others to be pretty good. I think perhaps you need to be more mindful of the fact that people are using these words metaphorically, often exhibiting a capacity for comparative analysis of phenomena and institutions differing in a few particulars but of similar substance nevertheless, showing not only a fecund imagination but often revealing a huge double standard, such as condemning rape because of the terror it inflicts on the indivdual, yet acquiescing to or embracing something that is immoral for the same reasons.

          One of the reasons why people use these metaphors is to better understand or explain something, such as Thomas Szasz’s comparison of organised psychiatry with the inquisition. By labelling psychiatry as the ‘modern inquisition’, he isn’t saying that it is the inquisition and any dictionary or encyclopaedia would flatly contradict his using that term literally. What he is saying is that the underlying similarities merits the use of the term as a metaphor.

          As long as the individual is aware that it is a metaphor and can defend its use by pointing to what in their mind constitutes their likeness, I think such pedantry is unwarranted. As Thomas Szasz in my opinion has shown, the use of comparative analysis and metaphor can help us to peel away the epidermis of linguistic mischievousness and discern the moral truth.

          As for the criticism about calling some psychiatrists Nazis, the similarites are many, the best in my opinion being that they both use pseudoscience to justify their crimes against humanity and intolerance, although of course there a number of huge differences.

          • A Howell,
            I just have to tell you I love your use of language in this phrase:

            “metaphor can help us to peel away the epidermis of linguistic mischievousness and discern the moral truth.”

            All the best.
            Alice

        • Action T4 (German: Aktion T4) was the name used after World War II[1] for Nazi Germany’s “Euthanasia programme” during which physicians killed thousands of people who were “judged incurably sick, by critical medical examination”.[2] The programme officially ran from September 1939[3][4] until August 1941, but it continued unofficially[5] until the end of the Nazi regime in 1945.[6]

          During the official stage of Action T4 70,273 people were killed,[7] but the Nuremberg Trials found evidence that German and Austrian physicians continued the murder of patients after October 1941 and that about 275,000 people were killed under T4.[8] More recent research based on files recovered after 1990 gives a figure of at least 200,000 physically or mentally handicapped people killed by medication, starvation, or in the gas chambers between 1939 and 1945.[9]

          Genocide is any mass murder. Nine million women died in Europe a couple of hundred years ago. They were not all the same ethnic group. It was genocide.

          What word do you use to describe a culture that has targeted women for mass poisoning? One in five women has been fooled into taking a neurotoxin. What do we call this? Virulent Patriarchy? Mandatory Misogyny? Terminal Capitalism?

  3. It is good to see a psychiatrist who actually has empathy and feelings of concern about people in the mental health system If only there were more of them.

    And I think she is right to focus on the early deaths that the drugs cause. Deaths make people pay attention. Or do they?

    Because as long as we are seen as less than human, the general public, blissfully convinced that it could never happen to THEM, really doesn’t care.

    But I have a suggestion about strategy here. Yes, definitely, talk about deaths. But let’s focus on what is done to children by the system. People get very concerned about what is done to children even when they ignore the same atrocities that adults experience.

    In 1982, I led the successful ballot measure to ban shock treatment in my hometown of Berkeley. I’m convinced that one of the main reasons we won was my own personal story of being experimented upon with shock at the age of six.

    And a few years ago, the death at four years old of Rebecca Riley from psychiatric drugs made national headlines.

    But in her case, in spite of all the evidence, the doctors responsible for this were not prosecuted. And that leads to a second suggestion. We need to demand the criminal prosecution of the doctors who commit crimes like that. Even one criminal prosecution will lead to big changes. Right now, criminal doctors act with impunity, thinking there will be no consequences for what they do.

    We must demand that our lives be valued, and that these criminals go to prison.

      • anonymous,

        Sorry to pop in here. You say things that make me think. This is good. I hope others read and think as well.

        Could people be taught to care about 69,000,000 real people who are at increased risk of early death by their exposure to psychiatric drugs? Over 20% of American children and over 20% of American adults are prescribed them.

        These 69,000,0000 people include teachers, mechanics, hair dressers, software engineers, mothers, florists, firefighters, grandparents, police officers, unemployed,social workers, construction workers, doctors, xray technicians, meter readers, TV repairmen, ministers, soldiers, plumbers, electricians, nurses, environmentalists, bill collecters, car salemen, retirees, fathers, postal workers, CEOs, realtors, shop keepers, students, psychiatrists, farmers, insurance salesmen, airline stewards, tour guides, bus drivers, drug reps…add everyone you know to this list.

        No one is immune. The marketing is pervasive. We are way past “us and them”.

        Other causes have used “poster children” because suffering kids draw sympathy. Perhaps we need postors of all 69,000,000 people? That’s a lot of posters.

        Best,
        Alice

        • I want to suggest a grassroots effort to monitor and challenge misleading reports in mainstream media (MSM) about mental health issues. Letters to the editor, op-ed pieces and targeted outreach to ombudsmen and health desk editors could help to get the message out. I realize that participating in public debate through these types of channels is a time-consuming, effort-intensive process that will not fix anything slowly, but is nevertheless a standard part of public opinion campaigns. Why should the Pharma/APA/co-opted advocacy perspectives be left unchallenged in the press?

          This effort would need a mix of letter-writing approaches, including statistics and factual counterarguments to the so-called science on so-called mental illness, as well as personal stories for a softer touch where that would be more effective.

          • I just looked up NAMI’s website and read their mission statement. I think they are a great example of the opposite of what is needed.
            They claim they want to help people find services, treatment, etc., but in bold letters is “donate”.

            They call themselves grassroots.

            They have nami walks, nami dances, nami rallies, and truly believe they are doing something good.

            If we could shape an organization in the way they have, we could educate people on the truth. How did they get so big, and so powerful?

            They ARE a lobby in DC. They have a lobbyist in our Statehouse. They are backed by little “donations” from the families of mentally ill (but not stigmatized!) people. In fact, I tried to join back when I was drinking the Kool-aide, and it seems they had membership dues.

            I have one question: Twenty percent? Are you sure? Maybe I’m hanging out with the wrong crowd, but it seems more like eighty percent to me. Everyone is either on meds, their kids are on meds, their grand kids are on meds, and their elderly parents in nursing homes are on meds.

          • Marianne,
            I’m not sure of anything. 20% sounds way too low to me too. Interent research. Not science.

            Does NAMI recieve donations from any corportions? I’ve seen patient educational literature imprinted with both NAMI and drug company names in years past.

            Thanks,
            Alice

          • Neither the conservative daily nor the liberal alternative weekly newspapers in my city seem to have any interest at all in this. I think that they don’t believe that it’s going to draw the readership that they want. There isn’t a group in my city that will tackle this at all. The supposed state organization for survivors/ex-patients can’t even get itself together enough to write its bylaws, after two years. All they do is fight with one another when they come together to meet. I’m open to suggestions as to what to do if you can guide me in any way. I think you have the right idea here but I’d have to really beat the bushes to scare up people to help me in any projects.

          • Stephen,
            Sorry to intrude (I do it alot).

            Alternative radio perhaps? KBOO in Porland Oregon just interviewed Robert Whitaker last week. There is a national alternative radio (not to be confused with “public radio”). They have a genuinely liberal alternative viewpoint (at least in Portland). does your town have one?

            We all have to get past the “fighting with one another” thing. It eats too much band width.

            Thanks for your participation in these discussions.
            Alice

        • This is just a partial list of NAMI’s major contributors. There are lots more pharmaceutical companies listed than appear here.

          1st Quarter 2010
          Donor Purpose Amount
          Eli Lilly & Company Corporate Supporter Membership $35,000.00
          Pfizer Inc. Campaign for a Better Tomorrow $150,000.00
          Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Corporate Supporter Membership $25,000.00
          Bristol-Myers Squibb Company NAMI Family to Family $125,000.00
          Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Campaign for a Better Tomorrow $30,000.00
          Forest Laboratories, Inc. Child and Adolescent Action Center $165,000.00
          Marin Community Foundation General Foundation Contribution $200,000.00
          The George Cohee Foundation General Foundation Contribution $6,228.00
          Eli Lilly & Company 2009 NAMI Gala $10,000.00
          HK House of Peers Cause Marketing Partnership $8,400.00
          Allsup, Inc. NAMI Helpline $25,000.00
          Forest Laboratories, Inc. Corporate Supporter Membership $35,000.00

          The NAMI webpage states: The list reflects contributions only to the national organization. NAMI state organizations and affiliates are separate entities and where appropriate are established independently as non-profit 501c3 organizations.

      • True. Part of this has to do with the idolatry of fabled childhood innocence. People are oblivious to the fact that child is usually man at his most primitive. Yes children are sweet, but they are very often merciless bullies towards other children and insensitive to the feelings of others, and only concerned with themselves. Sorry to play the iconoclast, but it is true, although of course, this doesn’t warrant abusing them.

        • A Howells,
          I have seen children be very concerned about the feelings of others and also completely self-absorbed. I’ve seen the same range from other-concern to self-absorption in every age group.

          You’re right. None of this warrents abusing them.
          Best,
          Alice

    • Ted,
      Ban the ads. Ban the ads. Ban the ads. Ban the ads.

      “Criminal prosecution” is only possible if there are laws broken. One must first have the laws. I am not an attorney (perhaps one could respond) but I believe that one would have to pursue other legal measures besides “criminal prosecution” it the behaviors engaged in have not been legally made “crimes”.

      Another important point is that “us is them”. Twenty percent of the American population is “us” now according to a Fox News report from 2011. I think this is a low estimate. Psychiatric drugs are handed out to everyone by every health care provider.

      By your thoughts, do we have to send every physician to prison that has prescribed a drug that had a bad outcome? We already have 25% of the world’s prisoners from 2% of the world popualtion. Perhaps other solutions could make an impact?

      My rant:

      Ban the ads. Ban the ads. Ban the ads. Ban the ads.

      Thanks for reading,
      Alice

    • Ted, My family member was killed by these drugs, by a psychiatrist who got away with it. It wasn’t that I didn’t try to find justice, I really did try. I raised the alarm, I shot the flares, I did everything you can imagine, but to no avail. Why is that? Probably because, in part, of what you said, and that is, people just don’t care because of the stigma of mental illness (“it happens to them, not us” delusion). In my search for justice, I followed the money trail, and it ended at the FDA. They are the ones who approve deadly toxins, they are also the culpable ones, at least in legal currency. I know there are more culpable ones, such as the psychiatrist who kept my brother a prisoner and would not release him on many occasions, kept upping the drugs, changing the drugs, changing the labels, you name it, it was done with wanton abandon of any hint of ethical anything. It didn’t happen over night. It was an insidious, torturous painful death that took at least 6 months to occur. As the feds said when they read the files “Yep, they cooked him”. If I were able to go after the psychiatrist, he would just point the finger at the FDA, and then what…the FDA is not going to answer to this. They just do not care. Why should they, there aren’t enough protesting this. If we get together in a “million man” march, I doubt that would be enough…

      It doesn’t help either, when the coroner writes “natural causes” on the death certificate, as in my loved one’s case. There was nothing natural about his death. But there you have it, that’s their power. So, a word to add to this devastation is “coroner”. because coroner’s can and often do contribute to psychiatry’s killing machine. They just rubber stamp the death certificate,and then a grieving family is left having to fight this first, to get a hearing on this, something called a FIAT, which nobody from the states attorney’s office claims to understand…and all the while the statutes are winding down. It is dizzying to go through the walls and red tape and bureaucrazy (yes, thats a z). All this to get to a lawsuit against the psychiatrist, which will surely eat the statute of limitations up. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

      So, there are really many ways of looking at how this criminality is happening right under our noses, This is a short simplified list, and is definitely not exhaustive: Look at social factors (complacent people convinced it only happens to the “mentally ill”); political factors (FDA approving toxins as a rule, Feds only care about federal money that was robbed, not human lives); criminal factors (psychiatrists robbing medicaid and medicare and only getting fined by the feds, so they can keep killing our families and keep taking more federal money. Also, FDA accepting research known to be fraudulent); and familial factors (the systemic evolution of the original emotional overwhelm that lead to bringing our loved one to a psychiatrist in the first place-we need to talk more about prevention but that’s for another day)….

      Genocide? It is absolutely a genocide. And we as a society sat back for decades and criticized the Germans for following Hitler, as if we could never do that! And here is history repeating itself again. Make absolutely no mistake, we have another Hitler, its alive and well. Re-dressed, re-branded, but the fall out is the same.

      The one point that really does seem to grab “them” is when it happens to children. And isn’t it tragic again, to know that children are very much caught up in this genocide. Ted, I agree with your idea of a strategy here. I agree the way to get “them” to stop and listen is to show them pictures of children, to let them know this can happen to their beloved children at any time, and any day. It really pains me to have to agree with this. But there, I’ve said it. I think most families who have lost someone would also agree. Do what it takes. But do it.

    • Altostrata,
      You would think this true. If only it were. In the face of overwhelming marketing, no doctor can convince another doctor or patient of anything. I’ve tried. Perhaps I’ll write an essay about these failed efforts.

      Thanks,
      Alice

      My rant of the day:
      Ban the ads. Ban the ads. Ban the ads. Ban the ads.

      • Alice, in your post, you express a great deal of urgency to save lives.

        Yet your solution, ban the ads, will take years to reduce the rate of prescription.

        I agree that the ads, which are decreasing now that most psychiatric drugs have gone off-patent, have been a major problem. But their work is being carried on by many, many pro-drug organizations that have bought into, and profited from, the propaganda that serious mental illness very common and that drugs are the proper way to treat it.

        These are patient-run organizations that promote “access to care” and decry the “stigma of mental illness” — well-meaning but poorly educated.

        They recruit suffering, confused people all the time and funnel them into medical treatment for psychiatric conditions they may not even have.

        The horse is out of the barn. Primary care physicians have developed prescribing habits that will require education to break.

        Given the urgency to save lives now, what would you do to have a more immediate effect?

        As far as banning the ads goes, what action are you going to take to make this happen?

        • In the UK there is a massive campaign with huge funds to do just this. It is called, “Time to Change.” It has promotes the idea that “Mental illness is just like any other illness.” I find it distasteful and potentially dangerous.

          I’m all for combating discrimination and stigma but this could promote drug use and avoid all those sticky questions about what drives distress.

        • RE: Primary care physicians
          Have they received the memo that the Chemical Imbalance theory is myth? Psychiatry is admitting to it, but how is that information being imparted to the rest of the prescribers who followed the lead of psychiatrists and are expanding the use of psychotropics to pain, sleep, autism, ADHD, PMDD, etc.? There used to be a Dear Doctor letter that went out when a drug was found to be dangerous after coming to market. At the very least, primary care physicians should be officially informed as was done with the Women’s Health Initiative Study in 2002. That, of course, would create chaos among those trying to discontinue.

          Yes, it’s a deadly conundrum.

        • Altostrata,
          Today, I write essays on MIA to encourage all of us to re-think what we do. I’m a writer. I write.

          I’m glad to see you are here re-thinking as well.

          “What would you do to have a a more immediate effect?” is a question each of us must ask ourselves. If I ask you this question, how would you answer it? If you ask it of yourself, how would your answer change?

          Perhaps you’re right. If we wait quietly, the drug companies will gradually stop marketing on their own as drugs go off patent. I’ll be over here waiting with the flying pigs. (humor intended here)

          Keep reading, thinking and writing.
          Alice

  4. “Currently, these people are not being sorted by genetic or ethnic similarity (unless you believe there is a genetic predisposition for “mental illness”)but rather by access to third party payment for drugs. You don’t have money, you don’t get the drugs.”

    This may be so in the U.S.. It isn’t in countries with socialised medicine, like Denmark for instance. You don’t have money, you’ll get the drugs, anyway. Genocide is a strong word, yes. But I do see a high correlation between holding the belief that it’s genetic and holding the belief that drugs are the answer among your colleagues. You may want to read Olga Runciman’s post: http://www.madinamerica.com/2012/04/fe-fi-fo-fum-i-smell-the-wiff-of-a-eugenics-drum/

    • Marian,
      I was speaking of Americans here. Over twenty percent of all Americans are prescribed psychiatric drugs. This is 69,000,000 Americans at risk for early death.

      Talking about eugenics with regard to drug prescribing today implies there are special categories of people based on genetics or ethnic characteristics that are being targeted for death. If this were true, the customer base in some targeted group would be declining behind these efforts.

      This would not make financial sense. Drug companies want an increasing funded customer base, not fewer cutomers.

      Where’s the target in America TODAY? The wallet. The third party payments. Government insurance comes with the disability payments.

      Today’s drugs are about money. Nothing personal. No ethnic cleansing. Simply cash profits.

      Perhaps I should write an essay about the financial motives of capitalist corportions to clarify how this works.

      Thanks for your thoughts.
      Best,
      Alice

      Today’s rant:

      Ban the ads. Ban the ads. Ban the ads. Ban the ads.

      • I doubt there’s a single soul reading madinamerica.com who does not know about the financial motives of capitalist corporations, or the role this plays in psychiatric prescribing.

        • I’d like an article on capitalist corporations and psychiatric drugs. I’d like to see the comments and the discussions.

          I think there would be several benefits. It would help draw out a wider debate on the political affiliations of the readership and maybe deepen the debate. It might also help develop political strategy around this issue.

          I quite like Alice’s rant of Ban the Adds, Ban the Adds etc. Sometimes a bit of ranting is a precursser to other actions and sometimes it inspires others to take action.

          I think I have started to see more writers start to make suggestions on practical ways this problem can start to be tackled.

          It will take many initiatives and in many different forums over quite a time to tackle this problem.

          I wonder if there are billboards in the USA advertising these drugs? If so maybe someone might be out with stencil and paint as I type (I’m in the UK where direct to consumer advertising is not allowed, but the BBC radio has PR pieces on psych drug treatment regularly – I write and complain with not much impact so far….)

      • I have no doubt whatsoever that the drug companies’ financial interests play a major role in this. Nevertheless, it will seem a little too simplistic to me to try and explain everything pointing to these financial interests. There is no other medical speciality — if we want to see psychiatry as a medical speciality at all, but that’s a different discussion — where people receiving a certain treatment drop dead in the same numbers as in psychiatry without the treatment coming under scrutiny. How is it possible that, although the evidence almost right from the start has clearly shown drug “treatment” for emotional distress to both worsen the outcome and to put people at risk for all sorts of severe and disabling “side” effects and early death, this went ignored for decades? How is it possible that nobody seemed to give a… (well, you know what I mean)? And how is it possible that even long before the drugs were introduced people in emotional distress basically always, except for during the moral treatment era (but that wasn’t psychiatry, that was an alternative), were subjected to “treatments” that were doing more harm than good by psychiatry? And isn’t it thought-provoking that this mistreatment of people in emotional distress coincides with certain cultural, socio-political phenomena? I think, there’s a little more at play than just money.

      • There aren’t targeted ethnic groups necessarily, although mentally ill, homeless, annoying children, and people who don’t work are targets. “If you can’t afford your medicine Astro-Zeneca may be able to help” seems to be including poor people.

        As for the long term result of destroying a large group of potential consumers, drug companies are notoriiously short sighted, especially when compared to other businesses.

        First they see the patent expiration as their time frame, and they also see the lawsuits which crop up after two or three years of marketing.

        By the time the drugs have destroyed people either through death or brain damage, they have moved on to another drug, and who cares if the original target group is around anymore?

        In fact, the “if your anti-depressant isn’t working, ask your doctor to add Abilify” is exactly what I mean. Next will be, “and if that doesn’t help, we have more in the pipeline.”

        African-Americans are over represented among the forcibly drugged, although I don’t think this is genocide, but rather a byproduct of institutional racism and poverty.

        • Marianne,
          The “help” programs are very short term and meant to start a patient on a drug while that patient gets signed up for state and federal funding to continue them. They are also useful PR campaigns that promote the idea that the for-profit corporation “cares” and “helps”. “Free samples” are only given for the newest and most expensive drugs. There are no “free samples” of generics.

          In my experiences working with the “free help” medication program, they are VERY “prescriber” time intensive, paperwork intensive and short lived. The “hoops” vary with the drug. These things make them hard to access. Drug conmpanies do not intend to give away quantities of drugs to those that can never be “funded”. They are bridges between “free samples” and government funding sources to buy them for the patients.

          Even the “free samples” come with “prescriber education” obligations. No talking, no pills. Now, the number of samples are directly linked to the numbers of PAID prescriptions for that product coming from my specific pen. If I don’t write paying prescriptions, my unfunded patients cannot have access to “free samples”.

          Both of these “free help for the poor” programs (samples and patient assistance programs) are in place specifically to increase PAID ongoing prescriptions, get the company direct access to “educate” staff and physicians and to provide friendly PR for the company.

          You probably already knew all this but maybe some folks missed the details.

          Medicines are available for the funded. There are lots of poor people in Oregon that are not funded and will not be unless someone will declare them to be “disabled”. Follow the money trails.

          All the best,
          Alice

          • They always took out the pamphlet with the teeny tiny writing from inside the samples.

            Thank you for filling me in on the money trail. I’m a retired Family Services social worker, so my career was helping people with eligibility for medical assistance, and other services.

            I never bought the “Astra-Zeneca Cares” tag line. They didn’t finish the sentence– “Astra-Zeneca cares about money, money and more money”. :-)

          • Marianne,
            I have to admit that I’ve chased a lot of disability paperwork and free medicine paperwork and samples for patients.

            Disability payments can mean the difference between a roof and homelessness but it comes with a diagnosis and medical insurance that buys drugs. This is all so mcuh more complicated than I ever thought. When I thought I was helping by assisting someone with disability paperwork I was putting them right into the paying customer category for drug companies.

            Alice

      • Regarding eugenics: The eugenics movement was instrumental in developing the arsenal of “psychiatric” “treatments.” This is part of the history. That does not mean that psychiatry is being wielded to wipe out any particular category of people – you were right to follow the money (and power) on that. The eugenics movement just provided the test population and, perhaps more importantly, the population of others (mainly caucasian men) who did not mind torturing other humans.

      • Don’t forget that our very commercialized health care system is a big factor in this, too, and is largely to blame for how easily the psych drugs were absorbed into our mainstream system. Here is a quick snapshot that compares some countries: http://www.upworthy.com/why-people-in-other-countries-live-longer-than-americans?c=cd1. If you look at the dollars spent and the harm being done, it seems like we sure could be spending our money doing better (I know, understatement). There’s enough money moving around our system, so I hope no one starts talking of any lack of funding or budget cut problems when we talk about solutions. Let’s fund Corrina West!

      • Psychiatry’s current agenda is, inter alia, crypto-eugenicist, and I am not just referring to the odious practice of genetic counselling which, of course, represents the continuation of eugenics in a more ostensibly benevolent guise. The pharmaceutical industry’s flagrant disregard of the human implications of its inherent moral nihilism is obviously caused by greed and the prioritization of profits over human lives, yet maybe even this isn’t a monocausal problem.

        I think prejudice plays a role in psychiatry and business as well, and this prejudice, apart from the inculcations of our culture that lay fertile ground for the growth of discrimination towards the so-called mentally ill, derives a lot from the fact that a lot of psychiatrists and pharmaceutical people or whatever the technical term is, are, being human just like the rest of us, compromised morally by their reaction to all this criticism, regardless of how righteous.

        If we all were to shut up and prostrate ourselves at the knees of our malefactors, this would be irrelevant, but all this criticism only serves to augment whatever disregard they have for our feelings. I don’t buy into the belief that these people our impervious to the all too human desire to mercilessly crush your enemies, and we are their enemies.

        So whilst I wholeheartedly agree that greed for gain is probably the preponderant cause, we must not suspend any awareness we have of how discrepant interests and mutual contempt between different indivduals and groups invariably leads to the group or individual with more power abusing it, not that this should deter people from channeling their righteous contempt, just saying that, rest assured, a lot of people in psychiatry and the pharmaceutical hate their peevish victims, after all isn’t victim-hating a common historical phenomenon?

        • A Howells,
          I personally resonate with the use of metaphor. At times metaphor is the only way to get a message across for me. Poetry uses metaphor to take communication from the concrete and literal into the depths of the soul. Metaphor can bring understanding not otherwise reached with ordinary words.

          There are times, however, that the use of metphor deteriorates to infammatory name-calling and personal attacks. At this point it no longer is a tool for comunication and becomes a weapon.

          I know, I know. My mom told me that “sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.” Except words are way more powerful than we are taught. Words can and do hurt.

          The use of inflammatory name-calling and metaphor as a weapon backfires onto the one who raises this in a conversation. The use of inflammatory language that slides over that line into the war zone brings the level of the entire dialog down a notch. This loses readers and participants.

          The vast majority of readers never sign in on the comment page. Every word I write here, I am aware of this silent audience. There are a lot of folks to get these messages out to. I am reluctant to turn any of them away.

          Thanks so much for bringing this topic up today. It’s good for all of us to remind one another of the consequences of our use of words here.

          Keep reading, thinking and writing.
          Best,
          Alice

        • A Howells,
          First, thanks for taking the time to read my post, think about it and respond. Most people that read here don’t take the time as you have to put their thoughts into writing.

          There are a couple of things in your post I’d like to touch base about. The first is the following phrase:

          “Psychiatry’s current agenda is, inter alia, crypto-eugenicist”

          Sorry. Your use of metaphor ran straight past my head on this one. I have no idea what you mean by “inter alia, crypto-eugenicist”. I generally have to translate the big words into plain talk. Is this a phrase you’ve created or one from somewhere else?

          Next, I’m getting the idea that you’ve had some experiences with “mental health treatment providers” and pills.You write as if from personal experiences.

          I’ve clipped out these three statements and put them together below. To me, they seem to be linked by feeling tone. I apologize for taking them out of context like this. I didn’t want the feelings you are expressing here to be lost among the words.

          It sounds like speaking up, letting people know what you want and expressing your feelings hasn’t been well recieved.

          “all this criticism only serves to augment whatever disregard they have for our feelings.”

          “the all too human desire to mercilessly crush your enemies, and we are their enemies.”

          “discrepant interests and mutual contempt”

          I’m sorry this has happened. Thanks for bringing your concerns here.

          Keep reading, thinking and writing.
          Alice

  5. OK, here it goes again. I greatly appreciate the concerns about early deaths, and have not heard Mr. Whitakers talk, Alice, but early in my career, well before the explosion of prescribing psychiatric medication, I was taught that the lifespan of those diagnosed (I know, I know that such diagnoses are suspect) were much less than the general population. This apparently had more to do with factors other than the medication. We were much more cautious about medication in that time (late 60s, early 70s, even for so-called schizophrenia). Has this been re-considered by Mr. Whitaker or others? Are we sure this is from psychiatric medication solely or mainly?

    • Steve,
      I don’t know how to sort out the specific causes and effects. They weren’t listed.

      With the expansion and changes in diagnostic categories, the expansion and changes in medicines and the tendency toward polypharmacy how could we even be compare old data with new? Were these “earlier deaths” you learned about assoiated with psychiatric diagnoses studied before the time of medicines? How much earlier were they? Were they attributed to any particular causes? Were these numbers before “de-insitutionalization”? How many years earlier were you told?

      I was taught this once as well (I don’t recall where, when or by whom), that people with psychiatric diagnoses die younger than the average population. I was taught it was for unknown reasons. I don’t remember the average age at death being 45. This number got my attention (obviously).

      I was also taught that risk factors and associated findings are not the same as direct causes.

      Just the same, if I found myself in a category associated with such significantly earlier deaths, I think I’d find a way to mosey out the back door while folks talked it out.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.
      Alice

      • Metabolic syndrome: relevance to antidepressant treatment http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1635794/

        Metabolic considerations in the use of antipsychotic medications: a review of recent evidence.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17286524

        Excerpt:

        The original description of metabolic syndrome (MBS) comprised obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes, hyperinsulinemia and dyslipidemia, characterized by elevated triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) concentrations. All of the above are risk factors for atherosclerosis and thus pose a significant risk for coronary heart disease. Obesity/overweight and insulin resistance also present a significant risk for developing type-II diabetes. The risks for coronary heart disease and diabetes with metabolic syndrome are greater than those for simple obesity alone; thus an understanding of the pathogenesis of heart disease and diabetes and a rational approach to their therapy are of prime importance. There is a substantial amount of literature linking weight gain to the subsequent development of MBS related to psychotropic medication.

        • Ruby,
          The number one cause of death in adult “psychiatric patients” is the same as the general population only much earlier; cardiovascular disease. This fits with the information you gave the links to.

          I’m puzzeled at the impulse of the prescribers I talk to about these issues to attribute the increasingly early deaths to “lifestyle choices” such as smoking, overeating and inactivity rather than the drugs. Certainly in adult patients the drugs cause over eating and inactivity.

          Smoking? I was taught (by an academic researcher funded by a drug company) that the mental illness itself caused people to smoke more, something in the dopamine system. But the drugs muck about in the dopamine system. Could they cause increased smoking and make it harder stop?

          There is a new epidemic of cardiovasculr disease and metabolic syndrome in children, including what used to be called “adult onset diabetes”. With over 21% of kids under the age of 17 taking psychiatric drugs, has anyone looked at concordance between the psychiatric drugs and the increasing rates of CV disease and metabolic syndrome in kids? Perhaps its not all “lifestyle choices” like fast food and inactivity. Perhaps the drugs cause over eating (as they are known to do) and low energy (as they are known to do). Could doctors be looking at side-effects of the drugs (obesity and inactivity) and mistaking these for the causes of the metabolic issues?

          Good thoughts. Good information. Keep it coming.

          Alice

          • In my service on the State Mental Illness Advisory Council we dealt with a State Hospital that had banned smoking.

            Some on the council were adamant that patients should have a right to live in that smoke-filled environment, and that smoking was good and necessary for their mental health.

            That hospital shut down shortly after, so it was moot.

            As an inpatient, I was subjected to more cigarette smoke than anyone would be in a normal environment. I was the ONLY non-smoker, and this was before the surgeon general warning, etc. At times it was so smoky I could hardly see, and my eyes and throat burned.

            One psychiatrist let it slip that Thorazine “makes you feel hungry when you’re not” which is on my list life-changing moments.

          • Marianne,
            The “metabolic syndrome” side effect didn’t get talked about in the drug “educational” literature till we hit Zyprexa.

            I did hear a lot of people complain over the years that the medicines, all of them at one time or another, made them gain weight.

            None of this would be good for health, eh?

            Alice

    • Yes, other factors (causes) outside of “medications” exist (psychiatry does not use medications, psychiatry uses drugs. Lets please all get that right once and for all. If psychiatry were a proper medical discipline, it would be able to prove an empirically scientific etiology of disease, but because it does not empirically prove any etiology of disease, it cannot then be a proper medical discipline). Okay, having said that, I would like to say of course people die from other means outside of drug toxicity. They die from being tied in restraints which leads to asphyxiation and petechiae hemorrhage, which causes cardiac arrest, which causes sudden death. They can also die from ECT. They used to die from insulin induced coma. There are many ways in which psychiatry kills people, not just from the drugs they use. But mostly, people are dying from anti depressant drugs and anti psychotic drugs.

      • 33,
        From a quick scan of internet today: (Yes, I know this doesn’t constitute “real” medical research.)

        In the early nineties the life expectancy of people with “mental illnesses” was listed as “10-15 years shorter” than the national average.

        In 2007 it was said to be 25 years shorter than the national average.

        Today? Robert Whitaker reported a recent study that showed the “mentally ill” now live an average of 45 years? The average American lives 78-81 years. Now “the mentally ill” live 35 years shorter on average?

        Things are changing. They’re going in a very wrong direction.

        I’m so sorry for your loss.
        Alice

    • I think one open question is whether the statistics related to early death involve chronicity of problems, as opposed to just first-time diagnosis. I’m guessing they do.

      - If chronic use of psych meds contributes to greater chronicity of problems (a central theme of “Anatomy of an Epidemic”), and
      - If greater chronicity of problems contributes to early death,
      - then yes, I think the logic correctly follows that chronic use of psych meds contributes to early death.

      So psych meds might be one contributing factor, along with others.

      • Philroy,
        There are bound to be other contributing factors. I’ve seen it laid at the door of tobacco. Tobbaco use takes off about 12-14 years of a life. With “mental illness” we’re talking about the difference between 45 and 80 years.

        What precentage of people with mental illness diagnoses smoke? The American population is 23%. I read that with “addictions OR mental illness” “75%”. No separation of the two groups was made. The arithmatic doesn’t add up for me.

        The gap is widening at a frightening (to me) rate.

        Research priority?

        Best,
        Alice

        Thanks,
        Alice

      • Among the others are trauma – please see Kaiser Permanente’s work with the ACE study that found that early childhood trauma was linked to every kind of disease and unwellness later in life, physical, mental, emotional including our darlings of CV disease, all kinds of organ stuff and “mental illness.” http://www.acestudy.org/ I know this is very familiar to most people reading here, but bears repeating in this context.

    • Steve Moffic,

      People with “schizophreniia” died 12 years earlier before the drugs. It rose to 25 years ealier after they were introduced into the paradigm.

      If you go to the top of the Mad in America site, you will find a tab, ‘Source Documents’.

      Please read each of the citations, the data, scientific literature.

      Ironically, many of the docs on this site are behind the learning curve, and the dialogue continues to get stopped mid-stream because psychiatrists have not taken time to read the studies that many non-medical people are rather well-versed!

      You say, “We need psychiatrists?”
      (the conventional, bio-psychiatric version)

      I say, “Like hell, we do!”

      Duane

    • When someone, who was also “taught” that people have a chemical imbalance; says “I was taught that the lifespan of those diagnosed (I know, I know that such diagnoses are suspect) were much less than the general population;” not only is this showing a certain inability to look at the source, which has proven to be highly corrupt; but it’s truly distressing for people who come here on this blog, and HAVE listened to Whitaker’s speech, HAVEN’T first gone to be “taught” things which they aren’t willing to let go of, and then are expected to have to deal with the squeamishness of someone who easily has many times more money than they do to do research, buy books, go to talks… And I would think that for someone who has any intelligence and willingness to look at the subject matter, it wouldn’t be too much to look at the overwhelming data that points out what kind of toll these “medications” take on the body, and added to that the immense billions the drug companies have had to pay out because they tried to cover up these side effects. I have no clue how someone could conclude otherwise than that these drugs decrease a person’s life span considerably. I would advise Mr. Moffic to show more responsibility before he posts such questions. If nothing else, listen to Whitaker’s talk, which I believe is abundantly available online. It becomes more that a bit odd when people who haven’t ever studied “psychiatry” are much more informed that someone who dares to promote himself as being “open minded” or “radical.”

      One simple google search, points out that in the 50s already, Thorazine, which was widely used as a psychiatric drug, was so toxic that nurses administering it had to wear rubber gloves to protect their skin. Is THAT what’s meant by: “We were much more cautious about medication in that time (late 60s, early 70s, even for so-called schizophrenia).” And Thorazine wasn’t the only highly toxic drug used…

      Here’s another article http://www.stopshrinks.org/reading_room/drugs/dark_side_1.htm

      I’ve been reading through these blogs for more than a few weeks, and I have to say that reading Mr. Moffics responses (I stopped reading his blogs) is more than disruptive. It’s not necessary to repeat propaganda by the drug companies and the psychiatric industry. All the people here that have truly studied such books as Whitaker’s and Peter Breggin’s have no need to hear sentimental references to propaganda they know doesn’t add up.

      And no. Psychiatric drugs aren’t going to magically cure homelessness. I haven’t even heard that Monsanto corporation has come up with a seed that will grow into a house, not even a hospital; although they say that they have seeds which will magically fix the economy, the result of course is exactly the opposite.

  6. I thought I should probably add an example and explanation for the prior comment. Take PTSD. We now know that is a full-body disorder, that severe trauma not only takes a mental toll, but makes one more vulnerable to all sorts of medical diseases. Now add the research that suggests that more trauma is also in the background of those diagnosed with so-called schizophrenia and you’ve got a reason other than medication for very early deaths. The same may be true for depressive disorders.

    • It’s a tough question to answer experimentally as it hasn’t and won’t be considered ethical to randomly assign folks medications for severe mental illness to determine effects of medication on length of life. A case has to be with other methods.

      That symptoms of psychiatric disorders affects someone’s entire body/well-being I don’t think is a surprise or new to many. I can see how being hyper-vigilant can lead to disorders related to high stress (ex. heart disease) or how being depressed may lead people to not take much of an interest in their own health, increasing the risks someone with depressive symptoms to experience decreased overall health and increased health problems. Just like psychiatric disorders are associated with other health problems of the whole body, however, so to are psychiatric medications known to affect more than someone’s minds. Weight gain, metabolic problems, increased blood sugars and cholesterol, kidney issues, interactions with other medications/substances, and other psychiatric symptoms that are associated with poorer health (low energy, sleep issues, etc.). From all of this, I don’t think that being diagnosed with a mental disorder has a greater claim on affecting bodies more than drugs do.

      And while also not addressing the question directly and with some methodoligical issues, some of the comparative outcome studies on natural course vs. medicated course of many people with particular diagnoses showing higher likelihood of recovery without medications (ex. Harlow). Because psychiatric symptoms are associated with poorer health and medication use can also affect people’s bodies negatively, if people recover and never take meds, that means they are less likely to experience negative health effects of psychiatric symptoms and were never exposed to the damages some of the meds can take on the body. If taking medications is associated with less recovery, than many of those people experience continued symptoms of psychiatric distress that are associated with poorer health as well as being exposed to toxic effects of meds without all that much benefit.

      We also know that many interventions can reduce severity of some mental health symptoms and actually be positive for people’s physical health (nutrition, exercise, etc.) These are routinely not included in psychiatric care planning and people who experience body and energy affecting side effects of medications may find engaging in these interventions more difficult.

      Related to what you were taught during your training, lifespans can be shortened for all sorts of reasons. Lifelong effects of trauma and its toll, lack of familiar and social support, lack of access to quality health care, environmental stressors, etc. These may all be associated with being considered mentally ill, but they are not necesarily (and I think not likely) caused by having a particular illness. People who are labelled ill and experience significant symptoms, regardless of medication use, can face isolation, added trauma, poor housing, poor healthcare access, limited employment, limited opportunity, stigma, etc. These are not symptoms of a mental illness, are symptoms of systemic injustice on many levels to people considered mentally ill, and I bet can negatively influence lifespan significantly. If you throw medications into the mix that have limited efficacy and all sorts of body damaging side effects, it does not surprise me at all if medication use can generally reduce lifespan even more.

    • Steve,
      I’d love to see a comparison study of average age of death in one of the “poor” countries without so many psychiatric drugs. It might be easier to get a less/non drug effected current comparison group. Compare those with the psychiatric diagnoses with and without drugs to the general population. This might help sort out the drug impact. Maybe the data is already out there? Anyone know?
      Thanks,
      Alice

    • Psychiatric diagnosis is so vague, I question whether studies showing a relationship between diagnosis and ill health make any sense at all.

      How extensively were pre-existing conditions controlled for in those studies? Don’t we all have a pre-existing condition — aging?

      You may have a lot of people with “depression” who may also be, for example, sedentary, which is a health risk in itself. Is it the “depression” or the sedentariness that causes poor health?

      I shudder every time I see one of those studies purporting to link a state of mind to ill physical health, as though bad thoughts lead to disease. This smells like another thread in psychiatry’s campaign for medical credibility, and an argument for prophylactic psychiatric medication.

    • Give me a break! PTSD is not a mental illness. It is the normal response of a human being to horrible and traumatizing experiences! PTSD is a creation of the DSM and pathologizes something that is a normal human response. Can’t you turn loose of your diagnosing for just a little while?

      • “PTSD” isn’t even an acceptable acronym IMO, because of the “D”. Post-traumatic stress is a natural (“normal” is an arbitrary cultural concept, and doesn’t need to have anything to do with what is natural), and actually also purpose- and meaningful response to trauma. There’s nothing “disordered” about experiencing post-traumatic stress.

        • Thanks for pointing out the difference between “normal” as opposed to “natural.” You’re right, natural is a much better word to use here and words are vitally important. I just get really worked up over this particular issue because we’ve sent so many people to Iraq and Afghanistan to get maimed and broken in so many senses of these words, and when they come home and begin exhibiting difficulties in dealing with what they went through, the mental health system tells them that they are ill! It just really chaps me. My roommate has a severe case of this due to things that were done to him as a child and I can guarantee you that he is not ill. It just really chaps me to no end. Thanks for the help.

    • There’s no evidence that psychiatric “medications” are organically anything but controlled substances that cause trauma (that interfere with natural processes in the brain) and are disabling. There’s also considerable evidence showing how much damage they do, how addictive they are, how they interfere with recovery, how they cause more relapses, how they cause a lessoning of life span… At what point is this supposed to add up to not being a contributing factor to trauma that causes a loss of life!?

      It is also quite operative when Mr. Moffic says about PTSD: “We now know that is a full-body disorder. No, that is what “psychiatry” knows because of the lack of effectiveness of THEIR treatment. This doesn’t make it a “full-body” disorder. This points out to the lack of effectiveness of their treatment. AS IS ALREADY KNOWN, by looking at the Open Dialogue method in Finland, the Soteria Project, the Data from the WHO in regards to those who AREN’T medicated with “schizophrenia,” and their greater rate of recovery, and their less rate of relapse; people who aren’t “treated” by those Mr. Moffic includes when he says “we know,” they do BETTER. But the people Mr. Moffic includes with “we” don’t accept this.

      And this has been going on long enough for any sane person to determine that Mr. Moffic isn’t a good source for information. And for him to take these “medications” he still thinks work for “some” people, isn’t going to magically change that!

      • I forgot to finish a quote with the second quotation marks. So, I’m adding that here:

        It is also quite operative when Mr. Moffic says about PTSD: “We now know that is a full-body disorder”. No, that is what “psychiatry” knows because of the lack of effectiveness of THEIR treatment. This doesn’t make it a “full-body” disorder. This points out to the lack of effectiveness of their treatment. AS IS ALREADY KNOWN, by looking at the Open Dialogue method in Finland, the Soteria Project, the Data from the WHO in regards to those who AREN’T medicated with “schizophrenia,” and their greater rate of recovery, and their less rate of relapse; people who aren’t “treated” by those Mr. Moffic includes when he says “we know,” they do BETTER. But the people Mr. Moffic includes with “we” don’t accept this.

        And in reference to “psychiatric” treatment. It’s quite interesting that a person who has been labeled as “schizophrenic,” and has “non reality based” thoughts; by nature choses things that are so incredulous that they (with just a little bit of empathy) will learn within a short period how their mind attached onto fear in order to learn how fear doesn’t work. I’ve been reading these phobic responses by Moffic for perhaps a month now or a little bit more, or less.

        I would even go so far as to say that his beliefs aren’t flexible enough to be “psychotic.”

        I, um, wonder whether that would be considered a “personal attack.”

        Regardless, I don’t really interest myself in such people. There’s enough of that around Ad Nauseum every day in “civilization.” I prefer “crazy” people. The ones who are in danger of being treated in a way which shortens their life span only to be told that it’s them not the treatment. You see, if it was a “psychotic” person doing this, it would have stopped by now…

  7. You don’t need any studies to know that psychiatric drugs are very detrimental to general health and well-being. I was on psychotropic drugs for the most part of 20 years and I was dying a slow, tortuous death. I managed to detox just in the nick of time. I know many people now whose lives are destroyed by poisonous drugs. Poisons kill people.

    Are psychiatrists so desperate that they need poisons to help people? The drug companies would not be so successful at selling their drugs at enormous prices if the medical profession did not help them so much. No one can get these toxic substances without a prescription. We need true healing doctors. Maybe the doctors who post here might have some suggestions as to how doctors might do more than write prescriptions? Doctors who care might join together and lobby for change. They might encourage other doctors to turn their back on the fraudulent, corrupt pharmaceutical industry and seek to provide true healing for all those people who seek their help and of course never force it on anyone.

  8. Alice,

    How many deaths?

    The death will continue until we begin to get serious about organizing and DEMANDING that things change -

    http://www.madinamerica.com/2012/05/11866/

    I don’t see a serious committment to do so.
    Maybe the timing’s not right?
    But we better all get together and come up with a way to stop this madness; and we better do so sooner, rather than later.

    Re: The Vietnam War… My brother-in-law served in the Marine Corp shortly after the Tet Offensive. He was one of the fortunate ones who made it home – injured, however. Three purple hearts worth of injury, in fact.

    My best,

    Duane

  9. Fraud that results in misery, harm, and death while enriching a priveleged few is a staple of the US economy and isn’t going away any time soon. As Chris Hedges says, we have experienced a coup d’etat in slow motion by a corporate criminal class. And if you don’t like it, too bad. Quebec just essentially criminalized peaceful protest and expect such laws to be implemented here. What i have noticed is that if something does not directly effect someone’s life in an adverse manner, most people do not care. Justice, truth etc. be damned. So, depsite this mass murder being committed by psychiatry before our eyes most people have no clue and, if you were to tell them, wouldn’t care. As Winston from 1984 has said, “If there was hope, it must lie in the proles”.

      • I agree with Scott on this one. Unless it affects them or one of their family directly, people don’t want to hear about this and they seem to not really care at all. It’s more than people just keeping their heads down. It’s kind of like, so sad, too bad, don’t bother me about it.

        • Stephen,
          I hope that by pointing out the enormous percentage of those effected, that people will come to understand that this is not about those mental patients down the street but is about themselves and their family. I got a message recently from woman concerned about the school mandated drugging of a friend’s grandhild. Word’s getting around and people are concerned about folks that they never thought about before.

          There are times I have more hope that the word is getting out.

          Alice

          • Becky,
            I do all I can to encourage everyone I know to look at the MIA website. I may get a nuisance award for sending emails with links but…

            I suggest that everyone forwards links to favorite videos or articles to friends and family.

            If we all spread the word, the word will spread.
            Alice

    • Agreed. If people don’t know about the evils of psychiatry or the pharmaceutical industry, they don’t know because they don’t want to know. The only stimulus for their concern would be to be personally involved on the side of the victims. Until then, it is pull the ladder up and sod the rest!

      When will people get out of this deplorable habit of assuming that people are just merely unaware and start conceptualising this problem in terms of a kind of elective blindness.

      Then again, why should these people care when psychiatry confers upon them the honour of saneness and rationality, which I believe has lead to sane pride, similar to national pride, only these people use psychiatric mythology as opposed to national mythology as an inexhaustible source of pride and ethnocentrism.

  10. Hi Alice,

    Isn’t this the reason why there is a movement now to offer primary care services in community mental health clinics, to better integrate physical health care and mitigate some of this risk (from metabolic syndromes, smoking, etc.) that is contributing to the earlier death rates?

    I suppose I was “fortunate” that I developed Type II Diabetes 3 years before the onset of my psychosis, because I already had a low carb/low glycemic diet physical health routine well in place.

    It seems though that many patients aren’t getting counceling on the type of lifestyle changes that are needed to go on an atypical anti-psychotic successfully (as most will induce metabolic disorders fairly quickly if you don’t follow dietary restriction). I haven’t come across any research on which diets work best with medication. I have learned a lot though reading about natural medicine approaches for schizophrenia, which are primarily diet and vitamin based approaches. I’m not sure if they have any direct effect on the underlying causes of the psychosis itself, but as general diets they are good.

    • Alexa,
      It sounds like you’ve found a health care team you’re satisfied with. You’re lucky. You’re also educating yourself and doing waht you can to moderate the health risks. The metabolic issues you mention are one of the known health risk side-effects of atypical antipsychotics.

      Thanks for reading and commenting here.
      Alice

    • The clinics are a real hit and miss thing in my state. When I was in the Northwest part of the state I got really great help with some of my issues from the community mental health clinic. Then, I moved to the capital city of our state and both clinics here are absolutely awful; it takes over six weeks to get in and then you are seen once for maybe half an hour but usually it’s fifteen minutes and this is at the hands of a social worker who doesn’t give a damn about the people she’s working for. At least she doesn’t seem to give a damn. She lied to me and when I reported what she’d said the person heading the clinic agreed that she’d lied. So many people going to this clinic don’t know how to speak up for themselves nor do they know who to go to. They’re afraid too on top of everything else. Of course, almost all of them fall into the disenfranchised of our fair city and people don’t care about what happens to them, as long as they don’t cause “trouble” on the streets.

  11. I am so tired of hearing that it is smoking, over-eating and lack of exercise that is killing people on psych drugs 25 years it early. IT IS THE DRUGS. THEY ARE POISON. What is so hard to figure out about that? But I guess it’s easier to blame the victims.

    • Emma,
      Thanks for reading, thinking and commenting here.

      I also have a hard time believing that either the “mental illness” itself or individual “lifestyle choices” can account for the increasingly large gap in life expectancy between those with diagnosed mental illnesses and the rest of the population.

      Thanks,
      Alice

  12. Alice,

    Great column and I definitely agree that the drugs are primarily responsible for these early death rates.

    However, another possible factor is that people with “mental illness” are not taken seriously by physicians as all symptoms are seen through the MI label. Even though I stopped taking psych meds a few years ago, this happened to me because I stupidly disclosed my psych med history since it had some relevance to my current medical situation. Lesson learned as in the future, hell will freeze over before I disclose this information again.

    Steve, I would be careful about believing what you were taught in medical school regarding people with mental illness since so much information is biased.

    • AA,
      Absolutley right on this one.

      We did research on undiagnosed and untreated medical conditions among our hospitalized psychiatric patients at Tulane/Charity Hospital. There were a lot. A resident doctor was hospitalized in the unit. It turned out to be a hyperthroid condition. All the medical screening missed this because it “looked” psychiatric. We also diagnosed a man’s brain tumor that had him on the psychaitric unit. He could only rock and hold his head and moan. Had to be mental, right?

      I thought that psychiatrists were the ones that were better at diagnosing medical conditions because we knew to and could see past the “symptoms” to the underlying medical conditions. We had complex screening protocols required for every new diagnosis looking underlying medical conditions. Whatever happened to medical the “workup” in psychiatry?

      Thanks for the reminder.
      Alice

        • Stephen,
          I will always be grateful to the people that came to Charity Hospital for their care. They taught me to be a doctor more than any teacher could. Many of these individuals are printed on my mind. After medical school at Tulane/Charity. I stayed for two years of residency.

          State funding of Charity hospital and the Charity clinics kept things a bit “cleaner” from a drug money point of view. We could do research on things like the causes of Schizophrenia (I helped with a blood viscosity protocol) and undiagnosed medical conditions among psychiatric inpatients. Since the state put money into patient care and medical training, there was room for non-drug research there.

          Thanks for the support and kind words.
          Alice

  13. The other more obvious factor I didn’t mention if that the stigma of being identified as having a mental disorder clearly influences negatively the response of most primary care physicians, so you don’t generally get good medical care. This is still true, though worse in the past.

    • No, The label isn’t “still true but worse in the past”. I had to carry a file from my PCP’s office to the lab with big letters Hx PSYHOSIS on it.
      I might as well have had a label that said “Don’t believe anything I say”. It was humiliating and dehumanizing, and had nothing to do with the lab work I needed.

    • Steve,
      Long ago. I was trained that it’s my role of a psychiatrist to see past the “symptoms” and provide a thorough medical evaluation of the underlying medical conditions. The woman that complained of a dog in her stomach had ulcers.

      The expectation of me as a “prescriber”, now, is that I’ll precribe, fast. I’m actively discouraged from doing medical evaluations both from a “no money for it” and “no professional liability to cover it” perspectives. The assumption has become that if it looks “psychiatric”, it is this and only this.

      Tha practice of psychiatry, for me, has changed a lot.

      Today, I’m a writer. I write.

      Thanks,
      Alice

    • Steve Moffic,

      Are you telling us (with a straight-face)that General Pracitioners are the problem when it comes to stigma?

      Really?

      And if they would just get out of the way, and let board certified psychiatrists do thier thing, we could straighten this entire out this entire mess, right?

      Wow.
      Unfreakingbelieveable!

  14. If the mentally ill are physically healthy, it would cut healthcare costs to the Government, so this leads to the idea of reduced psychiatric medication, but the whole point of psychiatric medicines is to weaken the patient.

    • markps2,
      Also, I suspect that government bean counters have been convinced that the pills are cheaper than providing healthcare.

      They may have also been convinced that the poor physical health is secondary to causes other than medicines.

      When the states finally got it that tobacco and alcohol was costing them a lot of medical expenses, they shut down advertising and added taxes to cover their increased medical expenses. In Oregon, gambling profits are required to pay for gambling treatments.

      Best,
      Alice

  15. Boy, this brought a lot of memories back for me. I think you said you went to school in Louisiana? It’s obvious that you’re not from Louisiana because you’d never talk about potatos; you’d talk about rice. Anyway. I think that once again, you’ve brought up something of vital importance here. I suspect that many people on these toxic drugs are “dead” long before their bodies die. I’m speaking spiritually and emotionally here. Their physical deaths are just the final event in a long line of “dying” experiences. I work in Admissions in a state hospital. One afternoon we admitted a man who was fiesty and lively. Four months later I watched him as he was discharged in our department. He stared into space, could barely move, and had to be physically helped to stand and shuffle out the door. I wanted to punch a nurse who said, “Oh, Mr. So-and-So, how much better you’re doing!” The drugs are killing people’s lives, hopes, dreams, you name it and it’s all dead. As for who is responsible for these deaths, I think that’s a very complicated thing. So many of us have our own pet peeve group that we want to see strung up as the responsible party. Some want the psychiatrists prosecuted, others want the drug companies brought to trial, some point to the FDA, a few see other medical doctors being the culprits, some attack the media. I think the point is that it’s one, huge, convoluted mess where all of these groups have gotten into bed with one another. It’s all of these groups together contributing to the problem. When you go after only one group out of the many you’ve only cut off one of the Hydra’s heads and all the others are still there to bite you in the butt while the one you cut off grows back. I think this is what you’re trying to point out. However, I can’t assume to speak for you but it’s the message I’m beginning to pick up through the combination of all your posts. Am I right?

    I know for a fact that you are correct about how Americans clamor for the drugs. My threapist and my psychiatrist both said that I was the abnormal patient in that I wanted talk therapy and I wanted to do the “work” necessary to change my life so that it was more balanced and functioning properly. I think the key word here is “work” because many people would rather have the quick fix rather than do the hard work of restructuring their lives to be more productive and satisfying. I think that as a society we’ve become very lazy, even when it comes to our own well-being.

    Another thing that strikes me is that people labeled as mentally ill really do not count for anything at all in our society. WE DON’T COUNT! Things can be done to us that no other group can have done to them. We are the one group in America who have no rights at all; we can be forced by the law, at the drop of a hat, to subject ourselves to forced durgging and incarceration, with no recourse. Until we change this I think we’re just blowing smoke through our hats. I try to do something about our situation and about the drugs by sharing all of the information that I’ve gathered for the past two years. I don’t try to tell people they need to get off the drugs but I’m willing to share, in as nonthreatening a way as possible, all that I know about the drugs and their effects. I myself am drug free but my roommate, who is one of the most impressive and wonderful men I’ve ever known in my entire life, insists that he’s “ill” and needs the “meds.” It saddens me greatly to watch him struggle on a daily basis in a life which, to me, could be so much more rewarding. But it’s my judgment and that doesn’t mean that it’s true or valid. It’s his life and I try to respect his choices in all things. I will always support him in his decisions, but it still makes me very, very sad to watch him take the drugs and be miserable.

    • Stephen,
      I grew up in Ohio on a farm (potatoes and vegetables), lived in Georgia for 7 years where I worked construction then went to college (sunshine and grits) and spent 6 years in New Orleans in medical training(beans and rice and Mardi Gras) before moving to Oregon 26 years go (the land under the Great Gray Cloud). I’m in Santa Cruz right now writing (sunshine, sand and surfers).

      Bingelybingelybing. You’ve got it. “it’s one, huge, convoluted mess”

      The rest of my message is this: You may be able to find helpful people from any of the groups involved. You, for example, work at a state hospital. If we threw away every state hospital worker as if you were the cause of the problem, we’d lose you. Then there’s me, and maybe other psychiatrists, that we would lose to the effort if we vilify all psychaitrists. Who knows, there could even be (dare I say this?) a former drug rep that could play a an important and useful part in making things better.

      When over 69,000,000 Americans out of 311 million are taking psychiatric drugs, YOU COUNT.

      What other group has this kind of “count”? This is a lot of votes. This is a lot of black arm bands. This is a lot of occupy. This is a lot of human and financial resources.

      Best,
      Alice

  16. Also, the US has so many corrupt and evil things going on right now. It would almost be nice, if mass drugging was the only evil. At least, there would be something to focus on. Someone above mentioned a hydra, but they forgot that it has many more heads than the FDA, drug companies, and psychiatry.

  17. Allen Francis, the guy who led the creation of DSM-IV stated at a talk he gave in Canada that 80% of psychiatric drugs are prescribed by medical doctors and not psychiatrists. You can watch the video here on MIA in the right side of the page in the video section. What do you think about his percentage? He still supports the idea of giving the drugs to what he calles the severe cases but seems to have some reasonable things to say about diagnosing and how to go about helping people with issues. Anonymous may smack me for saying this, but it might be interesing to involve him in the discussion to see what he has to say on all of this. Anyway, all I know is that it was extremely easy for me to get the antidepressants from my family practice doctor without ever going to a psychiatrist. Going to a psychiatrist was not an option for me since my insurance at the time woulnd’t pay for any of it. I was placed on doses high enough to knock a horse down. He kept trying me out on different ones because every one we tried would stop working and we’d up the dose. He stopped with Zoloft at 250 mg. When I finally ended up on Effexor XR I was on 350 mg. a day. People now tell me that this was crazy, being on doses that were that high. It was normal for me and twice I had to go off of the Effexor cold turkey because I had no insurance and no money. I didn’t suffer any side effects from stopping abruptly but now know that doing so was quite dangerous. I’ve been very lucky and am now totally drug free.

    • Stephen,

      I think 80% alternate prescribers sounds right, but I haven’t seen numbers. Since the drug companies can and sometimes do track every prescription I personally write for their products (for sample distribution), I know the data is out there. I’m sure insurance companies know. We lack tha unified data base of a national health system.

      I think that most people that get psychiatric drugs don’t see a psychiatrist at all.

      Some may see a psychiatrist once but then get “refered” to a GP (primary care) by the insurance plan. A lot of insurance doesn’t pay for “specialists” without a referal from the primary care “gatekeeper”. Some of the reimbursement plans take money away from the primary care every time they refer out. It keeps the gate locked.

      Back to my contention that the drugs are about money and corporate profits (rather than intentional and planned harm directed at specific groups). Probably I repeat myself too much on this.

      Twice, when you ran out of insurance, you had to go off “cold turkey”.

      No cash, no pills.

      I’m glad you were able to stop the medicine without symptoms. Easy for some. Not so easy for others. I’ve seen both and a lot in between.

      I will watch the video. What sorts of questions would you like to hear his viewpoint on?

      Alice

      • I agree that money is what motivates most if not all of this. However, the drug companies know how harmful their products are and this is why they hid all of the e-mails and memos of many of their staff who not only pointed out the dangers but expressed grave concern about it all. Every drug company that’s produced one of these products has hidden all kinds of information so they can’t say they didn’t know. How can they keep pushing these things to people knowing that they are so destructive? It’s money and the desire and greed for it that’s driving most of it.

        I would like to hear what you think about the “paradigm shift” in all of this that he talks about. What little I know about this kind of stuff, paradigm shifts and changes are major things and are not accomplished very easily. How important do you think diagnosing actually is in all of this? Do you really need to give a person a diagnosis in order to walk with them to find recovery and health? Do you think DSM-V will have the major effects that he predicts?

        I would like to get him on MIA. He realizes how the DSM-IV caused great harm and he accepts the responsibility for the epidemics that were caused by it. He seems contrite and willing to help to change things for the better. My one big problem with him is that he still seems to think that DSM’s in general are based on science. The great “bible” is so fallible and holds no truth.

        Yes, I realize that I am very lucky to be alive after my bout with antidepressants. My almost successful attempt at suicide was when I took over 18,000 mgs. of Effexor, a three month’s supply down the hatch all at one time. It caused some severe effects that no one in the medical hospital could explain. The internist on my case was very upfront with me when he said he was afraid that I wasn’t going to live. He said that if I did live I would probably not leave the hospital under my own power walking on my own two legs. I told him to watch me, that I would walk out of there and survive. And I obviously did. Sometimes stubbornness is a great thing!

        • Stephen,
          Stubbornness can be a grand thing indeed. You are here. I have seen it be the deciding factor in recovery.

          I just listened to his talk while making dinner. He’s great. I wonder if he, in his retirement could be convinced to do an occasional piece? Do you think people here would be open to something like that?

          re diagnoses: I have always found it more useful to learn about the person, not the diagnois. The diagnosis is not a useful treatment decision tool or predicter of outcome to me. It was meant to be a way to have diagnostic uniformity for research. It’s been used (sadly) for SO MUCH MORE.

          Alice

          • If he did some work here on MIA he would probably take some pretty good shots from a lot of us. However, I suspect that he’d be up to dealing with it. After all, he was big enough to admit that what he helped to do with DSM-IV caused a great deal of harm. He takes responsibility for this, unlike so many people these days in any walk of life. I believe that he has some real potential to help us in this convoluted maze; I think he could help us find some answers. After all, he was on the inside of a lot of this and knows how it works and what’s been done with things like the DSM. I think it’s worth inviting him but don’t know how that’s done or taken care of here.

            I agree with you, people are the only important thing in all of this. When working for people I never ask what their diagnosis is, it’s not relevant to what I can and should be doing. I don’t really care. Sometimes I’ll be sitting and talking quietly with an incoming resident in Admissions and one of the staff will call me to the side and tell me how “dangerous” the person is that I’m listening to. I tend to listen to my gut about just how dangersous people are since it’s always been pretty good and detecting when I’m in real danger. I just smile and go back to listening. There are those people that I just know not to bother at that particular time.

            Yes, I’m still kicking, evern though I’m 64 years old. I plan to be here at the hospital for a long time, even if I have to motor over in my wheelchair! It’s difficult work, not because of the residents but because of the staff.

          • Stephen,
            You’re right. I suppose if he knew up front about the intensity that occurs here sometimes that he would be prepared for it. He sounds like he has a lot of useful experience and ideas. I like a person with ideas and experience over what can pass for education.

            It sounds like you do good work from the heart. I hope they know that where you work.

            You’re right. It’s the person that’s important, not some arbitrary category they’ve been placed in.

            Thanks for your work,
            Alice

      • Reading back over Stephen’s comment, this jumped out at me,”…he [Allen Frances] still supports the idea of giving drugs to what he calls the severe cases…”

        That somehow seems backwards. Why would “severe cases” need drugs more than a “mild” case? If none of biological/chemical imbalance psychiatry is true, why does it still apply to ANY cases?

        I don’t like calling human beings “cases” either.

        When we get our colored bracelets, and I’ll have several in a rainbow of colors because of my history, how will the severity be depicted?

        I still have a bright orange one from my final ER visit for SI five years ago. I’ll keep it until this is worked out because I love that idea.

        MINDSTRONG Yeah!

        • Marianne,
          Wow. I hadn’t thought of multiple bracelets in different colors. One each “diagnosis” or each hospital stay or drug you’ve taken? How could severity be depicted? Maybe brighter colors?

          How would severity be judged? Who gets to decide?

          Alice

    • Forgive me. The drugs never “worked” but I was under the impression at the time that they did. I was not informed of the placebo effect at the time. I’ve become so much more aware and informed after slogging my way through the system. Anyway, I’m lucky that I survived the huge doses

  18. I sad down for a little TV distraction. The REBA rerun from years ago was about the use of antidepressants to correct “the chemical imbalance that many people have” and “is nothing to be ashamed of” with ensuing family argument and REBA admitting she used antidepressants and stopped when she no longer felt she needed them.
    Has any other medical phenomenon (myth) been embraced by and deeply pervaded our culture that it is a topic of TV sitcoms? These tapes will never be erased regardless of the actions of the medical community. Disturbing.

  19. >With such a large percentage of the American population taking psychiatric drugs, this is a deadly epidemic. This is a medical emergency.

    Why aren’t we all wearing bracelets engraved with the names of these dead and lost children, brothers, sisters, parents and neighbors? Where are the black armbands like those we wore after the shootings of student war protesters at Kent State University?<

    Combing these two thoughts:"medical emergency" and "wearing bracelets" I came up with a great idea. Why not get a law passed that anyone taking a psych drug has to wear a medical alert BRACELET. There will be lots of stimulating debate around the law passing process. Enough talk to get everyone on psych drugs worked-up. Some will rebel at being forced to wear a bracelet that advertises their mental illness, while others will be grateful for free-trendy jewelry. The promise of another business venture will capture the enterprising mind of a CEO who will create more jobs- in China, and make a killing on the sales to pharmaceutical companies who will BY LAW be forced to buy these bracelets and provide one for each patient who is prescribed one of their magic bullets. That will jack up the price of the drugs and piss off the health insurance companies…
    Stay with me-the big hoopla that results from this brings the PUBLIC into unavoidable contact with psych drug talk- with the whole big ugly mess…No more guessing about the percentage of the population on these drugs- or the 'medical emergency' alert that is needed- everyone will know something is going on that should be looked into.By someone. Somewhere. It will be discussed on "The View"- there will be skits on SNL- The media commentary will be endless….
    … a way to recreate the END -the- Viet- Nam-War movement.

    That's a rap!

    • Duh?,
      Your creative thoughts are refreshing. This sounds like the basis for a screenplay.

      Maybe we could use bright colored plastic bracelets for this. More durable, The color could show the diagnosis or drug from a block away and wouldn’t be mistaken for anythign else. Brave new world material.

      Keep reading, thinking and writing.

      All the best,
      Alice

  20. I happened to post this someplace else, and here I’m posting it again, because it involved non violence…

    …of course Whitaker’s book does a lot of good. But really, there’s more to helping people heal then speaking against drugs, and then making it a political issue; that’s still distracting from what the problem is. Drugs don’t help at all, but they have really nothing to do with it, except that they are a convenient way for many people to ignore that there’s a big problem. Sort of like taking the battery out of the fire alarm and being happy it won’t alarm you; and then, when the house burns down, saying it was a genetic disorder. But the people worse off are the ones that aren’t getting any help whatsoever, are forced on drugs instead, can’t speak against this, and need real help the whole time. Fortunately, we have a spirit that’s beyond time and space and that is free of this the whole time. Isn’t even phased. Could never even add up all the time that amounts to suffering as if it meant anything. That part of yourself is found in letting go of fear, in not investing in hatred, fear based tactics of trauma control…. The aboriginals say that EVERY meeting with another person is from forever, and when you hold onto resentments it will repeat over and over again until you let go. And these Aboriginals could look at the person with a gun intent on killing them, and when they didn’t respond with fear and sent love energy instead that had no resentments, and energy that rose out of the earth to the hands at their sides and rose up white and pure to the higher self of their attacker, and instead of hatred they thought: “I don’t judge you, you haven’t done anything wrong, you’re working from the highest that you have in you, I just can’t condone what you’re doing,” and then, because they didn’t invest in any fear, because they didn’t fall into thinking they needed any violent force to protect themselves, because they didn’t invest in any trauma based method of disciplining others, and because they know that they come from forever, that the real part of themselves is already beyond time and space,; their attacker stopped seeing them. There was a disconnect with the higher self of the attacker and the earthly brain. And they stopped seeing the person they wanted to attack, although they were still there. You see, we’re not separate. We’re all part of the human condition. And when you don’t judge the human condition, and a person has this split between their higher self that can only exist because of such love (which we all are, otherwise we wouldn’t exist), their earthy brain can’t see what it doesn’t believe can exist. It’s doesn’t believe someone could respond with such love. And it doesn’t believe that such love transcends anything we think we need to defend ourselves from, instead it believes in fear, and doesn’t see the love, the love from forever that can’t be destroyed at any point in time or space and that consequently can’t be defended, that doesn’t need such fear. You see the brain goes either way. If you decide to use it for love you are part of forever and everything there is real. If you decide to use it for hatred or fear then nothing is real and nothing is what you think it is. So, there’s a myth that aboriginals can disappear into the desert. A myth that comes from their attackers when they couldn’t “see” them (or themselves) anymore. But you see, in reality it’s just your ideology that you can be attacked and that you need defenses and that such defenses create safety that in the end cause the very things you think you need to defend yourself from. The real part of you is beyond time and space and is from forever, that means that there’s no point in time or space that it can be destroyed; and so it can’t be defended by fear either. Fear only causes the things that you think you need fear in order to protect yourself from. Those things exist in time and space but they’re just part of the ideology, the fantasy that you can be defended by fear, so they aren’t real….

    But learning forgiveness, learning to let go of fear, learning to stop investing in the fear based energy that demands a reason for it’s existence causing the roles of victim and perpetrator at the same time…When you see you’re from forever and that there’s no point in time or space where you can be destroyed and that you can’t defend that, that you can only discover that by making yourself vulnerable; then you start to let go of all the thoughts which would cause the distress, the paranoia, the depression, the hopelessness, the anxiety, the restlessness, the insecurity; all the things which then are cause for people to think that there’s something wrong with them, which there never was. And all the things that are then called symptoms of a mental illness. And it’s silly really because being psychotic actually you have at the same time a very spiritual thing going on where a person can let go of the inhibitions getting in their way, and allow a whole different relationship with time and space to come into being; and at the same time can be acting out how ridiculous their inhibitions and fears are. But if you let a person act out how ridiculous their fears are, they find this out; and they move on. Make it out to be a genetic disease, and their mind isn’t allowed to do this. Or they are terrified of it, and constantly think that they’d rather be normal. And so hopefully we are the fore runners. When we let go of the fear that creates silly paranoid thoughts, and we become part of society; perhaps we can get people to question some of their strongly held beliefs they think are sane. Beliefs that military conflict solves problems rather than that it what puts weapons into anyone’s hands (whether they are the good guy or the bad guy). They might see that traumatizing people and controlling them with fear doesn’t create upstanding moral citizens that have compassion for each other; that having an enemy to fight against as a group doesn’t create a community or a society; that judging another person as morally inferior and giving yourself the right to traumatize them doesn’t make you the better person or a hero. These are just a few examples of beliefs ingrained in society that show more signs of paranoia, distress, anxiety, irrational fear, insecurity then these incredulous thoughts that go along with what’s called “psychosis,” or any other “mental illness” that’s “treated” by the system deciding who’s sane and who isn’t….

    As crazy as we all are, perhaps we’re closer to reality than the sane people…

      • Alice, today I reread my post, and corrected a few grammar mistakes. So, I’m posting it again. Perhaps there’s a lot of thought in my posts, because they come from what I’ve been taught and my experience. I am glad I could go over it and patch it up a bit, since that requires thought as well. It still is quite surprising that when something seems to have had a lot of thought put into it, that it more likely seems to come out of nowhere.

        Of course Whitaker’s book does a lot of good. But really, there’s more to helping people heal then speaking against drugs, and then making it a political issue; that’s still distracting from what the problem is. Drugs don’t help at all, but they have really nothing to do with it, except that they are a convenient way for many people to ignore that there’s a big problem. Sort of like taking the battery out of the fire alarm and being happy; and then when the house burns down saying it was a genetic disorder. But the people worse off are the ones that aren’t getting any help whatsoever, are forced on drugs instead, can’t speak against this, and need real help the whole time.
        Fortunately, we have a spirit that’s beyond time and space and that is free of this the whole time. Isn’t even phased. Could never even add up all the time that amounts to suffering as if it meant anything. But, I don’t see Whitaker directly helping people find that part of themselves…. It’s found in letting go of fear, in not investing in hatred, fear based tactics of trauma control…. The aboriginals say that EVERY meeting with another person is from forever, and when you hold onto resentments it will repeat over and over again until you let go. These Aboriginals could look at the person with a gun intent on killing them, and when they didn’t respond with fear and sent love energy instead that had no resentments, that rose out of the earth from their hands at their sides and rose up white and pure to the higher self of their attacker and instead of hatred they thought: “I don’t judge you, you haven’t done anything wrong, you’re working from the highest that you have in you, I just can’t condone what you’re doing,”… because they didn’t invest in any fear, because they didn’t fall into thinking they needed any violent force to protect themselves, because they didn’t invest in any trauma based method of disciplining others, and because they know that they come from forever, that the real part of themselves is already beyond time and space; their attacker stopped seeing them. There was a disconnect with the higher self of the attacker and the earthly brain. And they stopped seeing the person they wanted to attack, although they were still there. You see, we’re not separate. We’re all part of the human condition. And when you don’t judge the human condition, and a person has this split between their higher self that can only exist because of such love (and which we all are, otherwise we wouldn’t exist), their earthy brain can’t see what it doesn’t believe can exist. It’s doesn’t believe someone could respond with such love. You see the brain goes either way. If you decide to use it for love, you are part of forever and everything there is real. If you decide to use it for hatred or fear then nothing is real and nothing is what you think it is. So, there’s a myth that aboriginals can disappear into the desert. A myth that comes from their attackers when they couldn’t “see” them (or themselves) anymore. But you see, in reality it’s just your ideology that you can be attacked and that you need defenses and that such defenses create safety that in the end cause the very things you think you need to defend yourself from. The real part of you is beyond time and space and is from forever, that means that there’s no point in time or space that it can be destroyed; and so it can’t be defended by fear either. Fear only causes the things that you think you need fear in order to protect yourself from. Those things exist in time and space but they’re just part of the ideology, the fantasy that you can be defended by fear, you actually manifested them yourself, with fear; but fear isn’t creative….

        But learning forgiveness, learning to let go of fear, learning to stop investing in the fear based energy that demands a reason for it’s existence, causing the roles of victim and perpetrator at the same time, this is creative. When you see you’re from forever and that there’s no point in time or space where you can be destroyed and that you can’t defend that part of yourself either; and then dare to make yourself vulnerable instead; then you start to let go of all the thoughts which would cause the distress, the paranoia, the depression, the hopelessness, the anxiety, the restlessness; all the things which then make you think there’s something wrong with you and are involved with being called symptoms of mental illness. And it’s silly really because being psychotic actually you have at the same time a very spiritual thing going on where a person can let go of the inhibitions getting in their way, and allow a whole different relationship with time and space to come into being; and at the same time you are acting out how ridiculous their inhibitions and fears are. But if you let a person act out how ridiculous their fears are, they find this out; and they move on. Make it out to be a genetic disease, and their mind isn’t allowed to do this. Or they are terrified of it, and constantly think that they’d rather be normal. And so hopefully we are the fore runners. When we let go of the fear that creates silly paranoid thoughts, and we become part of society; perhaps we can get people to question some of their strongly held beliefs they think are sane. Beliefs that military conflict solves problems rather than that it is what puts weapons into anyone’s hands (whether they are the good guy or the bad guy). They might see that traumatizing people and controlling them with fear doesn’t create upstanding moral citizens that have compassion for each other. That having an enemy to fight against as a group doesn’t create a community or a society. That judging another person as morally inferior and giving yourself the right to traumatize them doesn’t make you the better person or a hero. These are just a few examples of beliefs ingrained in society that show more signs of paranoia then these incredulous thoughts that go along with what’s called “psychosis.”

        As crazy as we all are, perhaps we’re closer to reality than the sane people…

        • Nijinski,
          Thanks for the re-post.

          Yes. Writing can come out of nowhere. Sometimes it works that way for me as well.

          “Drugs…are a convenient way for many people to ignore that there’s a big problem. Sort of like taking the battery out of the fire alarm and being happy; and then when the house burns down…”

          I like this part you wrote. I ran a mostly psychotherapy private practive. I discovered that when I gave people the pills they wanted, they often quit working on change. Later the “meds quit working”. Pills can block uncomfortable but natural feelings about a life that’s not working. No bad feelings, no motivation to change life. They keep doing what doesn’t work for them.

          I hadn’t heard of this aboriginal vanishing. Interesting.

          You have enough ideas to explore for a book. I especially like the following:

          “we have a spirit that’s beyond time and space”
          “letting go of fear”
          “If you decide to use it for love, you are part of forever and everything there is real.”
          “having an enemy to fight against as a group doesn’t create a community or a society”

          Yes. Our culture has a lot of “fixed false beliefs in spite of evidence to the contrary”. You’ve pointed out several. This part in quotes is what I learned in psychiatry training as the definition of “delusion” which is a subcategory of “psychosis”.

          I resist the urge here to launch into my own list of cultural “delusions”.

          You are right to wonder who is crazy and who is sane. Who gets to decide?

          Keep reading, thinking and writing.
          Best,
          Alice

  21. Dear Alice

    Thank you so much for your important article. Perhaps my documentary film project “Cause of death:unknown” could be of interest to you – it is a film about my sister who died 34 years old while being treated with antipsychotics. The film explores the issue of the many thousands of deaths caused by there drugs, and examines how this has been allowed to happen. Have a look at our facebookpage

    https://www.facebook.com/CauseOfDeathUnknown

    the project is in production and will feature a website on the topic that will be launched soon.
    Thanks again for an important article! Best, Anniken

  22. It really only takes one death. To fully acknowledge and account for just ONE death will make all the others …

    In my mind, I see what looks like a “birth” / “delivery”. It’s hard to describe but my mind is showing me. Vividly. It’s like, something that amasses. Almost like … a surfacing. It’s overwhelming. (I have to close my eyes to see). To genuinely acknowledge even just ONE death would be an instant act of unification. I see an “offering up of”. A flooding. Swarm. Accumulation. Death will offer up all it has, if you ask it to. Acknowledge Death. Just One. The Rest Will Surface, Flood, Accumulate, Amass. They’ll pour forward.

    Most likely will be prevented from happening.

      • Thank you, but I wasn’t being crafty.

        I do believe the potential exists for a cumulative event. Of course, it would certainly be grief – since there is no doubt that there is an epidemic. I vaguely recall a message from the Pope in 2005 about three “sins” in the world; one involving something about psychiatry, another was the “growing gap between the rich and the poor”. I do not recall his third message.

        It was on the news, and I was chilled to the bone when I heard mention of psychiatry in the Pope’s message.

        In order to have things come to pass, in order to bring an abrupt halt to the continuing mass devastation of psychiatric drugging – it would require that true grieving process. Again, I expect that human unwillingness and interference will prevent any such transpiring. But what is Divine, will be.

        For many years, I have been “laboring”. Since two decades of my life have been enslaved to the psychiatric system, I can only logically conclude that all of this laboring is leading up to … *something*.

        Stages of Grief:

        1. Shock and Denial
        2. Pain and Guilt
        3. Anger and Bargaining
        4. Depression, Reflection, Loneliness
        5. The Upward Turn
        6. Reconstruction, Reorganization, Recovery
        7. Acceptance

        Psychiatry has already begun this process. I’d say we’re very much at the beginning.

  23. This post started out with Vietnam…
    These are some resources for military service members and veterans… People heal in various ways, not always with psychotherapy and counseling, by the way -

    http://discoverandrecover.wordpress.com/2011/03/12/recovery-resources-military-service-members-and-veterans/

    “Watching the world series would be good therapy too, wouldn’t it… ?” – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

    Duane

  24. “When I heard Mr. Whitaker quote one recent study that put the average age of death among a group of medicated patients at 45, ”

    But wouldn’t average mean that just as many were dying at 30 as were dying at 60? So then why think of the number 45? There are kids dying from these drugs, kids as in little children. I had several near-death experiences on these drugs myself as a kid, including an unidentified and untreated case of neuroleptic malignant syndrome from mellaril when I was 7 or 8. I don’t doubt that a lot of these kids who are forced to stay on these drugs growing up, will die in their 20s or 30s.

    • EAC,
      They would not be a group of 45 year olds. There may not be “equal numbers” in opposite age ranges. Countries with high infant mortality rates score low life expectancies because the infant deaths are averaged in.

      The average life expectancy of Americans is 78-80. Women tend to live longer then men. Some live to be 105. Some die in infancy.

      Thanks for reading, thinking and writing.
      Alice

  25. psychological defenses, such as denial and rationalization, function to protect habits from change. Narratives, (such as the chemical imbalance theory, the validity of diagnosis, the effectiveness of modern treatment, etc) are habits. This is why they persist despite all evidence.

  26. My first response was to admit that I dont know how to provoke this change. Ive been trying to provoke it here for at least two years now, and have been discouraged, and baffled by the lack of reaction. But the more I think about it, the more I agree with mjk, in the previous post. Change may very well be triggered by one “representative” tragedy. Its happened before.
    The narrative about “Jarrod” who shot that senator in arizona, was that he “fell through the cracks”. my guess is that he has been in treatment all along. no one seems to question it

    • There are a multitude of people who have tried to organize and bring about “change”. Plenty of people on YouTube go through their own “court & evidence” sessions. But who is collecting their testimonies?

      As of yet, there is no public knowledge of any official “legal” undertaking to validate the suffering of SO many people. All I ever see are the occasional “class action lawsuits” against specific drugs, but I hardly think that’s even a beginning.

      The major focus right now has been the new DSM. That indicates a willingness to move forward with psychiatry’s operations; policy, practice & procedure. Maybe it isn’t wise to crash the train, but isn’t it still on the wrong track?

        • I agree – MIA is an excellent focal point.

          I’m in amazement of Robert Whitaker; I would liken him to a great work of architecture – not a hospital, court house or university – but something like a library with a really cool park of lush greens and flowering trees and stadium style benches. No statues, fences or hot dog stands. Yeah, he’s that cool.

          “If you look at the adult disability rolls in the past, they were largely populated by psychotic disorders; schizophrenia or schizo-effective disorder. There weren’t many mood disorders. If you look at the young population on the adult disability rolls, the 18 to 26, it’s being populated by children who are quote depressed or have bi-polar disorder, mood disorders. This is a new group, we didn’t see them. It rises in conjunction with this rise of medications”. ~ Robert Whitaker, 6/2010

          So, these people are now “lifers”. I’m not sure if a disability payment is compensation for medical injury.

          “Horrified” he said, as so many of us grandstanders also have said.

          To move forward and expect to be able to make changes within systems and policies, practices and procedures without *some* genuine accountability for the undeniable atrocity is unfathomable. That, would be the equivalent of some sort of sick torture.

          “They” have too much power. “They” have too much authority.

          I’ve always considered musicians to be the Angels and lyrics to be the News. God said, “put it in a new song”.

          Lyrics :

          They want to socialize you
          They want to purify you
          They want to dignify, analyze and terrorize you

          This is love and you can’t make it
          (Look out they want what you know)
          In a formula or shake me
          (Steal a kid, break a heart, steal the show)
          I’m your monster I’m not like you
          (Peel back the skin see what’s there)
          All your life is written for you
          (I’ll never show you what’s in here)

          Your life is good for one thing
          YOU’RE MESSING WITH WHAT’S SACRED
          They want to simplify your needs and likes
          To sterilize you

          This is love and you can’t make it
          (Don’t need you to explain the pain)
          In a formula or break me
          (I can prove to you it’s all fake)
          I’m your monster I’m just like you
          (She’s dead but she can stand she can walk)
          All my life is right before you
          (Call the doctor miracle she can talk)

          Call the doctor
          (You)
          Call the doctor
          (Are)
          Call the doctor
          (Not)
          Call the doctor
          (Me)
          Call the doctor
          (YOU)
          Call the doctor
          (ARE)
          Call the doctor
          (NOT)
          Call the doctor
          (ME)

          This is love and you can’t break it
          (This is not really me at all)
          In a formula or make me
          (Stunt girl daring twirls watch me fall)
          I’m no monster I’m just like you
          (Carbon copy same body different hearts)
          All my life is right before me
          (Can’t tell anymore the real parts)

          http://youtu.be/_37YRkp4hIQ
          Link ID: Call The Doctor, Sleater-Kinney

          Maybe “peasants” aren’t worthy of (their) due respect. I’m fairly certain that Effexor XR fried my brains.

  27. Another idea would be to export some of this discussion into more of the mass media, and “contribute” to those discussions.
    I was particularly disturbed by the recent comment that “the biggest problem facing psychiatry today is untreated illness”. I believe it was the current APA president who stated this. There were over 100 comments following the article and, although some debated about the diagnosis, very few seem to question the basic effectiveness of treatment, and the validity of the science behind it.

    Perhaps if more of us here contributed to those discussions, more in the general public will understand and question the narratives.

    one outcome of doing this would be that more of us anonymous bloggers would get a chance to see how Dr Moffic feels contributing here sometimes.

    • marcellas,
      Great idea. These discussions are great. I know people that read them closely that don’t post. There are many silent readers. There are many more “hits” than “comments”.

      I’m happy to take my writing to a broader readership should this become available. In the meantime I spread the word and send links to people I know each time I post.

      I don’t know if we can take the commentary elsewhere. People may not want what they’ve written put somewhere else. How could you get permission from them all? This is an administrative question to look at should a bigger venue become available.

      “I was particularly disturbed by the recent comment that “the biggest problem facing psychiatry today is untreated illness”. I believe it was the current APA president who stated this.”

      This statement bothers me as well. I see way bigger problems than this.

      All the best.
      Alice

  28. Thanks Alice,

    I am naive – I admit, I am horribly naive. It is strange, because there has been some trauma in my life, and I remain naive.

    I am just now starting to resurface after having lived through the trauma of a psychiatric hospitalization 6 years ago. Trust me, it was a bad experience. As I try to work through what happened, I keep thinking that those who did wrong could probably be taught something and would want to do better – right?

    So, Yes, I warn you, I am naive. I called the hospital that I was hospitalized at and told them I had written some things about my experience at their fine institution. I offered to let them read it to see if they could learn something from my experience.

    They seemed less than interested. And, much in line with my previous experience at this wonderful institution it seemed to me that their attitudes reflected a disregard for my experiences – IE, it was because there was something wrong with me that I didn’t enjoy their particular brand of torture.

    Which is the problem in a nut shell – Once we have been hospitalized it is easy to invalidate our experiences. Labels abound, we are “difficult”, must make us borderline, right? We are psychotic and don’t know what we are saying. It is due to the mental illness that we don’t get it that the horrific amounts of poison being rammed down our throats aren’t appreciated. We are damaged, worthless, less than human. It is ok to dehumanize us.

    It is a powerful hold those institutions have over us, and in society in general. As long as we are shamed, made to believe we are horribly ill or that there is something wrong with us for not enjoying our psychiatric treatment we will be less outspoken. As long as we are less outspoken these fine institutions will not be forced to make a change.

    The strange thing is, I desperately want to become involved now. I want to lead the charge with an outcry – but where do I go to do that? I am even willing to volunteer my time to fight against abuse happening in mental health, but there seems no place, no foundation for me to work from.

    I have told very, very few people about the hospitalization though. My mom doesn’t know. Two friends and my therapist knows, that is it. If I become outspoken I will have to live with the stigma, but I am willing to do it. I just need some platform to work from.

    I am outside all statutes of limitations so I can’t sue the hospital. I would love to though, just on principle. Not for the money, but for the effect, the discussion.

    Malene

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