I am a mother of a son who was given a diagnosis of schizophrenia in December 2003, a son who is doing well today perhaps due to my refusing to buy into the medical model of the so-called “illness.” I wasted a couple of precious years at first because I bought, albeit without much enthusiasm, the costly medical model. I spent the years until now struggling against this model.
There is so much to talk about, that I’ll narrow the focus of this post to the perils of the diagnosis of schizophrenia. The original diagnosis of schizophrenia handed down by doctors who should have known better but didn’t bother to inform themselves, set our family up for needless suffering and prolonged my son’s psychosis. I can’t speak for my son, but I can tell you what the diagnosis did from my perspective.
First of all, this particular diagnosis, an even more stigmatizing diagnosis than other mental health ones, initially killed any hope or belief that my son could get better. I was naive enough to think that the diagnosis was valid, like if you are told you have early stage cancer. I assumed there was some sort of science behind it. I didn’t challenge the diagnosis, although being told that my son would probably need drugs for life never set well with me. How could that be possible? I thought. He’s young, he was well once, he should expect to be well again.
Schizophrenia is the loneliest number. A club of one. It is still “diagnosed” at the rate of one in a hundred. It hasn’t been subjected to diagnosis creep, unlike bipolar and depression. One reason for this is pretty obvious. Being labeled bipolar (schizophrenia’s twin) is an easier sell, judging from at all those bipolar celebrities coming out of the closet. “Bipolar” does not carry quite the same stigma. The chances that someone you know is in the same schizophrenia boat at the same time as you are pretty slim. Ten years ago there was so little information about schizophrenia on the Internet, except what the drug companies put forward. I began to retreat into myself. I woke up most nights worried sick. I went on an antidepressant and gained a chunk of weight. I stopped initiating new social contacts. Who could really understand what I was going through? I was told by well-meaning people who didn’t know much about schizophrenia except what they heard, that “the drugs are so much better these days.” Well, if the drugs are so good, I thought, why are the doctors so pessimistic about schizophrenia outcomes?
I began to treat my son as if he were feeble minded. No, not all the time, because I didn’t like hearing myself do this and I was uncomfortable treating him this way, but enough that he must have got the picture that there was no hope for him. There is a research study that shows why I stigmatized my own son. In 1997 Sheila Mehta of Auburn University conducted a fascinating study about whether the disease view of mental illness reduces stigma.
This study examined the widely held belief that a disease view of mental disorder reduces stigma. Behavioral and self-report measures were used to assess 55 male students’ treatment and attitudes toward another, whom they believed either to be a typical student or to have a history of mental disorder. The mental difficulties were characterized in either disease or psychosocial terms. The results indicate that the way in which mental disorder is represented does have an effect on behavior and on some aspects of evaluation. In general, the disease view did not improve attitudes, except in terms of blame. It did, however, tend to provoke harsher behavior. In contrast, the psychosocial view induced treatment no different from that toward normal others. The results provide little support for the claim that regarding the mentally disordered as sick or diseased will promote greater acceptance and more favorable treatment.1
When I wasn’t treating my son as if he were an idiot, perhaps my worried glances and tears sealed his fate for the time being. Not only was I worried about all the bizarre behavior, I constantly lectured him about the need to take his medication. I watched him down those pills. I often cried in front of him out of frustration mixed with fear. Why, if he didn’t take those pills, he would be one of those non-compliant patients who we are told have worse outcomes! My husband and I challenged his strange and convoluted statements with jaw dropping incredulity registered on our faces. (Again, not all of the time, but some of the time, enough to further damage my son’s already fragile sense of self.) My husband and I often exchanged heated words criticizing each other for not handling the situation properly. It was like some horrible noxious gas had permeated our once happy home that turned us all into the kind of people we didn’t want to be. My husband and I did not agree about the medication, which I felt was an unwanted intruder in our household.
It was bad enough dealing with the aftershock of the diagnosis, but the drugs that came with the diagnosis added insult to injury. My son got fat, for a start. It pained me greatly to see him that way. We replaced his wardrobe several times. The doctors seemed to imply that being fat was a small price to pay for sanity, but my son wasn’t really sane on the pills they insisted he take.
Then there was the fancy day program that my son was enrolled in for two years. This was supposedly cutting edge. The psychopharmacologist who ran it said so. My husband and I entertained high hopes that this program would reintegrate my son back into society, but I soon saw how even “compassionate” care had its downsides for the diagnosed. At our large inter-family group that met every two weeks, I felt like we were back in circle time in kindergarten, except this time my son wasn’t reaching his milestones. The atmosphere in the room full of worried parents was tense, making it difficult for anyone to reach their milestones, myself included! The young people in the program referred to themselves as “patients.” It really doesn’t matter to me what they choose to call themselves —patients, students, or consumers— I am skeptical of a one size fits all approach for psychosis, and this is what these programs often deliver.
There seemed to be no way out for my son, because, after all, the doctors told us that schizophrenia was a chronic, disabling brain disease. My son left the day program as much a mystery to the doctors as when he entered. So much for their belief that this illness can best be managed by professionals or that a program can succeed where individual solutions fail. I was only beginning to get the idea that a program like this is a self-serving platform on the profession’s part.
I got involved with writing and blogging because I saw that there was a gap in the market to be filled. That gap needs to be filled by a holistic book written by a parent, because parents are often the people having the most influence over the choice of treatment. NAMI wouldn’t be where it is today if parents had refused to buy into the biochemical imbalance view of mental illness. There are plenty of other mothers who write books about their child’s schizophrenia, but they adhere to the medical model of the illness. I believe that most of these mothers like the medical model because it excuses them from thinking that their child’s problems could in any way be related to the environment that they grew up in or the way they are treated post-diagnosis. I am not saying that schizophrenia is ipso facto caused by bad parenting (although some parents are obviously not parent material) but rather that the person with the diagnosis is usually the sensitive and most spiritual member of the family who personally takes on the emotional burdens that every family carries with it from generation to generation. This is a common shamanistic interpretation of mental illness that mainstream psychiatry has no time for. Creative people know differently.
“The mistaken and unhappy notion that a man is an enduring unity is known to you. It is also known to you that a man consists of a multitude of souls, of numerous selves. The separation of the unity of the personality into these numerous pieces passes for madness. Science has invented the name schizomania for it.”
I am almost finished writing that book, Holistic Recovery from Schizophrenia: A Mother and Son Journey; it’s all but complete save for the final chapter. The final chapter is to be determined by Chris. He’s twenty-eight, and even with my embracing a holistic approach, it’s been a lengthy process. I do believe we could have shaved a few years off his recovery time if I hadn’t been blindsided by the diagnosis. When someone suffers a breakdown such as Chris had, it’s a long, slow rebuilding effort, because, in all honesty, there wasn’t much substance there to begin with, except a body with a disengaged, but totally fascinating mind. My job is to help Chris to join the living and engage in the game of life. He refused to play before. He’s learning to play now.
“This error of science has many unpleasant consequences, and the single advantage of simplifying the work of the state-appointed pastors and masters and saving them the labors of original thought. In consequence of this error many persons pass for normal, and indeed for highly valuable members of society, who are incurably mad; and many, on the other hand, are looked upon as mad who are geniuses…This is the art of life. You may yourself as an artist develop the game of your life and lend it animation. You may complicate and enrich it as you please. It lies in your hands. Just as madness, in a higher sense, is the beginning of all wisdom, so is schizomania the beginning of all art and all fantasy.” Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf
Life is not a race past milestones. Life is a journey to the wonders of the universe. The mind can take you there.
- http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=2110702 ↩
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.
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Thank you so much for sharing your Mother and Son Journey! It means so much to know my son and I are on a path traveled by others who know that life is a beautiful, complex journey. We have arrived; willing to grow, open to possibilities.
Best regards to a mother and son, from another mother and son.
Thank you Rossa for the work you are doing… That is a compelling read and your story and journey parallels my own in so many ways. It is good to be encouraged to look at this in a different light and to be reminded to consciously put the emphasis on how our child as being, as you put it “the sensitive and most spiritual member of the family who personally takes on the emotional burdens that every family carries with it from generation to generation”
Although the journey is indeed so slow, and there is no “quick fix” I am comforted to see this movement progress and build!
Please keep on writing here and on your blog, sharing Chris’s story and your take on the overall topic is valuable to mothers and families everywhere.
Thanks Rossa for sharing your story, and that of your son, so honestly and inspiringly. I look forward to reading your book.
As a mother of sons who have, all of us, come through the psychiatric system I can identify with your journey. It has taken me to the end of myself and beyond. Heartbroken and back together again, over many years.
Thank you for not buying into the medical chemical model of schizophrenia AND then telling others of the path you have lead.
In the past the mentally ill would be jailed for life, it was switched to drugged for life, now maybe the “mentally ill” need not be drugged for life.
An absolutely brilliant piece that ought to be read by every parent/relative of a labelled person, as well as by every professional who cheerfully dishes out these labels, accompanied by the no-hope messages about biological brain disease.
“a self-serving platform on the profession’s part” — I went to this meeting on Friday, of a relatively new, and some would say élitist, Danish organisation, a branch of WAPR, World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation. A club of hot-shot bureaucrats and other theorists in the social and mental health sector. Somebody commented that it was a waste of my — precious — time having spent an entire day listening to these bureaucrats and administration theorists proudly (naively/self-satisfiedly) — and somewhat frenzied — presenting their latest projects for “the mentally ill”, to get them psycho-socially rehabilitated. Like for instance the planned center for research and training into psycho-social rehabilitation, located at the planned oversized “schizophrenia factory” at Slagelse, Sealand — finally, after decades of de-institutionalisation and de-centralisation, we’ll get the asylums back, hooray! — that, apart from providing research and teaching top-job opportunities for an army of, well, bureaucrats and other theorists, also will offer “consumers” the chance to make a career in doing the dishes at the canteen, for instance. Magnificent! And how revolutionary!… Anyway, I don’t regard it a waste of my time. It was really an eye-opening experience listening to these people desperately trying to give the impression that this, their latest idea, their latest cutting-edge project, definitely will solve all the problems they themselves, by buying into the disease model, are considerably involved in the creation of, and which their fancy cutting-edge projects without doubt will do nothing but feed into, having them grow more and more out of proportion and control. — With a psychiatric term this behavior probably would be called “manic”. — A Leviathan that on the one hand they need to keep alive and thriving, because it justifies and guarantees their top jobs as bureaucrats andother theorists in the field, while it on the other threatens to get completely out of control, overwhelming and eventually crushing the very system their top jobs as bureaucrats and other theorists depend on, too. Self-serving, indeed, like the day program. Self-serving, and spiraling out of control at an ever greater speed.
Thank you for sharing your story. What a great gift of hope you have given to people ensnared in the confusion and hopelessness of the mental health labyrinth. Your story will definitely save lives. Keep speaking out! I’m looking forward to the book. And the movie!(?)
Big love to you and your family.
Rossa’s story both saddens and angers me. If a young man drinks and drives, he and his family know he risks a heavy fine or jail, or both. If he joins the army, he risks getting injured or killed. If he starts a business with borrowed money, he risks bankruptcy. Everybody knows this. Sometimes the payoff is worth the risk, or the temptation is too great. But nobody is astonished or feels betrayed if matters turn out badly. We knew from the beginning it was a risky thing to do.
But what if a young man is brought to a psychiatrist? We have certain expectations of wearers of the honorable cloak of Hippocrates, primarily that they will do something to restore health. We don’t ordinarily think in terms of the risk the young man is incurring at this point: a terrifying diagnosis on the basis of a few questions, the degrading rituals of involuntary commitment, powerful drugs with disabling side effects, loss of friends and self esteem, stigma, helpless anger and hopelessness. And yet these are the risks he takes the moment he enters the door, unless he has considerable presence of mind and control of his emotions.
Some years ago I walked through a psychiatrist’s door and faced the same risks. I came for help, because the things going on in my mind frightened me and made me want advice from an expert. I felt I was in serious danger of losing control of my emotions and I would make a fool of myself and destroy what little credibility I had with my family. (Yes, I was the sensitive one that carried the generational burdens.) I tried to explain my predicament to the psychiatrist, but he kept interrupting me and disagreeing with what I was saying. I knew I was soon going to lose my cool in frustration. I was beginning to realize he had no idea of what was happening in the strange world behind my eyes, and that I was on my own in dealing with it.
Finally, in desperation, I asked the psychiatrist if he thought I was crazy. No, he said soothingly, not really. You haven’t come here with any wild theories or tell me people are out to get you, stuff like that. You’re not acting crazy.
A great light dawned on me. You mean I’m not crazy if I don’t act crazy? He hesitated. Well, yes, something like that, he said
I’m sure he went on to give me advice about not getting all upset about things, but all I remember is that. I wasn’t crazy if I didn’t act crazy. It was as simple as that. No matter what happened behind my eyes, I couldn’t let it make me act crazy. No matter what. Not unless I wanted to end up in the looney bin.
I thanked the psychiatrist politely and took the prescription he offered me, but never went back again. I did what he said: I didn’t act crazy, no matter what. And yes, it got bad, so bad that I finally had to go to the ER one night for a shot. I told them I had a terrible migraine, though the agony went much deeper than that and filled the whole world. But I had read enough about psychosis by then to suspect it would soon subside enough to be bearable, and it did.
The net result? My family relaxed after a few days of worry, and life went on – better than ever for me, because I went back to school, got an advanced degree, had a successful career, and retired a few years ago to enjoy my children, grandchildren and travel.
I’m afraid my story has a depressing moral: that we should teach our young men and women the risks of going to psychiatrists who deploy their dangerous potions and powers in such blissful ignorance. Consider the need for a psychiatrist with the same prudence needed in selecting a family doctor: don’t wait for an emergency. See if you can find one with a reputation for prescribing talk therapy and family communication before powerful drugs and institutionalization. Learn from Rossa’s story, and protect your children.
I dislike speaking so harshly, but sooner or later the emperor’s nakedness has to be recognized, along with the priests’ rape of alter boys and psychiatrists’ abuse of their patients’ trust. Otherwise the lie goes on and on.
You don’t sound harsh to me. You sound passionate, eloquent, and wise. You speak the truth with grace. Please keep speaking out. Your story is compelling.
The last paragraph of your quote speaks very profoundly to me! You are right — all these things are interconnected and are symptoms of our society’s fundamental ILLNESS.
In reading your post, I was interested in what you said about not filling the prescription, but that one night you “had to go the the ER for a shot” and that things got better after that. So, whatever that “shot” was, did it control ongoing issues to a point that you did not need any anti-psychotic drugs during the time that you went back to school forward until today?
My son is on anti-psychotic meds as well as MANY pain meds for pain that he has been in for 13 years from an accident that ruined his back. Since he has an “entity” in his psyche that instructs him to do destructive things,which he spends every waking moment ignoring and battling, it’s hard to know if he would succeed in his continued “winning” if he were off psychotic medication. Since the directive from this “entity” is to kill himself OR someone else, he is scared sometimes that he will succumb to “it’s” directive. My thought is that taking care of the 13 year old pain (if possible) would make the psychosis manageable, but at this time, with no insurance, we cannot get him into a spine clinic to address the failed artificial disc and attending pain and nerve pain down his legs. Though the pain is 24/7, the pain med combination he is on now, is better than it has been in this 13 year battle of chronic pain. The psychosis increases and he is very depressed though. The anxiety level is debilitating (I see him sitting with his legs up in a recliner with both feet moving back and forth violently)until the anxiety medication kicks in) and recently having moved back home with me (at 34 years old), the relationship is VERY strained. Where he and I were best of friends when he moved away to get married, he came home a distant, ungrateful stranger who acts more like I hear OTHER people speak of belligerent teenagers. There is NO verbal interaction that doesn’t end in discord, though I will admit that SOME of this comes from me! I have been choreographing his life (medical, legal, cleaning up after him, etc.) as a full time job for the last 4 months with nothing but a bad attitude as repayment. I read about the flat affect (no facial expression) and wonder if that is the schizophrenia OR the medication. I’ve tried to tell him that I can’t read him because of this and since he is NOT very verbal, I hardly ever know if he is in agreement or not with what I’m saying to him.
Maybe you are not even speaking of schizophrenia, but depression or another disorder, but if it is schizophrenia, I just had to wonder how you managed to succeed THROUGH the symptoms. Maybe some are blessed to NOT have a destructive “voice” trying to control them. I’m always baffled as to why mental illness IS so destructive…only meaning that IF someone has to hear voices, why are they NEVER voices that tell the patient to do positive things, like help someone else or be happy. Is it possible that there are “schizophrenic” people who DO have these positive directives (exclusively) and because they are not destructive, no one ever knows and therefore is not even noticed as affected with mental illness?
My son, who USED to smile at everyone he saw on the street and was loved by everyone he met, NOW walks past everyone, including me, who LIVES for him, without a glance or a care if they bled to death in front of him. In public, he is not drawn to anyone or anything in a positive manner. The only thing he notices is if there is a disturbance, like a child crying, and THEN expresses irritation to the point of the ridiculous. If my post is not associated to your illness, sorry…just disregard it.
Thanks and Merry Christmas to everyone here!
I had 3 and half episodes of schizophrenia, and I tell you it is Hell. I have been to hell and back. When you are suffering its not the problem. Real problem begins when you realize that you are suffering and need to come out of it. Electrical convulsion therapies now BPTs and Ultra BPTs do help especially at the sever stage. Initially I wasn’t responding to any medicine. But later on Clozapine+Respridone combination worked for me. I got rid of positive and negetive symptoms but cognitive problems persists. Do not think they get cured completely. Main problem is people donot understand why I was behaving that way since they do not understand the disease. Society doesnot understand the disease and stigma associated with it. They still think schizophrenics are split personality or what is projected in movies. Fact is we are more likely to harm ourselves than others and it is the major problem for the patient. If somebody want to study me as a volunteer I am ready. That is the only way I can help those suffering from this terrible disease.
Thanks for you insight, Shiv. Are you seeing anyone or doing anything to help with your cognitive problems? Are you able to talk to a therapist or someone who makes you feel included, and not excluded? Drugs only work on the symptoms. There is a lot to what we call “schizophrenia” that involves the psyche.
I came across Rossa’s blog several years ago now and have always found it a fascinating and elucidating source of information. It is always beautifully written, like the above piece.
Rossa has, and is, undertaking valuable work for all those with a diagnosis of serious mental illness – she has left no stone unturned in her unstinting examination of all possible avenues to healing.
As somebody who was once diagnosed schizophrenic, I have personally taken much courage and inspiration from Rossa’s search for alternative ways of healing her son – alternative, that is, to the misleading and damaging pathway of medication. If the drugs healed the emotional distress that they are aimed at, their side effects would perhaps be bearable -but in fact they fall so far wide of the mark that it sometimes seems almost immoral to aim them at it in the first place.
This is something that Rossa discovered herself through her honest examination of the problems that her son faced, both within and without the family. I am sure that her blog, and the book that will soon follow, will prove an immensely valuable resource for anybody and everybody – because mental health is something that affects the whole world, and anything that leads to greater understanding of it is to be lauded.
Rossa has found a graceful way to acknowledge that problems may begin in the family, but that this is no reason to assign blame to any person within it. Life takes us all in different directions and we all cope with our problems in whatever way we can – the important thing is that love, and human ingenuity, can find ways to overcome difficulties and that we learn and grow as a result – which may perhaps be why we are put on this earth in the first place.
Thank you, Rossa, for this article and for all you have done.
Rossa, I read your “travelogue” and nod my head in agreement. I too have a son who was diagnosed schizophrenic – in 45 minutes. This diagnosis has taken me and those I love to hell and back. I thank God for the support I have received from family and friends. My relationship with my husband has been very tumultuous, but now we are finally getting to a better place. In a perverse way our journey has taken us to a better place, but I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I have always been skeptical of the medical model and cringe at the term “mental illness”. Your blog resonates with my journey in so many ways and it has given me the courage to stand by my convictions regarding Andrew.
Thank you for being a voice for so many.
Blessings – liz
I remember finding Rossa’s blog “Holistic Recovery From Schizophrenia” very early on my mental health learning curve. At the time, the very title itself seemed to be a revolutionary idea to me — “you mean recovery from schizophrenia is possible? And it can be achieved holistically??” Her journey is a living testimony to that very real possiblity… Thank you, Rossa for sharing some of your story here, and much more of it on your blog. Your writing makes a huge difference!!
What an inspirational article. Looking forward to the book. Do you know if someone who has been sick fro 30 years could actually have a chance to live a decent life again?
San Francisco psychiatrist, Dr. Ira Steinman, in his speech, TREATING the “UNTREATABLE”, presented at the IXth National Meeting of ISPS, the International Society for the Psychological Treatment of Schizophrenia, NYU, March 2008, states that it’s possible—I believe him… here is a link to it http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL063B00635EE74470&feature=mh_lolz
Thank you for all you’ve done to get the word out.
The word, HOPE.
I’ve followed Rossa’s writing for years via her blog, and the first thing I thought when I saw this was how great it is to have a photo–a face–to see! nice to see you Rossa.
I think it’s a great thing for mothers to share success stories like hers that have an open-minded view of the alternative ideas for care instead of the main stream meds only approach of the treatment of “schizophrenia”; as I learned from the head honcho of NAMI herself,at a lecture- the main stream ideas are pills and Fuller Torrey! for treatment(lol)
Good luck with your book, and I’ve just noticed that the side bar at MIA finally has moved the Op-Ed links higher up, honestly I was wondering why the section was so far down and buried on the side bar!
Rossa Forbes just went #1 with a bullet on the MiA front page!
Rossa, thank you for your contributions to the ISEPP blog. It is nice to see an advocate speaking out on the Mad in America site who is knowledgeable in the work of Dr. Abram Hoffer and concepts of Orthomolecular/Integrative Psychiatry/Functional Medicine. I do not understand why so many advocates are overlooking the importance of Functional Medicine and lab testing for mental health concerns, especially psychosis and mania.
Rossa and Maria,
Thank you both for bringing this to your readers’ attention on your blogs.
Certainly, a healthy life style, avoiding junk food, getting enough sleep, etc. is of importance. Nevertheless, it remains a mystery to me, how on earth it is possible that alternatives like Soteria and Open Dialogue can achieve the recovery rates from not least “mania” and “psychosis” without lab testing for vitamin deficiencies, intoxication, etc., and then feeding people tons of supplements, and/or putting them through one detoxification program after the other upon the testing. Somehow, it will seem to me that, just like conventional bio-psychiatry, neither Hoffer&Co. were/are capable of thinking “deficiency” and “intoxication” in a metaphorical way, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find that Hoffer&Co.’s inability to understand things other than literally is caused by the same reluctance to face one’s own (or society on the whole’s) dysfunctionality, and the same reluctance to take responsibility for this dysfunctionality, that accounts for bio-psychiatry’s vehement reluctance to acknowledge psychological trauma.
I remember the first article about Hoffer’s approach I came across, shortly after I’d started to investigate the field of psychiatry a little closer. It was written by a nurse, mother of a son labelled with “schizophrenia”, and devoted follower of Hoffer’s approach. “Schizophrenia is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain,” it said in the very first paragraph. Ah, ohhh… Really?
No different from conventional psychiatry’s explanations, Functional Medicine attempts to find the fault with the individual (‘s biology). And no different from conventional psychiatry it, by doing so, is “no-fault insurance against personal responsibility”, to quote Loren Mosher.
I don’t take issue with people deciding for themselves that they want to believe in chemical imbalances, whether caused by “faulty” genes, or vitamin deficiencies. Whatever works for you. What I do take issue with, though, is when these people, whether they’re conventional psychiatrists, and their devoted followers, or whether their last name is Hoffer, and their devoted followers, claim to have monopoly of the truth. And I especially take issue with it, when neither the science, nor the personal experience of quite a few people, the empirical evidence, supports their “truth”.
I’m looking forward to the day when people’s experiences are no longer dismissed as caused by a malfunctioning of their own brain, caused by a vitamin deficiency, or “bad” genes. I’m looking forward to the day when these experiences are acknowledged as valid and meaningful, and indeed, as Paris Williams points out in “Rethinking Madness”, as constituting a great potential for personal growth, not only on the part of the person herself, but, as Rossa’s journey shows us, also on the part of everybody who manages to journey with an open mind together with the person in crisis.
You and I have reached the same conclusions. I’m very in favor of the orthomolecular approach, particularly if it gets us away from medications and their awful side effects. So, I’m grateful to Dr. Hoffer fot that. But, having spent much time and money on vitamins for my son, he still wasn’t “cured.” One reason for this may have been that he was taking vitamins and meds at the same time, therefore I could never really see what would have happened had he been treated by vitamins alone from the beginning. The orthomolecular approach ignores the the spiritual/trauma, which I truly believe is at the heart of most cases of “mental illness.” It is the rare person whose mental illness clears up with diet and vitamins. (Dr. Hoffer claimed otherwise.) When I speak of “true mental illnesses,” like my son has experienced, I am referring to the “classic” cases of young men and women (not children)who develop these conditions in their late teens or twenties. I decided that the best approach was not to put all our eggs in one basket, and we should try whatever seemed promising.
Rossa, I’ve met quite a few people by now who’ve tried the pop-tons-of-vitamins, avoid-gluten-and-dairy-products, etc. approach. For some of them it did make a difference, not necessarily an earth-shaking one, but at least a little (placebo effect, anyone?), for most it didn’t. If it does, and it enables people to avoid having to pop tons of psych drugs, great! Go for it! But all in all, I think Hoffer fooled himself in the same way conventional psychiatry fools itself — and everybody else — in that he only “saw” those who did get a positive effect of his approach, and not those who dropped out because they didn’t.
Marian, I understand your concerns.
The topic of mental illness is very broad and for many reasons very opinionated.
Psychosis and mania can be symptoms of various medical conditions, some of which are fatal.
The British Medical Journal put together a comprehensive article on Best Practice Assessment of Psychosis. This is a very credible resource for medical doctors who assess symptoms of psychosis to rule out underlying medical conditions and substances that are listed in the DSM.
The DSM-IV classification of “Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders” includes “Psychotic Disorder Due to a General Medical Conditions” and “Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder.” The APA recognizes a wide array of medical conditions and substances that can induce a psychosis, as well as violent criminal behavior
Because of the broad spectrum of etiologic factors of psychosis, it is easy to overlook the possible relationship of toxic exposure. Since psychiatrists receive little information about this during training, toxic etiologies of psychiatric syndromes are not often recognized. Severe encephalopathy resulting from high levels of alcohol intoxication is described in standard texts of psychiatry and neurology. It is well established that certain other toxic substances also have the potential to disrupt normal brain physiology and impair neurological homeostasis. These symptoms may include headache, fatigue, weakness, balance disturbance, impaired coordination, reduced memory span and concentration, as well as mood and personality changes which can be assessed as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia
Individuals with symptoms of mania and psychosis are entitled to best practice assessment to rule out underlying causes. Anything less than best practice assessment is unethical.
I understand and appreciate the concepts of Soteria an Open Dialogue but it can place individuals in harms way if an underlying medical condition that is a contributing factor to irradic behavior is overlooked.
Functional medicine/Integrative Psychiatry/Orthomolecular approaches considers factors such as past exposure to lead, mercury or other toxins. Probaby more common than one thinks. The book The Toxic Truth by Lydia Dentworth comes to mind.
We can not overlook the risks involved leaving an individual with an underlying medical condition untreated.
For example, last year’s shooting at Soteria in Alaska. This is a situation that lawmakers convinced by NAMI to validate forced treatment will consider against alternatives.
In order to validate alternatives, we must have an open mind torwards
After Soteria House Shooting Victim Dies, Questions Remain
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Soteria House was supposed to be a safe place.
The sprawling green multiplex on Doris Street was designed to be a respite from psychiatric wards and institutions; a chance for young people diagnosed with serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia to live in a place that was like a home, not a hospital, making choices for themselves.
“The message always is ‘we are here to keep you safe,’” wrote Susan Musante, the site manager, in a fact sheet about Soteria House’s philosophy.
But for Mozelle Nalan, it wasn’t.
The 19-year-old, originally from Skagway, had lived at the house for 11 months, only recently graduating to her own apartment. On the evening of June 30, Nalan had returned to the house to see friends and fill out an application to become a volunteer. Police say she was standing in the backyard when another former resident named Michael McEvoy shot her at least four times in the head.
Did Michael McEnvoy suffer from an underlying medical condition? If tragedies like this one regularly happened at alternatives, because one or the other underlying medical condition was not recognized, Open Dialogue would have been shut down ages ago.
The chances, that a possibly underlying medical condition is actually recognized are in fact a lot greater at an alternative that listens to people, and takes them seriously, than in a setting that says “It’s all in your head!”So, no these alternatives are no more dangerous than conventional psychiatry, rather a lot less.
Some time ago, a young man walked into our crisis center, together with his mother and sister. For some time he had experienced states of mind where he, from the reaction of his surroundings to judge, might have said and/or done “weird” things. From the reaction of his surroundings to judge. I asked him if he had any recollection of what he’d said and/or done. No, not really. Now, previous to experiencing these altered states of mind, he’d been working towards some important exams, and had been isolating himself quite a bit. His family had had difficulty contacting him. But they’d accepted his wish to be left alone to study. Unfortunately, he’d fallen ill with a virus during this period, nobody noticed, he spent a week or so in bed, a couple of days almost unconscious with high fever, and he didn’t get any treatment. The altered states had started after this illness. A shrink would have heard: exams, stress, isolation, altered states, “weird” behavior = psychosis. I heard: “I can’t remember,” and high fever to the point of unconsciousness, untreated. So, I didn’t recommend talk therapy, a hearing voices group, or anything like that. I recommended a thorough neurological exam.
“Real psychosis” or “mania” does differ from “psychosis-” or “mania-“like symptoms caused by physiological conditions. The difference may not always be that obvious, but if somebody knows “real psychosis” or “mania” they have a good chance to recognize it when they see it. The problem is that conventional psychiatry does not know “real psychosis” and “mania” because it, unlike Loren Mosher, John Weir Perry, the people at Open Dialogue, etc., refuses to get to know it (cf. btw Kraepelin defining the criteria for “schizophrenia” after having observed mainly people suffering from everything else, such as encephalitis lethargica, but “real schizophrenia”). Just recently I overheard a professional in the field, though not a psychiatrist, state that “the mentally ill” don’t know when they experience altered states. This is just not true, and it is an outstanding example of how glaringly ignorant the entire profession is of what they claim to be the field of their expertise.
Maria, just like most of what Kraepelin observed and then categorised as “schizophrenia” wasn’t really “schizophrenia”, but something entirely different, what you are talking about is not “schizophrenia”, but something entirely different. “Mental illness” is not physiological. If it is, it is not “mental illness”.
I understand and respect your position.
As a mental health advocate one of my primary concerns involves individuals who are labeled with bp/schizophrenia and may be suffering from an underlying condition.
Below is one case report as an example. I know of a young girl from Rochester, NY whose case was similar. She suffered from a fatal disease and was originally dx bp.
Others include individuals who have been exposed to toxins in the work environment that cause neuropsychological disorders and can be misdx as bp/schizophrenia. These individuals may be entitled to worker’s comp. Functional Medicine/Integrative Psychiatry, along with neuropsych evaluation can help them to establish a claim.
Dr. Hoffer and Linus Pauling were pioneers and I appreciate their contributions. I also find great benefit in the work of Alexander Lowen, Ida Rolf, as well as many types of energy work.
I am all for a holistic approach, but first and foremost rule out underlying factors that are being labeled as severe mental illness.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Presenting as Secondary Mania
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Presenting as Secondary Mania Ivan Lendvai , M.D., Stephen M. Saravay , M.D., and Maurice D. Steinberg , M.D.
Received October 15, 1998; revised May 3, 1999; accepted May 20, 1999. From the Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, New Hyde Park, New York. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Lendvai, Staten Island University Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, 375 Seguine Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10309.
Key Words: Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease • Mania
Ours is a report of a patient with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease who presented with mania and was initiallly diagnosed and treated for Bipolar I Disorder, manic type. Psychiatric disturbances constitute the prodromal manifestations in 18%–39% of those with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.1 Dementia occurs in all patients and progresses rapidly. Patients may complain of fatigue and appear apathetic; personal hygiene suffers early; in some cases irritability may be prominent.2,3 Depression has been found in more than 30% of patients with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and 10% of patients with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease need psychiatric hospitalization for depression.1,2 We were unable to find any report of mania as a prominent presenting symptom.
The patient, a 45-year-old, married mother of two, was in her usual state of health, working as a secretary until about 8 weeks before admission to a short-term psychiatric inpatient facility. At that time, the patient began to have pressured, incoherent speech, with thoughtracing, and abrupt shifts of thoughts. She went on spending sprees and built up considerable credit card debt, buying unnecessary things. She had severe insomnia, sleeping only a few hours each night. She also complained of blurred vision and gait difficulty, the latter also noted by her family.
It may seem strange, but I agree with Maria and Marian both.
I think “mental illness” can be an underlying physical condition. And it can also be the result of past trauma.
A “headache” can be due to stress.
Or it can be due to countless underlying physical conditions.
It can be either.
One or the other.
It can also be both.
“Mental illness” is not physiological. If it is, it is not “mental illness”.
-This is, for me, a critical fundamental. As Szasz and others have said (Robert Spillane for my Australian friends)Mental processes cannot rightly be said to be “ill” anymore than any metaphor can be “ill”
Neurology deals with real diseases/abnormalities of the brain.
Part of the reform efforts will need to be focused on the language we use in referring to people who report “distress” Some like the term “challenges of life” or “challenges of living” It’s hard to get much worse than acting like a created metaphaor (Mental Illness) actually exists! I’ve got Spring Fever!
R Spillane information:
Read more here…if you dare!
David, I couldn’t agree more. That’s why I use quotation marks. There is no such thing as mental illness other than understood metaphorically. And not even then would I call an attempt to “heal” (to get to an understanding) an “illness”. If there are neurological, physiological causes for someone to experience altered states of mind, it is still somatic illness, altered states of mind, or not. Like Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a real, somatic illness with a known physiological pathology.
In Maria’s example, the case of the 45-year-old woman, the woman complains also about blurred vision and gait difficulty. This should immediately have any medical professional’s alarm bells ring. Blurred vision and gait difficulty are not “symptoms” of any “mental illness”. Except for that they very well may be symptoms of drugged “mental illness”. But in that case they are still not “symptoms” of the supposed “mental illness”, but of chemical intoxication.
I agree with Maria that there is an almost criminal tendency among especially psychiatrists, but also among other medical professionals, to overlook physiological causes whenever someone experiences one or the other kind of symptoms that just remotely match what’s in the DSM. IMO though, that’s just one more reason to get rid of the DSM and psychiatry: they are unable to recognize real, somatic illness when there actually is one, and they’re just as unable to recognize when there is none, which then has them “treat” the latter in a way that inflicts almost exactly the same symptoms on people as those of the real, somatic illnesses that they otherwise are unable to recognize when confronted with the “real deal”, and claim that, indeed, they “treat” real, somatic illnesses… Mind-boggling.
Where I don’t agree with Maria is that overlooked vitamin deficiencies and things like Creutzfeldt Jakob would be the problem in more than a very small percentage of people who get psychiatrically labelled. I guess, I’ve met too many labelled people who clearly were more or less severely traumatized and reacting to that, rather than that they were suffering from vitamin deficiencies. Or Creutzfeldt Jakob disease.
I think it is important to consider the fact obvious cases of medication induced psychosis that led to criminal behavior has resulted in misdx and life in prison for many individuals. eg. David Crespi, Otty Sanchez, Julie Schenecker.
Many medications can induce psychosis. Even the routine use of over-the-counter cold medicine can induce psychosis that is clinically indistinguishable from paranoid schizophrenia and lead to a misdx.
If we begin to explore the very unhealthy and marginalized incarcerated population, we may start to recognize a larger population of individuals who would be helped through integrative care.
General Medical Problems of Incarcerated Persons With Severe and Persistent Mental Illness: A Population-Based Study
Gary S. Cuddeback; Anna Scheyett; Carrie Pettus-Davis; Joseph P. Morrissey
Objective: Persons with severe mental illness have higher rates of chronic general medical illness compared with the general population.
Similarly, compared with the general population, incarcerated persons have higher rates of chronic medical illness; however, there is little information about the synergy between severe mental illness and incarceration and the general medical problems of consumers.
To address this gap in the literature this study addressed the following question: are consumers with a history of incarceration at greater risk of general medical problems compared with consumers without such a history?
Methods: Administrative data were used to compare the medical problems of 3,690 persons with severe mental illness with a history of incarceration and 2,042 persons with severe mental illness with no such history.
Results: Consumers with a history of incarceration were more likely than those with no such history to have infectious, blood, and skin diseases and a history of injury.
Furthermore, when analyses controlled for gender, race, age, and substance use disorders, consumers with an incarceration history were 40% more likely to have any general medical problem and 30% more likely to have multiple medical problems.
Conclusions: The findings presented here call for better communication among local public health and mental health providers and jails and better integration of primary care and behavioral health care among community mental health providers. Also, research should be accelerated on evidence-based interventions designed to divert persons with severe mental illness from the criminal justice system and facilitate community reentry for persons with severe mental illness who are released from jails and prisons. (Psychiatric Services 61:45–49, 2010)
There is evidence that persons with severe mental illness have higher rates of chronic health conditions and a reduced life expectancy compared with the general population (1,2,3,4,5). For example, between 58% and 74% of persons with severe mental illness report at least one chronic health problem, such as hypertension, diabetes, and pulmonary disease (1,6). Further, persons with severe mental illness, particularly those diagnosed as having schizophrenia, live fewer years on average and have higher relative mortality risks than the general population (5,7,8). The medical needs of persons with mental illness are of particular concern because our mental health and primary health care systems are not well integrated, and there is evidence that the health care needs of persons with mental illness often go unmet (9).
In this context, there is little information about how the general medical problems of persons with severe mental illness who have a history of incarceration—defined here as one or more incarcerations in a local jail during a five-year study period—compare with the medical problems of persons with mental illness who do not have a history of incarceration. This gap in our knowledge is of concern because incarcerated individuals, in general, have higher rates of chronic illness, such as diabetes, coronary artery disease, and infectious diseases (10,11). Compared with consumers with no history of incarceration, are persons with severe mental illness and a history of incarceration at even greater risk of general medical problems? The aim of this study was to contribute to our knowledge about the complex needs of persons with mental illness by examining the synergistic effects of severe mental illness and incarceration on the general medical problems of persons with mental illness.
Good stuff here Marian. This overlooking of the physical and rush to the mental is my experience as well. Ironically, my college training was just the opposite. We were trained to see physical conditions as “rule outs” that must be considered first, than we needed to consider any kind of substance intoxication before even considering a so-called mental illness. Getting rid of DSM though is the right approach, it’s fatally flawed and perpetuates this mythmaking around calling life challenges mental illnesses.
Some of the DSM codes are needed to label patients with the side effects of the medications. It would be nice if clinicians spent more time identifying medical conditions and substances known to induce psychosis/mania and less time labeling patients as bp/schizophrenia.
332.1 Neuroleptic-Induced Parkinsonism
333.1 Medication-Induced Postural Tremor
333.7 Neuroleptic-Induced Acute Dystonia
333.82 Neuroleptic-Induced Tardive Dyskinesia
333.90 Medication-Induced Movement Disorder NOS
333.92 Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome
333.99 Neuroleptic-Induced Acute Akathisia
293.81 Psychotic Disorder Due to Medical Condition, with Delusions Psychotic Disorders
293.82 Psychotic Disorder Due to Medical Condition, with Hallucinations
780.52 Sleep Disorder Due to A Medical Condition, Insomnia Type
298.8 Brief Psychotic Disorder
293.83 Mood Disorder Due to Medical Condition
293.89 Anxiety Disorder Due to Medical Condition
291.89 Alcohol-Induced Mood Disorder
292.11 Amphetamine-Induced Psychotic Disorder, With Delusions
292.11 Cannabis-Induced Psychotic Disorder, With Delusions
292.11 Cocaine-Induced Psychotic Disorder, With Delusions
292.11 Hallucinogen-Induced Psychotic Disorder, With Delusions
292.11 Inhalant-Induced Psychotic Disorder, With Delusions
292.11 Opioid-Induced Psychotic Disorder, With Delusions
I hear you, some of these conditions would need to be captured through a diagnostic system. I just think we can’t continue the DSM as the vehicle. It’s just too flawed at this point. Your point on real medical conditions producing symptoms that are mis-diagnosed as “mental illness” is a good one and happens often.
David, as a mental health advocate my main “soap box” agenda is to help prevent individuals with symptoms of severe mental illness to become victims of the rubberstamp approach of psychiatry and be blanket labeled as bp/schizophrenic.
In my opinion mainstream psychiatry has created a Medication Management Treatment Monopoly. Integrated Care is the best chance of breaking up the monopoly.
While I would not want anyone to go through what I did, nor would I want to live through it again, the learning experiences were priceless and I support the Participatory Medicine movement.
Psychosis Possibly Linked to an Occupational Disease: An e-Patient’s Participatory Approach to Consideration of Etiologic Factors
Just read your story via the link you provided.
Very powerful. Your story makes you an effective advocate in many ways. If you’re ever in Ohio drop me a line, you have friends here. I’ll buy lunch in a Toluene free enviornment I promise!
Maria, the DSM is about *mental* disorders. The categories you list clearly are valid ones, but they would indeed become even more valid, if they weren’t listed in a book that by and large, and except for the categories you’ve listed, is scientifically invalid. Chapter VI, respectively XIX, in the ICD would be the proper place for these categories.
I’M PACKING MY BAGS FOR OHIO 🙂
I don’t disagree with you and I am certainly not one to debate issuses.
I look at situations in a way to try and present the facts as accurately and clearly as possible.
Where there are problematic situations I think the best strategy is one based on the Risk Management process. (Root cause analysis, corrective action planning)
After going through a worker’s comp situation and dealing one-on-one with a number of highly trained “spin doctors” my opinion of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is that it is designed with “trap doors” of believability.
Outside of the realm of psychiatry, diagnostic manuals are carefully crafted tools to help solve problems. A well witten manual used by an experienced technician are very efficient when solving complex problems.
In the realm of mental health care, we know a holistic approach holds the truth and the answers for effective recovery strategies.
Unfortunately, holistic health care can be the long road of recovery and is not easy to market.
The use of pharmacueticals to control symptoms of “mental illness” has created the image of a socially acceptable easy button solution system that is based on absolutely insane marketing techniques.
For example when drug companies state on their commercials, if one medication doesn’t work, just add another one.
What other products could be marketed based on the fact the first one you purchased has a long list of risky side effects and didn’t work?
Most people who buy a product that does not work want their money back and would take their business elsewhere.
Here is another example: In 1999 Ryan Ehlis was found not guilty of murder because it was found he suffered an Anphetamine-Induced Psychotic Disorder (DSM-IV Code 292.11)when he shot and killed his infant daughter. Shire US, Inc., the manufacturer of Adderall, made a public statement that “despite the slaying, Adderall remains a safe and effective drug for controlling AD/HD”
Despite the slaying???? How is the acceptable????
Who would prescribe Adderall after this incident and who would want to take it? Yet this incident had no affect on Adderall sales and today the drug stores have a hard time keeping up with the demand for it.
In order to contribute to a consensus, we need to speak to those who support main stream psychiatry’s Medication Management Monopoly.
When it comes to symptoms of psychosis and mania I like to point to this statement:
By consensual agreement within the American Psychiatric Association psychiatric diagnoses are DESCRIPTIVE LABELS ONLY for phenomenology, not etiological or mechanistic explanation for syndromes. Thus, a psychiatric diagnosis labels a pattern of signs and symptoms, but offers no hypothesis concerning the mechanism(s) of the clinical phenomena.(Davidoff et al.,1991).
Evaluating this patient as manic seems accurate on all accounts:
“the patient began to have pressured, incoherent speech, with thoughtracing, and abrupt shifts of thoughts. She went on spending sprees and built up considerable credit card debt, buying unnecessary things. She had severe insomnia, sleeping only a few hours each night.”
The description of an individual in a psychotic state can also be very accurate.
The believability factor then comes into play for the general public and the law makers who are lead to believe these symptoms are generally attribute to bp/schizophrenia, the trap door effect creates a public perception that validates the use of the DSM.
In my opinion breaking the stigma of psychotic disorders would be helped if there was a greater public awareness of the wide variety of medical conditions and substances that can contribute to symptoms of mania and psychosis.
Psychosis Due to a Medical Condition involve a surprisingly large number of different medical conditions, some of which include: brain tumors, cerebrovascular disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Creitzfeld-Jakob disease, anti-NMDAR Encephalitis, herpes zoster-associated encephalitis, head trauma, infections such as neurosyphilis, epilepsy, auditory or visual nerve injury or impairment, deafness, migraine, endocrine disturbances, metabolic disturbances, vitamin B12 deficiency, a decrease in blood gases such as oxygen or carbon dioxide or imbalances in blood sugar levels, and autoimmune disorders with central nervous system involvement such as systemic lupus erythematosus have also been known to cause psychosis.
A substance-induced psychotic disorder, by definition, is directly caused by the effects of drugs including alcohol, medications, and toxins. Psychotic symptoms can result from intoxication on alcohol, amphetamines (and related substances), cannabis (marijuana), cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants, opioids, phencyclidine (PCP) and related substances, sedatives, hypnotics, anxiolytics, and other or unknown substances. Psychotic symptoms can also result from withdrawal from alcohol, sedatives, hypnotics, anxiolytics, and other or unknown substances.
Some medications that may induce psychotic symptoms include anesthetics and analgesics, anticholinergic agents, anticonvulsants, antihistamines, antihypertensive and cardiovascular medications, antimicrobial medications, antiparkinsonian medications, chemotherapeutic agents, corticosteroids, gastrointestinal medications, muscle relaxants, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, other over-the-counter medications, antidepressant medications, neurleptic medications, antipsychotics, and disulfiram . Toxins that may induce psychotic symptoms include anticholinesterase, organophosphate insecticides, nerve gases, heavy metals, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and volatile substances (such as fuel or paint).
If anyone knows of any underlying medical conditions or substances that can induce psychosis/mania, I collect information on this site. Please leave comments or links to studies and I will add them.
Thank you for taking the time to read this discussion.
But it CAN be an underlying physical condition.
Whether that condition was caused by the trauma.
Or whether it was caused by a traumatic brain injury (TBI), or a host of other things.
Good debate going on between Marian, Maria and David and thought I would throw in my two cents worth. What I call classic “schizophrenia,” is a mental malaise, not a physical illness, occurring in young men between the ages of 15 and 25. Schizophrenia looks like a physical illness, but if tested, I strongly suspect that most people would get a clean bill of health. It walks like a duck, it quacks like a duck, but weirdly it’s not a duck.
Dr. Hoffer himself observed that people with schizophrenia are super healthy. It’s almost as if they are a different species of human. Dr. Hoffer also anecdotally observed that the close relatives did not get cancer, as if there is a genetic advantage conferred by schizophrenia.
Classic schizophrenia rarely occurs in children nor is it medication induced. If schizophrenia type symptoms occur outside the age range of 15-25 for men and 25-35 for women, then chances are it’s not schizophrenia. Many people attribute recreational drug use to their developing psychosis. This may be true in a small number of cases, but logically, if they stopped ingesting these substances, their symptoms should clear up. I think people often use recreational drugs, including cigarettes, to try to cope with the symptoms they may be starting to experience.
The study cited about the health problems of the severely mentally ill prison population–sounds to me like the combined effect of drugs, smoking and poverty. The mentally ill die much earlier than the general population because of lifestyle and complications from the drugs they are given.
Rossa, I wholeheartedly agree. I’d just liketoadd toyourlast paragraph that the word “lifestyle” mentioned in context with the wide-spread puzzlement about those labelled with “severe and persistent mental illness” suffering from a variety of very real, physical health problems, and dying on average 25 years earlier than the general population, is more and more becoming a red rag to me the more it is (ab-)used to make everybody believe that it is the supposed “severe and persistent mental illness” that has the labelled make bad lifestyle choices that then lead to physical health problems and early death. Strangely, physical health problems and early death have not always been as huge a problem as they are today, and they aren’t as huge a problem in cultures that don’t apply the medical model. What has changed, and what is different in cultures that don’t apply the medical model? Is it the “severe and persistent mental illness” itself, somehow? Or?… How can we expect people to make healthy lifestyle choices when first we’ve made them passive, physically unable to stay awake for more than 3 or 4 hours at a time, not to mention do any efficient exercise, and neurologically/psychologically unable to experience satisfaction — other than maybe from chain-smoking cigarettes in a desperate attempt to re-establish the brain’s natural dopamine activity level? The answer is, we can’t.
Mostly, the lifestyle of the labelled is not their own choice, but it is forced upon them through the “treatment” they are exposed to for their supposed “severe and persistent mental illness”.
I want to add that, of course, the misinterpretation of what the unconscious tries to communicate using metaphors in a literal way, which is what I see is one of the main characteristics of crisis, may lead to “bad lifestyle choices”, too. For instance if somebody takes the idea of being poisoned literally (which actually wouldn’t even be a misinterpretation in a psychiatric setting…), and therefor stops to eat. On the other hand, even such misinterpretations, in less extreme forms, may also lead to a healthier lifestyle, if they result in the person picking their food very carefully, maybe even growing their own, organic veggies, and avoiding all kinds of processed junk, as well as, whenever it can be avoided, being fed psych drugs, ha!
And I’ve come to realize that people who have suffered severe trauma likely have fallout, both emotional as well as physical… and hardcore psych drugs are the LAST think they need.
The drugs are nutrient-depleting… for brains that despeartly need nutrients, due to trauma, and subsequent trauma from psychiatric “treatment”.
Dr. Hoffer’s work points to the fact that people in these states do NOT do well on drugs for the long-term, but much better with proper nutrition, safe shelter, and support. We see it in his work; we see it with Mosher’s Soteria, and we see it in Lapland with Open Dialogue.
And yet, our society continues to ignore the obvious.
But I also think Maria brings some good points up, and I agree with her as well.
“Mental illness” can be a result of an underlying physical condition ALONE.
We ought to be wise enough to RULE OUT a host of physical conditions, prior to assuming ANYTHING.
This includes traumatic brain injury; iatrogenic effects of drugs, to include psychiatric drugs on/off; thyroid problems; enviromental (cerebral) allergies; hormonal imbalance; vitamin deficiencies (often caused by psych drugs); and many other things –
I’ve read that trauma is the root cause in anywhere from 70-80 percent on “severe mental illness”.
I always ask myself, “What about the 20-30 percent where there appears to have been no significant trauma?”
And why did Abram Hoffer out-perform Open Dialogue (with 90 percent recovery rates vs 85 percent), when talk-therapy wasn’t even part of the mix?
I don’t know all the answers.
But I do think both Maria and Marian make some good points, and that we can BEGIN to incorporate the best of all of this, as we make a paradigm shift.
Conventional psychiatry “blames the brain”, while functional medicine, environmental medicine, orthomolecular medicine and other forms work on helping the whole-person heal… to include the brain.
If the body needs to heal.
And the emotions need to become calmer and more trusting….
Ane the spirit needs to open up…
It’s likely the brain has taken a beating along the way as well… and could use some healing.
That’s how I see it.
Duane, Hoffer’s results have not been replicated. This is not to discredit his approach entirely. If the choice was between pop tons of vitamins, and pop Zyprexa, I know what I would choose, and also recommend to others that they choose (to everyone who thinks I give medical advice, and that I shouldn’t: I don’t, but I do tell people everything I know about different approaches’ side effects, and that then, indirectly but nevertheless, makes for a recommendation of vitamins over psych drugs). But the choice is not just between these two, and I’ve seen too many people who’ve tried Hoffer’s approach and for whom it has failed to work.
The main issue I have with Hoffer is that, regularly, I sit with people who tell me about having experienced more or less massive abuse/neglect (physical, sexual, emotional, …, you name it). I cannot ignore this, and tell these people they have a vitamin deficiency, if what they go through without effort can be seen as a very meaningful response to their life story. If I did, it would make me no better than bio-psychiatry.
Hoffer’s approach, just like bio-psychiatry’s, denies psychological trauma, which means adding insult to injury for the individual, *and also for our entire culture*:
“Perry (John Weir Perry) pointed out that there is an aspect of the renewal process that is crucial for the health of a society. Once an individual has gone through a very profound reorganization of their inner culture, they sometimes emerge with a vision of reorganization for the culture at large that is uncanny in its timeliness and its effectiveness in bringing about just the reform that society needs in order to continue its existence. (…)
(…) If Perry is correct, then not only is it a very sad irony that our very attempt to support these individuals may actually be one of the main factors in preventing their recovery, but the implications this has for our society as a whole are also quite grave. In a time when our society isin desperate need of the guiding values of love, compassion, and wisdom, suppressing the very process that attempts to renew these values in wounded psyches and in our society at large could be very detrimental indeed.” -Paris Williams, Rethinking Madness, p.102
IMO, we, as a culture, do ourselves an enormous disservice by defining crisis as a medical problem. If its in the shape of chemical imbalances in the brain, in the shape of vitamin deficiencies, whatever of that kind. Unless we have proof of somebody’s crisis to be physiological, medical in nature, I think we’d do better, for our own, our entire culture’s, sake, to be aware of the often existential and also highly political nature of crisis. Looking at crisis from a medical point of view alone is like peeing one’s pants: it’s cosy and warm for the moment, but it gets perishingly cold over time. Medical explanations absolve everybody from responsibility. But if we don’t take responsibility, it may well mean our end as a culture (and with the extent of dysfunctionality and destructiveness of modern western civilization in mind, it may well mean the end of humanity/life on this planet).
I’ve read that trauma is the root cause in anywhere from 70-80 percent on “severe mental illness”.
I always ask myself, “What about the 20-30 percent where there appears to have been no significant trauma?”
In the shamanistic and holistic circles where I have travelled, trauma is not necessarily the visible trauma that many psychiatric survivors have experienced. There is past life trauma and pre-birth trauma. For example, perhaps the family breadwinner lost a job or there was a death in the family while the baby was in utero. This will have an emotional (vibratory) impact on the fetus. I am meeting with a new holistic healer tomorrow, who works with scalar energy. In a pre-meeting analysis, he has identified that Chris experienced pre-birth trauma at 2 and 4 and over months. I experienced pre-birth trauma according to the healer at 2.5, 5 and 7 months. Everybody, I assume, experiences pre-birth trauma to some extent, but it’s the unusually sensitive person who perhaps remembers it.
The unusually sensitive person, and/or the one who had nobody in their lives to help them make at least a little sense of the — emotional — confusion trauma causes.
I recently watched a documentary about Lisbeth Zornig, the ex-director of “Børnerådet”, a government agency working for the rights and protection of children. The title of the doc was “My childhood in hell”, and that says it all. Lisbeth Zornig didn’t go on to get a psych label, or resorting to alcohol and street drugs, like her brothers. But she was also the only one in the family who, when she was about 7, 8 years old, was invited to live with one of her school teachers and her husband, who saw what was going on in Lisbeth’s family, and wanted to help her. They even wanted to adopt her, but she got picked up by her mother and dragged back home after 6 months, because the state had threatened to cancel the maintenance payments for Lisbeth that were desperately needed to buy booze from… Anyway, 6 months in a different, and a lot more functional environment than her own family were more than enough to have Lisbeth Zornig realize that, indeed, her family was dysfunctional, how it was dysfunctional, and that another, a lot less dysfunctional way of living was possible.
hi. Thanks for your inspiring and courageous story. My life has been completely destroyed by psychiatry. I have lost everything. Family, friends, self esteem, abilities, sense of self and something very special and important to me.I know I will never recover…but I keep going. My life is really hard work now as I am alienated from everyone and everything important in my life. Having been a very strong, spiritually aware and deeply connected person before I am now left to wander the streets.. as I have no sense of a home or centre in my life anymore.Everything I love has been taken from me. i have been fighting to get away from forced psychiatry for the past 10 months and I am exhausted from it.. I am being bullied into seeing psychiatrist and if i don’t there will be severe consequences for me for one very important aspect of my life.. I believe very much in natural healing..and what I am going through at the moment is downright abuse. All the best A
Thank you, Aoife, for sharing your struggles. You sound very courageous. Keep that light of courage alive.
All the best,
“My life has been completely destroyed by psychiatry. I have lost everything. Family, friends, self esteem, abilities, sense of self and something very special and important to me.I know I will never recover…but I keep going.”
I think it’s great that you keep going!
And, I hope you’ll excuse me for interjecting…
Though I can’t honestly claim to know exactly what you’re going through, I do believe it’s important to keep going no matter what; hopefully, you are able to find some *joy* along the way.
If you’re not finding ways of experiencing joy now, that’s understandable, considering how you describe your life currently; but, I wonder if you can manage to occasionally listen to music that pleases you??
(You’re able to post a comment here, so I suppose you may have access to Youtube? If so, you could use it to listen to music – and even find inspiring talks.)
As I say, I can’t really know what you’re going through; I can only get a sense of it, from your words; but, what you’re describing does sound familiar to me; it reminds me of what I was going through roughly 25 years ago. (Note: At the end of this comment, I’ll leave a link to a page in my blog; in that blog I have a few posts offering a sense of what I experienced back then.)
One thing I’ve learned in all these years, since, is how powerfully we humans are affected by words.
The words we use to describe our own lives have the ability to lift us up or pull us down.
Ironically, at times, we may use particularly self-defeating (‘downer’) language while seeking encouragement from others. Of course, we may gain more attention from listeners, when we begin by using these stark, black-and-white expressions (like “completely destroyed” and “lost everything” and “will never recover”) to describe what we’re experiencing; but, at the same time, such wordings might keep us from seeing certain, positive opportunities for creative triumph.
But, please, do not think I am suggesting you should adopt a habit, “positive thinking” – because “positive thinking” means different things to different people; and, often, it means being unrealistic.
I aim to suggest ways of using language that are more realistic (not less realistic).
For example, here I’m going to suggest an ‘edit’ to your opening lines, by placing a few new words in brackets:
“My life has been [all but] destroyed by psychiatry. I have lost [nearly] everything. Family, friends, self esteem, abilities, sense of self and something very special and important to me.I know I [might] never recover…but I keep going.”
(I don’t know if all those changes seem fitting for you now, but I’m inclined to suspect at least one or two of them may be more realistic than you might, at first, realize; and, even if they do not appeal to you now, as better reflecting your current reality, maybe they will in time seem fitting; after all, we tend to think in less completely dire terms as we find ourselves experiencing unexpected moments of ‘good luck’ or ‘good fortune.’)
You mention having, “lost everything…” even your, “sense of self.” Here I’ll offer just a few thoughts about losing ones ‘sense of self’:
Though losing ones own ‘sense of self’ can be a difficult experience (especially, when prolonged), it is not an entirely uncommon phenomena; after all, everyone experiences it while sleeping deeply; and, many people experience it while awake.
Yes, at times, it can seem like a terrible loss while we aware of it (especially, if we’re reminding ourselves of how that loss happened, despite our best efforts to avoid it); but, in fact, many people have eventually come to find this loss to be a blessing in disguise.
This is not to say I believe a ‘sense of self’ is unimportant (I wouldn’t say that, really); but, I think it is not necessary to always have a strong sense of self. (Really, far from it being necessary, a constantly strong ‘sense of self’ may actually be a burden.) Please understand, I am not one to deny the importance of anyone’s personal history, but I think it’s not necessary to maintain a ‘sense of self’ which remains constantly aware of that history.
To have a sense of self that can, at times, ‘take a break’ from the past and be simply aware of the present moment and find some beauty in it, is (I feel) – quite often (if not always) – the one best possible ‘sense of self’ to be experiencing and developing.
That is why, indeed, many meditators look forward to losing their sense of ‘self’ – at least once or twice a day. 🙂
If we’ve grown accustomed to fretting about what we’ve been through (or, even if we’re ‘just’ inclined toward being nostalgic about the past), we may be developing a ‘sense of self’ that’s wholly dependent on recalling what we’ve been through; this can be tiring, so, it can be nice to take a deep breath, then exhale and – ‘letting go’ of such memories, momentarily – just allow ourselves to be comfortable in the here and now. (I know that may be somewhat easier said than done; e.g., it may be difficult for you to make yourself comfortable if you have no place to go, where you feel safe; hopefully, there is some relatively safe place where you can go – at least, briefly – each day… even as you are, now, homeless.)
Also, we can enjoy developing a ‘sense of self’ that identifies with the journeys of personal ‘heroes’ who’ve come before us, on this adventure called life. (That can be a great way of developing a ‘new-and-improved’ sense of self.)
(Suddenly, I’m realizing that, to some readers, what I’m writing here may seem less than entirely pertinent to the post, above.)
aoife, best of luck to you. Do keep going. 🙂
You can, of course, reply to my comment here; but, I invite you as well, to feel free to contact me, by email, if you wish; address is: BeyondLabeling(at)Yahoo.com (If you email me, I can’t do more than read what you write and offer my honest reflections on your words, somewhat like I’ve done here; that may not be offering you much; but, perhaps, you can imagine it being of some help to you.)
Also, I recommend: if you’ve not already done so, you might check out MindFreedom.org (or Google “MindFreedom International”) – as it’s an organization comprised of many who’ve successfully freed themselves from the grip of unwanted psychiatry.
Finally, here’s a link to a page from my blog, which may be of interest to you:
Dear Rosa, it is wonderful families like yours which keep me hoping that one day the pharmaceutical industries may lose their strangle hold on Psychiatry. Having worked in the Psychiatric system as a nurse for many years was heart breaking, it spurned me on to learn about natural therapies. Sadly so, as you would have found as well,mention this in the medical system and you are looked at as ‘just as nuts as the clients’. Best Wishes and congratulations ! Ahmrita Natural Mental Health
Personally I have a great appreciation for Dr. Abram Hoffer and Linus Pauling as pioneers.
Functional Medicine and Integrative Psychiatry have come a long way since 1968 but I think it is important to recognize Linus Pauling is one of only four individuals to have won more than one Nobel Prize. He is one of only two people awarded Nobel Prizes in different fields (the Chemistry and Peace prizes), the other being Marie Curie (the Chemistry and Physics prizes), and the only person awarded two unshared prizes.
He was a brilliant man and his work should be considered by mental health professionals and advocates.
Science. 1968 Apr 19;160(3825):265-71.
Orthomolecular psychiatry. Varying the concentrations of substances normally present in the human body may control mental disease.
The functioning of the brain is affected by the molecular concentrations of many substances that are normally present in the brain. The optimum concentrations of these substances for a person may differ greatly from the concentrations provided by his normal diet and genetic machinery. Biochemical and genetic arguments support the idea that orthomolecular therapy, the provision for the individual person of the optimum concentrations of important normal constituents of the brain, may be the preferred treatment for many mentally ill patients. Mental symptoms of avitaminosis sometimes are observed long before any physical symptoms appear. It is likely that the brain is more sensitive to changes in concentration of vital substances than are other organs and tissues. Moreover, there is the possibility that for some persons the cerebrospinal concentration of a vital substance may be grossly low at the same time that the concentration in the blood and lymph is essentially normal. A physiological abnormality such as decreased permeability of the blood-brain barrier for the vital substance or increased rate of metabolism of the substance in the brain may lead to a cerebral deficiency and to a mental disease. Diseases of this sort may be called localized cerebral deficiency diseases. It is suggested that the genes responsible for abnormalities (deficiencies) in the concentration of vital substances in the brain may be responsible for increased penetrance of the postulated gene for schizophrenia, and that the so-called gene for schizophrenia may itself be a gene that leads to a localized cerebral deficiency in one or more vital substances.
For anyone interested in a holistic approach, you might be interested in listening to Dr. Charles Gant. Like Will Hall, he’s got all of his bases covered.
2011 Mind Body Week speaker Charles Gant M.D.
2011 Mind Body Week DC Speaker:
Charles Gant, MD, University of Virginia, Cofounder of Academy of Functional Medicine has practiced Functional, Holistic and Integrative Medicine and Psychotherapy for over 36 years. While in private practice and while serving in medical directorships and consultancies to many clinics and hospitals in the Central New York area over the decades, Dr. Gant instituted and perfected various integrative treatment regimens of nutritional therapy, detoxification, neurotransmitter, hormonal and metabolic rebalancing, and mindfulness-based, reconstructive psychotherapies, to support the recoveries of his patients from all kinds of common, chronic medical and psychiatric disorders.
Dr. Gant has treated many kinds of medical disorders such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, but a significant portion of his work has focused on natural, drug-free treatments for brain disorders, such as AD/HD, Addiction (prescription drugs, tobacco, alcohol, other drugs) and Mood Disorders (depression). His work spanning most of 4 decades is summarized in various publications such as the books: “ADD and ADHD: Complementary/Alternative Medicine (CAM) Solutions” (2008 — 2nd edition), “End Your Addiction Now” (2010 — Square One Publishers), End Nicotine Addiction Now” (2010 — 2nd edition), ADHD (Attentional Disintegration of Hurt and Distress) Therapies, and Basic Concepts in Integrative, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2003). He teaches these topics via lectures, workshops and webinar trainings (e.g., see: http://www.AcademyofFunctionalMedicine.com).
Dr. Gant’s philosophy. Dr. Gant concentrates most intensively on the molecular aspects of care because of the astonishing paucity of such therapeutic opportunities for those suffering from causative nutritional deficiencies, toxicities, neurotransmitter, hormonal/metabolic abnormalities, and genetic vulnerabilities to all of the above. Amassed scientific research strongly suggests that the solutions to alcohol, tobacco and drug addiction (#1 cause of death/disability), to common mental disorders such as AD/HD, depression and anxiety, and to most chronic medical disorders, awaits us at the molecular level of understanding. Rather than merely covering up symptoms with drugs, we should be using a science-based, diagnostic approach to precisely identify and reverse the molecular causes of psychological and physical suffering. Dr. Gant has been branded a “healer” but he believes that identification with such egotistical labels is limiting. He does not envision healing as an end unto itself, however well-perfected certain methodologies become. Instead he sees healing as a means to an end, because the longer we can stay reasonably healthy and enjoy mental clarity, the more potential we have to discover a spiritual purpose for being alive and functional, and to joyfully share our human experience with others
Honestly I am not trying to start a debate, or be picky about language use, I just think these statements from the above conversation are important to consider.
“There is no such thing as mental illness other than understood metaphorically.”
– psychosis, mania, halucinations are very real symptoms that can involve a tremendous amount of suffering. I do not like to compare mental suffering with physical suffering but unless you go through it yourself, you can not understand the internal torture of a psychotic state can have.
“Dr. Hoffer himself observed that people with schizophrenia are super healthy. It’s almost as if they are a different species of human.”
“Classic schizophrenia rarely occurs in children nor is it medication induced”
Personally I believe mania and psychosis are nothing more than states of mind and individuals who experience these states can easily become permanently labeled as bipolar or schizophrenic.
I do not like refering to individuals as schizophrenic, bipolar, psychotic, manic, autistic, etc.
We do not refer to physical illness as claiming the individual and defining them. When someone we know is dx with cancer do we refer to them as a classic cancerous person.
Symptoms of “mental illness” should not define an individual.
Maria, see, your last sentence here is exactly where I very strongly disagree with you. Another way to word your sentence is: “You are not your mental illness.” Read: “But you do have one!” We all know, at least I do, whose motto this is, and, indeed, I’ve seen you team up with these people time and again, the NAMI mommies, the pro-force crowd.
You say that “unless you go through it yourself, you can not understand the internal torture of a psychotic state can have,” — also this btw one of mainstream psychiatry’s and its supporters’ “arguments”: “It’s unethical to leave people untreated, we have to treat them, if necessary by force, because of their horrible suffering! Now, everybody, don’t be so ungrateful that we take your human rights away, it’s for your own good!” — and you seem to imply that the people who comment here haven’t gone through what you call a “psychotic state” — while I for one prefer a less medical and less alienating language to refer to these states of mind. — It actually pays off to be picky about language. Nothing is more disempowering when it comes to crisis than referring to it using the medical discourse. — Well, I have. While I think, if memory serves, and please correct me if I’m wrong, you actually haven’t. At least not that you are aware of it, because fact is that these states are very common, naturally human responses to life, and every human being experiences them at one or the other point of their life, to one or the other extent.
I agree with you that if somebody hasn’t either gone through these states, and I mean really gone *through* them, and not having been prevented from going through them by one or the other medical intervention, and by having been told how to perceive their own experience by others, or hasn’t at least listened without any prejudice or attempt to define the person’s perception of their experience, to people who have gone through them, or are going through them, they are not really qualified to judge and define the experience. And, yes, you read that right, I do have the arrogance to say that even labelled people themselves, if they’ve bought into the it’s-something-that-shouldn’t-be thing, don’t know what they’re talking about when they’re talking about crisis, or “psychotic states”, if you want.
Anyway, “You are not your mental illness” is bs. Because “mental illness” affects precisely a person’s being in this world. So, yes, if we buy into the idea that “mental illness” exists as a phenomenon that renders the “mentally ill” person’s emotions, thoughts, and reactions disordered or diseased, i.e. wrong — as in “hallucination”, “delusion”, etc. — people are their “mental illness”. This, and only this, is btw the reason why we, as a society, think it’s ok to take away the human rights of those labelled “mentally ill”. If these people weren’t regarded being their “mental illness”, nobody would venture to strip them of their human rights. The way we perceive and react to the world defines who we are in the eyes of the world. If our perceptions and reactions are defined as symptoms of an illness — “hallucinations”, “delusions”, etc. — we are this illness. The slogan “You are not your illness” when it refers to what is called “mental illness” is nothing but a poor attempt to pull the wool over people’s eyes, and make them feel a little better about being discriminated against, respectively about discriminating against others.
Listening without prejudice to people who go through a crisis, or who have gone through one, and were neither interrupted and kept from going through the entire process by well-meaning but nevertheless glaringly ignorant and scared busybodies, but who had their process respectfully supported, has left everybody who has tried it with a very different perception of what crisis actually is than the one that says it’s an illness, a disorder or a disease, and something that should not be. Crisis, unless it is a symptom of an underlying, real medical condition, is not an illness, but an attempt to heal from an “illness”, an attempt to find a solution to an unbearable life situation. As such it should be validated as a “pathway to growth” (Rossa Forbes), not feared, dismissed, and fought as something that shouldn’t be.
As for the suffering that often, though not at all always — German Dorothea Buck for instance did not suffer during her periods of crisis, but actually enjoyed the experience itself, and only suffered under the “treatment” she was subjected to, with the reaction of their environment actually accounting for a more or less huge part of the suffering people in crisis experience — accompanies crisis, I think nobody would seriously claim that life, and especially a process of major transformation, always should be easy and painless.
I agree that there always should be checked for a possibly underlying medical condition when somebody experiences extreme states of mind. But that’s about where my agreement with you ends. As somebody who’s gone through crisis without being interrupted and kept from going through the entire process.
Marian, I appologize if I have offended you in any way.
This video is an example of the type of mental states I am refering to. It is a form of suffering that I am familar with.
Maria, you haven’t offended me. I just have some difficulty understanding what you want to say posting that link. Certainly, what we witness in the vid is a lot of suffering. But does anyone ask what this suffering is caused by? Well, the vid tries to tell us it’s caused by this thing called “mental illness”: “Look what a horrible thing mental illness is!” And I guess, that’s what you, too, want people to believe, isn’t it? That’s a little too simplistic for my taste. But, yeah, without doubt it is very convenient for everybody who doesn’t want to look at the true causes of emotional suffering.
Maria, fear-mongering doesn’t work with me. I’ve seen stuff like what we see in the vid happen irl. What I see isn’t “mental illness”. It’s ignorant, scared people assaulting others who are reacting to the ignorance, fear, and violence they are met with by the former.
In the US we have been havinga rash of individuals experiencing substance induced psychosis from bath salts.
The psychotic behavior is no different when the substance is intentionally ingested like bath salts or if it is a medication induced psychosis from psych meds.
We need to recognize the link between substance induced psychosis and criminal behavior.
Re: The Debate on this Thread
I see what Maria is saying here, and I agree with her (see comments above).
I also see what Rossa, Marian and David are saying, and they each have some good points that I agree with.
I figure if I’m gonna argue, I’d rather have a debate with people I don’t agree with.
Could the guy who tends to get charged with seeing things as “black-and-white”… could the lover of all things “simple” (yours truly) have some appreciation for complexity?
Shh… don’t tell anyone.
My reputation will be forever ruined.
I am impressed. A little gray sneaking in?
Maria and Marian, thanks for the stimulating back and forth. I sometimes wonder if psychosis wouldn’t be as bad as it is for some people if outsiders didn’t react in horror and try to stop it. Certainly my reaction to what my son was going through often made it worse for him. There were many aspects of his psychosis that he seemed to enjoy, but I was in pain observing him. When I decided that I was going to change my mind about the value of his experience, I gained a lot of strength.
I’m for what works, for each person.
And I think a number of options can work (sometimes, in combination).
Marian, The reason why I posted that link is because the man repeating “the medications don’t work” is being ignored.
Why don’t the clinicians treating him listen to him.
The medications did not work for me either.
Why? Because a contributing factor was lead poisoning.
My position is that individuals who come to Belvue seeking help for mental health problems are entitled to have treatment options.
If u listen to the psychiatrist in this video she states the medications are the easy way
As a mental health advocate I support Best Practice Assessment of Psychosis as outlined in the British Medical Journal. This to me makes the most sense.
Maria, whether the “medications” work, or not, depends on what is regarded their desired effect. These days, we witness something of a scandal here in Denmark, where it became known to the public that certain psych “hospitals” in the Copenhagen area feed their “patients” more than double max dosis of Zyprexa daily (some were given up to 120 mg a day, 40 mg is max), and an add-on benzo-type of drug if needed, to bring down the number of incidents where “patients” are restrained. And, yes, this practice has brought down the number of reported incidents of restraints at the “hospitals” in question. So, in the eyes of the staff, the drugs do work. The question is whether the “patients” think that the drugs do work, making them feel better. I doubt it.
If the aim is to render somebody mentally and physically incapacitated, then the drugs do work. If the aim is to reduce “symptoms”, then they don’t. Lead poisoning, or not. “Antipsychotics” do not act antipsychotic. They’re major tranquillizers, nothing else. Clinicians know this, that’s why they don’t listen. Their aim feeding people these drugs is an entirely different one than what they tell everybody it is. I like that the psychiatrist in the vid is quite open about this, although I don’t understand how anyone, at the same time as they know that the drugs do nothing but mask the problem — they aren’t even the easy way out, as they aren’t a way out at all, but rather deeper in –, and as they probably also know that they, especially long-term, both chronify the problem, and add numerous other problems to the initial one, still chooses to make a living force-/feeding people these poisons, and even enjoys it.
If Lead poisoning is a contributing factor to manic or psychotic behavior then an individual should be treated for lead poisoning with chelation therapy, not antipsychotics.
Test for and treat the underlying condition are best practice standards.
“Organic causes must be considered and excluded before the psychosis is attributed to a primary psychotic disorder.”
“The most common cause of acute psychosis is drug toxicity from recreational, prescription, or OTC drugs.”
If that’s true, they’re able to treat drug toxicity with family meetings in Western Lapland. Awesome.
And what if there’s no drug or other toxicity, or something along those lines? Then maybe “antipsychotics” are just fine?
I was completely absorbed by this article not just because of how well written it is, but by the conclusions about the medical model of mental health me, my memoir and you share. I am looking forward to reading your book. Thanks!
This is a very interesting article…thank you.
Medication infact can cause schizophrenic Symptoms.
My older brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia 10 years ago and it was an awful time. To see someone you love going literally changing over-night into someone I didn’t recognise. He was placed on medication which has over time turned him into a zombie.
Years of stress sent to to the doctors office with anxiety and panic attacks. I was put on an SSRI and had a serious adverse reaction – Akathisia which I obviously knew nothing about, and unfortunately neither did my doctor. He diagnosed bi-polar after 5 days of no sleep and a massive weight loss. Mirtazapine given and was told to stay on medication as I was obviously suffering from severe depression (I wasn’t prior to meds). I experienced pyschosis and all sorts. Psychiatrist appointments started and not one doctor put my problems down to this drug. I was convinced I had schizophrenia as I had started to experience some of the problems my brother had….but these thoughts were the thoughts my brother had AFTER taking the same drug – mirtazapine.
Five years later mirtazapine has pooped-out on me and then the research began. My mental health has never been the same since starting that drug. I have went from being a sensitive, caring and intellegent women to a doped up, brain damaged wreck who now cannot feel a single human emotion along with 50+ symptoms which I suffer with daily.
Most of which could very well be looked upon as being schizophrenia.
I can now see why my brother cannot function or has to cancel his bank card every week because he has forgot his PIN number. I am a victim of pharma meds….I have a toxic brain injury which has left me unable to participate in any life or care for my children because I feel like my frontal lobe has been scooped out and filled with cement…can’t plan, organise or even cook half of the time. Akathisia hits out of the blue…and this is just half of it.
I suppose what I am trying to say is yes – schizophrenia is awful and I don’t know how my brother would be without medication but I can now see that these drugs have basically killed his brain. We pushed for a change in medication a couple of years ago…this was before I knew anything about the effects of these drugs. They switched him in 2 days….1 whole year of hell…he was obvioulsy having a reaction or maybe withdrawal but the pysch team put his behaviour down to his condition. It took me a whole year to get him into hospital and changed back to the other drug. He was getting himself into serious dangerous situations and this definitely wasn’t him – he was never like that even before the drugs.
Labelled, pumped full of drugs and left. These drugs are not the bee all and end all doctors think they are. We need to look further into other methods besides drugs.
I am an example that pysch drugs can actually be very detrimental to a persons mental health. I did not have a serious mental health issue but I certainly look and act like I do now thanks to antidpressants destroying my brain. Tragic.
Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and I can see light at the end of the tunnel, I had felt shattered and did not know how my daughter and I would walk the path, that I felt very much alone in.
My daughter is 17 and has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, she is currently on medication and has spells where she becomes a different person and tells me that my daughter is dead and starts pulling out her hair and acts like she is mentally disturbed and wants to hurt herself, I’m still trying to pull myself together.
She is a brilliant student and gets attacks once in a month or two months pass without any attacks, I have asked her that I will look for ways on how she can get off the medication slowly as she tries to pull herself together and follow her dream on becoming a Neurologist, her doctor and counsellor have asked me to tell her to look for a new career because the one she has chosen is too heavy for her.
After reading all the comments I feel that she will achieve her goal as we move along and understand the condition well.
Thank you once again
Hello!!! More voices need to be heard. I cured “paranoid schizophrenia” after an illegal diagnosis at the age of fifteen. It was a horrible thing, the insurance and all of it were out to make an example of me and make me a model of schizophrenia. I uncovered some supporting evidence hidden away as to the elements involved in this oppressive systematic undertaking of the spiritually strong and willful. I came here after I also spoke out. Cures are possible! what helps me? a bit of C.G.Jung interpersonal and social realization, healthy probiotics i.e. new medicine will come from earth. Minerals and plants. Ginkgo, B, Calcium, Zinc, Iron, Copper are all essential. Most potent is the flexible nerves and cells. The start was a therapist who said: you can heal your brain just by thinking: that our brains are all neuro-plastic. But that was the beginning of a ten year journey into freedom from dependence. I was said I was a chronic paranoid schizophrenic who would be disabled for the rest of her life. I am 28 now! I am and have been delusion and voice free for about two or three years but it has been getting much better over time. I began taking anti-oxident supplements, and realized research that what you need::: the right bacteria or carrier to pass the blood brain barrier, the right medicine like Ginkgo or a plant that has neuro-resorative abilities. What you want to do is repair the tissue, white matter, nerves and blood etc. all these diseases are toxic stress models. Models of toxic stress. I had a rare gene passed down from one parent. It was a gene that causes the tissue around my nerves and cells to wear thin and degenerate over periods of time. Some people can’t walk its called charcot marie toothe disease, like muscular dystrophy etc. all of it is one big joke to these pharmacutical industries. Ok, no one is better or less than any other. None of the neurotypical or normative are that much more and less ok we share one common struggle!! So here it is. Glaring in our faces. There is a hidden cure in all. Recipe: a balanced source of vitamins, minerals to detoxify the brain and blood like iron for instance, so you need to cleanse of bad bacteria and supplement for good bacteria naturally and be careful of vitamins at drug stores and pharmacies. Best to find them in their most natural state. Boil sage, cinnamon, sassafras has anti-depression properties, it’s all there. Keep up the good fight!
Thanks for your comment and helpful information. I would have missed it because i’m no longer checking for comments to this post, but I just happened to glance at the MIA site and spotted it.