Authors of BJP Editorial Critical of Antipsychotics Urge Reader Comment


The authors of a recent editorial in the British Journal of Psychiatry that urges a rethinking of the use of antipsychotics are asking that readers respond, saying: “We (Tony Morrison, myself, David Shiers, Doug Turkington) are trying to start a debate around antipsychotic treatment and choice, drawing attention to what we perceive as a changing cost-benefit ratio … Service-user opinions will be particularly important here.”

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. “Service-user opinions”

    How dare they.

    I guess I was wrong. When they held me down and raped my brain, it was ME who was USING a mere SERVICE. My mistake.

    Even the language they use proves they don’t give a ____

    Oh hello, I’m here to use a service. Will you now please brutalize me?

    What is wrong with these people?

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    • I hear you about the term “service user”. There are a lot of other words and phrases that have similarly been met with anger by lot of people: “patient”, “client”, “consumer”, (others add more terms here here that they haven’t liked?…).

      I don’t want to hijack the original discussion, but I think the dialogue about the underlying practices themselves could be furthered if we could at least identify vocabulary that mental health practitioners and researchers can use, which itself doesn’t inflame. I no longer know what terms are okay to use to refer to persons who have had encounters with the mental health system (whether inpatient or outpatient, whether voluntary or involuntary, whether happy or unhappy about the outcome). I don’t know if anyone would find offensive the phrase I just used, but it’s impractical and unwieldy: a “PWHHEWTMHS” (Person Who Has Had Encounters With The Mental Health System).

      What do others recommend as more acceptable words or phrases, ones which should be acceptable both to mental health professionals and writers, and to people who have had very unpleasant encounters with them? Maybe one of the bloggers here might want to write about this issue for its own discussion?

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      • “Person Who Has Had Encounters With The Mental Health System”

        Even calling it a mental health system is Orwellian. It is like saying don’t worry, we are from the government, we are here to help you, we have a system, and it is in place for your health, your mental health, all points I disagree with.

        People can use whatever language they want. It is pointless to believe everyone is ever going to disagree.

        My main concern is the language not be concealing the forced nature of it.

        So call a blanket group of people ‘service users’, expect a backlash.

        No one can define me as a patient when I’m not in a relationship that consists of anyone other than brute force.

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    • It’s a character defect of mine that keeps me talking back even tho I know it’s futile. This is the comment I submitted:

      I am a survivor of sexual violence throughout my early childhood. I have no credentials and no conflicts of interest. I recently won a lawsuit against Astra-Zeneca on account of their antipsychotic drug, quetiapine, which caused my diabetes.:

      I have a blog called Mad In Vermont:

      where I talk about psychiatric abuse.

      I understand that this is a call for responses about the antipsychotic class of drugs. I was prescribed quetiapine for sleep in December 2001. By February 2002 I had gained 40 pounds and developed type ll diabetes. The data are in my medical record, which was used as evidence in the lawsuit brought by Weitz and Luxenberg. This is my personal experience and therefore necessarily anecdotal in nature.

      In 1985, I was offered psychiatric chemicals by a general practitioner who thought I looked tired. I was suing my father for incest and raising 2 small children by myself. I did have a physiological condition, in that I was hyper-responsive to stimuli in the wake of surviving 16 years of intimate violence. But, this condition was little understood and barely acknowledged at the time and the doctor decided I had a chemical imbalance in my brain that was causing fatigue. He began to experiment on me with a changing combination of chemicals, which never alleviated the “depression” and instead made me unable to function or think. Instead of stopping the drugs when they were obviously making me sicker, causing thyroid and other endocrine problems, and worsening “psychiatric symptoms” I was given new diagnoses and more drugs at higher doses.

      In consequence of ingesting the chemical quetiapine I developed hypothyroidism, high blood fat, bladder muscle spasm, dyskinesia in my upper back, diabetes, cataracts, damage to my limbic system, memory problems, information processing problems, and executive functioning problems.

      Since stopping all behavior-control chemicals, I mean psychiatric medications, the endocrine and metabolic imbalances have rebalanced, which proves that the derangements were CAUSED BY THE DRUGS and not my bad lifestyle, which was always the implication. Unfortunately the brain and muscle damage are more difficult to heal and the cataracts are still in place.

      There are good non-drug interventions for post-trauma aftereffects, which mostly involve working one on one with a trusted human being. When I finally saw through the drug lie I was able to stop the drugs in a long and painful discontinuation period and then to access appropriate therapy. This therapy has also helped me to cope with the neurological damage quetiapine did to my brain and neuromuscular system. Whatever happened to the medical dictum, First Do No Harm?

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  2. Too late for me. I sent them an anonymous note to let them know what I think. I will never trust a psychiatrist again in my entire life; NEVER, EVER. Psychiatry is an evil discipline and it has done nothing but to cause misery to those who have been unlucky to fall in their hands. I will probably never recover from their abuse.

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  3. More researchers should seek opinions from patients, no matter what strange jargon they use to describe them.

    The more adverse experiences are reported, the more their argument for patient choice is supported. Otherwise, doctors will keep believing everybody just loves the drugs and all they do is good.

    Don’t let your anger stand in the way of informing the medical community that their beliefs are wrong.


    Evidence regarding overestimation of the efficacy of antipsychotics and underestimation of their toxicity, as well as emerging data regarding alternative treatment options, suggests it may be time to introduce patient choice and reconsider whether everyone who meets the criteria for a schizophrenia spectrum diagnosis requires antipsychotics in order to recover.

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    • Re: “…whether everyone who meets the criteria for a schizophrenia spectrum diagnosis requires antipsychotics in order to recover.”

      The debate at this point ought to be whether ANYONE (not everyone)requires such “treatment”… Furthermore, NOBODY should be FORCED to take these drugs without adequate legal counsel,,, And that part of the legal debate is moot,,, The freedom to refuse such inhumane “treatment” is spelled out in the 8th and 14th amendments of the Constitution.

      In terms of “anger stamding in the way”…
      The psychiatric establishment has yet to witness real anger and the justifiable rage that is forthcoming for the injury and death the field has caused with its junk science and testimony in kangaroo mental health courts!

      Liberty or death.

      Duane Sherry, M.S.

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    • “More researchers should seek opinions from patients, no matter what strange jargon they use to describe them.”

      You fail to understand how utterly offensive and degrading it is when they label the people they violate by force as “service users”. It is even degrading for you to label us “patients” when we never wanted to by anybody’s “patient” and we don’t even consider the other side real “doctors”.

      Thus, this is like saying we should “take what we can get”, as if 19th century slaves should have provided 21st century style customer service feedback to the manufacturers of collars.

      This struggle is about way more than mere drugs. This is a battle for our very dignity as human beings.

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  4. One of the problems is that people asking for help don’t know most of the time what they are letting themselves in for. They don’t know that they are going to lose their human rights, that they won’t have any say into what is happening to them; that they are not going to be allowed to walk out if the “treatment” doesn’t suit them. They don’t know that they are going to get trapped in the system. I didn’t know that psychiatrists had all these powers. Needless to say: I will never ask for their help again

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  5. I agree with Steve and Altostrata — Send these comments! Let’s give’em an earful! No need for trust; no need for dialog even, if you don’t want it. I think it would be a great development if their editorial staff were snowed under by letters from all over the world. I just sent mine.

    So far they have posted nine letters. You can read them here:

    Some are very good, especially the ones by Fiona Lobbsn and Yvonne Awenat (imho). But here’s something curious! Nine letters. Two from “service users” (one of whom is also some type of mental health outreach worker), seven from psychologists. Not one from a PSYCHIATRIST. And this is in a journal of PSYCHIATRY. If they love these drugs they should have the courtesy to let us know, and tell us why! If they have doubts, are they scared to put them in writing? Are they out there somewhere going over every – nervous – little – word with their lawyer before they hit Post? Holy cow. It must be a real fun profession to be in these days.

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