After reading E. Fuller Torrey’s latest article in the Treatment Advocacy Center newsletter, in which he sharply criticizes Dr. Sandy Steingard for writing about anosognosia on madinamerica.com, and then goes on to attack me for my various writings, I have to confess that this time—after getting over the feeling that my head was going to explode—I thought, my patience with such dishonesty is running out.
As usual, Dr. Torrey has lied to make his criticisms, stating that I wrote things I never did, or completely mischaracterizing the context in which they were written. Thus, my public plea now to Dr. Torrey: Please, stop the lies. Your writings are libelous and slanderous, and–given your prominent public presence–they make it exceedingly difficult for our society to have an honest discussion about the merits of psychiatric medications, and their place in our society.
Here is what you write about me in your latest article.
1. Lie number one. “Whitaker is dead wrong in alleging that schizophrenia is caused by the antipsychotic drugs used to treat it (see Anatomy of an Epidemic.)”
I, of course, don’t allege any such thing. Here is what I wrote in Anatomy of an Epidemic. In chapter six, I reviewed the scientific literature regarding how antipsychotic drugs affect the long-term course of those diagnosed with schizophrenia. In the course of doing so, I wrote about research done in the 1970s and early 1980s that revealed that antipsychotics worked by blocking D2 receptors in the brain, and that in compensatory response to that dopamine blockade, the postsynaptic neurons increase their density of D2 receptors. Two Canadian investigators, Guy Chouinard and Barry Jones, then wrote that this drug-induced increase in D2 receptors made the brain “supersensitive” to dopamine, and thus potentially made patients more biologically vulnerable to psychosis.
This is what Chouinard and Jones wrote:
“Neuroleptics can produce a dopamine supersensitivity that leads to both dyskinetic and psychotic symptoms. An implication is that the tendency toward psychotic relapse in a patient who has developed such a supersensitivity is determined by more than just the normal course of the illness.”
So what am I doing in this passage? I am quoting what researchers concluded from their biological investigations into how antipsychotics affect the brain. So, Dr. Torrey, here is my challenge: Please point to where I wrote in Anatomy of an Epidemic that schizophrenia is caused by the antipsychotic drugs used to treat it.
2. Lie number two: You write that in Mad in America, I described schizophrenia as a term “loosely applied to people with widely disparate emotional problems.”
Once again, let’s go the source. In chapter seven of Mad in America, I write about the evolution of this diagnosis over the past century, and noted that in the 1960s and 1970s, American psychiatrists—in a form of lousy diagnostic practice—were applying that term to a wide range of patients. I was reporting on criticism of diagnostic practices that had been made by people within the field. Thus, I concluded at the end of this passage about diagnostic practices at that time, that “people with widely disparate emotional and behavior problems—some anxious, some morbidly depressed, some hostile, and some afflicted with odd notions and bizarre thoughts—were regularly funneled into a single diagnostic category, schizophrenia, and then treated with neuroleptics.” (p. 174, of 2002 paperback edition of Mad in America.)
I was writing in that passage about poor diagnostic practices in the past. Then, in the epilogue of Mad in America, I wrote about the diagnosis of schizophrenia today. (p. 285):
“There remains today great uncertainty over what schizophrenia is, or isn’t. The public has been led to think of schizophrenia as a discrete disorder, one characterized by abnormal brain chemistry. In truth, the biological underpinnings of madness remain as mysterious as ever. In fact, schizophrenia is a diagnosis applied to people who behave or think strangely in a variety of different ways. Some people so diagnosed are withdrawn. Some are manic. Some act very “silly.” Others are paranoid. In some people, the crazy behaviors appear gradually. In others, psychosis descends abruptly. Any well-reasoned concept of ‘madness’ would require teasing apart all these different types and would also require an understanding of how outcomes for the different types—in the absence of neuroleptics—might differ. Yet there is little research in American circles devoted to seeing this more complex picture.”
Again, Dr. Torrey, I urge you to consult your attorney on this. Read him what you claimed I wrote in Mad in America, that I described schizophrenia as a term “loosely applied to people with widely disparate emotional problems,” and then read him this passage. See if he congratulates you for your accuracy in your summing up—with quotes—of what I wrote.
3. Lie number three: “For the treatment of schizophrenia, Whitaker recommends ‘love and food and understanding, not drugs.’ “
This quote comes from chapter nine in Mad in America, titled “Shame of a Nation.” (Page 214.) In this section of the chapter, I am writing about the history of forced treatment with neuroleptics, and how patient groups in the 1970s organized against it, arguing that it was a form of “psychiatric assault.” I noted that one of their rallying cries was, “We need love and food and understanding, not drugs.” (That quote, if I remember correctly, was taken from a sign at one of their protests.)
Dr. Torrey, I am quite certain that you can see that I am not, in that paragraph, writing about what I recommend as treatment. So, once again, here is my advice: Take what you wrote to your lawyer, have him read this passage, and ask him about the legal ramifications of your obvious dishonesty here.
In an earlier post, I noted that you used this same dishonest, straw-man tactic—misrepresenting what I wrote and then criticizing me for those “writings”—in your scathing review of Anatomy of an Epidemic, also published on the TAC website. Thus, as you meet with your attorney, ask what the law thinks about repeated libel and slander.
There are two other aspects of your latest post that need a response.
First, you write that madinamerica.com is an “antipsychiatry” website. We are not an “antipsychiatry” website. I turned madinamerica.com into a website where people with a variety of backgrounds—psychiatrists, psychologists, family members, social workers, counselors, people with lived experience, etc.—can write about our current paradigm of psychiatric care, and how it might be improved.
The site does give voice to a number of people who are sharply critical of the system, and particularly to people who have been “patients” in the system. Some of those writers are indeed “antipsychiatry.” But if our society is going to have a discussion about how we can build a better system of care, we surely need to hear from the many who feel they have been horribly abused, betrayed, and harmed by our current form of care.
More to the point, though, we also urge our bloggers to write about new treatments and programs that, one hopes, will lead to a more humane and effective paradigm of care in the future. Those writings aren’t “antipsychiatry” tomes; they are writings intent on creating a better psychiatry.
Finally, you criticized Dr. Steingard for writing on our website. In my opinion, her writings are among the most important that appear on madinamerica.com. She writes in a humble, thoughtful, informed fashion about improving psychiatric care, and she does so from the perspective of a physician who works within the system. But in your article—and ultimately this is what is so indecent about it—you try to discredit her through guilt by association.
Honestly, it made me think of the McCarthy hearings in 1954, when Army counsel Joseph Welch asked Senator Joseph McCarthy this ringing question: “Have you no sense of decency, sir?”
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.
Dr Torrey, stop lying? Dream on Rob. The moral distinction between telling a lie and telling the truth has long since been forgotten by Torrey, if he ever understood it at all. He’s right up there with Goebbels as one of the world’s great liars.
True, we all of us lie, but Torrey is just an inexhaustible fount of lies! Here we have a man who admits to giving perjured testimony in a court of law, yet he is the object of all this adulatory attention from many patients and parents!? Probably has something to do with the fact that they are all habitual liars as well.
I like how you can’t leave any comments on the TAC articles, which is probably a sign of a closed system of thought, as well as intolerance of unflattering opinions.
I find it amusing that there is ostensibly a star rating system, but it does not appear to actually respond to input – at least not my one-star vote.
Mr Cledwyn, are you on target or are you on target! The core of the bull’s-eye or the core of the bull’s eye? I wish Whitaker would drown out all the liars. Oh God! May he do it! I, a seventy-year old experiencer of this filth, slander, and its bogus-makers plenty!!! Go back to Nazi Germany, Lehmann, Liebermann, etc.!
Linguistics, a formal science with a realist basis in mathematics and logic, provides the semantics, the semantic pathology, and semiatry, to diagnose Torrey of chronic phrenohypocrisy. If hypocrisy just is, by definition, supposition of authority upon the soul to exercise unrighteous dominion upon the soul (DC 121:39. the Liberty Epistle), then supposition of authority upon the phren to exercise unrighteous dominion upon the phren just is phrenohypocrisy. Language illness is conceptual illness; it is disease, and its spread is pollution. We have an epidemic on our hands. Time to study linguistics day and night. I love having a doctorate in it. Please see my notes elsewhere on this website.
Smokin’ post, Bob!
GREAT post! But here is the thing – schizophrenia is a condition without a reliable definition, used to describe (among other things) susceptibility to recurrent psychosis. It is true that you did not ever claim that this thing is caused by neuroleptic medication (if we could stop referring to them as antopsychotics that would be useful). It is just hard to escape the apparent connection in the research that you quote. At the same time, please note that for many of these drugs,THE MONOGRAPHS CLEARLY INCLUDE PSYCHOSIS AS A SIDE EFFECT, BOTH OF TAKING THE DRUG, AND OF WITHDRAWAL.
For example,the 2011 Monograph for Risperdal Consta (a common one) includes the warning below. The manufacturer admits that their “antipsycotic” causes psychosis, which is pretty close to admitting it causes “schizophrenia”!!
Adverse Events Associated with Discontinuation of Treatment
RISPERDAL® CONSTA® is generally well tolerated at doses of 12.5 mg to 50 mg. In the 12- week, placebo-controlled trial in patients with schizophrenia who received 25 mg or 50 mg, the incidence of patients who discontinued treatment due to an adverse event was lower with RISPERDAL® CONSTA® (11%; 22/202 patients) than with placebo (13%; 13/98 patients). The more common adverse events causing discontinuation included: psychiatric (17% vs. 11% placebo): primarily psychosis, hallucination, agitation, suicide attempt, and anxiety; neurological (1.4% vs. 1% placebo): primarily hyperkinesia. No adverse events leading to discontinuation were found to be unexpected nor were considered to be clinically relevant to RISPERDAL®CONSTA®.
You bring up a great point as there are many substances and medical conditions that are known to induce psychosis/mania that can be misdx’d as sz/bp.
The DSM lists them, the fault lies on medical professionals for not using the DSM to make accurate assessments.
On page 80 of Mad in America Bob refers to scientific literature dating back to 1876 of insanity being cured by the removal of infected molars and cuspids. Today holistic dentists are relating many conditions to dental problems, including psychosis. Many individuals in the mental health care system lack adequate dental care, have substance abuse issues or are heavy smokers. We also know that long-term studies indicate childhood exposure to lead increases the chances of violent criminal behavior later in life, leaving individuals at risk of being labeled “mentally ill”.
Even the routine use of over-the-counter cold medicine can induce psychosis that is clinically indistinguishable from paranoid sz.
Many mental health patients labeled with bp/sz are entitled to malpractice suits, as well as other types of law suits.
The real lies and the real crime is the fact our mental health care system uses a rubber-stamp approach of labeling individuals in a psychotic/manic state schizophrenic or bipolar without testing for and treating the underlying cause.
Rather than nitpicking over he said/she said opinions and criticizing each other, I think mental health advocates should jump on the fact that Dr. Torrey in his post agrees to major allegations made against psychiatry. He is agreeing to the allegations made by those involved in the anti-psychiatry movement.
“Whitaker is correct in criticizing the pharmaceutical industry, the overuse of psychiatric medications by physicians and the psychiatric profession for being financially in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry.”
Torrey accuses Bob of being part of the anti-psychiatry movement, well he sure seems like he is onboard too.
I think it is a misnomer to state Scientology as being “anti-psychiatry”, as they don’t like the profession of psychology either and many medical professionals prescribe psychiatric medications, not just psychiatrist.
In reality Scientology has created an anti-medication management, anti-abnormal psychology movement.
Posted on Mad in America dot com on 10/30/2012
Excuse you, jswood, but “psychosis” has the sense merely of a condition or result of a condition of being a soul, a psyche. There is absolutely nothing pejorative about this sense. You are a psyche, therefore you are psychotic–all the time. Everybody is–not has–a psyche. Everyone is hence psychotic. Tell us what in the world is so bad about “psychosis” as you spin the item, linguistically inconsistent with the words of Christ (Matthew 10:28, DC 88:15)? Oh, he speaks a language different from yours? Does chronic psychohypocrisy ever have need of language therapy?
If anosognosia in schizophrenia is due to a brain defect how come people diagnosed with schizophrenia recover from it? Is it because lots and lots of people get misdiagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia when they are not and get then subjected unnecessarily to the full harmful treatment for it. And then why is it so difficult to get the label removed when they recover? Because psychiatrists don’t like to be wrong? If the anosognosia is caused by a brain defect, how come medications are supposed to work. The thing is: psychiatrists are much too quick to diagnose and medicate, by force if needed. And yes, coming off antipsychotics can cause psychosis and then you get labelled schizophrenic because the psychiatrists think you are having a second “episode” a sure proof that you are suffering from a “serious mental illness” and yet they have caused it themselves with their meds.
Torrey believes that ANYONE who has ever recovered was wrongly diagnosed. With a profession that can get the diagnosis as wrong as he does, given the amounts of people who do recover, then one wonders how they can possibly expect us to believe anything else they say. Surely if the diagnosis was as wrong as they claim, I mean surely 25 years after one has recovered, should be proof enough that one has recovered they still refuse to change the medical records, but they still insist that they diagnosis was wrong?? If it is wrong then why not change it??
Good question. Everything they’ve done is nothing but a house of cards that is going to someday come crashing down around their heads. It may even result in many of them being dragged into court and being tried for malpractice and some of them will end up in prison. It can’t happen soon enough. Justice takes a long time to arrive but just like karma, it will eventually come around to be reckoned with.
The issue is whether fools and blind know what a diagnosis is, semantically distinct from what an agnosis is. I see the word “diagnosis” is not red-lined in computer print, but the word “agnosis” is. That language fact shows that the language of “diagnosis”–their language–is ill, diseased, and polluted. [email protected]
Absolutely brilliant post. The families of those harmed and killed by prescribed drugs appreciate your efforts to create awareness around the dangers of these drugs. Please continue. Thank you.
Fact: Despite billions of dollars of research from the best and brightest neuroscientists in the world, there is yet to be a single biological/genetic indicator of schizophrenia.
Fact: In lieu of a true medical indicator for schizophrenia, it remains a subjective diagnosis of external “symptoms”.
Fact: The current approved treatment in the western world for schizophrenia is extremely expensive, creates long-term disability, causes cognitive and physical decline, gives poor quality of life, increases risk of suicide, and lowers an individual’s lifespan by decades.
E. Fuller Torrey is responsible for destroying human life, plain and simple. It is a great shame that he receives the accolades and attention that he does.
Bob, your job of investigative journalism into psychiatry does not offer a fraction of the power, prestige, and profit that Fuller enjoys, but hopefully you know how badly you are needed to fight the fraud being waged on innocent lives (particularly foster care children). Thank you for listening to those with lived experience (and not just the obsequious patients proclaiming their life saved).
You have given me a voice. Something that I would not have developed in the absence of MIA. I have learned an astonishing amount about the policies and procedures of what happened to me in psychiatry here. I have networked with a veritable who’s who of those making change in the mental health field.
If I were Torrey, I would be very jealous of what you have accomplished in such a short time with MIA. Well done, Bob!
I coulod not have said it better myself if I tried Emily, thankyou for such wonderful summing up of my feelings.
Agree. Well stated. You’ve provided such an airtight case that Torrey cannot refute anything you’ve written in your books. I have the feeling that he thinks he’s indestructible but if he keeps carrying out these attacks against you and people like Dr. Steingard he certainly opens himself up for possible legal problems down the road. I myself would love to see him dragged into court and to have to justify all of the stupidity he spouts every time he opens his mouth. How can anyone believe in or trust this flim flamming, snake oil peddling quack?
I’ve been critical of Torrey’s lies for over 15 years at my website at: http://www.patrisser.com/family/TACandTorreyLie.html
In trying to make a proof that the currect schizophrenia is really a brain disease, he gives a link to his own pdf, which consists of some random studies, without him ever making any point. The monkey studies and the Ho and Andreasen studies suggest the dopamine blocking of the neuroleptics atrophy also the frontal lobe pathways. Maybe this causes, as Breggin has suggested, an intoxication anosognosia where the patient can’t understand what detrimental effects the drugs have caused to him. Perhaps the Stockholm syndrome is also one factor. Also, in lay terms, a person who has committed to taking drugs kind of needs to believe that he’s getting the best possible treatment – and the relatives of the patients do the same, without experiencing the sucking adverse effects.
He also writes: “This is the new anti-biological antipsychiatry.” Wait, maybe some of us are pro-biological, yet anti-pseudoscience, and also against the current treatment partly because of neurobiological reasons?
Emily: “If I were Torrey, I would be very jealous of what you have accomplished in such a short time with MIA. Well done, Bob!”
Yeah, the fact that Torrey is constantly referencing and attacking Bob’s writings means that he’s taking them seriously, at least as a serious threat. Torrey’s like some character in the Batman franchise.
Bob, you hint in your open letter of a lawsuit, and you make pretty and accurately clear that Torrey’s attacks are libelous. Your reputation as a journalist is being damaged, which of course is what libel means.
I hope you follow through. I am sure you could find a lawyer without any difficulty. From what I know, Torrey’s ability to defend himself intellectually when someone actually confronts him is about non-existent.
As an attorney, I think being in attendance at Torrey’s deposition would be delightful. I think after the deposition that the case would settle in an instant, and I also think that Torrey’s responses would give us all ammunition against him and his bigoted colleagues for years.
I think a lawsuit against Torrey might well break into the mainstream media, and he and his fellow travelers would be exposed for what they are.
Do it, man!
Well, first, I don’t live in America and I know people in America tend to deal a lot with attorneys, etc. But even still, I don’t think that it’s always wise to threat with law issues in a modern internet discussion. It can seriously backfire you in the eyes of the public. If someone attacks you like a foaming-mouth Rottweiler, sometimes it gives a better impression when you just respond to it in a cool manner, or perhaps even ignore it.
I will agree. I felt quite weird when I read some of it and was quite sure that Whitaker was angry and I just hope he wasn’t blowing off steam when he said:
“Again, Dr. Torrey, I urge you to consult your attorney on this…. See if he congratulates you for your accuracy in your summing up—with quotes—of what I wrote.” or “Take what you wrote to your lawyer, have him read this passage, and ask him about the legal ramifications of your obvious dishonesty here.”
That sounds like a man who has been pushed too far. However, at this point I think the only catastrophe would be if Whitaker weren’t actually suing. That would make everything seem juvenile and would make Whitaker hard to take seriously from here on… Which would absolutely crush me. I have been so anxiously awaiting news of whether there will be an actual lawsuit.
I agree! Do it! If anyone deserved it more it’s this quack! He’s destroyed countless lives and continues to make sure that many more will be destroyed before it’s over with. All of the children that are being put on the so-called anti-psychotics, many at the ages of one and two years old, who will never see fulfilling lives cry out to any of us who can make a difference in what happens to them!
Considering in a complaint of libel, Bob bears the burden of proof, do you think the moderator of Mad in America dot com should remove any comments that may be viewed as attacking Dr. Torrey’s character or professional abilities?
Don’t you think Dr. Torrey could have a counter claim if they were not removed by the moderator?
It may be viewed that Dr. Torrey has misinterpreted a large volume of information that Bob has written about and he has a professional difference of opinion than other psychiatrists who write on Mad in America dot com.
For the purpose of clarity, it would be helpful if Bob had a summary of conclusions listed on Mad in America dot com.
There are many shades of gray in the anatomy of the “mental illlness” epidemic and Bob’s work is unique in that he is able to be adapted to fit in at main stream psychiatric events as easily as he can at anti-psychiatry sponsored functions.
Without clearly defining conclusions and lack of transparency, misinterpretations seem likely.
I think mental health advocates should take advantage of the fact Dr. Torrey agrees with Bob on major issues that we are up against.
“Whitaker is correct in criticizing the pharmaceutical industry, the overuse of psychiatric medications by physicians and the psychiatric profession for being financially in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry.”
In another review, Dr. Torrey writes:
“In its 396 pages Whitaker got many things right, including criticism of the broad DSM diagnostic criteria for mental illnesses; the reckless prescribing of psychiatric drugs for children; and the prostitution of many psychiatric leaders for the pharmaceutical industry. Indeed, regarding the last, Whitaker may have understated the problem, based on recently released court documents detailing how the pharmaceutical industry secretly controlled the Texas Medication Algorithm Project.”
These admissions are a huge win for Bob.
Anyhow, what’s wrong with creating a new-anti-psychiatry? Bob should be proud of that and based on his own admissions, welcome Dr. Torrey to be part of it.
Let’s not worry so much about what one pdoc thinks about Anosognosia and let’s start working together to fix problems like the “reckless prescribing of psychiatric drugs for children”, “the overuse of psychiatric medications by physicians and the psychiatric profession for being financially in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry”
My question to Dr. Torrey, How do you purpose we fix these problems?
Posted on Mad in America dot com on 10/30/2012
I think Robert Whitaker is just about as decent a man as my tears all over this board can testify!
I hope that the whole libel stuff wasn’t just blowing steam or some sort of bluff. Actually taking Torrey to court over this might generate some media attention that could cause people to further look into the case and wind up at MadinAmerica.com.
The one thing that always amazed me when I read Mad in America and has been obvious in my own lifetime anyway, is that psychiatrist have ALWAYS claimed that anyon who does not like their treatments, which they later admit were tortorous, cruel, etc, were all signs of Anosognosia. They claimed that people who did not want ECT without an anesethic were suffering from Anosognosia, as it would not affect them at all. They claimed that those who did not want drowning therapy, spin therapy, blistering, burning, insulin coma, etc were all signs of the underlying brain disease talking, and proof of Anosognosia!! In my lifetime they have claimed that those that did not want first generation drugs were suffering from it, but they now claim to be able to cure it with second generation drugs!!!! It is now OK to not want to take first generation, they now admit that those drugs were bad, wrong, caused side effects, etc. Yet any half decent research says that first generation are slightly more tolerable than second generation, but that is totally irrelevant, not wanting second generation is a sign of anosognosia, but not wanting first generation is just a part of the side effect profile of the drugs!!!
Still trying to work out why any of these treatments ever had to be removed since they ALL managed to cure the disease and they all had no adverse affects and anything the patients complained about were simply part of their brain disease!! If they were ethical based treatments, why does psychiatry ty and distance themselves from them, and why NOW say they were wrong??
How can anyone design a drug to treat a condition that does not exist?? In order to develop antibiotics one first had to know what Bacteria was. They had to be able to put bacteria into a test tube and then and only then could they put in different substances to find one that killed it. Since one cannot put schizophrenia into a test tube, in fact there is no way of diagnosising it at all as we do not even know what it is, or whether it is even one condition, or actually a condition at all, one cannot develop a drug to treat it. Sedating one and shutting down the whole body is not treating a condition, it is simply creating a whole different set of problems.
What interests me about the toxic drugs that have been and supposedly are “treatments” for so-called “mental illness” are the things that they were originally derived from. If I’m not mistaken, the drugs that led to things like haldol and thorazine were derived from chemical dyes used for synthetic materials and from insect killing chemicals. Some of the newer neuroleptics are derived from tranquilizers used on large farm animals like cows and horses. And lithium is the poisonous salt of a heavy metal. None of these things should have found their way into human bodies but they were and are used on us. Interesting. Why is it that it was and still is perfectly fine to force people to take these things? Is it because people with supposed “mental illness” don’t count and it doesn’t matter if we’re damaged and destroyed by the supposed “treatment” for a non-existent so-called illness? The bottom line is that biopsychiatry and society in general want us tranquilized, quiet, and compliant no matter how disgusting, and damaging and destructive it is to us. We do not count and we are not important.
For some, the holocaust is not over.
True. And obviously for some, such as Torrey, Pharisaism is not over.
Well, perhaps people like Torrey have an intelligence anosognosia. Perhaps partly because of their ageing brains and frontal lobes, they subjectively think they’re making some relevant thoughts and points, but they don’t understand that their ideas are totally idiotic. In their subjective mind they feel like they’re totally in control of things, making changes, etc, but the other world sees them in a different light. It’s a very sad condition indeed, the only cure that I know of is to chemically block the d2 receptors in their brain.
It has been both frustrating and heartbreaking to know what has happened to our individual and collective mental and spiritual health, thanks in large part to such insanely misguided notions about what is or isn’t ‘mentally healthy.’ Healing occurs in stable, grounded environments, where there is permission for a process to run its course, unconditionally, without resistance. Sadly, I have seen no evidence of either stability nor grounding virtually anywhere in the mental health field (meaning specifically the DSM diagnostic culture), and mostly resistance. How can a field with such questionable integrity be the gatekeepers to mental health, much less appropriate examples of it? Personally, I think it’s impossible.
Yes, there is something fundamentally wrong with current practice, fundamentally wrong with the status quo for “doctor”-patient relations. Where is the healing, hope and humanity. Where is the dedication to deeper understanding and scientific inquisitiveness? Where is the curiosity regarding the knowledge of others, not least of all the insight offered by patients. Anosognosia and delusional thinking are not the preserve of “mental patients.” Unfortunately, they are the ones mindlessly relegated to the status of “mentally defective” who can serve no higher purpose than that of consumer to the profit of the pharmaceuticals industry, who in turn indoctrinate, rather than educate, potential professionals of the healing arts.
From a slightly different perspective, take heart Bob. If Torrey weren’t attacking you, Sandy and MIA we would know we weren’t doing enough to speak up and challenge the status quo.
You should take it as a compliment that he feels so threatened about what you’ve written and said and what’s going on at MIA that he lashes out in such an emotional and irresponsible way.
Before I write anything, I consider my “W.W.T.S” bracelet. What Would Torrey Say? If I think he will start to froth, I know I’m on the right track!
Torrey is scared.
Totally agree with that. The psychiatric profession largely ignored Mad In America when it was released in 2000. Not totally, but they did not get massivley up in arms about it. Since the release of AOE, the opposite could not be more true. Some have had the courage to question their current practices and consider whether it is really helping people. Others have just started attacking people for even questioning the research. If they had the research to back up what they did, this would not exist. There would be no need for the books that have been written, etc. Fact is they have no research and they know very very well that what is written in the absolute truth. But the truth threatens everything about them, it threatens there livelihoods, and everything they have believed in. Most medical students refuse to enter psychiatry as they do not consider it a real science – they can see through the bullshit from the beginning. How the rest of them make it through medical school and beyond is showing just how bad our medical educational practices are in the world. That any of them can seriously believe that one can develop a treatment for something that does not even exist is beyond me. How can an educated person do that.
Totally agree that everytime I read something attacking this site, or Whitakers work I know that we are on the right track as it scares them and they have nothing to back up what they are saying.
Bob, I don’t remember if you mentioned this fact in either of your books, but sometime in the 1970s, even psychiatry was aware of problems with the label schizophrenia and the DSM was criteria were changed because the criteria in earlier versions were too loose, were being applied indiscriminately, and many people were mis-diagnosed, as of coiurse they still are. I’m sure Torrey is aware of this fact of recent psychiatric history but chooses to ignore it as well. Thank you again for all your great work!!!
No, it’s impossible for this guy to have any decency. He’s a quack, plain and simple and I hope he reads my post here. Isn’t this the guy that ran around with cat brains when he went to seminars? According to his way of looking at things I would call that very unusual behavior in need of treatment and medication. I can’t believe that this man has retained his license and is still allowed to practice.
Frankly, I don’t know how you maintain your patience with this kind of person. I agree with Duane in his beginning post; I feel this man should be tried and brought to justice for all of the terrible things that have been done to people due to his stupidity. I think he’s nothing but a very big ego stroker and the ego he strokes is his own!
Yeah, the same guy who believes in an invisible plague!
Let’s not forget that his sister has “schizphrenia” and they say it’s supposed to run in families. Maybe that’s been the problem this whole time.
The answer is actually that Torrey is a linguistically examined chronic phrenohypocrite, which puts the issue of “hypocrisy” front and center. Let Greek derivatives do the job of Greek derivatives, not the semantically loaded job of bogus science.
I am understanding to the fact that you are extremely upset over Dr. Torrey’s review of your book and I do not challenge your allegations that Dr. Torrey is liar and that you feel you are entitled to a libel suit against him.
Have you written any reviews of his book “Invisible Plague: The Rise of Mental Illness from 1750 to the Present”? I would be curious to read them and I think the readers on Mad in America dot com might enjoy your perspectives on his work.
As a mental health advocate, I appreciate the fact your efforts have made it easier for some individuals to have their opinions recognized and heard.
Your work is especially important as you have managed to carefully crafts and maintain a position that demonstrates the many shades of gray in the “anatomy’ of the “mental illness” epidemic.
It is with a delicate balance that you are able to craft your lectures to fit in at events that are managed by main stream psychiatry as comfortably as you would be at those strategically planed as an anti-mainstream-abnormal psychology protest.
Your concerns that certain individuals who hold prestigious titles and positions make it exceedingly difficult for our society to have an honest discussion about the merits of psychiatric medications, and their place in our society are the same as mine.
For the benefit of mental health advocates I think it is important to take a careful look at Dr. Torrey’s complete allegations.
Dr. Torrey states: “Whitaker is correct in criticizing the pharmaceutical industry, the overuse of psychiatric medications by physicians and the psychiatric profession for being financially in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry.”
Bob, this is a win for you on a major point. Having his statement in black and white is a huge achievement on the part of those of us who are in line with an agenda that recognizes the great harm caused by the overuse of psych. Advocate for the use of integrated care and alternative modalities is essential in order for them to be paid for by insurance companies. It is the lack of availablity to alternatives that makes the drug industry strong.
In the U.S. main stream psychiatry is an unregulated power-base of authority. No other industry has government backing to force individuals to contract professional services and consume potentially lethal products at the expense of taxpayers.
Establishing legitamate alternatives to main stream psychiatry will have a dismantling effect on our current costly mental health care system.
On another review of Anatomy of an Epidemic Dr. Torrey writes:
“In its 396 pages Whitaker got many things right, including criticism of the broad DSM diagnostic criteria for mental illnesses; the reckless prescribing of psychiatric drugs for children; and the prostitution of many psychiatric leaders for the pharmaceutical industry. Indeed, regarding the last, Whitaker may have understated the problem, based on recently released court documents detailing how the pharmaceutical industry secretly controlled the Texas Medication Algorithm Project”
With so many shades of gray in the “anatomy” of this epidemic, it is a great accomplishment to define in black and white the core problems within main stream psychiatry.
A mediator to the dispute you have with Dr. Torrey would regard his statements as a starting point for conflict resolution.
Many mental health professionals have conflicting opinions due in part to conflicting interests and lack of awareness/training in alternative modalities.
The journalistic perspective has a strong impact on advocacy and you have taken on a leading role (even though you are not an advocate).
Many mental health advocates base their agenda on their own personal experiences which vary greatly.
Dr. Torrey admits a lot in those statements, we need to recognize the value in that.
Where Dr. Torrey states that you are “dead wrong in alleging that schizophrenia is caused by the antipsychotic drugs used to treat it”, I have heard you state that you relate long-term chronicity to antipsychotic medications and it is a fact that psychiatric medications (as well as many other meds) can cause psychosis that can be misdx’d as schizophrenia. Heck, even the routine use of over-the-counter cold medicine can induce psychosis that is clinically indistinguishable from paranoid sz.
Dr. Torrey seems to misinterpret your conclusions. Perhaps if you created a clear summary of your conclusions from Anatomy it would be helpful for those who are critics and seem to twist your words around (from my experience both psychiatrists and psychologists are pretty good at that)
For a successful libel suit, you need to prove that Dr. Torrey published false statements of fact about you that have harmed your reputation.
Bob, you are well aware of the fact that an honest discussion means that your efforts will face criticism.
At this point in time, do you feel you have received any criticism that actually is justified? or in your opinion has all of the criticism on Anatomy been based on lies?
Bob, I have a great amount of respect for you. Transparency is very important and I think you can tell that I am a very honest individual who is devoted to mental health advocacy.
Advocates, whether they are members of NAMI, CCHR or any other organization need to find topics they can all agree on. A divided advocacy means that some patients will not have equal representation.
I am not a Scientologist but I am very grateful to the nonprofit organization CCHR and the members who are also devoted mental health advocates. I am not prejudice of those who choose to belong to the Church of Scientology and I respect them as strong advocates.
I hope that you will consider learning more about the background of CCHR as a nonprofit organization and be respectful of individuals like Maria Bradshaw, Walter Kowalczyk and Amy Philo who credit CCHR for helping them.
The following statements you made in your interview “Why Psychiatry Embraced Drugs” seem to discredit the value of almost 5 decades of advocacy by CCHR members:
“I made a little joke in the book about psychiatry secretly funding scientology, but really, it couldn’t have worked out better for the pharmaceutical companies and biological psychiatry. The reason is that, of course, it delegitimizes criticism. The fact that scientology is so visibly attacking biological psychiatry and attacking psychiatric drugs delegitimizes all criticism. Scientologists clearly do have a cult-like status and they clearly do have an agenda. The fact that they’re so visible makes it very easy for psychiatry and pharmaceutical companies to say, “This is just criticism coming from that crazy group.”
Some of the stuff, they’ve gone into the data and they’ve brought out some information. Because it was scientology and CCHR that was out front with the criticism and raising questions and raising accusations that these drugs were causing suicide and violence, just made it really easy for pharmaceutical industry and Eli Lily to have it dismissed. If we didn’t have Scientology. Imagine it doesn’t exist and there’s no such group raising criticism. The questions around whether Prozac can stir violence or could cause someone to become suicidal or homicidal would have had a lot more traction.”
Posted on Mad in America dot com on 10/29/2012
I wonder what a judge or jury would think about Torrey’s REPEATED libel and slander. Bob, if you decide to sue Torrey’s slanderous ass, I’d be honored to donate to your legal fund.
You’re not an *advocate* for the *severely mentally ill* – you’re a tyrant. There is simply no *real* science to justify forced “teatment” and more importantly, no *real* law.
As Grace Jackson, M.D. points out, forced “teatment” is a violation of the 1st, 8th and 14th amendments of the Constitution. –
IMO,taking toxic drugs is *not* the answer to overcoming toxic relationships or past life traumas. The symptoms our society calls “severe mental illness” can come from a variety of underlying physical conditions and/or emotional states, and are best dealt with by processing past traumas, building better relationships. Nutrition, exercise, meditation and other non-drug options are key ways people recover.
We live in a free country. And you have no right to continue to *force* a failed paradigm of care on others. If you want to burn your brain out with toxic drugs, be my guest. But leave my brothers and sisters alone!
And tell D.J. Jaffe and your colleagues to do the same!
“No” means “no”!