Long-Term Antipsychotics:
Making Sense of the Evidence in the Light of the Dutch Follow-Up Study

Joanna Moncrieff, MD
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This blog is based on material from Joanna Moncrieff’s new book on antipsychotics, out in September entitled “The Bitterest Pills: the troubling story of antipsychotic drugs” (publisher Palgrave Macmillan). 

One of my strongest memories from being a medical student was of a young woman who was brought into a hospital in northern England in the 1980s. Confused and frightened, she poured out a profusion of fragmented ideas about having a gadget implanted in her body and feeling that she was being watched and manipulated by vague but malignant forces. She was started on an antipsychotic drug, and as the dose was gradually increased she became increasingly quiet, subdued, emotionless, expressionless and physically sluggish. To me she seemed empty and lifeless compared to what she had been before, although admittedly less distressed. The consensus was she was ‘better’.

Instances like this, combined with the crowds of patients who shuffled about the back wards of the old asylums, soon convinced me that antipsychotic drugs are rightly thought of as a chemical straight jacket, as Thomas Szasz and others have described them. They produce an artificial state of neurological restriction, which affects both the body and the mind. The lower doses that are often used nowadays mean the drug-induced effects are more subtle than they once were, but they occur nonetheless.

On the other hand, severe mental disturbance can be prolonged and disabling. Looking at hospital records from before the days of modern drugs, some people never came out of it, and spent their lives in a state of extreme confusion and degradation, unable to perform the most basic functions, or to communicate with anyone around them. I have occasionally seen people today who have been in this sort of state for many years, some of whom had had little or no drug treatment.

There are times when the use of antipsychotic drugs seems to produce just enough suppression that people can put aside their psychotic preoccupations and re-establish a connection with the outside world. The emotion-numbing effects of the drugs are particularly salient here. Pierre Deniker, one of the French psychiatrists who first used chlorpromazine back in the 1950s, described how people on antipsychotics just lose interest in their delusions.(1)

In the 1950s, when the drugs we now call ‘antipsychotics’ first came along, psychiatrists recognised that they were toxic substances that happened to have the ability to suppress thoughts and emotions without simply putting people to sleep in the way the old sedatives did.  The mental restriction the drugs produced was noted to be part of a general state of physical and mental inhibition that at extremes resembled Parkinson’s disease. Early psychiatrists didn’t doubt that this state of neurological suppression was potentially damaging to the brain(1), as Peter Breggin has subsequently and repeatedly pointed out, to little avail. Mainstream psychiatry was uncomfortable with the notion that its principle treatment worked by being a neurological toxin, however. The drugs were soon transformed in official sources into a sophisticated, treatment that targeted an underlying chemical imbalance or other abnormality, even though there was, and still is, no convincing evidence that this is the case.

When you understand antipsychotic drugs in the earlier way, it is obvious that receiving treatment for years and years might have harmful consequences. Yet this is what rapidly became the norm for people diagnosed with a serious mental condition from the time the drugs were introduced in the 1950s. It remains the norm today. Current guidelines insist that ‘long-term treatment is indicated for all patients with schizophrenia’.(2)  The new belief that antipsychotics are targeted treatments that rectify an underlying abnormality helped to erase the memory of their disabling effects, and to convince the psychiatric community that long-term treatment was necessary and benign.

Now I believe that antipsychotic drugs can be useful in suppressing psychotic symptoms, and that in some cases, where people are beset by these symptoms on a continual basis, life on long-term drug treatment, even with all its drawbacks, might be preferable to life without it. But most people who experience a psychotic breakdown recover. In this situation, antipsychotics are recommended not on the basis that they provide relief from severe symptoms, but because they are said to reduce the risk of relapse.

There are two problems here. First, the studies that provide evidence that antipsychotic treatment reduces relapse are flawed in a number of ways. They do not consist of a comparison between people who are started on long-term treatment and those who are not, but of a comparison between people who are withdrawn from long-term antipsychotics, usually abruptly, and those who continue to take them. Hence these studies are likely to be influenced by the fact that people who stop drug treatment, especially after being on it for some time, are likely to experience withdrawal-related effects, which we know include agitation, insomnia and occasional psychotic symptoms (sometimes known as supersensitivity psychosis). The difference in relapse rates is almost certainly exaggerated in these studies, therefore, especially since relapse is often defined only in terms of a modest deterioration in general condition or symptoms. Moreover the studies rarely last beyond six months, and in fact studies that last longer than a year show an evening up of relapse rates between people on maintenance treatment and those whose antipsychotics are discontinued.(3)

The other fundamental problem with these studies is that they provide little data on anything other than relapse. After people have had a relapse they are not followed up any further, and attempts to assess how people are actually functioning have rarely been made. Coupled with the loose definition of relapse employed in most studies, this means that people might be worse off on continuous drug treatment overall than they would have been without it, even if they did experience a ‘relapse’. Since the data has not been collected, we just don’t know.

Some other evidence seems to indicate that this might be the case, however, such as Martin Harrow’s long-term cohort study, which shows that people who take antipsychotics for long periods have lower rates of recovery than those who do not.(4) This has been ignored because psychiatry has become so fixated on randomised controlled trials. Even if the trials don’t tell you what you need to know, if they are out there, then they should dictate practice. Those who wished to defend long-term antipsychotic treatment could point to the fact that the people in Harrow’s study who did not take antipsychotics were likely to have had milder conditions to start with. Since it was not a randomised trial, comparing drug treated and non-drug treated people was not comparing like with like.

This is why the results of the long-term follow up of the randomised controlled trial conducted in the Netherlands are so important. This study, which Bob Whitaker has described in detail in his recent blog, involved randomising people who had recovered from a first episode of psychosis to routine ‘maintenance’ treatment with antipsychotics, or to have their antipsychotics reduced in a flexible manner, and discontinued if possible. After the first follow-up at 18 months, twice as many people had experienced a relapse in the discontinuation group as in the maintenance group, although only 20% of the discontinuation group had actually stopped antipsychotics at this point.(5)

Seven years later, however, there was no difference in relapse rates, and levels of psychotic symptoms were similar in both groups, but people in the group who had had the discontinuation strategy were more than twice as likely to have recovered from a functional point of view. By this time 42% of the group who had originally had the antipsychotic discontinuation programme, and 24% of those who were allocated to maintenance treatment had discontinued antipsychotics, or were taking only low doses (less than 1mg per day of haloperidol or equivalent doses of other antipsychotics). They were more likely to show symptomatic and functional recovery than people who remained on standard doses of antipsychotics.(6)

This study provides tentative confirmation that long-term antipsychotic use impairs people’s ability to function, and this is exactly what we should expect from drugs that inhibit mental processes and nervous activity. The study also shows that if you reduce people’s antipsychotics in a gradual and supported manner, people are better off in the long-term. Some will manage to stop their antipsychotics completely and do well, and overall people will not suffer higher levels of symptoms or relapses than if they had stayed on their original level of medication.

As Bob Whitaker and others on this site have stressed, this study should fundamentally change the way antipsychotics are used. These are not innocuous drugs, and people should be given the opportunity to see if they can manage without them, both during an acute psychotic episode and after recovery from one. If psychiatrists had not forgotten the lessons of the past, and if they had been prepared to acknowledge what they saw the drugs doing with their own eyes, this would have come about long ago.

 

Joanna Moncrieff’s new book on the history of antipsychotics is out in September entitled “The Bitterest Pills: the Troubling Story of Antipsychotic Drugs” published by Palgrave Macmillan.

 

References:

(1)    Deniker P. Experimental neurological syndromes and the new drug therapies in psychiatry. Compr Psychiatry 1960 Apr;1:92-102.

(2)    Hasan A, Falkai P, Wobrock T, Lieberman J, Glenthoj B, Gattaz WF, et al. World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP) guidelines for biological treatment of schizophrenia, part 2: update 2012 on the long-term treatment of schizophrenia and management of antipsychotic-induced side effects. World J Biol Psychiatry 2013 Feb;14(1):2-44.

(3)     Leucht S, Tardy M, Komossa K, Heres S, Kissling W, Salanti G, et al. Antipsychotic drugs versus placebo for relapse prevention in schizophrenia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet 2012 Jun 2;379(9831):2063-71.

(4)    Harrow M, Jobe TH, Faull RN. Do all schizophrenia patients need antipsychotic treatment continuously throughout their lifetime? A 20-year longitudinal study. Psychol Med 2012 Feb 17;1-11.

(5) Wunderink L, Nienhuis FJ, Sytema S, Slooff CJ, Knegtering R, Wiersma D. Guided discontinuation versus maintenance treatment in remitted first-episode psychosis: relapse rates and functional outcome. J Clin Psychiatry 2007 May;68(5):654-61.

(6) Wunderink L, Nieboer RM, Wiersma D, Sytema S, Nienhuis FJ. Recovery in Remitted First-Episode Psychosis at 7 Years of Follow-up of an Early Dose Reduction/Discontinuation or Maintenance Treatment Strategy: Long-term Follow-up of a 2-Year Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Psychiatry 2013 Jul 3.

 

46 COMMENTS

  1. “To me she seemed empty and lifeless compared to what she had been before, although admittedly less distressed.”

    All any observer can say is that the outward appearance of this former citizen with human rights, now forced psychiatry occupied biology, dehumanized body/brain flooded by government agents against her will with drugs, ‘appeared’ less distressed.

    When the disgusting and morally indefensible activity of forced drugging is in play, when biological rapists, professional government chemical tranquilizer deploying social control squads masquerading as physicians, have ‘reached in’ by force and stuck their filthy gloved hands of mind rape into the never-proven-diseased neurons of the target, whatever distress the person wanted to express, has been made impossible to communicate, thanks to the horrific, World War 2 level human rights lines being crossed in the forced drugging scenario, the most invasive thing nation states do to citizens bodies short of the death penalty. All done to non-criminals no less.

    How psychiatry can lie to itself and the world about the function of these major tranquilizer drugs, especially in the context of the forced introduction of them into the bodies of perfect strangers over their vehement and clearly expressed non-consent, just further compounds the betrayal. As a matter of fact there is very little that one could ever, ever read coming out of psychiatry that doesn’t further compound the betrayal. Society, voters, governments, vaunted professions, legal and medical, the media, the entire world, is happy to believe absolute bald faced lies about the function of these drugs, and still sanction their use in forced brain invasions of the innocent.

    I respect your work, your efforts, your books, but not your participation in forced psychiatry, which I understand you try to keep to a minimum compared to some of your more rapacious colleagues. Nonetheless.

    No means no.

    By far the psychiatrist who writes at MIA most worth listening to. Well, some of the neuromythology critiques from your British colleagues are very good too.

    Amazon says your new book is $85. I will buy it. I’m always looking for more information to understand the diabolical level of dehumanization that was involved in the prolonged forced drugging assaults I was forced to endure at the hands of ‘healers’ who think the word ‘no’ coming out of the mouth of their ‘patient’ is a cue to body slam them to the floor, strip them naked and rape their biology by force. Human rights criminals, that stole my right to feel safe in my community for life.

    Nothing will save biological psychiatrists from the judgement of history. The forced drugging thugs of today will join their lobotomizing and electroshocking 20th century colleagues and be remembered as the pitiable and pathetic manglers of medical ethics and basic human dignity that they are. It is only psychiatrists like you, that have at least dedicated a lot of your time to understanding and attempting to provide all these clarion calls, that will be somewhat positively remembered in centuries to come.

    In the final analysis I think a life spent in psychiatry is a life that begins in hope of wanting to help, and either ends in hubris, denial of harm done to innocents, and the total buy-in to the reductionist lie, or, more rarely, decades spent in alarm trying to warn of the horrific dogma you’ve discovered. There might be many instances of feeling like, and being able to objectively say you’ve helped, but nobody gets out morally unscathed if they’ve crossed that forced psychiatry line. Nobody. To have entered the brain of a living conscious human being against their will, come hell or high water in terms of speculated ‘what would have become of them if you’d not’, is one of the most repugnant and extreme violations of human rights happening globally today. At least with lethal injection executions, the government doesn’t hide behind lies about what the chemicals are intended to do. Such honesty, is too much to ask in the wide scale rollout of tranquilizer drugging by force that has affected millions since the 1950s. A legacy of hate and contempt for the bodily integrity human rights of those labeled as unworthy of human rights by the profession of psychiatry. A pathetic profession, that somehow got a monopoly on human distress, through fraud and force, by whispering sweet pseudosciences into the ear of legislators and guardians of the rule of law worldwide. The end result? anybody targeted by psychiatry is denied equality under the law.

    Bitterest pills indeed.

    60 years of tranquilizer drugging people who get quackery based labels slapped on them. A profession that gets to ‘do things to’ a population of people, and every, single, layperson on every, single comment section in every single newspaper in the world repeats the same propaganda that had to come from somewhere… ‘these people have broken brains’. How convenient that this profession not only had unfettered nonconsensual access to our bodies, it also got to write the worldwide narrative about what our problems were, experts on states of mind they’ve never experienced, psychiatrists represent modern history’s preeminent example of a powerful guild, that dined out on the meddled with and rotted living bodies of millions of people it rendered voiceless. That voicelessness begins when the first scream of ‘NO, don’t inject me!’ is voiced, then ignored, as the attackers plow forward, deep into the body against the target’s will.

    This absolute mess, this unconscionable mangled and atrocious husk of the ideals of evidenced based modern western biomedicine, this, psychiatry, is the singularly most vile force to enter my life and when it first entered my life it entered it by using the exact same level of physical violence a rapist would. The exact same regard for my wishes, my humanity and my inherent dignity as a human being.

    Anybody who has not yet grasped the magnitude of this worldwide mistake of a profession, is someone I envy. I wish I could go back. Ignorance truly, truly was bliss. I mean to just think there was a time that I took for granted that nobody had the right to rape my brain, if only I could taste just a day or a week of that equality I used to have. Forced psychiatry has no right to exist, that’s a given, but if psychiatry is going to exist, it’s going to need to admit what it is, the art of tranquilizing and subduing life’s problems through hamstringing the body with drugs, and mystifying these problems with labels. Some people find that helpful. As for such a wishy washy profession, comparable to chiropractic in its deserved status, has become the law of the land to believe in, and submit one’s body to for forced alteration, is the most heartbreaking revelation of my life. It’s heartbreaking enough to make me think thoughts I would never dare put into writing because they could and would be used against me in any future forced psychiatry proceedings.

    I look forward to this new book on neuroleptics. When I study neuroleptics, it is like looking at a rapist’s sperm cells under a microscope. I want to know what did my attackers spill into my body, what do they stand to spill into my being should they ever target me for forced drugging once more.

    Because ‘know your enemy’ preparation is what it’s all about once psychiatry has declared open season on your biology. It’s about staying up to date, so I can be an agile and learned target should they ever decide to rip away my right to own my own body again.

    You’ve always got to be ready. There could be a knock at the door from the forced drugging ‘services’ at any time. The threshold of your front door is not safe, the threshold of your blood brain barrier is not sacred to them. They will cross any line they see fit. The pitiless, dead eyed faces of forced drugging personnel, as they ignore your screams of non-consent, are ever on duty, at triage, ready to launch into action with their heinous violence against defenseless people who are at their weakest. We must be prepared. Psychiatry reserves the right to steamroll our brain function into oblivion at any moment it sees fit, by force. All new books help.

  2. “On the other hand, severe mental disturbance can be prolonged and disabling. Looking at hospital records from before the days of modern drugs, some people never came out of it, and spent their lives in a state of extreme confusion and degradation, unable to perform the most basic functions, or to communicate with anyone around them.”

    If there’s anything I would take issue with in this blog, it’s the above quoted statement. I work at an acute crisis center, located in the same building as a residential facility with whom we have some collaboration, meaning that I, at times, have been working at the residential facility, too. Some of the residential facility’s residents never came out of it, and some will never come out of it, spending their lives in a state of extreme zombification and not only psychological but also physical degradation, unable, also physically, to perform the most basic functions or to communicate with anyone around them (other than a 3-year-old communicates). What has changed? How have “anti”psychotics actually done anything good? As far as I can see, all they’ve done is that, today, it’s a different group of those who experience “psychosis” who ends up institutionalised, all the while there still are quite a few who end up institutionalised, probably as many as in the pre-neuroleptic era. And while today’s residential facilities aren’t called “hospitals”, I really don’t see the big difference to the back wards of the past.

    • I would also point out that not having demonstrated an ability ‘so far’ to do something, is not evidence of inability. Nobody has yet seen (example person) make a million dollars, this isn’t evidence that they cannot.

      We are not unconscious. We know what we don’t want. This is why our screams of non-consent fill the corridors of forced psychiatry facilities seconds before the staff carry out their forced drugging assaults.

      And of course, whether someone remains in a state long term, an extreme state of mind that is making meaning of the world in way vastly different from ‘consensus reality’, absolutely has nothing to do with whether some medical doctor spent years slicing up cadavers and learning about the inside of the human body! for none of this knowledge is even applied to the situation, for no bodily disease can be proven to exist in the person labeled ‘mental patient’.

      I often say vending machines could do a psychiatrist’s job. Not true, the vending machine would need big scary biceps and the ability to subdue people and put things in their body without consent. This is why psychiatry has its own in-house goon squads, so called ‘psychiatric nurses’. A profession that exists solely to function as psychiatry’s bouncers. They’ll let you enter the club, you’re on the VIP list in fact, but like Hotel California, you can check out any time but you can never leave.

      If anyone can point out a skill that ‘psychiatric nurses’ possess that doesn’t include the following 3, I’d like to hear it:

      1. Ensuring, regularly over the express wishes of the target, that toxic drugs are placed into the target’s never-proven-diseased brain.

      2. Carrying out Guantanamo Bay style forced feedings on people labeled ‘anorexic’.

      3. Glibly repeating the very rudimentary understanding they have of the DSM labels, filling people’s heads with medical model lies.

      Compared to psychiatrists, who were actually dedicated to a pseudoscience enough to study it for many years, I find it hard to have a shred of respect for psychiatry’s so called ‘nurses’. The epitome of thugs. None are welcome in my home, or my family. They are shunned like the moral pariahs that they are.

      • In the state hospital where I work the one department that causes us to get in the newspaper more than any other in the entire hospital is Nursing.

        When I was a “resident” at this state hospital the department that dealt with me in the most disrespectful manner time after time was Nursing.

        Since the rate of pay for Nursing at this state hospital is not as high as that for nurses in the three medical hospitals in the city where we’re located, we get all the rejects. We are scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to the quality of the kind of people that we hire as nurses.

        This is the one department that thinks it runs the hospital, regardless of what Administration says or the psychiatrists. I’ve personally heard nurses refuse to do what a psychiatrist ordered them to do, and nothing happened to the nurse. I’ve witnessed charge nurses antagonizing “residents” in order to get them to the point that they could call a stat on them, forcing the “resident” to be drugged and put in seclusion and restraints.

        You name it and Nursing is THE PROBLEM at the hospital where I work. This is the same hospital where one nurse was heard to say to another nurse, “I don’t know why we have to treat them like humans.”

        I’ve been called down for talking in public about the difficulties and troubles that I experienced with the nurses while I was a “resident” here. The attitude is that we’re supposed to pretend that the emperor is clothed in the most beautiful suit of clothes ever while every one of us knows that he’s naked as a jaybird, especially where nurses are concerned.

        Oh yes, every night that one med nurse was on duty when I was a “resident” I always had more pills in my little cup than were supposed to be there and when I would point this out the nurse would deny what I was saying and then command me to take my meds! She would eventually have to take all the wrong pills back, very angrily, and put the one pill in front of me that my chart siad I was supposed to take.

        Sorry, I guess you can tell that the one group of people that I have no use for where I work are the nurses. I apologize for my rant but wonder if where I work is abnormal or the norm. I suspect that it’s the norm. Don’t get me wrong; there are some good and wonderful nurses but they’re overwhelmed by the majority who don’t seem to give a damn about the people they’re supposed to be helping.

    • I totally agree, I was on psyche drugs for only a few years, ending up taking Lithium last, which I weaned myself off telling the doctor I was doing that over a two year period. But Depakote, Zyprexia and other drugs did cause some minor mental damage which has essentially returned to normal as can be. But I know that even short time of taking those drugs was detrimental to my mind and I refused to take drugs with side effects.

    • Marian thanks for pointing this out because this statement was so nebulous, I actually didn’t get it:
      “On the other hand, severe mental disturbance can be prolonged and disabling. Looking at hospital records from before the days of modern drugs, some people never came out of it, and spent their lives in a state of extreme confusion and degradation, unable to perform the most basic functions, or to communicate with anyone around them. I have occasionally seen people today who have been in this sort of state for many years, some of whom had had little or no drug treatment.”
      People who never had anyone to validate their humanity; were emotionally abused, if not physically and sexually; were ostracized, spent their lives locked up being told there was something wrong with them. And then it’s said that there’s a severe mental disturbance that can be prolonged and disabling. All in order to validate that “maybe” medications can help. Rather than look at what actually very clearly is going on. And there isn’t any “on the other hand,” then there would have to be an “other hand” a look at what else there is; rather than this obsessive repetition of how it just about always goes, and everyone overlooks the basic emotional needs. And then we hear this story about medications “always,” are necessary: “usually” are necessary; “need to be tried” or are “sometimes necessary” or are “sometimes helpful.” And the whole time, there has been so little emotional support; or any support from anyone who has actually been shown to be able to relate to such condition that such statements about “medications” are something akin to trying to save the old ikon which was running everything ragged. The “holy” relic. To speak about on the other hand would be looking at what’s marginalized, what should have been tried because it’s what gets the best results the whole time, rather than this same old blah blah blah blah blah….
      But then you’d have to see them as human rather than people to diagnose, to bereave of human contact, emotional support, personal freedoms, and when analyzing their behavior (after these abusive social and often “medical” treatments) make analyses like:
      “On the other hand, severe mental disturbance can be prolonged and disabling. Looking at hospital records from before the days of modern drugs, some people never came out of it, and spent their lives in a state of extreme confusion and degradation, unable to perform the most basic functions, or to communicate with anyone around them. I have occasionally seen people today who have been in this sort of state for many years, some of whom had had little or no drug treatment.”
      And this from a society which invests in trauma as a means of social control: if you don’t follow our religion you’ll go to hell; if you don’t follow the rules you’ll go to jail or be killed; if we can’t use violence to coerce the “enemy” then all hell will break lose (probably because of the weapons we put into manufacture along with the idea that coercion is a means to attain what you want; and such materials and ideas being promoted and forced on everybody enough that they take it into their own hands ). If “society” would actually look at the people it ostracizes and locks up in asylum (or care centers); and look at what fear and trauma really do to the human condition; it might have a different understanding and trust in human behavior than to invest in trauma controls, and expect people to be happy disabled into being treated as if they have a disease that has never been proven to exist; because they just haven’t learned to “behave” properly. They just haven’t adapted to fear based norms. They just aren’t salient to consensus based reality. They don’t fit in with accepted statistical based norms. And behavior that isn’t understood is labeled as a disease, rather than it’s not understood. And what’s truly on the other hand is mostly likely never been allowed and/or even tried. So lets go back to “on the other hand” we can go back to trying a substance reliable way of disabling the mind; then we don’t have to worry about what we don’t understand, or what thought is…

  3. Is’t psychiatric practice which most doctors reinforce the problem? Most people who are given neuroleptics, often against their will, end up on them for a long time if not for all of their shortened lives. They do cause terrible adverse effects. The most horrific is the loss of self, the loss of the inner spirit, the loss of the most precious aspect of being human.
    Do psychiatrists and doctors think that anyone wants to be less than human? Do psychiatrists and doctors think it is better to be lobotomized than to experience severe distress? Do they have no heart themselves? Do they not realize that they are also dehumanized by their unfeeling actions? Why are they so afraid? Why do they deny reality and destroy beautiful people? Psychiatry has been a dismal failure. It has got plenty of time to improve and help people but it acts for the most part in a violent, unfeeling way and has raped countless lives. It is time we had a peaceful revolution of freedom, human rights, equality, truth and compassion which psychiatric practice is totally ignorant. Therefore psychiatric practice with its forced neuroleptics,other psychotropic drugs and electroshock should be scrapped! Let us have peace not torture!

      • Thanks so much! It is great to be free to express myself again after long years of psychiatric torture in the name of ‘help’. It is brilliant to be able to think and feel again – to have joined the human race
        .
        Your earlier words touch my heart and inspired me to comment. Thank you for writing such powerful words like these- “When the disgusting and morally indefensible activity of forced drugging is in play, when biological rapists, professional government chemical tranquilizer deploying social control squads masquerading as physicians, have ‘reached in’ by force and stuck their filthy gloved hands of mind rape into the never-proven-diseased neurons of the target, whatever distress the person wanted to express, has been made impossible to communicate, thanks to the horrific, World War 2 level human rights lines being crossed in the forced drugging scenario, the most invasive thing nation states do to citizens bodies short of the death penalty. All done to non-criminals no less.” You speak for so many people who cannot express it so well! THANK YOU! I hope the day will come that you will not feel you have to be anonymous. The best of Irish luck to you!

        • Only sudden death due to accident or disease could stop me ending my anonymity.

          Thank you again for your inspiring work.

          I don’t think it’s that they want us to be forced to live in terror of their violence against us, it’s just that they really don’t care to hear our opinion on their violence against us.

          Psychiatry has been engaged in a task, that is, to suppress any bizarre beliefs and behaviors in society. So focused on abstractions, labels and DSM checklists, it no longer sees humans. The coal face of forced psychiatry, has never seen humans in its whole 200 year existence. Once you’re labeled ‘seriously’ mad, you being forced to living in fear of psychiatry’s violence, is just not something the world wants to hear. The world loves having a place to put the extremes of life, throwing people in the madhouse, is convenient to society, and generations, centuries of self justificatory rhetoric, has brainwashed society to think they are ‘doing the right thing’ when they rape our brains.

          Somehow, we’ve got to get society’s attention. They are our only hope. Only the majority can force the government to stop destroying the lives of citizens that government psychiatry labels.

          Part of being anonymous at this point, is getting myself to a level of safety both economic and knowledge-wise, where I can stand anything they throw at me.

          There are hundreds of thousands of highly credentialed researchers literally gunning to prove their prejudices are correct. They get up in the morning with express aim, of generating evidence that our life experiences are bona fide brain diseases.

          This battle isn’t like a minority race trying to convince dumb racists they should back off, or gays trying to fight against religious moralizing…

          No, this is literally the most vaunted, revered, glistening, dripping with prestige, blindly deferred to authority in modern society, saying we don’t deserve our human rights.

          The society, looks to the technical know-how of western biomedicine in the face of mortal terror, their own deaths, and this same western biomedicine, as far as society sees it (I don’t see psychiatry as a legitimate branch of western biomedicine but people do so whatever), this same monolithic embodiment of one of the most worshiped authorities in the history of the human race, modern medicine, is telling society that ‘these people over here’ don’t deserve human rights.

          These people over here, ‘are sick they don’t know they are sick therefore’ it’s ok that each of us live in constant terror of having our brains raped by doctors who don’t even examine brains merely flood them with drugs.

          We are up against enormous odds, to ever convince society to end psychiatry’s government sanctioned violence against us.

          Like I’ve said before if I didn’t have hope that one day, a day could come for this Earth, where nobody labeled ‘mental patient’ was being swarmed by goons with syringes who are trained to ignore the target’s desperate pleas for mercy, I’d just exit this world.

          If I didn’t have hope that this violence, this appalling degradation of our very humanity wasn’t going to end one day, I’d blow my brains out right now. Life simply would not be worth living if the forced entry into the brain of people who have become overwhelmed with life represented the ‘peak’ of humanity’s empathy for us.

          Current ’emergency’ psychiatric practice represents nothing less than a crime against humanity. That society, that supposedly intelligent credentialed physicians think that literally kicking someone while they are down, kicking through their blood/brain barrier by force, raping every neuron in their body against the targeted human’s express wishes, constitutes a defensible act, is just heartbreaking to me. The realization is so shocking, so demeaning, so catastrophic to my connection with the community I took for granted would never allow me to come to such harm, that it is the ‘leading cause of depression’ in my life.

          You can tell a lot about the humanity of people by how they treat the weakest and most distressed that cross their path. That we have to tolerate acts of terror being the go-to way we are treated when most in need of community, when most in need of a patient ear, a caring connection to the rest of humanity, is simply a moral atrocity.

          That we are expected to accept that people at their most overwhelmed, most distressed, most confused, should be corralled like animals in solitary confinement, swarmed by indoctrinated goon squads with syringes, brutally slammed to the ground, stripped naked, injected like they are some subhuman primate in a lab, against their clearly expressed most desperate screams of nonconsent, the solitary confinement door slammed shut, and drugged unconscious person left to ‘sleep it off’ while the ‘nurses and doctors’ go back to finish their coffees, is SIMPLY AN ATROCITY on the scale of anything you’ve ever seen on the news happening in foreign war zones, and it happens in EVERY CITY in the entire western world.

          Indoctrinated quacks, going back to their coffees, because they think ‘let the drugs do their magic’, ‘let the drugs work’, while their victim lays ALONE in SOLITARY CONF#@!ING-FINEMENT!

          Let the drugs work? What about your work?!!! What are YOU paid to do? Expected to do by society? Why can’t you sit with that person and talk to them and be with them and hear what they are experiencing? For 10 hours at a time I don’t care what it takes? Why are our human rights so cheap? Why are our lives so cheap?

          Don’t become overwhelmed with life people. Don’t dare, DARE, have a crisis of mental and emotional overwhelm. These fanatics, these indoctrinated fanatics, who hold to biological determinist ideology with the fervor of a 9/11 terrorist, will take a box cutter to your life, a syringe to your buttock, a nuclear weapon to your consciousness, because might makes right on the psych ward.

          To top it off, once you’re suitably forcibly tranquilized, after a few days passes, you’ll be led into a room. In this room a fundamentalist biological determinist quack, will fill your young and impressionable head with lies and learned helplessness, leaving you with a fatalism that will go nicely next to your freshly minted stigmatizing label, that will destroy your previously intact social identity.

          No, no, don’t ever become overwhelmed with life, don’t dare, you’ll lose your freedom, your equality, your dignity, your future, your physical health, and be ‘psychoeducated’ until they turn you into another clone, another parrot. You’ll come out of this degradation spewing the tired old lines:

          ‘I’m sick, I got sick, it’s just like diabetes. I have a diagnosis now’.

          ‘Yeah it was rough being locked up and all but I didn’t know I was sick and that I needed this medication to correct my chemical imbalance’.

          ‘It’s good to know that if I ever got sick again there would be a safety net to pick me up when I fall and give me the medication I need for my illness’.

          ‘Oh I don’t think I’ll have kids, my doc says my condition is genetic’.

          HOW.
          ANYONE.
          CAN.
          NOT.
          HANG.
          THEIR.
          HEAD.
          IN.
          SHAME…

          IS BEYOND ME.

          Psychiatry is a blight on the face of human history.

          Capable of nothing but destruction in the worst cases, and nothing but band-aid numbing and drugging, combined with idiotic ‘name for my pain’ indoctrination in the BEST CASE.

          I will stop being anonymous eventually, and I guarantee you I will make it my life’s mission to see that tens of thousands of forced psychiatry perpetrators become aware of what I have to tell them. If they won’t listen to me trying to say NO to them in MY WEAKEST HOUR, maybe they will listen to me after I went home and pumped intellectual iron for years in preparation for my response to their violence against me. My nonviolent response to psychiatry’s violence against me, has been years in the making, and answer to your question Mary, the time will come when I can launch it in earnest.

          I’m not so much interested in dialoguing with psychiatry as I am society. I tried dialoguing with these fanatics in psychiatry once, it was called the moment I surveyed a solitary confinement room and saw five or six personnel with their cocked and poised body language giving me an offer I couldn’t refuse, syringe in hand, repeating the mantra ‘you’re sick, you’re sick’… I know now this was the time I was first exposed to their blatant fanaticism… their willingness do do violence, to forcibly enter the bodies, consciousness!!! of a perfect stranger against that stranger’s will, in the name of their fanatic quack snake oil beliefs.

          And they dare label other people dangerous!

          To look into the dead eyes of a fanatic who has decided your brain is their property to take a chemical piss inside, by force, is to see what all victims of industrialized wide scale state sanctioned violence have seen, the darkest side of humanity, fanaticism that doesn’t even know it is fanaticism. It chills me to my spine to even think about this, ostensibly good people, doing very bad things, and seeing absolutely nothing wrong with their conduct, happy to tell you how justified they are in raping people’s brains, because they’ve ‘got it all figured out’.

          Scared of so called ‘madness’? Maybe you should be.

          Scared of society’s response to ‘madness’. You absolutely should be.

          There ain’t a reader on this site that can be sure their life won’t be destroyed if they call 9/11 in a time of crisis. Not a one.

          When you come into contact with government psychiatry, you’re looking at the perfect storm of untrammeled state sanctioned violence, combined with the fanaticism of quacks who literally believe the extremes of human life are a brain disease but can’t prove it empirically, yet coast along on society’s blind deference to the prestige of something presented as medicine.

          Terrifying stuff.

          Nobody deserves to be forcibly handed over to fanatic drug and label based ‘biological’ psychiatry in their weakest hour. To hand the weakest and most overwhelmed people, in their weakest hour over to fundamentalist brain blaming quacks, is a betrayal of that person’s humanity.

          Psychiatry’s belief system involves a whole creation story for that person’s past, present and future, a whole set of fanatical assumptions, labels, lifelong drugging, etc. When you hand someone over to this profession against their will, you are kneecapping that person, sending them for both drugging AND indoctrination. Not only do we get our brains raped, we get them washed too, we get sent out into the world with a new identity, and a prophesied future, handed down to us from so called ‘medical’ authorities. I couldn’t think of anything more cruel to do to a person in their hour of need, than railroad them and set them up for a lifetime of dependency on quacks and quack ideology.

          It’s about as counterproductive as sending fat teens to an Al Qaeda training camp for exercise on the jungle gym. Those kids are gonna come back with a very unique brand of ‘help’.

          The tragedy of psychiatry is, society is indoctrinated into it too, and can’t even see how much of a heinous act it is, to force their beliefs around ‘mental health’ on people against their will. It’s absolutely on par with a forced religious conversion. This truly is a living nightmare not having the freedom to say no to the profession I have the least respect for in the entire world.

          Psychiatry has not earned a single one of the powers it enjoys. It stole them all, on the back of the public giving them the benefit of the doubt. Standing on the shoulders and flashing the ID of real science, real medicine, these frauds, these fanatics, have the power to enter the most intimate part of our bodies by force. This is tyranny.

          • I agree that we need to be dialoging with society more than with psychiatry. Unlike many people on this site, I believe that it’s a lost cause trying to talk with psychiatry. We’ve got to change the attitudes of society itself so that it will put the nix on psychiatrists and their forced drugging and so-called “treatment.”

            What infuriates me with psychiatry is its unwillingness to deal with peoples’ trauma. Trauma is never talked about nor dealt with. I don’t care how many pills you poke down people, numbing them doesn’t make the effects of trauma go away. They’re doing absolutely nothing to actually help people deal with the problems so that they can actually get their lives back in order. Not everyone suffering with emotional and psychological distress is traumatized, but there are many who are and the psychiatrists refuse to deal with it. Perhaps they’re afraid that if they raise the issue of trauma in the lives of others they might have to face the trauma they’ve experienced in their own lives. Better to ignore it totally so as to not have to deal with their own messy stuff.

          • Stephen,

            You might be surprised. I think there are a few on this site who would agree with you.

            I appreciate how you always speak your mind – honestly and openly. At the same time, you have such a big heart for those many who are being hurt by all this mess.

            I’m grateful you’re part of MIA. And I think many would agree!

            Duane

          • Thanks, Anonymous. Really.

            Once you have been drugged, you are drugged forever. It is permanent. That first pill or shot changes your life forever. Never mind the actual effects of the drug. You will have to live the rest of your life not knowing how you are permanently changed. THAT is the hell, the torture, the rape. In my experience. Although the actual effects of the drug were pretty bad, too. I developed trichotillomania in my first few months on Prozac and it never remitted. I pulled out my eyelashes and eyebrows leaving my face disfigured. I have had to get tattooing around my eyes which was expensive and unpleasant, and I hate looking like someone with tattoo’ed makeup on.

            My story is nothing like yours and in fact while I of course am as enraged as you are, Anonymous, about the crimes committed by psychiatry, I have to put much of the blame for my drugging on psychology. If the talk “therapists” had had any idea how to help me – any competence whatsoever – I would not have fallen victim to psych drugs. I would not have relented or resigned after several years of refusing to finally taking Prozac. I was not stupid. I knew I was not suffering from a lack of Prozac in my brain. I was never one to take any unnecessary drug. I’d been scared sh*tless in the 5th grade by a movie they showed us in school to deter us from using psychedelic street drugs like PCP and LSD. But years of expensive talk “therapy” including inpatient “treatment” for 7.5 weeks for my “eating disorder” and my “depression” left me so utterly hopeless and despairing and desperately, desperately afraid for my future – I was only 22 years old and had dropped out of an ivy league school – that I relented to taking their “medicine.” It took a while but I was finally broken down. Which wasn’t surprising considering I had no confidence or trust in myself. Which of course is why I’d needed help in the first place….

            The biggest lesson I have learned in life is about help. Most of what people call “help” is not help at all. Be very careful with that word.

          • Fluoxetina

            You seem like a strong person. I agree it is important we tell the world that even the ‘talking therapies’ are not bona fide medical interventions of any kind, but rather counseling and it depends on whether you get a wise counselor, there are a lot of harmful quacks in that too.

            “I’d been scared sh*tless in the 5th grade by a movie they showed us in school to deter us from using psychedelic street drugs like PCP and LSD.”

            This is very interesting to me because I’ve been thinking about what our expectations of a drug’s effect are the last couple of days.

            On the hair pulling, I’ve done this too. Because I am who I am, I don’t accept this ‘trich’ label, although it is a label I could qualify for. I have done extensive reading about this and am led to believe that in some people’s bodies, hair follicles once they’ve had hair pulled out enough, just stop growing back, is this what happened to you? This is very distressing. I found with sort of ‘mindfulness’, I hate to use that word, makes me sound like a hippie, that I can go months without touching my hair these days but I’m a man and keeping it short helps.

            Repetitive simple movements can become associated with calm, in my opinion. It’s very interesting to consider the repetitive movements of dance, in tribal cultures and a lot of my thought on extreme states of mind that get labeled ‘mental illness’ is around overwhelm and reversion to a kind of thinking where the information overload of modern mass civilization can be utterly, utterly overwhelming. When you’re scanning your environment for messages to bolster your narrative and every car license plate has something you can weave into your narrative, it’s a terrifying thing. I’ve been as ‘disturbed’ as a young man can be, but I didn’t deserve to have my brain raped by vicious quacks, nor set up for life with lies and false prognoses of doom.

  4. I agree with Stephen Gilbert, no talking to psychiatry. The gay rights movement didn’t talk to psychiatry. The day the American Medical Association no longer recognizes psychiatry as medicine, they should offer to retrain all the unemployed psychiatrists as either neurologists or anesthesiologists.

  5. I liked the article, it made lots of great points, though the issues are complex enough I understand it certainly isn’t perfect. Still, I’ really pleased that Joanna is a psychiatrist carrying the dialogue into psychiatry, and engaging the public as well. I don’t agree with the idea of completely getting rid of psychiatry – I think it makes sense to have people who specialize in figuring out how medical approaches might be used to wisely support recovery from mental and emotional problems – it’s just that the profession needs to admit that these problems are not primarily medical and they have to be able to be humble about the possible role of any medical approach and to acknowledge their own uncertainty about what is really going on, as do psychiatrists within Open Dialogue.

    I certainly think it is incorrect to claim, as PC did, that the gay rights movement didn’t talk to psychiatry. In fact, they took this talk right into the psychiatric conventions, and that’s a primary way they applied pressure to change. Before that, there was research done about how homosexuals could be well adjusted mentally and emotionally, that really did a lot to change how people thought.

    In our case, we aren’t going to be able to show that those identified as “mental patients” are in general “well adjusted mentally and emotionally,” but what we can show is that the experiences psychiatry tries to suppress, like hearing voices, having extreme emotions, altered states, etc., can all be part of the lives of people who are leading positive lives (either “well adjusted” or “creatively maladjusted”) and so the objective of a mental health system should not be to suppress “different” experiences, but to help people find a way to positively relate to their experiences without suppression. I think we need to take that dialogue to the public, but at the same time take it into all corners of the mental health field, into all the professions.

    • What you suggest sounds like what Tamasin Knight believes. Peoples’ “different” experiences should not be suppressed and they should not be forced into consensus reality.

      Dialogue is a very dangerous thing to try to do in places like I work in. Even asking why we can’t deal with peoples’ voices brings the wrath of the psychiatrists and psychologists down upon your head for promoting something that is not “theuraputic,” according to them. The last psychologist where I work who worked with peoples’ voices was fired. There is no dialogue period because they refuse to engage, they state that you are wrong, and if you continue you find yourself out on the front steps without a job. Everyone is expected to march in lock-step to their tune of “take your meds becasue you are ill for life.” There are people on staff who are hostile to the recovery movement. Now, how can you possibly be against something that promotes recovery? But they are. The only way that dialogue will ever happen here is if the Division of Behaviorial Health that oversees the hospital mandates from on high that it will take place. It sounds nice in theory to say that we can dialogue with these people, but it doesn’t happen where I’m at.

    • Ron, I admit that my statement may be factually incorrect. I am not an expert in the history of the gay rights movement. My point is that whether they talked or not, it wouldn’t have made any difference in the course of events. In accordance with Stephen Gilbert beliefs, it was society as a whole that caused the change in the DSM, not some direct discussions between gay activists and the APA. You just need to learn of Paula Caplan’s experience to convince yourself that’s how it happened.

      If you look into the works of Jaakko Seikkula you’ll find references to russian literary critics not to Kraepelin. Open Dialogue may be part of a state healthcare system but it’s methods have nothing to do with medicine. The Open Dialogue group in Finland uses psychotropics as anesthesia. I wonder if they believe as I do that psychiatry should be considered a branch of anesthesiology.

    • Nobody needs a psychiatrist to prescribe a sleeping pill, any physician, no matter the speciality, can prescribe one, and a sleeping pill for someone in distress who hasn’t been able to sleep for some time,is about what I’d accept in terms of psych drugs.

      I disagree that we couldn’t do without a wannabe-medical speciality dealing with what aren’t, never were, and never will be medical conditions. Humanity has done without it for thousands and ten thousands of years, and mostly with far better outcomes than those produced by psychiatry.

      And apropos of the outcomes, what I observe, time and again, is that it is those who reject psychiatry, its labels and its “treatments” who have the best long-term outcomes. I’m with Jacqui Dillon on this, who says in her excellent talk “The personal is political”, “I’m not mentally ill, never was, never will be.” Back when I experienced my last and most serious crisis, and my therapist tried desperately to persuade me to go and see a psychiatrist, the guerrilla inside of me said, ‘You’re not sick. Why on earth would you want to go and see a medical professional? No way!’ I’m glad that the guerrilla won, that I held onto this conviction, and didn’t give in to the pressure from my therapist and the victim inside, back then. And I’m glad that my therapist eventually respected my decision. Victims don’t recover. Guerrillas do. Psychiatry nurtures and nurses the victim, and fights the guerrilla. With everything it does. Right from its start, it has been designed to do so. Saying “no” to life, and producing victims is, has always been, and will always be psychiatry’s very essence.

      Open Dialogue works for a lot of people because the role psychiatric practice plays in it is as limited and peripheral as it is. It might work for even more people, if all psychiatric involvement was removed from it, i.e. if there were no elements at all in the approach that in any way feed the victim, instead of the guerrilla, or survivor, or whatever you want to call this energy inside all of us and its unconditional “yes” to life.

      • Excellent. Bold. Brave.

        ” what I observe, time and again, is that it is those who reject psychiatry, its labels and its “treatments” who have the best long-term outcomes.”

        Yes. And if they only reject the ‘treatments’ but keep believing in psychiatry and its labels, all hell can break loose. One must excise the ideology indoctrinated into one, as well as the neurotoxic garbage drugs.

        Let’s say someone makes it out intact, do you have any advice for them (and me) in how to cope with living as the equivalent as an apostate in the Middle Ages? I have great trouble when I look around and see the pyramid of human skulls being constructed out of people with psychiatric labels. Is the price we pay for recovery, to be sentenced to lifelong witnessing of a vulgar display of what psychiatry is still doing to others?

        • And they get away with building the “pyramid of human skulls” with impunity. It’s sickening.

          I still say that psychiatry needs to be removed from Medicine as a discipline. Everything that they do is built on quackery and snake oil peddling. You can’t tell me that they don’t know what the damned toxic drugs are doing to people. They know and they’ll continue to do what they do as long as society in general lets them get away with it. They’ve been working their deceit and quackery with the drugs for almost sixty years now and it’s time to quit talking wistfully about dialogue and time to start kicking some posteriors. And of course I’m speaking metaphorically here! Heaven knows we wouldn’t want anything other than a peaceful revolution!

        • Good question, _anonymous. To me, the price we pay for recovery is indeed to be sentenced to not only lifelong witnessing of a vulgar display of what psychiatry is still doing to others, but to being aware in general, and having to learn how to deal with whatever comes to our awareness in the most constructive way. Which can be quite a challenge.

      • “I’m not mentally ill, never was, never will be.”
        It has “only” taken me 25 years to finally understand this with my conscious mind – to say these words. I only came to this point so recently. Which makes me feel like I’m really slow. But I know that I do lack intuition and common sense, actually. That is a significant handicap in my ability to understand and overcome what happens in my life. Also it means I am someone with an especially big need for social interaction. I need to bounce things off other people, to converse, in order to figure things out. But of course I’ve led a solitary isolated, disconnected existence.

        • Hi Fluoxetina,

          I can totally relate to what you are saying. I often feel like I am very slow for not having seen the through the lies sooner. I don’t think we should be so hard on our selves though, because, well – neurotoxins make it very difficult for one to see through lies! And we do see through them now, after all.

          “But I know that I do lack intuition and common sense, actually. That is a significant handicap in my ability to understand and overcome what happens in my life.”

          I can also relate to this. I think part of it may well be that being labeled and drugged prevents one from developing normally. I was about the same age you were when I was conned into believing their nonsense. I am doing my best to catch up now.

          “Also it means I am someone with an especially big need for social interaction. I need to bounce things off other people, to converse, in order to figure things out. But of course I’ve led a solitary isolated, disconnected existence.”

          We are the same in this regard too, as are also so many people out there. This is no coincidence. The drugs and the ideology seem to lead one inevitably in that direction. But we have the power to escape our social isolation and to connect with the world in ways that are meaningful to us. It is very difficult for me, but I am figuring out how to do it, because I refuse to continue acting out someone else’s false narrative about my having an “illness” that means I should lower my expectations about everything in life. The fact that people in distress are encouraged to believe such things about themselves, by others who are pretending to help them, is disgusting.

          I also agree with what you said in your other comment regarding psychologists. I know that many of them are people who are truly dedicated to actually helping people in distress. Unfortunately, there also seems to be a sizable contingent that is joined at the hip ideologically and professionally with bio-medical psychiatry, and is dedicated only to “helping” people based on that twisted model. I too have experienced their malevolent influence first hand, and I think it deserves more attention. They have drunk the same Kool-ade as their prescription writing pals, and need to be held accountable for that.

          Best wishes!

          • Thanks, up-rising. And I agree with your statement that “the drugs and the ideology seem to lead one inevitably in that direction [I.e., social isolation].” You’re made to feel not good enough, too weird to be among people.

            Regarding the intuition and common sense, I’ve gained so much new understanding in the past few years, starting with aptitude tests I took in 2008 when I was 36 years old (20 years too late). People vary greatly in their ability for a certain kind of abstract thought/ reasoning/logic that is associated with an ability (and a desire) to write and an ability to understand other people’s motivations (and thus predict their actions). I was the kid who was booksmart but my less-academically inclined friend when I was in elementary school and high school used to look at me perplexed and remark on my apparent total lack of common sense. And in fact I was so lacking in whatever “sense” it is that’s needed to write that I shouldn’t have graduated from high school at all. I simply couldn’t write a paper. I couldn’t complete it. I only graduated through sheer determination and at a huge cost – isolating myself throughout high school because I would spend all my time in my room working on writing assignments.

            Based on the aptitude tests which confirmed my growing suspicions I now see myself as an engineer, i.e., someone who should have pursued engineering. My brain seems lop-sided toward the spatial, 3-dimensional and numerical. I feel that if I had put as much effort into engineering as I did into writing papers, I could have designed a space shuttle. But as it was, I burned myself out completely trying to accomplish the impossible – banging my head against the wall and putting all my energy into something I was never going to be able to succeed in. But none of the shrinks, therapists, teachers, or guidance counselors, and not even my uncle who has a PhD in Education from Harvard – none of these people – who knew I was struggling – was able to help me to find the right academic path so that I would lead a life with financial security and a satisfying and challenging career. Over $100,000 was spent in a short span of time on “treatment” that put the nails in my coffin, and the wrong education….

          • Thank you for sharing that bit of your story, fluoxetina. I bet it resonates with a lot of people. It does with me. While the details were different in my case, I was completely failed by those people and systems that were supposed to be guiding and supporting me when I was a young person. And that left me vulnerable and distressed and set me up perfectly for psychiatric non-personhood.

            I think it’s a serious problem that the tremendous diversity among people – specifically in terms of HOW we think – is not recognized and celebrated for making a society strong. This has especially tragic consequences when children are marginalized and stigmatized for the way their minds work, just because they have different strengths and weaknesses than some of their peers. It’s ridiculous! “One size fits all” represents a woefully unenlightened philosophy of education (or of anything) and the application of it to young people – or to anyone, for that matter – is ignorant, cruel, and damaging. And we, who are lucky enough to have eventually figured this out after having survived it, are left to pick up the pieces.

            “You’re made to feel not good enough, too weird to be among people.”

            Exactly. But that belief, however deeply it has been driven into us by idiots and scoundrels, will never be true.

        • fluoxetina

          It’s not so much “when” you saw through the charade, it’s the fact that you did see! We all come to this by different paths and at different times, and at different ages. But the important thing is that we see and know and they can’t shut us up any more! I was 61 years old before I realized what a scam they’re running so don’t feel badly at all.

          Congratulations on seeing it all for what it truly is! Don’t put yourself down! You’ve joined the ranks with the rest of us and that makes us all stronger!

    • Not only do we need to show that “creatively maladjusted” people can survive and thrive without having their brains modified, but we also need to show that drugging people does NOT make people well adjusted mentally and emotionally, and that talking and listening to them is much more likely to lead to that supposedly desired outcome. Which is what Bob’s work is really trying to do.

      The problem is, I’m not sure the psychiatric profession as a whole really wants people to recover. Their profession’s survival depends on people “needing drugs” on a semi-permanent basis. If you take that away, what has psychiatry got left to offer? The DSM? The occasional drug to deal with an immediate crisis? They lose all their power and authority, and they’re not going to let that happen. Whether they’re willing to admit it or not, psychiatry as a profession is invested in keeping people dependent and “ill.” If their mythology is no longer accepted, they become the worthless fifth wheels that they already really are.

      —- Steve

      • Exactly. Very well stated.

        Once they stopped listening to people and started popping them with the drugs they lost all credibility in calling themselves “doctors.” What is the first law of Medicine? “FIRST DO NO HARM!” How can they look at themselves in the mirror every morning when they know that they’re doing nothing but creating permanent patients so that their bank accounts will always be solvent.

        • The answer to how they can look at themselves in the mirror, is that they are indoctrinated fanatics on par with any fanatics in human history. They don’t what they do as crossing any lines of decency, they are ‘right’ and ‘might makes right’ too.

          The question I have for all of you, is how do you live the rest of your lives knowing that society has basically decided you’re an outcast for having a psychiatry scarlet letter?

          • A very good question.

            One of the ways that I chose was to go back into the “lions’ den” and confront the very people, on a daily basis, who treated me with such indifference and a lack of dignity. Now I am one of their peers as a “fellow staff person.” Granted, many of them don’t accept me as “real staff” but they all have to see me when I walk down the hall past them. Every day that I walk into that damned hospital I confront them.

            I’ve written articles for the hospital newsletter in which I dispute the concept of so-called “mental illness” and I’ve called into question the “healer status” claimed by the quacks by questioning their unwillingness to admit that they are flawed and wounded people themselves. I’ve introduced the “wounded healer” image and even though they refuse to embrace it people have read my comments and asked me about it.

            Outside of the hospital I’ve never hidden the fact that I was once in the “system.” I don’t trumpet the information indiscriminently, but I’m honest and up front about my “history” with anyone who asks me. My first boss that I had after getting out of the hospital cautioned me about being so honest about my history. He said that most people would not hire me if they knew my “history.” I asked him how I was going to explain the gap in my employment history otherwise. But of course I came back to work at the very hospital where I received the supposed “treatment” so it doesn’t matter now.

            It’s not much but this is the way that I live my life. I refuse to be an outcast and I won’t wear their “scarlet letter.”

    • “it’s just that the profession needs to admit that these problems are not primarily medical and they have to be able to be humble about the possible role of any medical approach and to acknowledge their own uncertainty about what is really going on, as do psychiatrists within Open Dialogue.”

      Ron, I like what you’re generally saying. But. I think the situation in Finland is just as fucked up as in Western European countries. I can say that much because I have liven all my life in Finland. I don’t think you foreign people totally understand the history and homogenous nature of Finland. The people up there in Northern Lapland are even more divorced from other kinds of cultures, though they see other cultures more and more through TV, internet, etc. There was just news that while in 2006 or so Keropudas was second lowest in forced treatment (binding, etc) in Finland, now it’s the second topmost. The manager of the hospital, Birgitta, explained that the types of patients have shifted during these years. They now get more and more of drug related cases and it’s the only place for this kind of patients to go in that province of Lapland. That is, maybe they’re kind of getting the torrent of current Western culture and it’s not all nice even with their family therapy.

      Some people living in that area also complain about weird people wandering around and demand a change in the system.

      I think the system of Open Dialogue, which has roots in at least 1970’s in the history of quite socialist Finland (Yrjö Kallinen, etc), is mostly interesting in that that particular place used neuroleptics in cautious manner. They had studies where one place used neuroleptics every time and other place used neuroleptics cautiously.

      Still, I’m not convinced Open Dialogue (kind of a family therapy) is the right answer. During the last meetings with my therapists here in Helsinki, I told her about all these problems in psychiatry, and mentioned Keropudas. She then told that she was working there earlier in her life. But she still was kind of cruel and non-enlightened even in our last meeting. For instance, when I tried to explain how they had made my life harder, she suddenly said “do you think we are thinking bad thoughts about us”, as if suggesting my critique is due to some illness in my brain or mind.

      In total, while I agree with most of you people write in this site, I think the system of Open Dialogue is currently almost too idealised and promoted in these circles. You don’t really understand the homogenous culture of Finland and Lapland, and their experiences can’t be totally extrapolated to other countries.

  6. Dear Joanna

    I like what you say about  psychotic preoccupations! When I withdrew from anti psychotics I developed  a lot of fear based preoccupations. They were difficult to let go of because they were about self protection.

    When I did  learn how to let go bit  by bit, they lost their power.

    Emotional Reasoning is what this is called in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. The Emotions controlling the Reasoning.

    The Solution was to let go of the thoughts  and look at them again  when things had  settled. This was not as easy as it sounds.

    I successfully  withdrew from strong antipsychotics 30 years ago, dropping down to weaker doses and tapering from there. I would not have been successful without the Talking Treatments.

    I was diagnosed as serious and  chronic a mental case as a patient can be!

    Yours Sincerely

    Fiachra

  7. I just today experienced a very disturbing reminder of how debilitating neuroleptic drugs are to people who take them needlessly. I’ve been tapering off of mine, but forgot to take my current dose last night. So, like a good patient, I took some mid-day, but just a half-dose. Since then, my interactions with people all day have been disturbingly appalling. Having come down some with remarkable positive effect, I am now able more acutely to discern the negative effects of the drug. The drug is supposed to make you “no longer care” about your purported delusions. Well, it certainly makes you no longer care, and makes you in fact forget, any train of thought you happen to be communicating at a given moment. Especially if what you’re trying to communicate is something you care about — the more passionately you feel about something, the more important the point you’re trying to make, the very thing that you’re trying to convey: those thoughts and feelings are snuffed out and silenced by the tranquilizing effect of the drug. The drug stands between the self and the outside world. The intended and actual effect of neuroleptics reminds me of something Nietzche wrote:

    “Consider the cattle, grazing as they pass you by. They do not know what is meant by yesterday or today, they leap about, eat, rest, digest, leap about again, and so from morn till night and from day to day, fettered to the moment and its pleasure or displeasure, and thus neither melancholy nor bored. […] A human being may well ask an animal: ‘Why do you not speak to me of your happiness but only stand and gaze at me?’ The animal would like to answer, and say, ‘The reason is I always forget what I was going to say’ – but then he forgot this answer too, and stayed silent.”

    Untimely Meditations by Friedrich Nietzsche

  8. I have ocd and depression…and the word bipolar has been said a few times..i have taken many different antipsychotics..they all made me sick with diarrhea every day for yrs!!! I also gained 50 lbs….then I started feeling delusional…paranoid ..and very depressed…..so I stopped taking them……then suffered from supersensitivity psychosis………..was admitted to a hospital and they raised the dosage on the Abilify………..months later….still delusional .. I start weening myself off abilify … which was not easy…doctor then put me on Latuda… which didn’t help anything and made my vision very blurry……I took it for one month and stopped …I am only taking antidepressants right now and im doing very well!! …….haven’t been delusional or paranoid for about a yr now and feeling lots better!!…..my ocd is not overwhelming me and im not crying at commercial anymore!!!! I think they should stop giving people who are bipolar any antipsychotics……it made things way worse for me…

  9. I do fine without “antipsychotics” or “mood stabilizers” either. My omniscient, godlike shrink can’t even tell the difference, except to say my affect is better. The only reason I’m still on effexor is it causes severe reactions or withdrawal symptoms when I try to come off. I need a place to dry out.

    I’ll bet if they prescribed meth, heroin, or cocaine to the “mentally ill” they would have similar benefits. FDA approved or not.

    TLC or tender loving care is what most of the mentally different need. Psychosis and depression or mania are simply ways of coping with an out of control world. They are usually ineffective coping mechanisms, but they help deal with pain.

    Rather than affirm the worth of the mentally different or show them unconditional love, talking to them in a respectful manner and meeting some of their physiological needs it’s easier to mock them, lock them up, and drug or electrocute them. I think that the reason people failed to recover from psychosis in the days before drugging is that they were locked up and abused. As a way of dealing with such treatment their psychotic symptoms only grew worse as they relied on them more and more to get through the days of cruelty and torment.