Launch of the Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry

James Davies, PhD
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When I started working in the NHS in Britain I pretty much accepted the mainstream view – that psychiatric drugs work, that the categories of mental disorder have been established via solid scientific research, and that we are now on the cusp of understanding the biology of mental illness. I was wrong.

I only learnt how totally wrong I was, when I began researching and writing a book on the unhappy truth about psychiatry. This led me to interview many of the founding fathers of the profession. From them I heard many startling confessions about the flimsy and unscientific foundations upon which modern psychiatry rests. The picture that emerged was one of a profession in serious crisis; a profession that is, and as I state in the book’s title, seriously, disconcertingly, in both senses of the term, Cracked.

After its publication I had the opportunity to help set up a new critical psychiatry organization. While this organization celebrates that the critical psychiatry community grows in size and influence, exposing with ever greater confidence the various failings and dangers of psychiatry, its also regrets that this community’s vital message often fails to reach those in positions of political influence; those who can shape policy to address the mounting evidence of psychiatric harm.

The aim of our new organization, then, is to help to fill this gap. The organization – the Council for Evidence Based Psychiatry (CEP) – was informally launched in London this week. CEP will fight to bring to the heart of the political and medical establishment evidence that clearly exposes areas where psychiatry is doing more harm than good.

The official launch of CEP will take place on 30th April 2014 in the Houses of Parliament, London. And to mark the occasion two eminent critics will address the invited audience of journalists, MPs, policy makers, practitioners and survivor advocates. Dr. Joanna Moncrieff, a senior researcher and psychiatrist at University College London, will first talk about the exaggerated benefits of psychotropic medications, discussing the largely ignored evidence of their toxic and long-term debilitating effects.

She will be followed by Professor Peter Gotzsche, director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre and co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration, the gold standard for the review of medical research data.  He will talk about failed drug regulation, buried negative clinical trial data, conflicts of interest at medical journals, drug-induced harms, and other issues familiar to Mad in America subscribers.

Both speakers are members of CEP and so reflect the organisation’s core belief: that we are in the midst of a psychiatric drug epidemic with devastating consequences for public health. During the launch we will also show short films of survivor stories, to bring to life how damaging the impact of psychiatric treatment can be.

If you are interested in following the work of CEP please visit our site at cepuk.org, like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

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James Davies, PhD
Dr. James Davies is a co-founder of Council for Evidence Based Psychiatry (CEP) and editor of The Sedated Society: The Causes and Harms of our Psychiatric Drug Epidemic. He graduated from the University of Oxford in 2006 with a PhD in social and medical anthropology. He is a senior lecturer in social anthropology and psychotherapy at the University of Roehampton and is a practicing psychotherapist, having worked for MIND and the NHS.

23 COMMENTS

  1. This initiative is so very much appreciated by many! Thank you for having the moral courage and determination to stand up for what is right and to oppose the prevailing oppressive injustice and human rights abuse which have become the norm.

    We need many more honest principled psychiatrists with a conscience, who speak the truth and aspire to moral and ethical leadership. We need a lot less who blindly follow the status quo, are more oriented towards professional standing, prestige and vested interest than human health, who do more harm than good and who continue to peddle psychiatric and drug company propaganda.

    Loren Mosher was one of the ethical psychiatrists. He showed his moral fibre when in 1998 he submitted his letter of resignation to the American Psychiatric Association:

    http://www.moshersoteria.com/articles/resignation-from-apa/

    Psychiatry and the drug companies have been in bed together for a long time. Corruption and associated harm are now much more widespread and rife worldwide, and so this initiative is very important. Here is just one recent link about corruption and the harm being done:

    Israeli Drug Company Agrees to Pay $27.6 Million for U.S. Psychiatrist’s Prescribing of Antipsychotic Drug

    http://www.cchrint.org/2014/03/20/israeli-drug-company-agrees-to-pay-27-6-million-for-u-s-psychiatrists-prescribing-of-antipsychotic-drug/

    It is in the (economic) interests of most psychiatrists and the drug companies to try to continue to con us with their fake diagnoses and fake “cures” – which are not actually cures at all, but which tend to make people more sick than they were in the first place (see the above link). Psychiatric drugs are linked to: heart problems, diabetes, obesity, Parkinsonian movement disorders, suicidal feelings and behaviours, sedation and sudden unexplained death, among others.

    I would encourage people to watch this excellent documentary, which sums up the psychiatric industry (note industry and not profession) well and provides a good overview and history:

    The Marketing of Madness – Are We All Insane?

    http://www.cultureunplugged.com/play/3932

    Keep up the good work and thank you again! You are keeping the hope alive!

  2. I survived psychiatry, my original complaint of insomnia and anxiety snowballed into ADD and bipolar and lots of pills to go along with those labels. Less than 2 years later I started finding myself in the hospital with panic attacks , ‘mania’ , psychosis ect. Its very hard to describe how I got in that deep, it was like I forgot what I felt like before it all started and then kept trying to fix my problem with my problem, psychiatric drugs. It was finding out the truth about psychiatry and reading books critical of it that saved me from many more years of doing the same thing.

    I am convinced psychiatry is doing more harm then good, I am around alot of people in recovery for drug and alcohol abuse and have heard 100s of stories of people getting messed up after going to psychiatry or being sent to it as a child.

    Keep up the good work.

  3. Thank you for this initiative, certainly sounds like a step in the right direction to getting law/policy makers to receive a balanced view for once…and I’ll be very interested to hear what MP’s etc have to say in reaction.

    My only additional point that I think needs to be stressed at a political level – if psychiatry’s claims are essentially false, and its primary “treatments” harmful – then politicians needs to seriously claw back the spectacular legal powers they have afforded to this branch of “medicine” (and no other).

    You could only remotely justify involuntary treatment, and hospitalisation if you’re actually offering something genuine, which works…presently, all they’re essentially doing is identifying people’s who’s behaviour society disapproves of; locking them up for a bit; drugging them and then releasing them. If the “treatment” part is bogus, and harmful…how can such practices continue to be justified?

  4. Thank you for setting up “The Council for Evidence Based Psychiatry”. Great name!

    When talking to Psychiatrists I’ve found the phrase “but surely, Psychiatry must be evidence based?” to be a very powerful statement when challenging their assertions that simply disregard scientific research.

    Psychiatry cannot continue to be authority-based, but must become evidence-based.

    I’ve just checked out your http://www.cepuk.org website and it already looks like an excellent resource of information.

    Keep up the great work!

    Mike

  5. Dr. Davies,

    I was so happy to find at least one book last Christmas that speaks the truth regarding the psychiatric industry in the big box American book stores, yours. Where I live, I have to special order almost all books, like Whitaker’s, Moncrieff’s, Breggin’s, which express the warrented concerns regarding the psychiatric industry. I’m grateful to you, and your publisher, that you’re working to get the truth out in the large book stores. The American public has been so deluded by all of the psycho / pharmaceutical industries’ propaganda.

    And thank you for starting up “The Council for Evidence Based Medicine.” I do so hope some day the psychiatric community as a whole will start confessing their current “medical” approach, has nothing to do with evidence based medicine. I’m so heartbroken the hospitals near me still have no plans whatsoever to reduced the amount of drugs they are giving to patients, especially the children.

  6. Dear James
    Thank you for setting up the CEP. Its needed.

    In the last 2 years I’ve been treated for a serious eye condition at Moorefields Hospital, London. All doctors there have avoided discussing, my history of high exposure to Psychotropics in 1980/1.

    How can an eye specialist treat someone without taking a history of eye damage?

  7. Great post. There are probably many other experts at MIA and elsewhere who would want to join the Council for Evidence Based Psychiatry (CEP).

    I am looking forward to reading the book, Cracked, by Dr. James Davies I have on order after reading many excellent reviews of it.

    I especially appreciate the fact that Dr. Davies “calls a spade a spade” by exposing the totally fraudulent, destructive, disease mongering, predatory biopsychiatry agenda that only serves to line the pockets of psychiatry, the APA, Big Pharma and corrupt government hacks while serving as agents of social control and robbery of all human, civil and democratic rights in our increasingly fascist western countries pretending to be democracies.

  8. ‘Science-based’ and psychiatry are oxymorons. Dr. Niall McLaren, scottish psychiatrist states that psychiatry doesn’t even have a formal medical model for ‘mental disorder’. So how can they list almost 400 of them in the dsm? AND prescribe drugs to ‘treat’ them? Illogical all around and from the ground up.
    Other psychiatrists state psychiatry is not a science. It is pseudo-science only.
    Dr. Allen Frances, professor emeritus of psychiatry, says there are no objective clinical tests that definitively show anyone has or doesn’t have any ‘mental disorder’.
    Because some people like drugs, and drugs work sometimes in some ways (like drugging a frantic deer caught in a city backyard for example in order to make it docile and calmer), no one should have the mistaken idea that psychiatry is a science that knows what it is doing regarding human mentality, emotions, and feelings.

  9. Hey folks. I came across this Book sales organisation just yesterday and was intrigued by their sudden high profile. Personally, I would take their pronouncements with a pinch of salt! They have been invited through a consultation to contribute to the highly respected British Medical Journal. Well done, a feather in your cap, says I. What I was shocked to discover was that this so-called Evidence Based Council were asking for only negative experiences of psychoactive drugs. Now, believe me, I have no love for multinational drug companies but I fail to see how any evidence based approach would canvass for a sole set of opinions.

    Perhaps they have a hypothesis which explains their evidence gathering approach, but it smells to me like an organisation established to promote itself and sell books on the back of understandable skepticism with drug efficacy and outright cynicism with companies and complicit governments. This seems like shameless exploitation of those with mental health issues, rather than the high aims the CEBP seems to trumpet.

  10. Irishwolf,

    Have no fear! The biopsychiatry/Big Pharma Mafioso cartel has produced enough corrupt “science” or pseudoscience to falsely push their toxic drugs on a brainwashed, clueless public including doctors that are either duped or complicit that the evils of organized crime pale in comparison compared to this deadly enterprise of biopsychiatry.

    Here is one recent self serving post with the bogus claim that toxic psych drugs for fraudulent, voted in, invalid DSM life destroying stigmas “are just as effective” as those in mainstream (or real) medicine:

    http://real-psychiatry.blogspot.com/2012/02/critical-article-on-efficacy-of.html

    Real mature to justify one’s own psychiatric fraud and dangerous, murderous agenda/forced drugging, ECT and other chemical/electrical, surgical lobotomies with the “everybody’s doing it” excuse. And biopsychiatry fails to acknowledge that real medicine at least refers to something real that can be proven with evidence and tests confirmed with a second opinion unlike pseudoscientific biopschiatry in bed with Big Pharma to vote in bogus “mental illnesses” to push the latest lethal, brain damaging drugs on patent that do much more harm than good as exposed here and per many victims. Most important, regular medicine can’t force their treatments on their so called patients by law while biopsychiatry colludes with and buys out corrupt government hacks and maintains a revolving door of Big Pharma hacks in the FDA and other key government/Big Pharma lucrative positions and payola to create the “therapeutic state” so their deadly, unwanted, fascist torture treatments can be forced on one and all from cradle to grave.

    Just the posts below the above article expose how corrupt and deadly psychiatry became after selling out to Big Pharma while inventing bogus, life destroying stigmas like bipolar to push lethal new neuroleptic and epileptic drugs on patent that made billions for these criminals while knowingly murdering countless people with millions of destroyed lives. This monstrosity is well described in Dr. David Healy’s great book, Mania: A Short History of Bipolar Disorder. Dr. Joanna Moncrieff has written several excellent articles on MIA about the bipolar fad fraud while Bob Whitaker and many experts expose that most if not all so called bipolar is caused by the iatrogenic harm of drugs touted for the bogus depression and ADHD invented “diseases” to cover up and lie/deny typical social/environmental stressors that the wealthy, greedy minority in power prefer to cover up by using biopsychiatry to blame, stigmatize, silence, invalidate, ostracize and destroy their victims rather than acknowledging and addressing the real social problems of inequality, poverty, racism, sexism and other evils.

    I don’t think you need to worry if this organization collects cases of harm done by this evil biopsychiatry/Big Pharma cartel since their lies, bogus advertising, ghost written journal articles, junk science studies with all dangerous effects hidden or omitted, intimidation of patients, doctors and/or anyone who challenges them, their using their ill gotten billions to buy out politicians to force these poison psych drugs like neuroleptics on everyone on the planet especially for the latest fad fraud bipolar disorder on children and toddlers no less with many dying or seriously disabled as a result and their many other medical crimes against humanity detailed by Dr. Fred Baughman, Neurologist.

    Anyway, I am very grateful to have the voices of the very caring, ethical people/experts in the just launched Council for Evidence Based Psychiatry since they have the credentials and ethics to speak truth to power and on behalf of all those defamed and discredited by the mental death profession who are dismissed or gas lighted as “crazy” and accused of failing to see their fake mental illness to prove they are crazy reminding one of Joseph Heller’s excellent book on crazy making, Catch 22. I also recommend the great movie, Gaslight, with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman to see how psychopaths/malignant narcissists drive their victims crazy for their own greed and self serving purposes.

    Again, I am very grateful and full of admiration for Dr. James Davis and his equally highly qualified, concerned, ethical colleagues/members of the newly launched CEP. They’ve already done a great job of getting their honest, truthful message out to compete with decades of lies, fraud and destruction perpetrated by the biopsychiatry/Big Pharma/Government cartel fascist therapeutic state.

    • I’m not sure you understand. My beef is not with either big Pharma or little CEP, but with a methodology used by either which it is then claimed as rigorous or scientific but which patently is not. This is not a game of my cock’s bigger than your cock, its not a game. Unfortunately for CEP to make claim for EBM they need to use validly collated evidence. This is not happening…

  11. Irishwolf,

    Lewd, gross language is not necessary to prove your point!

    I don’t think CEP was claiming their calls for people harmed by biopsychiatry and its toxic drugs was evidence based necessarily, but rather, given tons of evidence based studies and patient outcomes by those like Robert Whitaker, Dr. Sandy Steingard, Dr. Joanna Moncrieff, Dr. James Davis, Dr. Peter Breggin, Dr. David Healy, Dr. Peter C. Gotzsche, Dr. Timothy Scott, Dr. Grace Jackson, Dr. Fred Baughman and many, many others at MIA and elsewhere cite exposing the fraud of most studies done by most of mainstream biopsychiatry/Big Pharma, this group is trying to promote the glaring need for people to wake up and be aware of the evidence that toxic psychiatry with its invalid, life destroying bogus stigmas to push the latest lethal drugs on patent can be very hazardous to one’s health and destroy one’s life literally in all too many ways. Both Dr. Davis and Dr. Gotzsche cite plenty of evidence in their books reviewed on MIA: Cracked and Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime respectively available at Amazon.

  12. Hi,
    I’m heavily diagnosed, I quit strong drugs because they were disabling and moved to psychotherapy. This worked and I became well. I can explain how this worked and why it worked, there’s no mystery attached to it.

    The problem with main stream psychiatry is that it doesn’t work, people don’t get better, and part of the fraud involves a ‘diagnosis for life’ that gets the fraudster off the hook.

    Psychiatric research also blocks acknowledgement of recovery outside the sickness of psychiatry.

    • Hi Fiachra, I’m always happy to read about your success with psychotherapy, and am very interested to know how psychotherapy worked for you. I did not at all have that same experience from psychotherapy, quite the opposite. I felt it did me a lot of damage which I had to undo myself, so that could reach clarity, grounding, and an authentic sense of self.

      I was in psychotherapy for a long time, and while at first it kind of calmed me down because the psychotherapist I saw before I moved to San Francisco were pretty nice, and gave me some healthy positive mirroring that I hadn’t gotten as a kid, and that did help.

      But when I moved to San Francisco in the mid ’90’s, I not only attended graduate school in counseling psychology, where, like me, my classmates were psychotherapists-to-be. I don’t mean to cast aspersions, but quite frankly, they were some of the most cold, judgmental, snobby, and stigmatizing people I’d ever met, who really seemed pretty clueless about life’s issues, and particularly, about issues of the disabled and disenfranchised.

      In addition to that, I saw one therapist after another, including a handful of group psychotherapists in a social service program, when I was coming off a lot of meds, who were downright cruel, not just to me, but to any of us who showed any signs of authenticity and independent thinking.

      The last therapist I saw was a case manager who worked in the system, who happened to graduate from the same grad school I did, which, interestingly enough was a psycho-spiritual program, who kind of poo-pooed traditional psychology programs, but still, the emphasis was on DSM and psychopathology. I thought it was pretty hypocritical, in the end.

      I was seeing this guy to transition off of disability, because I had healed and was practicing as an integral healer, which is my training, and also had an acting career going on. I wanted support as I transitioned from disability. He was HORRIBLE, and pushed me way back, as though his message to me was “who are you to think you can come off of disability?” That’s certainly how he made me feel.

      He added all sorts of fictitious diagnoses AFTER I had healed completely doing energy and spiritual work, in which I had trained and became certified, and which has comprised of my practice for the last 9 years. I went to see him with no diagnoses, and he started making them up! He didn’t even tell me about them. I discovered all of this when I requested my notes upon terminating psychotherapy for good, being totally fed up with all this crap.

      When I read these ridiculous notes, I realized he had been appeasing me in his office, to my face, and writing something totally different down, which explained why I felt so demeaned and unsafe with him. I’d bring it up that I felt uncomfortable with him and felt as though he was stigmatizing me because I did have a psychiatric history, and he’s suggest I was paranoid, or some such thing, and when I read my notes, I discovered I was right all along. He was seriously gaslighting me!

      My partner wanted me to sue him, but I’d already been through a lawsuit with the system, and I wasn’t going to go through that again. But I did send him an email and I gave him a good what for, and told him how much damage he is doing to his clients, and that he is no healer, counselor, nor nothing.

      After decades of psychotherapy, I had to heal from what I called ‘therapy brain,’ where all I could hear in my mental ears were stigmatizing and demeaning voices from what had been projected onto me. I did this using a combination of things I learned in my training as an integral healer and health practitioner that I did as I was healing my own heart and mind, as well as the issues that drove me down this path, to begin with. I was lucky, I found some really good teachers and healers after leaving behind the mental health world (until I went back to this guy for transitional support, which was a big mistake!).

      I’ve heard similar stories from others, how psychotherapy really did way more harm than good, so I’m curious how it helped you, which of course, I’m glad it did. Different things work for different people, but psychotherapy, at least in the Bay Area, proved to be quite dangerous. To my mind, as much as medication is dangerous for a lot of people.

  13. Hi Alex,
    Thanks for writing to me. Your story makes me cringe. I can see what you mean. If they believe DSM and Diagnoses then they are not real psychotherapists. I think Psychology is number one and Psychiatry is not even a medicine. And that medicine has no place in the treatment of emotional problems.

    I mean by psychotherapy the whole lot of non drug help and support and advice. I attended a lot of independent self help groups, as well as the buddhists (that have their own advice on how to be non worried) and I attended other spiritual groups and I have had one to one psychotherapy as well. I attended church advice groups as well (multi denomination).

    When I withdrew from strong medication I suffered from withdrawal sydrome (I got stressed very very easily, and I was frightened of ‘relapsing’). I went to MIND sponsored charity in the UK and they provided Counsellors for me. They were in training but they had life experience and were openminded, and down to earth. They weren’t pushy and they helped me a lot (they didn’t make any money out of me either). This was before formal CBT , and that was what I needed for anxiety and panic attacks (the symptoms of longterm withdrawal syndrome), but the help they gave me was along these lines (because that was what I asked for).

    I used to get bad attacks of anxiety, and flooding of emotion. When I was in them they seemed very real, but when they passed over I could see things in a reasonable way. So it was about learning to step back from my ‘head’, when I was full of fear, which is nt easy, (this is the buddhist solution as well ) – this was what worked. When my head balanced off more, my ‘indecision’ got better and I was able to see solutions to problems.

    I’m in independent self help groups all the time and they are good because I don’t have to worry about what I say – I can say anything about myself, because I have heard other people say everything, and nobody can become judgemental, or controlling (though some will certainly try to ) because they are all there for the same reason, and nobody is in charge. I can talk to group members every day. I think I could only confide in someone I’m sure I can trust , this makes sense to me – but groups might nt be everybodies cup of tea.

    The anxiety is not too bad now because of the help I’ve had (even though I still suffer from long term drug withdrawal syndrome).
    I mean Psychotherapy as opposed to Psychiatry and drugs (I hope I don’t mislead), but in terms of psychotherapy: counselling , CBT, buddhist approach, twelve step (I believe) are all recognised forms.

    Thanks for asking, Alex.

    • Thanks for the detailed clarification, Fiachra, makes good sense to me.

      It’s interesting to me when you say, “If they believe DSM and Diagnoses then they are not real psychotherapists” because here in the USA, psychotherapists do diagnose from DSM. As far as I know, it’s standard procedure. So I guess that there is hardly really a separation of psychiatry and psychotherapy here. I didn’t realize that this wasn’t the case elsewhere. Psychologists can’t prescribe medication, by law, but to me, that’s really about the only distinction between the two. At least in my experience and education, neither group is really doing a very good job with people, in that they seem to only know how to project their issues onto clients. It’s all so very ego-driven and based on control, while keeping the client in confusion for the purpose of having a long term income from each client. It’s really rather endless–a bottomless pit of false analysis. That’s been my experience and observation over the years.

      What you have to say about this is kind of an eye-opener to me.

      Sounds like you found yourself a really valuable network of healing tools and communities, which is wonderful. All the best with your continued healing. You seem to be on the right track. Good for you!!
      Alex.

        • Totally agreed, fraud, indeed. I look forward to its demise so that people can actually start to heal, rather than to be pushed back into their toxic cycles so that others can make money off of them. What a sham to our communities and civilization, and a real shame in the true and authentic world of healing.