Amanda Bynes Isn’t Schizophrenic After All; Isn’t on Medication

Kermit Cole
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After a well-publicized stint in treatment for a diagnosis of schizophrenia, actress Amanda Bynes and her family have announced that she never had a mental illness and that her behavior was the result of marijuana abuse. “Amanda currently is on zero medication,” according to the family’s attorney. “She’s devoted to living her life as healthy as possible. She’s never had a history of abusing alcohol or hard drugs, and she’s proud to say she’s been marijuana-free for the past nine months.”

Amanda Bynes Addresses Schizophrenia Rumors (ABC News)
Amanda Bynes Knocks Down Schizophrenia Rumors (People)
Amanda Bynes Speaks Out Against Schizopnrenia Rumors in Powerful Statement (Bustle)

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

12 COMMENTS

  1. It is said that an accurate mental health diagnosis cannot be made within 6 months of the use of a substance or substances. The reason for that is that many substances, illicit and otherwise, have the ability to mimic mental illness in individuals. And there is no real rhyme or reason. A drug’s effects can be wholly different from person to person. Some love smoking weed , others get paranoid and have a bad time.

    She is lucky to have recovered, In a psychoprison or psychiatric ward, virtually everyone gets drugged -“put on meds”. Or threatened –“take your meds, or else”. When the individual’s condition grows markedly worse within days or weeks of stopping the psychiatric drugs they didn’t like, this is almost always due to a withdrawal reaction. However, misinformed doctors and misled parents, teachers and patients think that this is evidence that the individual ‘needs’ the drug even more, when in fact he or she needs time to recover from withdrawal effects.

    You are better off having a “psychotic” episode in Outer Mongolia than in the U.S. Why? Because third-world countries have better recovery rates for so-called “schizophrenia” than the United States and other industrialized nations that keep patients “maintained” on the drugs. In the United States, one “psychotic” episode will almost always land you in psychiatric wasteland for the rest of your life. It is psychiatry itself that created the “chronicity” in so-called “mental illness”.

  2. Copy_cat
    You’ve said it. But if the problems are psychological to begin with, the best longterm solution is psychological help.
    I don’t see how one event justifies schizophrenia diagnosis as schizophrenia is supposed to be a longterm condition. Like you say it only becomes longterm through the medical treatment.
    Its not just psychotic people that get diagnosed, disturbed people get diagnosed schizophrenic as well.

    • Well, you can be labelled psychotic without ever even having an episode. This happened to me: I was told I had a psychotic episode to justify my involuntary hospitalisation, which was also passed to the judge who was supposed to assess the legality of it. At the time of the hearing I was so drugged I don’t even remember the hearing happening at all. Later on I demanded my documents from the hospital and the “psychosis” has mysteriously disappeared. I’m still not sure if the hospital documentation matches the documentation which was filed for the court.
      Well, I count myself as a lucky one – this guy spent 8yrs in a psych ward with an “illness” he never had for having the audacity to expose criminal behaviour in the financial system:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustl_Mollath
      Very educating story. He made some quite sarcastic comments about the professionalism of psychiatrists who gave him and maintained the correctness of the “diagnosis” after being finally released. Something tells me that none of good professionals faced any charges for medical error or abuse…

  3. How than did Amanda Bynes skirt a psychiatric label and without lifelong drugs? I’m dumbfounded since my son’s psych hosp mirrors the treatment facilities where she was locked up since we live geographical near her parents. During my son’s locked psych stay the “experts” denied cannabis (today’s THC is 300% more than the 1960s) was a trigger in spite of me waving the cannabis-psychosis link to some young brains. Nor did my son receive the drug rehab we paid thousands for since the hosp was “out of network” yet my son’s medical records initial eval checked off need for “substance abuse ” treatment. Psychiatric mills are to label ’em, massively drug ’em, warehouse ’em, then dump ’em before their insurance runs out. This is psychiatry’s $$$ “game” yet the end result is some people die, either prematurely from the effects of multiple psych revolving door admissions and debilitating meds, or by sheer hopelessness.

    When my than 23 y/o son was using cannabis ’09 & ’11 (? to escape stress, ? for pain relief from his lengthy knee surgery/rehab – who knows) almost overnight his mind started to spin out. But not having the knowledge until after his death— that root causes for psychosis need to be examined. http://bestpractice.bmj.com/best-practice/monograph/1066/diagnosis.html (summation: a careful med hx should be taken to identify possible organic causes of psychosis including: recreational drug use (ETOH, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamines…). Since my son and his family didn’t have this knowledge how is it my son’s toxicology report was ignored? Why wasn’t he given that 6 month period before he was boxed into an overnight incurable, “MI for life, meds for life” with repeat “episodes” predicted? How would the unsuspecting person who gets caught in the psychiatric wasteland (to use Copycat’s wording) know the “experts” intentionally lied because MH is a “business”. How is this fathomable?

    Did Ms. Bynes get preferential expertise because she is a former Disney star? Did the p-docs bring her in on their well kept secret “yes, cannabis, can and does alter the MH of certain, vulnerable brains”. I hope she and her parents will help society now, as someone suggested, set the story straight. IF cannabis altered her brain, as it did my son, enough to cause symptoms which MIMIC bipolar (or some spectrum of psychosis) yet with cessation of cannabis (and any other chemical substances) the brain can recover. This was NOT the treatment my son received – just reinforced the hopelessness of his mental status. Everything in my son’s world collapsed during and shortly after his second psych hosp in a locked ward yet everyone who knew my son’s bigger-than-life personality still can not fathom he could take his life? I will never fully comprehend his death but I know one day the truth will come out. Sickeningly, the evils of the psychiatry appear to directly culpable.

    I want the psych industry to know it can’t have double standards for its celebrity stars vs the average citizen. My conclusion echoes Copycat’s – better to have an altered mental state in some 3rd world country than in the U.S.

    • Amanda Bynes has escaped the identity of “severely mentally ill woman” because she has RESOURCES that most people do not have. Her LAWYER has saved her reputation here. Her lawyer went to the media and let them know in no uncertain terms, “My client does not have schizophrenia,” essentially drawing a line and telling everyone “If you want to cross this line and defame my client by suggesting she is ‘severely mentally ill,’ then prepare to have your teeth kicked out in court.”

      Amanda Bynes has too much to lose to be labeled with a life-destroying bogus diagnosis like “schizophrenia.” There could be millions of dollars in revenue at stake. Her lawyer could lose a valuable client were Amanda to be successfully labeled as “schizophrenic.” Her powerful friends are not going to stand by and allow her to be destroyed by the mental illness industry, the way larmac’s son was destroyed and my own son was destroyed.

      Of course the psych industry can have double standards, larmac. They can do whatever the hell they please. Who is going to stop them except for maybe a well-paid bad-ass lawyer?

      And while I’m ranting here, I don’t entirely buy the “best practices” approach either because it implies that sometimes a mental illness label is warranted when certain other causes are ruled out. If somebody exhibits symptoms of psychosis, there is always SOME REASON for it – be it psychotropic agents, heavy metal poisoning, infection, severely frayed social relationships, trauma, abuse, bullying, or sleep deprivation to name a few. Psychosis and/or weird behavior should never be blamed on mental illness. “Mental illness” does not exists except for as a metaphor.

      Nobody should EVER be involuntarily harnessed to a stigmatizing, life-destroying, hope-sucking label of “chronic severe mental illness” like schizophrenia or bipolar. NOBODY.

      God bless you, larmac. Thank you for continuing to speak out about the crimes against humanity committed by the mental illness industry.

      Big love to you!

      • 97% agreed. Technically I think “psychosis” should also be in quotes since it is understood to be a “mental illness.” ( Crazy ,/i> on the other hand, makes no medical pretense and is simply descriptive, not “diagnostic,” hence to me far less offensive.

  4. This all seems like much ado over nothing of substance. Does or does not someone have an imaginary, linguistically impossible “disease” because she doesn’t act or feel like a famous actress is supposed to and smokes a lot of weed? If there’s enough time at the end of this discussion could we go back to the angels on the head of a pin debate?

  5. Really, oldhead, as more states seem to be leaning toward legalizing pot for recreational use shouldn’t the facts be known that the genetically, engineered marijuana seed ( grown hydroponically) now produces strains of the cannabis plant with particularly high levels of THC. Cannabis today is not the cannabis of the Woodstock era.

    It’s reported that in Colorado (which just became the 1st state to legalize pot for recreational use) cannabis-related vehicle fatalities climbed from 7.6% in ’06 to 17.3% in ’11 ( per CDOT stats). And according to a Nat’l Survey on Drug Use & Health, 10-15% of high school kids are dependent on drugs, mainly marijuana. ( My son only began experimenting with cannabis after high school, yet MH changes to his brain resulted in two breaks from reality, 18 months apart.)

    The most current stats for national estimates on drug-related visits to emergency depts (ED) are from DAWN ( Drug Abuse Warning Network) managed by SAMHSA- 2009- which analyzes all types of drugs used:

    Illicit Drugs-
    In 2009, DAWN estimates that almost one million visits to EDs involved an illicit drug, either alone or in combination with other types of drugs.

    cocaine was involved in 422,896 ED visits
    MARIJUANA was involved in 376,467 ED visits
    heroin was involved in 213,118 ED visits
    stimulants, including amphetamines and methamphetamine, were involved in 93,562 ED visits
    other illicit drugs—such as PCP, ecstasy, and GHB—were involved much less frequently than any of the drug types mentioned above.

    • Drugs should be legislated or decriminalised and regulated. It makes no sense to have a stupid double standard where meth from your doctor is different than meth from a street corner. This way it will be of the same “quality” and at least people may get information about how these drugs work and what the dangers are just like it was done with tobacco.

  6. I was just leaving a grumpy exasperated comment about people getting worked up over which variety of fraudulent “diagnosis” this poor woman should be subjected to, not making a statement about cannabis per se. Nevertheless you should be careful about how language is used and who’s using it. If someone were sitting in the park quietly smoking a joint and a cop jumped out of the bushes and shot him to death it would be listed as a “drug- related death.”

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    Back in the 60’s all I ever needed was Acapulco Gold , or Thai Stick
    Today I’m just high on life being med free . People need accurate information freedom of choice and access to what they need without any psychiatric interference and a place to rest and recover if need be without being coerced and some good food and drink available and to be around friends when they need.