What Is Biological Psychiatry and Why Is It So Important To Know?


In a recent discussion on Mad in America (MIA) I made the following statement: “I am NOT anti-psychiatry, but I AM proudly anti-Biological Psychiatry. And I believe anyone who critically reads the science reported at MIA, combined with the narratives of survivors and other dissidents, should be too.” This comment was part of a spirited, and at times, contentious discussion about Daniel Mackler’s recent blog titled “An Ode to Biological Psychiatry.” This blog was a scathing critique of the pervasive historical trend in psychiatry that essentially dominates the entire mental health field in this country and throughout most parts of the world.

The distinction I made between being “anti-psychiatry” versus “anti-Biological Psychiatry” is NOT one of simple preference or just some type of semantic argument. This is a strategic distinction that could actually mean the difference between a movement that remains isolated and on the fringes of society, or one that has a real chance of gaining enough allies – including within the broader struggle for human rights internationally – to truly end all forms of psychiatric oppression.

Some participants in that discussion, including a practicing psychiatrist (Sandra Steingard) who is a popular blogger at MIA, along with the actual founder of this website (Robert Whitaker), expressed deep concern about some of the content and tone of the blog. They passionately stated their belief that if we “demonize” (I will comment on the word, “demonize,” in Part 2 of this blog) all psychiatrists, and psychiatry as a whole, we will end up cutting off real dialogue and limit our ability to attract people to critically reevaluate the current mental health system.

Others in that discussion fully supported the content and tone of Mackler’s blog targeting Biological Psychiatry for all its abuses, and they emphatically responded that we have an historical obligation to expose and identify all forms of psychiatric oppression, and all those responsible for it, no matter who might be offended. And furthermore, many stated a position indicating that if we don’t decisively draw clear lines of demarcation between right and wrong, we will stand for nothing of substance and inspire nobody to want to join with us in this movement.

I fully agree with BOTH positions and I believe I can prove that they are NOT mutually exclusive. In fact, grasping and combining the essence of both positions is essential for developing a winning strategy to end all psychiatric oppression. In Part 2 of this blog I will present a clear strategic approach for how we can accomplish a joining of these two positions in a revolutionary way. However, in order to achieve this goal we must first become thoroughly scientific and look at the current reality in the world as it truly is, NOT what we might LIKE it to be.

What the Hell is “Biological Psychiatry” Anyway?

Some writers at MIA have suggested that to treat “Biological Psychiatry” as a target, or as THE enemy for our movement, might be confusing because of a commonly accepted interpretation of the word “biological.”  For these people this is especially true since most activists here would affirm (as would I) that human behavior and thoughts are related to many biological processes. They suggest that we need to come up with a different name to describe the oppressive forces within psychiatry, despite the fact that the name “Biological Psychiatry” or “bio-psychiatry” has been used thousands of times on this website and within this movement for decades as a descriptive name for psychiatric oppression. In this context, the other MORE accepted interpretation of the word “biological” is meant to describe a genetic/brain disease-based/drug-centered medical model of so-called psychiatric treatment.

Some bloggers, such as Dr. Sandra Steingard, seems to be so focused on the first interpretation of the word “biological,” that she is apparently not (as of yet) uncomfortable with identifying herself as a “biological psychiatrist.” This remains true despite the fact that most people at MIA would absolutely NOT see this as an accurate label to describe her, based on her evolving beliefs and the descriptions of her practice as a psychiatrist. Some might say (including myself) that she has been clearly INFLUENCED by Biological Psychiatry, but not actually DEFINED by it.

I must add the point that I have learned from Sandy Steingard’s blogs and from her evolution in theory and practice as a psychiatrist. We ALL (including myself in my role as a therapist) have been influenced by Biological Psychiatry, and based on our positions of power within the current system must carefully examine our thinking and practice in order to avoid doing potential harm to people.

Then of course, there is another separate vocal group at MIA who clearly state that they are firmly “anti-psychiatry” and do not think there is ANY importance in making a distinction between historical trends within the psychiatric profession. To them it is all the same; all of psychiatry and those that practice it, must be condemned. So the big question is: where will each of these different positions lead us, and what is the best strategic orientation to “unite all who can be united” moving forward in our struggle to end psychiatric oppression?

I have important news for everyone at MIA. All the confusion on this question regarding the true definition and origins of the name “Biological Psychiatry,” and why it is so important to know, can be rather easily resolved once and for all. If everyone here would take the time to make even a causal examination of the available literature related to this question, the debate would be all but over; they would clearly see that an historical verdict has already been rendered on the name Biological Psychiatry.

I used to believe that it was Peter Breggin who came up with the name “Biological Psychiatry” in the 1980’s, but upon further research on this question it is clear that the name actually started to be used by others much earlier in the 1950’s. As it turns out the major forces of oppression within psychiatry love the name “Biological Psychiatry” and they have very good reasons why they chose it. Let’s briefly examine this history.

I challenge everyone here to make a Google search of the name “Biological Psychiatry,” and then read through at least the first few dozen pages on the history of this term and discover for yourself who has eagerly claimed it as a perfect descriptive name for who and what they represent in the real world. When you start that search you will find some of the following organizations and publications:

These are just some of the journals and organizations that have the name “Biological Psychiatry” in their heading. There are dozens of other journals in psychiatry that may not have the name in its title, but clearly have Biological Psychiatry as its guiding ideology and practice.

Now read what Wikipedia has to say:

“Biological psychiatry or biopsychiatry is an approach to psychiatry that aims to understand mental disorders in terms of the biological function of the nervous system. It is interdisciplinary in its approach and draws on science such as neuroscience, psychopharmacology, biochemistry, genetics, epigenetics and physiology to investigate the biological bases of behavior and psychopathology . . .

“Biopsychiatry . . . is structured to follow the organization of the DSM-IV, psychiatry’s primary diagnostic and classification guide.

” . . . Because of the focus on the biological function of the nervous system, however, biological psychiatry has been particularly important in developing and prescribing drug-based treatments for mental disorders.

” . . . Biological psychiatry is a branch of psychiatry where the focus is chiefly on researching and understanding the biological basis of major mental disorders such as inipolar and bipolar affective (mood) disorders, schizophrenia and organic mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

” . . . Thorazine, the first widely used antipsychotic, was synthesized in 1950 …

” . . . The phrase biological psychiatry was first used in peer-reviewed scientific literature in 1953. (emphasis added)

” . . . Iproniazid, one of the first antidepressants, was first synthesized in 1957. In 1959 imipramine, the first tricyclic antidepressant, was developed…

” . . . In 1965 the seminal paper “The catecholamine hypothesis of affective disorders” was published. It articulated the “chemical imbalance” hypotheses of mental health disorders, especially depression. It formed much of the basis for the modern era in biological psychiatry.” (emphasis added)

Wikipedia (as one might expect) gives us some factual history and ultimately only a PARTIAL definition of Biological Psychiatry. The Google search, however, further leads us to a very important journal article written in 2006 with a simply brilliant title. From the journal Behavior and Social Issues, 15, 132-151, by Wyatt and Midkiff, we have the following article: “Biological Psychiatry: A Practice In Search Of a Science.” Included in that article is a significant addition to a more accurate definition:

“The term “biological psychiatry” describes a phenomenon of increasing visibility in both the professional and popular cultures in the past thirty years. It reflects growing acceptance of the notion that chemical imbalances, genetic defects, and related biological phenomena cause disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As biological causation has gained attention, acceptance of environmental causation has necessarily declined, and psychotropic medications have become the treatment of choice for mental and behavioral disorders.”

Clearly some of the specific language in their definition needs repair, but their description of the emphasis of biology over the role of environmental causation is an important addition to other known components of this specific historical trend in psychiatry. Later on in their article they introduce the key role of the pharmaceutical industry:

“The suggestion that our biology is the source of disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, addiction, and numerous childhood disorders is heavily promoted by the pharmaceutical industry. Biological causation suggests biological treatment.” (emphasis added)

As this journal article articulates, Biological Psychiatry has been in a desperate search over many decades for a science to justify its existence. Since it has never found one it has been forced to make one up, starting with the “chemical imbalance” theory first postulated in 1965. Fifty years and billions of dollars later, with literally millions of human victims from its drug experiments and other coercive forms of “treatment,” we now have an entrenched historical trend within psychiatry that has evolved into an institution that lies at the very core of the Psychiatric/Pharmaceutical/Industrial Complex.

Many writers such as Peter Breggin, David Healy, Marcia Angell, Robert Whitaker, and Peter Gotzsche (to name a few) have detailed and exposed the history of collusion, at the highest levels, between leaders and organizations in psychiatry with other highly placed executives and research and development leaders in Big Pharma. Many of the strategic machinations on the part of this emerging trend of Biological Psychiatry were the result of the psychiatric profession’s desperate state of affairs given their seriously declining economic and cultural status, especially during the 1960’s.

During this low point in psychiatry’s history it needed a way to gain legitimacy while overcoming the eclectic nature of its profession’s theory and practice, especially in its competition with other branches of medicine. Some of its leaders at that time were driven to give psychiatry the appearance of being based on the hard science of genetics and neurobiology, combined with the added discovery of “magic (pharmaceutical) bullets” targeting real “diseases” of the brain and so-called “chemical imbalances.” This immerging trend of Biological Psychiatry was predicated on a thoroughly reductionist approach; a science constructed on an unproven hypothesis justifying a newly manufactured paradigm of psychiatric drug centered “treatment” options.

All this led to the establishment of psychiatry’s series of evolving DSM “Bibles” that categorized a set of brain diseases and disorders completely divorced from a material world that actually creates the very symptoms they so desperately needed to pathologize. In this context the name “Biological Psychiatry” and the use of the word “biological” was a perfect fit. And all of this merged quite conveniently with the dynamic rise of the highly profitable pharmaceutical industry during the same period of time in our recent history.

Also, during the last several decades Biological Psychiatry, while colluding with Big Pharma, has virtually taken over all the major institutions of “higher learning” that train psychiatrists as doctors. These schools and their curriculums are heavily funded and influenced by the pharmaceutical industry with its own economic and political agenda. This “education” is centered on what could be described as a pseudoscientific combination of neurobiology and psychopharmacology; education in therapy and other social interventions for people in distress are mere electives, if offered at all. In this context the line between real education and propaganda is well beyond being blurred. Indoctrination would not be an exaggeration to describe this so-called learning environment.

Biological Psychiatry, as the dominant force in psychiatry, now represents a perfect melding of three very powerful institutions – psychiatry, the legal drug industry, and the medical schools that train psychiatrists. This unification was necessary to create favorable conditions for the complete takeover of the entire mental health system in this country and throughout most parts of the world. I, myself, witnessed (over more than two decades) the gradual takeover of the community mental health system in this country. A takeover that has now made psychiatric drugs, not therapy/counseling, as the new standard of care. Biological Psychiatry has grown exponentially in power in recent years and it negative influences permeate practically every pore within our society.

This takeover by Biological Psychiatry was a slow and protracted seizure by attrition. It took place over several decades and was significantly aided by Big Pharma’s deceptive marketing campaigns. A trillion dollars of advertising later, this system has successfully preyed upon a vulnerable population and created millions of victims out of people only looking for solutions to problems in an often traumatic and stressful world. This wholesale promotion of psychiatric drug use seized upon and expanded our already well-established culture of addiction. Biological Psychiatry has now created a huge public demand for a new legal form of mind altering substance abuse, where enormous harm clearly outweighs any benefits.

Based on all of this above history I would suggest the following additions for a more comprehensive scientific definition of Biological Psychiatry:

Biological Psychiatry is the wedding of genetic based theories of so-called “mental illness” with the American Psychiatric Association and other leading psychiatric organizations in the world, together with the pharmaceutical industry, and the major training institutions for psychiatry.

It promotes and maintains a genetic/brain disease based/drug centered medical model of treatment. It also promotes and enforces various forms of coercive types of so-called “treatment,” including forced drugging and electro-shock. It controls, conducts, and corrupts most psychiatric drug research which has led to millions of people throughout the world being severely harmed and/or dependent on brain and body damaging drugs. 

Biological Psychiatry is useful for the ruling classes in society to maintain power by using “genetic theories of original sin” to shift people’s focus away from the innate inequalities and daily traumas experienced by people living within their system. Their drug centered model of social control has especially targeted youth, prisoners, non-conformists and other more volatile sections of the population.

Biological Psychiatry, when combined with Big Pharma’s innate drive to maximize profits, has now become the driving force within the Psychiatric/Pharmaceutical/Industrial Complex.

While others may want to add to or tweak this definition of Biological Psychiatry, I believe a strong case has been made as to where this name came from and what it represents in the real world. Can there be any debate at MIA as to whether or not Biological Psychiatry is an oppressive force in the world? People may prefer it to be something different, but this simply cannot, and will not happen. People may wish to cling to another interpretation of the word, “biological,” but that debate has long since passed. I think we can say with some certainty that an historical verdict has clearly been rendered on this question; as Yogi Berra might finally say: “Biological Psychiatry is what it is!”

I would then ask the following important question: To those who were confused by the name, do you still want to cling to or somehow be identified with Biological Psychiatry as an historical trend? Let’s be clear about my question. Notice I DID NOT ASK if you still believe that genetics may somehow play some type of a role in what gets labeled as “mental illness,” or whether or not psychiatric drugs can have a limited positive role for some people experiencing extreme symptomology. I would even add the controversial issue as to whether or not there are extreme circumstances when force should be used to detain people who are in danger of self-harm. These are all clearly debatable questions within our ranks, and will be for some time. We can still debate these questions while being perfectly clear that we are vehemently OPPOSED to Biological Psychiatry as an overall oppressive force in society.

If most of us could unite around a clearer definition of Biological Psychiatry, then the next step is to more systematically educate people throughout society exactly what it is and what harm it is doing to people. It is then that we can begin to create a dynamic politically charged environment similar to the 60’s where broadly throughout society the question was asked and debated: Are you for or against the war? In today’s situation the question that needs to be forcefully raised is: Are you for or against Biological Psychiatry, and if you are against it, what are you doing to stop it?

Now I am aware that, so far, I have not addressed those people at MIA who believe that all psychiatry must be equally condemned, and that making a separate distinction regarding Biological Psychiatry is not important or misguided. Part 2 of this blog will address (in much greater detail) why this distinction between Biological Psychiatry and the REST of psychiatry is so critical to developing a correct strategic approach to building a successful movement to end all psychiatric oppression. Part 2 will also explore specific ideas for how we can create the material conditions for a seismic shift and major split within both psychiatry and the entire mental health field that could potentially win over more allies and much greater numbers of people throughout society who support our cause.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

Previous articleFrom Self Care to Collective Caring
Next articlePhil Borges – Op-Ed Bio
Richard D. Lewis
Addiction, Biological Psychiatry and the Disease Model: Richard D. Lewis, MEd, has worked with addictions for the past 19 years in New Bedford, MA. Richard discusses the relationship of addictions to severe psychological distress often labeled as a “disease” and/or a so-called “mental illness".


  1. Presumably you believe that the non-biological, ‘REST of psychiatry’ is a force for good or at least salvageable. The truth is that psychiatry was an oppressive force long before the DSM and the rise of big pharma. Older, psychodynamic orientations, for example, also pathologised normal aspects of human experience, and psychiatrists have engaged in coercive practices ever since the emergence of the specialty. We’re misconceiving and missing large parts of the problem if we focus only on the current biological approach. Indeed we’re misguided if we focus only on psychiatry; clinical psychology and social work, in all their flavours, are major contributors to the problem too.

    • That’s a good point. I cannot say that there are no parts of psychiatry that are worth preserving but it’s not only the drugs, ECT and lobotomies that are a problem. It’s the arrogance of coercion for those who “lack insight” and the conceptual pathologising of most of human emotionality and behaviours only because they make someone (usually a person in the position of power) uncomfortable.
      Personally my biggest problem with psychiatry is its powers as law enforcement not accompanied by any responsibilities and constraints of the real justice system. As long as psychiatrists can use their power to subject people to “treatment” against their will, to physically assault and imprison them without any due process and based on pre-crime the system cannot be repaired. For medicine to improve feedback from patients is a necessary step and that cannot exist in a coercive setting. I don’t care if it’s drugs, shocks and surgeries or any other voodoo practices – the whole concept is wrong.

    • One more thought: I think the major problem with psychiatry and related disciplines you’ve mentioned is the concentration on the individual as a source of the problem. As if “fixing” something within the person be it with drugs, talk therapy etc. is going to fix the problem. I personally find the Open Dialogue approach so appealing because it understands “mental illness” as a problem “in between” people, where individual distress is merely a symptom of a broader problem within a social setting. One cannot “treat” anyone successfully without taking this into account and that requires a personalised approach – everyone can have different reasons for their problems: social (say poverty), trauma-related, interpersonal or even biological (some mental problems are linked to biological diseases or are a result of stress associated with them). Some aspect of working with the individual can be helpful (like helping a person to get out of a toxic relationship) but it’s not the same as to say “you have a mental disorder we will work on”. A mental breakdown in a toxic environment is not due to a disorder of the individual – it’s a disorder of the social setting generating the toxicity and telling the individual there is something wrong with him/her is shooting the messenger.

  2. This is a well argued indictment of what is referred to as “Biological Psychiatry.” I am still of the opinion that this is an unnecessary distinction, but I look forward to reading Part 2.

    One issue I hope that Part 2 might address, or that I hope might be addressed in the comments, is this: As persuasive as this post is, it still reads to me like a story of a once noble field that has become corrupted by a “Biological Psychiatry” faction allied with Big Pharma. But if that is so, then when was the golden age of psychiatry? I’ve read Mad in America and I don’t recall seeing it in there.

    I’m glad this discussion is happening. Thank you.

  3. The ascendant Drug Shock and Psychosurgery Psychiatry is in no desperate search to justify its existence. It functions using propaganda which it does best.

    Biological Psychiatry is a propaganda catch phrase, as are tardive Diskinesia, side effect, weight gain, Medical model – everything written by them is propaganda.

    Calling them Biopsychiatry or Biological Psychiatry misses the fact that they have no “Medical model” they are not the Medical approach.

    Thomas A. Ban, M.D. part of the Task Force 7 is part of the personnel who suppressed chemotherapy in Psychiatry (called Orthomolecular). The fake peer review propaganda document Task Force 7 Report included a challenge test as pretend peer review evidence that Ban did, Ban gave a large dose of methonine to patients he had taken off tranquilizers and some niacin. The niacin failed to act as an antidote and all the test group deteriorated. This is similar to the later amphetamine challenge “tests’ which are propaganda as well – propaganda to (propaganda) support the (propaganda) dopamine hypothesis.

    They didn’t care about “dopamine hypothesis” nor “disproving niacin” they just need to look the part.

    Thomas Ban, M.D. “Dedicated”

    Abram Hoffer, M.D. who lead Psychiatry’s new Medical treatment describes the takeover by the drug companies

    So they aren’t the Medical model, nor Biologic Psychiatry they are the Drug Psychiatry. So Antipsychiatry is an okay word, really shorthand for opposing everything done by these frauds but not the legit Biochemical people and psychotherapy.

    Dan Burdick, Eugene Oregon

    • I have to disagree with you. The so-called Orthomolecular therapy is just as much bs as the standard psychiatric treatment. Pumping someone full of vitamins is not going to cure anything and is based on the same principle as other drug treatments: that there’s a deficit of some substance in the body which is causing the problem. In fact, some people can be helped by supplementing minerals, vitamins and exogenous fatty acids but that is specific cases when people have a deficiency (that can be determined with blood tests which btw psychiatrists never do, save maybe to monitor if they’ve destroyed your liver/kidneys already).

  4. Hi Richard,
    Great post, I think I’m critical psychiatry.
    Biological psychiatry (as I know it) uses tranquillisers as medicine to treat human distress as an illness and people are expected to remain sick. The biological approach does not get people well.

    The question is whether non biological treatments can do better.

    I can substantiate with evidence that the non biological methods can bring about full recovery, from the major ‘mental illnesses’. Once people get better (through ‘psychology’) they remain well because the problems get sorted out.

    I believe that these so called illnesses do not exist and that they are medically created. That a lot of the time even the ‘diagnosis’ is ‘helped’ along the way.

    Its more a public relations battle and the biological approach has got the upper hand. But the digital age and consumer networking can help change all of this.

    • I disagree with “Once people get better (through ‘psychology’) they remain well because the problems get sorted out. ”
      My father and mother are the root of my “mental illness”, I am sure other people with “mental illness” have parents that literally make them crazy.

      The King and Queen do not want to lose their power, and successfully use psychiatry to keep their children as children.

      • My mother and father are not the root of the mental illness label given to me. They got the label also and it came from psychiatry. I got from my parents a good upbringing and through that the resilience to cope with what psychiatry did.

        What drove me into an altered mind state was pain, physical and emotional. Psychiatry is patriarchal and infantilises the patients so as to more easily control them. Let’s not blame the mothers or even the fathers. Let’s hold the system responsible and do something to change it and shift the paradigm.

        • Well, in some cases they are to blame. In some cases mental distress is caused by things you can’t influence – it’s nobody’s fault one gets a chronic disease or experiences a loss of a family member. But in some cases there is a well defined culprit – a domestic abuser, an overprotective parent, a bullying co-worker. Emotional distress can have many causes and making bank statements like “it’s the brain”, “no, it’s the parents”, “no, it’s the capitalistic society” ignores the fact that all of them can be true/false/kind of true in different situations.

  5. This thoughtful article is a valiant effort towards gathering forces within the psych reform movement. I would love to see that happen but I must remain skeptical. IMO, the word “biological” is implied in the word “psychiatry.” Take biology out of the equation and most people will assume that we’re now talking about psychology.

    How (or whether) we come to a meeting of the minds on our terminology depends on our approach and I see little cause for optimism. With opinions on forced treatment arranged along a spectrum, at one end sits Fuller Torrey (force okay once there’s a diagnosis) and, at the other, Thomas Szasz (force never okay). If you’re not a Szaszian (which I’m not) you’ll be accused of being a forced drugging enthusiast and the inevitable vitriol shuts down conversation.

    We might learn from the errors of the animal rights movement. The extremists who shriek about how evil it is to own pets actually harm animal rights because their opponents point to them as representative of the entire movement and they clearly are not. If the true goal is treating animals better, pushing for stronger legislation regarding the humane rearing and slaughter of livestock is where the effort should go, not into holding up “Meat is Murder” signs.

    The extremists don’t help in the psych rights movement either.

        • If you want to meet in the middle between Torrey and Szasz, it would help your case for there to be a strong presence on the “Szasz side” of the argument, because that moves the perceived “center” of the debate over from the “Torrey-side,” which is dominant, to where you want it. (For some reason, a lot of people seem to think the center is always right.)

          It’s kind of like the ridiculous national politics here in the US. Over the years, liberals supported oppression against communists, and then socialists, and then trade unionists, all of whom were painted as extremists, and now liberals themselves are painted as extremists because they sold out everyone to the left of them. (They even had to re-brand themselves as “progressives.”) So now, the perceived political “center” is somewhere between Obama and Paul Ryan, I guess, which means that it’s firmly in right-wing territory.

          That’s what my pragmatic side says. My idealistic side says, “Remaining true to one’s own moral compass (or disagreeing with Francesca Allen) does not make one an ‘extremist.'”

          • I certainly did not say nor would I ever say that disagreeing with me makes one an extremist. What makes one an extremist is holding an untenable position such as that there is never, ever justification for psychiatric intervention. By way of example, some people’s views on suicide prevention are extremist.

          • “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum….”

            ― Noam Chomsky, The Common Good

            …and to call everyone outside of the spectrum an extremist is a very good way to achieve that goal.

        • Well, if you compare the struggle for “mentally ill” rights to animal rights you may have a point for the “in-between”. Animals are considered to be inferior to humans in many aspects of their cognition and a lot of people see killing them as justifiable as long as it’s “humane”. However, that argument falls on it’s face if you compare the “mentally ill” rights movement to anti-slavery or LGBT movements (like, you know – other human rights movements). What is the acceptable degree for abuse and discrimination of slaves of gey people?
          Your analogy shows a flaw in thinking – you’re conceiving “mentally ill” as other, potentially inferior in their cognition (“lack of insight”) so the violation of some of their rights is OK as long as it’s kept to some standard. Well, I’d like to be treated like a human being not like a dog or a cow.

    • “animal rights”

      Unlike psychiatric patients farm animals have the right to fresh air and direct sun and exercise !

      § 205.239 Livestock living conditions. [PARAPHRASED]

      (a) The producer of an organic livestock operation must establish and maintain year-round livestock living conditions which accommodate the health and natural behavior of animals, including:

      (1) Year-round access for all animals to the outdoors, shade, shelter, exercise areas, fresh air, clean water for drinking, and direct sunlight, suitable to the species, its stage of life, the climate, and the environment…Yards, feeding pads, and feedlots shall be large enough to allow all ruminant livestock to feed simultaneously without crowding and without competition for food. Continuous total confinement of any animal indoors is prohibited…

      (4) Shelter designed to allow for:

      (i) Natural maintenance, comfort behaviors, and opportunity to exercise.


      • But you are quoting guidelines for ORGANIC farming while the vast majority of livestock are raised/slaughtered via FACTORY farming. I don’t know many psychiatric patients who spend their ENTIRE lives stuck in a crate too small for them to turn around in before usually being slaughtered in an unnecessarily brutal, inhumane manner.

    • Extremists how F. A.? I agree that “extremist” and “vitriole” are handy pejorative labels. In Daniel Mackler’s case with his recent article, vitriolic language was the problem, in my view. Further, that’s not a matter of mere “tone” as Richard would have it, but the more essential difference in choice of words. Emotions are very secondhand, second rate information dependent on attitudes and knowledge or ignorance.

      So, you can’t reasonably be meaning to say that Szasz was an extremist who held us back? Many people who want to express themselves about these very complicated issues that we are trying to make sense of and respond to sound like extremists for want of explanatory frameworks like Szasz attempted to put on offer. Think of what you need to say to get some anti-anti-anti-psychiatry rant-er to understand what good action you think is possible and you will see what most everyone mainstream also still needs to learn and view with an independent mind.

  6. It seems to me that if we could do away with “biological psychiatry,” we would still be left with FORCED psychiatry. Isn’t that the real problem?

    As far as calling ourselves “anti-psychiatry,” I just haven’t seen at all that regular people perceive that phrase as something too “extreme” to relate to. My experience is that people want to know what I mean by the phrase. And this of course gives me an opening to talk about a lot of things.

    The only people I have encountered who are really bothered by the phrase, and who keep referring to it as “extreme,” are people like E. Fuller Torrey, our friend, and Jeffrey Lieberman, the past president of the APA. The fact that they keep mentioning it tells me that they are afraid that it may become popular.

    I wrote a whole article about this in the past year on MIA. Please check out “Of Course I’m Anti-Psychiatry, Aren’t You?” Hopefully, you will find some well-reasoned and convincing arguments there.

      • “I don’t see how non-biological psychiatry could be forced upon anybody. Involuntary talk therapy doesn’t really make any sense.”

        Francesca Allan,

        Your failure to fathom how it is, that ‘non-biological psychiatry’ could be forced on people, is no fault of your own.

        On the contrary, you are, imho, simply expressing the effect of confusing nosology. Richard has sincerely attempted, with his blog post (above), to create an iron clad (very strong) argument, in favor of this notion, that: There are two quite separate and distinct classes, of psychiatrist (or, two very different schools of thought in psychiatry), and he has not proven his point…

        He has not done a good job of it (despite the best of intentions). Maybe his next blog post will offer needed clarifications.

        So, I think your stated confusion is key to this discussion — because, imho, it is Richard’s fault, not yours. And, I agree with your conclusion, that “Involuntary talk therapy doesn’t really make any sense.”

        Few people could imagine that what is presumed to be ‘non-biological psychiatry’ could be forced on people.

        I think what you’re saying, goes a long way toward explaining why no careful observers of psychiatry can reasonably hope to view psychiatrists as falling neatly into two separate camps (nor will they ever divide themselves into two camps) — ‘biological psychiatry’ and ‘non-biological psychiatry.’

        The confusion you express is that same, that many could easily feel, when speaking with Richard about ‘biological psychiatry’; you are failing to understand, that: In Richard’s proposed scheme, “the rest” of psychiatrists (i.e., those who, ostensibly, are not ‘biological psychiatrists’) most definitely can be prescribers of psychiatric drugs.

        And, in fact, they can forcibly drug their “patients”.

        Only, their stated reasons for doing so would be different from the stated reasons of psychiatrists whom Richard refers to as ‘biological psychiatrists.’

        Note: Richard has previously suggested, that he does not approve of forced drugging (and I deeply appreciate his stance, as such); he conveyed that point, in recent comments to me, under Daniel Mackler’s latest blog post; he has my utmost respect for having come to the point, that he can convey such a view to his readers; but, apparently, he is nonetheless willing to befriend psychiatrists who order such drugging.

        Those who order and condoned forced brain-altering ‘treatments’ are not ‘the enemy’ — according to Richard, currently…

        ‘Biological psychiatrists’ are ‘the enemy’ (to Richard).

        And (to Richard), ‘biological psychiatrists’ are those who promote theories of genetically caused “mental illness” and/or “mental disorder.”

        Of course, I could be misreading him or over-simplifying his views, as I reiterate them; I hope he will correct me if I am doing so; but, in any case, I believe he views “the rest” of psychiatrists (i.e., ‘non-biological psychiatrists’) as those whose work may or may not consist, mainly, in the practice of prescribing psychotropic drugs; and, such psychiatrists (whom he feels are not ‘the enemy’) may or may not be providers of talk therapy.

        What sets these psychiatrists apart from ‘biological psychiatrists’ (according to Richard), is that: They are inclined to eschew theories of genetic determinism; indeed, they’re quite willing to presume, that most (if not all) of what’s typically called “mental illness” and “mental disorders” amount to the effects of traumatic experiences and/or environment stressors…

        I believe that is what Richard is suggesting, ultimately.

        But, in any case, most nearly all psychiatrists condoned forced drugging…

        And, frankly, to me, that’s the main problem with psychiatry.

        Oh, and, by the way, Francesca, I have read you explaining, in one of your comments, somewhere on this page, that you’re fine with the concept of “mental disorder.” Likewise, I have no problem with that term, except I believe that psychiatry has made it into something of a farce…

        The term “mental disorder” is usable, I think, to describe a state of reported mental confusion.

        Meanwhile, the DSM or ICD (‘official’) lists of supposed “mental disorders” are an utter crock, over all, imho…

        They are, especially, because they speak of so many so-called “mental disorders” while suggesting theories of supposed “heritability” — which becomes genetic determinism. They are offensive theories. So, I fully sympathize with Richard’s general sense of disgust with (and his clear disdain for) what he calls “biological psychiatry.”

        However, the most offensive thing (imho) in psychiatry is the hubris of someone who would choose to tamper with another person’s brain, against that person’s objections.

        To me, in discussions of psychiatry, the ‘enemy’ is anyone who would approve of such ‘medical’ treatment.

        It matters very little to me whether or not we conclude, that such a person is a supporter of what Richard calls “biological psychiatry.”

        And, of course, when I speak here, in terms of identifying ‘enemies,’ I mean to say, there are these people whom I choose to hold at arms distance, as I pray for their enlightenment. I am wishing such individuals all the best — really — harboring no ill will whatsoever…



        • I’m not experiencing confusion. I am well aware that psychiatrists can and do forcibly drug their patients. I just happen to believe that “non-biological psychiatrists” (awkward phrase) are de facto psychologists and I don’t see how one person can FORCE talk therapy upon another. And there are in fact two types of psychiatrists: those who solely rely on drugs versus those who are interested in the bigger picture.

          • Well, that’s not fun when you know that the moment you disagree you can be locked up and drugged. It’s like telling people in CIA black sites they should be having fun with the interrogation while they know that they can be at any moment subjected to torture.
            It’s not really my idea of fun.

  7. Oh Richard. You’re making this too complicated. I will ask again — if the villain is “biological” psychiatry, then what is the “good” psychiatry? I.e., which branch of psychiatry acknowledges that the notion of “mental health” is a complete fraud and a linguistic impossibility, and rejects the notion of mental illness completely?

    Again, psychiatry, unlike psychology in general, is based on the notion that there are mental diseases that are “just like any other disease” and must be treated by a pkysician, i.e. a psychiatrist. Is there a branch of psychiatry that doesn’t require a medical degree?

    There is simply no basis for unity until psychiatrists recognize that their field is based on a big fat deliberate lie. Some like Szasz and Breggin don’t find their personal egos threatened by this knowledge and I expect other psychiatrists who profess to support us to adopt the same attitude.

    Meanwhile our limited energies should not be primarily spent on winning over psychiatrists but on taking away their coercive power. We should always open to support but not at the price of ignoring what we know to be true and compromising our primary goals, nor should we be expected to do so. Eyes on the prize!

    • “There is simply no basis for unity until psychiatrists recognize that their field is based on a big fat deliberate lie. Some like Szasz and Breggin don’t find their personal egos threatened by this knowledge and I expect other psychiatrists who profess to support us to adopt the same attitude.”

      I’m glad this was said. I think it’s an important point that has not been made enough. I would expand on it and say that, as far as I can tell, neither Szasz nor Breggin ever expected people who had been harmed by psychiatry to put on the kid gloves when dealing with psychiatrists, to sanitize their experiences, to dial down their emotion around it, in the vain hope of of getting psychiatrists to “understand” the harm that their profession is responsible for.

      No, Szasz and Breggin are about presenting the facts. The facts reveal that psychiatry is based on pseudo-science and drug company propaganda, and it hurts people. I don’t see how it is reasonable to expect people who have been harmed by psychiatry to put on the kid gloves with a profession that purports to provide support for people in emotional distress; one would think that people who truly fit that description would be able to handle the emotionally charged testimony of people who have been harmed and would be eager to learn about how their own profession has perpetrated that harm.

      Why is it reasonable to expect people who have been harmed by psychiatry to bend over backwards in an effort not to offend the delicate sensibilities of psychiatrists? Personally, I think the gloves need to come off.

      • “getting psychiatrists to “understand” the harm that their profession is responsible for”
        I actually find that idea offensive. No one in their right mind would ask a rape victim to go and kindly explain it to the rapist and if he understands shake hands and become best buddies.
        People who advocate this forget that victims need justice to heal just as much as they need reconciliation. In fact I don’t think there can be true reconciliation without justice to begin with.

    • I don’t think there are many who deny the existence of what is referred to as “mental illness.” Seems to me the argument is whether we’re talking about minds or brains. Myself, I prefer the term “mental disorder” which implies neither one over the other. It’s merely a neutral term for dysfunctional thoughts and behaviour.

      The quest for abolition is futile and resources spent there are subtracted from realistic goals such as effective legal advocacy within our existing system. We cannot outlaw psychiatry but we can make it increasingly obsolete.

      • Obsolete implies that at one point it was useful or had value; since this was never the case with psychiatry “obsolete” is N/A.

        And there are many who understand the fact that “mental illness” does not and could not exist’

        Your comments are not only defeatist but often hostile to those who don’t share your cynicism.

        • No, things without value can become obsolete also. My comments are neither defeatist nor cynical; they are realistic. For the most part, what passes for discussion at psych reform websites does not help the cause. In fact, much of it hurts the cause because Fuller Torrey et al point to it (sometimes correctly) as naïve, uninformed, irrational outbursts that are not to be taken seriously.

          • Let them point and fuss. What they can’t do is back up their claims.

            Tell you what — get Torrey to come here and try his convoluted crap on the people who post here. We’ll see who ends up losing credibility.

            Yeah, bring him on!

          • I disagree Francesca. About Torrey and the writers on Mad in America. We are speaking the truth. He isn’t. If you think you can do better why don’t you write something?

      • “effective legal advocacy within our existing system”
        Well, there are countries with very good legal protections, which have ratified the UN conventions and have patient advocates etc. and the end result of it is: nothing’s changed. These legal system don’t work because the principle on which they’re founded are wrong and unrealistic.

    • Oldhead–I’m jumping in here since I think that you would right away understand my complaint about taking a “tolerant” view of the status quo in power relations.

      If Dr. Philip Thomas has said what he said as Richard quotes above, then he remains part of the problem and not part of the solution, perhaps not in deed–I’ll grant that, but in word. People who are trying to get taken seriously by the mainstream always have such casual ways of mis-stating the obvious and obscuring the vital issues all over again. “Sedative”? Not close to the same problem as “neuroleptic”. “Needs to be controlled because violent”…how did this problem get to be first and foremost one we imagine must happen in a mental hospital, so-called? First place for violence to get managed in a structured way should be jail. And the right way to call attention to wise practicality in “mental hospital (right-less imprisonment, really) situations is to say “Prisons might need to employ chemical restraints in extreme cases, and should use sedatives.” The reason to be specific is plain: tranquilizers should only ever be chosen, they don’t wear off like a downer could. That leads you to the more careful statement of how “Of course, mental hospitals can run into the same problem. But there the issue is already more problematic than it needs to be, because of the lack of moderation in the use of force and the absence of rational limits to the use of experimental chemical lobotomies.

      The Dr. Thomas’s and many other well-meaning “advocates” are inventing fancy postures when they try to get taken seriously by the mainstream, and think it’s good enough to sound tough somehow. To me, the residue of cowtowing in such turns of phrase as this retired good doctor’s emits its reminder of how all the obscurantism and punishment by misnomer got as far away the standard in “care” and how it stayed as bad as it has stayed.

  8. “and what is the best strategic orientation to “unite all who can be united” moving forward in our struggle to end psychiatric oppression?”

    I don’t think it matters much when fighting a huge monstrosity like the psycho pharmaceutical industrial complex what gets fired at it as long as everyone keeps firing with everything they got without letting up.

    I think we are still in the stage where in actual warfare the air force is softening up the enemy so it’s so it’s safe enough for the ground troops to go in and start cleaning up.

    I like posting all the disgusting , dishonorable and dishonest stuff the industry does from my “plane” dropping nasties all over the web exposing the truth to more and more and more people.

    I am going to drop a nasty right here: Part 1: Children reveal painful memories of neglect, heavy duty drug treatments. http://abcnews.go.com/2020/video/foster-kids-prescribed-psychotropic-drugs-heavy-duty-drug-treatments-neglect-2020-15077792

  9. Well said Richard.

    I identify as a psychiatric survivor and as critical of psychiatry. It’s a political stance. I have never believed in mental illness no matter that they forced me into ingesting their drugs for a time, and forced all my family members from my mother and father to my 3 sons, because we experience altered mind states as a normal occurrence. The abnormal experience was being forcibly treated with psychiatric drugs. I call it psychiatric abuse.

  10. I like the term “beyond the therapeutic state” (and that is why we are putting on a conference with that very name next week in Drammen, Norway: http://www.taosinstitute.net/beyond-the-therapeutic-state), as opposed to “anti-psychiatry” or “post-psychiatry”, because I think the problem is much larger than just psychiatry. Therapies, including the psychotherapies, that serve to help people adjust to unjust conditions within our neoliberal economic system are also part of the problem. Coercive therapies and manipulative therapies, that are implemented without informed consent, are problematic. The very idea that there are expert therapists, be they biological psychiatrists or psychologists or psychotherapists, who purport to “know better” about how others should live their lives, is problematic. The medicalization of everyday life is problematic, and so is the dominance of the medical model at the expense of all other forms of care and treatment.
    Perhaps we might conclude that the very vocabularies of therapy and treatment, with all the assumptions they engender, are part of the problem because they transport particular forms of power relations that are anathema to our preferred visions of care and collective responsibility.
    Psychiatrists, as the group with the least status and acceptance within the medical elites, provide an easy target for our outrage. Their hubris and insensitivity to public opinion, despite a history of “treatments” from electroshocks to lobotomies, that are hard to differentiate from other methods of torture, indeed their persistent belief or grand delusion in the myth of mental illness, as well as their tendencies to rationalize and legitimize coercive procedures under the guise of “treatment”, do not make them more appealing as a group.
    Can we begin to envision and realize a post-therapeutic future that goes beyond the therapeutic state?
    Thanks for opening this discussion.

    • “Therapies, including the psychotherapies, that serve to help people adjust to unjust conditions within our neoliberal economic system are also part of the problem”
      Exactly. The therapies are in most cases aimed at “fixing” the individual which at its core is a demeaning and arrogant notion as opposed to helping the individual to adjust to or change the conditions that have led to the distress. If someone’s having panic attacks because of an abusive relationship it’s not the individual who’s broken – it’s the relationship. And you can either support the individual in changing his/her circumstances (like leaving the abusive partner) or work with the whole problem (by sort of family therapy). Instead victims of abuse are explained that they have defective personalities and that’s why they get abused. That helps no one but the abuser (who’s most likely already explained the person that she/he is worthless and defective already).

  11. I’m against forced (non-consensual) psychiatry altogether, that said, let me skip to religion. The Church of Psychotherapy can be as obsessive, unscientific, and absurd as ever was the Church of Biological Psychiatry. Give me talk therapy before drugs any day of the week, but talk endlessly, and I’m walking. (Call me ‘recovered’.) Throw out biological bias, the usual excuse for the chemical fix, and what do you have? No reason for a medical degree, surely, and a profession in crisis. If psychiatry is redundant, so much the better. What we don’t need is more and more psychiatrists creating a demand for more and more “clients”. As an expansive business, psychiatry may not have the same addictive power as drugs, but that’s not going to keep it from trying to seduce more and more treatment junkies. The population labeled “mentally ill” is growing by leaps and bounds. Inventing any more new diseases would just be adding fuel to the flames. When was there ever a better reason for downsizing!? Furthermore, it is a profession I can live without, and I figure there are many, many other people who can do the same.

    • I suspect that if all psychiatrists disappeared overnight that the world would go on as usual and we would all be none the worse for their disappearance. It would be vastly different if all cardiologists disappeared overnight. This is the only specialty in medicine where their “treatment” creates a worse problem than the original “illness.” Their treatment is no cure at all and all they do is tranqualize people rather than help them to actually deal with and transcend their issuea. So, I’m all for all of them disappearing overnight. I guess I’ll get called an extremist but so be it.

  12. Interesting article and debate going on here. I agree with what many are saying, and understand the objective of distinguishing biological psychiatry from the rest of the “helping” professions. However, I agree with many here that the problem is not only with the psychiatrists.

    To that point, I’d like to say I believe the mere existence of unprovable and scientifically invalid “disorders,” in and of itself, is a large part of the problem. Because the existence and use of fictitious diseases will always result in abuse of innocent patients by unethical and / or incompetent doctors, from all branches of medicine.

  13. I agree with Frank and Stephen above. I don’t really differentiate between biological psychiatry and non biological psychiatry. Whether psychotropic drugs are used is irrelevant to the ultimate goal of psychiatry of normalizing all human experience according to their made up definitions in the DSM:

    1- If your pattern of behavior falls inside the DSM manual, you are disordered and you can be forced into compliance.

    2- If your pattern of behavior falls outside the DSM manual, wonderful, psychiatry considers you officially “normal” and will help you advance the goal of getting it accepted in society at large.

    I blame as much as those who see the DSM/psychiatry as a tool to do 1- as those who use the DSM/psychiatry to do 2-, such as gay activists.

    There should be no mechanism of social control whatsoever outside the criminal justice system because, by design, that is what the criminal justice system does: behavioral control. As such there are tools in place to prevent abuse. Even then, in the US “being black” was still a crime until 1964 and engaging in homosexual acts between consentin adults was also a crime until 2003 (I think that the criminalization adultery was declared unconstitutional earlier).

    To be sure, those who defend the “biological branch” of psychiatry have powerful economic interests at play, like the money big pharma rakes in from the drugs, and the money psychiatrists get from their big pharma kickbacks. Those who defend the non biological branch have equally powerful interests: the salary of those who provide talk therapy, CBT and the like.

    When it comes to psychiatry in general, it is an oppressive specialty that our society needs to send to the ash heap of history.

    • Agreed. It is the only specialty of medicine that can force people to take its “treatment.” It should not have this power and ability to force people to conform to the social norm.

      Now that psychiatry is walking hand in hand with the legal system more and more people are dragged screaming and kicking into the system that should never be there, not that anyone else that’s there should be there either. Many state hospitals are becomeing forensic psychiatric hospitals due to the large influx of “patients” from the legal system.

  14. Screening and Early Treatment, Anosognosia, Violence, Mental illness, Brain Disease, Medication, Weight Gain, Side Effects…

    The Big Lie is repeated incessantly, endlessly from faux independent sources. It is based on catch phrases, rote, cant.

    It contains antirational content in its rote, cant, “belief system” (Officials diagnose Psychiatricly because these are non-Medical diagnoses and these Officials treat Medically because they are real Doctors with prescription pads that write orders for prescription treatments – they do so because they are “employing the Medical model.”

    Antirational rote propaganda:

    Non-Medical diagnosis and Medical Treatment (with lucrative “Meds”) because it is Medical, not Medical.

    (How many Angels can dance on the head of a pin? How many fingers do you see, Winston?)

    Psychiatric diagnosis is typically made these days by exclusion of Medical diagnosis. The current, famous Justina Pelletier case involves Tuft’s Medical diagnosis being suddenly replaced, superceded, by Harvard, with a non-Medical, Psychiatric diagnosis instead – this based on the power invested in them by their Authority as “Harvard” and as “USA Psychiatry.”

    Harvard, Veritas! Harvard and USA Psychiatry Über Alles!

    The Harvard replacement diagnosis really rubs salt into the wound here because it is actually a diagnosis of Somataform which specifically means that no legitimate Doctor’s Opinion nor Medical test proffers any Medical reason for the reported physical symptoms.

    As the Psychiatrist says all parents and all USA institutions must show obeisance. A fantastic prescient to set in Obama’s USA.

    Remember what Janet Wozniak says, “Criticizing the Diagnosis is Insulting to Clinicians!”

    They have the Authority! They are Professionals! As Sheldon and Rampton write, “Trust Us — We’re Experts!”

    Psychological, Psychiatric “Somataform Diagnosis”

    Robert Sealey on the other hand states that according to Psychiatry’s own practice guidelines that their syndrome labels, such as Bipolar 2, are supposed to in fact lead to “differential diagnosis.”

    Practicing legitimate Medicine would be inconsistent though with the use of the authority of the clinician to use Professional Opinion to assign DSM classification names as the diagnosis and give treatments consisting of ordered, patented, trademarked, chemical pills, shots and subcutaneous implants (and electroshock) (and psychotherapy).

    Stand up.

    Daniel Burdick, SEA Springfield Eugene Antipsychiatry June 2014


    Justina Pelletier

    R.D. Laing “Freedom, and autonomy — is all a lot of Cant”


    Many sources of the same Propaganda. Supposedly vastly separate. (Movies and Television scripts, Magazines such as Scientific American and Readers Digest, Professional Books, books for laypersons, NAMI, NIMH etc.)

    Fredrick Goodwin, M.D. (famous for giving huge doses of fenfluramine to innercity black and Latino adolescent boys as the former head of the NIMH) later during the scandal of his Public Radio show Fredick Goodwin states the key importance of their Independence . Which being not a legitimate statement rather a ubiquitous propaganda gambit they imploy (as with the “Independent” “Peer Review” “Professional” Journals.)

    Fredrick Goodwin, M.D. and the ACNP Report on SSRI’s and Suicidality in Youth

    Fredrick Goodwin, M.D. and his “Independent” USA Public Radio program on SSRI’s and Suicidality

    Fredrick Goodwin, M.D. leading Psychiatrist as former Director of the NIMH gives large doses of neurotoxic serotonin-releaser drug to adolescents in the USA as an experiment on them:
    See also Peter Breggin, M.D. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQZdUmxG1Es

    Early Treatment of “Mental illnesses” (Insel, Lieberman, Biederman, Jaffe etc.)

    Mental Health Screening signals end of parental Rights

    Sepp Hasslberger – Bush to Impose Drug Regime

    2014 Early Screening for “Mental illnesses”

    Early Treatment for Autism by William Walsh (legitimate person)

    Early Treatment for Autism etc. by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, Neurosurgeon
    (legitimate person) GAPS Gut and Psychology Syndrome


    Pregnant women, children and toddlers are fair game for these marketers and propaganda operatives who want descriptive syndromes to be conflated with medical diagnosis and want patented centrally acting drugs to be conflated with current cutting edge state-of-the-art Medical therapy.

    Stephen Wong
    Behavior Analysis of Psychotic Disorders: Scientific Dead End
    or Casualty of the Mental Health Political Economy?

    > Page 157. Reliably and Validity
    URL – http://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/bsi/article/view/365/296

    “The mission of raising the reliability of DSM diagnoses is an ongoing process that continues with the current version of the manual. ”

    “Enthusiasm for psychotropic drugs should also have been tempered by the limited benefits they made to clients’ adaptive functioning and overall quality of life.”

    “Of course, the fact that certain psychiatric diagnoses have low interrater reliability and that expert committees devised them do not negate the existence of these disorders.”

    “Nor does the present lack of replicable data linking mental disorders to brain anomalies preclude the possibility that future research will discover such links.”

    >> https://www.facebook.com/daniel.burdick.792/posts/10202864771032599


    “Each of the mental disorders is conceptualized as a clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome.”

    Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders


    Cambridge, “Criticizing the Diagnosis is Insulting to Clinicians!”

    Furious Seasons Blog, Philip Dawdy
    Janet Wozniak, M.D. Psychiatrist

    Wozniak defends the diagnosis and treatment, says the prevalence is 1 percent amongst kiddos, argues that people criticizing the diagnosis and treatment are “insulting to clinicians.”

    “In the DSM there is no assumption that each category of mental disorder is a completely discrete entity with absolute boundaries dividing it from other mental disorders or from no mental disorder. There is also no assumption that all individuals described as having the same mental disorder are alike in all important ways.”


    1) Treatment of Bipolar Disorder by Charles Gant, M. D.

    2) Forensic Psychiatry http://sbmu.ac.ir/uploads/ForensicPsychiatry2010.pdf


    “The term “nosological classification” is often used in connection with medical classification systems, and the tendency is to equate it with “diagnosis” and “validity.” However, particularly in the case of psychiatry this is far from always being the case. ”

    Validity of nosological classification
    Petr Smolik, MD, PhD*

    “One hundred percent of the members of the panels on ‘Mood Disorders’ and ‘Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders’ had financial ties to drug companies.”



    Differential Diagnosis – Dan Burdick

    Civil Rights Under Attack with the Justina Pelletier case – Dan Burdick


    Robert Sealey

    “Why shortcut the practice guidelines of psychiatry which recommend testing and diagnosing before prescribing? Why mix meds without trying to identify the root cause(s) of brain symptoms?”

    PEPSI has been warned that this public support for CABF would come back to bite them – they have not listened!! Now they are walking into a position of being forever tied to CABF & the negative repercussions the award money will provide for small children, youth, and America.



    “Debate” over forced “Treatment”


  15. I really want to be an advocate at MIA for shifting discussion away from “survivors” vs. “psychiatry” or “peer” vs. “professional” or even “biological psychiatry” vs. “psychiatry” and toward definition and clarification of core values of the community.

    What are the values we stand for? If you and I broadly share values, then we are allies. It does not matter whether you are a practicing psychiatrist or a psychiatric survivor (or BOTH as is sometimes the case) or neither.

    • Andrew,

      Great comment.

      In particular, I love your question: “What are the values we stand for?”

      I guess, to answer that question, each one of us who’s interested in answering it, must first answer a first-person version of it, to our own satisfaction, eh? That is to say, each one must ask himself or herself: “What are the values that I stand for?” Moreover, we may need to ask ourselves, “Which principles do I most value?” And, “Which do refuse to compromise?”

      When involved in discussions of so-called “mental health” (and “mental health treatments” or “care”), I value, above all else, this notion, that “No means no!”

      Based on indelible memories, of personal experiences (now going on three decades ago), my recollections of having been forcibly drugged in psychiatric “hospitals,” I can definitely relate to women raise that very basic and essential cry for respect — and justice.

      Hence, when it comes to considerations of ‘mental health treatments,’ I place the highest value on acknowledging, providing and defending an inalienable right to informed consent.

      That’s a value which I absolutely refuse to compromise. (E.g., I find is beyond absurd – it is just plain hypocritical – when anyone working in the ‘mental health’ system claims to value informed consent and yet turns out to be someone who engages in the practice of forcibly ‘tranquilizing’ certain “patients”; I find that ultimately compromised position, to be preposterous — and, really, a terrible insult to the intelligence, of psychiatric survivors — particularly survivors of forced drugging and other forms of psychiatric torture, of all kinds…)

      Realizing the extraordinary harms that can be caused by forced ‘mental health treatment,’ I’ve come to conclude, that: Truly respecting the principle of informed consent is absolutely essential.

      Yes, I place the highest value on respecting informed consent.

      Anyone who truly respect that principle, I consider an ally.



  16. Hello,

    Biological Psychiatry and Biopsychiatry as you write are terms used by both them and by critics and opponents.

    I agree with Ted Chabasinski that Antipsychiatry is a fine term and that we should take with grains of salt statements opposing the term coming from E. Fuller Torrey (of NAMI and TAC, name as the author on some books), Jeffrey Lieberman, M.D. (of Columbia and current President of the APA) and David Oaks former director of MindFreedom.

    The statement, of questionable providence, that calling oneself “Antipsychiatry” is stupid because it is to state that one is opposed a branch Medicine which is of course defacto foolish ignores for instance the last 20 years of revelations on what Biopsychiatry does.

    Robert Whitaker revealed the manipulations of the “testing” and peer review Journal publication of Risperdal “clinical trials” — Risperdal the first “next generation” “atypical” major tranquillizer patend drugs that they named after Haloperidol and was designed to have a similar dopamine 2 receptor binding affinity to it.

    { Alliance for Human Research Protection

    “The spurious invention of the atypicals can now be regarded as
    invention only, cleverly manipulated by the drug industry for
    marketing purposes and only now being exposed.”
    (Source: Lancet)

    “We would beg to disagree: given the active (duplicitous) role of
    prominent academic psychiatrists, as well the major professional
    associations in psychiatrybthe American Psychiatric Association,
    the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the American Academy
    of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, et al in promoting the second
    generation antipsychotics, it is unfair to lay blame entirely on
    the pharmaceutical industry….”

    Baum Hedlund Law revealed during litigation how Fluoxetine the first SRI patent drug for “depression” was known by 1986 prior to acceptance by the U.S. F.D.A. to cause suicide and the company memos show how they treated that as secret information to be dealt with and spun cautiously.

    Jeanne Lenzer showed how Frederick Goodwin, M.D. the former director of the N.I.M.H. on his public radio program pretended to be impartial and independent while crafting a show to support SRI drugs use and deny their causing suicidality and homicidality. (Are Doctors Shilling for Drug Companies on Public Radio? http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2008/05/stealth_marketers.html )

    Eminent Professorial leaders of U.S.A. Psychiatry such as Timothy Wilens, M.D. and Joseph Biederman, M.D. of Harvard and Charles Nemeroff, M.D. of Emory are shown in scandalous news revelations to be on the take receiving millions of dollars from drug companies. This is something that is nearly ignored by the rest of the leadership of Psychiatry and their affiliate Universities.

    Peer Review Journals of the Profession were shown to be publishing Professional reports signed by prestigious Psychiatrists actually ghostwritten by satellite propaganda firms employed by drug companies. This included the ACNP, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology’s Journal Neuropsychopharmacology and its Task Force Report on SSRI’s and Suicidal Behavior in Youth

    {See, google – ACNP Suicidal Behavior in Youth Vera Sharav, AHRP
    “The Executive Summary of ACNP’s Task Force on SSRIs and Suicidal Behavior in Youth, was issued by GYMR, a public relations firm in Washington (in January 2004) 10 days prior to an FDA advisory committee hearing about this issue.”}

    Lawrence Stevens, J.D. of the Antipsychiatry Coalition writes that the stigma of even going to a Psychologist or Psychiatrist follows one though life and this is something people should consider.

    Psychiatrist Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D. (who worked with Nobel Laureate Biochemist Linus Pauling) refers to Lawrence Stevens, J.D. in his essay “Vitamin Therapy for Psychosis”
    “On the internet, L. Stevens, a lawyer, described the tranquilizer psychosis as follows. ” These major tranquilizers cause misery – not tranquility. They physically, neurologically blot out most of a person’s ability to think and act, even at commonly given doses. By disabling people, they can stop almost any thinking or behaviour the therapist wants to stop. But this is simply disabling people, not therapy.”

    Whistleblower Allan Jones who was fired from his job (which actually was oversight) for exposing Johnson and Johnson the manufacturer of Risperdal as bribing USA State Formulary Officials as reported at the time by Jeanne Lenzer writing for the Brish Journal of Medicine was years later vindicated in Texas Court. (see, google 1 Boring Old Man, or Vera Sharav, etc.)

    In 2010 NAMI the Grassroots concerned independent non-profit organization was revealed by US Senator Charles Grassley as receiving at least 81% of its funding from the drug companies.

    You write,
    “The distinction I made between being “anti-psychiatry” versus “anti-Biological Psychiatry” is NOT one of simple preference or just some type of semantic argument. This is a strategic distinction that could actually mean the difference between a movement that remains isolated and on the fringes of society, or one that has a real chance of gaining enough allies.”

    I do not think this is probably of great strategic import. It is more important to keep rebroadcasting the truth. It is also more important to unify the Movement with the suppressed Biological Psychiatry.

    The Biopsychiatry we refer to in our writings is the ersatz school of Psychiatry of Rapoport, Nemeroff, Lieberman, Fink, Insel, Wilens, Torrey, Biederman and Thomas Ban.

    The Biopsychiatry we mean is the one that uses rote catch phrases and propganda “templates” (that is gambits). Propaganda templates include stating that the drug may cause “weight gain” as a “side effect” and that “weight: is “statistically associated with” metabolic problems and diabetes. This weight gain as the “side effect” skips stating that the drug is a metabolic toxin and that weight gain and diabetes are “two peas in a shell” – that is morbid weight gain and diabetes and so forth are among results of the drugs metoblic toxicity. Another propaganda template is to refer to the cul-de-sac of “off label use” – using the terrible neurotoxic drugs on tiny children is spun as the ssue being “off label” precription of drugs “not tested in children… (as if “testing” neurotoxic chemicals in children would make their use a-okay.)

    Gary Null in the Hidden Side of Psychiatry states that corruption in Psychiatry is not a problem so much as all pervasive condition.

    The Biopsychiatry we refer to is the label and drug Psychiatry. It is not Medical Psychiatry. It is drug company “Psychiatry.”

    There are two types of Psychiatrist that are possibly above and beyond such whole sale condemnation, legitamate biochemical, Medical Psychiatrists such as Abram Hoffer, M.D. and Hugh Riorden, M.D. and Hyla Cass, M.D. and then there are the Psychosocial Theorists such as Loren Mosher, M.D. and Peter Breggin, M.D. and some of the authors listed here.

    DSM Labeling based on Interview and Professional Opinion and Psychological Word Tests doesn’t constitute diagnosis of illness, and the profitable drugs are not the Medical approach.

    Hugh Riorden, M.D.

    Hyla Cass, M.D.

    David Moyer, LCSW

    Unifying with the supressed Biological Psychiatry and hammering away at repeating all that is known now about the machinations at the top are the key strategies. Get the knowledge out, and get more support.

    Dan Burdick Eugene, Oregon

    • It is only associated with Scientology because the psychiatric industry chose to use that association as a PR tactic. As I have said before, I meet any such implications with a clear statement: What on earth does religion have to do with whether or not your treatments have been shown to work?

      —- Steve

    • I don’t think there’s much of a problem with one word or the other. Take a case of anti-globalisation movement – it’s been vilified and associated with few fringe elements (the Molotov cocktail throwers) in order to discredit it as well as laughed out of the park for being “unrealistic”. Subsequently it’s changed it’s name to alter-globalism but nothing’s changed in the media and to a vast extent public perception of it. It’s not the matter of how we name themselves – they’ll use the same propaganda to discredit the name. It’s called PR machine and it works in politics just the same.

  17. Richard, I don’t want you to guess that I am uninterested in your project. By way of comparison, the views of cannotsay and uprising are the most right on, and the distinctions I could add to their genuinely radical takes are matters of style. For instance, it should not be omitted in the Daniel Mackler debate that “lack of control over your emotions is not ideal”. How uprising says this however, is in the appropriate spirit, isn’t it? “Don’t dial down your emotions”. And what Eugene said above about the misguided, disingenuine (and all too prevalent fashion) for talking people into adjustment for what is by all rights nothing less than unjust–this is a statement that needs repeated until people in mental health determine that the problem exists like that, and determine it one by one.

    The mental health mission disappearing as such and being replaced by people who doubt that they know exactly what to do besides try some things carefully to listen and advise strictly with mutual consent as the standard would be as much of an improvement as Stephen Gilbert says. I think you were eager to misconstrue his intent in order to coax more liberally correct expressions from him.

    I’m not part of the behavioral science glee club, but still care to see what practitioners are up to, and the offerings here are about the most reliable. Good luck with part II, and I hope you see fit to incorporate something of what Ted points to above for honing the message.

  18. Most every 1% cartel enterprise is pseudo science embed without any regard for humanity’s welfare or individual welfare ,only their own. It’s time released eugenics run wild. These enterprise’s like Monsanto’s, the AMA, “Modern Agriculture”, the American dental association,dangerous electronic gear, The chemical biological pharma products , ( Do you really think pharm.’s AMA drugs are really any safer then their psych dugs (I should say poisons) ? There are many others. The main science happening is population cull and control all done with feedback and mathematical formula. See http://www.StopTheCrime.net
    To me Psychiatry is a” pseudo science salad FUBAR” that works together with and is supported by other pseudo science FUBAR”S to oppress control disable exploit and cull the human being. I despise it with a passion.
    The Fight Against Coercion and Oppression Must Be Unending and a Constantly Improving Way of Life.

    • “…perhaps the correct term is that I am “ANTI-OPPRESSION!””


      I appreciate that sentiment of yours and do trust you mean it.

      You say it sincerely, no doubt; but, almost anyone could say that about himself/herself, and it would not necessarily mean what it means to you, for it is actually a rather vague self-description.

      On the other hand, in your comment, of a few minutes prior, above (on June 24, 2014 at 7:11 pm), you were being more specific, as you suggested, that “Anti-f0rced-treatment” might be a label you could choose, to describe yourself.

      That interest me; for, certainly, that label is one that I’ll choose to describe myself.

      (I call myself “BeyondLabeling” as a way to eschew psychiatric labels.)

      But, I wonder, what does “Anti-f0rced-treatment” mean to you?

      I ask …because recently I’ve discovered that someone who works in a “hospital” could possibly claim, that he does not support forced “treatment” (in fact, he may insist that “I have never forcibly “treated” anyone…”); and, yet, when pressed, that same person admits to supporting and engaging in what’s often called “emergency forced drugging.”

      See: http://www.madinamerica.com/2014/06/psychiatrys-response-attack-pr/#comment-44441

      He just doesn’t consider his use of force to be “treatment” because, he explains, it’s ‘only’ a means of preventing apparent threats of violence in the “hospital” he works in…

      So, what’s your position on such ’emergency forced drugging,’ Steve? I am wondering, as I enjoy reading your comments; they are always very thoughtful, and when I read them, I tend to think: ‘Here is someone who’s apparently a reformer of the “mh” system, who actually is making sense to me!’

      [Note: Imho, one such as I, who has no faith whatsoever that psychiatry can be significantly reformed without taking away its power to force itself on “patients,” will tend also to be disinterested in strategies of ‘reform’ of the ‘mh’ system generally; but, I would not care to discourage those, such as yourself, who are dedicated to reducing the harms caused by the ‘mh’ system. You may even consider yourself a reformer of the ‘mh’ system. Just don’t hold your breath, expecting me to become an advocate of reforming the ‘mh’ system (as I think the State should not be dispensing ‘mental health care’ of any kind; it should not be judging our thoughts, at all, imho).]

      But, in any case, Steve, as you have indicated, that you may describe yourself as “Anti-f0rced-treatment,” then, please, what is your position on “emergency forced drugging”?



  19. Thoughts about Steve’s considerations. Getting your self-understanding clear has important place in open forum. I think that it is good that you would want to try making a stand as a scientist against forced treatment. That change would mean that you had become a patient advocate. That would be a tranformation.

    Then it would be good if you blogged here, good for offsetting the influence of non-patient advocates who blog here, who don’t want the term popularly seen to apply to themselves. Who gladly keep the postings hung up on linguistic tussles. Who restrict some portion of the blogposts to grow-up show and tell. Like Dr. Mark Ragins, and most lately psychologist Jim Schroeder. Also, reform-minded survivors entertain straightforward notions of non-patient advocacy as a comfortable way of adding to their image as recovered, particularly once they are for reform as workers in the system like yourself. Akin to reformed smokers, hold-outs at a march on Washington, or self-appointed FCC “alternatives” like the parental advisory council on lyrics. You’re more worth hearing from, in fact, Steve, since you are more nearly explicit about your convictions.

    Clearly, at this stage, though, you still are inexplicitly or tacitly a non-patient advocate whose sympathies are guided by educated perception and enlightened self-interest. So it could go either way with you still. Please just don’t become less explicit, as you are good to hear from and may serve as a worthy foil at times because you are not prone to antagonism. Obviously, the “anti-abolitionists” wish they hadn’t such a tendency since it gives them away.

  20. While their own papers and books in their Literature may have the word Biological Psychiatry attached to them does not seal that as undeniably the word to use.

    Abram Hoffer, M.D. states that Psychiatry was taken over by the drug companies after 1955 and the great profit from the dopamine 2 receptor tranquillizers.

    The biochemical imbalance treatment Psychiatrists were suppressed in 1973 (18 years later after Thorazine) with the Task Force 7 document. They had seen the need to create their own Journal though by 1967. (12 years after Thorazine).

    Thomas A. Ban, M.D. is part of Task Force 7. Ban has written a couple different edits of the statement that they are quote “dedicated” to the “treatment” of “Psychopathology” utilizing centrally acting drugs.

    That is the ascendent version of Psychiatry. The one that has KOLs – key opinion leaders – such as Joseph Biederman, M.D. and Janet Wozniak, M.D. at Harvard using the Harvard mantle to portray that Psychiatrists should write prescriptions to give little children dopamine 2 receptor antagonist drugs in 2014 (60 years after Thorazine).

    This ascendent version of “Psychiatry “- mind Medicine – is not Biological Psychiatry, it is Psychopharmacology, it is drug company sales pitch and political leverage “Psychiatry.”

    By sweeping their own best people’s work under the carpet they show that they aren’t interested in Medical evidence or a Medical approach – they want to max out sales for Risperdal, Zoloft, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Ritalin, Adderal, Paxil, Prozac, Xanax and Clozapine.

    The target teenagers, pregnant and nursing woman to increase sales niches. On purpose for that. They are not Biological anything. They are “dedicated” to patented centrally acting drug chemical product sales.