“Psychiatric Prejudice” – A New Way of Silencing Criticism

Joanna Moncrieff, MD
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‘Psychiatric prejudice’ is a term being bandied about these days, mainly by aggrieved psychiatrists who feel that psychiatry is not being given equal status with other medical specialties. Ordinary people, other doctors and medical students are all prejudiced, they say, because they do not appreciate that psychiatry is a proper medical activity, and critics of psychiatry are prejudiced because their analyses undermine this medical point of view.1

Obviously no one can afford to be labeled as prejudiced, so whether it is conscious or not this looks like an attempt to silence criticism and shut down debate. If successful it will deny people access to many valid criticisms of psychiatric diagnoses and treatments and to hearing other views about how to respond to mental health problems.

Some of the recent accusations of psychiatric prejudice were made in response to articles in the British press by Danish doctor Peter Gøtzsche, a leading member of the highly respected organisation for analysing medical evidence, the Cochrane Collaboration.2  Gøtzsche argued that evidence for the benefits of psychiatric drugs, like antidepressants, was so weak and flawed – and adverse effects so often under-rated or ignored – that the widespread use of these drugs was likely to be doing more harm than good. Other people have made similar claims, including Irving Kirsch and Robert Whitaker, but coming from the heart of medicine itself this attack may have been more painful than others.

In a direct response to Gøtzsche’s article, five leading psychiatrists accused those who criticised psychiatric drug treatment as demonstrating ‘deep-seated stigma’ against mental health, insulting psychiatry and ‘reinforcing stigma against mental illnesses and the people who have them’.3 In another article in the Times, psychiatrist Simon Wessely, newly elected president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, complained that other doctors were prejudiced against mental health, and look down on psychiatry. Although acknowledging widespread overmedicalisation and overprescription, Wessely also asserted that psychiatric drugs treat real disorders and that it is ‘nonsense’ to suggest that antidepressants don’t work.4

The job of psychiatrists, according to Wessely, is to identify these real ‘disorders’, and to make sure that the people who have them get the drugs, but others don’t.  This position assumes that psychiatry is basically the same sort of activity as physical medicine, as if you could easily distinguish those who have ‘real,’ clinical or major depression from those who are just sad or discontent, and once identified prescribe a treatment that targets the origin of the problem.

Of course you can’t. No blood test, X-ray or brain scan can reveal depression, schizophrenia or any other ‘mental disorder.’ There is no underlying psychological process, either, that can somehow be separated off from an individual’s feelings and behaviour and designated as ‘the disorder.’ Psychiatric diagnoses are based on judgements made by patients, doctors, relatives and other people (such as the police) about someone’s behaviour and whether it conforms to what is expected in any given society and situation. Think about depression for a moment. It is when someone stops functioning as usual, when they start to have difficulties fulfilling their roles – going to work, looking after family – that they seek help and are diagnosed. Until feelings affect someone’s behaviour, it is rare that they would come to psychiatric attention or be considered severe enough to require intervention.

Apart from its conceptual incoherence and lack of empirical support, the problem with the concept of ‘mental illness’ is that it assumes that what psychiatrists are treating is not a person with problems and difficulties, but a disease – or its pseudonym, a ‘disorder.’ This is why so many people accuse psychiatry of being dehumanising.

Despite decades of propaganda from the pharmaceutical industry and sections of the medical profession, much of the public and many doctors and medical students are not convinced that mental illnesses are illnesses, ‘just like any other.’ Many people remain inclined to view the difficulties we label as mental disorders as understandable reactions to adverse life events or circumstances and, importantly, evidence suggests that people who think in this way are more tolerant of such situations. Contrary to what some psychiatrists are now saying, viewing mental disorder as a brain diseases leads to less tolerant attitudes – in other words, more prejudice.5

Psychiatrists’ complaints only betray their continuing insecurity about their status as ‘proper’ doctors. But helping people with mental health problems does not have to be regarded as second-class just because it is not the same sort of activity as other medical specialisms. Education and social work are different from medicine, but no one suggests they are not important. In my view, there is a role for medical expertise in helping people with mental health problems, but that does not mean we have to call those problems illnesses. As I have suggested in other blogs and articles, drug treatment can help to modify unwanted thoughts and behaviours or subdue overwhelming emotions in some situations, and people who prescribe and recommend drugs should have a thorough knowledge of all their effects and the body’s likely response to them. Although I think drugs should usually be a last resort, it takes more knowledge and expertise, not less, to use them sparingly and selectively.

Nevertheless, psychiatry is different from the rest of medicine. When its differences are not acknowledged, and psychiatrists behave as if they were treating chest infections, people are objectified into diagnoses. It is then a short step to subjecting them to all sorts of physical intrusions in the name of treating the disease. Criticism and debate are essential to enable mental health services to develop their own distinctive ethos and practice.

References:

1. http://www.wpanet.org/detail.php?section_id=7&content_id=922 (I am grateful to Phil Hickey to alerting me to the WPA’s position: http://www.behaviorismandmentalhealth.com/2014/06/19/psychiatrys-response-attack-and-pr/)

2. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/30/psychiatric-drugs-harm-than-good-ssri-antidepressants-benzodiazepines;

3. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(14)70232-9/fulltext

4. http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/health/news/article4125848.ece

5. Read J, Haslam N, Sayce L, Davies E (2006) Prejudice and schizophrenia: a review of the ‘mental illness is an illness like any other’ approach. Acta Psychiatr Scand, 114, 303-318

* * * * *

This article first appeared on Joanna Moncrieff’s website,
Joannamoncrieff.com

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46 COMMENTS

  1. Joanna – I hope you don’t draw too much hateful ciriticism because of our appreciation and gratitude for you championing of the truth and giving top priority to civil and human rights. The explanations that you make, devoid of the mystique usually involved with the creation of pressure aimed at compliance, gibe with what otherwise we survivors have to hunt for in long and predictable journeys through the traditional critical literature on psychiatry.

  2. What can I say, a systematic attempt to talk about the internal problems that psychiatrists face in their profession. Unfortunately that’s all it is…

    in my own experience, psychiatrists treat mental illness, because they define it as an illness. The public is also indoctrinated, into believing in the medical profession, and believe further that to get helped they must turn to a doctor.

    I remember what that was like. To be so needy, and gullible, and convinced, that there were “big people” namely psychiatrists who understood how to help, and that they knew just what was causing my distress.

    Now I count myself lucky that I escaped, from them while I was still sane. Skip a ahead many decades, to multiple clinical degrees, and many tens of thousands of cases, handled by me in various professional organizations, both state and private run, and I can tell you that psychiatrists, and psychiatric medicine, is brutal, murderous and debilitating.

    So when I see calm discussion like this, in which psychiatrists themselves, openly admit, that they really don’t know what they doing….I respond

    Tell that to the people who have been turned into vegetables, by ECT? Some people get it once a week for years? Tell that to the shooters, in manic episodes that calmly walk through a college campus, and murder people at random..Tell that to their families too.. . Tell that to the drug addict, shooting oxycontin, or now suboxone, because a psychiatrist, who thinks he’s an expert on drug addiction and knows absolutely nothing about it prescribed them the medications.

    Psychiatry, is a license to kill…. And there is very little that can be cone about it right now…

    But, the psychiatrists that I have worked with, and I have worked with hundreds of them, over the years, are just a bunch of educated idiots, who live in their heads… And that would be ok there are plenty of those around, if they weren’t killing people.

    • Hey P. D. — I am definitely not mainstream and not compliance material, but may I say that the most valuable insight for me in your remark shows right at the top. That is worth considering for a number of reasons that would add to how we can understand what all we face and what else we will be facing every time the behemoth creeps into action. I like how Dr. Moncrieff knows how to pin the tail on the donkey and make sure that the public understands that this is what psychiatrists mean to face us with, indefinitely.

  3. What worries me is the fact that psychiatrists, all doctors that they are, are unable to distinguish psychosis caused by infection or sleep deprivation from mental illness. Also, when patients report physical problems due to the medications, the psychiatrists don’t check what the patient is saying. My son was reporting all the symptoms of NMS after taking olanzapine and the psychiatrist never checked on him and refused to lower the dose. My son had to do a runner from the hospital, helped thankfully by one of the nurses and myself. All this happened in good old merry England. I soon discovered that I knew more about psychiatric meds than the psychiatrists who should have known how the endocrine system functions and what happens to it when you stop dopamine histamine, adrenaline and serotonin from functioning normally.

    • Alix,

      An NHS psychiatrist reduce a dose of neuroleptic because it isn’t helping or is making matters worse ? Unheard of. They don’t dare. I discover one who did was hauled in front of the GMC.

      I have actually been in a meeting where a dose increase was proposed on the grounds that there had been ‘improvement’ on a particular medication. But when it became apparent during the meeting that there had been no improvement on the medication but deterioration, wait for it …a dose increase was proposed.

      And I’m glad to hear you managed to free your son. I just have too. Thank God. And thank MIA for giving me both information and the determination to keep going, and also thanks DR Moncrieff for your continued work – several references to it were made in our (eventually) successful attempt to remove my son from his Coerced Toxins Outrage.

      And to any other parents of victims caught in the same catastrophic mess – no matter how exhausted you become do not give up, you CAN win.

    • “all doctors that they are, are unable to distinguish psychosis caused by infection or sleep deprivation from mental illness”
      for the very same reason they can’t distinguish “mental illness” caused by trauma, abuse, tragic life event, persistent stress, drug side effect and everything else that causes so-called “mental illness”. they don’t know what they’re talking about and consequently they don’t know what the fuck they’re doing.

  4. Psychiatric prejudice is what happened to me once I got a diagnosis. On the other hand I found my prescribing psychiatrist to be totally inept for realizing he was poisoning me with poly drugging. It took a neurologist to see I had profound akathisia (the worst drug induced akathisia he said he’d ever seen).

    Till psychiatrists come off their high horse with bogus diagnoses, not having the necessary blood work done and to monitor their patients like other physicians do all we say here may not help? I’m just sorry I had to go years of heavy drugging, changing diagnoses and then to be told I had been never mentally ill to begin with. It’s just criminal for patients to have to go through this and the psychiatrists skip merrily away.

    • It would help if most professional psychiatrists would respond to this petulant little complaint of being treated unfairly (wrings out handkerchief into bucket of tears) by telling them to tell them to GROW UP. They want to argue, they should write a well-reasoned argument/ Deflecting legitimate criticism by calling people names is NOT making an argument in any “scientific” or medical fashion. It’s irresponsible petulance that they should be too embarrassed to make public.

      Many branches of the sciences and medicine are wrought with people who have poor reasoning skills, a lack of humility, unchecked biases; and too much influence, power, and money. Many scientists are nearly worshiped as great thinkers these days on any topic, and it isn’t doing us or the sciences any good. Richard Dawkins goes about giving a lot of talks about the non-existence of God with that being received by many as scientific wisdom is ridiculous. Whether there is a God or not, the last time I looked, the existence of God was not falsifiable.

      Most psychiatrists aren’t scientists any more than Richard Dawkins is a prophet here to spread the word of no God.

      I think bullies and sociopaths flock to psychiatry like pedophiles to playgrounds. And they’re the people most likely to rise in an institution that isn’t held accountable. The 800 pound gorilla in the medicine cabinet needs to be cut down to size and be required to get itself in order in order to stop harming so many people with brain damaging drugs and damning diagnoses.

      And most of psychiatry needs to snap out of its petulance and unconditional positive regard.

      • wileywitch — you are killing, just on it. These adjectives about bad ideas and misbehavior are invented and leaked to the public so that shrinks and psychologists can have big appearances in court. The MMPI-II tests and psychology textbooks incorporate all the psychiatric lingo as scientifically discovered fact. But is locking someone up who came to ask for help violent? Is it controlling? Is it mad?

    • “not having the necessary blood work done and to monitor their patients like other physicians”
      I was held in a hospital in which an elderly man died in restraints under heavy drugging. Heart failure. Of course nobody was responsible. That was straight out murder. When other doctors make patients unconscious they have a responsibility to monitor their breathing and heart rate. Psychiatrists can inject you with whatever the fuck they want and leave you to die and no responsibility follows. It’s a disgrace.

  5. It is fascinating when I hear these analogies with prejudice against black people or gay people or disabled people being used to explain away critiques of psychiatry. The obvious failure of any such argument is that black people, gay people, and disabled people were and are groups with diminished power in society. Whereas psychiatry appears to have way TOO much power and is hurting people, who are complaining about their treatment. A young black man can’t do much if anything about others choosing to arbitrarily view him as dangerous, but the psychiatric community has plenty of control over how it treats its patients/clients. If they are so worried about being criticized, maybe they ought to figure out what they are doing to piss people off and CHANGE IT!

    It is utterly narcissistic to palm off criticisms against a well-paid and socially-entrenched profession as “prejudice.” Its very much like the bully complaining when he ends up with a broken nose because someone finally decides to hit back!

    —- Steve

  6. Thank you again, Dr. Moncrieff, for admitting to, and honestly discussing, some of the really enormous problems within the psychiatric industry – such as, the DSM “disorders” have no scientific validity and the drugs are toxic and dangerous psychotropics which, can cause, but absolutely do not cure any diseases.

    Blaming others doesn’t address these real and serious issues which plague the psychiatric industry, to the contrary, their current tactics strike me as quite childish.

  7. “Psychiatric prejudice” is up there with other terms such as “reverse” racism, “reverse” sexism, etc. — a way of playing to reactionary emotionalism; rather than addressing the substance of people’s criticism, the very act of criticizing is attacked as an “ism” directed at the newest oppressed group,, psychiatrists…

    I’m glad to see someone state straight up that using the term “mental disorder” is simply a way of obfuscating the issue of whether they are buying into the medical model. I see the two terms being used interchangeably.

    Isn’t saying psychiatry is “different” than other fields of medicine a bit of an understatement? Psychiatrists have been wannabes since the field’s inception. The first diagnostic categories conjured up by Kraeplin (sp?) in the 19th century were to deflect challenges by the medical profession to the legitimacy of psychiatry as a field of medicine, based partially on the argument that it had no disease categories.

    But the point about confusing real diseases with metaphorical ones needs to be emphasized, as very real drugs are being used to “treat” figures of speech as we speak.

  8. “In my view, there is a role for medical expertise in helping people with mental health problems, but that does not mean we have to call those problems illnesses. ” It is not clear what that role might be. I suppose determining that the condition is not due to a tumor or a serious concussion or the like. But after that medical training would seem to be a disqualification as the medical training would continue to see illnesses. Psychiatry is awkwardly positioned to do much more than extend medicine, hence illness and drugs. How long does the average persons spend with a psychiatrist before he or she is given a prescription? If I invite a carpenter to my house for a meal surely he will begin automatically to see things that might need repair or remolding. Giving an auto mechanic a ride in my car would lead to similar noticings. And so on.
    So, we might need a few psychiatrists to check on brain disease or damage but that is done by neurologists. So really psychiatry is without a real job. I suppose he or she could simply be a referral point. You go to a neurologist and you go to a psycho-therapist. The pay would be bad though. And the pharmaceuticals would be disappointed.
    So it is really mostly a money making scheme which it is now time to end.
    Also since psychiatric medications are such a problem I have trouble coming up with a situation where they might be used. I tend to side with Dr. Peter Breggin and say never.
    Why take such a big risk? After all some people have recovered from severe depression after a life threatening event. But we had best no recommend that to anyone. We can not say: Go now and jump off a cliff; if it does not kill you it may bring about a recovery.

  9. “psychiatric prejudice”?

    This made me realise I have Ku Klux Klan prejudice. I mean I haven’t examined all of their philosophies and evidence that it’s a hate movement. I kind of took the word of some intelligent people who had, and because they were people who I believed were credible and honest, I took their word for it.

    I’m just not prepared to put a lot of time into researching any further so instead i’ll stick with my Ku Klaux Klan prejudice, and be called a bigot for it.

    • In fact, perhaps without realizing it, organized psychiatry -ie the APA- does fit the FBI definition for “hate group” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_group

      “”primary purpose is to promote animosity, hostility, and malice against persons belonging to a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin which differs from that of the members of the organization”

      Now, the US government for legal purposes, such as https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americans_with_Disabilities_Act_of_1990 , accepts what the APA calls “mental illness” as a valid disability.

      Organized psychiatry says that people who exhibit certain patterns of behavior are “disordered” or “pathological”. Each new theory that they come up with to explain their definition of why those people are “disordered” – such as the chemical imbalance- contributes to increased stigma against the so called “mentally ill”.

      How is that not promoting “animosity, hostility, and malice against persons belonging to a disability which differs from that of the members of the APA”?

      The only possible defense that I see coming from some APA members is “lack of intent”, meaning, that many of them will excuse themselves that the increased stigma was never their intention, although I cannot say that every member of the APA is innocent of this.

      It is so obvious that the APA is a hate organization that the only rational question is why is that the US government promotes their “hatred” by embracing some of their views, like that those DSM labeled deserve “less civil rights”.

      • I agree, psychiatric stigmatization is being, and I understand has historically always been, used as a “hate group.” According to my medical records, I was drugged because my PCP, although not knowing me, “hated” me because she was paranoid of a malpractice suit since her husband had been the “attending physician” at a “bad fix” on a broken bone of mine. Then, when I went outside my insurance for a second opinion regarding the ADRs and withdrawal symptoms of her drugs, I unfortunately ended up talking to a psychologist who, although not knowing me, “hated” me and stigmatized me based upon a written list of lies and gossip from her friends who “hated” me, although did not know me, because they’d raped my child.

        I’ve been told, and the sheer number of abused foster children being stigmatized and tranquilized adds credence to the fact, that psychiatry has always and still is today being used to cover up child abuse for the wealthy or well connected, and easily recognized iatrogenesis for the incompetent and unethical doctors.

        Personally I can’t imagine anything much more hateful and deceitful than to defame, tranquilize, and torture innocent victims while hypocritically pretending to help – but that is psychiatry’s historic and current function apparently. Psychiatry is a “hate group.”

  10. Psychiatry can use having a medical degree, relying on Big Pharma for help and knowing how to use the media to make all of us crazies not be believed. How easy it is to for them to say “but they are mentally ill and you know how these kind of people are” to sway public opinion.

    My former pdoc told me in tears how sorry he was he had wrongly diagnosed and drugged me. Months later he still sent a letter (I was able to get a copy) saying do not believe one thing Aria says after all she’s mentally ill. He could use this term all he wanted to discredit me and it worked.

    • Aria,

      At a recent meeting, my son’s consultant was concerned that I might be recording the meeting (1 – paranoid delusion), and also declared that the government has appointed him to be in charge of my son, which is incorrect, he has appointed himself (2 – grandiose delusion); the government has only misguidedly provided him with the power to coerce.

      He also declared that my son has ‘improved’ whilst on neuroleptics; he hasn’t (3 – belief that bears little or no relation to reality – visual and/or auditory hallucination), and his insistence on subjecting my son to a regime from which he has consistently demonstrated he derives no benefit and therefore from which he will continue to derive no benefit illustrates a complete lack of motivation to pursue meaningful goals (4 – Avolition).

      According to the DSM, given that he has held beliefs 2 and 3 for over a month, symptoms 1 to 4 provide the diagnostic criteria for an unequivocal diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia.

  11. Believing in the disease conception is all too tempting. How many would-be surviviors go no further from the revolving door of repeat admissions because of it? It’s a factor in most.

    It’s so simplistic that I almost succumb to self-condemnation with it lighting the way to such defeatism. When the emotional struggle is worst, another round of truth about it is vital.

    It does so much damage to people’s self-understanding, and inspires no further efforts at taking responsibility and caring for yourself. Still, it’s just the means to an end, the way to discredit a manufactured class of rejects, so that psychiatry doesn’t have to solicit business and the courts don’t have to bother with a chunk of the nation’s rights.

    It doesn’t just feel that way, it works that way.

  12. Ross,

    I’m sure you’re right, but how has he come by that belief ? If he has arrived at his belief by seeing or hearing something, or a succession of things, that nobody else is, or rather that havn’t occurred, then hasn’t his delusion come about by visual or auditory hallucination ?

    • A “delusion” is a false belief. As for hallucinations, I don’t know what your son’s consultant has seen or heard, and neither do you. He has offered the opinion that your son has improved while on neuroleptics. The consultant may be seeing or hearing things that are quite “real,” but making inferences that differ from the inferences that you make. In other words, you and he may be seeing and hearing the same things, but interpreting them differently.

      I’m all for critically examining the beliefs and behavior of psychiatrists and others in the mental health industry, but I don’t like stooping to the same defamatory, “diagnostic” name-calling that they do. And, yes, I understand that you did so in jest.

  13. I was in a meeting recently where a psychiatrist was talking to the family of a man who she was planning to treat with ECT. They were scared and quite confused, and they had a lot of questions about it. The psychiatrist answered their questions in absolute and definitive terms that made it sound like all their fears were either unfounded or less important than the dire ‘need’ to treat him right away. She sighed at one point in her explanations and said, “there’s a lot of stigma against ECT, which is a shame, because we know it is an extremely effective treatment”. It was maddening to watch, because the family were silenced in their questioning of her view by that statement – they did not want to appear ‘unenlightened’ by displaying ‘prejudice’ against this treatment. But the truth was, they weren’t prejudiced, they were afraid – and with good reason. After the meeting, the man’s son told me he’d known someone who’d had ECT, who had lost a lot of memories and never regained them, and who was never the same person afterwards. The family were confused, as I was, as to why it was so urgent that their father had emergency ECT, when he was beginning to show improvement and had started to eat and drink again, according to the same psychiatrist’s report? I believe that the ‘stigma’ comment made by the doctor only furthered the feeling the family had that they couldn’t question her authority. Already at the top of the hierarchy of power in this situation, the ‘stigma’ comment also appeared to raise her morally and ethically above anyone questioning her methods. It is just plain crazy to say there’s ‘stigma’ against receiving ECT against your will under an emergency section of the Mental Health Act whilst detained in hospital. People aren’t prejudiced against psychiatry’s methods, they are frightened and wary of them, and very rightly so. This ‘psychiatric prejudice’ idea is not just silencing critical thinking about psychiatry in the media; on the micro-level, it also is pushing the dynamics of Doctor-patient/carer interactions in the direction of “Doctor knows best – and if you think differently then you’re both irrationally wrong and morally wrong”. Patients/ carers don’t only have to fear looking stupid if they question the psychiatrist’s judgements, now they can add fearing looking prejudiced as well – how ironic, when the person actually demonstrating the greatest prejudice is sitting in front of them telling them their dad’s about to be given ECT.

    • Interesting ywaves,

      I think psychiatrists, and doctors here are getting sick of the hard sell that goes with treatments. So in our new mental health act they are trying to get an “unreasonable refusal” clause inserted.

      I’m sure if they succeed it will only be used when the hard sell doesn’t work, but it effectively removes the right to consent. Not just with a psychiatric, but with a doctor who ‘suspects’ you might have a mental illness.

      I’m hopingbthat the public is aware of what they are trying to achieve with this chrange, and would warn others to watch out for this type of change to the mental health laws.

        • I’d like to know more about this, too. In British Columbia, there’s an offensive phrase, “deemed consent,” which is often applied. In practical terms, what it means is that you can either consent or you can be deemed to have consented; there is no mechanism available for refusal. This is what passes for “consent” in British Columbia’s mental health care system.

          • Yes they use the term “implied consent” here to overcome some difficulties there are with getting people to agree to treatment and examinations. Long story but it involves not informing people of who has authority to do what, and rely on them not knowing their rights and being vulnerable.

            Ive looked into the “unreasonable refusal” clause and they are actually tring to remove it from the Act, not include it. This is good news if they achieve it because at present you basically have no say in your treatment. Its being used particularly with CTOs.

            The aim os to make it so that “a person will only be able to be made an involuntary patient if they do not have the capacity to make a treatment decision, in addition to meeting the other criteria for an involuntary treatment order”.

            So, if sucessful, were actually going to get a right to consent. I’m still trying to get my head around where the loophole is to get around this, and whether it will be of any gain. Psychiatrists might just end up having to make it appear that more people do not have the capacity to consent to treatment.

            I’ll look for the discussion paper from our law centre later if i have time.

          • Please keep us posted, Boans.

            There was a Supreme Court of Canada decision (Starson v. Swayze) from over a decade ago that separated the issue of competence from treatment decision. Unfortunately the SCoC decision never trickled down to the provinces, in part because the plaintiff was not really a poster boy for non-compliance.

            As it stands now, refusal of treatment is sufficient grounds to deem a patient incompetent. One of the things I’d really like to do here is encourage people to have their competence established without getting into treatment discussions.

          • Okay, think ive got what they are trying to achieve. It goes hand in hand with another change they are trying to make. A psychiatrist is not a psychiatrist.

            http://www.mhlcwa.org.au/latest-news/psychiatrist-is-not-a-psychiatrist/

            Doctors would be able to put people on involuntary treatment orders, if they wanted them on medication and the person didn’t wish to take it. It would effectively mean the expansion of who could write CTOs, and remove the right to consent even when you are deemed to have the capacity to consent to treatment.

            Of course we can trust them, their doctors and would never abuse such a situation. In its current form, the new Act is wide open to abuse.

          • So, if sucessful, were actually going to get a right to consent.

            Um, is this intended as irony?

            People about to be raped or drugged don’t need a “right” to consent, but a right to refuse.

          • Definitely said tongue in cheek oldhead. After going through the system it became obvious to me that the laws in place to protect peoples rights are simply being ignored by those charged with ensuring compliance.

            The actual laws if implemented would certainly work better than the system being used by mental health workers at the moment. They do what they want and then crush you if any complaint is made.

            I cant see how making any changes to our laws will have any effect with that system. Its an exercise in futility.

            It does all look good to the community though. Its only when your trapped by the system that you realise it was all just for show. Rights? You aint got none.

            Its a strange situation Francesca. I can be deemed competent to make a decision about my treatment, but dont have the right? As long as the public are unaware the ‘trap’ will continue to catch travellers.

          • Boans, the way I describe it is that a quasi-voluntary patient is considered competent to consent but incompetent to refuse. It’s a sickening distortion of the concept of consent.

  14. Psychiatric Prejudice
    One of the nice people I come across regularly in my social circles was diagnosed with terminal cancer twenty years ago but is still alive and active today. I’ve heard the same NHS ‘miracle’ repeated again and again by different people.
    But for ‘Schizophrenia’ the life expectancy is worse than it was 100 years ago, with new drugs killing people quicker. The progress in Mental Health is going backwards. Professor Peter Gøtzsche has done the right thing as a doctor by pointing this out.
    I’m heavily ‘labelled’ myself and the successful solution for me, has been from non drug means. The drug treatments were an obstruction to my recovery.

    • That’s a good point. Despite all problems that are clearly there conventional medicine has real victories to show for: eradication of smallpox, decrease in labour-related and infant mortality, antibiotic treatment, cancer treatment etc. What does psychiatry have to show for? An ever growing number of “mentally ill”, chronically disabled and dying prematurely. Good job, wonder why other doctors don’t treat them seriously.

  15. “Other doctors were prejudiced against mental health, and look down on psychiatry.”
    That is largely true. Simply because it’s largely if not completely true that psychiatry has no clinical validity to be spoken about. Their bitching and whining instead of addressing the specific concerns raised by critics only show that they don’t really have a good answer.