Illegal-Psychiatric Drug Hypocrisy, & Why Michael Pollan is Smarter than Me


Before Michael Pollan gained well-deserved respect and influence authoring five bestselling books about food, he got my attention in the late 1990s writing articles about American illegal-legal psychotropic drug hypocrisy. For those of us who appreciate what Pollan later accomplished for the local food and real food movements, it’s probably been a good idea that since 1999 he has stopped writing articles about drug hypocrisy, otherwise he may never have become so well-received.

If Pollan had continued his assault on American drug hypocrisy, he likely would have been attacked by many psychiatric drug users, mistaking his confronting this hypocrisy as challenging their decision to choose psychiatric drugs. At least that’s been my experience. And he would have likely been assaulted by psychiatrists—more later on this, including one of the most bizarre phone calls I’ve ever had with an enraged psychiatrist just a couple hours after the World Trade Center came crashing down. But back to Pollan.

I first got excited by Michael Pollan’s journalistic courage and great story telling when I read his lengthy 1997 Harper’s article “Opium Made Easy,” a wonderful piece about the legal ambiguities of growing the poppy plant. The gardener/journalist Pollan begins with, “So, yes, I was curious to know if I could make opium at home, especially if I could do so without making a single illicit purchase.” But his curiosity is transformed into paranoia about getting arrested for merely growing the poppy plant, and his paranoia is ultimately transformed into contempt for American drug hypocrisy:

The war on drugs is in truth a war on some drugs, their enemy status the result of historical accident, cultural prejudice, and institutional imperative . . . Is it the quality of addictiveness that renders a substance illicit? Not in the case of tobacco, which I am free to grow in this garden. Curiously, the current campaign against tobacco dwells less on cigarettes’ addictiveness than on their threat to our health. So is it toxicity that renders a substance a public menace? Well, my garden is full of plants—datura and euphorbia, castor beans, and even the stems of my rhubarb—that would sicken and possibly kill me if I ingested them, but the government trusts me to be careful. Is it, then, the prospect of pleasure—of “recreational use”—that puts a substance beyond the pale? Not in the case of alcohol: I can legally produce wine or hard cider or beer from my garden for my personal use (though there are regulations governing its distribution to others). So could it be a drug’s “mind-altering” properties that make it evil? Certainly not in the case of Prozac, a drug that, much like opium, mimics chemical compounds manufactured in the brain.

In 1999, Pollan continued his criticism of psychotropic drug hypocrisy in a New York Times Magazine piece where he discusses the revolving door in our culture of “good” psychotropic drugs becoming “bad” ones, and vice versa. Pollan again brings up Prozac in the context of labeling other drugs as “bad” that similarly “alter the texture of consciousness, or even a human’s personality.”

Then Pollan stopped writing articles about psychotropic drug hypocrisy. In his 2001 book Botany of Desire, Pollan has a chapter about marijuana, but I checked the “Articles” section on his Web site which has a side bar “By Topic,” and that 1999 New York Times Magazine article was his most recent Drugs piece. To Pollan’s credit, he has kept his drug articles on his Web site for all the world to see.

I thought this drug hypocrisy issue was important enough for somebody to keep writing about it, and I naively believed that if I made it clear that I was not opposing the informed choice to use psychiatric drugs—just confronting drug hypocrisy—then psychiatric drug users and prescribers would at least tolerate me. However, I’ve learned from experience that I upset many of these people, especially some psychiatrists who can get fairly violent with those who compare psychiatric drugs with illegal ones.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I had been in a studio taping an interview about my recently published book Commonsense Rebellion when, on my way out, I saw on television the planes crash into the World Trade Center. In a glazed stupor that many Americans experienced that day, I went to my office and checked my messages. One was from a Cincinnati area psychiatrist who said he wanted to talk to me about an article that had run that day in the Cincinnati Enquirer. I read the article and called him back.

That article (“Different Antidotes to Depression”) quoted me from an interview with its reporter two weeks before in which I had detailed how illegal drugs such as cocaine affect the same neurotransmitters as psychiatric drugs. The reporter misquoted me in some specifics, especially about psychotherapy, but she got right my general point about psychiatric/illegal drug hypocrisy.

I returned the psychiatrist’s phone call, and he immediately launched into an attack, “My patients are coming into my office upset, saying that they just read in the newspaper that their medications are no different than street drugs. It’s your fault. How incredibly irresponsible on your part. I have psychologists who work in my office, and they are going to help me make sure that you lose your license.”

My first reaction was to recoil at the thought of him going after my license to practice psychology. But then I thought about his assault in the context of the tragic events of that day, and I shot back at him: “Do you know what an ass you are making of yourself. Damn near all of America is shaken and traumatized after having watched people jump to their deaths a few hours ago, and you are narcissistically focused on your drug prescribing. Go after my license, you asshole. But I don’t think you have the balls to do it.”

As far as I know, he never did go after my license. Perhaps somebody told him how bad he was making himself look assaulting me on this particular morning. Or maybe a psychologist in his office had the courage to inform him that I wasn’t going to lose my license for stating facts that could be backed up in journal articles and textbooks.

A month earlier, in August 2001, the Journal of the American Medical Association had published the report “Pay Attention: Ritalin Acts Much Like Cocaine.” Ritalin is considered by chemists to be “amphetamine-like,” while other ADHD drugs such as Adderall, Vyvanse, and Dexedrine are in fact amphetamines, which are essentially synthetic cocaine. Not only does cocaine affect the same neurotransmitters as do ADHD stimulant drugs, the clinical effects of these ADHD drugs are indistinguishable from cocaine if both are similarly administered. The textbook A Primer of Drug Action (1998) notes this about the ADHD drug Dexedrine: “Individuals who have used cocaine have difficulty distinguishing between the subjective effects of 8 to 10 milligrams of cocaine and 10 milligrams of dextroamphetamine [Dexedrine] when both are administered intravenously.” It is simply untrue that these ADHD drugs only work if you have ADHD, as many non-ADHD diagnosed college kids, truck drivers, and others effectively use these drug to pull all-nighters.

In 2008, I wrote an article for AlterNet, America’s Love-Hate Relationship with Drugs, in which I documented the similarity between illegal drugs and psychiatric drugs, the psychiatric/illegal drug revolving door, and American drug hypocrisy. I discussed how Sigmund Freud used cocaine as medication to treat depression and how, later, amphetamines were used. Alcohol was a recommended treatment for anxiety as late as the 1940s. In the 1950s and early 1960s, psychiatrist Oscar Janiger used LSD to treat the neuroses of Hollywood stars and other celebrities. In my 2007 book Surviving America’s Depression Epidemic, I discuss how Cary Grant described himself as a “horrendous” person who became a better one—“born again” in his words—by using LSD approximately one hundred times; and I mention how Ecstasy was used in marital counseling during the 1980s, and now researchers are studying it as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Let me repeat that I have compassion for people who choose psychotropic drugs—illegal or psychiatric ones— to take the edge off to help them function. I have worked with many people who believed their alcohol and illegal psychotropic drugs helped them function. They often used them as a sleep aid and to divert them from the unpleasantness of their jobs (a 2013 Gallup poll revealed that 70% of Americans hate their jobs or have “checked out” of them). I remember one factory worker telling me, “Yeah, I know I am an alcoholic, but I’ve got less of a problem than most everybody else working the floor. You try working for those bastards without using something. I went to rehab for alcohol and pot, and the first thing they do is give me some Valium and then Prozac. I know I was doing some bad shit, but they put me on some worse shit, so when I got out, I just went back to my old shit.”

Similar to “red-baiting” (in which critics of the U.S. military industrial complex are called communists), those of us who address psychiatry’s hypocrisies and deceptions are “Scientology-baited,” as some psychiatry apologists attempt to discredit critics by associating them with this religion. I made clear in a 2008 Huffington Post piece “Thinking Critically About Scientology, Psychiatry, and Their Feud” that not only am I not a Scientologist but that I am equally critical of both psychiatry and Scientology. Scientologists deride others for using psychiatric drugs, but don’t like to mention that Scientology’s founder L. Ron Hubbard had an anti-anxiety drug in his system at the time of his death, and several of Hubbard’s assistants later attested it was one of many psychiatric and pain medications that Hubbard ingested over the years (see Rolling Stone’s 2011 “Inside Scientology”).

How best to explain American drug hypocrisy? Maybe Pollan got it right in his 1999 New York Times Magazine piece when he concluded: “We hate drugs. We love drugs. Or could it be that we hate the fact that we love drugs?”

* * * * *


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.


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  1. Thanks for alerting me to Pollan’s writing on this topic. I have long thought that the agri-industrial complex is closely related to the pharma-industrial complex. In fact, so much of our industrial agriculture is propped up by the intensive use of antibiotics. It has occured to me that we give the livestock antibiotics to fatten them up so we can overfeed the populace thus creating an ever expanding market for newer drugs to treat the obesity related disorders of hypertension, heart disease, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, etc. I am not suggesting this is a planned out conspiracy but it does work out well for pharma. I was reading Pollan just before I got to Robert Whitaker and these topics have always been linked for me.
    Joanna Moncrieff’s drug centered vs. disease centered construct has helped me to think about this. If we we just think about a drug and its totality of effects, we can talk to people about how it may or may not be of benefit and what the drawbacks of its use might be. We (meaning psychiatrists) seem to have an easier time grasping this concept with some of the drugs we prescribe (benzodiazepines, hypnotics, for example) than others (antidepressants, neuroleptics, for example). We know that taking a benzodiazepine (valium, for example) will have an effect on anyone, not just hose who are anxious or sleep deprived but we do not think about that with the SSRI’s.
    But as drugs prescribed by psychiatry move ever closer to drugs used recreationally, it will be hard to sustain this charade. It has occurred to me that given the dismal results of the antidepressants drugs that in the not too distant future, the main drugs prescribed by psychiatrists will be stimulants, benzodiazepines, hypnotics (Z- drugs – zolpidem, etc., opiate agonists (methadone, suboxone), ketamine and other NMDA antagonists, even nicotine.

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    • Interesting Sandra. The other day I was talking with someonoe who had been in prison and he described how inmates liked to snort crushed the antidepressant wellbutrin. Apparently it gives a short lasting cocaine like high when snorted. The prison warden apparently was trying to crack down on this. It kind iof made me laugh…

      Snorted Wellbutrin powder- “Bad Drug”
      Orally dosed Wellbutrin- “Medicine”


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    • I also totally agree that there is a strong relationship between the agri-industrial and pharma-industrial complex. The agri-industrial complex has promoted the use of processed forms of soy and corn that have led to massive health problems related to obesity, metabolic and inflammatory health issues.

      I believe this intense focus on monocropping and marketing processed foods has contributed to the demise of our collective mental health as well. If I downed a few (mostly soy) McDonalds cheeseburgers, some fries and a 32 oz. high fructose corn syrup coke every day for a few weeks, not only would I get fatter, I would get increasingly anxious and depressed. I might develop symptoms of ADHD like restlessness and difficulty in focusing. I might develop insomnia.

      And then I may go to a doc to say I don’t feel good lately. Pretty tired and depressed. Well, try some…Zoloft, Paxil, Valium, Xanax, etc etc.

      Neat trick.

      Conspiracy…as you say? Probably not. But man…This little merry-go-round sure has fattened some coffers.

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        • John: while this website is ostensively dedicated to addressing the harm caused by the Big Pharmacy-Psychiatric Complex, writers like Bruce and others try to link it to larger forces in society. Your mention of neo-liberalism is a case in point. The dominant paradigm in mental health-biological psychiatry-seeks to locate the distress of the individual in the individual himself rather than looking at the broader societal context;Neo-liberalism’s hyper-individualism focuses on the citizen as consumer, and the substitution of public space to private sphere. (The commodification of everything from education to water resources).
          So how do us contributors to MIA further our immediate agenda (of course we have no exact uniform voice here since views range from those within system trying to humanize it to those who advocate to abolish psychiatry altogether) of improving the lives of those labeled with mental illness without sacrificing a broader critique of society. On one level, I include my own experience with psychiatry on the blogs here, and at the same time I try to connect the dots with other areas of concern in my life. Recently I came across an interview on Pacifica radio with Liat Ben-Moshe, a professor of disability studies at the University of Toledo. In her work, she draws on Foucault, Irving Goffman, Angela Davis,and others to interrogate the larger prison-institutionalization complex. She seeks to understand the totality of the. process from the prison industrial complex to those labeled mentally ill and intellectually disabled. Tina who blogs here relates her experience advocating for our disability rights within the UN, while Bonnie and Phillip put forward a demand for abolition of psychiatry. So the question seems to be, how do we marshall our forces for broader change in the political arena.
          In addition to blogging here, I have taken counseling classes at the local graduate school, I recently attended the convention of the WV Mountain Party (an affiliate of the Green Party), I visited the local office of the Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas while on vacation in the Bay Area, and I try to nudge my co-workers along in my logs at the run-away shelter and foster home where I work. Most importantly we need to put our faces to the public in the political arena. As long as the psychiatry authorities keep us trapped and hidden behind the conceit of confidentiality and we go along with it, we will be unable to break through the politics of scape goating. That is why we need people to step forward to confront Congressman Murphy’s effort to establish a more draconian web of assisted out patient laws, and why we need to confront Sneator Manchin of WV when he seeks to sacrifice the rights of our community on the alter of bi-partisan gun legislation. This is no where more clear than when localities seek proposals to arm teachers. The unstated assumption in such efforts is that the “mentally ill” is the other. The notion that the teaching corps might contain those from our is not even a consideration. I outed myself at the local job corps where I work as an instructor. Owing to the stress I was under going from titrating from Zyprexa and the uneasy way I felt regarding the active shooter training we were doing on campus I felt that I had no choice. We need to step forward. We really still live in the age of Thomas Eagleton-he was McGovern’s first choice as Vice President until he was outed for ECT treatments and summarily kicked to the curb. Sad to say, but people in this country are still more mis-informed by the slanderous portrayal of our community in the entertainment community than they are by human to human contact with us.

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  2. “Let me repeat that I have compassion for people who choose psychotropic drugs—illegal or psychiatric ones— to take the edge off to help them function”

    I have not. It’s again the double standard that psychiatry uses so effectively to its advantage. So our society shames “addicts” to the point having created rehab centers and having made “substance abuse treatment” one of the 10 fundamental benefits of Obamacare but when said addiction is to psychotropic drugs prescribed by a “doctor”, then it is fine? Total BS.

    I have said in several places that the “shaming of proud users of psychiatric services” is something that needs to be done if the struggle against organized psychiatry is to be successful. That is perfectly compatible with legalizing drugs and defending people’s right to take the drugs. When it comes to alcohol and tobacco consumption, this “shaming” has been very effective. Adults are still free to get drunk and to become nicotine addicts, but society does not condone “proud drunks” or “proud nicotine addicts”. This was not always the case as evidenced by the movies up to 40 years ago that showed smoking in a very positive light. Now it is illegal to advertise tobacco and it is illegal to smoke in public places in many states. Imagine if the advertising of psychotropic drugs were to be made illegal!

    So yes, no compassion whatsoever for those who proudly advertise their consumption of psychotropic drugs. They are part of the problem.

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    • I don’t think shaming is a good idea neither I see it as ethical. Not in the current system when people are essentially tricked and lied into taking the drugs in the first place, not even mentioning those who get straight out forced. The people who should be shamed are those who lie and force these drugs on people.

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      • I also agree with you, B.

        Of course, I can only speak for myself and of my own experiences, for me, after slowly but surely discovering the sheer extent of the lies I had been told by psychiatric practitioners by doing my own research on the matter, I went into a phase of blaming myself for what happened to me. Why did I turn to psychiatry – or so-called psychosomatic medicine, which only dresses up as something being separate from the entity of psychiatry, in my case – to get „help“ during a difficult phase in my life in the first place? And why did I choose to stay in that „hospital“, even though there were clear indicators that the whole enterprise was not at all going in a direction that seemed to be in the interest of my wellbeing, but rather the wellbeing of those „doctors“ (Neo-Freudians are particularly „interesting“ in this regard) and their needs, thoughts and feelings – especially relating to „diagnosis“, since as a general tendency, mental health practitioners in my experience seem to be completely unable to frame human distress and reactions to life and living conditions in any other fashion than as genetically caused brain diseases?

        What basically happened was that those „physicians“ – after interviewing me twice before the hospital stay proper (and yes, coming up with a preliminary/provisional „diagnosis“ of bipolar disorder because I, like apparently a third of all English 17th century poets, seem to be an ever so creative person) – came up with the utterly brilliant solution of watching me like a laboratory rat for four weeks, all the while neither listening to me nor talking to me, and if they did, treating me like a three year old, as if non-interaction and non-communication weren’t interaction and communication in and of themselves… I did not dare to mention my impression that if Kafka ever had written a play in his lifetime, that we were all acting it out ever so perfectly and absurdly – because if I had, my impression would only have served as „proof“ of my inability to reflect on myself and others, due to my supposed „mania“ and perceived „loosening of associations“… their apparent failure „to get me“ as a person, „to get“ the situation I was in at the time was my ‚fault‘, my ‚defect‘, naturally… talk about a self-fullfilling prophecy:

        There is enough shaming and blaming going on already, and one should not and cannot underestimate the power of an internal psychiatrist, once installed in your psyche, with the indispensable „help“ of external mental health practitioners, as a matter of due course, of course… so, for me, my personal recovery process started at the precise moment when I decided to tell my inner psychiatrist/physician for psychosomatic medicine/psychologist to get the hell outta my mind, to get lost, once and for all.

        Additional external shaming and blaming might contribute to heightened resistance in the shamed and blamed, not because of ‚truth‘ being told but because of an (initial) „failure“ to really grasp the true dimension of the fraud and harm „administered“ by psychiatry – to them, loved ones, friends, etc., perfectly disguised as a legitimate medical and scientific field, of all things…

        — Britta

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        • “treating me like a three year old (…) because if I had, my impression would only have served as „proof“ of my inability to reflect on myself and others”
          Well, I have actually told the “doctors” that they were treating me as a 3yr old – “projection”. And I also laughed a few times sarcastically since the whole situation was so absurd: “inappropriate laughter”. Kafka is quite a good comparison… In these places everything is a symptom: you’re either too happy or too unhappy, too intelligent (no kidding – I was told that) or too dumb or too … (fill in with any emotion or personality trait).

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          • B

            You’ve got this right. I got my records for my stay in the state hospital and read only twenty pages before I put all the rest of it in the shredder. The “professionals” pathologized every thing that I said, even though I could back everything up with facts. When I stated that I was a chaplain trained in a psychiatric hospital the nursing staff stated that I was a liar and that I’d never been a chaplain! Lo and behold, one of the social workers just happened to be a former chaplain who’d worked with me at a particular hospital and she proceeded to set them straight. Actually she threatened to get them written up for unprofessional behavior but the problem is that this behavior permeates everything in the system. I was told that you can never accept or believe anything that a “patient” tells you because “patients” always lie! When you’re a “patient” you can never win no matter what you say, how you say it, or what you do or don’t do. They are determined to pathologize each and every thing.

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          • True. And it really doesn’t matter what it is:
            – say something smart – “patient is intellectualizing”
            – say something emotional – “patient is hysterical”
            I wonder how some people who are 100% sane wind up in psych wards locked up for years with “paranoid schizophrenia” etc.

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    • CS,

      How is shaming folks who are desperate for relief the solution to get people on our side? What about people who develop rebound insomnia so severe that they feel their only choice is to take sleep meds on a PRN basis to keep some type of sanity? They have tried OTC remedies to no avail. Should they continue to suffer in the name of our cause which could result in dire consequences?

      I really enjoy reading alot of your posts but frankly, I am stunned by the above comment and ask that you reconsider your position.

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      • Let me explain.

        No enterprise as pervasive as psychiatry gets as big as psychiatry has through action of the drug pushers alone (ie, big pharma + psychiatrists) . If drugs were consumed only by those who have been forcibly drugged, the market for psychiatrists and drugs would be relatively small.

        So called “proud consumers” are as part of the problem as the drug pushers. In addition these proud users are used to justify psychiatric coercion by the system. One such proud user is a guy who goes by the name of John who administers DJ Jaffe’s FB page. By his own admission, AOT worked wonders for him and he is a fervent supporter of the Murphy bill.

        “Shaming” is the way tobacco/alcohol consumption went from being “cool” to being repudiated. The same should be done with those who take psychotropic drugs.

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        • You’ve got people pursuing “disability” as a career choice. These people pursuing “disability” as a career choice are encouraging more people “in treatment” to do the same. This lead me to, “this is the way the mental health system grows”. When people get well, they don’t pursue “disability” as a career choice. When people recover, they do so by leaving the “mental illness” system. Given economic collapse, corporate imperialism, and discrimination, you can’t expect them to work, can you? Well, you might, and Peer Support People could help with it, if they weren’t too busy being a part of the problem. I’d say with the work ethic tossed, people set for life, the nanny state, etc., there can be a great deal of amorality or immorality to the “mental illness” lifestyle. Okay, given such a quixotic situation, a little chastising, and a little moral fortitude, couldn’t hurt.

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          • This thread is troubling to me.

            1. I can’t believe that anyone who has been psychiatrized would even suggest shaming other psychiatrized and traumatized people – for anything. No, the shame belongs to psychiatry and big pharma.

            2. re: disability as a career:

            I’m on it right now, so I can tell you straight up that it would be a very strange “choice” for anyone, when it doesn’t even give you enough money to afford both food and shelter. And in my case, the food and shelter combo would be really useful for helping me deal with protracted psych drug withdrawal.

            If a society doesn’t look after the citizens it has disabled, then that society’s social contract is a sham.

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          • Okay. I don’t want to overdo this.

            1. Shame cuts across all sorts of lines. I don’t think the “mental illness” excuse a good one. Take, for example, don’t hold Blankety Blank responsible, he or she has a “mental illness”, and go ahead, take away Blankety Blanks constitutional rights, Blankety Blank has a “mental illness” doing his or her acting out for him or her.

            Basically, psychiatry and big pharma could do nothing without customers. If there is any blame, or shame, it isn’t theirs alone.

            2. There are people doing better than 24/7 in the “disability” field, and at the same time, giving the lie to “disability”, but that’s not a problem really. “Disability worker” is an oxymoron. It’s like saying ‘dysfunctional functionary’, and I could well imagine a psychiatrist or two coming up with that one. Conceiving of a ‘functional dysfunctionary’ would be even more peculiar. ”

            I’d like to see Peer Support Specialists, for example, helping people acquire jobs outside of the mental health field. I don’t think there’s enough employment outside of the mental health field. NAMI recently said something like 80 % of people in treatment are unemployed, technically beyond employment, on “disability”. This is just a matter of working with business and civic leaders in anybodies localities. Boy, but don’t we love our problems. Not enough of that is going on.

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          • To clarify:

            1. I don’t believe in “mental illness.” I do believe in trauma and other legitimate problems that people suffer from which often causes them to turn to psychiatry because it is socially sanctioned and portrayed as legitimate, and because alternatives are not well-known to the broader public.

            I don’t think that psychiatry should exist as a medical specialty, but I’m not going to shame someone for trying to get help with an unbearable situation. I’m not going to find fault with them trying to help themselves, even if I know that what they are doing is not likely to be helpful in the long run and is possibly disastrous. And as for people who are “proudly” on psych drugs or whatever, as has been said, have you considered medication spellbinding? Nope, I’m not down for victim-blaming. I was in their shoes ten years ago.

            Individuals certainly bear responsibility for their decisions, but there is also a larger context to these decisions.

            2. I don’t consider myself disabled because of any meaningless psychiatric diagnosis, but I do consider myself, for the present anyway, disabled by psychiatric intervention.

            I admire the stories of people who have been told by psychiatrists that they will never amount to anything, but have proven them wrong by thriving and carving out meaningful lives for themselves. That is my aspiration.

            But isn’t it kind of strange that folks can go on and on about about the dangers of psychiatric interventions, but then fail to recognize that the outcome of those interventions is often disability? And I don’t mean “disability” in the sense of what one’s psychiatrist may have said, I mean disability in the sense that one is so physically sick that one could not do most wage work in this capitalist nightmare if one wanted to.

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          • What I left out is that, in regard to not shaming people receiving psychiatric “services,” what is humane is also what is strategically sound, if one seeks to reform or abolish psychiatry. There’s a reason why psychiatry seeks to portray the critical and anti-psychiatry positions as ableist and anti-patient. It’s because they know that it is a good way to keep people with those viewpoints marginalized in the eyes of the public.

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          • I have a problem with this idea of entitlement, when entitlement means a government subsidiarity for a permanent vacation. People could be entitled to be maintained by the government until death, sure, but I don’t feel great about it, and I don’t see it as an act of nature more or less, or do I think it paranormal, for instance.

            I am asymptomatic, and I don’t need psychiatry, nor psychiatric drugs, nor the mental health system. I’m good this way. Did more people feel the same way, there would be no psychiatry because there would be no patients. Excuse me, my impatience got the best of me. I found out what a doorknob was there for. I don’t have an infinity to wallow away in the netherworld of pretend rehab. Okay.

            I imagine you feel differently.

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          • “Vacation,” Frank? What part of “doesn’t even give you enough money for food or shelter” did you not understand?

            And I have absolutely no use for psychiatry.

            I was simply acknowledging the fact that many people end up in the clutches of psychiatry because of trauma or other real problems. If they are fortunate enough to distance themselves from psychiatry, they often still have to deal with the problems that brought them to psychiatry in the first place. On top of that, they often have to deal with the problems that psychiatry caused them, sometimes including protracted drug withdrawal. Not everyone walks (or runs) away from psychiatry and then all of a sudden everything’s fine.

            I don’t have an infinity to wallow away in the netherworld of pretend rehab. Okay.

            I imagine you feel differently.

            Thanks for throwing me under the bus, Frank.

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          • There has been an interesting national debate about the numbers of people claiming disability for mental illnesses here in Australia.

            The government wants to cut benefits off and push people back to work. They are walking a thin line with it all in that they want the label of mentally ill to stick, but no view people as ill when it comes to productive work.

            I guess it was an unintended consequence of the expansion of psychiatry, and they need to ensure that this expansion doesnt cost the government.

            600,000 people going to be affected. Sure they will find a way to have their cake and eat it too.

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          • @ uprising,

            In watching these back and forth comments, between you and Frank, at last, I’ve come to wonder if maybe you two are having trouble seeing eye to eye largely because he’s against “entitlements,” and you are not seeking entitlements but, perhaps, would welcome reparations?

            So, I wonder if Frank would support a movement that called for reparations (for those who’ve been, in various ways and to varying degrees, disabled… by the traumatizing, stigmatizing and physiologically damaging ‘care’ of psychiatrists).



            P.S. — See the blogging of Tina Minkowitz, Esq….

            “Méndez also states that reparations are due to survivors, and that the reparations framework “opens new possibilities for holistic social processes that foster appreciation of the lived experiences of persons, including measures of satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition, and the repeal of inconsistent legal provisions.””



            “Psychiatric survivors and allies can inform themselves about the right to a remedy and reparation and start making the arguments in advocacy. Since the concept in international law is broader than the general public may be aware of, we need to find the right words that will appeal to a sense of justice and community-building…”


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          • Each to his own pair of crutches.

            There is something to be said for reparations, but then I know a lot of people who are, after the war between the states, still waiting for their forty acres and a mule, too.

            If you’re trying to suggest that it’s an uphill struggle, yes, I will give it that.

            There’s just a point when I’ve had my share of bellyaching, and I want to smile for a change.

            I’m frankly more interested in seeing the abolition of forced treatment. Given that circumstance, reparations cease to become so necessary. They would be reparations, after all, for the violence and disruption that comes of forced psychiatric treatment.

            I do think that Tina Minkowitz has the right idea though in the sense that social justice comes of community building. He or she who doesn’t work for it, could be said to be colluding in his or her own marginalization. Stepping from the margins, is the way to making a difference.

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          • Frank,

            RE “There’s just a point when I’ve had my share of bellyaching, and I want to smile for a change.”

            You wish to avoid spending a lot of time complaining about your own misfortunes and would discourage others from spending their lives complaining about their misfortunes. (If that’s what you mean, then we have a point of agreement; to live in a mode of ongoing ‘complaint’ can be really unattractive and misery-producing.)

            RE “I know a lot of people who are, after the war between the states, still waiting for their forty acres and a mule…”

            I presume you’re saying you wouldn’t want to be one of those people; and, I’m guessing you wouldn’t want to advance their cause, of seeking reparations. (You can tell me if I’m presuming too much.)

            But, apparently, you’re affirming, that you could support “reparations, after all, for the violence and disruption that comes of forced psychiatric treatment.”

            If so, then I say ‘Here, here!’

            I mean, if I’m reading you correctly, then there’s a point (or two) of agreement between us.



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          • “I’d say with the work ethic tossed, people set for life, the nanny state, etc.”
            Well, if not for the “nanny” state I would not be able to recover, to write my PhD thesis and to get a job. Instead I’d probably end up killing myself or homeless or something of that kind. The “nanny” state gave me the means to survive and get my shit together without additional stress of needing food and shelter I couldn’t afford. And just to make it clear: I did not suffer profound withdrawal effects from meds taken over months and years and I can only imagine how much physical and mental suffering that entails and still I had my health mightily destroyed even by the short term “treatment” (including restless leg syndrome from Seroquel and Zyprexa, profound anxiety, PTSD from torture otherwise known as forced “treatment” and others – it took me over 2 yrs to get to more or less to get back to reasonable state of well being).

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    • “Shaming” “proud users of psychiatric services” makes more sense than expanding “psychiatric services” indefinitely and, by doing so, multiplying dramatically the numbers of “proud users of psychiatric services” you have un under or quasi-employed, and adding to the social burden industry. I’d like to point out that there is some kind of moral evasion at work here that is less than savory. Put another way, psychiatrists are the only people in the mental health profession vulnerable to corruption.

      Certainly, if the advertising of psychotropic drugs were made illegal, the way it should be, and the way it could be, eliminating once and for all so called direct to consumer advertising, the numbers of people on these drugs, the numbers of people harmed by these drugs, and the numbers of people killed by these drugs would not be escalating the way it is today. I’d call doing so, and saving lives in the process, a great improvement.

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      • Excuse me, I made a typo. I had meant to write, first paragraph above, “Put another way, psychiatrists are NOT the only people in the mental health profession vulnerable to corruption.” Is the entire mental health field corrupt from top to bottom? I will leave that question open for the time being.

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      • Frank,

        What makes you think all people who use psych meds are proud users? I use sleep meds out of desperation that has nothing to do with being proud.

        And many people stay on psych meds because they have intolerable symptoms trying to get off and can’t find any assistance. How does shaming help them get off the meds?

        This is the type of black and white thinking that doesn’t win people over to our side.

        I do agree that advertising all meds should be banned and not just psych meds. I find that practice extremely despicable.

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        • Okay, AA, maybe we have a problem with the rhetoric here. “All” is, of course, too general a term. I certainly didn’t mean “all”. I do mean many. I don’t know you personally that I know of. I wasn’t, of course, referring to you specifically.

          I remember when we had a thriving illicit drug culture. It was an illicit drug culture out of which many users eventually aged, but it permeated much that was going on at one time. We had what was referred to as a “counter culture” although much, not all, of that “counter culture” was actually illicit drug culture. This created confusion.

          As a part of this illicit drug culture I can remember people taking a drug that was later used to treat the label “ADHD”. It was speed then, and it is speed now, but for “ADHD”, it was “medication”. I don’t honestly think this drug did any more for the people who got “high” on it for “recreation” than it did for the people who got “high” as “treatment”.

          Now we have a prescription drug culture that is as bad, if not worse, than the illicit drug culture that preceded it. It’s not like we don’t have an illicit drug culture as well, but the faces and the names have changed with the times, as have the drugs. Alcohol and marijuana, in some places anyway, are legal.

          If your situation, “condition”, whatever, requires sleeping pills, so be it. People get headaches, and take aspirin, too. If you could find a natural remedy, more power to that as well. Ultimately, you will do whatever you think you must to take care of your condition, your malady, your problem, however you see it.

          I’m just saying that without advertizing, and without corruption, that the prescription drug culture wouldn’t be thriving, and growing, the way it is today. A prescription drug culture that is maiming and killing people. I expect capitalism eventually will be the salvation (decriminalization/legalization) of the marijuana trade, regardless of what anybody thinks about that. The marijuana business isn’t quite so bad.

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          • Thanks for clarifying your position Frank.
            Yes, we agree that drug advertising and corruption is definitely contributing to the problem.

            Great point about ADHD and using the word “medication” to justify prescribing for the condition when it is technically speed. I hate to admit it but when I was drinking the psych med koolaid, I bought that BS. I cringe when thinking about that.

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        • I’d even say that there is nothing wrong with using psych drugs just as there is nothing wrong with using pot or alcohol if you want it and are aware of potential harm. Plus some of these drugs can have legitimate health benefits for certain people in certain circumstances just as marihuana or alcohol do.
          I don’t see why I should shame someone who chooses to take psych drugs or needs to take them due to addiction and intolerable withdrawal. The real culprits here are people who sell these substances as wonder drugs and even force people to take them against their will.

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          • I would not go so far as to say there is nothing wrong with using either. As Dr. Peter Breggin puts it, drugs work by disabling the brain.

            Drugs are, and have been, the panacea of the psychiatric profession. Researchers are finding all these genes that they’d like to tie to the “schizophrenia” label. Doing so, goes the reasoning, we can find better or more precise treatments. By treatments, by and large, they mean drugs.

            What is wrong with this picture? I just see a compounding of errors (potential errors anyway).

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      • Frank, there are other, deeper factors at play here than direct to consumer advertising which should definitely be banned in my opinion as well – while it definitely contributes to the escalating in psychiatric drug prescription and use, is the way I see it.

        In Germany, for example, where direct to consumer advertising of medical drugs always was and still is illegal, the prescription and use of psychiatric drugs is escalating… direct to physician advertising, however, is legal in Germany, and boy, does the pharma-medical complex dig their claws into the „market“ of distressed people. Especially GPs, as the coordinators of their patients’ health, are targeted heavily in the form of articles on and courses in „How to screen for depression in your patients“ and the like… or consider respected medical journals with their „regular“ load of advertising, citing studies, proper scientific studies concerning „mental health issues and their treatment“ as it would seem…

        never even calling into question the 150 year old – and since then in its essence structurally identical – overall medical, therefore psychiatric and unspoken axiom that mental diseases are diseases proper.

        In addition to that, if those distressed people do not view themselves as „ill“, this take on their own situation is conveniently helped along by a heavily funded – and most of the time unwittingly so, I assume – PR machine whose carefully crafted „stories of mental illness and their treatment“ miraculously find their way into the mass media. Psychiatry in Germany is (in part) frowned upon, by non-psychiatric physicians and the general public alike; paradoxically, not so with regards to so-called psychosomatic medicine, which is the latest fad and of course nothing else than psychiatry in disguise, because it depends on ICD-10’s „disease entities“ for it to become a proper medical discipline.

        What I have found when talking about the supposed medical or rather non-medical status of psychiatry/psychosomatic medicine in general, is that even well-educated and content with their lives adults have a hard time taking it all in. Psychiatry being a proper medical discipline is something they grew up with, they are accustomed to… the mere thought of psychiatry not only not constituting a proper medical discipline at all, but also harming and killing people in unimaginable numbers seems to be an unbearable one. Mention psychiatry’s history with regards to the Holocaust, especially in Germany, and you are in for a rough ride, at best.

        Humor, though, helps to get the fundamental point across, at times. A friend of mine, being confronted with the idea that he should see a psychiatrist to „exclude“ psychogenesis of his difficulties with walking, remarked upon this suggestion by a neurologist as follows:

        „Since there are clear pathological changes in my head MRI, I am not going to talk with you or some psychiatrist about the notion of an ‚immaculate conception’ of any kind.“

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        • “see a psychiatrist to „exclude“ psychogenesis”
          Wow, I’ve always thought it was supposed to be the other way around. I would love to see all the careful medical testing the psychiatrist is surely going to do to “exclude psychogenesis”.

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      • We agree Frank.

        And to address what AA says below, I will compare the usage of sleep aids with the use of pain killers. People who suffer from pain and need pain killers to function have my compassion. People who consume pain killers as a way of life, like those proud consumers of SSRIs/neuroleptics, or those proud consumers of AOT do not. They are part of the problem.

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        • Hmm, what if someone voluntarily decides to take an SSRI due to the depression of dealing with pain in their life. It sounds like you are saying they don’t deserve compassion.

          And what about the person who tries Cymbalta as a desperate measure for pain control since nothing else worked? Since they are taking something for pain, would you be compassionate or would you have negative thoughts since they are taking an antidepressant?

          And by the way, they can get these drugs easily from the PCP who is routinely asking those dreaded depression screening questions. After all the, these folks are the ones prescribing 80% of the psych meds. But for some reason, most people on this site want to overlook that.

          My point again CS is there are many grays in this issue that you seem to be overlooking. And again, condemning people who take psych meds is not the way to win additional allies to our cause.

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          • I hear placebos are about as effective as SSRI antidepressants. “The pain of life”, as you put it, is not universal. The way you frame the question seems a bit self-indulgent to me. Does anybody DESERVE compassion? People are compassionate beyond and despite just deserts.

            Some of us came to the movement through psychiatric incarceration not through requesting an anodyne of some psychiatrist. We were given drugs we didn’t ask for, didn’t need, and that, in terms of adverse effects, dragged us through the underworld.

            Getting too heavily into the grays, as you put it, is a way of becoming bogged down with sludge, or dragging too much baggage behind you. The other side of non-recovery “in recovery” eternally sucking at the psychiatric teat is full and complete recovery aka rejection of the dependency system entirely. Let me simplify by way of contrast, mental health clinic, real world. If we are contrasting mental health treatment with reality, what does that say about it?

            Maybe I need to back up for a moment here. Some people do go to their doctor for pills, or relief, or problems, or what have you. That’s okay I suppose, as long as there is an eventual end to it. The problem is, so often, there is no end to it. You’ve got a person fixated with the idea that there is something wrong with him or her. The doctor might, or might not, delineate, for the afflicted person’s sake, not his, a few of the things that are right with that person. This human pain becomes a periodic chemical fix at the doctors office that never abates and never leads to, say, stability. I don’t know. Maybe you don’t have better things to be doing with your time.

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          • Frank,

            I think I do get your main point (forced psychiatric incarceration and treatment IS torture without any basis whatsoever, legal or otherwise, indeed, and it needs to be abolished), and in my opinion there is an additional pathway to being dragged through this underworld, as you put it:

            Frank Blankenship:
            „Some of us came to the movement through psychiatric incarceration not through requesting an anodyne of some psychiatrist. We were given drugs we didn’t ask for, didn’t need, and that, in terms of adverse effects, dragged us through the underworld.“

            Some people – myself included – go and see their primary care physician because they hit, let’s say, a more than a rough spot/phase of some sort in their lives, NOT requesting an anodyne but to get help, as incredibly naive as that may sound, at least in retrospect. The general physician may refer one to a psychiatrist, well, you can very well imagine how the story might continue from there…

            Same difference to me, really. Personally, I cannot for the life of me get myself to argue (for myself) against psychiatry’s „diagnoses“ and „treatments“ from a disability perspective, for reasons I have outlined in my first comment to this website – not only because I am a sucker for cognitively and emotionally consonant arguments.

            Simultaneously, I allow cognitive and emotional dissonance to enter my mind with regards to fellow humans who, for whatever reasons, got sucked into the system for good, haha, because the status quo, a.k.a. the all-encompassing ‚therapeutic state‘ (including incarceration and forced treatment), as I understand it, from a legal standpoint can currently only be argued against from a UN human rights perspective.


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          • Ooops, I am sorry, this part in brackets of my previous comment

            (forced psychiatric incarceration and treatment IS torture without any basis whatsoever, legal or otherwise, indeed, and it needs to be abolished)

            is not meant to be read as that there can be reasons for torture, because torture is torture, period, and is therefore never justified.

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      • I don’t think it requires “shaming” to counter the effects of “proud users.” I think that Moncrief’s approach is pretty easily adaptable to this situation. “I hold nothing against you for finding something that helps you get through the day. We all have our coping measures, and yours is as legitimate as mine. What I object to is classifying suffering as a “disorder” and assuming that all people who are suffering in a particular way need to follow your path. Drugs do have effects, and if you like the effects, more power to you. It doesn’t mean that others will have the same experiences as you.”

        If that’s experienced as “shaming,” then I am not sure what else can be said. We can give people the latitude to do whatever works for them, but when they start becoming marketing agents for the pharmaceutical industry, I think we’re within our rights to object. It’s the difference between describing my own experience and extrapolating to assume that all people share my experience.

        Another approach would be this: “Suppose someone had a horrible experience with psychiatric drugs and swore they’d never take them again. Would that person be ‘shaming’ you by letting you know that your solution wouldn’t work for them? Does everyone have to agree with your viewpoint to avoid being labeled as ‘shaming?’ Might you be ‘shaming’ this other person if you told them that psychiatric drugs were good and that anyone saying otherwise was harming people who might benefit?”

        I don’t think we need to stand by while others sing the praises of psych drugs. They’re entitled to their experience, but so am I, and so is anyone else. If ‘shaming’ is brought up, I think it can be deflected by stating, “I’m just sharing my experience just like you are. Do you have a problem with me sharing what I experienced, even if it may differ from what happened to you?”

        We’re not shaming, we’re just sharing!

        —- Steve

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        • This is just an argument about semantics. What you describe is what I call “shaming” and that’s how I have “shamed” people who have offered me in the past things like marijuana: “it works for you great, but you should be aware of all these bad things that happen to long term users of drug X, and please do not use the argument ‘it works for so many of us’ to justify yourself using it or asking me that I bless your using of it; I respect it, but I don’t bless it”. This is what many like me call “shaming”.

          Extreme shaming would be to say, have a website with the names of all people who take psychotropic drugs, but this is not what has been done with tobacco or it is done with people who are addicted to alcohol. What people do is to make it known what are the consequences of alcoholism or tobacco addiction. And then say “who in his/her right mind would voluntarily be an alcoholic or a tobacco addict”. That second part, which is certainly done with alcohol and tobacco, is, from my point of view “shaming” in the sense that nobody goes around being proud of being an alcoholic or tobacco addict. While I am not old enough to remember a time in which alcoholism was presented as “cool” by the media, I am old enough to remember times in which the pop culture presented tobacco addiction, ie the habit of smoking, as “cool”. Not anymore.

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    • I don’t think voluntary users of tobacco or marijuana (tho I wouldn’t lump the 2 together) feel as though they need “compassion,” they just want to be left alone. If the smoke gets in your face that’s a different issue. I oppose all drug prohibition, but the issue of pharmaceutically conceived chemicals being pushed with billion dollar advertising campaigns on those who would have no natural demand for these poisons clouds or at least deepens the issue. Still, no one should be punished for taking drugs. Neither should they be able to use their drug use as an excuse to misbehave.

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  3. Bruce,

    Great essay, very well-written and quite thought-provoking; but, I must disagree with Micheal Pollan, to the extent, that he seems to be suggesting, that all Americans love mind-altering drugs. (You quote him in the end, “…could it be that we hate the fact that we love drugs?”) Of course, not all of us do love them…

    I, for one, have long felt that I am better off without them. (When I was in high school and college, I smoked pot a few times, and occasionally I’d drink. I have had just a few drinks since then…)

    I haven’t had any caffeine drinks in many years.

    Sometimes, I’ll go for a bit of chocolate (I guess that’s sort of mind-altering).

    Otherwise, I am ‘drug-free’ (in terms of rejecting mind-altering substances); and, as I grow older and read of so many countless tragedies being caused by psychotropic drugs, I feel more and more grateful for this fact all the time: Now a quarter of century has passed since any psychiatric drug was in my body.

    For me, life is MUCH better with a mind and body free from such substances — and free from ‘illicit’ mind-altering drugs as well; and, I know I’m not alone in feeling this way.

    But, yes, it’s true, many Americans love certain mind-altering drugs, and/or they love to push them on others (which is, of course, a terribly sad truth, that I know all too well, from personal experience).

    I wish there were gathering places where one could find refuge from all that…

    I mean, while it seems to me fair, to insist that adults should have a right to do what they wish with their own minds and bodies, I think it would be great if there was an online place (at least) for people who choose to completely eschew all mind-altering substances; if you or any MIA readers know of such a place, please post and let me know…

    I’d greatly appreciate that…



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    • Thanks, Jonah for your comment. Not too many of us not using some kind of drug — if you include caffeine — to get through their day. Many people, in order to survive, have to do alienating things and drugs of all kind help them survive. This is an indictment of our society, which I detail in Commonsense Rebellion and other places ==Bruce

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  4. I think this is an important issue, because, in fact, the psychiatric drugs are mind altering drugs and thus do have mind altering effects on all people. And the psychiatric profession is coercing and forcing these mind altering drugs onto innocent, trusting and / or victimized people, for profit, with lies about “chemical imbalances” and “real” diseases – when the chemical imbalance theories have not proven to be true and there is no scientific validity to any of the DSM disorders. Then they are claiming the mind altering effects of their drugs are “life long, incurable, genetic mental illnesses.”

    What the psychiatric industry is doing is complete fraud, on an incredibly massive scale, and morally and ethically repugnant. Forgive my disgust, as a person who used to believe doctors had taken the Hippocratic Oath and were respectable and decent people. How embarrassed I am to find out I was wrong about the medical profession (and, I know there are many good people within the medical profession, but as a corporate entity, which is still pushing this disingenuous agenda, I can no longer have much respect for the industry as a whole.)

    I appreciate and respect your courage to write about this, Bruce. And hope some day the medical community as a whole will rethink their right to harm other human beings for profit. I agree with Jonah, although confess I am not quite as virtuous as he, all people should have a right to “just say no,” to all psychoactive drugs, including psychiatry’s drugs.

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    • “…all people should have a right to “just say no,” to all psychoactive drugs, including psychiatry’s drugs.”

      Absolutely, I agree…

      However, Someone Else, RE “I agree with Jonah, although confess I am not quite as virtuous as he”

      Pu-leeze, let’s not go there, OK… :))

      (Now, what I’m going to say about that is probably obvious to you, but I say it just to be clear…)

      Someone Else, the relative ‘virtues’ of most folk cannot be in any way accurately judged, in comparison to one another — especially, not via online commenting; and, real virtuousness has never been established, based ones developing a personal aversion to mind-altering substances!

      (Note: As with many others who have developed such an aversion, that aversion of mine evolved, across time, from a relatively young age, based on a host of factors, many of which were fairly ‘selfish’ — or, at least, self-preserving — in nature.)

      It has been many years since I attended 12 Step meetings (to overcome my addiction to psychiatric drugs), but I well recall meeting many who were once ‘hard-core’ addicts, who had come to develop very solid personal character (far more solid than mine, by this point).

      And, I know, a person may have come to use this or that mind-altering substance, to excess, during a given period of his or her life, but our learning of that will say nothing, in truth, about whether or not s/he has or has not become an especially ‘virtuous’ person after all — as compared to the next individual whom, we find, has always been far more determined to remain free from such substances.

      (Of course, statistically, it’s true, that: One who spends a whole lot of time ‘high’ and/or drunk is going to thereby significantly reduce the odds that s/he’ll be a ‘high-functioning’ person during that time; but, on the other hand, clearly, some folk who have virtually always been ‘clean’ and sober are anything but particularly virtuous.)

      In the course of a lifetime, I figure, everyone develops ‘strengths’ (which could be deemed “virtues”) and ‘weaknesses’ (which may be called “vices”), but the overall balance or imbalance of ones strengths versus weaknesses may be ultimately impossible to fathom, at last…

      So, most folk I will refrain from judging.

      But, Someone Else, I will say this to your: I have read your personal story of surviving psychiatric abuse, through your comments; and, from my doing so, I figure you may be, by this point, considerably stronger (i.e., more virtuous) than I am, in ways. I say that because I do relate to your story of having been persecuted by psychiatry, based upon your religious beliefs; and, I think, to some extent, I allowed psychiatry to limit my own beliefs, in ways that you did not…

      In any case, now, I tip glass of grape juice and offer up this toast: Let’s, both of us, stay strong — and get stronger — being virtuous, each according to our own faith…



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      • I agree, and thank you, Jonah, I am actually an uncommonly virtuous person, although I am living in a society which demonizes nicotine dependence. And I’ve been struggling, off and on, for a long time to quit smoking.

        But, forcing people onto dangerous antidepressants, while claiming they are “safe smoking cessation meds,” then claiming the ADRs and withdrawal symptoms are “bipolar” is pretty frickin’ evil (especially since it was done to proactively prevent a non-existent malpractice suit due to a “bad fix” on a broken bone, and cover up medical evidence of the sexual abuse of my child).

        In reality, I am one of the most decent and ethical people you may ever meet – and want to see an end to such medical community crimes against patients. So I will tip my wine spritzer (after 5pm only) and toast you back – To staying strong, getting stronger, and being virtuous. To freedom and justice for all. To a return of truthfulness and mutual respect in this world.

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        • Someone Else,

          My first comment (to Bruce, above) expressed my interest in finding a community of people (at least, online) who are decidedly un-interested in using mind-altering substances; for, it has been so many years (roughly three decades) since I last used any ‘illicit’ substance — and two and a half decades since I successfully put all psychiatric drugs out of my life, once and for all. And, I rarely drink alcohol.

          But, that doesn’t mean I judge those who deeply feel that they need psych ‘meds’ of some kind, in order to function — nor that I judge those who enjoy an occasional drink or two, in the evenings; and, about your feeling discriminated against, as a cigarette smoker (and being that you’re someone who struggles to quit smoking), please don’t think I’d judge you for that…

          But, I am interested in making connections with people who are somewhat spiritually oriented (by their own definition) and who are decidedly interested in living their lives without use of psych ‘meds’ and without using any other significantly mind-altering substances. (I say “significantly mind-altering” to indicate those substances, which could easily be used as intoxicants.)

          How do I square my desire to be so discerning, with this fact, that I really don’t judge anyone for having an occasional alcoholic beverage?

          Well, I think I cannot reasonably judge people for occasionally having a drink or two, because doing so is so very common, in social settings, of so many kinds…

          But, I will encourage people to experiment with self-explorations that might call for extended periods of ‘complete sobriety’ — and will encourage you (or anyone else who struggles with an addiction to cigarettes) to quit smoking… if you’ll accept that encouragement.

          E.g., here, imo, is a good video about how to create a successful strategy for overcoming any habit that could be considered a negative addiction… That video refers to the strategy of William Glasser’s book, Positive Addiction. Glasser is a very rare — sensible — psychiatrist. (He also wrote the classic, Warning: Psychiatry Can Be Hazardous to Your Mental Health.)]

          In fact, I would be happy to have you or anyone else who is interested in overcoming ‘negative’ habits, to contact me via email: [email protected]

          RE your concluding words, “To staying strong, getting stronger, and being virtuous. To freedom and justice for all. To a return of truthfulness and mutual respect in this world.”

          Someone Else, that’s an excellent toast!! Truly, I love it. Thank you for offering it.

          (So, I’m raising my glass of apple juice to those lofty sentiments, now that it’s past 5 pm where I am… :))



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          • Attention: All who care about the integrity of dialogue, in these MIA comment threads, please be aware of the possibility that we could have an agent provocateur amongst us currently…

            Wikipedia explains (about agent provocateurs) that:

            They “may be acting out of [their] own sense of nationalism/duty or may be employed by the police or other entity to discredit or harm another group (e.g., peaceful protest or demonstration) by provoking them […] thus, undermining the protest or demonstration as whole.”


            And, note: That same Wikipedia entry also explains “To prevent infiltration by agents provocateurs, the organizers of large or controversial assemblies may deploy and coordinate demonstration marshals, also called stewards.”

            I think, perhaps, already, some of the most positively intelligent, conscientious and thoughtful commenters here, on this website, are playing that role, of steward; and, sometimes the moderators have been playing that role, too (which is great).

            But, the problem persists, so…

            I suggest, that, unless or until that time, at which this issue is worked out, each one of can just continue to remind one another of the utter foolishness of anyone who claims to be ‘antipsychiatry’ while nonetheless going about smearing good people who are genuinely striving to reveal the harms done by psychiatry.

            And, oh, yes, by the way, dear commenter, E. Silly,

            I do see your point; apparently some poster in an obscure online psych forum (i.e., just one single individual on the entire Internet) did somehow confuse the theories and writings of a rare excellent psychiatrist (William Glasser, M.D.) with the far more questionable theories and writings of Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard.

            Question: Why does it not surprise me, that you of all people, were able to dig that up, that bit of trivia???

            (Please, don’t answer that question, as it was rhetorical.)

            If you or anyone else may, perhaps, be interested in learning more about Dr William Glasser, here is a link to an audio podcast offering a tribute to him, by Dr. Peter Breggin (who has always been very careful to distance himself from Scientology and CCHR).


            Be well, Sir or Maam…



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          • Jonah, in this logic, your also an agent provocateur. You are discrediting the group of people in the antipsychiatry movement who have different views than Scientology/CCHR.

            It seems that you can only tolerate people who don’t disagree with the views of CCHR.

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          • E.Silly,

            As I see it, Mr. Glasser’s ‚Choice Theory‘ and the William Glasser Institute both offer a philosophically sound and refreshingly ideology-free approach to fundamental questions of living and life:

            That each and every one of us is ultimately responsible for her/his thoughts and actions, period. This also ties in closely with the concept of an individual and collective ‚conscience‘ as an agent of internal and positive control (because personally, I have a problem with the concepts of morality, morals and morale, since they are concepts and “devices” of external control).

            And yes, either buying into the concept of ‚mental illness‘ or refusing to do so, at the end of the day, is a choice, of course, as is equating William Glasser’s ‚Choice Theory‘ with a sect or cult posing as a religion in this particular instance.


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          • E. Silly,

            You claim that I am “…an agent provocateur […] discrediting the group of people in the antipsychiatry movement who have different views than Scientology…”

            Are you kidding?

            That you are saying such a thing is in every way utterly absurd — and worse.

            In fact, for you to say that is actually slanderous — because (of course, you know) it can be very damaging to ones reputation, to be viewed as a believer in and/or a defender of Scientology.

            (I know you know that’s true, based on my seeing how you are painting others, as defenders of Scientology.)

            I have never defended the views of Scientology.

            Who is the agent provocateur, really?

            I suggest you look in a mirror.



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          • Glasser is a long-time opponent of psychiatric drugging and has always made a lot of sense to me. He’s very practical and empowering, believing that kids have the ability to overcome challenges by their own actions, and that parents can assist kids in doing so by learning and teaching new skills in a step-by-step manner. It is difficult to imagine his views being more diametrically opposed to the idea that people have “diseases of the brain” that can’t be “cured” but can be “managed” with drugs. The absurdity of attacking such an obvious ally should be clear to anyone who has actually read his work.

            — Steve

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          • Again, opposing psychiatry doesn’t make one automatically an ally. I’m very sceptical about his Control/Choice/Reality Theory. Is their any reason I should believe it could work and it’s not harmful?

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    • My point?

      One needs to distinguish between a dealer and a pusher.

      A dealer isn’t looking for repeat business, they want you to get what you ‘need’ and send you on your way. A pusher is looking for a life long commitment, that can be exploited for profit.

      Big pharma would like nothing more than to corrupt psychiatrists and turn them from dealers into pushers. Are they succeeding? Oh yeah.

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  5. I wrote this letter to our local rag last month but it wasn’t printed:

    “I was surprised to read in your June 24th editorial that mental health outreach teams help ‘steer people away from drugs.’ In fact, standard psychiatric care promotes drug use, albeit of ones that profit pharmaceutical manufacturers rather than street dealers. The chemical distinction between prescription and illegal drugs can be murky ….”

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  6. “It is simply untrue that these ADHD drugs only work if you have ADHD, as many non-ADHD diagnosed college kids, truck drivers, and others effectively use these drug to pull all-nighters.”
    I hear it over and over again yet I have never seen a study that would show it’s indeed the case. I guess this notion is used as a selling point to tell people: “well it’s technically amphetamine but don’t worry, it works differently on ADHD people”.

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    • Judith Rapoport studied this back in 1980, and pretty definitively showed that her “normal” test subjects responded just the same to stimulants as her “ADHD” diagnosed subjects. The apparent observed difference she called “an artifact of observation,” meaning that people saw this “improvement” in the ADHD-diagnosed kids because they were looking for it, but the same changes were not noticed in “normal” subjects because they weren’t standing out for being particularly hyper or distractible, so the changes were not as obvious.

      RAPOPORT, J., BUCHSBAUM, M., WEINGARTNER, H., et al (1980) Dextroamphetamine. Its cognitive and behavioral effects in normal and hyperactive boys and normal men. Archives of General Psychiatry, 37, 933 -941.

      This is cited in, which is actually a great summary of the lack of scientific data supporting the ADHD diagnosis.

      So this mythology was disproven over 30 years ago. Yet people (including professionals) still spout it all the time. I hope that reference helps you kill off any discussions along these lines in the future. I find it stops such conversations dead in their tracks every time.

      — Steve

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  7. I remember making observations in my teen years that led me to believe street drugs were much safer than psychiatric drugs. At the time I was still suffering from the effects of drugs that I had been off completely for 2-3 years and every time I’d see or hear of someone in the media coming in and out of rehab and then being completely fine, I would think about how psychiatric drugs must be much worse for the brain. In my adult years I would see this observation pop up more and more: people who use and them get off street drugs will return more or less to normal over time, usually mostly so in just the first couple of weeks, whereas people who come off psychiatric drugs will often become less and less so over time, even if they don’t realize it or falsely attribute it to their “illness.”

    My theory has long been that at least our brains had evolved around these other drugs because they have been around for so long, whereas they have had no time to evolve a defense for psychiatric drugs.

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  8. Frank,

    Here is a black and white post for you.

    Blaming people who take psych meds and shaming them will do nothing to accomplish our goal of finding alternative services besides meds that may have prevented them from taking them in the first place.

    Blaming people who take psych meds does nothing to solve the problem that the issue of over-prescribing psych meds transcends psychiatry and will get worse as long as those bleeping depression questions are asked in the office of a PCP and other specialists.

    Blaming people who take psych meds does nothing to solve the problem that if you disclose your past psych med history to a doctor, you will receive horrible care. And even if you don’t, you still may get labeled by a non psychiatrist which happened to me even though I sent a letter of rebuttal.

    Just like we are getting hung up with the scientology issue, the same thing is happening with shaming people. I realize I am contributing by continuing to respond to these posts so I need to make this my last post on this issue.

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    • Maybe this is getting a little ways away from the subject of Bruce’s article above, but here goes. I’m not in the psychiatric labeling and drugging business. I’m good with that. If you want to sell psych drugs and fraudulent diseases, go ahead. I want nothing to do with that kind of business. I don’t want to collude with it, nor justify it, in any way shape or form whatsoever.

      People can, and will, do what they will. If anybody wants a blow to the head with a hammer, who is going to stop them? I wouldn’t encourage though blows to the head as a form of psychiatric treatment. Basically, much of what we’ve got now are blows to the head masquerading as a medical treatment. You can encourage it. I won’t.

      I’m saying there is an element of morality in all this, and I don’t think the only people it applies to are psychiatrists and pharmaceutical CEOs. As I was saying before, it’s customers who keep psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies in business. Okay. I’m not a customer/consumer or whatever. I’m good with that. I mean people can keep these people in business forever, but as the Ogden Nash poems goes: Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker. Now tell me, is a slow suicide really any preferable to a fast one?

      I know people have all sorts of excuses for keeping the corporate state going, too, but that is another subject, and I’m not going there unless you really want to do so. Take NBC news, you’ve got a major drug company sponsoring a show about community aid organizations. I don’t expect you’re going to get much truth about drug casualties from them. The news isn’t impartial. A corporation is their meal ticket. Do you want to give your own sales pitch for Pfizer or Eli Lily? It’s a machine you can keep operating.

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      • Again, agreed. Basically, it boils down to the old saying “it takes two to tango”.

        I am in no way excusing big pharma or the PCP/psychiatrists who push the drugs, far from it. But look at tobacco. The big tobacco companies had their share of responsibility but it wasn’t until society decided to shame tobacco consumption that selling tobacco became a taboo topic. People still sell and buy tobacco legally but not at the same rates as when smoking was presented by pop culture as “cool”.

        In capitalism, no sale happens without demand, no matter how strong the supply side is. Save those of us who were forcibly drugged and labeled, most consumption of psychotropic drugs is voluntary.

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        • “In capitalism, no sale happens without demand, no matter how strong the supply side is. Save those of us who were forcibly drugged and labeled, most consumption of psychotropic drugs is voluntary.”


          Should we hold no compassion for the countless (millions) of people, in our country, who’ve come to dutifully consume psychiatric drugs only after having been ‘authoritatively’ told, by their doctors, that they are afflicted with “mental disorders” which need to be ‘treated’ with psychiatric drugs?

          And, what about kids who are started on psychiatric drugs, with no real say in the matter?

          Indeed, a disproportionate percentage of foster kids are prescribed such drugs. Many of them will eventually develop severe tardive dyskinesia as a result. Does our capitalist society as a whole owe them nothing? Should we show them no special mercy?

          What about adults who’ve long been dependent on psychiatric drugs, having been started on psychiatric drugs, as kids?

          According to your own experiences, do you personally have any clear idea, of just how difficult it can be to quit taking a handful of prescribed psychotropics, after being on them for fully a decade or more?

          How many folk can successfully come off all such drugs (i.e., a long-term regimen of ‘poly-pharmacy’) without spending a considerable amount of time being literally disabled — in the sense of being, for many months (maybe even a number of years) unable to work a full time job?

          Also, an huge number of soldiers, while serving in our military, after multiple tours of duty, have become psychiatric prescription drug addicts. (Of course, their doctors don’t call them addicts.) Should we think of their fate, as such, in your terms… i.e., that’s just supply and demand, their being volunteer personnel; their addictions to ‘meds’ are completely a matter of their own voluntary choice?

          Should we shame these people, to get them to quit? (To shame someone is to suggest that s/he’s been ‘bad’ — or that there’s something intrinsically wrong with him or her.)

          Do you think they are all worthy of being shamed? We should look upon all of these people as equally ‘bad’ or ‘guilty’ for ‘voluntarily’ consuming such drugs?

          I really do wonder if you can find in your heart no particular compassion for any of these folk…



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          • Jonah,

            Being the anti authoritarian that I am, the excuse “my doctor told me to do this” doesn’t fly with me. Sorry, I have no respect for “MD degrees”, or any other academic degrees for that matter, as sources of moral authority. Laura Delano has a very enlightening post today, that links to another very enlightening one, on the issue of what academics is really like. Both should be required reading for anybody who blindly believes in the mantra “trust your doctor”. While I got a lot professionally from my years in grad school at one of those top American universities, I also got a healthy disregard for the notion that being very bright intellectually equates being very ethical. It might or might not.

            I give you that the situation of foster children and military veterans is different. I would add to this group seniors in nursing homes who are given neuroleptics to “be calmed down”. While these three groups of people were not “technically” forced on drugs, they didn’t have a choice to say no to the drugs either. A member of the armed forces who would try to say “no” to an army psychiatrist would be court martialed. So to all these, and others who would find themselves in “I had no choice” type of situations, I would offer them support to come out of the drugs if that’s what they chose to do once they are in a position to say no. In fact, I would fight very hard for their right to say no as well.

            To the rest, which is a sizable majority of consumers of psychotropics, I literally have no compassion whatsoever just as I have no compassion towards tobacco or marijuana smokers. And the reason is simple. I have been a young man myself and I have been tempted by “take these drugs, it is cool” too. I said, no thanks, look at this literature about how damaging drugs, tobacco and alcohol are. If I could say “no” when I was free to say “no”, so does everybody else. I do not believe in the “peer pressure” excuse either. See, I am also quite an individualist.

            My only contact with psychotropic drugs was forced. And one of the excuses that these psychs used to force me on drugs was precisely the “it works for that peer who takes them voluntarily”. Those Stockholm syndrome sufferers are as guilty of the psychs themselves for the very existence of the psychotropic drug market.

            At the same time, I think it is highly hypocritical to ban the sale of cocaine but to say that when cocaine adopts the name Ritalin and is prescribed by a doctor, then it is fine.

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          • Cannotsay,

            I appreciate that you’re an anti-authoritarian, highly skeptical of medical ‘authorities’ and of all others who may, likewise, hang their university diplomas on their office walls, as though offering up proof, that they really know what they’re talking about (and to suggest that they’ll necessarily work in ethical ways). And, yes, I appreciate Laura’s latest blog post and the article that inspired it.

            I come from a family wherein degrees in ‘higher learning’ are prized. Early in my teens, it began dawning on me, most seemingly ‘intellectual’ opinions, that most ‘well-educated’ people have, are actually borrowed.

            Very few people who I met in college were independent thinkers. (I went to a highly regarded public university.) During my first years, as an undergraduate, I came to the conclusion, that university degrees are usually meaningless, except as a way to ‘impress’ others (including, of course, potential employers… so, I can’t help but admit, many degrees can be quite useful, practically speaking).

            I actually feel that I learned more from a brief (one year) program in a trade school (for budding hypnotherapists) than I ever learned, in my years of college.

            So, I can consider you a kindred spirit, in ways, because you are such a skeptic, when it comes to academics; and (like you describe of yourself), it was by my own ways of reasoning, at a young age, that I came to eschew ‘illicit’ drugs as well cigarettes; I eventually came to limit my alcohol intake to almost zero; and, like you, I know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that: I never would have been someone who would ever have agreed to take psychiatric drugs, had they not been literally forced upon me.

            So, I think we might share a number of key ‘personality traits’ in common (if not merely attitudes).

            But, I am very much inclined to want to extend as much compassion as I can, to as many people, as I possibly can. Sometimes, that aspect of my personality has caused me a considerable amount of grief — because it can lead me to experiencing ‘compassion fatigue’ — and has led me to winding up ‘burned’ (if not just ‘burned out’) by some people, who’ve found ways to take advantage of that ‘soft’ side of me.

            However, compassion can have a ‘hard’ side! (There is tough love, that can be good for a person.) I believe, as I’ve aged, I have developed an ability to ‘harden’ my approach to those who are seemingly ‘too needy’ when necessary. To some extent, I’ve learned how to ‘harden’ myself, by interacting with and observing the ways of those who are typically far more naturally inclined, than I, to be ‘tough guys’ than I…

            Perhaps, you are one such person, because I think it is possible, that some of your ‘toughness’ is rubbing off on me. (Some, not all… :))

            (Indeed, I might offer you one more comment reply, near the bottom of this comment thread, wherein I’ll very briefly point out how you have influenced my thinking, somewhat, in this particular thread of conversation.)

            In any case, I do care to point out here, at last, about your comment to me, that I quite like the 2nd paragraph.

            It’s well worth repeating here,

            “I give you that the situation of foster children and military veterans is different. I would add to this group seniors in nursing homes who are given neuroleptics to “be calmed down”. While these three groups of people were not “technically” forced on drugs, they didn’t have a choice to say no to the drugs either. A member of the armed forces who would try to say “no” to an army psychiatrist would be court martialed. So to all these, and others who would find themselves in “I had no choice” type of situations, I would offer them support to come out of the drugs if that’s what they chose to do once they are in a position to say no. In fact, I would fight very hard for their right to say no as well.”

            To me, that paragraph of yours speaks volumes, because it proves for me (at least momentarily), that: Despite all your black-and-white, hard-nosed talk (in your first comments, of this comment thread) about your supposedly having no compassion whatsoever for people who take psychiatric drugs voluntarily (and considering your having said all such people deserve to be shamed), I see now that actually you’re willing to admit, that there are plenty of people who have technically been ‘voluntary’ users of such drugs yet who really had no real choice in the matter, so you “would offer them support to come out of the drugs if that’s what they chose” and “would fight very hard for their right to say no as well.”

            So, you are not a heartless villain after all! Yea! 🙂

            I’ve probably gone on too long here…

            No need to reply to my many words, if there’s no further clarifications to make…

            Be well, Sir…



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          • Small clarification :).

            I am not by any means anti academics, anti intellectual or anti degrees. In fact, I am very proud of my intellect, my education and “degrees” and how far they have allowed me to go .

            My point is better summarized by a quote attributed to the late William F. Buckley, Jr. . While I highly value all the above, and their contribution to human progress, I also believe very strongly that

            “I’d rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.”

            While this position of mine might seem contradictory or cognitive dissonant I suggest that on the contrary, this position represents a deep understanding of human nature of the kind the Founding Fathers had, which James Madison beautifully described in Federalist Paper 10 .

            Those who idolize academics, doctors, scientists, [put here your favorite profession that requires both training and intellectual ability] seem to believe that these people are immune to what is described in Federalist Paper 10. Up until I went to grad school, I might have been as guilty as the next person of believing that. But one of the positive insights -out of many- that I got out of grad school was precise empirical evidence that these people are no less (and no more) ethical than people who live outside the Ivory Tower. And it wasn’t because of lack of evidence prior to me going to grad school, it is more that my own pride prevented me from seeing it. Take for instance so called “white collar crime”, which, by definition, is committed by these highly trained/high intellect individuals. In fact, most abuses denounced about psychiatry here belong to the category of “white collar crime”. At the same time, not every “white collar” worker is a criminal just as not every “blue collar” worker is a criminal.

            So by all means, I encourage people to get as educated as possible attending the best schools they can. But at the same time, I say, people do not forget that there is no way to cure people of “evil intent” or “being unethical”, which is a dimension of human nature completely unrelated to all other human traits.

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          • “I’d rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.”
            Well, there’s an additional factor to that: most people are intrinsically inclined to follow authority and do not question people perceived as powerful or experts.

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  9. Frank & cannotsay2013,

    This whole discussion about ‚proud users‘ got me thinking, still unsure of what the two of you exactly mean by ‚shaming proud users‘ – and you do not have to answer this question, of course, since it is rhetorical in nature (the second time around in this thread :)) – so here goes:

    I am wondering, for example, if the same underlying „psychopathology“ could be „responsible“ for the fact that in a pair of sisters, one is a Hollywood and Broadway actress, while the other suffers from what psychiatry calls ‚bipolar disorder‘. (Think about – the Broadway production of – Billy Wilder’s ‚Sunset Boulevard‘, which was an initially confusing movie for many viewers because for the first time in film history, a story was told from the perspective of a dead man; enough of the movie trivia for now, already).

    Then again, the movie ‚A Beautiful Mind‘ offers some interesting and at least debatable points regarding the depiction of so-called Schizophrenia and its „treatment“, as not only John Nash himself has pointed out quite a few times in the years since the film’s production.

    And for a third and last thing for now, there is the former comedy partner (actor and author) of an actor portraying a doctor with a walking stick in an American prime time series, who apparently decided to finally ‚consent to‘ psychopharmacological „treatment“ of his ‚bipolar disorder‘, the latter of which was the subject of a (so-called) documentary, which in turn „happens“ to be available on youtube, by the way…


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    • Interesting–as I am one of the people to which this comment is addressed–I’m not as up on the movies as I might be.

      The late Thomas Szasz once said, “I am probably the only psychiatrist in the world whose hands are clean. I have never committed anyone. I have never given electric shock. I have never, ever, ever given drugs to a mental patient.” This is something I will always respect about Dr. Szasz. If that kind of a statement shamed a few psychiatrists into changing their ways, well, that’s virtue for you.

      I’m not pursuing the “mental illness” lifestyle right now. I’m good with that. I know doctors like attaching labels to people, and feeding them drugs. Okay. If a doctor wants to attach a label to me, well, I’m off to find a good pair of scissors. I think I’ve got some in the kitchen. I think I’ve gained a little bit of agility in evading their butterfly nets of late. You could call it wising up.

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      • How many people not pursuing a “mental illness” lifestyle are caught in it anyways? How many are flat out poisoned by something and don’t know what it is? How many poisoned and molested and abused ? Me I was poisoned by mercury. How do I definitively know . When the source, amalgam fillings were properly removed and proper dental protocols according to Hal Huggins were followed all symptoms subsided. No longer need or desire any drugs . Once in a while I have a beer.
        Had I not realized I was mercury poisoned or if I could not somehow have gotten the funds to get the proper advanced dentistry done I guess I would have been a seeker of the “mental illness” lifestyle.
        I think it’s more like the Joan Baez song with the lyric…..”.there but for fortune go you and I.”

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  10. To back my point on tobacco,

    “Smoking rates in the United States have dropped by half from 1965 to 2006 falling from 42% to 20.8% of adults.[13] As of 2014, the current number of American smokers is 18.1% according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.[14]”

    That’s something that could not have been achieved by holding the big tobacco companies accountable alone. The general “shaming” of the practice of smoking was equally important.

    The same technique should be applied to both supply and demand in the case of psychotropic drugs:

    – Adults should be free to take as many psychotropic drugs as they want, including those that are now illegal.

    – Society at large should same those who pride themselves of being active consumers of psychotropic drugs.

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    • I would point out, however, that tobacco consumption is always voluntary. Until we address the social mythology supporting these “illnesses” and take away the power to force or indirectly coerce people into taking these drugs, including through criminal courts, family courts, child protective services, schools, and other means of enforcing “voluntary” compliance, it becomes a little unclear to me how shaming the victims of these practices is helpful. I see it kind of like dealing with a domestic abuse victim who is still in the throes of Stockholm Syndrome. They will defend their abuser to the death, because they are under his control and don’t see any other way out. Yes, they do have a responsibility for the impact of their actions, but the person we should be shaming is THE ABUSER, in this case, the medical/psychiatric/pharmaceutical industry.

      See my earlier post on how to discredit/disengage the religiously committed “proud user” without resorting to shaming tactics. Unless they’re actually on the payroll of the pharma industry, I view the vast majority of users as victims of a major societal con. Doesn’t mean their statements shouldn’t be challenged, but I don’t see that shaming is an appropriate path, at least until it becomes socially clear and accepted (as it did with cigarettes) that these drugs are genuinely and seriously damaging to the vast majority of users.

      — Steve

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      • Steve,

        As always, your replies are wonderful and you have nailed it regarding the issue of shaming and psych meds. When I was drinking the psych med koolaid, I didn’t even believe my own mother when she tried to tell me the meds were bad news. So shaming definitely wouldn’t have had any effect on me and probably would have made me more resistant to sites like this.

        It was only when I connected adverse side effects to the psych meds that I began to realize that I needed to revisit everything. And even then, it still took me another year before I started to taper off of the meds.

        Regarding my current use of sleep aides on a PRN basis, it is pretty clear they do nothing to keep me asleep on the pap machine and I intend to stop taking them. I had been in denial about that but starting to keep a sleep diary has made me realize this. Again, any shaming would have had no effect whatsoever and just made me more resistant.

        Anyway, when we are trying to convert people to our side, isn’t better to give them a whole list of life criteria to evaluate so they can objectively see if their perspective matches reality? If someone had done with me, I would have definitely seen that I was delusional about these drugs helping. Unfortunately, I was too spellbound to realize that until the pain of dealing with adverse side effects was so powerful that it overcame my inertia.

        Finally, I had suggested to the moderators about having an FAQ type section on this site that might entice people who are unhappy with their meds but not sure if their concerns are legitimate or not such as listing side effects they might be experiencing. Again, a heck of a lot better than shaming them.

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        • The FAQ section would really be great in general but for specific side effects as they are reported by users one can go to the link at the bottom of the page – to
          I’ve tested this source and it reported some (not all) of my side effects. The good thing is that you can also contribute your experience, which may hopefully help other in future.

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    • Cannotsay,

      Here is how you’ve influenced my thinking, in this conversation:

      I believe you’re right about this: To a considerable extent, a measurable proportion of the American public has been literally shamed into minimizing their use of cigarettes. (Of course, all Americans who are old enough to recall life in pre-Clinton era know that cigarette smoking was much more prevalent back then; but, I was not thinking about the ‘shame’ that had caused such a shift. I was not thinking about that prior to engaging in this particular MIA comment convo, wherein you have brought up and have emphasized that factor.)


      Now, I’m thinking: It’s true, a sense of being ‘ashamed’ of using psychiatric drugs could, in some instances, be a helpful thing.


      I totally agree with Steve McCrea’s comment, above (on July 24, 2014 at 5:00 pm). And, also, I totally agree with his comment, of 23 minutes earlier, that’s way up above (on July 24, 2014 at 4:37 pm ).

      His way of thinking about all this is very clear, imho.

      You can see the earlier comment via the following link:

      Psychiatric drugs are harming far more people than they’re helping, but in very many instances (if not most instances), the users of such have little or no understanding, that they could come to living well without them.

      And, most people who use such drugs don’t know most of the risks of using them on a long-term basis.

      There are highly effective (and easily conveyed) ways of communicating the nature of those risks to the users of such drugs (including ‘just’ sharing with them an appreciation for this MIA website) that could lead them to vital information, which could be lifesaving…

      It may make some people uncomfortable, at first, to learn that many people who thought they needed such drugs are finding that didn’t need them and are now taking steps to put them out of their lives; and, yet making users uncomfortable with such ‘news’ needn’t requiring shaming them.

      I will save my all deliberately ‘shaming’ talk (and my ‘moralizing’) for the pushers of such drugs and, of course, for the various ‘mh’ pros who not only push but also force such drugs on people…

      Unless you have have pressing questions, I’m feeling done with this thread of convo…

      But, don’t get me wrong, there is an extent to which I appreciate your hard-nosed approach, and it’s good that we have found some common ground, above.

      Again, be well…



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