The Use of Neuroleptic Drugs As Chemical Restraints


On July 17, I wrote a post on the use of neuroleptic drugs as chemical restraints in nursing homes.  The article generated some comments, one of which touched on some very fundamental issues which, in my view, warrant further discussion.  The comment was from drsusanmolchan and read as follows:

“All drugs can be dangerous toxic chemicals when not used appropriately. While many valid points are made in this article, it’s very one-sided and could be considered biased in that it’s written by a psychologist. I’ve seen many patients and families benefit from their use.

– Dr Susan Molchan (psychiatrist who
doesn’t ascribe to DSM or Pharma)”

“All drugs can be dangerous toxic chemicals when not used appropriately”

Let’s consider an example of a real medication, prescribed to treat a real illness.  If a person has complete kidney failure, he inevitably becomes anemic, because it is a secretion from the kidneys that triggers the bone marrow to produce red blood cells.  To counteract this problem, nephrologists prescribe EPO, or a more modern substitute (darbepoetin alfa), which compensates for the kidneys’ deficit, and resolves the anemia.  This is a perfect example of a medication correcting a functional pathology within the organism.  Of course, if the nephrologist prescribes too much medication, then the concentration of red cells in the bloodstream will get too high, and the medication can truly be said to be having a toxic effect.

But this is not at all comparable to what happens with psychiatric drugs.  Despite decades of deceptive assurances to the contrary, no psychiatric drug has the effect of correcting a functional or structural pathology within the organism.  In fact, the reverse is the case:  all psychiatric drugs operate by creating a pathological state within the organism.

EPO and darbepoetin alfa can indeed become toxic if administrated in wrong doses – but they are not in and of themselves toxic to the organismAll psychiatric drugs are toxic in and of themselves regardless of dosage.  The so-called therapeutic effect and the toxic effect are one and the same.

“While many valid points are made in this article, it’s very one-sided and could be considered biased in that it’s written by a psychologist”

Whilst I appreciate the recognition that the article contains “many valid points,” I find myself troubled slightly by the notion that it could be considered biased because ” . . . it’s written by a psychologist.”

My arguments against psychiatry are, and have always been, based on logic and evidence.  Turf is not an issue.  Indeed, I am as critical of psychologists who endorse psychiatry’s spurious philosophy and practices as I am of psychiatry itself, and I am strongly opposed to the extension of prescription authority to psychologists.

I will admit, however, that I am biased!  I am biased towards cogency, critical thinking, honest, impartial research, etc . . . And I am biased against spurious, simplistic explanations; corruption; and despotic paternalism.  But I am not biased towards psychologists, as such.

“I’ve seen many patients and families benefit from their use”

What Dr. Molchan has written in this one short sentence is the essence of psychiatry’s claim to legitimacy:  the drugs work.

My contention, of course, is that the drugs don’t work, in the sense that any putative short-term benefits are far outweighed by the long-term adverse effects.  I have discussed this matter throughout the website with regards to the various classes of drugs that psychiatry uses, but for now I would like to focus on neuroleptics, which is what my original article was about.

My point was that the neuroleptics were – and are – being used as chemical restraints with people who are agitated, aggressive, or otherwise “difficult to manage.”  The article referred specifically to nursing homes and DD group homes, but it is my general contention that neuroleptics are used in this way in all contexts.  Psychiatrists routinely refer to these drugs as “anti-psychotics,” implying that they target crazy thinking.  This is not only erroneous, it is a blatant lie.  They are neuroleptics in the sense that they “grab hold” of the nervous system and have a marked tranquilizing effect.  In an earlier post, Agitation and Neuroleptics, I drew attention to two experiments in which mental health workers had voluntarily taken neuroleptics in order to assess and describe the effects.  Both studies reported marked drowsiness and sedation as the dominant effect.  Neuroleptic drugs also give rise later to a wide range of devastating adverse effects, including a marked increase in movement and agitation – but that’s a different issue.

My primary contention here is that they are used as restraints, and in many cases this is done without the client’s consent.

Western laws on forcible restraint, both statutory and regulatory, have been developed over centuries, and are still developing.  They vary somewhat from place to place, but in all situations, the restrainer is required to act within the limits of the law, and is subject to judicial review in doubtful cases, and to censure, if it is found that the degree of restraint was excessive.

By medicalizing agitation, aggression, and general “unmanageability,” however, psychiatry has effectively skirted and insulated themselves from the ordinary legal safeguards that differentiate civilized society from police states.

In a civilized society, if a police officer injures a person he is restraining, he will be required to answer for this.  Essentially he will have to show that the degree of restraint he applied was needed to ensure safety.  Obviously there are cases of abuse – but that is the standard.  An officer convicted of using excessive force will face sanctions.

But in the psychiatric context, the pretense is made that the chemical restraint is actually medicine needed to treat an illness.  The resulting damage is ignored, and psychiatrists are almost never held accountable.  On the rare occasion that they are held accountable, it is not to the ordinary legal standards applicable to restraints, but rather to the medical standard of “established practice.”  And these standards are drawn up by psychiatrists themselves.  In this way, they manage to circumvent hundreds of years of common law, by claiming that they are doctors treating an illness, when in fact anybody who has had any experience with the system knows that the drugs are used as restraints.

The fact is that neuroleptic drugs do act as chemical restraints, and that is the main use to which they are put in psychiatric practice.  Given their devastating adverse effects, this ought to be a matter of huge concern.  The people who are forcibly restrained in this way are truly living in a pre-civil rights world.  Their restrainers are not held to the same standard of accountability and responsibility as police officers and others whose jobs require them to use physical restraints on occasion.  This situation is all the more disturbing in that the damage potential with the chemicals is so much greater than with physical restraints.

It is time that we as a society come to terms with the reality that these drugs are not medications in any ordinary sense of the term.  They are chemical restraints with no medical qualities whatsoever.  The travesty of hiding these procedures in the guise of “necessary medical intervention” needs to be exposed and brought to an end.

* * * * *

This article also appears on Philip Hickey’s website,
Behaviorism and Mental Health


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. Dear Philip,

    Wow. This is another excellent blog post!

    You mentioned an earlier blog post titled “Agitation and Neuroleptics.” I’ve not yet read it (but I will after posting this comment). Perhaps, to some extent, it addresses this one point, which I am hoping you can address somewhere directly:

    You explain (above), that, besides ‘tranquilizing’ effects, “Neuroleptic drugs also give rise later to a wide range of devastating adverse effects, including a marked increase in movement and agitation – but that’s a different issue.” Imho, from personal experience, it is not a different issue. As I see it, most psychiatrists and most people working in psychiatric “hospitals” are quite content to know that neuroleptics (so-called “antipsychotics”) are having such effects.

    Those devastating adverse effect are precisely those effects, which effectively and totally break down the mind and the body and the will of those “patients” who are otherwise going to persist in objecting to their “involuntary hold” (i.e., their extra-legal, psychiatrized captivity) and their unwanted ‘medical care’ generally.

    Imho, it is, most often, more than anything else, the experience of those devastatingly adverse effects (oft-called “side effects”) that are most instrumental in creating the iatrogenic Stockholm syndrome, which will make a person who has had the great misfortune of being officially deemed “psychotic,” into a lifetime “patient” of psychiatry.

    (That is my observation, anyway.)

    I thank you for your incisive blogging…



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    • P.S. — Philip,

      About your description of what psychiatrists and others call “antipsychotics”:

      You say, “They are neuroleptics in the sense that they “grab hold” of the nervous system and have a marked tranquilizing effect.”

      Were I you, I’d consider go just a bit further, to be clear.

      That is, considering the context in which you are using the word “tranquilizing,” I would have it appear like this ~~> ‘tranquilizing’ … (putting it in between inverted commas).

      After all, medical-coercive psychiatry does provide genuine tranquilizing effects, ever.

      Genuinely tranquilizing effects would produce true tranquility.

      To describe that experience, consider the following brief passage, from page 3, of The Morals of Seneca,

      …The great blessings of mankind are within us, and within our reach; but we shut our eyes, and, like people in the dark, we fall foul upon the very thing we search for, without finding it. “Tranquillity is a certain equality of mind, which no condition of fortune can either exalt or depress.” Nothing can make it less, for it is the state of human perfection; it raises us as high as we can go, and makes every man his own supporter; whereas he that is borne up by anything else, may fall. He that judges aright, and perseveres in it, enjoys a perpetual calm; he takes a true prospect of things; he observes an order, measure, a decorum, in all his actions; he has a benevolence in his nature; he squares his life according to reason, and draws to himself love and admiration. Without a certain and an unchangeable judgment all the rest is but fluctuation; but “he that always wills, and wills the same thing, is undoubtedly in the right.” Liberty and serenity of mind must necessarily ensue upon the mastering of those things which either allure or affright us, when instead of those flashing pleasures (which, even at the best, are most vain and hurtful together) we shall find ourselves possessed of joys transporting and everlasting.

      Seneca lived from 4 B.C.-65 A.D.. He knew nothing of the effects of psychiatry’s ‘tranquilizing’ drugs, which do not provide tranquility, truly; and, no drug can provide tranquility, truly — but least of all neuroleptics.

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  2. Dr Hickey, I think your thoughts are spot on. You may remember the television show”St Elsewhere” did a show on Tourette’s and anti-psychotic medication treatment before those with Tourettes mostly on their discovered their tics could disappear when they had their full attention invested in an activity. Not sure where the medical treatment is now. “ER” had an even more direct tie in to your article where an adolescent boy in a group home wants off – I think of Haldol. It was clearly used as a chemical restraint.
    My experience as a patient was that this type of medication did alleviate my delusional thinking and free floating anxiety. There was a period of time that the delusional thinking was lasted for several months. What went unrecognized was that I was in an abusive home situation and that was triggering the stress which triggered the delusion ( of rescue I may add) and anxiety. Non of the many professionals I saw were able to see that I was a victim of the most subtle form of domestic violence. It took years for me to be able to actually see the full cycle of abuse and then identify, label and talk about the cycle of abuse I was in. It took me walking out of my home and leaving my young adult children behind to be able to step away and really see the abuse as it was. Luckily I would try to stop the medication. Again ,it was leaving the abuse situation and being able to
    b ear witness to that which allowed me my freedom.

    The meds worked but they treated a symptom of abuse not a of a true illness.Not sure what that means for others with nonrational thinking. They use the word “Snow’ in private medical floor speak. And I know from experience it does snow you! Meek and mild and half alive.

    There also were Parkinsonism, language difficulties,cognitive malfunctions, and visual issues.
    Use of these meds for restraint is routine in hospital not just in psych floors. There has to be a better way to handle folks who upset the nursing/ medical management apple cart.

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  3. You know Dr Hickey I have been reading your articles and wondered why I enjoy them so much. And I think I have figured out what it is I have in common with you.

    My first two years at University were spent studying psychology, and then I read Thomas Szasz Myth of Mental Illness. At that point I dropped psychology and majored in Anthropology/Sociology. I began studying ‘street hustlers’ and ‘con artists’.

    There is a short con called the Three Card Monte that has been around for hundreds of years. There are a few variations on the theme, but the end result is that the ‘mark’ gets stung. Give me three cards and I’ll show you how it works.

    I realised that your articles do precisely this, show how this short con is being used in the field of psychiatry.

    “All drugs can be dangerous toxic chemicals when not used appropriately”
    The sleight of hand.

    “While many valid points are made in this article, it’s very one-sided and could be considered biased in that it’s written by a psychologist”
    He’s a sore loser.

    “I’ve seen many patients and families benefit from their use”
    The game was fair, and I’ve seen people win.

    Your showing the game for the con that it is. For that I say thank you and please don’t stop, because there are a lot of people being cheated out of more than just a few dollars.

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  4. I am so happy you take the time to write these posts, even answering back against the kind of ignorance and attempted one-upmanship of the commentator identifying as Dr. Susan Molchan. I thought her comments might even be coming from a troll.

    I think the fact that these drugs subdue troublesome people (notably children and the aged) is the key to why society is reluctant to criticize their use. The mental health system is popular because it offers relief, not to patients, but to those around patients. A growing group of people is shifting the problems of real relationships onto so-called professionals. Most of these people don’t care to take responsibility for the truly horrendous price of their ignoring the truth about psychiatric forced druggings.

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    • “The mental health system is popular because it offers relief, not to patients, but to those around patients.”
      Good point. Psychiatry is very much a tool protecting abusers of any kind – starting with locking up political dissidents, through whistleblowers, rape victims, malpractice victims, ending with kids from toxic homes and domestic abuse victims being drugged and labelled. And that all while the abuser walks free and sometimes even gets enshrined in sympathy for having to deal with the “crazy person”.

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  5. While I think the issue of toxicity in “antipsychotics” and their use as restraints are both important topics that need much more discussion, I also have a little critical feedback here about the way those issues are discussed in this post.

    You seem to suggest that “real drugs” to treat a “real illness” would never be toxic to the person in and of themselves, when the right dose is prescribed. I don’t think that’s correct. Lots of chemotherapies for example are toxic in and of themselves at any dose, though it is hoped they are more toxic to the cancer than they are to the rest of the person.

    While “antipsychotics” have a toxic effect on people, for many they do have a stronger effect suppressing the part of the person that the person themselves wants to suppress, such as a disturbing voice. This often makes people appreciate the drugs.

    Certainly when “antipsychotics” are forced on people, we can talk about chemical restraint, but it does get trickier for example when people decide they want the antipsychotic drug. In this case, it is kind of about a person using the drug to restrain themselves or part of themselves, which is more complex. An then in many cases an extra layer of complexity is that they only chose to voluntarily use the drugs after being coerced into using the drugs first, and then the drugs themselves may be making the person more compliant and even subservient to other who want them to take the drugs.

    Anyway, I think we need to find ways of talking about these issues that don’t exaggerate our points, so we come across as balanced thinkers instead of just partisans for an extreme point of view.

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    • dr. h wrote a truly excellent article- thank you!

      I want to say to you, ron, that the points he made were not exaggerated or unbalanced. those of us who, because of our experiences , need to throw the truth in the faces of all the misguided believers in the warped, terrible harmful system do not exaggerate when we say the world would be better off with all the mind drugs dumped in the ocean or- there are no good long-term outcomes on these drugs or- all child psychiatrists should be thrown in jail because it is criminal to”mind drug” children. this is the truth. and because the voices in the system are so loud and exaggerated and unbalanced, the voices like dr hickey’s must be as well.

      keep up the good work, dr h

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    • True, many people do choose to use the drugs. However, at the state hospital where I work people are seldom, if ever, told about all the effects of the drugs which they are “choosing” to take. I put the word choosing in parentheses because there’s no real choice about taking the drugs when you’re trapped in the “hospital.” If they were truly informed about all the effects there might be fewer people deciding to take them. Just a thought.

      I’ve never taken neuroleptics but was put on benzos and a so-called “antidepressant” while I was in the state hospital. I was never informed of how habit forming benzos are nor about the horrible withdrawal problems associated with them. When I left the hospital I had many nice scripts for lots of benzos and the expectation was that I would stay on them forever. Benzos are supposed to be used for only a short time! I did ask about how the antidepressant would affect my sex life and was told that it had no effects on that. However, I was not told that this same antidepressant often can cause heart attacks. I ended up having a heart attack and often wonder if it was caused by this toxic drug.

      People are too trusting and accept anything and everything that every doctor, not just psychiatrists, tell them. And, if you’re in the psychiatric “hospital” you don’t get out until you become compliant and take the damned drugs.

      So, I’m not going to fault what this good man writes here. I also worked as the chaplain in a large nursing home/retirement center and saw the beginning of the use of things like haldol to control residents that were difficult to deal with. People who were mobile and communicative became people who were kept in gerry chairs and who drooled on themselves due to the effects of the wonderful haldol. I will not fault this man for what he has written or writes here. He is right on target.

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      • Hi Stephen,

        I think you are correct that the “chemical restraint” of a person is a good description of what happens in many situations. But there are other kinds of situations. I see people outside of hospitals, and some of them have never been in a hospital, and yet so many of them choose to keep taking antipsychotics. Some of these people are even relatively well informed. I don’t think the “chemical restraint” language quite covers those cases, unless one talks about it as the person using the drug to restrain themselves in a way.

        So while I like Phillip’s posts generally and I agree he is a “good man” I do think he went overboard with his statement that “They are chemical restraints with no medical qualities whatsoever. ”

        I think at this point in our state of knowledge, a wise doctor would keep antipsychotics on hand for use in certain limited situations, as the Open Dialogue people do, and contrary to what Phillip is suggesting.

        On the other hand, I would agree with those who would say we would be better off if antipsychotics could be made to not exist, because I think they are currently used so often in harmful ways as to outweigh any positive uses they might have.

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        • Ron,

          Those keeping neuroleptics on hand when dealing with the so called mentally ill should probably just have/use tasers and pepper spray instead! And guns in worse case scenarios. At least there would be less hypocrisy about the purpose of such restraints and more honesty about psychiatry’s fascist agenda, chemical/electrical and surgical lobotomies and bogus stigmas to force their own violent actions and thoughts on those they victimize while destroying countless lives in the process in the guise of mental health and medicine. No wonder there are so many suicides!

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        • Well, taking aside all the issues involving placebo effect, drug marketing, etc. it’s a fact that some people feel so bad that they see major sedation as “improvement”. what they don’t see is that this puts them in a state of perpetual misery where they are kind of alive but not really.
          I have friend who had major psychological issues dealing with his private live and he did take a lot of drugs at the time, pot, cocaine, alcohol and god knows what else. They surely did help him to survive and work and pretend like he was ok but they didn’t do anything to take him out of the hole. What did was solving some of his problems and moving on with his life (surprise, surprise, he cut down on drugs significantly sine then).
          Taking drugs to solve psychological issues is just sedating life. If someone wants to be a complete zombie I guess that’s their choice but I don’t see how these drugs are medicine in any sense (at least in the context of “mental illness” – they may have legitimate medical uses, like benzos and ketamine).

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      • Stephen,

        Thanks for this. “And, if you’re in the psychiatric ‘hospital’ you don’t get out until you become compliant and take the damned drugs.” That is so true! I also saw the take-over of the nursing homes by psychiatry-pharma, and I think we must do everything in our power to expose this crime against humanity for what it is.

        Best wishes.

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      • “And, if you’re in the psychiatric “hospital” you don’t get out until you become compliant and take the damned drugs. ”
        True. I remember how I was let out and was sitting across the room with a psychiatrist who handed me a prescription for 3 different drugs (including stuff that damages our liver) and thinking to myself “you must be crazy to think I’ll take any of that shit ever again” while pretending that I’m listening to her ramblings about the dosing and when I should take them etc. One of the same of bunch of idiots who managed not to notice I had almost complete anterograde amnesia (benzos) while in the hospital under constant observation. But I am the one who’s insane, yeah…
        “People who were mobile and communicative became people who were kept in gerry chairs and who drooled on themselves”
        I remember a woman in the hospital who was an old lady, a bit disoriented, but very talkative and sociable – until she got her daily portion of drugs after which she stopped talking to anyone until the drug wore off towards the evening. I guess her shutting up would be described as “getting better”.

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    • Thanks to both Phillip and Ron for the article and follow-up comments. My direct experience with psychiatric medications as well as the near direct experiences of two of my family members with psychiatric medications color how I understand the issue.

      Ron, I am deeply appreciative of your tone and style in everything that I’ve seen you write. I struggle with high levels of emotion – passion, frustration, even anger – as I confront the realities of the mental health system. I feel like its a daily struggle to channel all those feelings into something that people would want to listen to. Because it doesn’t matter how “right” I think I am, no one *has to* listen to me. Ever. Preaching to the choir has limited usefulness, with its major value being catharsis. Advocating to others is more important, but has to come with the acceptance that absolutely no one out there has to listen to anything I say. So if I yell at them, or bring level 10 energy, anger, bombast, hyperbole and the like – other people will do exactly the same thing that I instinctually do in those situations – stop listening.

      So I’m really struggling with how to be an effective advocate, not just a passionate one.

      With that aside, I wanted to comment that I’m not actually sure if anyone I’ve ever known has ever had truly informed consent before taking a psychiatric medication. Certainly I agree in principle with individual freedom and choice. So in principle if someone was fully informed and uncoerced in making a decision to take a drug, I would not feel comfortable intervening and preventing them from doing that. But I wonder how many people would actually ever voluntarily choose psych drugs if they were truly fully informed about them?

      I have known people who have elected psych drugs short term during a period where they felt they were in accute distress, and have spoken with them after the distress subsided and they stopped taking the drugs. Sometimes, almost surprisingly to my mind, they continue to maintain that selective use of the drugs was extremely helpful to them in getting through a seemingly unbearable distress state. These individuals stand alongside others, including myself, who feel that their own experiences with psych drugs were less positive – people who feel physically and emotionally damaged, who feel dependent, who feel that they were lied to (as I feel I was) so that they could not make informed decisions, etc.

      Somehow we have to make room for everyone’s individual experiences. The goal, I believe and the value I hope we can share, is for individual freedom to make uncoerced, fully informed choices about ones own body. That’s what I want.

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      • “I’m not actually sure if anyone I’ve ever known has ever had truly informed consent before taking a psychiatric medication.”


        That’s an important point you’re making. You call it an “aside,” but I think it’s your best (most important) point, and I’m glad you’re making it — because (A) the concept of ‘informed consent’ is a far more abstract ideal than most who discuss it are usually acknowledging or admit (i.e., it can be difficult to know exactly what true informed consent would look like, and I doubt there will ever be a consensus on that), and (B) most prescribers have a very hearty confidence in certain drugs and a strong desire prescribe certain drug regimens; they believe their “patients” will benefit from consuming those pharmaceuticals; thus, they are going to down-play the potential negative effects of their favorite drugs. That’s simply reality. So, I’m glad you’ve raised that issue.

        On the other hand, I think your comment is unintentionally misleading.

        After all, you are speaking of psychopharmacology in a very general sense. (E.g., you say “I have known people who have elected psych drugs short term during a period where they felt they were in accute distress, and have spoken with them after the distress subsided and they stopped taking the drugs. Sometimes, almost surprisingly to my mind, they continue to maintain that selective use of the drugs was extremely helpful to them in getting through a seemingly unbearable distress state.”)

        You speak generally of psych drugs, but this is not a general discussion, of all psych drugs.

        So (to respond just briefly to what you are saying): Yes, of course, there are plenty of people who report that their psych drugs are having wondrous, positive effects in their lives. I see that’s especially true of many people, when they first begin using benzos.

        I mean, yes, the ‘anti-anxiety’ drugs can seem to help some people, immensely, at first (that is, before their addictive properties have come into play).

        Meanwhile, this comment thread regards a blog post that’s deliberately quite focused on just one class of psychiatric drugs. Tt is all about neuroleptic drugs (and only neuroleptic drugs).

        Your comment is not at all focused that way, so it is confusing the conversation here.

        That is to say, imho, after you offer that one great/important “aside” (about ‘informed consent’), you are, in effect going off subject and not really addressing matters at hand, at all.

        I cannot possibly overstate this fact: Neuroleptics (the so-called “antipsychotic” drugs) can produce horrible effects, unlike any other drugs; they are all variously unpleasant, in ways, for most people who take them.

        Though some people do report that their use of neuroleptics has ‘controlled’ their ‘psychosis,’ they will also say that these drugs have negative effects.

        That is why they never become ‘street’ drugs. (I.e., you won’t ever find black-market drug dealers pushing them, but you will find them pushing lots of of other illegally peddled psychiatric drugs, amphetamines, benzos, etc..)

        Let’s stay on the subject of neuroleptics here, in this comment thread.

        It’s a critically important topic, imo… (which is not to say that their aren’t serious problems with the other classes of psychopharmaceuticals).



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        • Jonah,

          Thanks for the feedback. I guess I should clarify that the examples I had in my mind included one individual who took Zyprexa, one individual who took Seroquel (both of whom discontinued the drug but continue to claim that it was helpful to them for a specific period of time) and one person who took an SSRI but did not disclose to me which SSRI. The person taking the SSRI struck me as almost defensive in her strong insistence of how helpful the drug was to her – to the point that I actually had to step back some because I started to feel like I was imposing my values on to her experience in a coercive way, so I just accepted her perspective and moved on.

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          • Andrew,

            What you’re saying there is clarifying, it makes sense; and, yes, surely, there are people who’ll stand very firm in declaring high praise and over all appreciation for what they feel has been the ‘good’ that they’ve gotten from using any number of psych drugs, of various sorts — including neuroleptics. (Though, some neuroleptics seem unlikely to receive such reviews, in any instances; e.g., I’ve yet to hear of the existence of even one person who describes any love for Haldol.)

            So… OK… Considering these facts, you have concluded, in your first comment (above):

            “Somehow we have to make room for everyone’s individual experiences. The goal, I believe and the value I hope we can share, is for individual freedom to make uncoerced, fully informed choices about ones own body. That’s what I want.”

            I can certainly agree with you on all that; those are great values, well-stated, imho; but, do you really mean what you’re saying there?

            Or, are you, perhaps, inclined to defend what many “hospital” workers propose, is the supposed ‘necessity’ of so-called “emergency” forced IM (neuroleptic) drugging?

            I sincerely hope that you can see what a contradiction it would be, to declare such values as those, which you are declaring, if, meanwhile, you’d actually agree with ‘mh’ pros who are claim it’s their ‘right’ or their justifiable ‘duty’ to forcibly drug into submission, supposed “emergency” cases.



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          • Jonah,

            Not sure why, I see no reply button to your most recent comment in our discussion. Hope you find this reply and can keep it in some semblance of order.

            Your question to me, of what about emergency room hospitalizations, is one of the questions that I struggle with the most. I’ve written pretty honestly here at MIA about how large this struggle is for me. Thankfully, its also a place where I feel very open to discussion. Let me try to paint the picture of where I am today on this:

            Despite the few places where I feel conflicted and am still seeking answers, what feels right to me is to start with this statement: I don’t believe in forced treatment. I just don’t.

            But one of my jobs is to work in the emergency room of a small-town community hospital serving a population of about 10,000 people and the surrounding rural area. I don’t work for the hospital, by that I mean that my wages come from a local community non-profit agency that offers voluntary support services to the small-town community. The services that people can ask to receive, if they want them, include things like advice and support with technical things like receiving health benefits, establishing health care, accessing other available financial resources, help with schooling, transportation assistance (especially when the local community is so rural) and so on. It can include community support groups that do things like swimming classes, yoga classes, grief support peer groups, smoking cessation support groups, mindfulness groups, and some voluntary counseling groups if there is interest and a group of people would like to explore certain topics together. It can include seeing an individual support person for counseling – where counseling takes the form of a person-directed process of talking and listening, that lasts only as long as the individual wishes and only takes the direction the individual chooses. And it includes partnerships with local causes such as Occupy Medical, where we hosted space for them to come down with volunteer doctors and community members and offer free medical care, screenings and connection to at least one doctor who will see people for free long-term if their income needs require it.

            There’s a reason why I spent the time to write about the agency that pays me to work in the hospital in addition to my other job. Its so that when I tell you that I am evaluated by how many people I keep OUT of the hospital, you would have a better understanding of the agency values and philosophy that goes into having that expectation. While I do work in the ED, and I am in the position of making a decision about involuntarily hospitalizing someone or not, I am not encouraged to hospitalize in fact I’m discouraged from doing so. That’s not normal, as far as I am aware. It’s the only reason I’m even remotely willing to do the ED job – because I want people who come to the ED in some kind of a crisis to encounter someone who absolutely wants to do anything and everything under the sun OTHER than hospitalize.

            The outcome of this basic disposition toward my work is this: in the last 12 months I have recommended inpatient hospitalization less than 5% of the time. Of those 5%, half were voluntary, people asking to go who had been before and felt like going again would help them (despite my incredulity!)

            I’m not giving those statistics with pride. I’m giving them to put the situation in context. I continue to be deeply conflicted about my role in the 5% of people I worked with where hospitalization was the outcome. I ask myself the question, should I resign this position because sometimes it includes involuntary hospitalization, even if we are working to avoid that whenever possible? If I do resign, I’ll be replaced by someone who has far less qualms about involuntary treatment, so should I stay? I don’t know.

            Let’s talk about that 5% of the time where I participated in hospitalizing someone. Actually lets look at the even smaller percent of the time when I participated in involuntarily hospitalizing someone. One instance where I recommended a person be hospitalized against there will was a situation in which a person had been brought to the emergency room after he had made the verbal threat that he was going to set his neighbors house on fire with them inside, and then proceeded to act on this threat by getting gasoline cans and heading to their home. This man had been in the street yelling loudly for some time prior, and it is a small town, so thankfully the police were on their way and intervened to stop this man from setting his neighbors house on fire.

            The mans reasoning for wanting to burn his neighbors house and kill them inside it was due to a belief that they were in conspiracy with both aliens from another planet as well as ancient ghosts and tribal spirits that lived under his house. Their conspiracy was to steal his 5million dollars which he claimed to have due to writing most of the Top 40 music hits of the last 20 years.

            I happened to know this man well, I like him, and I’ve seen him when he is not wrapped in the depths of these extreme states of thinking and feeling. But I also believe that he has ever capacity to carry out his threats and was apprehended in the middle of the act of carrying out his threat.

            I do not believe I have a moral option to simply discharge him from the hospital and send him home. The lives and safety of his neighbor and their two children is as precious and important as this mans freedom. In this particular case, this was not a vague threat – the man actively tired to burn their house to the ground. Without a clear change in his disposition or intent, I can’t and won’t send him back home.

            So what is to be done? I’ve talked about this with many from MIA and gotten a lot of different thoughts. One theme of thought is that the man should have been sent to jail. I balked at this because I don’t believe the man understands why what he is doing is wrong. In his mind, I think he is trying to protect himself from perceived danger. Other people argued that it does not matter because jail/prison is primarily about protecting society from danger, so that is where he would belong.

            This is really, really hard for me to accept. Our prison system is as broken, abusive and inhumane as anything we talk about in psychiatry. So I’m not sure that just trading one problem for another equal problem is acceptable.

            I feel like, in these extremely rare situations of a genuine clear danger to other people in the community, what we need more than anything is a completely different way of responding. I do believe that there are, and will continue to be, some rare situations in which the choice of an individual person must be weighed against the violation of other people’s safety. So while I still feel comfortable saying that I believe in the individuals right to make decisions about their own body, I don’t believe in an individual’s right to go murder someone else.

            I would like to see “inpatient” programs that only took people that were the most immanent of dangers to others in the community, by the strictest criteria. I would like the only kind of drugs administered to be non-neuroleptic sedatives, and I those only if the individual voluntarily chooses them. One of the best things for acute distress of nearly any kind is sleep. Sleep and time. Sleep, time and safe kind people who talk to when you need it. I would want a place that was staffed primarily with peers and counselors (there’s no clear line here, many peers are counselors) who believed in relational dialog, talking and listening, empathy and tenderness, rather than prescriptive service. I would want the goal of such a place to be the least amount of restriction possible for the briefest time possible – and certain kinds of things would simply be off the table: seclusion and restraints – there are other ways to respond to a person who is aggressive or angry, seclusion in the way it is done in hospitals and restraints are both inhumane. Chemicals used involuntarily are also inhumane.

            But we don’t have that today. So what does that mean for me? Should I quit working at the hospital altogether because in a tiny minority of circumstances I have to recommend that someone be hospitalized due to their immediate danger to other people? Or should I keep doing what I’m doing, which is looking for any and every alternative to hospitalization for people that I see in ED and successfully discharging more people back home with supports they chose for themselves than any other hospital in the state? Sometimes I feel like I’m doing important work that is consistent with my values even within such a broken system. We hospitalize less people than anywhere else. We have active values of seeking every positive and
            voluntary alternative to hospitalization and we’re successful at this 9 out of 10 times.

            In order to have a society in which no one was ever involuntarily hospitalized we need to do away with “psychiatric hospitals” altogether. Instead we need a completely new thing – not prison, not hospitals, but something else. It may still be a place where people who are immediately dangerous to their neighbors may go against their will until a way can be found for that danger to subside or be addressed. But the values of the place would not be medical but relational.

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          • @ Andrew 7/26 11:49am

            Wow, I hope they didn’t break the mould when they made you, we need to go into mass production.

            What you have written is the polar opposite of what is occurring here in Western Australia.

            Authorised Mental Health Professionals (AMHP) have a liability issue if anyone in the community points a finger at someone else. If they do nothing and anything occurs they may be seen to be responsible. The only power they have is to (a) ask the person to attend the hospital voluntarily for an examination by a psychiatrist or (b) involuntarily detain them for an examination by a psychiatrist. Either way you are going to the hospital. No exceptions.

            How do they achieve this I hear you ask, by fabricating the evidence required to make it appear they had “reasonable grounds” to detain. This takes the liability issue and passes it to the psychiatrist. It is well known that this is how the protections in our Mental Health Act are being subverted in this fashion. Some have called it “noble corruption”. Personally I don’t see how corruption can be noble but ….

            Of course being locked in a mental institution against your will does significant psychological damage to a person, but why should the AMHP care, it’s their a&%$. In my case it destroyed my marriage, left me living in a car park for 6 months, a serious suicide attempt that left me in hospital for 6 months, and homeless for nearly 3 years now. And all because I believed I had a right to “reasonable grounds” to remove my liberty, and bodily integrity.

            I’m now over my delusional belief that I had any rights, and will take my own lubricant next time.

            Shame it wasn’t you sent to my home that day Andrew, because a good man’s life may not have been destroyed. Oh well, at least they fixed my delusional thinking. I know who the boss is now, and will drop my drawers and bend over when requested, and say thanks when they have finished with me.

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          • I should add It’s not all bad news.

            The psychiatrist who did examine me now uses me as an example to his students about the damage that is done by involuntary detention (ie it can kill people).

            And it is known by Private Investigators that there are no exceptions when it comes to being detained in a mental institution, so if they become involved in an acrimonious relationship breakdown, they are advising their clients to have their partners detained and smearing them with the stigma of mental illness. Works an absolute treat. Use the resources of the state as a weapon. Try getting out of that one once you have been ‘trapped’.

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          • Andrew,

            Thank you for your reply (on July 26, 2014 at 11:49 am). As it could not possibly be more well written, here, in response, I’ll point out, first of all, that I am struck by your writing skills. I quite admire them. I’ve been led to feel this way, previously, in the course of reading some of your posts (I’ve read you only sporadically) here on this website.

            Your comment demonstrates a really formidable facility, you surely possess, for expressing yourself well, in written words.

            All that you say, I find, flows well and, though it can be meandering, actually presents your thoughts (including those which present a sense of uncertainty, which is genuinely self-questioning) in a truly organized/comprehensive way.

            So, I really do admire how you write out your thoughts; and, furthermore, I genuinely appreciate all that you shared in your comment.

            But, for me, it was missing something; that is, an answer to my question (or, a clear answer to it). I.e., again, I find that, imho, you’ve failed to focus, staying on point, regarding the question at hand. I presented a very specific question — a question that could actually be answered with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ or a ‘sometimes’ (which would really equate with a ‘yes’).

            You gave me a rather generalized answer, that never hit the nail on its head.

            Here, once again, is my question:

            Are you, perhaps, inclined to defend what many “hospital” workers propose, is the supposed ‘necessity’ of so-called “emergency” forced IM (neuroleptic) drugging?

            And, here’s one more question, if you are so inclined: Do you ever order and/or administer such drugging?

            From all that you’re saying, to this point, I well understand that you are not someone who wants to carelessly “hospitalize” people against their will, but you do “hospitalize” some people against their will.

            You gave me what you described as one of “these extremely rare situations of a genuine clear danger to other people in the community” coming in to the emergency room, where you work and are responsible for deciding whether or not “involuntary hospitalization” should be ordered.

            I am someone who, as a young man, was “hospitalized” against his will a small handful of times; the doctors called me “a danger to himself.” At the time, did not view myself as a danger to anyone (including myself); and, all these years later, I feel only more certain, that I was never a danger to anyone…

            They called me “a danger to himself” for various reasons that, I think, all were driven by their subservience to psychiatry’s ‘medical model’ and their abject failure to realize, I was going through a period of time, in my life, that included processes, which I needed to go through and which I should have had every right to go through, on my own…

            Imho, the individual whom you described was another sort of ‘case’ altogether (if you described him accurately, and I have no reason to believe that you didn’t describe him accurately). He was a very considerable danger to others. (And, by extension, he was a danger to himself.) Indeed, presuming your account of his state of mind, his beliefs and his behaviors, is al accurate, then I would not hesitate to call him criminally insane. Imho, such people should absolutely never be ‘mainstreamed’ (i.e., if, by chance, the police bring such an individual to a community E.R., someone working in your position should insist he should be charged with his alleged crimes and should go to straight to jail); someone who committed a serious crime — a violent crime — such as attempting to burn down a neighbor’s house — must be charged with that crime and managed through the justice system.

            Therein, he should be placed in the custody of specialists (who needn’t be medical specialists), who can work with him, until that time, at which he regains his senses.

            Ideally, he should be assigned a special advocate, who specializes in dealing with people who are psychologically and/or emotionally disturbed.

            He should, of course, be provided a defense attorney, too; so, he can be encouraged that he’ll get a fair trial, to determine his guilt or innocence; and, if found guilty, he should be formally sentenced.

            Of course, because I wasn’t there, and as I’ve never worked in the capacity that you work in, I can’t claim to be an ‘authority’ on any of this; but, from all you’re describing, were I you, I would not have wanted that guy kept around, at all — for the sake of real patients. (His mere presence would be a threat. You say you like the guy, maybe because you’ve seen him at others time, when he was threatening no one. But, just consider all the harm to others’ nerves, that can be done, by officially ‘medicalizing’ a guy like that, as opposed to placing him under arrest; what a really scarey guy like that does to the nerves of those who are suffering real medical emergencies and who have harmed no one…)

            Honestly, I cannot understand your decision, if what you’re saying is that you chose to ‘medicalize’ that man, keeping him out of the justice system…

            Ugh, I hate to think of it. Really.

            But, now, in any case, once again, I present my two questions — and add a third:

            Are you, perhaps, inclined to defend what many “hospital” workers propose, is the supposed ‘necessity’ of so-called “emergency” forced IM (neuroleptic) drugging?

            And, if you are so inclined: Do you ever order and/or administer such drugging?

            Sorry if it seems as though I’m putting you on the spot, but just know, I do get that you are a man with a conscience, who sincerely struggles with these issues, while in the midst of genuinely aiming to do ‘the right thing.’



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          • P.S. — Andrew,

            Upon reading through the comment reply that I posted to you, just moments ago (on July 26, 2014 at 3:18 pm), I see that I mistakenly left out my third question.

            So, here it is, presented, actually, as a small cluster of inter-related questions (and, of course, you should feel no pressure to answer them, but I am curious):

            To your knowledge, what has become of that man? Was he forcibly drugged? Was he ever formally charged with a crime?

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          • Jonah,

            Again I’m befuddled by the “reply” system, because I don’t have reply options to later posts. I hope we can keep track of the exchange.

            I’m sorry that in my meandering (my word for my own post) I failed to give direct answers. Let me try to rectify that.

            You asked: “Are you, perhaps, inclined to defend what many “hospital” workers propose, is the supposed ‘necessity’ of so-called “emergency” forced IM (neuroleptic) drugging?”

            My answer: No. With no qualification.

            You also asked: “And, here’s one more question, if you are so inclined: Do you ever order and/or administer such drugging?”

            My answer: No. Never. As a clinical social worker, I am not able to prescribe medications, and would not do so if I was able.

            However, lest I sound like I’m on some sort of untouchable moral highground, the ED doctors can and do drug people. Sometimes before I’m even called. There decision is not in any way dependent on me. I can’t overrule, I can’t intervene. If I’m there, I can certainly advocate against it. But the truth is, in the rare instances when this happens it usually happens before I’m even called to the ER. It is not considered to be a decision that I have any say in.

            As I said, in our small town ER, its rare that involuntary drugging with neuroleptics happens. But that’s unusual I think. In most cases I suspect that neuroleptics are used in ERs as first-line chemical restraints for almost anything that “bothers” the ER staff. It’s awful. The fact that its rare where I work is ridiculously lucky and not something I believe is representative of the mainstream experience at all.

            A big part of my job when I come to the ER is convincing the medical Doctor that the person is safe to go home. That’s basically my mission and goal every time I come in. Rarely, I have the experience where I do not believe a person is safe to go home, as in the case where a person was experiencing unusual thoughts and beliefs leading him to feel that he needed to harm his neighbors. In those cases, you need to understand that at this point in time in 2014 I do not have the option to send him to jail. I have big, big problems with this anyway, but I don’t even have the option. The police will not take a person or charge a person they believe to be “mentally ill” in many cases. In this small town, they are even less inclined to do this, because they had an experience in their history in which a person who was labeled as “mentally ill” committed suicide in their jail. They believe that “mental illness” is a literal thing and that “sick” people shouldn’t be in jail.

            The hospital staff won’t release him home, because they are liable. Doctors and hospitals can and have been successfully sued repeatedly for discharging people who then went on to either hurt themselves or other people in the community. As a matter of values, I’m not comfortable releasing him home, because of the active threat toward his neighbors. This creates quite a bind.

            I agree with you as you described what you think should happen and what it would look like to support a person like the man I have described. I also described what I thought that support should look like, and it seemed to me that our values and general ideas were quite compatible. But that place doesn’t exist as an option right now.

            You wrote: “Honestly, I cannot understand your decision, if what you’re saying is that you chose to ‘medicalize’ that man, keeping him out of the justice system…”

            I respect what you say here and in your explanation that preceded it. I don’t know if I made the right decision. What I know is that my experience of the justice system is that it is a horrific nightmare of abuse rivaling anything we experience in the mental health system. Honestly, the truth is, when it comes to situations like the man I’ve been describing, I think we are completely trapped between terrible options. I don’t believe arrest is the right option. I also don’t believe forced drugging is the right option. I also don’t believe just sending him back next door to his neighbors when nothing has changed is the right option. This keeps me up many, many, many nights.

            You asked me if I knew what became of the man I have been talking about. I do not know for certain, but I can guess – and my guess is heartbreaking.

            My guess, based on what I know about how the system works, is that after he was sent to a acute psychiatric hospital, he was forced to take neuroleptics against his will. I don’t know for certain that happened, but it would most definitely be standard procedure for an inpatient hospital. I also imagine that he was involuntarily committed to the state for a maximum of six months. “Maximum” is actually BS, because they can just keep recommitting him over and over again indefinitely if they wanted to, and the system is so stacked against the individual person that this becomes both easy and likely.

            Once committed, he will be ordered to do whatever the judge stipulates as the terms of his commitment. Usually that means taking medications, usually that means going to what’s called a “secure residential treatment facility” which are longer term, anywhere from three months to years. They are different sorts of prisons. His ability to be released from such a facility will be entirely dependent on whether or not his follows the rules and does everything the “professionals” say he should do.

            It’s awful. I worked in an “secure residential treatment facility” for one year, because I was a naive fool who thought people who were there actually needed to be there. I quit without having any idea what my next job would be once I realized just how wrong I had been. My first article on MIA was called “Corrections Officers, not Clinicians” and it was about my journey of discovering that involuntary treatment programs like that one went against my deepest values.

            So, you’ll get no argument from me that the path for this man once he was hospitalized is not a good one. But what about the alternative, going to jail?

            Well, a night or two in the local jail isn’t going to solve anything, nor is it likely to remove the community risk unless the deeper underlying issues are addressed somehow. Setting aside the fact that the police would refuse to charge him, charging him with a serious crime leads to prison. In America, prisons are nightmares of violence, rape, brutality, and by the way – also places where persons CAN be forcibly drugged against their will, including drugged with neuroleptics. He would also be very likely to be in prison for far longer than he would be hospitalized or committed. How is that in any way a better option?

            Both of the options I can see for this man are terrible. It’s why we so desperately need alternatives in the spirit of what you and I both previously described.

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          • Andrew,

            Thanks for your further reply (on July 26, 2014 at 4:37 pm). It’s very thorough, in the sense that you answered my questions clearly.

            Yes, I read that first blog post of yours (the one about your feeling that you might have to quit your “residential facility” job). I read it when you posted it. I recall myself hoping that you would quit that job — thereby making the decision that could allow you to live with integrity. Now, from what you’re saying, that’s what you did, exactly…

            So, now, finding yourself working a somewhat unique sort of E.R. job, in a relatively small community, you’ve explained, most basically (in your earlier comment, above), “I am in the position of making a decision about involuntarily hospitalizing someone or not, I am not encouraged to hospitalize in fact I’m discouraged from doing so.”

            Imho, that is a very important position you’re in, because an E.R. is going to be a necessity, in any community, of any half-way significant size; and, I get it, that someone is going to have to work in such a job, as the one which you’re working; therefore, everything you’re saying, in this comment thread has led me to believe that you’re really the best man to be working in that E.R. job, of yours.

            Though it is a job where you’re going to be expected to order the involuntary “hospitalization” of certain “patients” when you perceive them as presenting “extreme” scenarios, you can advise against forced drugging.

            Indeed, you are completely opposed to forced drugging; and, you are not ever positioned to do any forced drugging nor order any forced drugging, of anyone. That’s all very important, imho, because it allows you to live and work, in integrity with your values. (Good to know that your position has nothing to do with those functions.)

            From everything you’re saying, at last, Andrew, I salute you.

            Though I could nitpick and say that, when you’re speaking of people who’ve been ‘medicalized’ against their will, you could do well to keep terms like “medication” and “hospitalization” sandwiched in quotation marks. But, I won’t go there now… 😉

            Instead, I say to you, carry on…

            From reading your explanations of your work (to this point), it seems to me you’re doing a lot of good.

            Many people who, had they shown up in most other E.R.s, would be “hospitalized,” wind up avoiding “hospitalization” when they meet up with you; thus, you’re keeping them out of harm’s way for sure.

            I encourage you to keep writing about your work experiences.

            More power to you, and may your views and values spread to E.R’s everywhere…



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          • P.S. — Andrew,

            Upon a bit more reflection, here’s what’s coming to mind, regarding our comment exchange.

            About my having said this, to you, “Honestly, I cannot understand your decision, if what you’re saying is that you chose to ‘medicalize’ that man, keeping him out of the justice system…,” and your having responded by saying, “I respect what you say here and in your explanation that preceded it. I don’t know if I made the right decision…”:

            Well, actually, if I’m not mistaken, it seems, to me, from your ultimate descriptions of the situation, you did not keep that guy out of the justice system; the police kept him out of the justice system (according to their refusal to press charges and make a formal arrest). They would not place him in jail, even had you insisted that they should. (I believe that’s what you’re indicating.)

            If you are quite certain that the police would not take that guy to jail, your only options were to (A) send the guy home or (B) have him “involuntarily hospitalized.”

            And, frankly, if there was literally no way to get that guy locked up, in jail nor otherwise turned over to the justice system, at that point, then, considering what a genuinely serious danger he was presenting to his neighbor (you say he had actually tried to set his neighbor’s house on fire), had I been in your shoes, I would have ordered the “involuntary hospitalization” for that man, as you did, and I would do my best to realize, that i had no better option.

            But, like you, probably, I would lose sleep over that decision.

            So, now, I’d like to think that, had I been you, I would do my best to follow-up on the man’s fate, finding out where that “involuntary hospitalization” really took him. (You have speculated as to where it took him, but I would want to really learn about what became of him, were I the one who’d made the decision of ordering it.)

            After all, I would actually want him to wind up in the justice system, facing charges, soon enough… as I think that would be for his own good.

            You may find yourself disagreeing with me, about that.

            After all, you say, “my experience of the justice system is that it is a horrific nightmare of abuse rivaling anything we experience in the mental health system.”

            But, I think that may be your misconception; I’m inclined to believe that it is always best for a person who has committed a serious crime to face justice; it’s good for society, as well as for that person; so, it may actually be a good thing, that you are uncertain, as to whether or not you made the right decision, because I’m inclined to feel, that maybe your sense of feeling conflicted about that decision could possibly reflect a niggling reality, that you are, in moments, denying; and, that is: Any person who known to have committed a crime actually deserves his or her day in court. S/he will actually benefit from facing justice, as opposed to being, perhaps, summarily ‘excused’ for what s/he did, based on the quackery of some psychiatrist’s mumbo-jumbo ‘diagnosis’ of so-called “mental illness.”

            I would be interested to know what you think about what I’ve said here, at last. (Maybe you’ll actually agree with me, but I don’t know.)

            My last comment to you was expressed as a last comment, so I won’t take it personally if you don’t reply to this one; but, hopefully, you’re still tuned into this comment thread.

            In any case, I’ll presume that maybe you are still tuned in to it, and I’ll checking for your reply.



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          • Jonah,

            It’s getting late for me, but I just wanted to write and say how much I appreciated our discussion. Thank you for your observations and reflections, which have really invigorated my own thinking and questioning. One thing is certain, I’ve lost a great deal of sleep over this particular guy, and even more sleep about some of these issues more broadly.

            I hope to continue losing sleep, until we have justice.

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          • Ron,
            Thanks so much for that information. Clearly, I stand corrected, on that point, I’d made, about neuroleptics not being ‘black-market’ drugs. The article you linked to is very informative, as well as very disturbing. Frankly, reading what it has to say comes as shocking news, to me, because, personally, I found neuroleptics to be so unpleasant, I only ever ‘chose’ to take them as a way to avoid the terribly misconceived ‘compassion’ of those who would insist that I must be “re-hospitalized” if I refused them; and, ‘street drugs’ have never had any appeal to me; so, all I can think as I read that article, is ‘Heaven help these people…’

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    • Ron,
      Appreciate your perspective. I’m wondering if we would be better off to explore alternative drugs to replace the so-called anti-psychotics? In the same way I would imagine we are exploring alternatives to chemotherapy drugs. Can the “benefits” some people receive be achieved by a last harmful drug? Or, can they be achieved by a non-drug option?


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      • Hi David, yes, I think we should always try to avoid using anything toxic to “help” if we possibly can! In the case of psychosis, I think we should be trying non-drug methods first, but then as backup we should be looking to find non-toxic drugs (and hopefully ones that don’t create a dependency.)

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        • I guess unless it caused an almost complete anterograde amnesia as it was in my case. The most traumatic event in my life as it was combined with being locked up and abused at a psych ward. Btw, the “good professionals” there managed to overlooked that tiny insignificant detail that my long-term memory is virtually not existent and later denied that benzos can have this effect (which is bs – it’s enough to go to pubmed and type in benzodiazepine and amnesia and one can see it’s used before surgeries/invasive medical procedures for exactly that purpose). I don’t know if they are that incompetent or they’re just abusive a**holes who don’t care. I was anyway lucky, I’ve read a story on MIA from a person who lost years of his life not being able to recall his kids growing up because of the benzos.
          In other words it’s like asking: do you prefer cyanide or arsenic?

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      • I’d ask rather: what are these drugs supposed to achieve exactly? I remember asking that question to multiple psychiatrists about anti-depressants and they could never say anything more specific than “they are going to make you feel better” and never addressed the topic when I challenged them with “but I have reasons to feel depressed, how are the pills going to fix these reasons?”.
        It may just be the same thing with psychosis. If the goal is suppressing the voices or delusions or whatever weird experiences people have how can you remove these experiences from the rest of the cognitive process going on in someone’s head? I don’t really think you can find a drug that’s going to make someone “normal” and not change his/her in a very profound way.
        Maybe it should be the people who are affected to tell the doctors what they want and not the doctors deciding for them how “sane” is supposed to look like.

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    • Ron wrote “when people decide they want the antipsychotic drug.”

      Like when the crack addict decides he wants more crack?

      You forget who gave-forced the “patient” to take the drug in the first place. (and where)

      People suddenly start hearing voices one day? (and seek neuroleptics) I don’t think so.

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    • Ron,

      Thanks for coming in. These are indeed complex issues. And real medications do indeed sometimes have adverse effects. At the present time I have a transplanted kidney. To prevent my own immune system from destroying this graft, I take immunosuppressants. While taking immunosuppressants is generally bad for one, in my case the alternative (losing the kidney) is worse, and I’ve been fully informed of the risks. This is very different from the usual psychiatric situation, where even the name of the class of drugs (“antipsychotics”) is specifically chosen to deceive the user.

      Of course, I respect the right of the individual to use these drugs if he chooses. But in all my career, I don’t think I ever encountered a client who was using or had used these products who was aware of the risks.

      I’m sorry that you view my point of view as unbalanced and extreme. My general position is that psychiatry is spurious, destructive, disempowering, and stigmatizing. To me, it is something fundamentally rotten; something intellectually and morally bankrupt; a wrong turning in human history.

      If that makes me a “partisan for an extreme point of view” – so be it. Throughout my career I tried to engage psychiatrists in collegial discussions on these kinds of issues, but never once encountered any receptivity. And in DSM-5, far from making any concessions to our perspective, they doubled down on the disease model by diluting their already very inclusive definition of a “mental disorder.”

      In my experience, there is no human problem that psychiatry, with its bogus illnesses and its so-called treatments, can’t, and doesn’t, make a great deal worse.

      Best wishes.

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  6. This post has really grabbed my attention.

    Many times I have witnessed people complaining about being worse off of neuroleptic drugs and I have witnessed a dismissive response from psychiatrists and other mental health workers in the psychiatric field. I can think of one guy who stated how sedated, unable to think, unable to move properly, unable to recall properly, and actually he was still holding unusual beliefs that were deemed delusions (despite being on an “anti-psychotic” and other drugs). The psychiatrist listened very carefully and responded by saying that it was a case of balancing the benefits against the negative effects of medication and that he would recommend continuation of treatment as the man in his view was getting well. I would agree that the man in question was more manageable, though I don’t know if he was really getting well.

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    • Well, according to my psychiatrist experiencing narcolepsy-like side effects of Zyprexa (uncontrollable falling asleep during a rock concert on while riding a bike) is a minor issue. Total anterograde amnesia from benzos also doesn’t seem to be a problem. I wonder what kind of side effect would be serious enough to make them stop the drug – instant death maybe or spontaneous combustion?

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      • It is interesting to me how differently psychiatrists respond to patient complaints about side effect while still greatly minimizing their concerns. When I told my psychiatrist that Wellbutrin XL was causing memory impairment, he denied it and claimed it was supposed to help the issue. Interestingly, when I told him another health professional agreed with me, he then claimed I never made the complaint that I know darned right well I made.

        B – Death would cause the med to get stopped. Sorry for my sarcasm but I honestly feel that is the case with many psychiatrists and their attitudes about minimizing side effects.

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    • This is a huge problem of injustice – that doctors make a false equivalency between “getting well” and “being more manageable to the rest of us.”

      “Well” is something that should be defined by the individual. But in our culture it is not. Instead “well” is a judgement made by other “professionals.” And “well” is defined to mean, “less likely to be disruptive, disturbing, costly, irritating or inconvenient to the rest of us.”

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      • A friend was so anxious on serequel he could hardly leave the house, for five years.
        So they put him on rispiradal and he developed axathesia. They only took him off this because his sister intervened on his behalf.
        Then they put him on quetiapine and he sleeps half the day and is constipated. They are considering loweing in the dose. They say he needs the drugs and to think of the alternative (they believe he will have another breakdown, but we worked out every time he had one there were horrible things happening and the services never talked to him about these).

        Mostly they are not bothered about the bad effects until you are nearly dead.

        Mainly they give them as tranquilisers and any behavior that shows a bit of life is seen as the return of illness.

        I gave my friend a pill cutter and push him towards an advocate

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  7. The difference between functional, restorative orthomolecular Medicine in Psychiatry and the medico-pharmaceutical syndicate’s propaganda foundationed (substitutued) Psychiatry is primarily that the latter is faked-up for power and profit while the former is the modern medical scientific legitimate treatment.

    “All drugs can be dangerous toxic chemicals when not used appropriately.”

    This sort of depends on what chemical one chooses to call a drug. Piracetam, Arginine Pyroglutamate and Phospatidylserine might be termed excellent supplement chemicals or really great drugs, whilst the word “dangerous” would not tend to come to mind in relation to these chemicals. (Perhaps if a big barrel-full fell on me…)

    The Fraud-Psychiatry (NAMI, WPA, APA, AMA, NIMH, SAMHSA, library books, university departments) has its handful of favored listed chemicals (Its lovingly named “Medications” – so lucrative) in depot form and pill form coerced or lied to into taking them.

    (When the propaganda IS the message: People “with SMI” severe mental illness *need* to take – serious – Medications; and if they don’t want to – then, they, lack insight, and have “ano-sog-nosia.” (Big word there – I don’t know if I can pronounce it…) OH! People shouldn’t stigmatize these identified defective-for-life people who have to take their meds… These people the authorities have selected as different – please, please do not stigmatize them!)

    The Fraud Psychiatry of the Syndicate parted ways with modern chemotherapy in Psychiatry between 1963 and 1973. ( 1973 of course being when the fraud peer-review Task Force 7 was published – in and of itself one of the great crimes against humanity of the 1900s.)

    “All drugs can be dangerous toxic chemicals when not used appropriately. While many valid points are made in this article, it’s very one-sided and could be considered biased in that it’s written by a psychologist. I’ve seen many patients and families benefit from their use.”

    A prime propaganda method utilized by the Fraud is to make chemotherapy equivalent to approved trademarked brain drugging chemical that has been patented as an intellectual invention.

    What “Medication” is used professionally now, and what new “Medications” are in the pipeline? These are, by consistent artifice, and by endless rote repetition, to be made ‘equivalent’ in meaning to — “What trademarked invention, what patented, centrally acting drugs are used for the treatment of the DSM syndrome label diagnosis?”

    Even the groups and individuals opposing Psychiatry’s practices, labeling and drugging are tending to equate chemical medication and biochemical treatment with the short list of approved patented centrally acting drugs.

    One camp had one story line, while the opposing camp hues a certain fraction of this story line even in hearty opposition.

    They manage to keep the chemicals used and ever spoken about and written about as “treatments” centrally acting drugs. They make no deviation from this. “Diagnoses” are done by professional objective opinion using interview and psychological word tests, and “treatment” is Medical – that is repeatable, well-defined actions taken on the body of a pateint such as continually drugging them with halogenated neurotropic drugging chemical (the mainstay of Psychiatry) or cutting the brain, or 130 volt, one fifth second shocks right across the head.

    Psychosurgery, centrally acting drugs given on an ongoing routine basis, and courses of 130 vol shocks to the temples seen “scientific,” in a Newtonian way since they are all repeatable quantifiable material actions taken on the material body.

    A “brain washing” principle that they stick to at all costs is the drug thing – -treatment is with centrally acting drug inventions, and new possible treatments on the hopeful horrizon — are also centrally acting drugs. Critism about what they do involves – do they over do the cenerally acting drugs, maybe they should do more psychological and social treatment instead. Or, these drugs are not so good really and what we really need is much improved drugs.

    Pains are taken not to contaminate the talk of drugs drugs drugs and critism of drugs and support for psychothaerpay and new drugs.

    For instance the many non-prescrition antioxidants, as a antioxidant cocktail are not mentioned. Some of these cross the blood brain barrier easily. Most every neurological trouble calls for some vitamin C. JUst not a topic. No.

    For instance – You want to support the idea that a SRI or SNRI “raises” serotonin or serotonin and norepinephrine? Well pills and different pills for that! Never mentioned in the same breath, srupulously, attentively maintained for years, not mentioned in the same articles and commentaries is B-6, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Zinc and L-Tryptophann, L-Phenylalanaine and, L-Tyrosine.

    Rea;lly impossible for a literate human being to mention SRI and SNRI for sale drugs and not mention L-Tryptophan and L-Tyrosine and B-6 (pure food extracts needed to make serotonin and norepinephrine).

    Still Peter Breggin, Robert Whitaker, Joanna Moncrieff, Donald F. Klein, Judith L. Rappport and Joseph Biederman paint that there are two sides the medical involving the centrally acting drugs and then psychoanalysis and psychotherapy on the other side.

    “Increasing neurotransmitters” with no talk of B-6 and amino acids.

    “Medical model” treatment with no mention of blood testing work, and no mention of antioxidant chemicals.

    Pretty frauded up world.

    Neuro-lep-tics. This term for chemical straitjacket action of the major tranquillizers such as Risperdal and Haldol was craft from the Greek root “Lep” as also seen in the word “Epilepsy.” Lep meaning to “seize.” So what we connote in using this honest word is that these are brain/nervous system seizing drugs. Physicly grabbing, containing, suppressing, holding the nervous system – IE, a chemical cosh, a chemical straitjacket.

    In 1935 the modern biochemistry came into existence when Linus Pauling published “Introduction to Quantum Mechanics with Applications to Chemistry.” Nobel laureate biochemist Linus Pauling joined the chemical Psychiatry people a few years before the heinous criminal fraud of the 58 page Task Force 7 to the APA was inflicted in 1973 on our people bringing us 40 years of fraud “Psychopharmacology.”

    “Let’s consider an example of a real medication, prescribed to treat a real illness.”

    ADHD doesn’t become an unreal illness until it is adopted into the fraud Psychiatry of the APA, NIMH , NAMI and drug companies.

    In the seminal work, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration Weston A. Price well described our current predicament. Subject to the industrial pollution and Western industrial food our people’s health has decayed generation by subsequent generation. Price in the 1920’s was able to notice that the people of the grand parents generation were noticeably of better health.

    Dr. Lendon Smith (our most beloved doctor back in 1970’s USA) explains what happened with Ritalin/Adderal and attention deficit hyperactivity. A young woman in the 1930’s was obviously impaired and hyperactive. presumably some sort of minimal or subclinical brain impairment. The doctor asked his aid to give the young woman some bromide (a minor tranquillizer) instead the aid accidental gave her some benzedrine (a norepineprine psychostimulent that causes increased focus). The young woman calmed down and went to sleep.

    DOnald F. Klen absolutrly forbid others of theprofession to use terms such as minimal and subclinical brain impairment or disfunction. Using such terms Donald wrote from on high is fundamentally unscientific – as it suggests some knowledge of causation. What is much more scientific Klein had the others in his Profession know was to never suggest knowledge of cause – to use non-Medical labeling for “diagnosis” and brain drugging chemicals as “treatments.”

    If you never say anything then you cannot be wrong. The pinnacle of Science.

    Psychiatrist diagnoses cannot be incorrect – because the made them up and they apply them out of thin air. You just can not get more Scientific than that!

    So again “ADHD” was real until the called it: “ADHD” in need of “Medications.”

    Dr. Lendon Smith and Carl C. Pfieffer, Ph.D., M.D. and Paris M. Kidd, Ph.D. are on the same page, people have problems and if the drug seems to work that is diagnostic and means that they should get appropriate treatment (not the drug).

    Scatso-Frenia. This scientific-sounding slur word is the golden egg laying sacred cow symbol of Sic-eye-atry. The S word. The meanings have shifted down the years but they get validation by the wondrously scientific sound of this gibberish phrase. Certainly a better term is “Dementia praecox,” or the term “Metabolic Dysperception” from the 1973 book “Orthomolecular Psychiatry: Treatment of Schizophrenia” edited by the geniuses Linus Pauling and David Hawking. The S word is the sacred word that supply the money. DSM = drugs supply money.

    In the area of non-fraud medicine: quote, “overproduction of dopamine due to an innate tendency for .”

    Quote, “The patients are usually afflicted with multiple medications which can provide some relief, albeit with very unpleasant side effects.”

    In the area of the non-Fraud-biochemical Psychiatry (that is not the NAMI and the CHADD, not the APA and the WPA, not the NIMH and the SAMHSA, and not the movie ‘A Beautiful Mind’) — in the area of non Fraud, we have legitimate people (not propagandists) stating that people with testable under-methylation are quote “afflicted” unquote with “medications.”

    These people who legitimate doctors would point out have overmethylation are assigned DSM names from the Psychiatrists Big Book of Nmes and are afflicted by their ersatz “doctors” with the dopamine antagonist drugging chemicals such as haloperidol (with fluorine, chlorine and nitrogen) and Risperdal (with fluorine and nitrogen).

    Drugs and noxious chemical in nature tend to have nitrogen in them, While, the halogens fluorine and chlorine are not used in the construction of chemicals made by biological creatures.

    These unfortunate people subjected to USA “Psychiatry” have “too high dopamine” thus they need both some assistence – and protection from USA “Psychiatry” and its Big Book of Names-as-Diagnoses.

    It goes on and on of course. There are snake oil salesmen and they repeat themselves for decades, then there are books of detailed information by those who are interested in others health treatment (not their own personal wealth treatment.)

    Not differentiating the biological Psychiatry which was intentionally supressed in 1973 from the current criminal -conman-fraud-Psychiatry (IE, Psychopharmacology, or Label Drug Psychiatry, Or Psychologically label and drug, electroshock and psychosurgery Psychiatry) is important in the game plan for fraud Psychiatry and its propaganda writers.

    David Moyer, LCSW — author of Four Generation Bipolar Odyssey
    > Beyond Mental Illness — If you want to change the world, you have to change the metaphor. Joseph Campbell

    Abarm Hoffer, M.D. Psychiatrist the founding father of modern Psychiatry mentions the take over of Psychiatry by the Big Pharma bacause the traquiliiers were so very profitable

    Modern Fraud “Psychiatry” is summed up best by Thomas A. Ban, M.D. and he written statements on thier dedication.

    Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D. “A Life” (biography peice he wrote at the end of his life)
    Abram Hoffer Life.

    “Our executive director, after Cal Samra left, arranged for some of us to meet with a small representation from NIMH. We met in Washington, DC. On our side we had Linus Pauling, Humphry Osmond, our executive director and for the NIMH Dr Morris Lipton, who had chaired the remarkable Task Force of the American Psychiatric Association which had roundly denounced our work and had published a most remarkable document, remarkable for its totally dishonest account of what we had been doing and claiming.”

    D.J. Jaffe People need the “Medication” chemicals – most especially if we have to force them because they have ano-sog-nosia

    How to find a doctor you can trust
    Vincent Bellonzi

    Functional, Restorative Medicine VS. quick Label and Drug
    Vincent Bellonzi

    Commentary on Biochemical Psychiatry by William Walsh, Ph.D.

    Safe Harbor Project — Dr. Raymond J. Pataracchia B.Sc., N.D.

    Optimal Dosing for Schizophrenia Raymond J. Pataracchia, B.Sc., N.D.

    Nutrition by Natalie
    ADHD Drugs vs. Possible Cures – Nutrition by Natalie

    ADHD Warning – Nutrition by Natalie

    Dr. Lendon Smith on the discovery in the 1930s of psycho-stimulent drugs to treat subclinical brain dysfunction (That is, simplified, simultaneously: Why ADHD drugs “work,” and why Not to use them!)
    2) http://

    Parris Kidd

    PsycheTruth Video — Is ADD Real?

    Goebbels “Big Lie”

    Lenin “controlled opposition”

    Leonardo da Vinci ‘And many have made a trade in deceits and feigned miracles, cozening the foolish herd, and if no one showed himself cognizant of their deceits they would impose them on all.”

    Which Side are You On?

    Pete Seeger

    Rebel Diaz

    Stand Up.

    Daniel Burdick
    Springfield Eugene Antipsychiatry July 27, 2014

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  8. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this chain of posts. It’s refreshingly hopeful to see clear minds illuminate the oppressive dynamics that psychiatry & big pharma maintain out of greed and ignorance. I think of these times we live in as a “mental health” holocaust. The damage to the oppressors and to those targeted by the oppression is a killing field of gigantic proportions.
    And please let’s not refer to drug ‘side-effects’. They are main effects that create yet another barrier to truly healing and gaining wisdom from the fullness of our emotional/spiritual experiences. Please keep thinking and writing so eloquently

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  9. I’m responding to Phillip Hickey’s article with a short essay I have written on a similar topic. This essay is based on my personal experience in a “behavioral health long term care facility”.

    Rather than writing about my frustration with the c/s/x survivor movement today, I have decided on a short piece about drugging, diagnosis and profit in the pharmaceutical and medical industries. Toward the end of my clinical practice, a part of what I did was seeing people in long term care facilities who also had psychiatric diagnoses. In each case, as was my habit, I conducted my own diagnostic interview without having read any of the previous diagnostic interviews, case notes or other background information. I found a variety of diagnoses, from those considered by the mainstream to be SMIs to those that fit the category of “adjustment disorders”–which really means that the person is feeling distress about something external that is going on. Because all of the people I saw in this context were Medicaid patients in long term care facilities, they had very little of their own power and very little to no control over external events. There was a LOT of adjustment disorder. When comparing my conclusions to those of facility psychiatrists, however, I noticed an almost invariable pattern of disagreement. Schizoaffective Disorder. Schizoaffective Disorder. Time after time. Case after case. I asked myself, why? Within a couple of months, the very disturbing answer became apparent. These individuals were being drugged for the convenience of the care facility and the staff. The diagnosis of Schizoaffective Disorder effectively justifies the use of any type of antidepressant, anti anxiety, or anti psychotic medication. And, the change in medication does not require a time consuming diagnostic revision when the primary diagnosis is Schizoaffective Disorder. This label covers both “psychotic” symptoms and “mood” symptoms such as “depression” or “mania”. This dynamic was easily observable to any person with clinical training who had access to the individuals and their records of behavior and medications changes. I recall meeting a facility psychiatrist who refused to talk to me and dismissed me from his presence with the statement, “I have over 3,000 patients.” At that time, I wondered how he could possibly have over 3,000 patients. Now, I know. Through the magic of a wastebasket diagnosis of Schizoaffective Disorder. No paperwork, no face to face contact, no conscience. Just drugs and money, money and drugs. Long term care facilities, psychiatry and drugs–all huge profit industries. Medicaid funded residents of these facilities–no power, no way to change what is happening, no way to even know how they are diagnosed, let alone how it is making other people rich from their suffering. My words, today.

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    • Sharon,

      Thanks for this profound insight. I’d never put the schizoaffective thing together in this way, but I’m sure you’re right. As a “diagnosis” it can be used to justify any drug – or any drug cocktail. What’s happening in our nursing homes under the heading of “psychiatric treatment” is a scandal of epic proportions.

      Best wishes.

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    • Great insight, thank you.
      Many if not all of the psychiatric “diagnoses” are basically means of stigmatising people for their natural reactions to adverse external environment: ODD, BPD, Adjustment disorder, depression …the list goes on.
      “they had very little of their own power and very little to no control over external events”
      I think you hit the nail on the head here.

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  10. Healing with psychosis

    My appreciation, again, to Phillip Hickey for a clear and thouroughly reasoned article. I subscribe to his knowledge and positioning being most needed, but, as you will read, not sufficient to expose the destructions caused by medical psychiatry.

    The reflections Ron Unger shares are most relevant. I base my line of thoughts on them.
    First let me quote Ron: ‘While “antipsychotics” have a toxic effect on people, for many they do have a stronger effect suppressing the part of the person that the person themselves wants to suppress, such as a disturbing voice. This often makes people appreciate the drugs.

    Certainly when “antipsychotics” are forced on people, we can talk about chemical restraint, but it does get trickier for example when people decide they want the antipsychotic drug. In this case, it is kind of about a person using the drug to restrain themselves or part of themselves, which is more complex. An then in many cases an extra layer of complexity is that they only chose to voluntarily use the drugs after being coerced into using the drugs first, and then the drugs themselves may be making the person more compliant and even subservient to other who want them to take the drugs.’

    In my (Ute’s) view Ron Unger highlights the crucial issue of terrifying experiences and menaces underlying and partially thrown up in ‘psychotic feelings, perceptions and interpreations’ – which are highly distressing especially as none around seems ‘trained’ in ways of supporting people to relate to them and make sense of them.

    Oppressions, suppressions, abuses… later ‘soulquakes’ in menacing situations, all, cultural, social, in relationships, in victims… are covered up, distorted and kicked out by psychiatric symptom concepts, a totally inadequate reductionistic causal model of neuro-dysfuctioning, the practice misuse of neuroleptics to ‘zombie-away’ the extremely disturbing to terrifying ways to psychotically experience a menacing or superpower world, or disturbing to terrorist voice hearing.

    In my view it is a scandal of cultural, political and psychiatric ignorance, oppression and abuse to be given the power to override and ridiculise the valuable knowledge from people who have found ways to interprete their psychotic outbreaks of realities in their embodied souls. To exclude from recognition the many survivor stories which are explorative and instructive in the relations they expose between the diverse oppressions, punishments, abuses which disconnected the sufferers from their embodied selves (sorry for oversmplification in terms). Also I refer to survivor stories as much more than stories: they provide invaluable insights into how psychotic experiences are ‘anwers’/’cries of souls and feelings’ which have been eviled, tabooed, suppressed or disrupted in the souls, thinkings, feelings and in the organic living substrate in the people. A German Anthology ‘The sense of my Psychosis’ presents 20 narratives full of multi-layered insights. And there are many more.

    This is what the psychiatric conceptualisations of SMI never ever refer to. In the contrary they only gaze at some ‘delusional’ symptoms of a non-existing ‘neurological chemical dysfunction’ and in consequence recommend/coerce both destructive diagnostic science fictions and chemical compounds which disable the complex functioning of neuroendocrine organic substrates for people’s interaction with the world and themselves.

    Whereas the insightful narratives allow to collect insights into the very real and lived complexities in bodies, feelings, imaginations, perceptions, changes pre- and during psychoses, they are relegated to ‘scientifically invalid’ ‘anecdotes’. The existing ‘ factual science fiction’ of psychiatric diagnoses, ironically, is exactly what is shown to be invalid by the heuristically much more valid collections of narratives with the informative insights they provide. Shery Mead’s workings are an outstanding example, as well as the Maastricht Interviews and the Hearing Voices/Unusual Beliefs approaches.

    I call for new transdisciplinary human sciences to take these survivor narratives and approaches as guides, to work with collectives of lived psychoses’ expert witnesses to develop explorative and participatory research of a wholly different complexity in conceptions and methodologies.

    The need for basing a much deepened, broadened and complex understanding based on the many psychoses narratives is crying out loud.

    There seems no need for medical psychiatry which only hampers this humane endevour to re-explore the soul’s embeddedness and connectedness through the socially and spiritually animated body and the socio-cultural lived/suffered real world pre/during/post psychoses.

    We need interdisciplinary and ‘artistic-imaginative’ psychoses experts by experience together with a whole different human sciences development to be able to support people so that they do not need to suppress, as Ron reminds us of, when and what psychoses finally through up from the existencial difficulties in people’s lifes past and present. Again, this is what psychiatry as a science ignores or distorts, in consequence psychiatry only ‘helps’ to make people ever more alienated and certainly hinders distressed people from healing by intoxicating their whole organisms, not just brains, with neuroleptics.

    To the emancipation and revolution of the people with lived experience of psychoses, to the emancipation of their narratives and their various frameworks – relating psychoses to their biographies within real social and cultural and spiritual worlds – to become the soulful agents and authors of new knowledge production about healing with psychosis.

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  11. Thanks so much for placing this in print all of you.
    Recognizing the initial article that Dr. Hickey referred to, was one that goes out not only to many people who at this point in their lives are in fact in a front row seat of lived experience of psychotic drug use to their lifelong spouses, friends, neighbors and extended family members; yet not to be overlooked the majority of VOTERS that are concerned of their budgets and healthcare-do to many families now seeing “outside the home” living arrangements ( nursing homes) much more convienient for the busy lives of many, I found it very creative (intended or not) of the initial author to merely leaveout the LARGEST DRUG SETTLEMENT in recent US History, for this very issue: INVEGA Sustenna- $2.2 BILLION; that took place this year. Brought forth by none other than our own US Attorney General Eric Holder, of which MANY states joined as Plaintiffs and reeped the monetary benefits.
    After receiving a copy of the settlement & opinion from my own NH Attorney General as well, with the multi million dollar words in print, that was the eyeopener…the practice has not been stopped, the drug is still used for and by the NH Health Care system!
    I would like to also thank those of you who are graciousl enough to lend to the knowledge of us all through your comments on this great article as well as I found it supportive to have it mentioned that psychosis is event/memory/past experience related, of which it may seem many perscribers of this particular drug have NOT READ the manufactures label; being as it is NOT intended for memory related symptoms!

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  12. Thank you Philip,
    For acknowledgement. My (and others) ideas and conceptualisations can not be based on what professional practitioners may change to find interesting by listening with compassion and acceptance. They are rooted in complex relations and ‘functions’ of psychotic experiences in people’s biographies, social interactions and societal power/action structures… and the oppressions, abuses, disruptures those exert on the socially weaker/weakened people who experienced psychoses.
    There is heuristic power in our knowledge developed over many years but which goes ignored and rejected by all establishment concerned with knowledge production and dissemination.
    Thus it seems it’s only about professionals now staring to listening differently and … again… the professionals … first?/alone? to create any more systematic meaning from their clients parlances. No.
    We – as many others than me – demand be taken serious, respected and acknowledged for the heuristic depth and breath of our mostly narrative workings.
    Kind regards,

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  13. People working in nursing homes have their jobs to do, there are various considerations, and there are the beliefs that these people carry with them – in a health system long-since co-opted and run by propaganda departments and other corporate strategists.

    Snowing residents in care facilities, and the value of this for creating “a calm, peaceful environment.”

    The propaganda instilled in the public, for many, many years, by the Medical leadership… leading up to this phrase – “second generation antipsychotics” – is known and understood by people across the world, to some considerable depth of understanding, this thanks to the many years of effort by certain people, this includes Peter and Ginger Breggin’s with their books and other actions for now decades, and, during the last 15 years, Loren Mosher and Robert Whitaker’s spreading of revelations on these matters.

    “Second generation antipsychotics,” “atypical breakthrough next generation drugs” a lot of harm and death, a lot of lies here.

    Robert Whitaker and Loren Mosher at Zuzu’s Place “The Pharmacaust: The Destruction of the “Mentally Ill”

    The “antipsychotic drugs” are, as we know, the dopamine 2 receptor blockading drugs. Risperdal being the first introduced of these “not-so atypical” drugs.

    Risperdal dopamine 2 receptor binding affinity profile being crafted by the chemists that designed Risperdal to be similar to Haloperidol’s D2 binding profile.

    Risperdal is named after Haloperidol, and also named after the designation name (alphanumeric character string) that the chemical being developed and designed originally had — which starts with the letter “R.” (That is, R plus Haloperidol = “Risperidal”)

    It is evident that Haloperidal is named after “halogen.”

    It should have occurred to the Psychiatric Doctors of the USA and Canada and so forth, within a couple months, that, in all actuality the atypical breakthrough wonder-drugs could not really be much of a breakthrough… nor be especially atypical… as they are, (as the literature of the day stated) dopamine 2 receptor blockade drugs just as the 1954 drug chlorpromazine is – and all of the chlorpromazine spin-off descendent drugs, down the years, are, such as fluphenazine and haloperidol.

    These all contain halogen atoms which as David Healy knows are helpful in making patent drugs potent and toxic – along with making patentable chemicals — since halogenated chemical molecules are not used in plants and animals (an exception being iodine in Thyroxine). That is halogens are not found in biological molecules.

    That the major tranquillizer drugs, the dopamine 2 receptor blockade drugs are neurotoxins is to be found in the Professional Literature.

    The sales term “antipsychotic” is unhelpful for considering issues of residential care facilities.

    In nursing homes the workers, the nurses and aids need to have the entire Medical Profession helping by providing, by representing, actual current Medical information.

    Not multi-year, meticulously crafted sales propaganda as seen in the words: “second generation antipsychotics.”

    Not that smart people working at nursing homes do not understand (and use) the term “snowing.” As well as sometimes understand about many other things such as the influence of allergic foods and so forth.

    Still the Medical Profession as a whole needs to be on the ball with all this. What is the benefit of some particular individual working in the system having greater insight and learning? This is analogous to a soldier in a war having insight and knowledge of operative international political machinations.

    Any information and arguments that “Antipsychotic drugs” (dopamine 2 antagonists) actually work as being quote, antipsychotic unquote are — saddening — in the context of questions of elder care.

    Arguments and information for “antipsychotic drugs” being “antipsychotic” include:

    1) These drugs cross the blood brain barrier and they usually have a certain strong antioxidant action, while, of course, oxidative stress is involved in neurological conditions.

    > See work done by Eldad Melamed and Yossi Gilgun-Sherki

    > See also, Mechanism of Action of Antipsychotics, Haloperidol and Olanzapine in vitro. Vijaylaxmi Mahapatra Sahu

    2) The book Orthomolecular Psychiatry states that before 1970 is was common knowledge in the Psychiatry Profession that Major Tranquillizers could calm, and allow sleep, in manic psychotic patients — patients that were known to be remarkably resistant to being sedated and rendered unconscious by barbiturates. The book adds additional knowledge. Using electroencephalograph readings they saw that one line that was similar to people who had taken amphetamine or LSD. This EEG trace line showed overstimulation and they saw the major tranquillizer drugs cause that trace line to be reduced in amplitude and regain its variance.

    > See, Hawkins, D., Pauling, L (eds): Orthomolecular Psychiatry; Treatment of Schizophrenia. San Francisco, W.H. Freeman and Co., 1973

    3) Abram Hoffer’s later writings on the “tranquillizer psychosis” take this idea forward. His formulation is to state that the drugs work in reducing symptoms and making a person more normal and then with a normal person the drugs cause a tranquillizer psychosis,

    > See Hoffer Tranquillizer Psychosis,

    4) These dopamine blockade drugs can be antifungal, antibiotic and so forth and thus influence underlying causal Medical problems,

    > See google,

    Not withstanding any such arguments and information “snowing” is a better term than “antipsychotic” in the area of geriatric and nursing care homes.

    Ward Dean, M.D. and James South, M.A. as well as biochemist team of Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw have helped popularize knowledge of the importance of the dopamine system and its degradation throughout ones lifetime. Zest of life and youthful initiative runs high between 15 years of age and 22 when the dopamine system is at youthful peak function. Decline throughout life bacuse it tends to burn itself (like the candle of life) once it is mostly destroyed the parkinsonism of advanced old age is seen and then after that death follows.

    Melatonin the night time, circadian hormone of sleep, for slowing and repairing the brain also declines throughout life.

    1) See, Ward Dean Neuroendoctine Theory of Aging

    2) See also, Ward Dean deprenyl

    3) See also, Dopamine and Berries

    4) See, Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw –—exclusive-interview-with-life-extension-scientists-durk-pearson–sandy-shaw

    Thus it is apparent that Medically there are things that can be done, and issues that can be addressed, whilst it is likewise clear that giving dopamine blockade drug neurotoxins to elderly patients is to be giving up on them as far as being restored to better cognitive function, and instead snowing them with chemical restraint drugs.

    “These products are called antipsychotics by psychiatrists and by the pharmaceutical industry in order to create, and maintain, the false impression that these drugs somehow target psychotic thinking.”

    1) See, Melatonin and Sundowning, Nina Khachiyants

    2) See, Sundowning and Circadian Rhythm correspondence,

    3) Impact of blue light emitting diodes for Alzheimer’s disease –

    4) See also google, Alzheimer’s disease Melatonin and toxic Amyloid beta protein –

    Abram Hoffer gave his mother the active placebo of the 3 grams of niacin and 3 grams of vitamin C that he was trying on his patients, when he left to study in Europe with Rockefeller funding. His mother had started quickly losing her awareness and mental function and she had enlarged finger joints. Hoffer knew the active placebo, coming from her son the doctor and with very noticeable “niacin flush” would seem to really be doing something, and wouldn’t hurt her. Her fingers joints went back to normal and she regained lucidity.

    1) See Abram Hoffer sent to Europe by Rockefeller- Alternative medicine is not alternative –

    Again there may or may not be any thing one can do to help, while something that clogs dopamine receptors is not therapeutic. and the propaganda expression second generation anti-psychotic seems especially heinous in this connection.

    The word “major tranquillizer” is also preferable as it contains the implicit connotation of having a patient whose brain isn’t running well enough and then proposing to give them a “major tranquillizer” which sounds like it will not improve functioning as proposing giving them barbiturates also would fail to suggest a restorative action taken.

    Life Extension Foundation has protocols for age related cognitive decline and for Alzheimer’s disease. Russell Blaylock, M.D. is recommended. Townsend Letter magazine has excellent articles as well.

    1) Se,e Life Extension Foundation –

    2) See google, Retired brain surgeon Russell Blaylock

    3) The Townsend Letter to Doctors and Patients Magazine July 2002

    Sometimes people who are going into “senility” can be helped Medically.

    Calling them antipsychotic medications and pretending that one is Medically helping elderly patients by giving them major tranquillizer’s is misrepresentation.

    Take Care,

    Daniel Burdick Eugene, Oregon USA

    Links to articles on “the Antipsychotic medications”

    Antipsychotics: A Euphemism for Neurotoxins by Phil Hickey

    2004 Risperdal linked to stroke in the elderly

    Psychiatrist Michael Foster Green, M.D. echoed the information about the trial rigging they did for Risperdal which was trumpeted from the rooftops by Robert Whitaker and Loren Mosher –
    1) See, Michael F. Green, M.D. in Cognition, Drug Treatment, and Functional Outcome in Schizophrenia: A Tale of Two Transitions 2007

    Psychiatrist Michael Foster Green, M.D.

    On the rigging of the Risperdal “Scientific Clinical Testing of Safety and Efficacy” “Evidence Based Medicine” — Michael F. Green, M.D. in Cognition, Drug Treatment, and Functional Outcome in Schizophrenia: A Tale of Two Transitions 2007 writes:

    “A second key transition is that we are less comfortable with pinning our hopes on antipsychotic medications as a way to achieve cognitive improvement. Optimism that second-generation antipsychotics would yield cognitive improvements has progressively been tempered as treatment effect sizes have progressively dwindled, possibly as a result of dosing factors (as doses of comparators became lower) or patient selection factors (as more patients received second-generation medications). At any rate, the high hopes for beneficial cognitive effects from antipsychotic medications are now hanging by threads.”

    Not so “Atypical” Vera Hassner Sharav

    Allen Jones
    1) Jeanne Lenzer, BMJ 2004 —

    “Allen Jones, an investigator at the Pennsylvania Office of the Inspector General (OIG), was escorted out of his workplace on 28 April and told “not to appear on OIG property” after OIG officials accused him of talking to the press. Reports of Mr Jones’s findings were widely reported in the New York Times, BMJ (7 February, p 306), and elsewhere.

    His findings showed that the pharmaceutical company Janssen had paid honorariums to key state officials who held influence over the drugs prescribed in state-run prisons and mental hospitals.”

    2) Allen Jones 2012 The Texas Trial (8 years later) – – “/?gws_rd=ssl#q=Allen+Jones+Risperdal++Jeanne+OR+Lenzer+OR+Boring+OR+BMJ+OR+Texas+

    “In Texas, Allen Jones determined that state employees were getting kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies, and his efforts resulted in his being named Whistle-blower of the Year and awarded about $20 million of the state’s $158 million settlement.”

    Johnson & Johnson fined $2.2 Billion for off-label Promotion
    “Despite the FDA’s warnings, Janssen continued to promote Risperdal via marketing materials targeting nursing homes and doctors who treated elderly patients, finally leading the FDA to initiate legal action against the drug maker. Consequently, Janssen agreed to plead guilty and pay $400 million in fines, but explicitly denied that the settlement was an admission of any liability or wrongdoing on the part of the company.”

    Abram Hoffer Tranquillizers cause brain damage –
    “Tranquilizers cause brain damage. The amount of the damage depends on the total dose in grams. Thus if a patient takes 100 milligrams each day of one of the older drugs for 1000 days, the total dose is 100,000 milligrams or 10 grams. One multiplies the daily average dose by the number of days on that drug. On the internet, L. Stevens, a lawyer, described the tranquilizer psychosis as follows. ” These major tranquilizers cause misery – not tranquility. They physically, neurologically blot out most of a person’s ability to think and act, even at commonly given doses.”

    Raymond J. Pataracchia, B.Sc., N.D. “Neuroleptics are tranquilizers (major sedatives) that block brain neuron transmission at the receptor level.1 Neuroleptics can be useful during acute episodes of schizophrenia but should be prescribed with the intention of stabilizing the patient, not with the intention of long-term tranquilization. The human body was not made to function in a tranquilized state.”

    Raquel E. Gur Imaging Studies (as mentioned in The Pharmacaust video)

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  14. Thank you once again, Dr. Hickey, for a spot on article. And thanks to all for the insightful comments and links.

    As to neuroleptics being called “antipsychotics,” or even “tranquilizers,” neither is true. I agree with Dan’s link and comment, when neuroleptics are given to “a normal person the drugs cause a tranquilizer psychosis.”

    In my case, within two weeks of being put on my first neuroleptic (to “cure” the withdrawal effects of Wellbutrin, worsened by ADRs of a NSAI, Voltaren, and as needed Ultram – ADRs and withdrawal symptoms which were misdiagnosed as the “lifelong, incurable, genetic” “bipolar disorder”), I was overwhelmed by a terrifying psychosis, paced constantly, and refused to leave my room for three straight days.

    Neuroleptics / antipsychotics do CAUSE “psychosis” in “normal” people. And they make one feel the opposite of tranquil. But the psychiatrists do not believe any person is “normal,” and poison “normal” (or what I believe they call “treatment resistant”) people with massive drug cocktails to cover up the adverse reactions (“Foul up[s]”) to their drugs.

    But I do understand it was very important for the psychiatric professionals to cover up all ADRs to their “new wonder drug,” Risperdal, in early 2002, so they could get it approved for use in little toddlers and children because they wanted to grow lactating breasts in little boys. Pardon my disgust.

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  15. I hope one day the “mentally ill will realize the system that is keeping them down, perpetuating and reinforcing illness and stigma. What we really need is strength. We need to realize that trauma is the source of our differences. Our dissociation from ourself and our suppressed memories keep us afraid. Society keeps us afraid and ashamed of our trauma, of our anxiety. This fear of being different can escalate symptoms of mental illness. “Mental illness”

    It is designed to oppress us, take away out power, our voice. There is a cure. It is realizing there are suppressed memories. We have hidden these memories to protect ourselves, but once we realize how past traumas have influenced “symptoms” we can become whole.
    My mission is to find the cure to the Illness that does not exist.

    -Tru Harlow

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