Suicides Rise Dramatically with Increasing Psychiatric Care

Rob Wipond

As the amount of involvement that people have with psychiatric professionals and psychiatric care increases, the likelihood that they will commit suicide rises steadily and dramatically, according to a study in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. Taking psychiatric medications makes people nearly 6 times more likely to kill themselves, while having spent time in the previous year in a psychiatric hospital makes them over 44 times more likely to kill themselves. The findings suggested that clinical tools for assessing suicide risk are not working well, stated the Danish authors of the broad-based study of the Denmark population. However, an accompanying editorial suggested the findings more likely showed that "psychiatric care might, at least in part, cause suicide."

The researchers did a nationwide, nested case-control study comparing individuals who died from suicide to matched controls between the years 1996 and 2009. They then graded psychiatric treatment in the previous year on a scale including "no treatment," ‘‘medicated,’’ ‘‘outpatient contact,’’ ‘‘psychiatric emergency room contact,’’ or ‘‘admitted to psychiatric hospital.’’ From 2,429 suicides and 50,323 controls, they found that taking psychiatric medication made a person 5.8 times more likely to kill themselves. Psychiatric outpatient contact increased the suicide rate 8.2 times. If the person had visited a psychiatric emergency room they were 27.9 times more likely to kill themselves, and if they'd actually been admitted to a psychiatric hospital they were 44.3 times more likely to commit suicide.

"Psychiatric admission in the preceding year was highly associated with risk of dying from suicide," concluded the researchers. "Furthermore, even individuals who have been in contact with psychiatric treatment but who have not been admitted are at highly increased risk of suicide."

The authors stated that ‘‘the association is likely one of selection (rather than causation), in that people with increasing levels of psychiatric contact also are more severely at risk of dying from suicide." Nevertheless, they wrote that, "The public health significance of this finding may be considerable." They suggested that current tools for assessing risk were not working, and clinicians should perhaps start regarding a patients' point of contact with the psychiatric system as a risk factor for suicide.

However, in an accompanying editorial in the journal, two Australian suicide experts questioned these interpretations. "Associations that are strong, demonstrate a dose-effect relationship, and have a plausible mechanism are more likely to indicate a causal relationship than associations that lack these characteristics," they wrote. "There is now little doubt that suicide is associated with both stigma and trauma in the general community. It is therefore entirely plausible that the stigma and trauma inherent in (particularly involuntary) psychiatric treatment might, in already vulnerable individuals, contribute to some suicides... Perhaps some aspects of even outpatient psychiatric contact are suicidogenic. These strong stepwise associations urge that we pay closer attention to this troubling possibility."

Disturbing findings about the risk of suicide and psychiatric hospitals (Large, Matthew M. and Ryan, Christopher J. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. September 2014. Volume 49, Issue 9, pp 1353-1355. DOI: 10.1007/s00127-014-0912-2)

Risk of suicide according to level of psychiatric treatment: a nationwide nested case–control study (Hjorthøj, Carsten Rygaard et al. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. September 2014, Volume 49, Issue 9, pp 1357-1365. DOI: 10.1007/s00127-014-0860-x)

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Rob Wipond
Rob Wipond is a Victoria, British Columbia-based freelance journalist who has been writing on mental health issues for fifteen years. His research has particularly focused on the interfaces between psychiatry, the justice system, and civil rights. His articles have been nominated for three Canadian National Magazine Awards, six Western Magazine Awards, and four Jack Webster Awards for journalism. He can be contacted through his website.

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  1. Really, is this a surprise?

    Heated debates have happened in MiA on the matter of involuntary commitment and forced drugging. Many psychiatrists still don’t “get it” that nothing good can come out of incarcerating people who have committed no crimes in the name of so called “mental health”. The message that survivors around here have been repeating over and over again is that there is no so called “therapeutic value” in psychiatric hospitalization, most of which are involuntary even if on paper some are “voluntary”.

    The most traumatic experience of my entire life was my involuntary, inpatient contact with psychiatry. So much so that many years later it still haunts me and I think it will haunt me for the rest of my life.

    I don’t think you needed a study to determine that submitting a person to the most humiliating and dehumanizing experience of his/her life is going to have psychological consequences for the rest of that person’s life, including pushing that person to conclude that ending it all is the most rational option.

    I have taken every single precaution available to me -including shutting down all communication with my ex-family- to make sure that I keep psychiatry and psychiatrists away from my life. For now, Murphy bill and similar permitting, I cannot imagine a scenario in which I will end up in a psychiatric hospital again.

    With that said, I prefer homelessness and death to another so called “hospitalizaion” in a psych ward. So my solidarity goes out to the psychiatric martyrs in Denmark, their lives having been sacrified in the altar of psychiatry.

    • CannotSay
      I agree wholeheartedly with your beliefs on involuntary commitment and forced drugging. It is almost 10 years since I experienced that trauma, and it still haunts me too. Sheer terror became a part of my lived experience.

      I no longer feel safe in our society with the knowledge that without provocation or cause and on the say- so of one person, an individual can be carted off, locked up and drugged. NO crime committed, NO trial, NO evidence, and NO proof that the “cure” is safe or effective – in fact a lot of evidence to the contrary.

      When faced with such torture, suicide does become the seemingly most rational option….AND the drugs increase suicidal thoughts and behaviours.

      Why don’t psychiatrists who do this get it? Why aren’t THEY tried and sent to jail as they have clearly been serial perpetrators of hideous crimes resulting in death and permanent disability?

      • I just wanted to chime in here regarding why they don’t get it. They do.

        After my detention as a result of a finger point I was released because there was nothing wrong with me. The trauma that this caused literally destroyed my relationship with my wife, I was evicted from my home, and trusted absolutely no one any more. I made number of attempts on my life, but one in particular put me in hospital for 6 months.

        During that time I explained to a psychiatrist why I had attempted suicide, ie their ‘intervention’, and he explained that Mental Health workers tend to become desensitized to the trauma they cause. So he apologized that I had been detained for having an argument with my in laws and that their attempt to help me had destroyed my life.

        Oh, that’s okay Doc, only took me 50 plus years to actually get to that point, I’ll start again and hope you don’t feel the need to help me again. I mean my “potential for damage to reputation or meaningful relationships” as a result of the argument required ACTUAL damage to my reputation and meaningful relationships be done to help me.

        This desensitization is interesting. It’s very similar to the way a rapist justifies their behaviour. She was asking for it, and I got consent through the use of threats and force. And give her a week and she’ll be over it.

        Three years for me, and I still spend every single day waking up wanting to die, and go to sleep when possible hoping I never wake up. Ask the people who did this to me for help? “We don’t have any solutions”.

        There is hellfire waiting for you ‘good’ people.

        • The violation of trust in people in general is the worst by far. Suddenly you don’t think you can ever rely on anyone and you just feel like building a wall around yourself and shutting everyone out. It’s very difficult to get out of that state of mind and even when you do it’s never quite the same…

  2. Handy information to have if you want someone dead.

    I know here in Australia private investigators are encouraging parties to have partners in acrimonious breakdowns subjected to forced psychiatry. No wonder if it increases the likelihood of suicide by that much.

    Forget a settlement, ya can keep all the stuff

  3. According to my Methodist pastor, historically and today, any time a pastor or a doctor wants to cover up a sin or easily recognized malpractice they just ship the person off to the psychiatric professionals to be defamed with a major mental illness, and majorly tranquilized. He calls this the “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.”

    The private investigators are in on the “dirty little secret,” too?

    Pretty soon everyone will know the best way to unjustly but legally defame, discredit, and torture other human beings in today’s society.

    And be realistic, would stigmatizing a person with a major mental illness, then torturing them with massive amounts of toxic, mind altering drug cocktails cause suicides? Da, of course it does.

    • Oh, and the doctors are doing it for lesser reasons, too. I had a client who spent two hours telling me about her distressing and appalling ordeal with US doctors. She had an unusual form of food poisoning, the doctors couldn’t figure out what it was. So they tried to ship her off to the psychiatrists. Thankfully, for her, she was able to escape the psychiatric death trap. She ended up being properly diagnosed down in Mexico.

      • A somatoform disorder diagnosis allows physicians to profit even when they can’t figure out what’s going on. Since this diagnosis does all harm and no good it, should be expelled from the DSM altogether. This bogus “illness” is what prompted the torture of Justina Pelletier.

        • That’s the problem with our medical community today, any time a doctor can’t figure out what’s wrong with a patient, their solution is to defame the person with any of the serious DSM disorders, and majorly tranquilize them with massive toxic drug cocktails.

          • “…majorly tranquilize them …”

            Then the psychiatrist doesn’t understand why the patient can’t get out of bed, or do any work.
            Not getting out of bed, and/or not doing any work will make someone depressed. More drugs for the depression…

          • Psychiatry is about destroying the decent Christians for profit, while it seems they’re now claiming the decent Christian’s approach to life is appropriate, and medically beneficial, to be their own finding.

  4. I thought about your experience when reading this someone else.

    Yes, private investigators. Lawyers are governed by a code of conduct and ethics, so best to contract the dirty work out to a PI.

    Smear as much as possible with mental health services assistance, then switch to police with false domestic violence allegations.

    Works a treat.

    If the victim doesnt commit suicide, their character is so damaged no one will believe a word they say anyway.

    Guess it is a form of helping on mental health services part, just not the person they claim to be helping.

    • Yes, but obviously the lawyers are in on it too, because once defamed with a “mental illness” you can’t find a lawyer. Even if you can medically prove you were misdiagnosed according to the DSM, and egregiously poisoned with major drug interactions.

      The mere existence of unprovable “mental illnesses” is the problem.

  5. Maybe the abusive suicide prevention techniques and the ‘suicide risk’ labels being used as a justification for psychiatric abuse inadvertently tells people that committing suicide is a means to fight back ?

    If so, I guess they don’t know their suicide only serves to make the abusive system stronger.

    • Part of the problem, however, is the rule is “danger to self or others.” And the medical community now believes that a person who dealt with an easily recognized iatrogenic artifact, like a medically confessed “bad fix” on a broken bone, is a potential financial “danger” to doctors, because there’s a chance the patient may sue for the “bad fix” and legitimately win a malpractice suit.

      In my case, I had no intentions of suing, since I knew my broken bone was shattered (based upon the direction of my foot after the break) and there was only so much they could realistically do to fix it. But my doctors were paranoid of the potential financial “danger” of a lawsuit. Should the medical community really have the legal right, and morally should they be, defaming with unprovable “mental illnesses,” tranquilizing, and poisoning all people who’ve dealt with easily recognized medical mistakes, merely because they are paranoid of a potential malpractice suit? I personally believe our society has given the doctors too much legal power, and “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

      • Interesting point someone else. I know in Portland emergency departments, the ED doc often slaps a hold on someone simply out of fear of liability. This creates an enormous amount of unnecessary holds that are often dropped the next day. they don’t have the right to make someone take regularly prescribed drugs until a person has been civilly committed. But then they can choose whatever course of meds they would like. That is far too much power for a doc to wield.

        • “That’s far too much power for a doc to wield.” Absolutely, the laws need to be changed. How embarrassing for me that I didn’t know my new PCP’s husband was the “attending physician” at the “bad fix” and she was paranoid of a malpractice suit, until after I picked my medical records up – and after she had some psycho psychiatrist defame and poison me repeatedly (with a couple different combinations of 6 concurrent drugs, all of which now have major drug interaction warnings between them according to

          I used to believe doctors had taken an oath to “first and foremost do no harm” and were benign people working in the helping professions. Now I know their “mistakes” are the third leading cause of death in America, perhaps a little less hubris is in order? Unrepentant murderers aren’t actually respectable people.

          Doctors who defame and poison patients to cover up their incompetence belong in jail. And doing just this, is now, and historically has been, one of the functions of the psychiatric industry – only now the doctors have the HIPPA laws to help streamline these crimes. We need to get rid of the unprovable “mental illness” stigmatizations to end this medical abuse of power. Only one of my doctors has been arrested so far, and that’s because he’s killed many innocent patients for profit. And even he is still working.

          It so sad the medical community has become so paranoid of malpractice suits that you can no longer even trust your own doctor. But it’s good we can all research medicine for free now.

          The current system is broken.

          • Well, it’s like the German case:
            In these case it was doctors protecting bankers. It’d be hard to believe if it didn’t really happen – I guess when you’d tell someone that story they will tell you you’re paranoid and “mentally ill”, except you’re not. And the funniest part is he was examined and “treated” by numerous so-called doctors and none of them has realise this guy’s completely sane. That is psychiatric professionalism at its best. Needless to say – there were no consequences for ruining nearly 8yrs of someone’s life. They’re still working and presumably diagnosing people.
            I believe this experiment conducted today would yield identical results.

      • Well, it goes beyond saying the problem is simply the rule of “danger to self or others”. In Virginia the complaint was that this designation was not sufficiently broad enough to get people into treatment deemed “in need” of treatment, and this was reason for changing the law. The law had read imminent danger, and the imminent was removed, reasoning that it was too vague, and most states didn’t have it. Imminent was replaced with “substantial likelihood” as if that wasn’t more vague. If that weren’t enough, well, the law now says something about “lack of capacity”, and so if they want to get you, they can get you. All they have to do is say you “lack capacity”, and disregard any defense you might come up with as symptomatic.

        I have heard from staff the same said about litigation. That there are places where people are detained. and even committed, out of fear of legal action. It’s safer, as far as the staff in some institutions are concerned, to restrict a person’s liberties than it is to discharge that person. This means a lot of people held captive lest one poor devil escape, and do somebody harm, or commit suicide, leading to civil action, and finger pointing.

        • Our laws have everyone covered with the term “potential” for harm to self or other. And the “potential” for damage to reputation and meaningful relationships. It subverts any legal protection by shifting evidence from facts to opinions that can’t be tested.

          I got flagged for knowing my rights as being “grandiose” and saying i would take action as being “litigious”. Just a friendly warning to fellow staff to be a little careful with me. Other poor souls were easily abused as I observed.

          • To be honest I don’t think the staff are aware of their criminal behaviour sometimes.

            One would need to understand a number of Acts in some depth. Mental Health Act, Criminal Code Act, Evidence Act, Corruption and Crime Commission Act … Even lawyers struggle with it so ….

            An example, I had to explain to a psychiatrist that the Mental Health Act did not allow her to detain someone based on communicated matters alone. A psychiatrist doesn’t know the conditions required to detain someone? I sent her a copy of the relevant sections and hope she understands now.

          • Well, a known well fact for anyone with psychiatric experience is that everything you say or do is a symptom. When I made a mistake of laughing sarcastically at some bs the psychiatrist said it was labelled as a symptom (inappropriate laughter – there’s a term for it in psychiatry which I can’t recall now). You’re either too happy (mania) or too sad (depression) or to opinionated (delusional) or too alert (paranoid) or too… I could go on. I was even too intelligent (no kidding – it’s in my documents) and the guy tried to convince me that is my problem because I am a narcissist due to my intelligence and therefore lonely because I feel smarter than everyone else (ignoring my facepalm – I happen to work in a place where most people are at least as smart as me and often more and I am friends with many of them). I guess he had some complex about his own IQ or sth. Maybe was too stupid to become a real doctor.

          • On a lighter note B I had a psychiatrist insist that it was Wednesday when it was Tuesday in front of 5 people. I disagreed and pointed out that he was the proverbial ‘don’t know what day it is’. I still wonder to this day what symptom that was.

            Patient insists that reality is more important than the falsehood being presented to him.

    • “tells people that committing suicide is a means to fight back ?”
      That is certainly the case for some. If the only form of resistance left for you is to do damage to yourself many people will choose that to preserve their dignity.
      “…a man can be destroyed but not defeated.” E. Hemingway

  6. Abstract
    OBJECTIVE: The authors’ goal was to investigate whether there is a greater suicide risk in the placebo arms of placebo-controlled studies of active medication for the treatment of acute manic episode and the prevention of manic/depressive episode. If so, this would be a strong ethical argument against the conduct of such studies.

    METHOD: All placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trials of medication for the treatment of acute manic episode and the prevention of manic/depressive episode that were part of a registration dossier submitted to the regulatory authority of the Netherlands, the Medicines Evaluation Board, between 1997 and 2003, were reviewed for occurrence of suicide and attempted suicide.

    RESULTS: In 11 placebo-controlled studies of the treatment of acute manic episode, including 1,506 patients (117 person-years) in the combined active compound group and 1,005 patients (71 person-years) in the combined placebo group, no suicides and no suicide attempts occurred. In four placebo-controlled studies of the prevention of manic/depressive episode, including 943 patients (406 person-years) in the combined active compound group and 418 patients (136 person-years) in the combined placebo group, two suicides (493/100,000 person-years of exposure) and eight suicide attempts (1,969/100,000 person-years of exposure) occurred in the combined active compound group, but no suicides and two suicide attempts (1,467/100,000 person-years of exposure) occurred in the combined placebo group.

    CONCLUSIONS: Concern about greater risk of suicide or attempted suicide in the placebo group should not be an argument against the conduct of placebo-controlled trials for these indications, provided that appropriate precautions are taken.

    The above is pure “copy cat” from :

    CONCLUSIONS ? How about Bipolar medication causes more suicide than it prevents !!!

    “Based on these absolute numbers from these four trials, I have calculated (see Figure S1 showing calculation, and see Figure 2) that active agents are most likely to be associated with a 2.22 times greater risk of suicidal acts than placebo (95% CI 0.5, 10.00).”

    My medical records said suicidal when I went to the ER with anxiety attacks, a lie to justify inpatient, but they also tried to use ‘suicide risk’ to force these ‘bipolar’ drugs on me that raise the suicide risk !

    With that kind logic psychiatry uses we would promote drunk driving to lower traffic deaths.

  7. Seems pretty clear to me. Psychiatric help provides three important things that I believe would increase the suicide rate: 1) they invalidate the genuine concerns that may have caused or exacerbated a persons’ suffering, and blame the patient for having a “disorder of the brain.” This creates a loss of agency and a feeling of being out of control. 2) they communicate that the situation is life-long and can’t be fixed by either the psychiatrist of the patient. This deepens a person’s sense of despair and hopelessness, and reinforces the lesson in #1) that the patient him/herself is unable to take any step or action to reduce their own suffering. 3) They provide “treatment” in the form of drugs that are at best temporary numbing agents that lessen the overall intensity of their experience, but don’t address whatever underlying physical or psychological issues might have caused the problem, and which at worst are independently responsible for increasing the suicide rate regardless of any other variable.

    This should be viewed as a total repudiation of the current paradigm. Has someone forwarded this to the NYT or other news outlets in the form of a press release? I’d love it if someone with sufficient credentials would put this forward and offer to be interviewed about it. The best interpretation that can be put on it is that sicker people seek out psychiatric care, and it doesn’t have any positive effect at all – they are just as sick as they were when they arrived. That is the only viable conclusion from the idea that this distribution is caused by ‘selection bias’ alone – sure, suicidal people are more likely to seek psychiatric help, but getting more “help” doesn’t seem to make them better. The more likely and more sinister conclusion is that psychiatric help CAUSES an increase in suicidal behavior in the aggregate. This explanation definitely fits the data better, but even those not inclined to believe that have a lot of explaining to do.

    Would LOVE to see this in the national press!

    —- Steve

    • An excellent analysis as always, Steve. Add to your three things the fact that denigration and humiliation seem to be part and parcel of psychiatric treatment. Yes, it ain’t necessarily so, but it’s the sad reality for many, many people.

      I agree that this data should be more widely known. It is so contrary to the universally accepted paradigm of both suicide prevention specifically and care for those with wounded souls generally.

    • Yes, I agree that we should try our best to get this to the attention of the public. We have so much information now about the uselessness and danger of psychiatric interventions, and this is among the best yet.

      We have to move beyond just talking to ourselves.

      More activism, less preaching to the choir.

      • Who wants to listen?
        For the sake of argument, I’ll say average Joe/Jill listens to the crazy people, what then?
        What does Joe/Jill do?
        What power does Joe/Jill have?

        Psychiatry has a monopoly on Mental Illness.

        • Let’s hope somebody wants to listen. You’ve got two choirs going here, and then the public. The public is likely to have heard one choir. It’s everywhere. The public is not the choir, that’s the kind of real distinction you have to make if you’re going to reach somebody.

          Ted, you’re very right about the activism. We need as more of it.

          • My story is that of the choir, a story told in the majority of music lyrics. I can oddly explain the story of my life and dreams, in the lyrics of music. I think the doctors want to be in control, rather than accepting the reality that a higher power is in control.

          • Maybe it has to get worse before it gets better. Btw, some whistleblowers from the profession could be an asset – a tape or two showing how involuntary treatment of “dangerous” 48kg women who pose no threat at all looks like.

        • Who wants to listen – Everybody knows that people don’t get better with psychiatry. But most people don’t know about long term solutions outside of psychiatry. I think families of ‘diagnosed’ people would be interested in the idea of permanent recovery.

          • “I think families of ‘diagnosed’ people would be interested”
            I disagree.
            I think families want their loved one to obey orders and fit in.

            The “long term solutions outside of psychiatry” do not exist because the world runs on money, people (adults) have to earn money from the work they perform.

            “More activism” does not produce any money for the activist.

          • There are also lots of families who trusted the system initially but discovered to their loss that they’d been deceived. These people are our allies. Lots of them post here. A number of them are part of the core of the Rethinking Psychiatry group I’m a part of in Portland, OR. We should not dismiss their contributions. Not every parent is a NAMI parent!

            — Steve

        • Regarding my monopoly comment.
          “Without the use or threat of force, fascism could not exist. Machiavelli, Mussolini, Hitler knew this. All dictators, would-be dictators, and bullies know this basic fact. And this is the case with psychiatry. Without the use and threat of force, institutional psychiatry would die. Lots of psychiatrists would be out of a job. I wish that would happen! Psychiatry gets its authority and power to force, imprison, involuntarily commit, and treat individuals against their will from the state.”

          • markps2
            I accept what you say. But on the other hand, people invest a lot in their childrens futures and long term mental illness wipes this out.

            There’s an entire industry that exists off back of the sick person, psychiatrists are part of this, but also included are general doctors, researchers, social workers, hand maiden psychologists, nurses, Universities seeking funding, cardiologists, neurologists, eye doctors etc dealing with drug damage, the statutory srevices, and the Pharmaceutical companies.

            There are Full Recovery options in the community – its just that they are not heard about, and they don’t cost much.

        • True. I’ve been trying to get the information out there starting with my family but also going to media and “professionals”. Nobody gives a damn and I am exaggerating and what happened to me is bad but in general psychiatry’s awesome and I am not a doctor and blah, blah, blah.

      • One thing each of us could to would be to send this link to journalists, tv presenters, radio personalities, etc. as “something you may be interested in for the next time you cover Mental Helath issues.” Of course 99% will reject or ignore it, but that 1% with a little bit of integrity could reach a lot of people.
        I agree, there’s entirely too much preaching to the choir around here.

    • 4) They do these things against one’s will and use violence when resisted which is accurately compared by survivors to rape experience. Rape victims often kill themselves, same as psychiatric rape victims. But try to tell a psychiatrist that you got “PTSD” from his/her “treatment” – they will get offended and throw you out of the office (happened to me).

  8. I agree with Ted. More activism is needed. We’ve all heard the saying, “There’s safety in numbers.” I used to tell myself this when crossing the street in the city. I’d cross among a group of others, telling myself, “If an irresponsible driver is out there, he’s less likely to hit a group than he is to run into little ole me (I’m five foot one). I felt safer crossing within the crowd., protected by those who were taller and more visible than I was.

    I have protested many things in my life. The first time was in fourth grade. I stood up, brave kid that i was, and said, out of the blue, “We don’t want homework anymore. Down with homework!” This little bit of activism was much in keeping with the activism against the Vietnam War happening at that time. Not one person stood up, not one kid admitted to agreeing with me, though most all of us didn’t care for homework and dreamed of hitting home runs, just like me. They saw one scrawny kid, one loser, alone. Who would agree with this loser, who was always teased anyway?

    I’ve been approached years later and was told by others who had been there then how much they admired my bravery for speaking out on many issues. But why had the other kids not spoken up? The answer? They were scared of unrest, scared of conflict, scared to make waves, and scared of parental or school discipline.

    I believe this is a microcosm for the general state of affairs. We are aware, others are not, even, at times, those who are close to us. I feel that we need to band together and make a statement:

    Mental health care has harmed us. We recognize that we are not alone. We are the majority of MH victims. Many are now dead. We choose to reject the principles that this “care” is based upon. We reject the assumption that neediness and dependency is a road to wellness. Certainly, a better system can be produced that encourages the opposite: independence, strength, autonomy, and creativity. The current system fosters disrespect. Any person on this planet should be treated with respect, dignity, and at the same time, allowed privacy. This is especially true in hard times. Rather than institutionalization and unwanted isolation and hostility shown to us by society, love and understanding are surely the answer.

    Thanks so much for bringing this study to light in this community.

  9. Hi. I haven’t ever posted on here before, but I’m looking for some ideas and support. I have a 22 yo son who has been in the hospital 4 times. Believe me, we didn’t know the things we know now for three of those hospitalizations. The last time, however, we just ran out of options.

    Here’s what happened: My son quit taking his zyprexa cold-turkey on March 29, and the first two weeks went great, but the third week, he became filled with rage. We did everything we could to keep him out of the hospital, but after 8 1/2 weeks, he was scaring all of us, and my 15 yo daughter was living in fear all the time. Our son has no friends, and no place to go, so he ended up in the hospital. There simply were no alternatives. That was back in May. We did everything possible to get him out of the hospital as soon as possible, and he was on a very low dose of meds. He took the meds, pretty regularly, for about 6 weeks, but then, he quit them again. It’s been almost 8 weeks since that time now, and he’s angry again and talking to himself all the time, saying threatening things about wishing we were dead. And that he wants revenge on us. It’s so frightening. Right now, he lives with his brother, who agreed to take him in back in February, when we removed him from a LRA facility. He was getting along with this brother until he quit the meds. Now, when he’s talking in his room, he says cruel, hateful things about his brother all the time.

    Ok, so here’s our dilemma: our son is verbally abusive, saying threatening things about the only people who are trying to help him, and is treating us all like enemies, even though we are trying really hard to keep him off the meds and out of the hospital again. I mean, it’s nice to have this conversation about why psychiatry is so crappy and how psyche drugs are awful…..But what can be done!? In our situation, trying to live with someone like our son is HORRIBLE, and he doesn’t have any where else to go. I don’t want to put him back in the hospital, but seriously, what options do we have? There isn’t anything available that won’t use drugs. We have two choices: live in fear with this person who hates all of us , or put him back in the hospital, and back on the stupid psyche drugs.

    • I am sad to hear about another family that has fallen into the quicksand that is psychiatric ‘help’.

      What I can say from my experience gardenlisa is that when my wife handed me over to these people believing I needed their help is that I went from adoring her to despising her with every bone in my body.

      Best that we part ways at that point, because the relationship was destroyed. We did try to repair it but unfortunately the damage had been done. I guess this is the dilemma you speak of, trying to fix what has been damaged.

      My best advice. Distance between you and your son, and give him all the love and support you can and hope that he can begin to trust again. I wish there were more I could say.

      • I can sympathise with that. I remember when I got to know that my family cooperated with the doctors and reveals personal details about me without asking permission I was furious and felt like I never want to talk to them again. However, in my case I know they did it only in order to get me out of hospital and off drugs asap so I managed to get over the whole thing. However, I’ve told them that in case I ever get into the hands of psychiatry I forbid them from talking to these people about me lest I’ll quit all the contact with them forever. Being handed over to these human rights abusers must be among the worst betrayals of trust and even if the family does it only because they don’t know better the victim may find it hard to understand their perspective and forgive. It destroys families, that’s for sure. Add to that drug withdrawal and you have someone who’s close to homicidal.
        The best way is to make the person understand that it was done out of ignorance and it will never happen again and hope that it will somehow get through.

    • How long has he been off the drugs? Has he ever been aggressive like this before taking the drugs in the first place? Is he delusional or simply aggressive? What is the revenge about – is there any real reason, justified or not, why he feels angry at you?
      In some cases it may help to put him back on the drug and then taper off slowly but one would have to persuade him of that which may be a challenge…
      It is a very difficult place to be in and that could require some kind of mediation but asking anyone for help in this case would most likely end in him being locked up and drugged again…vicious cycle:(.
      I wish I could help but that is a hard spot.

      • Vicious cycle alright B. Family conflict between two people, enter mental health services.

        In my case family conflict and wife calls mental health sevices, they incarcerate me, i get angry with wife for calling abusers, she calls abusers for help, I get incarcerated, I get angry with wife for calling abusers, ……

        Eventually mental health services get wind of how this is going and start telling wife, we cant just keep locking him up for being angry, call the police and have him shot lol.

        Not exactly how it went but the downward spiral can certainly end in disaster if somebody doesn’t put a stop to it.

      • He has been angry like this, even before he took any drugs 8 years ago.

        He is a bit delusional- but not terrible. He is having incredible anxiety and says he can’t sleep. I begged him to try melatonin. I just thought if he could get enough sleep he’d feel better, but he won’t do it.

        He has some reasons to distrust us, because he blames us for getting him on the psyche drugs in the first place. But he believes that several of us conspired to take a childhood friend away from him. That’s not at all what happened. The kid’s family basically shunned us over some ridiculous religious dogma we wouldn’t buy into.

        We all liked him a lot better when he was on the drugs, but after reading books and watching documentaries about psyche drug damage, we decided to support his decision to get off of them. We knew this would be a hard road to travel, but didn’t think this would happen. We can’t help him now. He won’t let us help him and thinks we are his enemies.

        • Hi gardenlisa,

          Were the anger issues the original problem that lead to seeking help from mental health services?

          The diagnosis?

          What cocktail of medications has he been on over the years?

          A major problem here is that even armed with the best advice, your son is unlikely to take it from you anyway. Is their anyone left that he does trust?

        • Why did you like him better on drugs? Was he “calmer”? Why did he decide to stop taking them? Was it the side effects or the way they made him feel? Have you tried to explain to him that you didn’t know about the problems with drugs and you did cooperate with psychiatrists out of ignorance? Is there any event or specific time in his life when the problem started or has he always been this way? Being traumatised, especially in childhood, makes people distrustful and sometimes acting aggressively as a way of protection against more harm.

          That’s a really difficult situation right here… If he doesn’t want to talk to anyone and trust anyone no intervention will help (if he agreed to try there are many options but they all require cooperation). You can of course get him forced drugged and locked up but that is not going to help him but only take the problem away from you and I would see it as deeply unethical.

          Have you tried asking him what would make him believe that you are on his side and regain trust? Or does he decline any dialogue? If he is indeed a threat to your physical and mental well-being then I’d kick him out of the house. Basically treat him like a 5yr old – you don’t get to live with us unless you go, re-think your attitude and come back to talk it through. I know it’s tough to do to a family member but it may be the only way. I’d only make it clear to him why you’re doing that and that he’s welcome back if he decides to re-think his attitude.

          • His therapist is seeing him today, right now, while I write this. I am sitting in my car, waiting to talk to the therapist.

            He likes his therapist, his younger brother, and his two oldest siblings. (He has six siblings)

            He has been writing hateful, vengeful, cruel, vile things to me on messages. He has verbalized some death-wishes for several family members, including myself and his father. There has never been abuse.

            He has a mild form of autism, which further complicates everything.

            He has very little control over his impulsive thoughts and feelings. Right now, his anger is completely out of control, and what he says indicates a desire for several of us to die.

            I’m sorry, but I really think we will have to intervene before he ends up hurting one of us, himself, or another person.

            I appreciate this website, the opinions offered here, and all, but we need to take action, even think I know it means drugs.

          • He has been writing hateful, vengeful, cruel, vile things to me on messages. He has verbalized some death-wishes for several family members, including myself and his father.

            He has very little control over his impulsive thoughts and feelings. Right now, his anger is completely out of control, and what he says indicates a desire for several of us to die.

            All this and more was true of me when I was young, and I never hurt anyone, other than verbally.

            Would it be possible for one of the people he does trust to intervene somehow, if only to try and help him with sleep? If he is (understandably) resistant to have anything to do with psych drugs again, it is possible that Benadryl might help him get to sleep. Insomnia is the biggest hurtle of withdrawal. I’ve been through it. I cannot describe to you the hell that it is.

          • I also wish there were a way for him to know that there are other people like him out here and that there is hope for him, regardless of how dark things must seem to him at this moment. He’s not alone. Many people have been through and are going through exactly what he is.

        • Btw, in situations like that it often helps to bring in a mediator from outside the family (the Open Dialogue like approach where everyone is allowed to speak and the professionals are only there to help facilitate the dialogue and find solutions). This however will be very risky in your case because of his previous experiences with psychiatry – he’ll likely see it as a plot to get him locked up again and I could hardly blame him for that:(.

  10. gardenlisa,

    I greatly empathize with your situation.

    Your son needs to be educated that if he wants to go off of meds, because antipsychotics are very powerful meds, it needs to be done very slowly. Cold turkeying them leads to experiencing the rebound symptoms which looks like what happened to him although of course, I can’t say for sure.

    Ideally, his current psychiatrist would help with that but sadly, many of them think that folks on antipsychotics need to be on meds for life. If that is the attitude, you might want to look at this
    list of psychiatrists that will help patients get off their meds slowly. Hopefully, you are near one of them who can help:

    If help still is not available, you might want to look at this thread on tapering zyprexa to see if it would be helpful:

    Hope this helps.

    • We tried to tell him not to go cold turkey. This story is really long, and I might write it all out someday, but my problem is, where is he going to live? We will be forced to put him back in the hospital soon. We won’t have a choice. We really don’t. have .a .choice. How can we just watch him slowly kill himself? Or end up hurting one of us because his anger is raging and he hates all of us? We can’t keep asking his brother to live with him when he wishes death for him. He can’t live with us because our 15 yo is afraid of her brother, and gets depressed around him after so many years of living with his unpredictable behavior. There isn’t another place for him except the hospital. We are really desperate.

      • I know your dilemma. The real answer is to find an alternative placement where he can be safe and people know how to deal with him, but where the drugs aren’t the primary intervention. I don’t know where you are right now, but maybe if you can share the general area you are in, someone here might be able to make a recommendation.

        The other thing that can help is to find some sort of peer-centered service where he might find other people who can understand what he’s going through and perhaps assist him in figuring out the medication picture. It can be a lot less threatening to hear this kind of information from a person who has been where you are, as it doesn’t come across as condescending or controlling.

        Bottom line, it’s a very difficult spot to be in. You care about him, but he is an adult and he has to make his own decisions and live with the consequences of them. Sometimes that means he ends up in the hospital, until he becomes motivated enough to want to come up with a way to avoid that. Sometimes it means he experiments with the medications/drugs and goes on and off until he figures out that quick changes are a bad idea. Sometimes he never figures it out. You definitely have to protect yourselves, and it can happen that you have to have faith and leave it to God or the School of Hard Knocks to provide the necessary lessons. It is very, very painful to watch and not feel you can do anything. But that is the reality of an adult who is your child. They make their own decisions and we hope they learn from their mistakes. We can provide resources and suggestions, but we can’t really tell our kids how to live their lives.

        My heart goes out to you. Hang in there, and let us know if there’s anything more specific we can do to help.

        —- Steve

          • I am not from Spokane, but live in Portland. I have done a few internet searches today regarding peer services or drug-free alternative services in Spokane, to no avail. You might want to connect with Mind Freedom International out of Eugene, OR, and find out from them if they have any affiliates or members in your area. What you really want to do is to connect with a mental health alternatives/psychiatric survivors group in the Spokane area, but my searches have not revealed any group in your area. Maybe you can find a renegade mental health professional who can clue you in to the “underground?” In a town of that size, there almost has to be some kind of group having the same kind of experiences. If there isn’t, maybe you should create one! But steer clear of NAMI – I read the NAMI Spokane website, and while they claim to be “peers”, they are actually mostly family members who have been indoctrinated to believe in the “biological brain disease” model of “mental illness” and work hard to indoctrinate others. They’re heavily funded by the pharmaceutical industry.

            In the end, what your son and your family needs is hope. You won’t get it from the psychiatric system, but you might get it from someone who has survived it and made it out the other side. Connecting your son with such a person might be the best you can do right now to help him find another pathway.

            I hope that is helpful. I’ll be thinking of you and sending good energy your way!

            —- Steve

    • Oh, and he won’t read any of that information on surviving antidepressants. He refuses to talk to anyone else who’s been there and succeeded with withdrawal. He doesn’t think any of his problems are from withdrawal, and he thinks I don’t know anything, so any information I learn can’t help him if he refuses to read it or listen to me. Believe me, or whole family is incredibly sad about this. We have all been very supportive of him as he’s been getting off the psyche meds. He got off the anti depressants in December, the anti anxiety meds in January, and then tried to taper off zyprexa in March. Even though we have been encouraging and trying to help all along, he now hates us and things we’re conspiring against him.

      • I am sorry your family is going through this and I agree with everything that Steve said above. It’s hard to know what else to say without more information, not that there are going to be any easy answers. I would point out though that even though you clearly mean well, your son is correct that you are conspiring against him, because you are entertaining the idea of having him hospitalized against his will. And since it seems that you have done this before, it is no wonder that he doesn’t trust you. This is something you will have to come to terms with, because involuntary hospitalization is traumatizing.

          • There is no place on earth that can help him if he does not want to be there. It’s as simple as that. Forcing him into it only will make you look like an enemy in his eyes. The best way is to “set him free” and hope he finds reason and take him back when that happens (it is useful to make it clear to him that he’s welcome but not in the current state of mind).

      • gardenlisa,

        Unless you’re near a facility your son can go to that doesn’t use meds (see Steve’s post), you have no choice unfortunately but to put him in him a hospital if he is threatening your family and won’t follow your advice regarding not to CT meds. It pains me to say that but your family’s health and well being is also important. You also can’t risk him hurting someone outside the family either.

        Maybe eventually, he will learn that his way isn’t work. Hopefully.

        I am sorry about your struggles.

        • Thank you. The brother that is living with my distressed son has been incredibly kind and patient, in spite of the rude, hateful things he says, the meats he makes, and the damage he had done to the bedroom he stays in all day. He doesn’t want his brother to suffer at the hands of psychiatrists anymore, but isn’t sure how much more of this he can handle. He had taken to locking his bedroom door at night.
          I heard from him this morning. His brother was talking loudly in the hall at 2:30am, saying threats, and woke him up. The situation isn’t safe.

          • He should kick him out immediately. I’d not call psychiatrists on him, that is equivalent to calling a bunch of thugs to beat him up – just make him leave the house and don’t let him back as long as he acts this way. Being distressed is one thing, being violent another.

          • Violent behavior cannot be tolerated and nobody is obliged to be a martyr rather than call the police in a life-threatening situation. Addresssing someone in a “pretty please, you poor mental patient, be nice” manner is likely to be equally damaging in the long run, as it validates that person’s game that they have no control and their special “problem” needs to be cowtowed to.

            The goal should not be to talk him or force him out of his rage but to help him redirect it towards the true sources of his pain and frustration.

      • How long has he been on the drugs before that? The longer it takes the longer the taper will be:(.

        In the end you may need to do what families of alcoholics and drug addicts do – kick him out of the house and hope that hitting rock bottom will push him towards re-thinking his attitude. It does help some people (I have an example in close family) but some people end up on the street. But that is up to him. Sending him back to hospital will do nothing but put you through the same cycle all over again.

        • Our son is incapable of taking care of himself. If we kick him out, he will end up on the streets, and it’s getting cold. They will probably arrest him and lock him up anyway if we do that, and he will end up back on the meds since they will see that he has a psyche history.

          I know what “should” happen, but it doesn’t exist in our area. He needs a safe place to stay while he continues getting through withdrawal, but there just isn’t anything like that in our community. It’s just drugs, drugs, drugs.

          My husband and I are his legal guardians, which complicates things.

          • That is really hard, especially that calling police on him in US may these days equal a death sentence :(. I’d not really know what to do if you legally can’t kick him out and police and psychiatrists are close to useless.
            Btw, how old is he and how physically strong? Do you think he can be a real danger (has he ever really assaulted anyone)?

      • He was on three psyche drugs before: remeron (anti depressant), buspar (anti-anxiety) and zyprexa (anti psychotic). He hasn’t had any remeron since December , buspar since January, and no zyprexa for the past eight weeks.

        • I have no personal experience with the other two but Zyprexa is a hell of a drug. When I took it I became totally narcoleptic which is probably the only reason why I didn’t get obese (it made me binge eat minutes before it knocked me out) and I got super unstable on it (anxiety, anger, depression in a rollercoster). I took it very shortly but I have withdrawal effects for over a year (mainly RLS) and I still experience it occasionally. If he was on it for months or years it’s a hell of a withdrawal to go through…
          Does he have any physical effects? I guess insomnia may be caused by it (Zyprexa causes extreme sleepiness and when you stop it you cannot sleep). He probably should get back on drugs and taper them slowly one by one if he used them for a long time before.

          • We thought our son would end up in the hospital tonight, but we managed to calm him down enough after taking for about 4 1/2 hours with him. He’s going to try melatonin to see if that will help him sleep

  11. gardenlisa – it’s a hard road you have chosen but it looks like you are hanging in there.

    Finding someone local for you, and maybe the rest of the family, to talk things over with might be helpful. A therapist, counsellor, phoneline, or just good friends.

    You have lots of good advice from here, and there is other advice available.

    The important things are to try to not take your sons anger too personally and to look after yourself.

    • Yes, I am learning that the terrible things he is saying are just part of his uncontrolled anger. We talked for several hours yesterday, and it was helpful to realize that he is still really suffering with withdrawal, so he doesn’t have a lot of good things to say because he still feels like crap. I felt like the talking was a good sign because he’s been pretty unwilling to talk to me for a while.

      I feel that it was an unexpected blessing that the mental health agency was so unhelpful, because it made us decided to give him more time. I don’t want to feel too optimistic yet, but I’m still hoping SO much that he will stop acting like such a jerk so the rest of us can help him.

      • That is a great development and I hope you will be able to push it through and save family relationship.
        If there is a therapist he trusts it may make sense to get him as a mediator between them (I guess some call that family therapy) but you of course would have to ask for his permission and be honest with him (there’s nothing worse for someone who’s already paranoid to do things behind his back – believe me, I have a personal experience).

        • His therapist of seven years keeps telling him to get back on meds. It seems to be the only way he thinks he can help him. Maybe we need to find someone new, but how can we find someone who doesn’t believe that drugs are necessary for therapy to work?

  12. To “gardenlisa”- my heart aches for you after reading your posts. Trust me, from one mom to another I get this awful road you’re on. Today, 9-13 marks the 33rd month since my precious first-born son died by suicide. Unfortunately, as you have found out the journey once our ” children” enter the psychiatric wastelands of Psychiatry nothing goes right. The psych hospitals, in desperation we parents ultimately take them to, just add insult to injury. While I don’t know what triggered your son’s decent with altered thinking, sadly, I have leaned in far too many scenarios – illicit drug use- started these wicked changes to their brains. And since my passion includes activism ( I’m going after the second and last psych hosp that lied, deceived, coerced my than 24 y/o son who returned to using what he ( and almost everyone else) believed was a benign herb- marijuana- but the truth is for some young, developing brains the potent cannabis”skunk” strains with its potent psychoactive THC are altering the neural pathways of their brains. Instead of the drug rehab program my husband and I paid thousands of dollars for, plus my son’s PPO insurance, the hosp coerced my son 1500 scientific studies) the “experts” ignored/refuted my questioning if there was an assoc since our son had never exhibited MI symptoms, exactly the contrary as he was such a very socialized, extrovert personality. But tragically, so many illicit drugs alter the normal functioning of their young brain. Than unless you are aware and can find someone who understands young developing brains, and have Addiction training( neither of the two psych hosp my son entered had such an “expert”) the usual treatment of choice is bombard their young brains with Rx psychotropics, which just messes up their neural pathways further. And yes, my observation was the p-docs have forgotten basic Psych 101 that SLEEP is THE most important natural healing therapy. I doubt Melatonin is effective given the kind of drug withdrawal your son may be experiencing. There was only 1 Rx out of the cocktail of drugs my son was released with that I personally believed was effective but it, too, can be habit-forming but my son weaned himself off once his sleeping patterns re-normalized, ~ 10 wks it took our son( just like the 1st episode, 18 months earlier) but this time our son moved back in with his parents after his wife abandoned him.

    Though I have just my own educational and professional background, I work in health care ( though never had involvement with MH) I learned so much since this tragic ordeal began for my son, Oct 2009. I do believe drugs, not just illicit, but the Rx psychotropics, during withdrawal – which at the time I had NO knowledge how long these symptoms last (the truth is beyond months) and that is the most important fact I can share with you. While there is helpful resources others have blogged here, it may be your son requires a p-doc who understands the tainted, corrupt system of this industry. And what my family and I had no awareness our son, who moved far away to a isolated area, in nature ” to heal, start anew” in spite of almost every weekend visits from his father, and both of us were with our son over Néw Years, and we truly believed he was well on his way to a full recovery ( was attending AA meetings since moving there 5 months earlier), no presence of psychosis for months, had weaned off all psychotropics, our son, just 25 years of age, took his cherished life Jan 13, 2012 ( and he tested negative for any substances upon death). But there is sooooooooo much that my son left us not knowing as he did not allow us to know the psyche pain he was suffering (yes, we knew the betrayal of his wife, loss of his job, and how many friends retreated once he moved away so there were many, many adversities our son was facing) on top of a physical injury he had recently faced but our son had always had such an indestructible character. The brainwashing ” bipolar for life, MI for life “mantra was too much of a hurdle to climb in the end. Whether the drugs- illicit, Rx- altered my son’s brain, I still believe it was the disregard for the traumas he was dealt while hosp by ignoring the elephant in the room, the reason he was turning to mind-altering drugs to escape “life” simply to be drugged mercilessly in these locked units and brainwashed with a permanent, lifelong stigma of a debilitating MI.

    It’s unfathomable to be placed in such desperation trying to find the right support for your son, especially a place for him be “safe” from his possible destructive thoughts against himself, his family yet with really no support anywhere. I have the name of the p-doc ( Consultant) in the greater Seattle area, who told me he ” skypes” with his patients. It’s the only alternative I can suggest to returning to these despicable locked units which, IMO, no human being should enter. I will have nightmares the rest of my life that my family and I believed in “the system” until once our son fell prey. Surely, in this country, ALL of us who have either been personally harmed ( or seen our family members) be led into such darkness from supposedly their treatment need to stand up and be counted. And tell society we must bring about change- start peer respite centers, Open Dialogue programs……

    If we don’t become active, as Ted Chabasinski ( J.D.) is always advocating, more families in America will continually to face the road to hell we parents walk with our children. I repeat what I now say to others along my journey” if this could happen to my son, to this family, I swear no family is safe”.

    I will hold your son, and your family close in thought. My heart is with you.

  13. When we went to see our son yesterday, I showed a printout of the hateful things my son had sent to me on facebook, to his therapist. I was hoping we could discuss the reasons he felt a need to say such things.

    My son later told me that he didn’t really mean those things, but he can’t seem to control what comes out of his mouth. He talked about feeling like the real person is inside him, and its hard to fight this angry side of his.

    When I tried to convince him to come with me to the hospital, he became angry, said they never help him and only make him worse, that they are inhuman and tortured people and that he hates that place and hopes it burns down. After hearing him talking about the traumatic experience he’s had in the hospital, I just couldn’t force him. I know it’s true- they never do help him, and in 2012, he came home sicker than when we took him there.

    Where are the people who can help us!!!!?????? Is there anyone in the Spokane area who Won’t use drugs?

    • “said they never help him and only make him worse, that they are inhuman and tortured people and that he hates that place and hopes it burns down”
      That is almost exactly what I told my family when they got me out of the hospital so I sympathise with your son 100%. And I was also very angry, extremely angry and to a degree I still am. I was angry mostly at the abusers but also at my family and friends who didn’t prevent it from happening. So I totally understand your son’s point of view.
      Sadly, I don’t live anywhere near you so I can’t do anything to help. I’d only caution you against ever trying to put your son back to the hospital as you may lose him forever. I’d try to have some sort of “family therapy” if it is possible to resolve your issues (by that I mean talk about your problems and any conflicts using some mediator – maybe his therapist would be able to do that). Usually in situations like that there are a lot of accumulated emotions on both sides and it’s important to talk about them but also to have some safety break in form of a mediator or therapist in order not to end up quarreling and getting offensive.

      As to practical things on anger and drug withdrawal – I don’t have much experience with the latter (I took drugs for a relatively short time) but I think that if your son’s symptoms are very severe maybe it makes sense to put him back on low dose of the drug and then try slow taper. I’m not sure if that helps but it may be easier for him to deal with the suffering of withdrawal one by one and not from many drugs at once and give his brain a chance to adjust to lowering doses. I’d also do a thorough blood check – it may well be your son has microelement deficiencies (iron, magnesium) that contribute to his problems and can be helped with supplement. Only I’d not give him supplements without checking that – you can overdose on vitamins and iron too. It’d be great to find a reasonable doctor to help you with that (I know, easier said than done…). Another thing that may help is herbal tees – I know for drug withdrawal it may not be super helpful but it doesn’t hurt trying melissa or camomile to help with any sleep/anxiety or gastointestinal issues.

      When it comes to aggression – it may be useful for him to take up some physical activity, no matter how hard it may seem. Even a little can help to relieve stress and calm aggression. I know it doesn’t always work but it worked for me.

      I know it’s a lot of “good advice” which may not be very helpful in the end but I guess it’s all about trying and finding out what helps, even a little bit, and what not and hopefully the situation will improve with time.

  14. Gardenlisa,
    I’ve been following this thread for a while, and fully appreciate your frustration about the lack of practical help in a crisis situation. I have been there several times with my son, and have tried, and failed, to keep him from going back into the hospital and back on meds. If there is a ray of hope, it is that you are trying to understand things from HIS point of view, and this is really helpful in opening up dialogue. Based on my own experience, it isn’t worth it to struggle mightily to support your son not going back on meds if the rest of the family is living in fear and chaos. Perhaps, the best way to support him at this point is to encourage him to go back on an antipyschotic, but to tell him that the idea is that it doesn’t have to be forever, that you will help to support keeping it at the lowest possible dose, and that you and he and the rest of the family will work hard to see things his way, and learn to communicate better. As you are only too aware, there is no quick fix, but there can be slow, steady, progress. I have tried a variety of approaches with my son and have learned just what I wrote – all the goodwill and progress can disappear quickly when someone hasn’t learned the coping skills that may (and I emphasize “may”) help keep them off the meds. Often, coping skills come with age. Have you noticed that most of the people on MIA who say they are recovered and off meds, are generally well over the age of thirty? Just my observation. I write about the ups and downs of recovery on my blog if you are interested. No, quick fix, but, properly handled, lots of progress.

    • All of the ideas people have shared have been helpful. So far, the main problem is getting my son to actually TAKE any advice from me. So, this is why finding another person who could talk to him would be better. Someone who has also experienced what he is going through. Not only am I his mom, but I was his main caregiver for years, administering the meds each day. It’s hard for him to understand that I don’t want him to end up back in the hospital, and that I am really trying to help him without using drugs now.

      He won’t take the drugs, even a little bit. He is very, very determined not to go back on them again. I believe sleep would make a huge difference. I have purchased some melatonin and magnesium supplements for him, but it’s up to him to actually take them.

  15. @ garden lisa- I think Rossa Forbes provides the most practical, realistic ways to try to support your son. I think the most critical truth known on MIA, as your son so clearly expressed to you- no psych hosp in “the system” is a helpful or supportive environment.
    When I found the p-doc Consultant (Tom Carter, Bellevue, WA) who reviewed my son’s medical records, after his death ( 7 months after he was held against his will for 13 days in a psych hosp/ rehab in Pasadena, CA, 2011) it was only because of an article in the LA Tines which chronicled the deaths in this hospital that I accepted the great bodily harm- from massive amounts of neuroleptics- he was forced to take inside this locked unit- and I had to accept the egregious practices + the brainwashing were a huge factor in my son’s suicide. But trying to find a Consultant that wasn’t so immersed with the paradigm of MH care- excessive drugging- was more than challenging. I was moved by Dr. Carter’s review of what he offers as ” criminal” treatment from what my son endured in this psych hosp. . And I will never forget his comment “I tell my patients, and their families, the LAST place to be is inside a locked psych unit as the outcomes are so poor”. If that doesn’t sum up the sad state of affairs within the system of MH in America.
    My hope is you might contact some resources suggested here and find a like-minded “expert” who can work with your son to help him not fear the very professionals that should be helping him, and you. I don’t think any one on this site can tell you what is in your son’s best interest. My family and I fully believed as long as my son’s mind returned to “normal” ( no hint of psychosis in months), was off all substances ( he was), attending AA, that living in nature by Yosemite he would fully recover. But what we could not, at that time due to lack of knowledge and understanding about the brain changes and how drug (both illicit and Rx) withdrawal is such a challenging process. And as Rossa so well writes- the young are so vulnerable. I believe, as a mom, I did everything I could at the time.

  16. I am a peer specialist in Spokane. Our community lacks a psych survivor voice and non drug treatment centers. I am drowning in clinician land. I am frustrated to see clients who seem the same on or off medication who I feel are validated in their anger at emotional isolation who are then because of the anger detained and involuntarily injected with pointless medication. This is a senseless evil. I have expressed my opinion to coworkers only to find that I am thought either to be in denial myself~though I was on meds for 13 yrs ~ or the rebuttal argument to the aforementioned article about psychiatric care increasing suicide attempts, is that the patient was suicidal before any treatment.
    Recently I have two friends who have both been hospitalized multiple times this year for suicide attempts. They are each on probably 15 meds day and evening, probably at least half psych meds. And the rest are meds treating side effects of psych meds. They have each had numerous ECT tx. It has been a rough year for me but in a different way. I have severe anxiety which usually arises due to life events. My tx of this has been to systematically change my diet and lifestyle and when that was not sufficient to taper slowly off most of my medication. That worked for about six months and then a stressful life event brought anxiety back. I refused benzos and instead decreased my responsibilities. One of my medicated friends responded at one point saying”it is ridiculous that you would rather leave your job than take medication”. And though only my doctor and my family for the most part are supportive of my choice, I made a lifestyle choice to take time off work to recover. I firmly believe that I was diagnosed and put on meds because my lifestyle drove me to the brink. I also believe that it is’ridiculous’ to ignore what your body is telling you and instead force yourself to continue harmful behavior by masking symptoms. Has the world gone mad? What happened to healthcare being related to actually doing what your body needs? This is not a problem merely with psychiatry at all. We have a wide scale health crisis on our hands. Medication for type two diabetes? Logic is out the window. The value system of money no matter what the cost to human being is so wrong.
    Anyway in conclusion I am frustrated that my medicated friends who each have peer specialist certifications, see me as going rogue, while they continue to suffer needlessly feeling that suicide is the only way out. I just don’t understand why it could be more important to follow dr.s orders than to respond to your own body’s messages that something is wrong. Thank you so much MIA for helping me improve my life. I believe that my friends are suicidal because of psych tx, yes I do

  17. Let me ask you ask a question…….would it be a bad idea to get him in the hospital most so he could get some sleep? He is really miserable, becoming severely depressed, lying in bed all day, not eating much. He’s sad and lonely, too.

    • And how on Earth would taking him to hospital (especially against his will) help him sleep? If he wants to try sleeping aids he can get them prescribed even by a GP… There is absolutely nothing they can do in a hospital to help someone with sleeping issues, it can only make it worse (stress, artificial day/night schedule, having to sleep with other people in one room, noise etc.).

    • Agree this would not be a good idea although I definitely understand why you asked since you are in a very tough position.

      What happened with the melatonin? Did that not work?

      If it didn’t, would your son be willing to take a sleeping aid?

      • Well, he has taken it a couple of times, that I know of. He said it wasn’t helping enough, so I’m not sure he tried again.

        His anxiety is really out of control now, I just don’t know how much longer we can allow this to continue. He doesn’t hardly come out of his room anymore, and complains about his brother and the other roommate all the time.

        As you know, he lives with an older brother whom he really can’t stand. This brother has really given up a lot of his own enjoyment of music, etc, because the sick brother can’t take much noise. He used to enjoy playing his drums, guitar, keyboard. He can’t anymore. It’s pretty hard to just keep letting our sick son control his brother’s life this way.

        We REALLY have no options. The only place he can live is with his brother unless we get him back in the “system”, which will insist on meds. But, he is really making his brother’s life unpleasant.

        • Drug withdrawal is crazy and it can take months to get him down… It’s a really tough spot but could you get him a small apartment where he could live on his own and you could only come by to check on him and help? I think that could help his anxiety greatly and take the burden off your shoulders.

  18. We have been provided some relief. Our son is going to be allowed to continue living with his older brother a bit longer. That means we don’t have to find him after place to live yet.

    Of course, this doesn’t mean that our son is getting better, or that I’m happy with the situation, but at least we aren’t needing to put him in the hospital because he has nowhere else to live.

    Now, if we could just get him some counseling with someone who doesn’t believe that drugs are the answer.