May the ‘Force’ NEVER EVER Be With You! The Case for Abolition

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A growing body of evidence indicates that forced “treatment” in today’s mental health system, including all forms of forced hospitalization and forced drugging, may actually cause FAR more harm than good. Recent published studies and articles (1)(2)(3)(4) point towards evidence of physical and psychological harm that, in some cases, may contribute to more suicidality and patient deaths, as well as overall worse outcomes in a person’s state of recovery. This is aside from the somewhat separate (but yet intimately connected) civil and human rights violations involved in taking away someone’s freedom for merely having different thoughts and behaviors that never actually break any laws.

When all this evidence is combined with the growing number of powerful narratives by psychiatric survivors articulating horrific stories of the damage caused by the use of ‘force,’ (including many who write here at MIA), the only conclusion that makes any moral and political sense is one of TOTAL ABOLITION. That is, all forms of force in the mental health system must be CATEGORICALLY opposed without ANY exceptions for so-called special and/or extreme circumstances.

Some mental health reformers and partial critics of the current system would counter that this is an “extremist position”; a position that does not take into consideration certain special, or rare, life and death circumstances that require ‘force’ to save lives. And that maintaining such an “extreme” position will only lead to isolating articulate critics of the system and harm any movement for change.

Nothing could be further from the truth! I would say to those who defend the use of ‘force’, including those system critics who advocate for its use in only very rare and so-called extreme circumstances: It is you who are holding on to a truly extremist position, and it is your ambivalence and lack of decisiveness on this dividing line question that is giving up important political and moral ground to the leaders of this oppressive mental health system, thus actually slowing down the struggle for its ultimate and necessary demise.

This dangerous lack of clarity on such a vital issue makes it easier for the leaders of Biological Psychiatry to justify ‘force’ by using certain system “reformers” as a “more reasonable” wedge against the more revolutionary activists in our movement; those who advocate for a complete dismantling of the current mental health system. This allows the perpetrators and defenders of psychiatric abuse to promote themselves as the TRUE guardians of order and safety, in what they would portray as an increasingly more dangerous life and times in our communities and in the country as a whole. This fear mongering and demonizing of people labelled as “mentally ill” must be firmly opposed on all levels, even in its more subtle and reformist forms. In the final analysis, it is this kind of half-baked reformism on such a key dividing line issue that only strengthens the status quo and weakens any serious movement for change.

Not that long ago I would have been one of those persons (still working in the system) who would have argued that there were some extreme circumstances where certain types of ‘force’ might be “reluctantly” necessary. However, over the past few years of carefully reading and analyzing survivor narratives and discussions at MIA, I have become more and more convinced that we all need to take a firm abolitionist stance on this question and fight for it publicly. Thanks to the following MIA discussion writers: Anonymous (here) http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/06/mad-in-australia/#comment-25723 and Jonah (here) http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/12/homelessness-hospitalization-compliance/#comment-35070, Frank Blankenship and others, I am quite comfortable speaking out and advocating for NO FORCED “TREATMENT” WITHOUT EXCEPTION! Here is why:

One of the major pillars supporting any type of oppressive mental health system is its use of ‘force;’ specifically its use of forced “treatment” or hospitalization and forced drugging. The use of forced drugging usually follows ‘force’ in all its other manifestations. The standard justification for the use of force is when someone is declared “a danger to themselves or others.” This declaration may, in some cases, be decided by a judge in a court of law (usually at the recommendation of a family member supported by a psychologist or psychiatrist), or more simply (in a community mental health setting) by the mere signature from a psychiatrist’s pen after having a five minute discussion with a family member or a mental health care professional. Oh my, how easy it has become in America (even when no laws are broken) to completely ignore or throw away any semblance of a Constitution or Bill of Rights!

For those who call themselves “reluctant” supporters of the use of ‘force,’ many will admit that it can be a drastic form of stripping away someone’s freedom, which can often lead to a cascade of traumatizing events that may have no immediate end, and may lead a person into a maze of unknown consequences; consequences that could negatively affect that person for the rest of their life. HOWEVER, in the minds of all supporters of ‘force’ (reluctant or otherwise) these consequences are ALL justified as an alleged necessary means to ultimately “protect” individual lives and the public at large.

The “reluctant” supporters of ‘force’ will rationalize all sorts of exceptional circumstances where they believe there is no other choice but to take away someone’s freedom to “protect” themselves and others from harm. They will usually end their argument by stating that distressed people (especially those acting in a threatening manner), after all, are better off in the hands of the mental health system (with all it problems, including forced drugging) than in the hands of the cops or guards at a jail facility, which they say is the only other alternative provided by the system (more on this later).

Is it true that forced “treatment,” in certain limited instances, has actually HELPED some people in psychological distress or, in some cases, even SAVED some lives? Even the most ardent critics of the use of ‘force’ would have to objectively answer, a highly probable yes, to this question. HOWEVER, answering yes to this question does NOT mean, in any way, that force hospitalization or forced drugging should THEREFORE be supported. Here is why.

We can NEVER truly know for sure who could possibly be helped by the use of ‘force’ in the future, or somehow recreate the final outcome of those crisis scenarios in the past where “force’ might have been denied and another path taken. We have no way of reconstructing a new historical path for those past series of events to determine if another outcome (perhaps even a much better one) would have occurred if ‘force’ had been denied and never used.

But we DO have some growing evidence (references included) detailing that the use of “force” can be very harmful (even leading to possibly higher rates of suicide) and reams of personal testimony detailing the psychological and physical harm resulting from the various forms of forced “treatment.” Being physically restrained and tied to gurneys for hours and eventually mind raped (in the words of many survivors) with powerful neuroleptic drugs are only part of the many powerful stories of harm being done by the use of ‘force.’

There may be some former psychiatric patients who will say that they are glad they were forced into “treatment” or even forced to take mind altering drugs, because they believe they were dangerously close to harming themselves or others. But this deeply personal and subjective testimony as to some POTENTIALLY IMAGINED outcome is, after all, only hindsight. And there is no objective guarantee or way to scientifically analyze that it is anywhere close to being 20/20 hindsight, especially given that we have NO WAY of knowing what these individuals might have learned or done if left by themselves, or in someone else’s control (including the police or jailers) or if they eventually found alternative forms of care (family members, friends, or some other unknown options).

Let’s examine, head on, the most challenging argument that can be made by the proponents of the necessity for the use of ‘force’ in today’s mental health system. All supporters of ‘force’ (including the “reluctant” ones) would most certainly point to specific instances when family members, mental health workers, or law enforcement agents resisted taking decisive COERCIVE action when someone in extreme psychological distress implied or somehow directly threatened self-harm or violence, and then subsequently a death or severe injuries (to oneself or others) was the end result.

Yes, we know it is true that a small number of people in these extreme psychological states have killed themselves and others after they have given direct or even vague signals that impending violence might take place. It must be clearly stated that the vast majority of these types of threats are mainly gestures, only suggesting harm, and represent a dramatic or desperate call for help, and no violence ultimately occurs. But yes, in a tiny minority of these situations suicide and/or violence to others takes place and we must face this reality.

The essential questions we must ask in response to the justification for ‘force’ in the above mentioned scenarios are as follows:

How many of these suicides or violent acts were strongly influenced by the PRIOR use of ‘force’ and the resulting coercion (including those Mafia like “offers you can’t refuse”) especially to take (and/or remain on) powerful psychiatric drugs?

How many suicides and violent acts occur because distressed individuals FEAR that some type of ‘force’ is impending or will soon to be on its way into their life, and they can’t begin to bear the thought of being on the receiving end of that ‘force’ ever again? And here it must be noted that in these situations, if you are poor and/or a minority does it not exponentially increase the danger and likelihood that you could be beaten, shot, and/or killed by trigger happy law enforcement agents in these highly volatile circumstances.

Just by raising these questions the strong implication is being made that the prior use of ‘force’ and the fact that it often hangs precariously over people’s heads may, itself, act as a causal factor in incidents of self-harm and violence. And this becomes just one more reason why ‘force’ must be rejected without any exceptions.

As to those situations where family members, mental health workers, and law enforcement agents held back from using ‘force’ with resulting bad outcomes, we have NO WAY of knowing what the outcome would have been if some other less intrusive option or form of support was offered. And given that we now have increasing evidence that ‘force’ is causing FAR MORE short and long term HARM THAN GOOD, are we not, once again, morally and politically obligated to reject the use of ‘force’ without exception?

Yes, it is true that at this point in history we have very few well established (more humane) alternatives in the mental health system. There are sadly very few trauma informed crisis teams or respite homes that incorporate non coercive, non-drugging programs. IT IS MY CONTENTION THAT IF MORE PEOPLE TOOK A STRONG ABOLITIONIST STANCE AGAINST THE USE OF ‘FORCE,’ ESPECIALLY THOSE WORKING WITHIN THE SYSTEM WHO REFUSE TO BE INVOLVED IN ANY ACTS OF ‘FORCE,’ THE MORE PRESSURE THIS WOULD PLACE ON THE STATUS QUO TO PROVIDE MORE BENIGN ALTERNATIVES, INCLUDING INSIDE THE JAIL SYSTEM.

Obviously this involves taking some risks for those working within the mental health system, but there are some people who participate at MIA who can share some powerful experiences regarding going against the grain of hospital, clinic, or residential policies on similar questions of ‘force.’ People working within today’s mental health system must constantly be ready to challenge the status quo and take careful and calculated risks doing so. Without this kind of approach (that ideally includes outside support from other activists) it becomes so easy to find yourself on the oppressive “path of least resistance” that ends up reinforcing the status quo while ultimately causing one to lose track of their own moral compass.

This focused battle against all ‘force’ and coercion, by itself, will not lead to an overall systemic change in the mental health system, but it could become a key dividing line struggle that lays bare the true essence of today’s oppressive system, while rallying new allies, and saving more victims from the damaging effects of ‘force.’.

Another controversial issue concerning the use of ‘force’ involves the role of jails and the entire prison industrial complex. If we are more successful in building a movement that severely limits the use of ‘force’ in today’s mental health system, then jails (without other alternatives developed) will inevitably become a more frequent option used by the power structure. Mainstream psychiatry promotes its own “treatment” options (including those involving the use of ‘force’) as more humane than what is offered by today’s prison system. We know better.

Even when there are a few more conscious and humane people working inside those programs where ‘force’ is still used, very few of these people are in positions of power to maintain a consistently safe environment. And even where more humane practices exist today they tend to be fleeting and temporary, more often overruled by others or unable to be sustained for the long term. Drugging and other oppressive forms of social control are still the ultimate “standard of care” that dominates the entire mental health system.

As bad as jails are in this society (and they are horrible) they may actually represent “harm reduction” compared to what the mental health system has to offer. Even the more subtle forms of coercion and control exercised by Biological Psychiatry, that more often leads to long term drugging and learned helplessness, may in the end surpass the short term horrors of today’s jail system. OUR GOAL SHOULD NOT BE TRYING TO REFORM THE MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM TO BECOME MORE HUMANE SO THAT ‘FORCE’ CAN BECOME MORE ACCEPTABLE, BUT RATHER FIGHT AGAINST ALL FORMS OF ‘FORCE’ AS A MEANS TO CREATE THE CONDITIONS FOR A REVOLUTIONARY DISMANTLING OF THE ENTIRE MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM!

So all of these arguments regarding the use of ‘force’ in the mental health system boil down to the following points:

  1. ‘Force’ causes FAR more harm than good.
  2. ‘Force’ violates every precept of human rights in a so-called free society.
  3. ‘Force’ inevitably leads to more sustained psychiatric drugging and its related iatrogenic damage to the mind and body.
  4. ‘Force’ leads to greater forms of social control using threats of future incarceration (in psych wards or jails) and coercive forms of monitoring within the community at large; this includes various levels of coercive psychiatric drugging.
  5. We have no way of proving where the use of ‘force’ will ever lead to positive outcomes, or where its lack of use has led to an increase in negative outcomes.
  6. We know for sure that force has caused great harm to some people, and ultimately fatal or permanent harm for far too many of its victims.

A principled and uncompromising stand for the abolition of all ‘force’ in today’s mental health system creates the most favorable conditions to challenge and educate people about the true nature of psychiatric oppression. It shines a spot light on everything that is wrong with the mental health system and the unjust and abusive power that psychiatry wields in today’s world. Such a stand unites with the highest aspirations of those people desiring true liberation and freedom from all human rights violations and forms of oppression.

To all those survivors of Biological Psychiatry and those at risk of falling into its clutches, AND to all those working inside the Beast yearning for radical change, MAY THE ‘FORCE’ NEVER EVER BE WITH YOU!

References:

1. Bradshaw, Maria; Evidence That More Psychiatry Means More Suicide, Mad in America blog, Jan. 12, 2014.

2. Hjoerthoj, Carsten; Rygaard et al, Risk of suicide according to level of psychiatric treatment: a nationwide nested case-control study, Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. Sept. 2014, Vol. 49, Issue 9, pp 1357-1365.

3. Large, Matthew M. and Ryan, Christopher J., Disturbing findings about the risk of suicide and psychiatric hospitals, Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, Sept. 2014 Vol. 49, Issue 9, pp 1353-1355.

4. Rajkumur, A., Brinda, E., Duba, A., Thangadurai, P., Jacob, K., National suicide rates and mental health indicators: An Ecological Study of 191 countries, International Journal of Law and Psychiatry. Sept.-Dec. 2013 36(5-6), 339-342.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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171 COMMENTS

  1. Richard,

    Great blog post (and thanks for the kind mention).

    It’s good to have allies — i.e., genuine defenders of justice — on the inside; you are one such person, and I feel fortunate to have ‘met’ you via the online discussions that are generated by this MIA website, it bloggers and commenters.

    I have only one matter to critique, of your post:

    Force may indeed sometimes be needed, to defend individuals (or, perhaps, to defend a number of individuals) who may be vulnerable to a particular person who proves to be threatening.

    But, what kind of force?

    I completely object to force that is designed to be in any way brain-disabling.

    Hence, of course, I object to forced use of neuroleptic drugs (so-called “antipsychotic medication”) and forced use of any other kind of psychotropic drug… and forced use of ECT… and use of tasers.

    In my opinion, there are always better ways of containing people who seem threatening.

    May all forced psychiatric ‘medical treatment’ (whether it’s by use of syringes filled with psych-drugs or it’s by machines delivering ECT — or, as it was in the past, by knives and picks designed for performing lobotomies) become a thing of the past (sooner rather than later).

    Behavioral interventions should never come by way of forced neuro-invasive procedures

    Simple as that.

    Respectfully,

    Jonah

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    • Jonah

      Thanks for the positive feedback. Your past discussion posts on the issue of “force’ in the mental health system have been some of the very best at MIA; they have influence my thinking greatly.

      I think I answered most of your concerns about responding to violence in my response to Jonathan Keyes.

      Thanks again, Richard

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      • Richard,

        Your responses to Jonathan are good, but I’ve become convinced that nothing will cut through the ignorance that he’s spreading, as he persistently aims to ‘justify’ his practice of forcibly drugging those so-called “patients” in his “hospital” whom he believes pose a particular threat to others and or to themselves.

        (Jonathan Keyes — in his first MIA blog post: “I have taken part in restraining individuals and delivering injections of medications to patients who become severely hostile, threatening or self-destructive.”)

        Again, Richard, thank you…

        Respectfully,

        Jonah

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    • I think that’s a different matter. If someone indeed is waving a knife and running at you you have a right to defend yourself or anyone who is standing nest to you. We all know that this is 0.000000001% (or something like that) of the psychiatric use of force. For them to go full blown bully it’s enough you tell them that you don’t want a physical exam performed on you (personal experience right here). Somehow people who are so “dangerous and aggressive” usually scream “don’t touch me” before being psychiatrically assaulted and raped.

      The real people who pose danger to self and others are psychiatrists and psych nurses who engage in human rights violations as a matter of course.

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  2. I dealt with mentally and physically abusive forced treatment, according to all my medical records, because my PCP was paranoid of a malpractice suit, since her husband had been the “attending physician” at a “bad fix” on a broken bone.

    One more reason forced treatment should be abolished is because the doctors are abusing the power, for their own personal financial motives. The medical community is not ethical enough to deserve such power … “and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

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  3. Absolutely brilliant Richard.

    I’d not given a lot of thought to the damage that a reformist position has on the issue of real change. This article has driven that home for me.

    I sat at the ‘smoking table’ for 6 months with a lot of patients. If they have any insight into their ‘illness’ why does it nearly always seem to revolve around the damage that has been done to them by the use of force by mental health services? It dominates these discussions, and these are people who have other issues that could just as easily be raised.

    I know a psychiatrist who uses me as an example to his students as to the damage that can be done through the use of force when a person has no illness. Three years down the track, life totally decimated, and walks in front of a truck. And no end in sight. Glad I wasn’t ill when they decided to ‘help’ me.

    It has got to stop, and the only force I think that is justified at this point would be to put an end to this brutality that is causing more damage than they can repair.

    A recognition of the damage that is being done explains the revolving door and the crisis in the system perfectly.

    Thanks for speaking up Richard, it is badly needed.

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    • Hey boans, thanks for your many excellent contributions here in MIA Land! I’m using this post to reply to your comments on the most recent article by Dr. Sandra Steingard, as for some reason there was no “reply” box on that one…so sorry for this “out of context” reply.

      Your comments about what happened to you in a recent emergency room in your locale resonated with me, for reasons I think you’ll understand if and when you read the article I’m going to give you the link to. Unfortunately, there was apparently a much “happier ending” to your fiasco than the one my daughter was subjected to.

      Anyway, here’s the link:

      http://www.mentalhealthexcellence.org/author/rstence/

      Report comment

      • Thanks Russerford,

        it really is like walking in to quicksand.

        The remark you make in your first paragraph about how these people are for the most part acting in ‘good faith’ is true. It was also true of the guards at Auschwitz, I’m certain that they only did what was required of them by their State, and went home of an evening and had a wine with a wife who loved them and played with their children, inquired about a bit of overtime to buy a new car….

        The same is true of those working in this system, they are only doing what the State requires of them, and if that means beating a few of them up to get the job done easily then so be it. That’s where the terrorism comes into it.

        Sun Tzu did a demonstration that exemplifies this type of terrorism with the King of Wu and his concubines. The diffusion of responsibility in the hospital setting allows those who use these methods to make the job easy to walk away free of guilt. And the victim is subjected to a death of a thousand cuts. Before you know it you have a person who might have been a little stressed, in need of more help than they have to offer. Enter medication ….. the ‘quick’ fix for the damage they have done to begin with.

        I’m sure there are those within the system that are smart enough to see what is happening. But, time to get back to work, the line for the showers is slowing down…. Roust, roust.

        I hope you daughter is doing well now.

        Regards
        Boans

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  4. Terrific blog post! What we actually need are more mental health professionals willing to take such a principled stand against non-consensual psychiatry. Reform goes back and forth. Some people would allow more freedom, some people less, but they both talk about reforming the mental health system. In Virginia they made the laws so much worse talking reform all the while. In Florida, citizens now lose their gun owning rights if they go into the hospital after being Baker Acted voluntarily or involuntarily, and this was done in the name of reform. People have been talking about dropping restraints since moral management when they did so, or pretended to do so, in Europe at the dawn of the nineteenth century. People are still being physically restrained, this is reform for you. Abolition, on the other hand, takes that loophole out of the law, in the law, referred to as mental health law. When all people are equal under the law, well, so it goes. You don’t need a separate section of law guaranteeing inequality.

    I know some people are fond of speaking of involuntary “hospitalization” as a “last resort”. This “last resort” is never a “last resort” in actually. Not so long as it is used. I have heard people, too, speak of “hospitalization” as a form of “suicide prevention”, but the problem is, many of our “suicide preventions” in the present day end up increasing the suicide rate in reality. This brings us to another question, should we be increasing the suicide rate in the name of suicide prevention? Certainly imprisoning people for attempting suicide is not driving the suicide rate down. Perhaps a person finds he or she has reasons for suicide. What we aren’t dealing with are the actual causes when we ourselves are causing the rates to rise. Maybe we should. I don’t think we need to violate human rights in order to reduce the suicide rate. Happiness and contentment, to my way of thinking, don’t lead to suicide, and this makes suicide a social rather than a biological issue.

    Totally in agreement with Boans, Richard. Thanks for speaking up.

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  5. Thanks Richard for your piece. As I have been the prime person involved in this ongoing debate for the past year, I’ll try to respond. At the same time, I know a number of us have gone round and round on this issue and at some point it may just be better to refer to previous discussions.

    First off, I want to look at the term reformist…which you argue against. When I say I am reformist, that doesn’t mean I don’t think some aspects of psychiatry should be abolished.

    I believe that there should be a complete abolition of mandated treatment with any psychiatric drug. That is an untenable position and I wrote about that in this article here… http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/12/homelessness-hospitalization-compliance/

    I also support the abolition of ECT, even voluntary. While some people say they have been helped by it, the level of suffering that it has caused should require this procedure to be shelved…permanently.

    But the term anti-psychiatry, or abolitionist…is far too general and global for me. It implies a complete cessation of all aspects of psychiatry, which not only seems impossible, it doesn’t even seem desirable. There will always be people who seek out psychiatric drugs, even if it is in the tapering process. I don’t believe that should be abolished.

    What I do believe is that there should be far more available information about the perils of psychiatric drugs available to the consumer. There should be curbs on advertising, paying doctors to promote psych drugs. There should be impartial longitudinal studies of drugs that are not run by pharmaceutical companies. There should be a curb on prescribing psych drugs just as there have been curbs on opiates due to the potential for damage.

    Finally, I think instead of funding NIMH “silver bullet” genetic research, I think our tax payer monies would be far more wisely spent on increased services for the poor, homeless and disenfranchised through “Housing First”, respite centers, holistic alternatives, changing agriculture subsidies to promote fruits and vegetables, etc.

    Ok- so lets get to the meat of the matter- where we disagree…

    Force.

    You say that you don’t support any force…whatsoever. Not even in rare or extreme cases.

    I really just can’t agree that that is a reasonable view. I think you are mainly talking about hospital situations but lets look at how violence or how the threat of violence is handled in society today.

    Generally, people who are acting in an uncompromisingly threatening and violent way are managed by police through the use of tasers, nightsticks, beanbag guns and handguns. There are police trained in how to work with people labeled “mentally ill” who are able to help deescalate folks without the use of force but often these types of incidences end in the use of one of the types of “tools” I just mentioned.

    If a person is deemed criminal, they end up in the prison system. Right now more than 350,000 people with “mental illness” are in the prison system. There are about 35,000 in state hospitals. We have shifted from hospitalizing the “mentally ill to jailing them. In the prison system, any sort of violence or threat of violence is met with brute and overwhelming force. For a brief overview of how these folks are treated…here is an article…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/14/nyregion/rikers-study-finds-prisoners-injured-by-employees.html?_r=0

    At Rikers, 40 % of the 11,000 inmates are deemed “mentally ill.” Besides beatings and frequent injuries to “threatening inmates”, isolation is one of the main ways of using “force” to manage “illness.” Long term isolation is known to make people go increasingly “mad.”

    When working with the “mentally ill” population, overwhelming force by police, and in the prison system…is commonplace, and often brutal.

    OK- so lets shift to the hospital system. I think its key to first talk about how the hospital system has changed over the past few decades. 50 years ago there were over a half million hospital beds. Now there are about 50,000 while population has doubled. The long term hospital model has been dramatically reduced in favor of the prison system for managing “mental illness.”

    Richard, as you have written, you don’t support force at any level in these settings (and I assume other settings). But we are challenged by a fundamental question- how do we work with someone who is actively trying to harm another vulnerable person. My first take on this is, all people working with this population need to learn skills to work with highly agitated folks without responding with force. Deescalation skills are essential, such as building rapport, listening, offering comfort measures, food, TV, a radio, a phone, a place to be angry and vent, to even throw things and tear up a room without intervention.

    The problem comes when a person does not deescalate and becomes increasingly intent on hurting others. Often the act of putting hands on and moving the person to a quieter area to calm down helps. But occasionally, rarely, it doesn’t. Even this level of force is controversial. Putting hands on someone who has been traumatized, especially sexually, can be increasingly traumatizing. Keeping a person in a physical hold or mechanical restraints can be deeply traumatizing to some. Isolating a person for a period of time in a state of extreme agitation is also traumatizing. Giving a forced shot of a sedative is traumatizing. There is no good answer at this point.

    But the alternative is to allow that person to inflict damage…to severely traumatize another person. And that is where I draw the line…and where I am willing to defend the use of mechanical restraints or a forced injection.

    What I will not support, is making this a legal matter- turning this over to police and their tools, or to the prison system and its ways of managing force. There is no easy answers in the face of these rare circumstances. My goal is to make this type of encounter extremely rare. And in the hospital where I work in- it is rare.

    But I acknowledge in other hospitals, it is likely not rare and far more draconian. One of the best ways I have seen for reducing the use of force in hospitals is by requiring hospitals to document every incidence and then publicizing the results in the media. Hospitals that use force commonly will be pointed out and should be severely criticized and humiliated into changing their policies.

    So…Richard…I understand your desire to support an all or nothing abolition of force mindframe. I do support the abolition of mandated “treatment”. I don’t think we will come to agreement on the issue of how to work with violent individuals but I do want to acknowledge that we are largely in agreement on most all other issues. Thanks for your words.

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    • Jonathan

      Thanks for your willingness to engage on this question. Of course I was thinking about you when I wrote this blog based on past discussions at MIA.

      First off. I am not a pacifist and my position on this question is not coming from that type of philosophy. If someone is being attacked or harmed they must be able to fight back and use ‘force’ or violence in order to protect themselves and others that may be in danger.

      If a woman is being raped she has every right to use any kind of force (including lethal force) to protect herself from harm or degradation. Human beings in slavery also have every right to rise up,” by any means necessary,” to achieve their freedom. In these situations people should do everything possible to avoid adopting the inhumane methods of their attackers, and struggle against being motivated out of revenge in their quest for freedom.

      If someone is being violent towards others or threatening violence – this represents a violation of the law. These are laws that any humane society must have. People should be presented (where possible) with options. They should be warned to stop these behaviors and told that the police will be called if they don’t stop. Now, of course, I do not have any faith in our criminal justice system in this country, but this very difficult option is, in the final analysis, a BETTER overall choice than forced drugging and/or forced hospitalization.

      Keep in mind that at the MIA film festival this past weekend , Dr. Allen Francis made the same argument as you Jonathan; that is, demonizing the jail system in such a way as to say that the mental health system was a much better alternative, with all its problems. Is this really true? At least in the jails people are not deceived into thinking they are being helped with all the drugs and indoctrination of disease labeling. People know and expect jails to be rotten and they do the best they can to steel themselves against their effects.

      Jonathan, do you or anyone else , who has forcibly drugged a person and forcibly contained a person in a psych ward for a period of time know for sure the actual long term outcomes of those actions? Do you know how badly this use of ‘force’ may have damaged that person? Do you know if this kind of ‘force’ caused that person to become suicidal or lead to a such decline in psychological functioning that they seriously harmed someone else as a result?

      Jonathan, neither you or I know the real answer to that question, but many of the narratives of survivors at MIA and elsewhere strongly indicate that this use of ‘force’ has caused great damage. Many authors of those narratives stories at MIA have made it clear that if they were ever threatened with ‘force’ again they would do just about anything to avoid and/or defend themselves against such a violation; some might even choose suicide or some form of violence as a desperate option. Survivors have survived. What about those who became so damaged (or eventually died) because of the past violations caused by ‘force’?

      Jonathan, I have called for the abolition of ‘force” in the mental health system; that is forced hospitalization and forced drugging (where no laws have been broken). I am anti-psychiatry, but I have NEVER called for the abolition of psychiatry. I believe if we abolish all oppressive forms of so-called “treatment” in the mental health system (which I believe requires major systemic changes throughout the entire society and will not happen in a profit based system) then psychiatry will slowly wither away; people will no longer have any use for it and eventually choose to go elsewhere for help.

      Jonathan, you said: “… a complete cessation of all aspects of psychiatry, which not only seems impossible, it doesn’t even seem desirable. There will always be people who seek out psychiatric drugs, even if it is in the tapering process. I don’t believe that should be abolished.”

      I have always been in favor of dissident psychiatrists being won over and persuaded to study the science of withdrawal and join with knowledgeable survivors and others to help all psychiatric survivors safely withdraw from these dangerous drugs.

      Jonathan, why wouldn’t it be desirable to have a world without psychiatrists and people wanting (or needing) psychiatric drugs? Wouldn’t it even be desirable to have a world where therapists were no longer necessary? If you believe that most all of what gets labeled as “mental illness” is trauma based within the environment (and I believe you do based on your past criticisms of biological determinism) than are you denying the possibility of human society reaching a point in history where the forms of trauma inherent in poverty, patriarchy, and class based inequalities could ever be surpassed within a more advanced equalitarian type society? Is today’s world the best that humanity can do? I think not.

      Yes, we can and must do better. And people standing up (and taking risks where necessary), in this current mental health system by opposing the use of ‘force’ will save some people from harm today and help all of us advance one more step on the road to a more just world in the future.

      Richard

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      • Hey Richard…ok thanks for your reply.

        So yes…everyone has a right to defend themselves. We’re in agreement there. I think what might make this more clear is describing in real terms how to work with people who are violent.

        Many people here, we’re abused. Force was used against them needlessly and horrifically. I will never support that. But you also say that force should Never be used. I just don’t get that. Let’s talk specifics.

        If someone who is labeled “mentally ill” is attacking a vulnerable person, would you intervene…and how?

        You mainly suggest that police and the prison system should manage all violence, even if it emanates from someone who is psychotic, confused and delusional. I just will have to disagree. I don’t see hospitals as a panacea where nothing bad happens. hospitals are deeply problematic and I see that from an inside perspective. But I will agree with Allen Frances that the level of brutality committed against the “mentally ill” is overwhelmingly horrific. The use of extended periods in solitary confinement is routinely used as a way to “manage” the ” mentally ill.” They are regularly beaten by guards and tortured by other inmates.

        I think this comes down to my fundamental question. If you oppose force, why do you support police and the prison system for working with the “mentally ill”?

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          • Just before reading this article I read the Op-Ed “The Blinding of Gloria X” http://www.madinamerica.com/2014/10/blinding-gloria-x-new-jersey-state-hospital-just-mental-patient/

            My question for both Richard & Jon is: What would you do with the woman who assaulted and blinded Gloria X? Putting aside for the moment the criminal negligence of the hospital where this occurred, what would a “good” hospital or treatment program or “someplace else we don’t have yet” have done with her to prevent this from happening? If this should not be treated as a criminal case where the assailant is tried and, presumably, imprisoned, where should she be housed and under what conditions could others be protected from further violence? If it should be treated as a criminal case, should there be places for the “criminally insane” where they are held and protected and treated humanely? If so, how should they be treated there?

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          • Really tough questions hearsbirds. I think a few things have to be examined with that incident. Why were hospital staff negligent in allowing an obviously violent person in a shared room with a vulnerable person? Why did they not look in on this vulnerable person regularly? There is obviously a lot of negligence going on with that hospital and there should be justice in that case.

            The questions I have would be- what state of mind was that violent person in? Were they going through psychosis or paranoid delusions that led to this attack? Or was the assailant simply predatory and predominantly lucid and clear in thought when she attacked?

            If its the second case, I have no problem with handing that person over to the justice system. In the first case, that’s a lot harder. Violent people who are “mentally ill” tend to go to forensics wings of state mental hospitals. They then get “treated” which generally means being forced to take loads of neuroleptics. Would the assailant fair better in a prison setting? Doubtful…but both are awful places to end up.

            What should have happened is that a potentially violent person should have been somewhat isolated from vulnerable people and been monitored very closely. My hope is that if the violent impulses were related to psychosis, that those impulses would fade as an episode of psychosis passed. But if those violent impulses were related to underlying aggressive and predatory traits, my hope is that person would be transferred out of a hospital setting as soon as possible.

            The problem comes that people who both aggressive and psychotic- often get court committed and end up in State hospitals. As other people mentioned, this is a horrible type of vague “sentence” with no fixed end. Forced treatment with neuroleptics is the norm. So many would say prison may be better for those who are likely to be committed. But as I described in the link above, prisons are overwhelmingly brutal to “mentally ill” inmates.

            My hope would be that we pass laws to end the right of doctors to force treatment. In that case, someone may be detained for violent and psychotic behavior, but not required to take meds.

            These questions you bring up are complex and very challenging to answer. In my heart, I don’t believe we should treat every aggressive and psychotic person as a criminal. However, in this case, and with the severity of the crime, the assailant needs to be isolated from vulnerable people for a long time.

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        • It is my understanding that there are a number of states that do not have civil commitment laws for “mental illness.” Does anyone know how they manage the kind of situations Jonathan is talking about?

          I agree that these cases are a dilemma, because people do need to be protected from harm and violence, and the jail system is pretty brutal. But the psych system is pretty brutal as well, and I agree with Richard that there is a benefit to acknowledging the reality that being locked up isn’t likely to be perceived as “treatment” by the vast majority of those experiencing it.

          I’ll say as I have before that there is no reason that detention of a person for acts or threats of violence has to be coupled with enforced treatment. Perhaps there is a place for detention of people who have violated the law in some way but have extenuating circumstances in a separate place that is not so brutal, or perhaps we need to reform our prison system so that being detained there isn’t an invitation to further abuse by the guards and other inmates. But none of that suggests that forcing “treatment” on a person based on their purported “mental illness” is a viable idea. I think it’s a very legitimate position to be opposed to enforced treatment under ANY conditions, and yet still support using force when necessary to protect others from harm.

          Of course, the question of “protecting” someone who is suicidal from him/herself is a much thornier issue. But even so, the same thinking applies: even if you decide it is OK to detain a person for self protection, it should not take away their right to consent or refuse medical treatment, in particular, the drug-based pseudo-“treatments” that are usually enforced on every detained person in the psych ward.

          —- Steve

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          • There are 5 states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, Tennessee, and [New Mexico?]) that don’t have outpatient forced drugging, but I’m pretty sure they all have civil commitment laws. That was my impression from looking at the TAC website, anyway. (I figured they should know.)

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          • I also have to check in with this statement here Steve…

            “But even so, the same thinking applies: even if you decide it is OK to detain a person for self protection, it should not take away their right to consent or refuse medical treatment, in particular, the drug-based pseudo-”treatments” that are usually enforced on every detained person in the psych ward.”

            People who are suicidal are generally never “forced” to take a drug based “treatment.” You can only be forced if you have been committed by a judge and it is very rare for a suicidal and non-psychotic person to be committed.

            However, suicidal folks are coerced by doctors into taking psychiatric drugs without full informed consent and without presenting alternatives- something that is seriously wrong.

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          • ‘Of course, the question of “protecting” someone who is suicidal from him/herself is a much thornier issue. But even so, the same thinking applies: even if you decide it is OK to detain a person for self protection, it should not take away their right to consent or refuse medical treatment, in particular, the drug-based pseudo-”treatments” that are usually enforced on every detained person in the psych ward.’

            Steve, that’s very well said.

            And, yet, in response (on October 17, 2014 at 9:43 pm), Jonathan Keyes explains,

            ‘People who are suicidal are generally never “forced” to take a drug based “treatment.” You can only be forced if you have been committed by a judge and it is very rare for a suicidal and non-psychotic person to be committed.

            However, suicidal folks are coerced by doctors into taking psychiatric drugs without full informed consent and without presenting alternatives- something that is seriously wrong.’

            I’ll tell you what I think is ‘seriously wrong’ — is that first short paragraph of Jonathan’s…

            Really, it’s totally wrong (except maybe in the province where Jonathan lives).

            Jonathan continues to repeat such notions (he has done it many times on this website); again and again, he’s getting his facts wrong about this. I have told him previously that he’s wrong; indeed, I have detailed that: First of all, individual “patients” of psychiatry are frequently called “a danger to himself or herself” for errant reasons; this is to say, for instance, over the course of their careers, many countless psychiatrists will view many of their “patients” as ‘suicidal’ who are not at all truly suicidal.

            That’s how I first wound up “hospitalized” by a psychiatrist, nearly three decades ago. (I have briefly detailed, in more than one MIA comment, how that happened. And, that would not be the last time that I’d be forcibly “hospitalized” as a result of being falsely painted as someone presenting “a danger to himself…”)

            Each time I was “hospitalized” against my will, it would come ultimately as the result of my being falsely accused of being a danger to myself. And, each time, I’d be forcibly drugged. Never was I committed by a judge.

            Jonathan consistently fails to acknowledge that this happens.

            Perhaps, in Jonathan’s “hospital” setting, people who are viewed as ‘suicidal’ are treated with the relative degree of respect that he’s describing, but why does he generalize?

            Ever since reading Jonathan’s first MIA blog post (“Inpatient Hospitalization: An Inside Perspective” November 30, 2013), I’ve noticed that Jonathan tends to express his views of psychiatric “hospitals” in a way that is generally speaking, as though he believes the protocols of his own “hospital” are representative of the protocols of all psychiatric “hosptials” everywhere.

            They aren’t.

            His views of psychiatric “hospitalization” are not at all representative of psychiatric “hospitalization” generally; they are not universally applicable.

            He has a couple of years’ experience as a part-time worker in a psych “hospital” that is apparently (from what he describes) actually quite unique for its tendency to ‘treat’ its “patients” in a way that’s relatively humane.

            His experiences and observations of psych “hospital” settings are thus quite limited.

            I wish he’d stop aiming to speak/write as though he’s an authority on all matters of psychiatric “hospitalization” everywhere.

            Respectfully,

            Jonah

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          • Oh, wait…

            In my preceding comment (above), I’ve described Jonathan Keyes as being “a part-time worker in a psych “hospital” that is apparently (from what he describes) actually quite unique for its tendency to ‘treat’ its “patients” in a way that’s relatively humane.”

            On second thought, I really should have inserted at least an asterisk — a bit of a qualifying statement there.

            E.g., could well have added these words: “many of…”

            Such is to say, here I’m correcting myself, referring to Jonathan’s “hospital” as being apparently unique for its tendency to ‘treat’ many of its “patients” in a way that’s relatively humane.”

            After all, meanwhile, of course, we know…

            While Jonathan will not say he has ever been in the practice of “treating” his “patients” forcibly (because he does not use the word “treat” to describe the forced druggings that he’s participated in; according to him, that’s not “treatment” at all), I am now, suddenly, once again recalling those forced druggings, which he has referred to…

            That is, I realize: I should not have said, in my preceding comment (on October 18, 2014 at 6:46 am), that Jonathan’s “hospital” has a tendency to ‘treat’ its “patients” in a way that’s relatively humane.

            That’s was too generous of me — really somewhat inaccurate — broadly speaking…

            Jonathan has described his participating in (and has persistently aimed to defend) certain forced druggings, in his “hospital” setting.

            That’s really my ultimate concern with his practices.

            (How could I have forgotten it even ‘just’ momentarily?)

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          • In reply to Jonah at 6:46…

            “Each time I was “hospitalized” against my will, it would come ultimately as the result of my being falsely accused of being a danger to myself. And, each time, I’d be forcibly drugged. Never was I committed by a judge.

            Jonathan consistently fails to acknowledge that this happens.

            Perhaps, in Jonathan’s “hospital” setting, people who are viewed as ‘suicidal’ are treated with the relative degree of respect that he’s describing, but why does he generalize?”

            What you are describing is against the law Jonah. From Wikipedia…

            “Involuntary treatment (also referred to by proponents as assisted treatment and by critics as forced drugging) refers to medical treatment undertaken without a person’s consent. In almost all circumstances, involuntary treatment refers to psychiatric treatment administered despite an individual’s objections. These are typically individuals who have been diagnosed with a mental illness and are deemed by a court to be a danger to themselves or others.”

            To be “treated” against your will without having been seen by a judge is a violation of 1975 law. And that law does not go far enough. No one should ever be involuntarily treated….period.

            But the reality of your experience, and many many others, show that many hospitals have been routinely abusive and it looks like in your case they flouted that law.

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          • Hope this comment makes it to the end of the thread line here :).

            I think we need to be very clear that there are a lot of different types of aggressive and violent behavior and there is no clear line saying that anyone who is aggressive/violent should be dealt with by the justice system. You call that “enabling.”

            I have worked with countless people who act extremely aggressively in the throes of psychosis. But once the psychosis has passed they are no longer violent or aggressive.

            I also have worked with people who are predatory and violent by nature.

            I think its key that we separate out these two separate populations. In the first case, I think it is highly troubling to turn over every aggressive and psychotic person over to the justice system. The humane thing to do is to give them space until the psychosis passes. If you call that enabling…so be it.

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          • Jonathan Keyes,

            Do you actually think that very loosely worded passage from Wikipedia, which you’ve quoted, represents the truth of ‘mh’ law as it’s applied everywhere?

            Perhaps, it reflects what you’ve seen, thus far, of ‘mh’ laws, where you live and work. Maybe.

            (Really, I don’t know the laws in your state, so I say maybe that Wikipedia passage is an accurate reflection of them.)

            Actually, I’m willing to presume, that passage in Wikipedia (from all that you say) does reflect your general observations, as a part-time psychiatric “hospital” worker, of psychiatric “hospitalization” — as it may reflect key aspects of ‘mh’ law in your state; but, it does not reflect the realities of psychiatric “hospitalization” and the guiding laws of such in many U.S. states (and it certainly does not reflect ‘mh’ laws and corresponding psychiatric practices globally).

            Frankly, I would like to think your citation of a terribly weak passage in Wikipedia is ‘just’ an indication that you are sadly mis-informed (not that your are deliberately misleading); you are relying on your personal experiences and on Wikipedia in a way that is incredibly careless; for, you posture yourself as an authority on psychiatric “hospitalization” (you have been doing that here, on this MIA website, ever since you posted your first blog).

            But, you are not an authority on anything but your limited experiences. You are spreading ‘facts’ regarding ‘mh’ law that are just plain wrong (seriously wrong — critically wrong) as you seem to suggest they reflect ‘mh’ law everywhere.

            I have been pointing this out to you ever since you posted your first MIA blog post; but, to this point, what I say to you never has sunk in…

            If your readers should have the sad misfortune of taking you to be a legitimate authority on ‘mh’ law, they will be led to believe that psychiatrists have little or no power to choose to forcibly drug the “patients” whom they ‘care’ for; and, that is a dangerous lack of understanding.

            They will believe psychiatric “hospitalization” rarely ever leads to forced drugging without court orders from a judge.

            You must stop and think about what you’re doing, in that respect…

            Please, get this: To suggest that psychiatrists cannot unilaterally choose to forcibly drug “patients” and/or coerce “patients” into taking drugs, is just plain wrong (except maybe where you live and work and in a limited number of states that have ‘mh’ laws similar to yours).

            Why do you think that your psychiatric “hospital” is governed by a universal reality?

            Is it because you are believing everything you read in Wikipedia?

            Please, get this, Jonathan: You have cited a classic misleading statement about psychiatry, from Wikipedia. (There are a lot of those, on the Wikipedia website.)

            What Wikipedia is suggesting, in the passage you’re citing, is simply not true for many ‘mh’ system jurisdictions; I guess it represents what you’ve observed in your little corner of the world, so you continue to spread your supposedly authoritative view of your psychiatric “hospitals” generally — as though your view is fairly representative view of all psychiatric “hospitals” everywhere.

            Really, I am choosing to presume that you are not being deliberately misleading.

            In these regards, you are, perhaps, ‘just’ suffering from confirmation bias.

            But, I cannot fail to point this out to you, because what you’re saying can lead to tragedy.

            If I seem to be making a big deal about this, I am — because I want you to finally get this: It is wrong to downplay the power of psychiatrists and the dangers of forced “hospitalization”.

            You are continually down-playing those dangers; that is what you’re doing (whether you realize it or not) ever since you posted your first MIA blog post; you’ve been continuing to misinform MIA readers, by explaining that psychiatrists cannot forcibly treat “patients” without court orders; you say a judge is required. Perhaps, that is the case, where you live and work. But, it is absolutely not the case everywhere.

            You seem to think that your observation of psychiatric “hospitalizations” are representative of psychiatric “hospitalization” generally speaking. That’s mistaken thinking and misleading speaking.

            Now, I well know I’m repeating myself in this comment, in so many ways, but that’s because I just can’t understand: Why do you continue to preach from a position of such limited knowledge?

            And, why speak of laws without offering citations of the laws themselves?

            E.g., you reference the year 1975… suggesting the existence of law(s) enshrined then, which would make it virtually impossible for psychiatrists to order forced druggings.

            Please, know: Your referencing a year (1975) does nothing for me.

            Cite a law, why don’t you?!

            Why remain so nebulous? Why keep up this nonsense, which you keep up, suggesting that my experiences of having been repeatedly forcibly drugged by psychiatrists — without court orders — were somehow illegal and unusual “treatments”?

            Numerous times, I have pointed out that you are wrong about this matter.

            Why are you relying on a generalized statement in Wikipedia to inform you regarding these laws, Jonathan?

            These are state laws, varying from one state to the next.

            While civil commitment laws in the U.S. are, to some extent, uniformly guided by U.S. Supreme Court decisions, the passage you cite from Wikipedia quote is simply incorrect — as applied to much (probably most) of the U.S. — and certainly wrong if taken to suggest the way ‘mh’ laws work in the rest of the world.

            It’s bad information you’re spreading…

            You’re not describing a true reflection of how involuntary drugging happens, in many instances — e.g., not in my experience — nor in the experience of literally millions of others who’ve been subjected to it…

            Countless thousands “hospitalized” on relatively “brief holds” in my state are forcibly drugged without court orders, every year.

            So…

            Again, I say: maybe what you are saying applies to the laws in your state. I don’t know.

            At last, please, just consider the Welfare and Institutions Code, of California State, regarding “Detention of Mentally Disordered Persons for Evaluation and Treatment” (note prominently the word “treatment” and note also, that: many states have modeled their own ‘mh’ laws on California law).

            California / Welfare and Institutions Code – WIC / ARTICLE 1. Detention of Mentally Disordered Persons for Evaluation and Treatment [5150. – 5157.] / Section 5150.

            Section 5150. (Amended by Stats. 1980, Ch. 968, Sec. 1.)
            Cite as: Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §5150.

            When any person, as a result of mental disorder, is a danger to others, or to himself or herself, or gravely disabled, a peace officer, member of the attending staff, as defined by regulation, of an evaluation facility designated by the county, designated members of a mobile crisis team provided by Section 5651.7, or other professional person designated by the county may, upon probable cause, take, or cause to be taken, the person into custody and place him or her in a facility designated by the county and approved by the State Department of Mental Health as a facility for 72-hour treatment and evaluation…

            http://www.search-california-law.com/research/ca/WIC/5150./Cal-Welf–Inst-Code-Section-5150/text.html

            Jonathan, again, note the last three words, in the passage of California law, above; the last three words: “treatment and evaluation

            And, realize: To secure a California 5150 (a 72-hour “hold”), no court order (i.e., no judge) is required.

            Again, a 5150 is for “treatment and evaluation.”

            When “evaluation” suggests that “psychosis” is what the “patient” is experiencing, “treatment” quite often includes forced and/or coerced drugging.

            A judge is required for extended “holds,” beyond 72-hours; but, the judge often sees a “patient” who’s been forcibly drugged in that initial 72-hour period.

            I know that to be the case, from repeated experiences (over the course of two years, that began in the mid 1980s).

            Please, don’t claim to know what you don’t know; especially when it comes to ‘mh’ laws, speak only of you know in your own experience, in your own state…

            And, offer clear citations of the laws themselves (not loosely written, broad statements, from Wikipedia).

            Respectfully,

            Jonah

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          • In this comment, as follows, I’m posting the conclusion of my preceding comment, to Jonathan Keyes… as it wound up posting in way that I had not intended it to appear. (It nested within a block quote, so here it’s in a more entirely readable format.)

            Jonathan,

            Again, note the last three words, in the passage of California law, above; the last three words: “treatment and evaluation”

            And, realize: To secure a California 5150 (a 72-hour “hold”), no court order (i.e., no judge) is required.

            Again, a 5150 is for “treatment and evaluation.”

            When “evaluation” suggests that “psychosis” is what the “patient” is experiencing, “treatment” quite often includes forced and/or coerced drugging.

            A judge is required for extended “holds,” beyond 72-hours; but, the judge often sees a “patient” who’s been forcibly drugged in that initial 72-hour period.

            I know that to be the case, from repeated experiences (over the course of two years, that began in the mid 1980s).

            Please, don’t claim to know what you don’t know; especially when it comes to ‘mh’ laws, speak only of you know in your own experience, in your own state…

            And, offer clear citations of the laws themselves (not loosely written, broad statements, from Wikipedia).

            Respectfully,

            Jonah

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          • Hey Jonah,

            For you, and anyone else who is interested…this is a good write up of the national statutes that were codified back in the 70s.

            http://careforyourmind.org/the-right-to-treatment-and-the-right-to-refuse-treatment/

            Here’s a key piece of the article:

            “It may seem odd that a person can be involuntarily admitted, or “committed,” to a hospital and then refuse treatment. But the right to refuse treatment is also fundamental to the legal requirements for psychiatric treatment.

            Someone who enters a hospital voluntarily and shows no imminent risk of danger to self or others may express the right to refuse treatment by stating he or she wants to leave the hospital. But a person admitted involuntarily, due to danger to self or others, cannot leave, at least not right away. However, despite having the authority to keep the patient in the hospital, the professional staff cannot treat the person against his or her will, except by court order.

            The concept of a right to refuse treatment was built on basic rights to privacy, equal protection under the law, and due process. In other words, involuntarily hospitalized patients still have a right to decide what happens to their bodies.”

            Now again, I honk horrible abuses take place where folks are “treated” against their will, or a flimsy excuse will be made to give a shot. Many folks can attest to brutal experiences in a hospital setting.

            What I aslo want to warn someone against, anyone who thinks about hospitalization…is that “right to refuse” will go away if the person goes to a court hearing and the judge decides to commit them. That means anyone going into a hospital is gambling that they will not be committed and then treated against their will.

            Civil Commitments have gone down rapidly in the last few decades and are now mainly reserved for folks who are deemed “psychotic” and a danger to self or others. But anyone entering a hospital should think hard about that possibility of commitment and it’s one of the main reasons I try to steer most folks away from hospitalization if at all possible.

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          • Richard,

            I am trying not to twist your words. Here they are…

            “Nigel, I am very worried about your situation. Because we don’t yet have safe alternative programs for people in your situation if you don’t calm down now and continue to act aggressive or violent, we will be forced to call the police. This will be our only available option.”

            Forced to call the police is another term for…using force. And it’s somethng I see folks here repeatedly trying to wriggle out of. Though you say you don’t support force ever…is just not true. You support allowing the police to use force in these rare extreme conditions.

            That is not abolition of force.

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          • Not sure if this will end up in the right place but it is in response to what Jonathan has written about the “right to refuse” treatment when on hold.

            The exception where I live is that the person can be treated in an “emergency”.

            This ’emergency’ of course constitutes using the word “No”. Staff will then initiate a “code black” and the thugs will move in and restrain you. So this “right” that you supposedly have doesn’t really exist because of the way an emergency is perceived by hospital staff.

            I’m sure they are aware that what they are doing is violating a persons human and civil rights but hey who cares about that. Nobody going to believe anyone that says they were assaulted by doctors and nurses, and no police going to pursue any charges because they know that this is how the laws designed to protect you are easily subverted.

            Now, in order to make sure that you can not pursue any charges they need to fill out the documents that make the ’emergency’ look a little more like an emergency that it was, ie saying No. So you end up with something like, “patient became aggressive towards staff, and attempted to assault nurses”. Next doctor on shift sees that and makes a decision based on that false information.

            So entering a hospital for any reason thinking you have rights is delusional. You simply don’t, you just don’t know it yet.

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          • This “right to refuse”, if exercised constitutes an “emergency” and therefore the person can be treated without consent. Beutiful.

            Police do the same thing with the use of force. They issue two commands that the person can not possibly comply with (stand up/sit down) and that allows the use of “reasonable force” to ensure compliance. Then if the person resists actively or passively they are justified in using weapons to ensure compliance. Active resistance consists of moving, and passive resistance consists of not moving (ie unconscious).

            It opens up the possibility of a police officer beating you to death if they don’t like the way you look. Not done too often of course, and when it is police investigators know that they can claim that “procedures were followed” and no action will be taken.

            Those laws to protect you look great on paper eh? The reality is …….

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          • @ boans,

            Thank you for contributing to this conversation. I have never heard of a “code black,” but what you are describing is what I experienced, in the following way (on the occasion of being forcibly “hospitalized” the first time):

            In a sideroom (of the E.R. — “emergency room”), after being ‘evaluated’ with a battery of questions, I was told to lay down on a gurney, and I do so. A chaplain sat beside, holding my hand. Then, in came two orderlies armed with a syringe. I screamed, “NO!!!” as they moved the chaplain aside, held me down, pulled down my pants and shot me up, with neuroleptics (so-called “antipsychotic medications”).

            Jonathan,

            There was no conceivable ’emergency’ — only the psychiatrist’s claim that I was supposedly “a danger” to myself, because I’d answered “Yes” to a question, “Do you believe you’ll die and be reborn in a new life.” (Or, maybe the question was, “Do you wish you’ll die and be reborn in a new life.” I have forgotten their exact wording.) In no way was I literally planning to die, at that time. I was not suicidal.

            And, hours later, after awakening from that forced drugging, again I’d be forcibly drugged.

            Who knows what kind of ’emergency’ they were claiming to perceive, at that point. (I was not told why they were forcibly drugging me and never saw my medical records, of that time.)

            I agree with boans.

            There is nothing but a pretense of rights-to-refuse forced drugging.

            That right is non-existent, in reality.

            The article that you (Jonathan) presented in defense of your views (i.e., the article “The Right to Treatment and the Right to Refuse Treatment” by Lloyd I. Sederer, M.D.) is just political posturing.

            It’s title describes nothing more or less than the ultimate, most frequently heard self-congratulatory lies of medical-coercive psychiatry.

            In practice, psychiatrists and their ‘helpers’ in “hospitals” can and do very frequently call for forced druggings — especially that of any sort of momentarily ‘resistant’ individuals…

            Any “patient” is seen to be presenting an “emergency” when appearing as though ‘resisting’ in any way whatsoever.

            Along those same lines, “patients” are very frequently coerced into allowing themselves to be drugged with pills in psychiatric “hospitals” (i.e., they are led to ‘voluntarily’ swallow pills) by transmission of veiled and not so veiled threats, that they will be forcibly drugged if they do not go along to get along.

            I suppose, if you like, you can consider your “hospital” a rare oasis of ‘righteous’ applications of ‘mh’ law; but, think twice before continuing to propagate the classic lies being told by Lloyd I. Sederer, M.D..

            The title of his article (“The Right to Treatment and the Right to Refuse Treatment”) is, at best, wishful thinking, in most psychiatric “hospital” settings.

            In most psych “hospitals,” in the minds of psych-techs, talk such as that reflects nothing but nonsense, to be laughed at…

            It is just plain B.S. in actual practice.

            Respectfully,

            Jonah

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          • I’m certain that you understand Jonah that your use of the word “No” (even if it were spoken), constituted an “emergency”.

            It is a right on paper alone, and the staff are fully aware of this. Now, they may feel that they only use this method to subvert a persons rights when absolutely necessary. Rubbish, it is done regularly, in fact it is so regular where I live that every person who enters the system is routinely assaulted, and our Chief Psychiatrist calls these assaults “accepted practice”. I’m not kidding here and can demonstrate this.

            Violating a persons “right to refuse”, written into law is accepted practice? And I was the one requiring examination by a psychiatrist?

            Agree entirely about this quoting laws that give the appearance of rights as misleading. I would love to see an addition to those articles demonstrating why they simply don’t exist in reality. It may lessen the damage to people once they realise they have no rights, and are at the mercy of those who wish to ‘help’ them.

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          • They did try to codify this into our laws by making the use of the word “No” as constituting an “unreasonable refusal” and justify the use of force when a person exercised their right to refusal. It was rejected I believe, so they are going to have to continue to define a person exercising their right to refusal by saying “No” as an “emergency”.

            Absolutely bizarre, and I hope that some day these documented human and civil rights abusers are held to account. At present they are being enabled with full knowledge by our legislators.

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          • It is quite possibly one of the best disguised traps I’ve ever seen.

            You walk in to it willingly thinking that you have a right to say No. If and when you do say No, the trap is sprung. All of a sudden you realise that your leg is caught in the Bear trap. And you reaction to this is then defined as a mental illness. You are then drugged causing your behaviour to quite possibly become even more erratic and unpredictable. And then presented to a psychiatrist for an assessment.

            Now, should you complain if you ever manage to get out of the trap, and suggest that saying No does not constitute an emergency, you will find out that hose who are supposed to protect your rights disagree.

            And the general public? Any questions and they will be pointed to the laws that protect their right to refuse.

            Now I have some question. What is your opinion of a person who would suggest that the use of the word No constitutes and emergency? Reasonable? And you would trust this person to make difficult decisions that will effect the rest of your life? Of course we see the use of semantic ‘tricks’ being used all the time in this system. Honesty and integrity are not to be found in these people.

            Caveat emptor.

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          • @ boans,

            Though I’ve never been to your country, and I can’t reasonably claim to know much about it, I do know (mainly from documentaries) that it (Australia) is a beautiful place (i.e., the terrain itself is gorgeous); and, I’ve long been intrigued by what I’ve read of the traditional ways of the Aboriginal people.

            But, then there’s Australian government — that’s apparently fast becoming Big Brother.

            What is desperately needed in your country is a Bill of Rights.

            The most basic human rights, in every modern industrialized country are now threatened by the machinations of medical-coercive psychiatry — but nowhere more than in your country… because there exists no Bill of Rights.

            Honestly, were I you (or anyone else in Australia likewise ‘marked’ by psychiatry), I would seriously consider any and all possibilities of expatriating to a country with less hostile laws.

            But, as long as you remain there, please, continue to tell of what you’re observing of the goings on, in the realm of Aussie psychiatry…

            Rest assured, you are serving us all well, here in the U.S. (i.e., you’re serving psychiatric survivors here), as you’re helping us to know what utterly criminal practices modern psychiatry itself can and does lead to, once it has gone totally unchecked by a Bill of Rights.

            Thank you again for your contributions to these MIA conversations. Stay strong whatever you do.

            Respectfully,

            Jonah

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          • P.S. — @ boans,

            I only saw your last comment, after posting my last comment; so, here I will comment just this much further:

            The ‘trap’ that you’re describing exists, of course, not only in your country — but, more or less, wherever psychiatric “hospitals” exist — and wherever, nowadays, court-ordered so-called “outpatient treatment” exists.

            In fact, that trap you’re describing is the very essence of medical-coercive psychiatry, everywhere….

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          • Hi Jonah,

            on the idea of expatriating I said to my psychologist a couple of weeks back that I was thinking of moving to the “land of the free and the home of the brave”. And he said “What your going to America?” And I said no, Afghanistan.

            I note with interest the new anti terror laws that have been introduced (read Muslim Hygiene laws). They are a mirror of our Mental Health Law protections, ie no protections at all.

            Only introduced to deal with a few people (maybe 60 – 120), and we can trust those given these powers. I’m wondering if the Muslim community is going to know what hit them. The stigmatisation process has been ramped up in the media and women in hijabs are being assaulted on the street now, so it all seems to be going to plan.

            Grab a few innocents and torture them for a few months and radicalise them enough and there will be the attacks that justify the oppressive laws before we know it.

            And they said Mullah Omar was a little crazy lmao.

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          • Jonathan @ 17 Oct 8:50pm

            “I once was in the ED when an enraged 350 pound man came out into the hallway screaming and demanding to fight me. He had scars from bullet wounds and knife fights and looked totally scary. I told him I didn’t want to fight because he’d crush me. I told him I was scared of him but I’d be open to hearing what he was going through.”

            Have a quick look at this clip Jonathan.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-opUoB0jI0

            See, the way I heard it was a skinny twelve year old kid asking what time lunch was. Paranoid ideations can be such a slippery and elusive symptom. Did the 350lb man really calm down or was it the ideations that passed.

            How many people are getting shots to calm them down because of the paranoid ideations of hospital staff, and their irrational fears of the supposed ‘mentally ill’ who have been shown to be less violent and agressive than the general population?

            Just asking lol

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          • “Of course, the question of “protecting” someone who is suicidal from him/herself is a much thornier issue.”
            Nope. Everyone has the right to their own body and control over tehir own right. Killing myself should be a right.

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        • Jonathan

          You said: “I think this comes down to my fundamental question. If you oppose force, why do you support police and the prison system for working with the “mentally ill”?”

          I do NOT support the police or the jail system working with those labeled “mentally ill.” The prison system in this country is oppressive and the police have a role in society of maintaining order. If the status quo inordinately benefits the 1% at the top of the pyramid and is unjust to those in the middle and especially at the bottom, then therefore the maintenance of “order” by the police is mainly for the benefit of the 1% at the top.

          I support people creating alternatives to keep people in distress away from the police and the jails and the psych wards. I have no illusions that this can be widely accomplished without major systemic changes broadly in society, as I referred to in my last response.

          So what do we do until these bigger changes take place? Organize. Take a stand, and fight back! Refuse to go with the flow. Refuse to do the system’s dirty work. Let some one else do it, and then call them out on it and shame them (with science and survivor narratives) where ever they are and where ever they go.

          You said: “If someone who is labeled “mentally ill” is attacking a vulnerable person, would you intervene…and how? ”

          Here is the best I can offer in a very difficult dilemma for anyone working inside the system.They (the distressed person) should be told ahead of time what will happen if they are violent or threatening violence. They should be pulled away from harming some one else. They should be offered support, consolation and compassion. If they are so aroused that they cannot calm themselves (with this kind of support) then they should be offered short term use of sedative drugs (such as Benzos).

          If none of this support or offer of drugs works then they should be told that if they cannot control themselves the police will be called to intervene. They should never be forcibly drugged or contained in a psych ward against their will; the short and long term harm FAR exceeds other alternatives.

          I believe that if psychiatry was forced to turn over its control of labeled people to other forces in society (even jails), than societal outrage regarding their treatment of such individuals would force more benign approaches to emerge in these other institutions, even prisons and jails.

          We need to shine a spotlight on the inordinate and oppressive power that psychiatry wields in this society. We cannot do this by accepting (or reconciling) their right to drug and detain people against their will in ANY circumstances, violent or not. Do you really trust Biological Psychiatry to safely detain some one in this level of distress?

          Jonathan, do not under estimate the powerful effect you could have on other people around you by taking a strong stand against the use of forced drugging and forced hospitalization.

          Richard

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          • Hey Richard- I wanted to reply to these words here…

            “Here is the best I can offer in a very difficult dilemma for anyone working inside the system.They (the distressed person) should be told ahead of time what will happen if they are violent or threatening violence. They should be pulled away from harming some one else. They should be offered support, consolation and compassion. If they are so aroused that they cannot calm themselves (with this kind of support) then they should be offered short term use of sedative drugs (such as Benzos).

            If none of this support or offer of drugs works then they should be told that if they cannot control themselves the police will be called to intervene. They should never be forcibly drugged or contained in a psych ward against their will; the short and long term harm FAR exceeds other alternatives.”

            This is the real meat of the matter. I totally agree with the first part, and I think you’re right that just creating a space to vent, rage, receive support and just listening can be really powerful. I once was in the ED when an enraged 350 pound man came out into the hallway screaming and demanding to fight me. He had scars from bullet wounds and knife fights and looked totally scary. I told him I didn’t want to fight because he’d crush me. I told him I was scared of him but I’d be open to hearing what he was going through. After a while he stopped screaming, calmed down and told me about his life, which was incredibly hard and sad and painful. That was all that was needed in that moment.

            The part where we disagree is the police part. There have been times when police wanted to come in and talk with a patient with a criminal history and we said that they could not enter with weapons of any kind. They refused. I just can’t support the use of police tools for dealing with really precarious and potentially violent situations.

            You ask about me making a stance against forced drugging and forced hospitalization? Lets start with the first. I absolutely oppose forced drug “treatment.” But you are talking about forced drugging in violent situations. I will say, as I have said before, I will only support the use of it in the rarest of circumstances when all other measures fail and other individuals are threatened with trauma. I don’t think supporting police involvement means you don’t support force.

            As to forced hospitalization?

            In general I agree with Steve here that…

            “I’ll say as I have before that there is no reason that detention of a person for acts or threats of violence has to be coupled with enforced treatment.”

            Right. People are only forced into mandated drug “treatment” after they have been committed. This should be abolished. No one should be forced to take regularly scheduled potent neuroleptics.

            I don’t think that has to mean a hospital but I would far prefer a non-prison setting for deescalation of someone who presents as psychotic and aggressive.

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          • Jonathan

            Here is something to ponder regarding your defense of ‘force’ when there may be threats of violence:

            Ponder DEEPLY this comment by Seth Farber in his poignant blog posting above mine:

            “I know from reading and experience that people like this assailant almost always have prior histories of violence. These patients become repeat offenders because “mental patients” have neither rights nor responsibilities – as Thomas Szasz said – and thus violent patients do not learn that they are responsible for their actions and will be held accountable for their crimes. The system unwittingly – but willfully – encourages repeated criminal offenses.”

            Jonathan, your position on this question is further “ENABLING” both the oppressive nature of the current mental health system AND also the violent pattern of behavior of the aggressive patient. Neither will stand a chance of improving if your position is maintained.

            Richard

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          • Whoops- my comment at 2:56 is in response to Richard’s comment down there at 12:56.

            I just can’t support the idea that we should criminalize everyone who is aggressive/violent and psychotic. I take exception to the idea that

            “people like this assailant almost always have prior histories of violence.”

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          • Jonathan

            You said: “I just can’t support the idea that we should criminalize everyone who is aggressive/violent and psychotic. I take exception to the idea that.”

            You are twisting words and phrases and creating “straw man” arguments to justify your support of ‘force’ and forced drugging.

            Where did I EVER say that, or where did anyone else opposing ‘force’ on this thread promote such a position.

            We should ALWAYS avoid (wherever possible) involving the police, the courts, and the prison system when dealing with people in extreme psychological states. My trust in those institutions is on a par with psych wards which you SHOULD know from prior discussions is not very high.

            You said: “… I think it is highly troubling to turn over every aggressive and psychotic person over to the justice system. The humane thing to do is to give them space until the psychosis passes. If you call that enabling…so be it.”

            Jonathan, you are unfortunately now making things up about my position to prop up your increasingly indefensible position on ‘force.’

            Where did I EVER say “to turn over every aggressive and psychotic person to the justice system.”

            So let’s be clear on YOUR position as stated above:
            “The HUMANE (emphasis added) thing to do is to give them “SPACE” (emphasis added) while the psychosis passes.”

            Based on your past (admitted) practice in some emergency situations, the “HUMANE” thing to do is tying someone down to a gurney and giving them the “SPACE”; a forced neuroleptic injection.

            How BENIGN you tried to make it sound above. But many here at MIA are very aware of the so-called “SPACE” you are carving out for them, and it ain’t so benign or pretty. For many it is extremely life damaging.

            Jonathan, the “enabling” that is referred to above (by me) involves the frequent cycle of forced treatment that many people who are caught within the mental health system seem to repeat and are all too familiar with.

            Many of these people know that if they defiantly remain acting out or violent that this will often force people like you to forcibly drug them and incarcerate them in a psych ward. They don’t really want it to happen, but they also do not want to calm down and obey you.

            This is very much like a defiant son rebelling against an abusive father. He will sometimes push the situation to a point where he will force the father to play out his abusive role so the son can hold on to his anger and prove to himself that he is the ultimate victim (which he is).

            This way (the son) does not have to look at or take responsibility for some of his own behavior. And of course the father feels justified (for his own violent actions) because the son may have been out of control. The cycle of violence and dysfunction continues, each “enabling” the other.

            Sometimes parents are forced, as a last resort, (when a child is completely out of control) to take their child to a dept. of social services where ultimately a judge will often pose the question to the teenage child, “would you rather follow the rules of your parents or live in a foster home for a while.” Sometimes this coercive choice becomes enough to convince the child to behave better and/or perhaps the physical or emotional abuse by the parents will be revealed to authorities.

            Jonathan, you are caught up in an analogous situation in the work you do. You are playing the role of the abusive father/mental health worker who justifies his abuse based on the out of control behavior of the unfortunate patient in the emergency room. The patient in this situation (because of dire life circumstances) is also not willing and/or able to take responsibility for their behavior at that moment. “Enabling” is not the solution to this dilemma.

            Jonathan, my position is as follows; PLEASE PAY CAREFUL ATTENTION AND DO NOT DISTORT MY WORDS: in these extreme (hopefully rare) potentially out of control situations the person acting aggressive or violent needs to be given clear and consistent (over time) options by the caregivers.

            For example:
            ” Nigel, you need to calm down now or things are going to happen here that neither of us want to happen. In the past you may have been forcibly restrained and then given a forced injection of powerful drugs and ended up on a locked unit of a psych ward. This was wrong and abusive treatment. I have participated in that abuse myself and very much regret my prior action actions, and I am very sorry that you may have endured that type of “treatment” in the past.”
            “Now we do things differently. I promise you that someone will sit down and listen to your problems or grievances in your life and attempt to find answers and solutions. You will not be drugged against your will or locked up against your will. You may be given some prescribed drugs if you request them. If you are feeling out of control we have some short term sedative drugs to help you sleep or relax more.”

            “Nigel, I am very worried about your situation. Because we don’t yet have safe alternative programs for people in your situation if you don’t calm down now and continue to act aggressive or violent, we will be forced to call the police. This will be our only available option.”

            “Nigel, I would hate to have to do this because I do not trust the police to know how to handle you in a compassionate way, and you may end up being isolated and abused. We do not want this to happen, so PLEASE, Nigel, do not force us to make this call. Nigel do you clearly understand the situation and the options before you.”

            Now, Nigel has been given clear options. If he makes the wrong choice here, it is terribly unfortunate, but it is a FAR better option (at this primitive place in our history) than the forced drugging and forced “treatment” that you, Jonathan have to offer. An option that you BTW also have the ability and the right to refuse to carry out.

            And Jonathan, if Nigel ever comes back to your emergency room, because he was NOT “enabled” in the cycle of violence that you offer. I bet the odds are that he would choose to calm himself down the next time and possible accept your offer to talk about his problems, maybe self admit himself in a crisis stabilization unit (we have one in my city) and perhaps take some drugs to help him get a nights sleep. In this new scenario he would avoid being re-traumatized and his chances of getting better would be increased.

            Richard

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          • Whoops…hopefully this will find the right place…

            Richard,

            I am trying not to twist your words. Here they are…

            “Nigel, I am very worried about your situation. Because we don’t yet have safe alternative programs for people in your situation if you don’t calm down now and continue to act aggressive or violent, we will be forced to call the police. This will be our only available option.”

            Forced to call the police is another term for…using force. And it’s somethng I see folks here repeatedly trying to wriggle out of. Though you say you don’t support force ever…is just not true. You support allowing the police to use force in these rare extreme conditions.

            That is not abolition of force.

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          • Richard: I have dealt with both institutions and I prefer the straight forward approach of the criminal justice system. I entered the psychiatric system 25 years ago, but it is only within the last six years that I began to evolve to an anti-psychiatry perspective. I was originally charged with a minor crime, disturbing the peace, then unceremoniously whisked away to the land of Oz, where I never was given the opportunity to answer to the criminal charges leveled against me. To use a basketball metaphor, I was forcing the ball a bit in my professional and political. But hasn’t the truth basically come out at this point. High placed psychiatrist are admitting that there are no biological markers for mental illness- much as Szasz had been saying for 50 years, and that the DSM has become even for absurd. I have listened with rapt attention to Michelle Alexander detail the pernicious pedigree of the prison industrial complex and it’s linkage to the convict lease system of forced labor falling on the heels of the collapse of Reconstruction in the U.S., but I think I am with you. First things first.
            Our major party candidates for US Senate here in West Virginia both feel way too comfortable allowing eugenics, scientism, and psychobabble to enter into public debate and law through the back door of gun control legislation. (Rep. Capito is in cohoots with Rep Murphy in these matters. The only solution as I see, it is to openly challenge this process at high noon and broad daylight in the political arena. Psychiatry patient confidentially is a canard which is best cast off by relating ones own experience to others in an honest way.

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        • “So yes…everyone has a right to defend themselves. We’re in agreement there. I think what might make this more clear is describing in real terms how to work with people who are violent. ”
          Do you mean psychiatrists? I hope you extend this right to your patients so that when one of you comes to them with needles and threats they have all the right in the world to fight back. Or when they are brought in against their will for that matter.
          I’ve heard this argument a 1000 times before: “a guy was brought in and didn’t want to cooperate and then started to be aggressive when we told him he can’t go home.” Yeah – I’d also be aggressive if someone kidnapped me and imprisoned and tried to force me to perform tricks to his/her amusement.
          Psychiatrists and other staff have no right to complain if any of tha people brought in and kept involuntarily attacks them. In this situation it is self-defense and you’re the abuser.

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        • “If you oppose force, why do you support police and the prison system for working with the “mentally ill”?”

          Oh god, it’s such a strawman. “If you oppose war in Iraq are you if favour of Al-Qaeda?”

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      • Richard D. Lewis on October 17, 2014 at 6:30 pm

        Agree entirely on the issue of self defense Richard. I had to restrain myself from defending myself when being assaulted in the hospital. The good Doctor doesn’t know how lucky he really was.

        What I did notice was what a bunch of cowards these people were. Once they saw my true ‘potential’ all of a sudden the illness they had fabricated disappeared and I became a police problem. Those figures quoted by Jonathan above about Rikers kind of show that they are plucking about 10% out of the prison system, usually the m0st vulnerable, and call what they are doing to them treatment. It’s very selective though, and I’m sure there are others here who have seen this pattern.

        But that in some ways is good news, because while a coward with a gun can be dangerous, take the gun away and they will run like Usain Bolt. Need to fight smart though, because as I’ve said these people have a gun in their hand at present and can effectively pour acid on your brain and call it treatment.

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      • Think I should add that the use of CTO’s seems to be about aggressive expansion of this slice of the prison pie that psychiatry has. Like a buffer between prison and hospital, where they can drug people in their homes, fill the beds when needed, and then lock them in prison if they aren’t “responding to treatment”.

        They want the two circles in the venn diagram to overlap a lot more, as theirs a whole untapped market of people who can be forcefully drugged just begging to be exploited. Watch as psychiatry increasingly claims to have solutions to ‘criminality’. Coming to a pharmacy near you soon.

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        • Boans, Your comment (oct. 18 at 9:47 PM) 2014
          ” It’s possibly one of the best disguised traps I’ve ever seen ,”
          Calling it like it is Boans ! It is a trap like no other . As if you’re Sitting Bull waving a negotiated treaty in your hand while they are shooting the 60,000,000 buffalos of your mind and life. BTW they are GMO ing the food supply and restricting our movements . You should hear the last couple of video interviews or talks Russell Means American Indian leader does with Alex Jones on Infowars on youtube . These were the last done before Russell Means passed on in 2012. May he rest in peace.
          Best Wishes , Fred (everyone should see them and hear)

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      • Richard, my first comment is below and this article has definitely influenced my thinking on this issue. Nevertheless, I find myself somewhere between yours and Jonathan’s stance on this at this point. There is a point you make that strongly resonates with me. Having witnessed very egregious aspects of psychiatric force and coercion in the “treatment” of a very dearly loved one, and the absolute power over their “patients” that psychiatrists in psychiatric hospitals have over individuals, I am not so sure that prisons (with all their horrific aspects) are worse. I have come to believe that a convicted felon has more rights and freedoms than an involuntarily committed psychiatric patient. In a prison, you at least usually have the benefit of fresh air and sunshine for at least a portion of the day. In my loved one’s case, she endured three months in a locked facility with neither. A prison sentence has a set time; a psychiatric “sentence” does not. I believe prisoners have more potential for good legal representation (although not usually without a ton of money) than psychiatric patients (in my experience, “mental health courts” are kangaroo courts in which the deck is heavily stacked in favor of hospital staff). In prison, they control your body; in a forced psychiatric setting, they control not only your body, but are allowed to saturate your brain with whatever they deem “clinically appropriate”–although this also happens, to some extent, in prison.

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    • Jonathan Keyes on October 17, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      “Generally, people who are acting in an uncompromisingly threatening and violent way are managed by police through the use of tasers, nightsticks, beanbag guns and handguns. ”

      Not where I am, they call them doctors and nurses and reward them for the threatening and violent behaviour.

      “We have shifted from hospitalizing the “mentally ill to jailing them.”

      Or have we just expanded the definition of what constitutes a ‘mental illness’?

      “how do we work with someone who is actively trying to harm another vulnerable person”

      Give them a degree and a title?

      Jonathan, it has been my experience that in order to meet required standards to use force, hospital workers will take advantage of the fact that flight is not possible, and will provoke a fight response in order to justify the brutality that ensues. I’ve seen videos of the police using this method to beat people to death as well. Dressing up the violence that the police use in nurses uniforms and white coats and stethoscopes only makes people MORE vulnerable, because they actually falsely trust doctors etc. But word is getting around, and while they might not be publishing it in the papers, were talking among ourselves.

      I can honestly say that after my experience I feel safer among Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs than I would in any hospital in my State. While the rules might not be obvious, at least the bruises go away after a week or two. And the bikers can’t have the police deliver you to their clubhouse at their leisure. Once stung by the hospital you’ll be lucky to have anything resembling a ‘normal’ life again.

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      • For Jonathan,

        I just want to add that I did a brief and very painful stint as the mental health professional who made the final call in the ER as to whether someone was held against their will or not. This has deeply colored my views on this issue, because my experience is that depressed/suicidal people (an anyone else who was involuntarily detained) were ABSOLUTELY required to take antidepressants and other drugs against their wills, and were provided essentially NO other kind of service worth talking about, unless you count the basket-weaving type “activities” they forced the inmates to engage in. I suppose you could say they had the right to refuse, if they were educated enough to realize that, but of course, no one every told them that, and even if they did refuse, they would be very unlikely to get out until they changed their minds, and the pressure to comply (as well as the rate of lies told to justify this) was incredible.

        This particular hospital ward stated their role was only “Stabilization,” which is essentially code for giving the clients drugs until they stopped feeling or acting bad in the view of the staff. There was not much going on that could be construed as healing, other than the attempts of the odd extra-compassionate staff member who bothered talking with the patients. Believe me, I did everything I could, including some impressive therapy in the ER, to keep anyone from having to spend a minute on that ward. And my impression is that that was standard issue at the time, and don’t see any reason to believe that it’s any different now, 20 years later on. There may be outliers, but most psych wards exist solely to convince/cajole/force their patients onto some kind of drug. I know you don’t believe that’s what should happen, but the sad reality is that it does happen and is not questioned by most of the mental health “professionals” who participate.

        I am afraid you’re a major outlier, Jonathan!

        —- Steve

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      • “I feel safer among Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs than I would in any hospital in my State.”
        At least you can learn the rules (and there are rules). In psych wards it is total obedience and still you get abused at every step. It reminds me of dealing with a psychopath – some people just derive pleasure from jerking you around and looking at you trying to figure out how to avoid punishment, in vain (because the rules change at his/her whim).

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    • “Generally, people who are acting in an uncompromisingly threatening and violent way are managed by police through the use of tasers, nightsticks, beanbag guns and handguns.”
      This issue has been addressed by Richard. The answer is not “let’s fine a gentler way to kick your a** and throw you in a hole”. The answer is to find ways to not use force at all. In some places police is well trained and I’ll take a well trained emphatic policeman over psychiatrists every time. In fact I had an encounter with some and they treated me very well although I was a pain in the a** at the time and even told me that they don’t want to call ambulance on me since they didn’t have a very good opinion on what psychiatrists do to people. In the end they managed to talk to me and get me out of a panic attack.

      In the same time psychiatrists react with extreme violence to anything including refusal to take a physical exam (which is a right of every human being). I’d argue that most of the presumed violence from patients against staff is actually well deserved and form of self-defense. These a***oles literally complained in my official hospital documents that I was aggressive because I was fighting against restraints. Tell me about inmates running the asylum…

      “If a person is deemed criminal, they end up in the prison system.”
      That’s a problem of a stupid legal system. People end up in prisons for ridiculous things which harm no one and are at best a nuisance. They should not be locked in prisons and they should not be locked in psych wards. Just leave them alone or help them through a crisis. It’s just prison-industrial complex combined with racism and social exclusion calling the shots.

      “The long term hospital model has been dramatically reduced in favor of the prison system for managing “mental illness.”
      When do you people get it that shipping people from one kind of prison to another (only called “hospital”) is not an answer? We’ve seen this movie before and I’d urge you to read up on why asylums were closed in the first place. There was never a time when psychiatric hospitals were good places where they helped people. NEVER.

      “One of the best ways I have seen for reducing the use of force in hospitals is by requiring hospitals to document every incidence and then publicizing the results in the media.” ROFL. Because self-regulation always works, right? We see that in the last outbreak of police brutality cases. It’s not like people working in the same organization and committing the same kind of infringements will ever cover up for one another, lie in official documents, fabricate evidence etc. That never happens. Except it does. Except it has happened to me – I had outrageous lies written up in my hospital documents, signed testimony from a person who wasn’t even there and it was all taken at face value while my testimony was “crazy person’s ravings”. Sorry but you’re out of sync with reality on this one.

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  6. Thanks Richard for an excellent argument.

    I know for me being involuntarily detained and forcibly drugged totally devastated and terrified me and caused my first psychosis at age 50. Ten years down the track the trauma still affects me very deeply indeed.

    Apologists who say that this is acceptable under ANY circumstances at all…EVER… are most truly arguing for the status quo and need to be called out on that, because as you say Richard, that is the biggest loophole and it actively mitigates against any change occurring in the system.

    Only when involuntary admission and “treatment” is totally outlawed, and people who do it are jailed for kidnap (or similar), will there be the incentive for the development of helpful responses to people experiencing extreme distress.

    Agree with Boans too about smoking table conversations … but would add that those conversations only occurred when people were capable of thinking or expressing anything through their drug-induced stupor and/or were not in such a state of trauma at having being detained and drugged that they could actually speak…I was so shattered by the experience I couldn’t speak ….there are no words when the unspeakable occurs.

    So yes, thanks for speaking up, Richard.

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  7. Richard,

    Thanks for your community service and for another articulate post.

    The World Health Organization defines mental health as well-being. It is impossible for forced mental health services to promote well-being; agency and empowerment promote well-being. Forced hospitalization and forced drugging are the plots of horror movies; they cannot be therapeutic.

    Best regards, Steve

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  8. Gonna have to call out your sources on this one…especially ones coming from your own blog. I have a degree in statistics and economics and I was told on the first day of class never believe a statistic…then I was taught the art of how they are manipulated to the benefit of those with a personal agenda. As someone who appears to have completely turned his back on the psychiatric community, your bias has lead you to sources that point to what you’re aiming for. For example – someone in the psychiatric community, in treatment for mental illness is at a higher suicide risk than one who does not have a diagnosis. No kidding, they are there because something is wrong…just because medicine and therapy failed to save them does not mean the treatment they received is the underlying motive for taking their own life. You continue to construe the medical community in a negative light in a country that WANTS mental illness to just go away. Almost every parent I know is hesitant to even consider the use of medication for their child, despite the noted benefits of doing so, including mitigating the development of future, co-morbid disorders, addiction and so on. You are empowering people to deny their loved ones an option with your rhetoric. Instead of doing this, why don’t you approach the issue in a manner that explores as many different pathways to well being as possible?

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    • Candarae, Please don’t peddle that “drugs treat mental illness” line here. There is no science to support what you have said and it’s dangerous nonsense that this webzine is here to dispel. No, they are not there because something is wrong, they are there because someone THINKS there is something wrong, or because something has happpened. Please educate yourself, because you seem to have the impression that somehow there is an us and them. There is not. There are at least a dozen disorders for each and every person. The problem is obvious; diagnosis is name calling, not science, and drugs are toxic compounds which may or may not be useful for an individual for short term mitigation of a difficult life transition. This is what the science says. No, the medical community does not want to get rid of it, they want to screen to find more. It is an industry. This is not positive or negative, it is fact. From the place where we all have the facts straight, from there we move forward.

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        • Candreae,

          I am glad medicines saved your life. But for many people, they have not helped and have caused horrific side effects. The literature on the effectiveness long term is quite questionable. The most glowing studies are usually financed by drug companies or professionals with connections to them.

          By the way, I am not anti meds and am looking into the possibility of taking something for a specific condition. But if I go this route, I will do it knowing that it works for about 24% of people who take it without horrific side effects.

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        • For you perhaps they did save your life. However, you can’t say that this is the case for everyone else. A small minority of people seem to get help from these drugs but a large majority suffer terribly from them with no real relief from the issues that caused them problems in the first place.

          One of the very first things that I learned in college was that you couldn’t go around assuming that what works for you works for everyone. Glad that they helped you but I will never let one of those damned drugs ever pass my lips again. I almost died because of the drugs. So, please don’t go assuming that you are the standard by which everything and everyone else must be judged.

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        • Candreae –
          If you read Nancy’s comment you will see that she herself states that the drugs “may or may not be useful.” If you feel that the drugs have been helpful to you, then good for you! They are not helpful to everyone.

          Thanks for bringing up the New England Journal of Medicine. Its former Editor In Chief, Marcia Angell MD, wrote this book:
          “The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It”
          http://www.amazon.com/The-Truth-About-Drug-Companies/dp/0375760946

          AND, in Dr. Angell’s article for the prestigious New York Review of Books, she offers the following quote:

          “Imagine that a virus suddenly appears in our society that makes people sleep twelve, fourteen hours a day. Those infected with it move about somewhat slowly and seem emotionally disengaged. Many gain huge amounts of weight—twenty, forty, sixty, and even one hundred pounds. Often their blood sugar levels soar, and so do their cholesterol levels. A number of those struck by the mysterious illness—including young children and teenagers—become diabetic in fairly short order…. The federal government gives hundreds of millions of dollars to scientists at the best universities to decipher the inner workings of this virus, and they report that the reason it causes such global dysfunction is that it blocks a multitude of neurotransmitter receptors in the brain—dopaminergic, serotonergic, muscarinic, adrenergic, and histaminergic. All of those neuronal pathways in the brain are compromised. Meanwhile, MRI studies find that over a period of several years, the virus shrinks the cerebral cortex, and this shrinkage is tied to cognitive decline. A terrified public clamors for a cure.

          Now such an illness has in fact hit millions of American children and adults. We have just described the effects of Eli Lilly’s best-selling antipsychotic, Zyprexa.”

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        • There are numerous people who say the same thing about placebo. Or faith healing. It is no evidence at all.
          In terms of medical journals – have you first tried to sieve out all the articles published by people with conflicts of interest, then all the ones which have methodological problems etc.? Because when you do that there’s very little left…

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    • “For example – someone in the psychiatric community, in treatment for mental illness is at a higher suicide risk than one who does not have a diagnosis.”
      Except that’s not what the study was about. It was people who had a diagnosis and were hospitalized compared to the matched population who was offered other therapy options. And btw, even if that was it – it’s incumbent on people advocating the use of force to prove that it helps not the other way around. I’m yet to see the proof that forced treatment improves outcomes – so far it seems it does the exact opposite.

      “Almost every parent I know is hesitant to even consider the use of medication for their child, despite the noted benefits of doing so, including mitigating the development of future, co-morbid disorders, addiction and so on.”
      That is patently false. No psychiatric medication has been shown to prevent co-morbid disorders or addiction, in fact many were linked to causing such problems (benzos, stimulants). Even the short term benefits are questionable at best.

      “country that WANTS mental illness to just go away”
      …and is going about it in the stupidest way possible.

      “You are empowering people to deny their loved ones an option with your rhetoric.”
      Yeah, empowering people to get control over their own bodies and minds is a horrible thing indeed. Given the number of pills Americans pop every day they should be the most sane and happiest nation on the planet. So why aren’t they? Could this be because the pills aren’t working and psychiatry is a sham?

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  9. Here are two links that I discovered tonight related to this post that people may also find interesting or helpful.

    THe Scientific Case Against Forced Drug Treatment, Robert Whitaker February 2013

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/melody-moezzi/why-forcibly-medicating-lauras-law_b_5578617.html

    I can’t believe how pro-meds and pro-psychiatry and pro-forced treatment so many people are in this country, even progressives are not even close to being questioning or aware of the detrimental aspects of these. I worry that with my awkward fragile psyche that I may get forced meds some dAY. I also worry that the meds that I took between the later mid 90’s and the mid 00’s have taken their toll on my brain and it is not a good feeling. It is upsetting to me how uninformed people are, and how selective and discriminating and unfair our whole society is in all aspects social and economic and it outrages me that people are not more compassionate, intuitively understanding to how others experiences contribute to their well being and emotional conditions.

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  10. Forced hospitalization and forced drugging are two different things.

    If you are reasonable you would see the need for forced hospitalization.

    There has to be physical proof the person is too irrational before they lose their freedom from an legal commitment order.
    To do nothing, in the example of when someone is starving themselves (say half normal body weight) is wrong. A doctor would have to force feed the patient until it can be verified the patients brain has proper nutrition/can think rationally. When severely malnourished the brain can not/does not function.

    A slow suicide (example of smoking>to>lung cancer) is OK/rational, a quick suicide is wrong/bad/irrational.

    I am against forced drugging and ECT. I think everyone forced into a hospital has to get a lawyer to explain to the prisoner why they are there confined in the hospital. If prisoners are not told specifically what the (their) problem is, the patient/prisoner can not possibly change or fix the problem.
    The prisoner has to be given a chance to escape the prison, change themselves and abide by any rules that have been broken.

    The goal of hospitalization: The goal is that society wants a functional person out of prison. Give the patient the option of joining the “it’s a prison” side or “it’s a hospital” side.

    Call me a fool , not a liar : Prison type of person admits their errors (breaking the rules), they chose the action/behaviour those with the Gold (money) don’t like.

    Call me a liar , not a fool: Hospital type of person denies responsibility for their actions that got them committed and wants medicine for their disease.

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    • The Problem, Drugs: If the person forcibly hospitalized, once informed of their rights, can argue-ask for their freedom and is physically relatively healthy, they should get their freedom. If the patient is drugged , they can not cognitively think to ask – or argue for their freedom. The default is drug everyone stupid so they can’t complain about being in prison. The drug companies make billions. The patients can’t prove their innocence. No one in power is made upset.

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    • “To do nothing, in the example of when someone is starving themselves (say half normal body weight) is wrong. A doctor would have to force feed the patient until it can be verified the patients brain has proper nutrition/can think rationally. When severely malnourished the brain can not/does not function.”
      You’re wrong here. It’s no different if you substitute anorectic (because that’s what you’re describing) with psychotic, depressed etc. It’s denying people agency over their lives and using physical humiliating force on them.
      Btw, forced feeding is torture too. If you have doubts look up some videos describing it being done to Guantanamo prisoners. If something is torture when done to a “sane” person it is torture period.

      “A slow suicide (example of smoking>to>lung cancer) is OK/rational, a quick suicide is wrong/bad/irrational.”
      R u serious on that one?

      Everyone should have a right to self-destruct. Forcing other people to live to make yourself feel better is arrogant and counter-productive. If you really want to help a person who’s self-harming or suicidal you ask them what would make them better and want to live. You try to comfort them and persuade them. You don’t humiliate them, abuse them, torture them and then be all surprised they call you a human right abuser.

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  11. Richard, I’m really not trying to flatter you when I say you have made the most articulate and well-reasoned argument on this subject I’ve ever read or heard. It has definitely influenced me, as one who has been on board with the need to “reform the system”. I really do have to rethink my position on this. I haven’t yet read all of the the above responses, and your replies, but even with your excellent argument there is still a “chink in the armorl”, so to speak, in my mind. Maybe this has to do with a distinction between forced hospitalization and forced drugging (or other “treatment”, like ECT) that i believe markps2 is making above. For sure, it has to do with the lack of truly humane and personalized care for those in the midst of extreme emotional/mental states (i.e., psychosis).

    At any rate, let me give you a scenario as a way of presenting my continued concern:

    This type of scenario is of very real concern to me. I’m certainly not raising this as a “set up”, as it is an actual quandary that I’ve been faced with. In this scenario, you have an adult family member who is neither suicidal or homicidal, but dangerously delusional. For example (and this is not the actual situation in my personal experience), the loved one is convinced she is a covert agent of the CIA and must meet at midnight at a certain location–one that is known to be a hangout of drug addicts, prostitutes and violent criminals. She cannot be reasoned or talked out of this and, in fact, becomes angry and accusatory toward those who try to impede this “mission”. You want with all your heart to avoid the psychiatric unit at the local hospital, which was so demeaning and injurious to her in a previous episode.

    Okay, now let’s suppose we are fortunate enough to have Hearthside Healing, or Parachute NYC (about which I’ve heard good things), or one of the new Soteria Houses nearby. That would be wonderful, and a huge improvement in my local area (even though it is awash in all of the conventional mental health facilities and resources).

    But…in this delusional state, my family member will probably be no more likely to check into such a place as she would be to check into the local hospital’s psych ward.

    Some of you might say, “Well, she’s an adult. It’s her choice. Let her go and try to carry out her ‘mission’”. To me, loving her and knowing how irrational she is at the moment, that would be grossly negligent. There is the very real possibility that she would put herself in the hands of some very bad actors and end up greatly harmed, dead or missing.

    On the other hand, to facilitate her return to the hospital would be to put her back into the hands of those who have unchecked power to harm her body, mind and spirit.

    I think you have addressed this, in a way, in your article. This kind of real life scenario is what prevents me, at this point, from taking the absolute stance you are advocating; however, you’ve certainly made a good case for how “reform” may play right into the hands of the worst elements of the status quo.

    Thanks.

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  12. Russerford

    Thanks so much for the positive response. This is not an easy question but so vital for the struggle to end psychiatric power and abuse.

    In the scenario you laid out regarding a loved one’s delusions, how about this for a possible solution: Why not get a small group of family members and supporters (3-5 people who are comfortable in the street) and all agree that this mission is, indeed, very important, and all agree to go on this mission with her, and insist that there needs to be back up support because of the mission’s overall importance. You care for her so much that you insist on the need for this back up support.

    This is not really lying because to this woman this mission is vitally important, and you are offering loving support for her by agreeing to take on this mission. If you complete the mission and no one shows up at the secret location to meet her, then she may develop doubts about her delusion which could be step towards healing, and at least she will know that people care enough not to fight with her about her perceived reality and also found ways to support her.

    At the MIA film festival we saw a Japanese film that contained similar themes in a group treatment living arrangement where someone wanted to carry out a possibly dangerous mission to see a UFO. They handled the situation in a very unique and somewhat humorous way.

    Your relative definitely does not belong in a hospital and with some brainstorming maybe your family can all find a way to support her through this crisis.

    Richard

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    • Richard, Great post and thinking . I wonder what differences there would be in your ideas and Jonah’s, and Jonathan’s , if and I don’t wish it on any of you . If you had received even one forced electro shock treatment without anesthesia , had your only child taken away,were force injected many times, actually experimented on similar to Tusgeegee airman as I was . And you all know my stance.
      I just wonder what the difference would be in all your statements . Cause I’m certain there would be a difference.

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    • Richard: I can’t remember the name movie, which was set in New England. The young man in the movie sent away for a sex doll and then dressed it up as his girl friend and then proceeded to take her around him with him where ever he went. His sister and brother in law were the people most directly involved in life, and they constantly struggled as to how to deal with his delusion. Instead of confrontation, and intervention they eventually settled on a course of action similar to your suggestion in the above response, and things eventually ran its course.

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      • This is a similar way of how people should approach elderly who experience severe dementia. There are white lies which can help the person to calm down and do not harm anyone.
        I wonder why the “professionals” are so against lying to people in psychosis (which btw they do all the time when talking about drugs etc.) but putting their hands on a vulnerable person is a-OK.

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  13. This has been a very enlightening and interesting discussion.

    I am actually faced with this dilemma almost every day, since my son chose to go CT off his last psyche med, zyprexa, 3 months ago.

    He spends all his time in his bedroom at his older brother’s house. He lives in a mess of scattered clothing, some of which he has ripped for odd reasons, a damp bed without a sheet (he ripped it up, also), cans and bottles, junk, wire tied to the dresser, pieces of wood stuck in windows, and a general clutter of bits of old vitamins, books, and papers.

    About once a week, I really question the wisdom of our family’s decision to just leave him alone. He is extremely angry sometimes, saying frightening things about death-wishes for members of the family, even describing ways he wants us to die. He doesn’t really say them “to” us, but we can hear him talking to himself.
    Sometimes, I feel like taking him back to the hospital is the only option, but I have completely lost all faith in the mental health system here. I want so deeply to hope that he can recover from 7 years of drugging, but can he? Did going CT cause permanent harm? I don’t really know how to help him any more. A year ago, he was doing so much better than this. It wasn’t great, but it was a lot better. I keep thinking about the relationship we all have lost with him at this point.

    We can’t do anything for him right now. He won’t even leave the house. I bring him groceries, but he has lost a lot of weight anyway. I try to clean his room, especially when his older brother starts comparing about the bad smell, but he complains if I use any cleaning products, even natural ones. I can’t get him off the bed long enough to put down a sheet, even! I can’t even imagine getting him to the doctor for a checkup. Or the dentist.

    My husband and I were given legal guardianship last year, and I sometimes fear that we will be seen as negligent because we aren’t taking him back into the system. We have no real options here. I mean, it’s great to talk about the ideal situation of no force, but isn’t there a scenario where force might be required? He seems to be self-destructive, and unable to think our remember things much of the time, like a dementia patient might be. Would it be right to let someone with dementia harm himself? I’d love to be able to take my son to a hospital, where he could just recover without forced drugs and be treated with respect and concern, but that isn’t available.

    His older brother is choosing to let him stay, in hopes that his brother’s life can improve, but his own life has become fairly restricted, and the relationship between them is very poor.

    My own life seems restricted by my son’s suffering, and Iam filled with grief, worry, and anxiety for the future.

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    • Again- really really hard real world problem there gardenlisa…with no easy answers. One of the things I hear right off the bat is that he went cold turkey off psych meds- which can really cause severe complications and disorganization for anyone…but especially for those prone to extreme states. Even if it was 3 months ago- that may still be causing ramifications. However, I would not be as concerned with CT causing permanent harm. 7 years of drugging can indeed train the brain to be habituated to those drugs- and then when someone quickly cold turkeys off them…it can cause a hell of a lot of problems.

      There really is no easy solution. The main problem with hospitalization is the very distinct possibility that he will not just be held-but then taken to civil court and be committed. At that point doctors can choose what drugs and at what dosage they want to prescribe psych drugs. He also faces the possibility of transfer to a State Hospital setting and indefinitely being caught up in the system.

      At the same time, in a hospital setting he may decide to take a psych drug voluntarily and then hopefully stabilize and be released- and this time with the goal of tapering slowly and carefully off the drug.

      The best option- like you say- would be a place where he could recover without facing the possibility of being forced to take psych drugs.

      Hard stuff…I hope your son will improve and recover in time.

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      • Jonathan

        You said: “I am trying not to twist your words.” You have done so several times and continue to do so.

        You said: “Forced to call the police is another term for…using force. And it’s somethng I see folks here repeatedly trying to wriggle out of. Though you say you don’t support force ever…is just not true. You support allowing the police to use force in these rare extreme conditions.That is not abolition of force.”

        I DON’T SUPPORT ALLOWING THE POLICE TO USE FORCE. I DON’T SUPPORT THE POLICE NOR DO I WORK FOR THE POLICE! STOP SAYING I DO!

        I work inside THE MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM and so do you. I choose NOT to use ‘force’ within that system. You adamantly defend your RIGHT TO USE ‘FORCE’ INSIDE THE MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM.

        A system, BTW, that I believe you say you are a part of to HELP people with psychological distress GET BETTER. If you want to somehow justify the use of ‘force’ then JOIN THE POLICE. Their role is to maintain “order” not provide compassionate support. In a different type of society they (the police) might be able to do both, unfortunately this is not the world we presently live in.

        Don’t pretend to be a compassionate helper and then sneak in the ‘FORCE’ when the going gets tough and then justify it by saying somehow you are BETTER than the police. YOU ARE DOING THEIR DIRTY WORK FOR THEM.

        Jonathan, as much as I dislike the police, I am forced to call them when I am robbed or assaulted. I avoid them at all costs and barely tolerate them when I have to deal with them.

        A person labeled as “mentally ill” needs to learn how to negotiate the world when they are not forced inside the psych wards; this is an important matter of present day survival. And that means learning how to avoid the police, and learning how to deal with them when confronted by them. If they are breaking the law they need to know that they will have to contend with the police.

        WHY DO YOU DENY THEM THESE LESSONS BY ALLOWING (‘ENABLING”) THEM TO REMAIN WITHIN THE CYCLE OF VIOLENCE INSIDE THE MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM?!

        And I need to remind you again that this is the cycle of violence that you continue to defend your RIGHT TO USE as you see fit.

        It’s your choice. Become a true compassionate helper that condemns ‘force’ in that system, or become a cop. You can’t do both and claim you’re on some type of moral high ground, ‘cuz you ain’t!’

        Richard

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        • I went to the police 4 weeks back with hospital documents demonstrating that I had been drugged with benzodiazepines without my knowledge (a crime). They took the documents and then rang Mental Health Services and told them they had a man in the station “hallucinating”.

          Fortunately they Mental Health Services put them through to my “case worker” who informed them that it was true, I had been drugged with benzodiazepines without my knowledge. So they were forced to take my complaint. Police officer was obviously going to hide the documents when they arrived and I would have been left explaining to a mental health worker how I had been drugged without my knowledge. Very clever really.

          I came away wondering how may people the police use Mental Health Services to make valid complaints disappear by having the complainant detained under the Mental Health Act.

          The removal of the use of force by mental health services would in my opinion also get rid of this politics between police/MH where they try and make the person the others responsibility.

          I’ve spoken to a few people who have had things like threats of pack rape from police to make them appear ill, and then passed off to MH services. I assume the same sort of games go on elsewhere.

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          • Whoops…I should have said police are not allowed in any other Portland hospital units. I have seen them in the ED escorting a patient here.

            But really…you say if I am not part of the solution, I am part of the problem.

            If the solution means cops in hospitals, I don’t want to be part of the solution.

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        • Richard, you said:

          “”A person labeled as “mentally ill” needs to learn how to negotiate the world when they are not forced inside the psych wards; this is an important matter of present day survival. And that means learning how to avoid the police, and learning how to deal with them when confronted by them. If they are breaking the law they need to know that they will have to contend with the police. “”

          Uh, many of them have gotten killed in that situation. Richard, as one who has had a lot of respect for you even though I didn’t always agree with everything you have said, I am absolutely stunned at how unfair I feel you have been to Jonathan and can’t understand that there are issues of gray in these various issues.

          And even if they don’t get killed and are taken to jail, which in case you haven’t heard, does alot of forced drugging also, how is that better for them vs. the situation than what Jonathan describes?

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          • AA

            I appreciate you commenting on this and challenging my position.

            Historically at MIA I have always been very respectful of people who have different views, and I have been very patient in my struggles with them, and will continue to do so.

            I have been much harder on certain doctors and people in positions of power in the system who have been arrogant and condescending in their approach. I believe the more power someone wields within the mental health system, the more damage they can potentially do to people caught within the system.

            These individuals (in positions of power) should be held to a higher standard of evaluation when it comes to examining their views at MIA. Never personally attacked, but their ideas and behaviors rigorously dissected for all to see.

            Jonathan holds such a position of power (at times), but more importantly he is defending one of the cardinal instruments of power that all of Biological Psychiatry is allowed to wield in today’s world – the unmitigated use of ‘FORCE.’

            Jonathan, is no longer someone who is just doing the best he can in difficult circumstances. He is NO LONGER ignorant on this matter. He remains unyielding and never shows ANY humility that he could be wrong on his use of ‘force.’ He has been given (for the past two years) some of the very best narrative stories by survivors detailing psychological harm caused by ‘force,’ and also presented with the highest level of political arguments challenging its role in a supposed “free” society.

            As a so-called “reformer” in our movement, his calcified position on ‘force’ plays a backward role of attempting to make the more radical activists in this movement appear “extreme” and out of touch with reality. This must be exposed for what it is.

            If you carefully read all of Jonathan’s responses to me and my retorts, you will see a growing pattern of unprincipled methods of struggle where he purposely mischaracterizes my positions to make himself sound more reasonable and benign. I am calling him out on his distortions and dodging methods of struggle.

            As the debate around ‘force’ has progressed further, grey is rapidly turning to black. To keep defending ‘force’ in the face of such enlightened calls for its abolition, is to continue walking on a fence that becomes as sharp as a razor blade. A most difficult task (especially for those in positions of power) to perform without eventually having some blood on their hands.

            AA, you said: “And even if they don’t get killed and are taken to jail, which in case you haven’t heard, does alot of forced drugging also, how is that better for them vs. the situation than what Jonathan describes?”

            ‘Force’ inside the mental health system directly kills in some instances, and may very well often “kill” down the road as the cumulative effects of its use takes its toll (over time) on those subjected to it.

            If forced drugging is carried out inside the jails then we should expose it and definitely should demonstrate against it.

            Jails don’t pretend to provide compassionate support for people. The mental health system, and those that work inside it, do pretend to ALWAYS “help” people. We have to stand up and loudly declare that ‘FORCE’ IS NEVER HELP!

            Richard

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          • Bit of a paraphrase Richard but….

            when the bluff is exposed, the apostles of force, being unable to make out a case in reply, with one consent resort to the boycott, and by ignoring what they cannot answer, seek to stop the spread of the unpleasant truth so dangerous to their cause.

            I’m glad Jonathan has had the courage to debate this issue here, and if I have offended him or anyone else forgive me. I am still angry about what has been done to me as a result of ‘intervention’ that I neither wanted, or needed. But as Richard states in the comment, grey has turned to black, and I’m glad that it has.

            I can testify to the damage that is done, minus an illness. No possibility of blaming the resulting trauma on the illness, there wasn’t any. It was a “significant contributing factor” to my suicide attempt. Without the use of force, I do not believe that this would have occurred.

            Don’t think for a moment that the trauma caused is fixed with a couple of weeks of benzos and a chat with a psychologist, because it simply isn’t.

            Please don’t stop pushing on this issue Richard, there are many lives at stake.

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          • AA, thanks for your comments.

            Richard,

            I’m still not sure you understand my position on “force”.

            I am against the use of force in the form of the courts and doctors mandating treatment. By the way, this issue…not the issue of whether to use force in extremely dangerous situations…is the key sticking point in the public arena. Kendra’s law and AOT are the principle methods of using force and should be fought vociferously. We have a legion of opponents to our side on that view. NAMI, Torrey, Murphy, etc.

            I am against the use of coercive force for offering people psychiatric drugs without fully informing people of their perils. Advertising, doctors lectures, misleading information, 5 minute doctor appointments are all subtle but pervasive forms of “force” that we need to oppose. Again, there are a legion of opponents to this view from the AMA, APA to Big Pharma.

            But you have zeroed in on a very narrow use of the force…and magnify it to imply that I support all force. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. I am fundamentally against the “wrongful use of force”. Any survivor story here strikes me as a blatant abuse of power. I am against any blatant abuse of power.

            But you take it a step farther Richard. You demand that force never be used….no matter the circumstance. Or that matters of violence be handed over to the police. I just have to fundamentally disagree.

            Like AA said, police intervention has gotten a lot of people killed. I will fight you or any others who try to suggest that hospitals should now have police involvement in matters of violence.

            Instead. we need humane workers in hospital settings and in the community who understand how to use deescalation skills and will do everything humanly possible to avoid force.

            And yes, there are cases where people step over the line and start inflicting damage on others. That is unacceptable and force is obviously merited. By abdicating force, one would endorse the traumatization of vulnerable people. So of course there should be force in those situations. How could you argue otherwise? But it should be used extremely rare and abuse of power should be fought vociferously.

            In any event, I’m busy today….gonna do some work, enjoy the family and brief windows of sun so I won’t be back to reply. But I hope you and Jonah, and all else here have a good day. Take care,

            Jon

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          • @ Richard D. Lewis and Jonathan Keyes and all others who are participants in this convo,

            In Jonathan’s most recent comment (on October 19, 2014 at 11:41 am), he states,

            ‘I will fight you or any others who try to suggest that hospitals should now have police involvement in matters of violence.’

            The comment to which Jonathan is replying (Richard’s comment on October 19, 2014 at 12:16 am), contains Richard’s adamant conveyance of what is, in my opinion, a perfectly reasonable view, that the police should, of course, be allowed to address extreme threats of violence within psychiatric “hospital” settings and elsewhere.

            Richard wrote,

            ‘Jonathan, as much as I dislike the police, I am forced to call them when I am robbed or assaulted. I avoid them at all costs and barely tolerate them when I have to deal with them.

            A person labeled as “mentally ill” needs to learn how to negotiate the world when they are not forced inside the psych wards; this is an important matter of present day survival. And that means learning how to avoid the police, and learning how to deal with them when confronted by them. If they are breaking the law they need to know that they will have to contend with the police.’

            I agree with that sentiment of Richard’s (except, were it my comment, I’d wish to be clear that some forms of ‘law-breaking’ behavior are quite justifiable).

            Indeed, I deeply appreciate Richard’s blog post and his subsequent comments — especially, that most recent comment to Jonathan Keyes.

            I most completely agree with Richard, as he conveys his sense of consternation, in realizing that Jonathan aims, essentially, to make psychiatric “hospitals” into police-free zones… because I do not believe that anyone should be considered ‘above the law’ — not “patients” nor “hospital” workers.

            (Also, I should add: I believe there can be police who are specially trained to address “hospital” incidents.)

            But, to clarify my own position, here I am taking the liberty of repeating myself verbatim (by providing the most essential excerpts of my first comment above) because I wish to avoid the pitfalls of engaging in a ‘force versus no-force’ argument (even and especially to Richard, who has suggested that Jonathan’s argumentation has included evasiveness — such as a “straw man” — I suggest we stay on point):

            Force may indeed sometimes be needed, to defend individuals (or, perhaps, to defend a number of individuals) who may be vulnerable to a particular person who proves to be threatening.

            But, what kind of force?

            I completely object to force that is designed to be in any way brain-disabling.

            Hence, of course, I object to forced use of neuroleptic drugs (so-called “antipsychotic medication”) and forced use of any other kind of psychotropic drug… and forced use of ECT… and use of tasers.

            In my opinion, there are always better ways of containing people who seem threatening.

            Behavioral interventions should never come by way of forced neuro-invasive procedures…

            Simple as that.

            Respectfully,

            Jonah

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          • Jonathan

            Yes, it is true that you only advocate force in very “limited” circumstances, but this position severely MINIMIZES the potential harm done in those situations and defiantly JUSTIFIES it.

            Just as the internet (since the 90’s) has provided forums and thousands of pages of testimony regarding the harm done by psychiatric drugs, so has the growing number of narratives regarding the harm done by forced drugging and forced hospitalization. Some of the best narratives have appeared at MIA. DO NOT CONTINUE TO IGNORE AND DOWNPLAY THIS VALUABLE EVIDENCE!

            Jonathan, you said:

            “I will fight you or any others who try to suggest that hospitals should now have police involvement in matters of violence.”

            What world are you living in? Police are involved ALL the time in matters of ‘force’ and violence in psychiatric hospitals. Don’t police frequently “escort” aggressive people (in psychological distress) into locked psych wards on a regular basis?

            And when (or if) a psychiatrist or nurse is struck or assaulted by a patient on a psych ward are you telling me that you don’t believe the police are called and that person is prosecuted?

            Jonathan, your support for the “limited” use of ‘force’ leaves the crack of the door open just wide enough to allow Biological Psychiatry to have more justification for keeping it ALL the way open for its pervasive and oppressive forms of ‘force’ and control on a broad scale.

            Jonathan, on this dividing line issue there is no middle ground that will remain stable for long. You are (or will become) either part of the problem or part of the solution.

            Richard

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          • All forced neuro-invasive procedures should be abolished.

            After that point at which anyone becomes perfectly convinced (such as I am perfectly convinced) that any and all forced neuro-invasive procedures are a violation of ones humanity, one may, of course, ask oneself: How can any modern society (and/or any family) best address the seemingly very real threats of violence that may be posed by a potentially deeply emotionally troubled (and, perhaps, also severely cognitively impaired) individual member of that society (and/or family)?

            Typically, such individuals are perceived as suffering a ‘mental disorder.’ Very unfortunately, now more than ever, societies everywhere surrender themselves to the whims of Psychiatry; that leads countless seemingly troubled individuals (including, sadly, millions of young folk) to receiving “diagnoses” of supposed “serious mental illness.”

            Once those “diagnoses” are given, psychiatrists take over.

            At that point, those supposedly “mentally ill” individuals are given no true recourse to justice.

            Fortunately, there are at least a few wise leaders in the world, who hold positions of authority, who are in a position to see through that travesty.

            Please see, for example, the “Statement by Mr. Juan E Mendez Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment” (March 4, 2013):

            “Under the European Convention on Human Rights, mental disorder must be of a certain severity in order to justify detention. I believe that the severity of the [supposed] mental illness cannot justify detention nor can it be justified by a motivation to protect the safety of the person or of others. Furthermore, deprivation of liberty that is based on the grounds of a disability and that inflicts severe pain or suffering falls under the scope of the Convention against Torture.”

            http://dk-media.s3.amazonaws.com/AA/AG/chrusp-biz/downloads/277461/torture_english.pdf

            In my humble opinion, only the severity of ones crime and/or the verifiable proof of an intent to commit that crime can justify ones detention.

            No claims of “mental disorder” or “mental illness” should dissuade a society from allowing the police to detain individuals who prove to be seriously threatening.

            But, I do believe that there should be police who are specially trained in detaining individuals who are seemingly especially confused and/or emotional and are, perhaps, being called by some folk “mentally disordered” or “mentally ill.”

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          • Hey Richard…back for a brief mo before off to the hills to dig up some Oregon grape roots…

            Per your questions…

            1″What world are you living in? Police are involved ALL the time in matters of ‘force’ and violence in psychiatric hospitals. Don’t police frequently “escort” aggressive people (in psychological distress) into locked psych wards on a regular basis?”

            No. Police are not allowed on our units because they carry guns. They are not allowed in any other portland hospital either. At my hospital, they have been asked to remove the guns and all other tazers and weapons and they laugh at the suggestion.

            It’s the main reason I could never support police being allowed in a hospital setting.

            2 “And when (or if) a psychiatrist or nurse is struck or assaulted by a patient on a psych ward are you telling me that you don’t believe the police are called and that person is prosecuted?”

            Police are almost never called because these cases are never prosecuted. The reason is they are deemed “mentally ill” and not responsible for their crime as a legal matter. That could be a thread of its own.

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          • Ugh…these threads get so mixed up…here is where I was hoping that comment would land…

            Whoops…I should have said police are not allowed in any other Portland hospital units. I have seen them in the ED escorting a patient here.

            But really…you say if I am not part of the solution, I am part of the problem.

            If the solution means cops in hospitals, I don’t want to be part of the solution.

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          • Additionally, in reference to my last comment, above (on October 19, 2014 at 2:20 pm):

            Beyond their being afforded what should be considered an inalienable human right to refuse neuro-invasive procedures, individuals who are quite seriously threatening to commit violence against others (and who are, thus, rightfully detained by police), when seeming especially confused and/or troubled emotionally (perhaps, suffering significant cognitive impairment) should, of course, be segregated from the general population of the jail (or the prison) to which they are delivered.

            And, they should be offered special counseling there.

            But, they should be afforded the right to refuse any counseling that they wish to refuse; and, most certainly, they should be afforded the right to refuse psychiatry.

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          • Jonathan

            You said: “If the solution means cops in hospitals, I don’t want to be part of the solution.”

            So you draw the line on no cops in the hospitals, BUT you’ll occasionally use ‘force’ ( forced drugging and restraints) that can sometimes be more harmful than a physical beating by a cop.

            You’ll draw the line on no cops in the hospital, BUT sometimes work along side of a psychiatrist that may be a serial poly-pharmacist or may have recommended (and may actually have carried out) ECT.

            Your stand lacks moral consistency.

            Richard

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          • Jonathan

            And BTW as to solutions, I envision the possibility of a world without psychiatry, therapists , or cops; something your imagination does not seem to believe is possible, even in humanity’s most distant future. Dare to dream!

            Richard

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          • Richard,

            I agree entirely with your last comment (on October 19, 2014 at 3:34 pm).

            You are quite right as you say, at last, to Jonathan Keyes: “Your stand lacks moral consistency.”

            I would just add, that, while it seems to me Jonathan has many good intentions, Jonathan’s ‘stand’ (such as you are referring to his stand against any and all police involvement in the “hospital” where he works), is, above all else, self-serving; and/or, it is a stand taken more on behalf of his fellow psychiatric “hospital” workers, than it is a stand taken on behalf of the psychiatric “patients” he is claiming to serve, by taking that stand.

            I presume a majority of psychiatric “hospital” workers love to think of their workplace as their own domain, that’s immune from police interventions…

            After all, no police interventions means less oversight of “hospital” workers themselves.

            Jonathan explains, “Any survivor story here strikes me as a blatant abuse of power. I am against any blatant abuse of power.”

            But, even when there is not blatant abuse of power, there is a lot of subtle abuse of power in psychiatric “hospital” settings.

            Much of that abuse provokes seeming threats of violence, from “patients” who are involuntarily “hospitalized”.

            Few psychiatric “hospital” workers will openly call for authoritative oversight, of such.

            Well-trained police could mediate such conflicts — and, as they would be trained to listen carefully to one and all (including the “patient” who supposedly is creating a scene), they could even be authorized to make arrests against abusive “hospital” workers, who may, in fact, be responsible for inciting violence.

            In various comments to Jonathan, over the past more than a year since he first began posting here at MIA, I have mentioned the following study (he has never replied to my doing so),

            “Some very interesting information has come to light following a study which has been conducted and published by Dr. Chris Papadopoulos…”

            “The study, a brainchild of Professor Len Bowers who leads a research programme into conflict and containment within acute psychiatric wards at the Institute of Psychiatry (Kings College London), suggests that it is the ward staff, and not the patients, who play the key role in influencing how much conflict and containment occur on psychiatric wards.

            “Conflict events include violence, verbal abuse, rule breaking, use of alcohol or illegal drugs, self-harm, medication refusal and absconding by patients. Containment events are what staff do to deal with the conflict event, such as giving medication, secluding a patient, or manually restraining them…”

            See: http://www.mentalhealthy.co.uk/news/1551-new-insight-into-acute-inpatient-psychiatric-care.html

            Consider the possibility of well-trained police being called to ‘containment events’ wherein a “patient” was claiming to have been provoked by some “hospital” worker(s).

            Very few “hospital” workers would ever choose to call for police, in such instances; and, I do not doubt that the majority of ‘containment events’ in psychiatric “hospitals” are provoked by “hospital” workers…

            Whether or not Jonathan would ever admit it, I believe that is why Jonathan does not say, at last, that he’d quite happily lobby to have specially trained/unarmed police intervene, when “hospital” workers make claims of serious threats coming from “patients”.

            Most psychiatric “hospital” workers surely appreciate the power that’s given them, to quell all seeming threats by way of forced drugging.

            So…

            Jonathan exclaims (on October 19, 2014 at 11:41 am), “‘I will fight you or any others who try to suggest that hospitals should now have police involvement in matters of violence.”

            To me, that ‘stand’ of his is morally indefensible but quite understandable.

            Respectfully,

            Jonah

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          • “But you take it a step farther Richard. You demand that force never be used….no matter the circumstance. ”
            You’re building a strawman again.
            All that Richard says is that it is not psychiatry’s business to use for on people they’re supposed to help. A psychiatrist faced with violence should have the exact same rights as any other human being: when attacked directly defend oneself or if possible avoid it and call the police. Then the police should deal with it accordingly.
            That being said – these kinds of situations are a miniscule percentage of all the psychiatric uses of force. The so-called abuses of power are 99.9999…% of them. Using force because someone “doesn’t have time” to do his/her job (I’m a quoting the torturer who chose to abuse me because she didn’t have time to do what she was paid to do as a “doctor”), because someone disagrees with you, because someone’s annoying, because you are in a real-life Stanford prison experiment and experiencing a power trip… The abuses of power are a rule.
            Accordingly, you’re constantly coming back to the false alternative “prison or hospital”/”being and killed/traumatized in psych ward”/”being killed/traumatized in jail”. These are not the only alternatives and US police and prison system is a total failure which it does not need to be. Pretending that they are only allows the system to continue. This is not an argument for force in hospitals, this is an argument for police and prison reform.

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      • Richard, thanks for taking on Jonathan and his convoluted arguments for psychiatric violence.

        Let’s get it clear –“mental health” workers for the most part ARE cops by another name, and the ‘mental; health” system is a penal system by another name. So what is really being discussed is which of these variations on a theme should be handed the job of protecting society from violent criminals.

        The “justice” system in theory should be doing this. That doesn’t mean that a justice system which practices torture and frames people up should be accepted. But at least the violence of that system is not presented as benevolent and is not employed in the name of health care.

        Btw there will be institutional violence as long as capitalism is allowed to exist. Which is, of course, the elephant in the corner in these discussions.

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        • Exactly. The whole argument from Jonathan seems to be: “the only alternative to the use of force by me is the use of force by police”. Like the use of force by psychiatry is any better than the use of force by police. In fact is often worse because it included mind rape (which Jonathan admitted using), for which there’s no justification at all.
          Plus in the legal system you have due process. You don’t have one in psychiatry (and please don’t pretend like the civil commitment and other sad jokes are due process).
          If it’s torture when done by a psychopath to a sane person it is torture when done to a “schizophrenic” by a “compassionate doctor”. Torture is torture period.

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    • gardenlisa
      Go to Dr. Michael Cornwall’s article posted here at MIA.
      ” Will Psychiatry’s Harmful Treatment of our Children Bring About it’s Eventual Demise ? ”

      Look at my (Fred Abbe) suggestions there in the comment’s near the bottom of the comments .
      Keep your son where he is try the 9 herb formula as a very strong tea with fresh lemon or lime a cup 4- 6 times a day if possible possible . (no sugar) Also make him 32 in total oz. a day of fresh green leafy vegetable juice mixed 50/50 with spring or filtered water . For example organic if possible romaine or green leaf lettuce some fresh garlic, cucumber, flax seeds, celery, whole medium size carrot or 1/4 of an apple, broccoli, half squeezed lemon.
      Till you get the 9 herb formula made in equal parts use organic camomile.
      See if he’ll go for it . It will help bring him toward equilibrium as he adjusts without the drug.
      3000 mgs of niacin ( flushing kind) if combined with taking a hot mineral bath containing natural occurring lithium and other minerals. Let him rub down with luffa. Otherwise use 3000 mg. of niaciamide (non flushing kind ) if won’t soak in mineral bath. Richard Schultze’s formula # 1 intestinal formula 3 capsules or more a day or back off to find right amount to prevent constipation. http://www.herbdoc.com ( search the internet to find best deal on other herbs to make 9 herb formula . Some of these are my own ideas or innovations won’t cause harm . I’m a psych survivor med free. I wonder if also your son is suffering from mercury poisoning from dental amalgam which are 53% mercury. In that case he’ll eventually need advanced Hal Huggins dental work done . These are just suggestions that will work along with a vegan diet preferably or near to it. Some exercise would help even walking.It’s worth a try. The info is more solid then what you’ll hear from any “professional ” I ever heard of.
      Best Wishes, Fred
      Also check post and comments ,search at MIA Seroquel —— After Seroquel by Nancy Rubenstein DelGiudice june 25, 2012 will pop up . Catagorized in OP-EDS, popular
      read her article and all the comments that she answers , there is better workable info there on how to wean off then even Dr. Bregin’s $ 50 book.

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        • I appreciate your suggestions, but unfortunately, we wouldn’t be in this situation if my son had followed the suggestions made by myself and the naturopath we saw. Before he went CT, he was taking 3000 mg niacinimide, in addition to several other supplements. He had already quit an anti depressant and anxiety meds successfully. He was doing pretty well, then he went CT off zyprexa.

          And, here we are.

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          • I’m so sorry for you and your son. Zyprexa is a real torture drug and by many accounts one of the worst both in terms of “side effects” and withdrawal. I hope you’ll get through it.

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    • @gardenlisa IMO coldturkey does not inflict permanent harm.

      When off the psychiatric drugs emotional control is much more difficult, as the emotions have been suppressed by the drugs. I write my feeling out on paper to help purge myself of them.

      If your son can not understand the necessity of food and cleanliness, that is a serious cognitive problem.

      His brother can not reason with him if he is complaining to you about the cleanliness?

      Violence will occur when/if your son confronts the other son.

      He has to understand the necessity of food and cleanliness.
      Does he have money to buy food/make a budget? A way to get to the store? A list of food he wants to eat? Does he know how to clean? Does he have the cleaning tools?
      He is changing from child to adult, and if he himself can not perceive the necessity of food and cleanliness as an adult he deserves to lose his freedom.
      When I was his age I was depressed. Is depression (not caring) the reason he doesn’t look after himself?

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      • I agree, markps2. I would not want my sons to be living together if one was psychotic. It can lead to violence. Again, I recommend the Families Healing Together course taught by Krista McKinnon. Recovery can be learned and practiced by family members. But first, they need knowledge.

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        • “I would not want my sons to be living together if one was psychotic.”

          Rossa hi,

          With all due respect, I can’t help but wonder: Why are you using the “psychotic” label to describe commenter gardenlisa’s son?

          I have (earlier today) read all of gardenlisa’s comments (i.e., all that she’s posted on this website); and, like you yourself describe, I too have been following the comment discussion that’s been generated by gardenlisa’s comments here on this page.

          Also, I agree with you as you indicate that markps2’s suggestion is correct: from all gardenlisa describes (not only in this MIA comment thread but also in previous MIA comment threads), there may be some considerable potential for violence erupting, between the two of gardenlisa’s sons who are now living together, as long as those sons continue to live together with no clear resolution of their differences.

          (Please, note prominently: As I speak of their differences, I am refusing to presume that all the problems between them are derived from just one of them; though, yes her family is now apparently most troubled by their most seemingly troublesome one-time identified “patient” — who is notably, as well, from gardenlisa’s description, a victim of psychiatric abuse.)

          Actually, I deeply respect gardenlisa, for she is very sincerely striving to resist initiating another psychiatric “hospitalization” for her son.

          That continuing resistance of hers is very good for one and all, imho.

          Moreover, it’s very good, I think, that none of her comments ever refer to “psychosis” (she literally never refers to “psychosis” nor calls anyone “psychotic” — at least, not thus far — in any of her MIA commenting).

          I don’t know what her thinking is, regarding that label, but I view it as worse than needless, as it is (imo) inevitably personally damaging.

          I am very glad that markps2 completely opposes forced drugging, but I do not agree with him as he claims, “If you are reasonable you would see the need for forced hospitalization.” (Note: he was not referring to gardenlisa’s son, at that point; she had not yet posted her first comment on this page.)

          It’s my conviction, that no one should ever be “hospitalized” (and, certainly not against his/her own will) for emotional, psychological and/or behavioral issues — nor either for any kind of relationship difficulties, whether in and amongst family systems or elsewhere.

          Clearly, from what she says in her comments, gardenlisa’s son who was formerly accepting his role as psychiatric “patient” is now rejecting it. To reject that role should be his right, no matter what…

          It’s a very smart move, on his part, that he is rejecting it (as I believe he is rejecting it, based on my readings of his mom’s MIA comments) and is rejecting “hospitalization”.

          No less, I think he should refuse to allow himself to buy into psychiatry’s labels — including that “psychotic” label, which you’ve now casually placed upon him.

          I know you mean well, but many people claim to have been “psychotic” — and describe having gotten over the sufferings that that label implied (and, furthermore, others may accept they are over those sufferings); but, somehow the “psychotic” label continues to haunt them.

          After all, many folk will never accept as ‘fully recovered’ any friend or relative who was ever once officially deemed “psychotic”; and, so, I think that any and all seeming validation, claimed verification and acceptance of that label should be avoided.

          Let’s leave ‘hospitals’ for actual medical issues and let’s find language that’s not pathologizing, to describe our human experiences.

          Even when encountering individuals who want to be called “psychotic” (some folk who I otherwise respect seem to enjoy claiming that label, as a fairly descriptive reflection of their own experiences), I will not accede to join them; I will not refer to them nor to their experiences in that way…

          (Always I keep the terms “psychotic” and “psychosis” sandwiched in quotation marked or inverted commas.)

          Likewise, while some claim to have had positive experiences, in psychiatric “hospitals” (especially amongst those few who experienced no psychiatric coercion), I know far more people claim to have had negative experiences in them — including, of course, countless “patients” who’ve been “involuntarily committed”.

          And, I can’t help but question the various accounts I hear of supposedly “positive” psychiatric “hospital” experiences…

          (Note: I believe that many who’ve been involuntarily and coercively ‘treated’ by psychiatry claim to have had positive experiences in psychiatric “hospitals” mainly to avoid ‘medical’ persecution by their doctors, family and/or ‘friends’ — or else, are simply suffering from Stockholm syndrome, which is a very real and serious psychological problem, that is often caused by medical-coercive psychiatry.)

          I believe such “hospitals” (and, in particular, “involuntary hospitalizations”) cannot reasonably be expected to teach any “patient” either how to better understand themselves or how to relate better to others.

          Nor either does the classic psychiatric “hospital” designation of “psychotic” teach anyone anything…

          Please, forgive me for having gone on and on more than I probably should (perhaps, I am beating a dead horse); I guess this is an extension of my earlier entreaties, to you (of more than a year ago), to consider the many potentially negative consequences of your referring to your son with use of the term “schizophrenia”.

          But, I realize you are doing your best and am truly wishing you and yours well, always…

          Respectfully,

          Jonah

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          • Btw, there’s one more problem that gardenlisa may need to face: I of course don’t know the details of her family history but if they did previously participate in forcing/coercing her son into the system his aggressive stance and refusal to follow advice may be a result of this. I’m not saying that this is any fault of her or her family (sometimes families have no other choice but to comply or lose any control over what is done to their loved ones) but it would explain the lack of trust, paranoia etc. It can take a long time to heal and a lot of good will on both sides to overcome things like that.
            Psychiatry destroys individuals but psychiatry also destroys people’s relationships to their spouses, parents, kids.

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    • Gardenlisa,
      Only women bleed. Are we the only women commenting on this string? We are the ones “stuck” with the practicalities of the the problem. Going cold turkey off meds is not a solution, but neither is going slowly off them either, as I found out with my son. He still went psychotic, and ended up, much to my regret, in the hospital. There is a huge learning curve involved here. My son is in really good shape today, but it has taken many years and lots of different interventions. Much as I am against them, there is a place for meds. If your son goes back on them, insist that they be at the lowest effective dose, which is not the same as the lowest recommended dose; He may possibly do very well on a fraction of a dose. Psychosis is awful, and very destructive to goodwill. In an ideal world, there would be lots of help, but in the world we live in, there is not. But, much depends on how the family interacts with their relative. I highly recommend the Families Healing Together course. It can change your life.
      http://www.mentalhealthexcellence.org/families-healing-together-offers-innovative-online-family-mental-health-recovery-education/

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      • Thank you for your reply, Rossa. I keep trying to comment, but my Kindle turned off twice before I could post. Here’s my third try:

        I have taken the families healing together course you mentioned. It was very helpful and I should reread some of it soon.

        I know many of you won’t like what I have to say, but…..

        Seven years ago, we had no option, but to have our child (he was 15 at the time) forced into “treatment” at the hospital. I know it sounds horrible, and I feel awful about it after everything I’ve learned this year (started by reading, “Anatomy of an Epidemic” last December), but our entire family was being damaged by his behavior. My younger children were terrified of their brother at times. I still worry about the psychological damage that they have experienced because of his frightening actions and words. We didn’t know what else to do, and were promised solutions by the doctors and hospital…in the form of pills. And, you know what? It helped. We were able to deal with our son after that. somewhat. He wasn’t actually “well”, but he was safer to have around after that.

        And, that all ended after he went CT off his zyprexa.

        I know that it looks like we took away his rights and violated his freedom, but what about the rest of the family? Our freedom and rights were all dictated by the one son who was struggling to be mentally well.

        Before he went to the hospital in 2007, it was truly a nightmare. I spent countless nights awake with our son because he would cry hysterically from fear of sleep. We went out of our way to give him the things he needed, like a more comfortable bed and special clothing. If he didn’t sleep, the whole family suffered. I read to him and talked to him and comforted him when he was at his worst. I watched the same movie over and over to keep him company when he had no friends and his siblings could barely stand to be with him. I scratched his head, back, arms, and legs as physical therapy to help him relax at night. He was really hard to deal with at times, and the entire family was often controlled by his OCD issues. For example, we couldn’t watch certain channels or programs on TV, or he would have a complete meltdown. He would often stand in front of the refrigerator,with the door open for an hour or more, tapping something over and over. Our younger kids were traumatized by him at times.

        (Even after he started taking the psyche drugs, things weren’t that good, but at least we could sleep at night most of the time.)

        I know that the drugs have damaged him. I know that the brain chemical imbalance theory is a lie. I know that going CT off his zyprexa has damaged him pretty badly. I know that the doctors shouldn’t have started him on the drugs in the beginning. But, knowing all of this doesn’t help him. Or us. We are still a hurting family with no real solutions for our loved one.

        He has been the center of so much attention and time. We HAVE given him what we could, and tried to show unconditional love. But, how can we give and give and give to him, to the neglect of the other children? They need love and attention, too.

        We are in limbo. We don’t know what tomorrow holds for our son. We can’t throw him out on the street. He really is too ill for that. We can’t take him to the hospital, knowing what we know. It would be terrible to get him back in that system after everything. But, it’s hard NOT to do this! He just is NOT WELL. Mentally, I don’t know if he is experiencing delusions or psychosis, but I don’t think it’s too bad. His moods are unpredictable and he is often angry. He has serious memory and cognitive problems. And, all of his senses are all on overload. His body and muscles are weak.

        Do you have any idea what we are experiencing? We all love him. We want him to get well. We want him to have a REAL life again. Not what his life is like right now- staying in his room all day with the curtains closed, hot sauce splashed across every wall, crap all over the floor, torn clothing and sheets over the doors and around the bed. Various cans, bottles,pitchers, dishes, and silverware strewn about.

        Do you know what it’s like to have your son hate you, call you filthy names, and treat you like an enemy after years of practically being his only real advocate? This is my life now. I miss my son. I feel like I’ve lost him.

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        • “I know many of you won’t like what I have to say, but…”

          gardenlisa,

          From what you’re saying, it seems maybe you’re worried about being judged here, but it’s hard for me to imagine that anyone could read your comments, by this point, and come to judge you.

          Anyone who reads all your comments fully should realize, you’re doing the best that you know how to do, and you’re learning as you go along.

          (Of course, I’m only one person, speaking only for himself; others may feel differently.)

          (I suppose someone could possibly judge you, upon read your comments, because this is the Internet, after all; there’s always the possibility of being judged here, even over the smallest of matters.)

          Anyway…

          I hope you don’t mind me saying, I think, from what you’re describing, that it’s most important that your son be viewed as someone who can become fully self-responsible, in time — and (moreover) happy.

          I know what I’m saying could seem presumptuous, I could seem as though someone lacking enough understanding, to offer suggestions; but, were I you, I’d think of this time, currently, as your son’s low point, in life.

          He has hit ‘rock-bottom’ (from all you’re describing).

          I would do everything possible to begin developing complete faith that he will get better and better, from this point forward — if only gradually (beginning now).

          This may seem like wishful thinking, but it needn’t be that; you can develop a plan, which helps to make it so…

          I would develop a plan and assure myself that any set-backs will only be temporary.

          Essential to that plan, is that, beginning now, I would envision my son becoming a fully self-responsible man; toward that end, I’d become absolutely determined to methodically encourage my son to become more self-responsible.

          I would do that by offering him healthy choices.

          In one of your comments (I believe it may have been on a different MIA comment thread) you mentioned mild autism.

          Possibly, that indicates his troubles began in his gut (i.e., sensitivities in his digestive tract).

          And, here (in your comment above), you say “He would often stand in front of the refrigerator, with the door open for an hour or more, tapping something over and over.”

          Perhaps, he was doing what we all do, as we’re trying to find something satisfying to eat? …only, he may be somewhat more perplexed than most people are when they stand there.

          He has to learn how to eat in a way that is right for him.

          That takes time — and initiative.

          In my humble opinion, he has to learn that others have raised themselves up from roughly where he is in his life, now.

          He needs to realize, happiness is possible.

          He’ll need to well consider and make healthy choices… that can effectively take care of himself physically and take care the environment in which he’s living… because his environment is mirroring his life condition.

          The more he can take responsibility for the condition of his environment (of course, at first, he may need help caring for it), and the more he can learn to make healthy choices, eating and caring for his own physical hygiene (even if/when those positive changes come gradually), the more you’ll see improvements in his life condition overall, his ability to experience happiness.

          And, he may need help from an understanding personal coach, to get him moving in those directions.

          In any even, he must be offered choices.

          Everything you’ve said has indicated that, all along, you’ve been doing the best that you know how to do for your son.

          I fully trust you’ll continue doing so.

          Respectfully,

          Jonah

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          • P.S. — @ gardenlisa,

            If you are interested in finding a personal coach for your son, were I you, I’d Google these four words: “William Glasser Choice Theory”

            (Note: Dr. Glasser was a psychiatrist who developed a clear method of helping people, that effectively teaches self-responsibility, the importance of making healthy choices; he was not into prescribing drugs, nor was he into “hospitalizing” people.)

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          • You have no idea how encouraged I feel right now by your reply. I really appreciate it.
            My son had obvious signs of mild autism even as a baby. As he grew, he matured and was a pretty happy, normal child. He was extraordinarily gifted with an amazing memory and had obsessive interests that were also a gift to the rest of us, because we all learned so much from him!
            When he lost his friend (through a family shunning us), his life took a huge turn for the worse. He became very depressed and had outbursts that made the other children afraid. We tried counseling. We took him to see his pediatrician, who suggested antidepressants, which we refused. We saw a child psychiatrist, who was no help at all, as he wouldn’t even listen to my son, who was longing to express his emotions to someone who could help him.
            Finally, the pediatrician suggested strattera, which some stupid report said “helped” autistic people. We resisted at first, but when his behavior got worse, we decided to try it. No other options seemed available. He was 12 years old.

            I’m sure that was the initial problem. And I regret it so much.

            My son developed severe OCD as a result of that drug, I believe. We stopped giving it to him about 9 months into drug therapy, but he didn’t improve. I didn’t make the connection between the strattera and the developing OCD at the time.
            It’s been hell for us. Why don’t they tell you that giving just one, innocent-sounding psyche drug to a child can lead to all this crap?

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        • “Do you know what it’s like to have your son hate you, call you filthy names, and treat you like an enemy after years of practically being his only real advocate? This is my life now. I miss my son. I feel like I’ve lost him.”

          I understand your pain but I also understand his position. I have told my family that if they ever turn me over to psychiatry I will never talk to them again. You may have done that in the best faith and when you felt you had no choice but you also have to understand that you son could see you as his enemy because of that. I don’t know how it was before you decided to hospitalize him the first time but such things never help.
          I really don’t know how to fix something that’s so badly broken. I feel for you and hope you’ll find a way.

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  14. I’m afraid I didn’t explain that my son isn’t cooperating on any level right now, so, although I appreciate the herbs/ mineral baths ideas…….It’s not going to happen.

    I’m encouraged to think that maybe he will recover. How long will it take, I wonder?

    About a month ago, we were pretty convinced he needed to go to the hospital. The mental health agency in our city wouldn’t send anyone over, and suggested either: getting him to agree to go to the hospital with us, OR calling the police.

    We chose to do “talk therapy” (basically, me trying to calm him down for 3 1/2 hours), instead. It worked enough that we were able to go home and not worry for a while.

    I can’t really reason with him, he has a terrible memory, and is anxious, weak, and sleeps poorly.

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    • Man….really challenging. One thing is that I would hope you are getting some support for yourself because that is really hard stuff you are going through.

      I was saying before, I try to steer people away from hospitalization as much as humanly possible…but if he is truly talking about death wishes against the family that is scary stuff. I know people who are fundamentally opposed to psychiatry who have brought family members into a hospital setting because of the fear of violence. It’s a very hard decision to make.

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      • Yeah, there have been a few days in the past three months that we almost forced the hospital. However, we are really glad that we haven’t done that so far. He usually calms down and we can go another week before we have new issues.

        I am pretty concerned that he isn’t interacting much with anyone. He broke his phone several weeks ago, and doesn’t want a new one for now. He spends much of his day either trying to sleep out searching the internet. And, maybe cutting clothing up?

        I feel like his room needs a deep cleaning, but I can’t imagine when I could do that, since he won’t let me do much in there.

        As far as support…..I don’t have much. I mean, my family loves me and cares about their brother (son, cousin, nephew), but I’m the one who cleans and shops for him. I’m the one who feels the deep burden of this whole situation. I have friends I share with on Facebook, also, but most of the time I feel like everyone else is just tired of hearing about him and his problems. I really don’t blame them. Iwish I could just run away from it all. But, I can’t just forget and stop caring about him.

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        • gardenlisa,

          That’s a hard path to walk. And it’s esepcially hard if you don’t have a lot of support. So much of the time folks are isolated in these situations. That’s wonderful that he was able to wean off the anti-depressants and anxiety meds and that he was seeing a naturopath. Zyprexa, and all the antipsychotics can just be horrible to quit.

          Sometimes the family member will take a lot of the anger/pain/confusion out on the parents and the rest of the family. Is there any way to bring someone in outside of the family to encourage him to start doing healthy things…clean, shower, eat?

          You asked about recovery…at some point his neurochemistry will adjust to being completely off zyprexa and that process is really helped by nutritious food, rest, good sleep. As an herbalist and someone who works with people withdrawing off psych drugs, I second Fred’s ideas of offering good supplements too but it sounds like it’s hard to interact on this level.

          Sometimes people experience prolonged discomfort, neurological disorganization and extreme states for quite a while after withdrawal. Recovery can look uneven. Having family members and friends around who are supportive and offer unconditional love and care is vital. It sounds like you are playing that main role and it can really burn people out…it’s really helpful to do a lot of self care so you can help him.

          Anyways, hope you and your son find a way through to a better place…

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        • gardenlisa October 18, 2014 at 9:30 pm said:
          “his room needs a deep cleaning”
          IMO if it is his room, he has to clean it.
          I assume he has the capability to clean it. Or can hire someone to clean it.
          A “seriously mentally ill” friend of mine pays for a cleaner to clean his apartment.
          You have to decide if he is a child or an adult and let him make mistakes and/or live with his decisions.

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        • Have you thought also maybe you’re indulging him too much? I understand all the issues he has and the guilt you seem to have over it but sometimes one has to take a stand. Sometimes the best way to cure an alcoholic from his addiction is to kick him out on the street and tell him to come back when his sober (worked for my grandfather).

          I’m not necessarily suggesting you kick your son onto the streets, it seems like a bad idea given what you’ve written about him but maybe you should just go in an clean the room (or give him a choice: either you do it until tomorrow or I’ll do it). I don’t know how strong he is but if you have family members around you should make sure to be prepared in case he gets violent that he doesn’t harm you. There’s some chance that he’ll see that he can’t hide in his room and do what he wants with you forever. I know it may be hard for him to understand your position if he indeed has a form of autism but you should try to explain to him the rules.

          I think the biggest problem here is how to deal with the situation to improve it while not risking escalation that will lead to further abuse of your son. It’s a very thin line to walk…

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  15. I’ve made some comments above trying to resolve my own conflicts about this issue of the use of force.

    It really does come down to two attitudes. If the person is in the position where they have the right to consent, “on hold” as I believe it is called in the US, then they have the “right to refuse” treatment.

    Camp 1. No means No

    Camp 2 The b&^%$ch was asking for it, her mouth said no, but the the other signals said yes.

    I am firmly entrenched in camp 1. The hospital staff that I have had the misfortune to come across were firmly entrenched in camp 2.

    Now in most instances patients go along with the requests of hospital staff, and everybody is fine. But on occasions you get the odd one that doesn’t consent, so you need to maybe use a little coercion, and well if she keeps saying No maybe have your mates from the football club surround her and pull a knife or something, pin her down and give her the treatment. I mean she said yes to coffee right?

    Where’s the loophole in our sexual assault laws? How can you make a No into an “emergency” that requires forcing sex onto someone?

    I’m staying firmly in the No means No camp, and I’m sure that the hospital staff will stay with the B^%&tch was asking for it camp.

    Once again Richard, thanks for writing this article, it has without doubt made me resolute in my position on the abolition of the use of force.

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    • Well, I have this problem with the state using violence on people in the name of violence prevention. Abduction, imprisonment, assault, torture, everything up to, and beyond, murder, renamed “treatment”, and with this spin claiming the violence involved has something to do with medical science. On top of this, enacting legislation against self-defense by dis-arming the completely innocent targets of this violence, again making some far fetched claim that this action is in the name of violence prevention. This time the crazy people didn’t do it, it was the crazy politicians that did it.

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      • I’ve just had a revelation of sorts.

        I sent a letter to our Chief Psychiatrist making a complaint about being examined when I had explicitly denied consent.

        He sends a letter back claiming that the Doctor had a “desgnation and authority” under the Act.

        I send a letter back asking where in the Act this was because I had denied the right to touch me.

        He then falls silent on the issue because putting in writing that saying no constitutes an “emergency” would look kind of silly for him really. Better he falls silent on the fact that the public has no right to consent at all. I mean imagine the problems that might cause if the public were aware that no such right exists. It’s an illusion, a trick of the light.

        Like dinner with a rapist, you say yes all’s fine, you say no…..welcome to Hell.

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        • Legal question.

          I am on a “hold” and the Doctor wishes to physically examine me. I state that “you do not have my consent to conduct this examination, and if you do it will constitute an assault”. He proceeds with the examination as refusing constitutes an “emergency” and places an object (tongue depressor) into my mouth. I then bury my thumb up to my wrist in his eye socket.

          What’s is going to happen? An emergency will be declared? Already has been, someone said the word No. Perhaps they were negligent in an emergency situation?

          Chances are I would be given the needle and ‘treated’. However, isn’t their a legal problem for the hospital here? They would be forced into arguing in court that saying no constituted an emergency, and I just don’t see that holding water with ‘reasonable’ people.

          Anyone know a good lawyer and someone who can refer me for an examination by a psychiatrist lol.

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          • @boans October 19, 2014 at 3:54 am
            Use common sense.
            Is the doctor a licensed doctor? Yes
            Who does the doctor work for?
            What is the doctors job?

            Are you really being assaulted?
            No, so “bury my thumb up to my wrist in his eye socket. ” is an unreasonable amount of force response to his/her effort to examine your physical health.

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          • Oh it was an assault markps2.

            He knew it and I knew it. Had no right to examine me when I had explicitly stated that he couldn’t. And I don’t know about trying to reason with unreasonable people like that.

            No right to touch me, then don’t do it, because you might be surprised at the response.

            Anyway, he has cancer now and will be meeting his maker soon. Lets hope he’s a little more forgiving than I am.

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          • “bury my thumb up to my wrist in his eye socket. ” is an unreasonable amount of force response to his/her effort to examine your physical health.

            And having 12 people restrain and drug a person for saying NO to drugs they know will harm them isn’t? Bit of consistency on the standards might be nice.

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  16. I have been posting on this thread because I don’t know what else to do. Being able to read these articles and interact with many of you is the only thing helping me stay calm enough with the situation with our son. Otherwise, I would probably do something desperate and “force” him back into treatment. It’s really hard right now. Really hard.

    If his older brother ever decides he just can’t take living with him anymore, we wouldn’t have any other options, I fear. I feel like crying much of the time.

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    • gardenlisa,

      there’s a lot about the situation you have described that I can’t understand. I’ve never been in a situation like yours and probably never will. I don’t have any good advice, or solutions, or even anyone I could say “talk to this person or..”

      What I do want to say is that I’m glad your talking about your experience because it’s an important perspective for me to hear. I feel sure that you would probably done things very differently if you knew what you know now. I know my wife handed me over to these people thinking they would ‘help’. They did nothing of the sort and ended up destroying something that could have been repaired with a bit of talking.

      Your son will be suffering significant trauma as a result of the treatment he has received. Is more of that really going to help? The gun is there anytime you want, but know the damage that can be done if you do pick it up.

      my prayers are with you.

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    • Gardenlisa,

      I feel your pain, we are going through something similar with my son although your situation sounds more difficult.

      We have had some success with blitzing his room. We cleared it, stripped it bare, cleaned it, painted it white, put in new carpet, curtains and light, and then put the basics back in without all the crap. He now has a clean, calm space, which he appears to appreciate and he is treating it, and possibly himself, with a little more respect. He is definitely sleeping better and even bathing more. It is also a lot easier to keep on top of when he won’t do it himself (a quick tidy up when he is not in there). It isn’t the key to his complete recovery but it has certainly helped, and equally importantly, also helped the family dynamic.

      It’s just a suggestion; I realise it might be impossible for you to accomplish, but if you can see a way to do it and enlist the necessary help it may be worth a try ? It will probably also make YOU feel better, to have done something positive and tangeable.

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  17. Hi, Richard, thank you for a wonderful post.

    I wanted to comment on the issues raised by Jonathan and some of the responses. My apologies, but I could not deal with figuring out the appropriate spot within the threads, so I just am making my own comment here. Anyways, I have read everything on MIA that Jonathan has written regarding this topic. As a person who works in a state hospital, I can understand the concerns and the very real problem of dealing with violent behavior. There have been moments in reading his blogs that I question my own beliefs. This current blog and all the responses, however, has finally allowed me to feel secure in my very firm belief that there is never, ever, ever, any justification for psychiatry to have the legal right to use force. Period.

    I completely agree with everybody who has brought up the issue of breaking the law; if a person breaks the law, then they should learn to deal with the consequences. Not doing so, and creating some alternative “treatment” avenue because somebody is “sick” is probably the biggest impediment to getting past #1 the association of violence with “mental illness” and #2 the learned helplessness of those who have been so misfortunate to end up in the system. I have nothing to add to this.

    Jonathan’s argument, I now realize, is akin to saying “well, the police abuse worse than use, so what we do isn’t so bad.” I grew up in an abusive home, and this was exactly the same tactic used to get me to believe my parents when they said they were not abusing me. I call BS. If the law were to change, as it should, and all use of force was deemed illegal, then the system would adapt. The system would learn new ways of preventing the violence in the first place (i.e., actually listening to people before they get to the point of resorting to violence). Those instances where somebody assaults another is an instance of breaking the law. Period. This leads to my second point.

    The prison system is also abysmal. Both systems need an overhaul. Imagine a prison system that actually treated ALL of its inmates humanely? Jonathan, are you arguing that only the “sick” should be given that opportunity? That somehow it’s ok that “those other criminals” get the crap beat out of them daily and thrown in solitary for months at a time? We wouldn’t have such a crime-ridden society and such extraordinarily high rates of recidivism if we had compassion for the individuals being incarcerated in the first place. In Sweden, they do not live in such a retributive society; their criminals are exposed to real rehabilitation and compassion. And guess what? They have the lowest rates of recidivism in the world to the point that they have closed many of their prisons. EVERYONE deserves this opportunity.

    We live in a society that is short-sighted and cannot see beyond the immediate future. If the laws were to change, there surely would be immediate chaos and sad and unfortunate consequences. But, the system would adapt. And, in the long run, people would no longer be traumatized by those benevolent souls who dedicate their lives to “helping” people. Frank Blankenship’s statement above regarding the Nazis is pretty accurate in this regard. Change is hard. But, it is absolutely imperative.

    Thanks again Richard for a great piece.

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    • Hey Noel. Thanks for your thoughts.

      I think we are all in agreement that

      I think you raise some key points and I see you are in agreement with Ruchard and others when you say…

      ” I completely agree with everybody who has brought up the issue of breaking the law; if a person breaks the law, then they should learn to deal with the consequences. Not doing so, and creating some alternative “treatment” avenue because somebody is “sick” is probably the biggest impediment to getting past #1 the association of violence with “mental illness” and #2 the learned helplessness of those who have been so misfortunate to end up in the system.”

      I just want to ask how you would look at things given this example. A man is in his home going through some delusions that his parents are aliens and they need to be killed. He actively starts hitting and attacking them. Police would likely be called…but where should he go? Does he deserve to be tried in front of a court and put in prison for this episode?

      How about if someone is on the street with command hallucinations telling him to break into a house and find a Bible? What should happen if they do that? Prison for breaking and entering?

      My hope is that we can create centers where people can go that do not require psych drugs and the person can work through their episode without having to be criminalized for psychosis. But right now we are left with really poor options.

      Many of these folks end up in hospitals because we have not created an alternative non-medical infrastructure. They come and so do people who have a history of being predatory and assaultive. At rare times I have had to protect vulnerable people in that setting from people who have a criminal background. If you call the rare instance of defending vulnerable people “abusive” I wonder how you would approach helping and defending them? I have already said cops won’t put down their guns to come in…so how do you work with those situations?

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      • Oh…you asked about prisons. I think far greater attention should be placed on prisons as well as hospitals. The stat I quoted above says there are 350,000 people with mental illness in prisons and about 35,000 in hospitals. MIA needs to shine a serious spotlight on the immense crimes being committed in the penal system.

        We need to create centers for people to experience psychosis without the threat of mandated treatment.

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        • Jonathan Keyes offers two hypothetical situations (on October 20, 2014 at 4:54 pm); I know he’s offering them to another commenter, but, oh well; I can’t resist offering the following response…

          Hypothetical Situation #1

          “A man is in his home going through some delusions that his parents are aliens and they need to be killed. He actively starts hitting and attacking them. Police would likely be called…but where should he go? Does he deserve to be tried in front of a court and put in prison for this episode?”

          To answer Jonathan’s first question, above, I must say…

          Actually, there could be no way of knowing for certain whether (or to what extent) such a hypothetical man truly believed that his parents were aliens — as opposed to this possibility, that he was just claiming to believe that his parents were aliens.

          Likewise (and, possibly, more to the point), there’s no way of knowing, to what extent such a man had truly believed they ‘needed to be killed.’

          A man could have just been claiming to have believed such nonsense, because he had surrendered to a passionate urge to attack his parents, and now has been arrested, and he knows (just like most people who have access to mainstream media news and the Internet know) there have been past cases wherein individuals (and their defense lawyers) have entered an ‘insanity’ plea, claiming that the defendant had come to believe that certain other individuals (those whom they attacked) were ‘space-invaders’ (“aliens”) who ‘needed to be killed.’

          Haven’t most folk heard of such stories, by now? Yes…

          But, putting that aside (indeed, putting aside the question of what he actually believed), dealing with what would be the verifiable facts of his case (not speculations about what supposed delusions he supposedly believed that supposedly led him to commit such a crime), just addressing the hypothetically verifiable facts, I say: Most definitely, that man should go to jail — to await a fair trial.

          Furthermore (because it’s remotely possible that such a man could be as totally confused as he claims to be), for his own protection, he should — and almost certainly would — be kept in his own cell and completely separate from the general population, of prisoners, at all times.

          Jonathan asks, “Does he deserve to be tried in front of a court and put in prison for this episode?”

          Absolutely, he deserves to be tried in front of a court (a real criminal court, not some kangaroo “mental health” court).

          Whether or not he should be put in prison should be left up to the judge, at the time of sentencing.

          If a man such as that pleads ‘insanity,’ then he will not get off any easier; even and especially if he winds up being deemed “not guilty by reason of insanity,” he’ll be totally screwed by the so-called “mental health” system.

          Hypothetical Situation #2

          “…someone is on the street with command hallucinations telling him to break into a house and find a Bible? What should happen if they do that? Prison for breaking and entering?”

          Again, I must say, there’s no way of knowing for certain whether (or to what extent) that person has actually been motivated by ‘hallucinations’ to commit such a crime. There may or may not have been what you (Jonathan) call “command hallucinations” telling that person to commit that crime. But, even if there were such “command hallucinations” being created, in that person’s mind, why should that matter?

          Did that person not know that s/he was committing a crime? Breaking and entering is a crime that most people well understand is a crime; if they commit that crime, they should be ready and willing to be arrested and face a judge (and, ideally, a jury) at a fair trial (i.e., not some in some ‘mh court’ judge, in a ‘trial’ orchestrated by the whims of psychiatrists).

          In response to Jonathan’s question, “Prison for breaking and entering?”

          This hypothetical (case #2) is a non-violent offense and arguably a petty offense (that is, if the only damage done was the theft of a Bible). I am all for mercifully sentencing people who commit such crimes.

          Though I would be much more willing to see that person briefly jailed, awaiting a swift trail, than I would be willing to see that person forcibly “hospitalized,” no way would I wish to see that person sentenced in a way that led to being imprisoned.

          (It’s really a very, very, very different sort of case than case #1.)

          If s/he literally had done nothing but enter someone’s home illegally and take a Bible, and I was aware that a coming verdict in the case could be somewhat harsh, I’d be (and, I presume others would be) quite adamant in calling for mercy…

          Certainly, no prison — maybe parole, including, perhaps, some mandatory non-medical counseling.

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          • P.S. — About my recommending non-medical counseling, in my comment, above, please, understand, I would not want any sort of counseling to be forced on anyone, here I am actually suggesting a possible option that’s offered the defense counsel — as opposed to automatically ordering a convicted ‘criminal’ to do prison time; it’s an option, as a way to essentially reduce the severity of sentencing…

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          • P.P.S — If such a person was given the option and did choose to receive counseling, I would hope that the counselor could have the good sense to explain to that person (in case #2) something to this effect:

            “Just because someone tells someone to go jump off a cliff, doesn’t mean that person should go jump off a cliff. (We all know this, right?! It’s what our mothers taught us, when we were just kids… Well…) Along those same lines, if a ‘command hallucination’ tells you to break into someone’s home and steal a Bible, that doesn’t mean you should go ahead and do it. (I guess you understand that now.)”

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          • Jonathon,

            it appears to me from your situations that one might consider the delusions as mitigating circumstances. That’s not the job of the police to decide. Using mitigating circumstances to sidetrack people into a system where they can be abused much worse than anything in the justice system can not be described as ‘helping’.

            Put them before the courts and hen they may see some form of justice. As it stands there is no real oversight in he MH system and people are being shoved into it to be dealt with in any manner the psychiatrist wishes. And it does end up in abuses with no oversight.

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    • Noel

      Thanks so much for the positive feedback.

      Your contribution to this discussion has not only added to, but also deepened the analysis I’ve tried to make with this blog. I have to take some time off from the discussion for a short while and I hope that you, Jonah, and others, of like mind, can carry forward the torch for this battle.

      Richard

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  18. Hi Jonathan,
    First, I would kindly ask you to please point out where in my comment I said that defending vulnerable people is abuse. I’m pretty sure I stated pretty clearly that your argument was akin to that used by abusers. Not quite the same thing. Additionally, when somebody is physically attacking another person, the legally sanctioned “force” is called self-defense. This means you physically remove the person. This does not mean it is ok to inject mind-altering drugs into a person pretty much ensuring that they will act violently again the next time they get upset. You can also remove the person from the situation. This does not mean it is ok to restrain a person to a bed.

    Anyways, I think part of the problem where perhaps you and I disagree is that you seem to believe that there is some distinct “mental illness” that is clearly, objectively, and definitively identifiable that also gives people a pass to act in violent ways. Forgive me if I have misunderstood you. See, I might ask in response to your specific dilemmas a different question. What about the man who believes that he must kill his rival drug dealer in order to maintain respect. For him this means survival. Is he delusional? Or does he deserve to be treated abusively by the prison system? If the answer to that is yes, please do explain further how you make this decision. What about the woman who kills her husband because he cheated. She firmly believes that he had taken her life away, a death in and of itself. Is she delusional? Who gives somebody the right to say that one person deserves abuse while another does not? And why is your person delusional and these 2 individuals not?

    Nobody is arguing that alternatives are not necessary. However, that is irrelevant to this conversation, particularly since it seems that you would sanction using force in these alternatives if the situation called for it. Simply, though, to actually answer your question as to whether or not the people in your scenarios should be tried in a court of law and sent to prison, I say yes. It is unfortunate that when people suffer immense emotional pain and suffering that horrible consequences may follow. But, if we had a prison system where everybody was given the opportunity to heal, work through their emotional pain, and learn new ways of coping with that pain, then that is really where we might start to move forward as a society. But saying that the horrors that exist in prison are somehow justifiable for some, and that the horrors in the hospital are somehow justifiable for some is, quite frankly, terrifying to me.

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  19. In support of the notion that coercion causes untold psychological damage I offer the following 2 personal examples:

    UK. I have mentioned the first on MIA before but it is worth mentioning again – my son was first detained under the Mental Health Act, against his wishes and the wishes of his family, by a social worker and a psychiatrist who had never previously met him. A week later, at a hearing arranged by his parents to request his release, his own contribution to the hearing was ‘If you keep me here I will kill myself, if I can go home then I wont’. He had not previously voiced any suicidal ideation.

    The second involves his recent return to the same psych unit to voluntarily visit a friend who had been admitted. My son had just been on holiday, his previously constant ‘voices’ had not been in evidence for over a week, he was calm, controlled and rational, and obviously felt able to visit. He was mistaken. Following the visit his voices returned with a vengeance, he was agitated, visibly distressed, and so dissociated he became ‘Dave’, an apparently dangerous and violent man (according to his heated conversations with voices) who was not to be messed with. It took 2 days of constant, calm reassurance to get him anywhere near as well as he was prior to the visit. A week later the voices that had been absent for over a week prior to the visit are still with us.

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    • He was clearly traumatized by the “good professionals”. The only time I attempted suicide for real was in psych ward and only because they tortured me to that point. I have mostly recovers from any issues that I had that brought me to that place except for I still suffer panic attacks because of the “hospital” stay. I still get anxious when I hear an ambulance and triggered by doctors in the most benign circumstances (like blood taking). So much for the “help” they offer.

      Btw, the whole “danger to self and others” was if fact because I rejected a physical exam and the “doctor” “didn’t have time to deal” with me an actual quote. So it makes me angry and amused at the same time when I read Jonathan’s comments on what is and is not legal. There’s no law to protect you against psychiatry. They killed people in that hospital before and there were numerous stories about abuses in it year after year and nothing’s changed.

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  20. To AngryDad, Gardenlisa and all, As someone who has heard voices on and off most of my life starting at age 16 and up into my 50’s . I’m 67 years old and for myself after a decades long search (mainly experimenting on myself ) for the root cause the main source of my problems which manifested as (recurring insomnia,sometimes night frights, racing thoughts, ruminating in circles,( periods of euphoria whose duration grew less and less over the years), hearing voices mostly dangling sentences that were annoying , distracting, and not of any help to me, ( I know there are people who hear helpful voices ) seeing vague traces in the air at times, recurring depression which was growing more intense over the years where after sleeplessness I would feel nothing ,this coming on for no apparent reason would hit as if a switch was turned on and sometimes end as if a switch were turned off), the depression so bad that there were times I did not want to live any longer even acted very seriously to end my life but somehow survived . I guess to keep searching and tell someone if I found any lasting solutions to stop the recurring pilotless bobsled ride I was on.I was curious on even a cosmic level to understand why this was happening to me and watched myself while this phenomena all went on, so much of it with no apparent rhyme or reason. At some point I realized psychiatry was making things worse and I understood that they had at their fingertips techniques of torture they could escalate without end and without a qualm . Although for short time use a small dose of their poison could help but I still am shocked how when I begged them for something to help me sleep all those years they only offered me benadryl which was an anti histamine that could be bought over the counter . They said consistently sleeping pills are too dangerous but were happy to prescribe for me over the years Thorazine , stelazine ,arcane, cogentin, lithium, and halidol at various times. Not to speak of electro-shock and other of their experimental tortures. The only one I ever took for more then 3 months at a time was halidol and mostly 2mg. a day which I always shaved to the least amount possible .
    Finally a relative when I had nothing to help me sleep gave me a tab of lorzapam 1 mg. to try after 2 and a half days of no sleep and I was able to sleep. Again for 2 more nights and I was able to stay out of the hospital . I had a new emergency tool.
    Over the years I found many alternative safe tools and modalities which kept me alive as I searched for the main root cause.( Naturopathy, Homeopathy, Energy Healing( http://www.yuenmethod.com) yoga, walking, mineral baths, supplements, herbs, meditation and more were great help to me. In my case the root cause was mercury poisoning from 15 dental amalgams.Real Solution> Hal Huggins advanced dentistry. The last trace of voice hearing disappeared when an apparently healthy upper right back molar (the only tooth I had left on top) was removed pus found under it removed surprising even the advanced dentist in that the tooth appeared fine after modern equipment panoramic X-ray did not show the problem. None of all the problems I mentioned above remain. And I remain drug free. I spent a lot of decades searching to arrive where I am. I hope the info is useful to others. After all ,over 70 percent of the population in just the US have some mercury from amalgam in their mouths (which is in close proximity to the brain.) I read years ago that one in six people have great difficulty excreting mercury from their body . What about the other metals and materials used by regular dentists . Research , they are no more trustworthy then psychiatrists <the worst, or medical doctors (for anything outside of physical trauma). I've had much free time and decades to research financed by social security disability and now social security straight up. Take advantage of this heads up from one who sees there is much pseudo science to crush wherever it appears and in our "civilization" it's all over the place for profit .How many deadly substances unleashed upon us, most slow acting over time that are designed to appear "harmless" as they accumulate in our bodies over time?. Each of us affected by them to varying degrees and each of us having different tipping points and varying places within our bodies where corporate formulated poisons begin to accumulate and manifest discomforts on various levels . So many drugs leave there victim constipated as poisons accumulate within.
    Use the 9 herb formula ( mentioned in my previous comment), make an extract if necessary for extreme states . The tea is good for everyone. The hot mineral bath (as mentioned in my previous comment ) taken when niacin starts to turn the skin red and itches , rub down with luffa . Marvelous for extreme state . All voluntary. ( I worry if when people start to find these strategies work the evil psych juggernaut and medical dental, will make the needed items unavailable cause if widely used their profits would be reduced and we know how tyrants behave when thwarted.
    Best Wishes , Fred

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    • Thanks Fred, fascinating info. I have my own suspicions in line with your sentiments around accumulative levels of unknown toxins.

      I read about an outbreak of ‘schizophrenia’ that occurred in North Wales just over a century ago that turned out to be as a result of high levels of lead in drinking water. My son has no metal fillings (and I had mine replaced) and I can’t think of any other obvious concerns, but I am now wondering about our 30m water supply pipe from the mains – it would have originally been lead as the house was built in 1870. I’m considering digging up the garden to check if it was replaced in its entirety – yes I’m serious.

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  21. I’ve been using a 9 stage water filter from Enviro for over 30 years but now after realizing whats dumped into the water supply in the USA and reading what Traditional Naturopaths are saying I am in the process of researching what is the best quality water distiller that I might be able to save for and afford. Also trying to by organic produce from local farmers when available and researching what options for growing my own organically are possible . Richard Schultz ND (www.herbdoc.com) says that if your worried that distilled water has not enough minerals just eat an additional almond a day and your covered .
    See Dan Burdick’s comments under Craig B. Wiener, Ed.D his post ” Are We Discovering More ADHD ?” currently on the front page here at MIA .

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  22. Funny that being against human rights violations is “extreme”. No more extreme than being against murder or rape. Or death penalty which is state sanctioned murder for that matter. One would think the Western civilisation has had this conversation before and came up on the side of human rights… on paper only.

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  23. In Switzerland, the government has last year apologized hypocritical what happened in the psychiatric institutions till 1981. He could do it, because the perpetrators have passed away. As a witness of the period 1981 till now, I can clearly confirm, that nothing at all has changed: The victims are still literally deprived of all human rights. New studies about mortality show desaturases quantities of dead. It is already now for sure, that after the actual nomenclature will be in the graves, their successors will have to apologize again, if not as exposed – hopefully – this actual scourge of humanity is completely abolished.

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  24. Is it possible to abolish coercive treatment? «Germany without Coercive Treatment in Psychiatry—A 15 Month Real World Experience» shows that it is possible to abolish forced treatmen and considerable improvements are possible. The rate of inpasients under coersive medication fall to one tenth i. e. under 0.5 %.
    See Martin Zinkler. Laws 2016, 5(1), 15; doi:10.3390/laws501001 Germany without Coercive Treatment in Psychiatry—A 15 Month Real World Experience: http://www.mdpi.com/2075-471X/5/1/15/htm

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