Why Is There An Anti-psychiatry Movement?


On February 18, the eminent psychiatrist Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, former President of the APA, published a video and transcript on Medscape.  The article was titled What Does the New York Times Have Against Psychiatry?, and was essentially a fatuous diatribe against Tanya Lurhmann, PhD, a Stanford anthropologist, who had written for the New York Times an op-ed article that was mildly critical of psychiatry.  The essence of Dr. Lieberman’s rebuttal was that an anthropologist had no business expressing any criticism of psychiatry, and he extended his denunciation to the editors of the NY Times.

“Why would such a report be printed in a widely respected publication such as the New York Times? What other medical specialty would be asked to endure an anthropologist opining on the scientific validity of its diagnoses? None, except psychiatry. Psychiatry has the dubious distinction of being the only medical specialty with an anti-movement. There is an anti-psychiatry movement. You have never heard of an anti-cardiology movement, an anti-dermatology movement, or an anti-orthopedics movement.”

I have already written a critique of Dr. Lieberman’s paper, but my purpose today is to address the question:  why does psychiatry have an anti-movement?  In my view, there are ten reasons.

  1. Psychiatry’s definition of a mental disorder/mental illness embraces virtually every significant problem of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving, and psychiatry has been using this definition to formally medicalize problems that are not medical in nature for the past several decades.
  2. Psychiatry routinely presents these labels as the causes of the specific problems, when in fact they are merely labels with no explanatory significance.
  3. Psychiatry has routinely deceived, and continues to deceive, their clients, the public, the media, and government agencies, that these vaguely defined problems are in fact illnesses with known neural pathology.
  4. Psychiatry has blatantly promoted drugs as corrective measures for these illnesses, when in fact it is well-known in pharmacological circles that no psychiatric drug corrects any neural pathology. In fact, the opposite is the case.  All psychiatric drugs exert their effect by distorting or suppressing normal functioning.
  5. Psychiatry has conspired with the pharmaceutical industry in the creation of a vast body of fraudulent research, all designed to “prove” the efficacy and safety of pharma products.
  6. A great many psychiatrists have shamelessly accepted pharma money for very questionable activities. These activities include the widespread presentation of infomercials in the guise of CEUs; the ghost-writing of books and papers which were actually written by pharma employees; paid psychiatric “thought leaders” who promote new drugs and diagnoses for pharma; acceptance of fraudulent advertising in peer-reviewed journals; acceptance of pharmaceutical money by the APA; targeting of captive and vulnerable audiences in nursing homes, group homes, and foster-care systems for prescription of psychiatric drugs; etc., etc… In addition, 70% of the DSM-5 task force members had received funding from the pharmaceutical industry.
  7. Psychiatry’s spurious diagnoses are inherently disempowering. To tell a person, who in fact has no biological pathology, that he has an incurable illness for which he must take psychiatric drugs for life is an intrinsically disempowering act which falsely robs people of hope, and encourages them to settle for a life of drug-induced dependency and mediocrity.
  8. Psychiatry’s “treatments,” whatever transient feelings of well-being they may induce, are always destructive and damaging in the long-term.
  9. Psychiatry’s spurious and self-serving medicalization of every significant problem of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving, effectively undermines human resilience, and fosters a culture of powerlessness, uncertainty, and dependency.  Relabeling as illnesses problems which previous generations accepted as matters to be addressed and worked on, and harnessing billions of pharma dollars to promote this false message, is morally repugnant.
  10. Psychiatry neither recognizes nor accepts any limits on its expansionist agenda. In recent years, they have even stooped to giving neuroleptic drugs to young children, a “treatment,”  the long term effects of which can only be guessed at.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

And that, Dr. Lieberman, is, at least for me, why psychiatry has an anti-movement.  Psychiatry as a profession is intellectually and morally bankrupt, and has consistently demonstrated a marked aversion to anything remotely akin to critical self-scrutiny.  There is nothing new in what I’ve written above.  All of these points have been made over and over, by numerous writers, including, even a small number of psychiatrists.  But the psychiatric leadership and the great majority of the rank and file, remain adamantly deaf and blind to these obvious shortcomings.  Indeed, psychiatry’s general response to any kind of criticism is to re-assert its core tenets with renewed determination, as if an increase in zeal could somehow compensate for a lack of logic and evidence.

And the reason that there is not an anti-cardiology movement, or an anti-dermatology movement, or an anti-orthopedics movement, is because these, and other legitimate medical specialties, are not guilty of the spurious, destructive, and deceptive practices outlined above.

It’s not us, Dr. Lieberman.  It’s you and your psychiatric colleagues who have created something so rotten and flawed that anti is the only appropriate stance consistent with human decency.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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  1. Thanks for continuing to scream the truth, Dr. Hickey. I completely agree, and am grateful.

    And as to, psychiatrists “have even stooped to giving neuroleptic drugs to young children, a ‘treatment,’ the long term effects of which can only be guessed at.” I know from personal experience that a child’s dose of Risperdal (.5mg) can make a grown healthy adult psychotic within two weeks via the central symptoms of neuroleptic anticholinergic intoxication syndrome. (“neuroleptics … may result in … the anticholinergic intoxication syndrome … Central symptoms may include memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, hallucinations, psychosis, delirium, hyperactivity, twitching or jerking movements, stereotypy, and seizures”). So, obviously this recommended dose of antipsychotic is not safe, even in the short run, for children. Especially, since psychiatrists cover up the adverse effects of their drugs, with more drugs and defamation.

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  2. ….. only medical specialty with an anti-movement

    It is the only medical specialty that uses force against those who choose to opt out. People who choose not to have sex are not forced to do so because it may traumatize them. Force is about disrespect, power and control. It devastates the victim emotionally. Evil is as evil does.

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    • I’m not a big one on trauma theory as I feel it often represents an updated version of the “mental illness” excuse. This is a circumstance compounded by the fact that mental health treatment, by and large, is a matter of inflicting physical injury on the patient/consumer. (Of course, it’s traumatic, here, let me do again, and then let’s talk “recovery”.) People wonder why people have such a hard time ‘getting over it’. Well, maybe because ‘getting over it’ would involve doing something else, and if you were doing something else, you would be paying for something else. The mental health system likes talking about investors. Investment keeps it going. Turn off the financial faucet, and you’ve automatically got better physical health.

      As I stated on Facebook recently, the shame of the matter is that corporate greed tends to trump national health every time. The mental health system is not a mental health system, it is a “mental illness” system. The curious thing is the numbers of people who feel they can’t live without it, it being mental health treatment. As this isn’t really about “health”, at all, it is about corruption. We could talk financial “health”, too, but I tend to think the people who would gain there would tend to be the “providers”, and the people who would lose would tend to be the “consumers”. If there is anything to the notion of wising up, I guess it all comes down to what is the difference between a sage and a fool. Sometimes it can be as much, and as little, as engagement with the mental health system.

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  3. Hi Philip,

    Thank you for your statement.

    Not to push a point, but maybe those other medical specialists have a clientele that is generally satisfied with the services it receives, rather than a growing contingent of patients and ex-patients who feel real anger against the “voluntary” treatments they have suffered under. Few heart patients feel that overturning cardiology would be a key to restoring their civil liberties.

    That said, I think Number 10 will be psychiatry’s undoing. Whether parents wake up or whether we have to wait for more and more damaged children to grow up, there is potential for a huge backlash here.

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    • anothervoice,

      “Not to push a point, but maybe those other medical specialists have a clientele that is generally satisfied with the services it receives, rather than a growing contingent of patients and ex-patients who feel real anger against the “voluntary” treatments they have suffered under. Few heart patients feel that overturning cardiology would be a key to restoring their civil liberties.”

      Beautifully put!

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  4. I think after reading your critique of Dr Liebermans article your being kind calling it a “rebuttal” Dr Hickey.

    Here in Australia we call it a Dummy Spit.

    Someone post him a pacifier please lol.

    Great work as usual.

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  5. Psychiatry is based on a fiction, and that fiction is that social and behavioral problems have a medical/biological dimension, but that they don’t have a rational/moral dimension. Psychiatry would meet the “magical thinking” of the madman or women with it’s own brand of “magical thinking”. Who, in other words, needs a medical doctor to work on their “soul” when we have doctors of divinity? Why, people who believe in “mental illness”, of course. “Mentally ill” becomes a way of dismissing the person, or depersonalization. The magic potion is a drug who’s magic can make the problem, the patient, disappear from public scrutiny by numbing that patient senseless. The magic exists for the sake of other people, not the patient. The illusion is just that there is an “illness” justifying this atrocious mistreatment in the first place. Instead, the person in error, that is, the patient, is expected to respond to the ministrations of another person in error, that is, the doctor/sorcerer.

    Great post, by the way, Dr. Hickey. Always a pleasure to see what you have to say.

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    • Frank, Obviously, you allude to the logical possibility of realinformed consent consisting of relying on helping people understand that they aren’t mentally ill as the condition of suitability for obtaining release from forced treatment programs. And then communities would need to start the programs up again or we would have to sign off on our rights in order to get desired treatment why?

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  6. They use “anti-psychiatry” to affiliate reasonable and sound thinking people with scientology and others.
    Any opinion that conflicts them, the DSM and/or Big Pharma, must prove its Point beyond unbelievable reason until it might get accepted.
    Even then it’s hard to get all of psychiatry on a new page, those with hardcore beliefs will still stand their ground.

    Like the scientists P. Hickey mentioned are still fighting to prove SSRI has no link to suicidality.
    Like the GP’s that still use the “chemical imbalance”-theory as grounds for medication.
    (Saw one in a small Towns newspaper just today, referring to a Swedish online mental Health safety guide)
    Like all the psychiatrists medicating their patients with Chemicals that have dubious science behind them, to say the least.

    From what I can understand, it’s gonna take alot more than “anti-psychiatry” to change the minds of so many…..

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    • Well, “non-psychiatry” doesn’t change any minds. Instead it just makes everybody a potential convert to the “mental illness” religion. Psychiatry has made many converts of late, and it is gaining converts every hour of every day. That said, count me out. I’m fully satisfied to have an anti-psychiatry movement however much a matter of imagination and fiction that movement might happen to be. To paraphrase a taser victim, “Don’t drug me, bro!”

      Another way of putting it is: “I’m okay. You’re okay.” Were I “not okay”, I’d be psychiatry fodder. Were you “not okay”? Well, I guess that would make you a convert.

      Anti-psychiatry puts it right out there, up front. I’m in opposition to psychiatry. In fact, I’m in opposition to the entire psycho-pharmaceutical industrial complex. I actually don’t want to see the “mental illness” business expand, and the drug market extend its tentacles any further than where they’re at now. I’d like to see those tentacles chopped off. I’d like to see the mental health system, that is, the mental health treatment system, in other words, the “mental illness” system, contract. If it would shrivel up and die tomorrow, it wouldn’t be too early for me.

      I’ve had it up to my neck with abduction, imprisonment, torture, and death masquerading as “care”.

      I’m not “pro-fascist” either.

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      • If you feel like it or get around to it, Frank…

        Can you sympathize with or respect the position that Laura Delano had championed of “abolition”? What a great way to make sure we have a well-rounded debate, I thought.

        Do you see some less than phoney reason for keeping people from getting drugs they want (for themselves) and no more, and getting them where they want? I can’t think of one. Introducing PRNs as the norm instead of maintenance doses seems sensible to me. I can think of a million things that would have been worth hearing if they advice ran…Try this if…, but don’t overdo it, because…See how this minimum dose helps and it’s best if you keep track of how notice it if you always take days off and never let it build up in your system. I am sure that the person who takes the drug should have all the say unless they commit crimes.

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        • I’m not sure what position you are referring to that Laura Delano might have taken relative to abolition. You will have to be more specific, and explain that position if I’m to know what it is you are referring to here.

          I see real reasons rather than phoney reasons for keeping people from getting drugs that will harm their physical health. I’m not really though against anybody getting a drug if they think that’s what they need and want. I’m against the system forcing drugs on people like me who wouldn’t take those drugs if they weren’t forced on them, and who think the drug could be harmful to their physical health. I think people should have the right to refuse all treatment, not merely harmful treatment, and as long as the mental health police don’t respect this right, it will be a problem, and a matter of deprivation of liberty. In other words, the problem is not merely that the system drugs people, it is that it drugs them against their will and wishes. I don’t tend to blame the people that take neuroleptic drugs so much as I blame the psychiatrists that prescribe them. If psychiatrists would cease to prescribe such drugs, exclusively, and to the extent that they do, it is my feeling that you would begin to see patients in a lot better mental and physical condition than you do at present.

          People don’t, as a rule, take the drug because it is going to help them manage symptoms, and/or maintain stability, they take the drug because some doctor tells them it is going to help them manage symptoms, and/or maintain stability. If doctors told them they could get by without drugs, they would do so.

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          • Frank, thanks for the time taken to get back to discussing these things I put to you. I know that you are consistent. Coming to this thread just put me into a doubting phase, like for why people who should know better conceive of entitities that constitute the named disorders and then go ahead with making believe that the doctors treat these fictional entities. It was real, querlous doubt behind my comment.

            The mention of Laura Delano refers to a somewhat backaways blogpost. But I worked at envisioning the implementation of her idea for myself, the appearance of true Open Dialogue in peer support group context. But that language could water down her original concept, and I mean to preserve it as represented. Anyway, imagine folks talking about inviting psychiatrists not to locate in your intentional community, or newly incorporated planned development. And so on with different kinds of restricted politeness for everybody that might be good to count on if they weren’t all banking on their entitlements as these are outgrowths of mandatory treatment protocols and the insane insanity defense. You’d probably get around to hauling in a professional that stood for your kind of care soon enough, and long enough for them to assist your group (so that the advocacy measures were strictly aimed at benefitting patients and not relatives and so forth, ad nauseam). In turn, nothing but the augmentation of their practices would ensue by this turn of events, and there might be real competition. I’m not sure how far Laura might have thought it through if she thought of her idea in this way. Things get very precarious at this point, since psychiatry and psychiatrists have never competed for work like ordinary persons. I wouldn’t want to tie things up speculating about it and this fantastic world it signifies, either.

            Same doubts about getting your dope without hassles, dope aka meds and with the facts found out rightly. You know how David Healy, the old-fashioned shock doctor goes at keeping information on drugs worth something, and means to stand for certain temperaments and attitudes in prescribing them himself…. But at the same time, his approach in his blog is to keep the doctors thinking that they are misapprehending their hegemonic authority in the name of how they get their advice taken seriously.
            That thought wasn’t occurring, but it relates. Talk to you–

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          • Get it straight, travailler-vous, I’m not out to sell psychiatry or mental health treatment. The numbers of people in treatment has skyrocketed since the day and age when people first started locking up madmen and women. In my view, when it comes to mental health treatment, the obverse of so called “mental illness”, less is more, and much less is much more. The notion that 1/4 of the population has some kind of “mind illness” is patently absurd. That’s a no–brainer as far as I’m concerned.

            What is behind this epidemic in mind “disease”? Obviously, the pharmaceutical market. The invention of spanking brand new “mental disorders” is very good for the drug industry. We’re talking mega-bucks here. Unfortunately, we’re also talking downwardly spiraling PHYSICAL health.

            I blame psychiatrists for, in their role as puppets for the pharmaceutical industry, prescribing the drugs. I don’t blame patients, consumers, for taking them. Should doctors and mental health professionals do something different, then you are likely to see a corresponding improvement in outcomes. Pollution doesn’t always take the form of a smokestack cloud or automobile exhaust, sometimes it can come in a pill-bottle.

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          • Frank – Please take me for willing to stand to blame for the fact that all my intended meanings and connotations were not easily apprensible. I could also have misread yours, too. But I didn’t think so. I certainly never thought you were selling mental health treatment, but see why you might have suspected it. I wouldn’t have restorted to asking for you to look through your store of ideas, right then, except that you’re philosophy of responsiblity seems very consistent to me. My ideas had run out, as I said. Also, the motive for my interest as our exchange fronts it, gets into the sensitive area of how people buy in to the idea that we should criticize reform psyhciatry piecemeal and leave it’s ideology alone, and appreciate the efforts as at bottom well-meaning: Frank, I mean people who are deceived and who post a lot here.

            What I couldn’t have gotten right was this point of your analysis, which itself is susceptible to multiple interpretations: that Big Pharma is the worst of causes and mainstream psychiatry’s fault is standing in as their bastion of puppets. I have to think it all over because it’s nice strong wording that diferent people in different situations react to in novel ways. Also, I want to clarify very simply how my take on your position runs. Your first reply, in general terms throughout, is the same outlook as mine. So the differences that I can understand in getting the communication clear, is to state explicityly that my thinking was forhow mental health is hawked by those who do it, how drugs are pushed by those who bill you and look under your tongue for fun, and how the force, coercive intent, and abrogation of civil rights are denied as the actual plays in the game they are, of making people recite lies about their problems in living and mental distress, while all tolerance and paternalistic help shown them is exactly intended as their behavioral reward for showing for belief in their inferiority.

            Add to that the expectation of adhesion to the psychiatric ideology that they got their just deserts and right diagnosis, unless it’s perhaps too light-handed, and you have the gist of my position. In other words, as usual, I’m trying to tie together the thrust of Phil Hickey’s grasp of the problems caused for survivors due to modern psychiatry, the Szaszian critique as Joanna Moncrief understands and extends it, and more lately what all Bonnie Burstow has in mind for Network Against Psychiatric Assault. Then there’s all of us–especially, as having arrived at the appropriate belief that mental illness is a myth. Take Andrew Yoder’s word for it, it helps keep everything straight. Alex who comments as a survivor and careprovider has his own hardline account of labels and the disease model, I now see. You and me essentially agree there, too, I think. Psychiatrists just could intiate treatment by telling people why it’s wrong for them to get labelled, and that mental illness is a myth and we would then not have the same war of words they demand we engage in with them. They then could explain why no such thing as a uniquely psychiatric judgment of your mental health, character, or personality can exist without fallacious content based on the basic error of calling “mental illnesses” things. Put together with the drug awareness and analysis of that whole epidemic, we’ll stand.

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  7. Great list, #7 rings especially true to me–inherent powerlessness, incurable illness, and lifetime of dependency and mediocrity. Yes, yes, and yes, all of these fabrications of this field, projected false messages, internalized by clients, causing them further suffering.

    #11. Violates Hippocratic Oath.

    From the classic text:

    “I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.”

    From a modern version:

    “I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.”

    “I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.”

    What most concerns me about psychiatry, and I would, indeed, call myself “anti-psychiatry,” is that for me, the harm here is that this field has made a mess in so many obvious ways, when there are all sorts of healers and communities that address the issues of multiple realities and personal imbalance, spiritual awakening, post-traumatic stress, etc., in a way that is appropriate and practical, have been for quite a long time, and more and more is coming to light about this.

    They’re not confused about ‘psychosis’ but psychiatrists are! So why does the government recognize this institution as ‘valuable.’ Psychiatrists don’t know what other healers know, and they pretend that they know more than anyone else. It’s pure denial that they really haven’t any value because these exorbitantly high priced practices continue, despite all the obvious harm it has caused, and continues to cause, people, families, and communities.

    Psychiatrists should learn to be healers from people who are clear on what so-called ‘psychosis’ is, then they can practice with more competence and get much better results than a bunch of despondent, over-medicated clients or enraged former clients, enraged because they were not only failed, but seriously harmed. Geez, it seems pretty black & white to me, but that is one helluva stubborn field–stubborn in its utter denial that they know so much less than others about madness, psychosis, and mental illness. Time to step back, APA, and make room for those than understand these issues with clarity. That’s the only humane thing to do.

    I’m not intending at all to overgeneralize to individual people, who happen to practice psychiatry. I respect everyone, and feel we are all doing our best with what we know how, wherever and whomever we are in life. I do believe, however, that the entire field of psychiatry is sorely misguided, from start to finish. That’s no one’s fault in particular, but a truth I feel compelled to express, because I feel it strongly in my heart.

    I think the above excerpts from two versions of the Hippocratic Oath say it all, because they are violated constantly in the field and practice of psychiatry, and this will create psychosis, madness, mental illness, and general turmoil. It is a deep betrayal.

    In fact, it’s pretty amazing how the field almost seems to based, in practice, on the antithesis of all 3 of these. I can totally back this up with my own personal experience, and concurs with so much of what I’ve read on here or elsewhere. Wake up and smell the coffee, indeed. What on earth will it take?

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  8. Hi Philip,
    Thanks for the fantastic article. I identify with every numbered point.

    #9 “Relabeling as illnesses problems which previous generations accepted as matters to be addressed and worked on”
    I’d say that near enough all the “psychiatric illnesses” are invented.

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  9. Its always a pleasure to read Dr Hickey’s analysis. Given the lack of evidence for psychiatric diagnosis and the obvious harm of long term treatment I cant understand why the industry continues to be sanctioned by the american medical association.

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    • It’s my understanding that the AMA sanctions the APA because they cover up medical mistakes for the mainstream doctors by defaming, discrediting, and poisoning patients for them. I was told this was the “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.”

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    • Michael, have you ever heard of anyone making a complaint to the AMA concerning ‘Mental Health’ treatment, and what the outcome might have been. I’d be very interested in any success stories.

      (But it is true, that a person would actually wonder)

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      • I have never heard of it (some one lodging a complaint against a psychiatrist with the AMA). It seems like if we take psychiatrists at their word, that they are “real Doctors” then the AMA would be the over riding organization. Probably a silly question on my part.
        Some one Else’s comment (above) fits what I observed working in the field. It was not uncommon for a primary care physician to dump people on us (in a psychiatric clinic) after the patient had become addicted to something the PCP started them on.
        Another silly question is this: wouldn’t the medical insurance companies (in the US) have great data on the number of people who deteriorated after beginning mental health treatment? The insurance companies pay for the office visits, therapists, and the pills, and would have data on the long term outcomes of treatment for each doctor in their network. They see the big picture better then other shareholders. I’ve always wondered why they don’t object more vigorously to obviously bad care since they have to pay for it.
        Personally I suspect the change will happen through through lawsuits. Much like the tobacco companies blinding the public through denial, eventually some one will win a lawsuit, possibly involving “informed consent” or conflict of interest, and then the flood gates will open. The Psychiatrists I know are terrified of lawyers. I cant believe they still get away with telling people they have a chemical imbalance. That alone should be malpractice.
        The clinic I worked at was a disability factory.

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        • Hi Michael,
          Psychiatry brings a lot of money into medicine. I think the tide will turn at some stage though, because the damage done is just too obvious. Maybe the change will come from the inside, with younger doctors challenging the corruption and fraud of the older doctors.

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          • Fiachra

            I wish this were true, that the younger doctors will see the light, smell the coffee, and begin turning this gargantuan ship called “mental health care” in the opposite but I have no hopes of this happening, at least not where I live.

            The state hospital where I work is affiliated with the university medical center in the state. We rotate new doctors and med students through a unit. So far, out of all the young doctors and med students I’ve seen come through, only one had the guts to challenge the teaching psychiatrist about things like informed consent and “treatment” meted out to the “patients”. One and one only out of dozens. All of them are true believers in every sense of the word. A while back we had one who was very proud of the fact that she forced people to have ect against their will. It’s so disgusting that when I go by the room every morning where they’re being “taught” (which I call indoctrination), I want to bust through the door and yell how everything they’re listening to is just a big bunch of lies! It’s so disgusting it turns my stomach. And just yesterday, one of the young doctors on staff who is actually a very decent guy told me that “mental illness is genetic”! I looked at him and said that I didn’t believe any such thing and he just smiled with that knowing look because after all, I’m a peer worker which means that I’m a former “patient” so what do I really know about any of this?!!!

            No, there is little hope in the young ones changing anything.

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          • re: B’s link, Kam Brock

            “That there are elements of the American government still arguing against this cold blast of truth, offering up the craven fear that the rest of the world might see us as we actually are, or that our enemies will perhaps use the evidence of our sadism to justify violent retribution or political maneuver — this further cowardice only adds to the national humiliation.”

            Kam Brock was terrorized and tortured but that is the current state of America. This country is condemned without Justice. All parties in favor of Justice should take immediate notice of Kam Brock’s case and pursue Justice rigorously, fervently and without expiration.

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        • Michael,

          Thank you for stating that what an ethical pastor confessed to me, and I consider to be a truly troubling medical ethics issue, fits with what you’ve experienced working in the field.

          “Someone Else’s comment fits what I observed working in the field. It was not uncommon for a primary care physician to dump people on us (in a psychiatric clinic) after the patient had become addicted to something the PCP started them on.”

          In my case, I wasn’t addicted to something, but I’d been improperly withdrawn from a “safe smoking cessation med,” resulting in all the common symptoms of antidepressant withdrawal syndrome, complicated further with the ADRs of a NSAI, and an occasional major drug interaction with a synthetic opioid she’d prescribed.

          And the psychiatric practitioners, who claim to “know everything about the meds,” then misdiagnosed the common symptoms of antidepressant withdrawal syndrome, et al as all the major “mental illnesses” (“bipolar,” “paranoid schizophrenia,” and “depression caused by self” within two weeks).

          As it turned out, according to my medical records, my PCP’s motive was to cover up her husband’s part in a “bad fix” on a broken bone of mine because she was paranoid of a nonexistent potential malpractice suit. And the Christian psychologist, I paid outside my insurance for, had a motive of covering up the medical evidence of the sexual abuse of my child for her pastor and friends, unbeknownst to me at the time, of course.

          I’m quite certain we need a return of ethics within the so called helping professions within this country. And I hope some day the psychiatric industry will get out of the business of covering up child abuse for the religions and easily recognized iatrogenesis for the mainstream medical community. “Dirty little secrets” are called such, because they are actually unacceptable human behavior.

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        • The problem with complaints against doctors is that they’re not held to the standard of being helpful or at least non-damaging – they are held to the standard of “accepted community practice.” Hence, doing what other doctors do, no matter how destructive, is a safe play that will never get you into trouble. Whereas trying to look at new approaches or to individualize care to your particular patient can get you sued if things don’t go according to plan. As a result, in obstetrics for instance, it’s safer to do major abdominal surgery and remove a baby by C-section than it is to counsel a laboring mom to labor in hot water, which often obviates the need for drugs and ultimately surgery. Of course, a C-section is MUCH more dangerous for the patent(s) than a bath, but the bath is much more dangerous for the doctor. So we have gigantic C-sec rates and tiny percentages of women offered laboring in water as an option.

          Just one example. Psychiatrists are quite safe drugging you to the gills, as long as their colleagues are doing the same. It’s the ones who really try and help that are at risk of being sued.

          —- Steve

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          • In the UK there might be a bit of creeping controversy taking shape: Doctors are now prepared to go on television objecting to statins (on balance) on health grounds.

            10% plus of the population on SSRIs is just not compatible with a British approach to life (which is generally fairly upbeat).

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          • Steve,

            You’re absolutely right, and this is why patients who’ve dealt with the psychiatric industry can’t find lawyers. Currently it is considered “appropriate medical care” to create psychosis in patients via the central symptom of neuroleptic induced anticholinergic intoxication syndrome, and claim this to be schizophrenia or bipolar or depression, but weaning patients off antipsychotics that cause this drug induced psychotic syndrome can get doctors sued.

            This is the flaw in the logic of Michael’s hope that, “Personally I suspect the change will happen through through lawsuits.”

            You are correct, “The problem with complaints against doctors is that they’re not held to the standard of being helpful or at least non-damaging – they are held to the standard of ‘accepted community practice.’ Hence, doing what other doctors do, no matter how destructive, is a safe play that will never get you into trouble. Whereas trying to look at new approaches or to individualize care to your particular patient can get you sued if things don’t go according to plan.”

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          • On obstetrics and high rates of C-sections – another reason is that many women decide for having a surgery because they fear the humiliation and abuse associated with natural labour. The stories from women mistreated in hospitals while they were in pain and unable to defend themselves are very similar to stories of psychiatric surviviours.

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        • That’s got to be a big part of it, AA. GPs scored a bonanza when they figured out they could horn-in on Psychiatry’s action by casually prescribing SSRIs and benzodiazepines. They know instinctively that if Psychiatry goes down in flames, they will lose some percentage of their practices.

          Someday, I’d like to see doctors working on contingency, just like many lawyers. Pay them when you are cured, and not before. Doctors would then find it in their self-interest to get it right the first time, and they would stop pretending to treat people they know they cannot help.

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  10. This is the reality. Thank you.
    On reflection it may be too late for my recent appeal to mainstream psychiatry to consider a
    “wider commitment to critical self vigilance and scientific humility” as a “contribution to a necessary conflict resolution”.
    These are the fundamental characteristics of all of those compassionate, empathetic, scientifically and therapeutically advancing specialities in medicine where long, medium and short term outcomes have been fastidiously observed and openly shared for verified gains in holistic, integrated patient care. This foundation of evolutionary, constantly improving medical and clinical practice. It demands honesty and integrity in sharing with patients and their loved ones our inevitable, episodic misjudgements during our lifetime of medical practice. We are required to identify acknowledged risks with our patients and their families. Of course, these ideals may not always be delivered but they are the basic common denominator of “patient focused care”.
    I am deeply saddened that I have not (initially) observed these attributes or witnessed their delivery in the last four years of having to live with an acute medical emergency in a close family member – (Serotonin syndrome and gross SSRI induced akathisia – masquerading under an erroneous psychiatric diagnostic label.)
    The individual cost, in terms of iatrogenic injuries resulting from enforced, CNS, endocrine, metabolic and dermatologic psycho-tropic drug toxicity as well as destruction of emotional. relationship, employment and social life chances, are now incalculable.
    How do we rehabilitate those who have been forcibly detained entirely as a result of the behavioural toxicities of “medication” they were compelled to consume?
    Of course there is no anti-cardiology, anti-dermatology, anti-orthopaedics or anti- any of the wide range of specialities within Medicine with whom I have studied, worked or referred patients to, during 46 years of learning and practising as a doctor.
    These specialities will have little difficulty in meeting the imminent “Duty of Candour” currently being developed by the G.M.C.
    Why does Psychiatry appear to mean “Never having to Say You’re Sorry?”
    I am not “anti-psychiatry”.
    Those few academically honest , sincere and compassionate psychiatrists we have had the great fortune to have address the above suffering will remain amongst the most respected and gifted Physicians I have encountered. Their respect is further enhanced by the professional risk, retribution and adversity which is the price they elect to pay for their dedication to practise psychiatry with maximum benefit and minimal harms.

    trm – retired consultant physician.

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  11. “why does psychiatry have an anti-movement? In my view, there are ten reasons.”

    11. They are the only supposedly medical specialty that consistently insists on treating their patients involuntarily using methods which can be only accurately described as torture (if it’s torture in any other setting when it’s done against someone’s will – it is TORTURE). They are instruments of social control and enforcing social norms – guards of an authoritarian state, both ignorant and arrogant in their actions. This may in fact be the prime reason why people tend to despise/ridicule this profession.

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  12. Dr. Hickey, I think the latest thing to re-open all my old wounds with this massive brain science bureauacracy has to do with looking at a neurological research paper. The authors compared neurological conditions to the presenting symptoms associated with a couple of psychiatric disorders. They summarily stated the reasons for not considering these latter ones medical conditions and just plainly said that they have psychosocial causes. But psychiatry never does that and neurology acts like its just another day for them to keep the news inhouse.

    Thanks for the great forum.

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  13. “they have even stooped to giving neuroleptic drugs to young children, a “treatment,” the long term effects of which can only be guessed at.”

    Oh, Phillip. That really disappointed me. You joined the “we don’t know how these drugs work in children; we don’t know the long-term effects on children” crowd. Why imply that the long-term effects of neuroleptic drugs in children is unknown? Science certainly knows the long-term effects of various sorts of brain damage, including drug induced. You do know that drug proponents read stuff like that in their defense, with hope of a bright future? In fact, 90% of the time I read a sort of statement like that, it’s coming from them or from some weeble wobble journalist whose pretending to be writing a “controversial” piece but doesn’t want to upset anybody.

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    • JeffreyC,

      It was ambiguous wording on my part. The effects of neuroleptics on brain tissue are well known. But giving these neuro-toxic chemicals to children as young as three or four will, I believe, produce adverse effects way beyond what we know today. Sorry for the confusion.

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  14. “And the reason that there is not an anti-cardiology movement, or an anti-dermatology movement, or an anti-orthopedics movement, is because these, and other legitimate medical specialties, are not guilty of the spurious, destructive, and deceptive practices outlined above.”

    And somehow you left out that these other medical specialties have not infiltrated our schools and forced or coerced parents to drug their kids amid custody threats. Nor do these other medical specialties have special laws that allow them to crush peoples civil rights via “involuntary treatment” and forced drugging… I’d think that has the most to do with why there is an anti-psychiatry movement. I think the original ant-psychiatry movement had a lot to do with that, since it was only AFTER the states started closing hospitals down and psychiatrists were finally FORCED to let patients go, that all the sudden you had protesters and people calling themselves psychiatric survivors. I’d be willing to bet that if the closing of the asylums never happened, that the works of Thomas Szasz and R.D. Laing would have never found their way out of university libraries.

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  15. well I am back to this censored site ….to bad life and death today even has to be politically correct ..but unfourtanetly it does ! I have been in somewhat of a remission of late ..gue to antipsychotics ..I dought it ..as thet where only causing health problems before ..why would they help now ? I have seen everthing from Miami billionaires using social drugs to compulsive addictions using pharma drugs to painkillers used to cope everday life with ..or as most our called bi-polar .benzoids are the worst ..they are the doctors street drug of take a little sample and start you on the Bristol-meyer drug addiction plan .at least you know what you are getting when you meet a guy on a corner , some illicit illegal druf of unknown potency or quality ,but atlast that isn’t even true in Miami .They sell oxys ,bloes ,tabs .footballs on the streets and in pain clinics !These drugs aren’t made in a 3rd world country but right here in north America !We aren’t dealing with Columbian cartels or Mexican gupo drug lords but drug kingpins named greenbergs ,smiths ,milneys ,etc .Everyday doctors that will right you a zanax, oxy, methadone,trazadone, ambien , Zoloft,klonopin..if you can pay the going monthly price !Why is a controlled substance ok to give if you pay your doctor once a month ?In florida you can call it in for 6 months before you have to physically come in .Quess you cant do enough harm to yourself or others in 30 days …well how many planes can you crash in 180,or drive over or whatever means you have to cause destruction ?We in this country promote illegal and legal drugs for two reasons .one pure profit and two to keep the other guy controlled so the power brokers can go on gaming the people !

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  16. “It’s not us , Dr. Lieberman its you and your psychiatric colleagues that have created something so rotten and flawed that anti is the only appropriate stance consistent with human decency.”

    Great article , great comments . What does it cost for a full page reprint in the NewYork Times. I’ve got $50.00 toward it and I’m on social security.

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  17. Lieberman’s questioning why only psychiatry has an “anti-” movement is surely one of the top “duh” mements in recent memory.

    Dr. Hickey — I guess this is implied in your list to some extent, but it always exasperates me no end to see the utter disregard of not only the English language, but all language, which is displayed any time a word such as “mental illness” is used with a straight face. Any high school English teacher knows the difference between a metaphor and reality. There are no academics who would insist on calling the SPCA or PETA when it’s raining cats and dogs. As Szasz said, calling a doctor for a “mental illness” is like calling a TV repairman for a “sick” TV program. Such inability to differentiate between the concrete and abstract is sometimes considered a symptom of schizophrenia, at least when psychiatry is not involved. I can’t fathom why such sincere energy is invested arguing about whether or not mental illness exists when it clearly by definition cannot exist, unless we change the rules of language.

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  18. Since this is an anti-psychiatry discussion I would be remiss not to urge all those who consider themselves to be anti-psychiatry to actively participate in the current anti-psychiatry organizing discussions in the Organizing For Social Change forum. Your input is needed if we are ever to bridge the gap between desire and action!

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  19. Thanks for this. Psychiatry is completely fraudulent & very destructive. I’d also point out that the system can be gamed by those who mean a person harm, along with other tactics.

    The issue spreads wider in regard to medical industry malfeasance & the history of the industry.

    There are also anti vaccination proponents due to the countless injuries & deaths as a result of vaccination programs. A closer examination of the situation & valid criticisms, reveals a great deal. That can be disturbing to those who have believed purposeful lies.
    Cancer cures ignored & actively quashed over the last century or so are prevalent. There are many proponents against the destructive mainstream allopathic medical models of “treatment”. (Plus some very disturbing actions against those curing cancer. See gcmaf.)
    Also in the area of the diagnostic models of what is determined to be “aids” & various other “viruses” & again the toxic “treatments” given that harm & kill.
    There are also issues with various other pharmaceutical products, theories of medicine & medical practices that do not stand up to rigorous independent scrutiny.
    Not to mention the attempted cover up of other health damaging practices in regards to water (fluoride, for example) & food (glyphophosphate, gmo dangers & other toxins).

    Similar patterns can be observed as to how in these areas, this is perpetuated.

    Which also leads to a reexamination of history for accurate truth & how the scenario of our society is created, controlled & by whom. Showing a very different reality to one, so many seem duped into believing.

    I’ve paused on this comment for a while, yet now feel, it should be said.
    Have an awful lot of material to back up my assertions.

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