Ronald Pies Doubles Down (And Why We Should Care)


This past Saturday, I was on my way back from Europe to Boston, and while on a stop in Iceland, I checked my email and was directed to a new blog by Ronald Pies in Psychiatric Times, in which he once again revisited the question of whether American psychiatry, and the American Psychiatric Association (APA), ever promoted the idea that chemical imbalances caused mental disorders. And just like when I read his 2011 writings on this subject, I found myself wondering what to make of his post.

Why was he so intent on maintaining psychiatry’s “innocence?” And why did it matter?

First, a recap. In a 2011 blog, Pies wrote that “in truth, the chemical imbalance notion was always a kind of urban legend, never a theory seriously propounded by well-informed psychiatrists.” In addition, Pies partly blamed the promotion of the chemical imbalance story on “opponents of psychiatry” who tossed around the “chemical imbalance” story and then “mendaciously” attributed “the phrase to psychiatrists themselves,” with the goal of making psychiatry look bad.

Now, as Philip Hickey documented in several blogs posted on MIA, it is quite easy to find numerous instances when prominent psychiatrists, including leaders of the APA, informed the public, as they did in a 2002 magazine article, that “mental illnesses—such as depression or schizophrenia—are not ‘moral weaknesses’ or ‘imagined’ but real diseases caused by abnormalities of brain structure and imbalances of chemicals in the brain.”1   And given that fact, one might think that Dr. Pies, who is  editor-in-chief emeritus of Psychiatric Times, would do well to think like a poker player: he had a losing hand, and it was time to fold.

Instead, a few days ago, on September 15, Pies reiterated his earlier claims, and this time in even stronger terms: “To my knowledge, no professional psychiatric organization has ever publicly promoted a ‘chemical imbalance theory’ of mental illness in general.” Note that strong line: no professional organization has ever promoted such an idea.

And once again, Pies found reason to take a shot at “antipsychiatry bloggers,” who were using this story to try to make psychiatry look bad. “That antipsychiatry bloggers assiduously comb the Internet and find a handful of ‘celebrity psychiatrists’ quotes to the contrary neither surprises nor impresses me.”

In support of his latest claim, Pies points readers to a 2005 brochure published by the APA titled: “Let’s talk facts: what is mental illness?” In that publication, Pies correctly notes, the APA wrote: “The exact causes of mental disorders are unknown.”

And thus did Dr. Pies put forth his evidence, and play his poker hand. With that brochure, one might say he had shown—oh, I don’t know—a pair of deuces.

However, let’s now continue with the laying down of cards. The “Let’s Talk About Facts” brochures that the APA published in 2005 were part of an ongoing pr campaign titled “Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives,”  and that same year the APA also published a brochure for the public titled, Let’s Talk Facts About Depression.  This brochure, in a section titled “How is Depression Treated,” informed the public that: “Antidepressants may be prescribed to correct imbalances in the levels of chemicals in the brain.”

There is more. That same year, 2005, the APA put out a press release celebrating the fact that, based on a survey it had conducted, “75 percent of consumers believe that mental illnesses are usually caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.” The survey results, said APA President Steven Sharfstein, was evidence of “good news for [public] understanding of mental health.” Indeed, the APA stated in its press release that a psychiatrist was “a specialist specifically trained to diagnose and treat chemical imbalances.”2

I would call that, in poker terms, the laying down of a royal flush. I do presume that Dr. Pies considers the APA a “professional organization.”

One could go on and on. When I looked at this question in the summer of 2014, while co-writing Psychiatry Under the Influence with Lisa Cosgrove, it was easy to find websites run by prominent advocacy organizations, which boasted of scientific advisory boards composed of top academic psychiatrists, that were still telling the public this chemical imbalance story. That was true, for instance, of the website of the Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation (which had recently been renamed the Balanced Mind Parent Network.) That organization had a scientific advisory board composed of more than 20 academic psychiatrists, and it informed readers that “antidepressant medications work to restore proper chemical balance in the brain.”

But why should we care about this? Why is this important now?

Ever since 1980, when the APA published the third edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, it has been committed to informing the public that mental disorders are “diseases” of the brain, which are regularly under-recognized and undertreated, and that its drugs for those diseases are both very safe and very effective. The chemical imbalance story comprised the heart of this disease-model narrative: Psychiatric researchers were discovering the pathology of mental disorders, and its drugs fixed that pathology, like insulin for diabetes.

This was a narrative that served psychiatry’s interests as a guild. Specifically:

  1. It told of how its disorders in DSM III had been “validated” as real diseases.
  2. It told of a medical specialty that was making great scientific progress, which elevated its power and authority in our society.
  3. It told of a medical specialty that had a product—e.g. drugs—that was  of great worth in treating those diseases.
  4. Most important of all, this narrative provided a reason for psychiatry, as a medical specialty, to have authority over this part of our lives.

And how did our society respond to this narrative? We organized ourselves around it, thinking it was a story of science. We medicated our children, and when parents objected, there were leading psychiatrists who said, in public forums: If your child had diabetes, wouldn’t you give your child insulin? We medicated ourselves as adults. Insurance companies organized their reimbursements around that “disease” model story. We financed mental health care around that story. And, in a very profound way, even our understanding of ourselves changed: we were not so responsible for ourselves, but rather the puppets of our neurotransmitters, and when we tumbled into depression or anxiety, or our children fidgeted too much in school, we were trained to think that we really couldn’t do much to fix such difficulties.

In short, the narrative told to us by psychiatry following its publication of DSM III, which had the chemical imbalance tale at its core, has done extraordinary damage to our society. We have organized ourselves around a false narrative.

And here is why Ronald Pies’ continued posts on this are important: If there is going to be any chance that psychiatry is going to reform itself, in a way that will enable it to serve the public (rather than its own guild interests), it must first confront its past: Why did it tell this false narrative—of drugs that fixed chemical imbalances in the brain—to the public? Perhaps then it could understand that its duty, as a medical specialty, is to tell a narrative to the public that is consonant with the relevant science. If that were so, then the public would be hearing that the biological causes of psychiatric disorders remain unknown, and that its drug treatments are of marginal efficacy over the short term, and that over the long-term, outcomes for medicated patients are very poor.

However, Pies’ posts reveal that psychiatry, in an institutional sense, has no interest in such self-examination. Instead, by blaming the promotion of the chemical imbalance story on “antipsychiatry” activists and the pharmaceutical industry, it is choosing to serve its own interests. Most important, it retains its positive self image in the mirror: as a medical specialty that never promoted a false story to the public, and one that has always understood the complexity of the human brain, and thus, as a medical specialty that deserves to retain its dominion over this area of our lives.

Or, in the language of cognitive dissonance, Pies has now embraced this self-serving conclusion: errors were made, but not by us.

So what should society do? As Lisa Cosgrove and I wrote in Psychiatry Under the Influence, we see only one possible solution. We cannot expect psychiatry to reform itself, and that leaves only one option: We need to strip psychiatry of its authority over this domain of our lives. The challenge for society is to figure out how to do that.

* * * * *


1. R. Harding, “Unlocking the Brain’s Secrets.” Family Circle, Nov. 20, 2001, p. 61.

2. American Psychiatric Association. “Mental Illness Stigmas are Receding,” press release, May 4, 2005.


  1. Awesome. All you have to do is point at the facts and their own publications, and the whole story comes apart. And thanks for pointing out the work done by Philip Hickey. He and Bonnie Burstow are personal heroes of mine for pointing out some things that just don’t get attention, like what psychiatry’s dependence on the drug theory, absolute and unaccountable authority, and endless mendacity are keeping us all prisoners. Thanks as always.

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  2. The belief that the “chemical imbalance” theory has not been highly promoted by the APA and numerous other official bodies can only be described as delusional, It is also irrelevant if certain individuals or organizations are turning away from one false theory ad taking up another. The truth is that when so many mental health organizations continue to talk about “clinical depression” or “depression” as a disease entity, it impacts on how people think about themselves, and strongly effects the orientation of the whole mental health field.
    While years ago, when I first began in practice, most individuals would talk about feeling sad or depressed, now almost everyone that I see who are feeling down will at some point say “I think I have depression”.
    The damage that has been done to individuals and society goes far deeper than the promotion of any one erroneous theory. There has been great harm done to how people think of their very emotional being. This is the crime of the APA and other similar organizations.

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    • That is a great point. We are no longer whole as beings with emotions – having normal human feelings has become a sickness. Some people say we live in a society run by sociopaths. If the values of society are the values of its elites then there may be something to that.

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  3. My opinion on how to,”How to strip psychiatry of its authority over this domain of our lives”:

    1) Avoid visiting or being “treated” by psychiatrists as much as possible.
    2) Avoid psychiatric hospitalization whenever possible.
    3) Do not take psychiatric medication, or if on medication, titrate off of it.
    4) Reject the idea that one’s suffering represents diagnosable “illnesses”, let alone illnesses caused by chemical imbalances.
    5) Seek help via family, friends, support groups, exercise/nutrition, and/or psychotherapy.

    6) Ideally, do not live in America, one of the worst countries in the world for mental health “care”.

    These ideas are not easy to pull off in today’s society. But the more that troubled people achieve these goals, the more it weakens the false narrative of life problems being brain diseases requiring medications. People must take action for themselves; otherwise they will be pulled down and suffocated by the one-two punch of (illusory) psychiatric illnesses and (unfortunately real) toxic neuroleptics.

    From the ACE study, John Read, etc. we know the biggest, but not only contributors, to emotional suffering / problems in living (“mental disorders”) are adverse psychosocial events like parental abuse, neglect, trauma, life stress, losses of jobs and relationships.

    So for Paes’ quote; “The exact causes of mental disorders are unknown,”; this is like a guy standing naked in front of a burning hot furnace and saying, “Umm… I’m not sure what’s making it so hot in here… it might actually not be this furnace (e.g. adverse psychosocial factrs) behind me, something else in the air that we can’t see (e.g. genes, brain chemicals) could be doing it, or I could be spontaneously combusting in slow motion, so the exact reason I’m sweating my ass off is unknown.”

    Paes’ false ignorance should be rejected with as much disdain as those liars who argue the holocaust never happened, or those who argue that scientists cannot reach a firm agreement on what is contributing to climate change. Psychiatrists like Paes are causing direct harm to the public by making it harder for people to understand their suffering in human, hopeful, normalizing terms.

    Why would a well-educated guy like Paes sell his soul by misrepresenting the nature of emotional problems as “illnesses”? Cui bono…. his distortions, which he probably believes to be true and thus feels no guilt over, earn him power, prestige, job security, hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, new cars, a big house, a good education for his kids, etc. His behavior is adaptive, just like any individual who acts in a sociopathic, Macchiavellian fashion in some area of their life for financial or other benefit.

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  4. Mr. Whitaker:

    Thank you for this challenge. Some of having been waiting and hoping that our loved could find a member of the psychiatric guild who could help our daughter navigate her way out of the spell (prison of the mind) that psychiatry helped place her in with its doom and gloom ‘disease’ model.

    If my daughter had no ‘chemical brain imbalance’ before her diagnosis and involuntary treatment for psychosis, she certainly has one now after six years of dopamine minding drugs.

    Mr. Pies does seem to give a nod that environment does indeed play a major role in mental health when he writes that the “genesis of major depression” (is) “exacerbated by psychosocial stressors and losses, and worsened by dysfunctional personality traits and poor social supports”. Perhaps he would also admit that there is a mountain of data that the other two ‘grand daddies’ of mental health disorders: bi-polar and schizophrenia are strongly associated with trauma. If so, let him be the first to admit how psychiatry today as it is practiced, re traumatizes people and squanders valuable opportunities to form theraputic alliances by instilling hope, mutual trust, and respect.

    It should not be too much of a stretch for him to grasp that for many, ER’s are used as the option of last resorts by family members and police officers who don’t know what to do with people experiencing extreme states. As such they have become dumping grounds and entryways into forced drugging which the United Nations has condemned as torture. Instead of receiving comfort at these places, individuals in distress are stripped of their clothing and personal items, secluded in isolation cells for up to 24 hours, restrained in five point restraints, joked about by medical staff well within their hearing, and forcibly injected with Haldol for exhibiting the slightest inclination to run away.

    The psychological harm of being treated in this manner, is nothing compared to the stigma of being told that you have a lifelong disease that must be medicated for life, as with diabetes, and if you disagree or express a wish to seek alternative modalities of care and treatment, you are laughed at, told that you have no ‘insight’ and subject to ludicrous court commitment process. My daughter has experienced all of these things.

    Very few psychiatrists have the courage and integrity to put their client’s unique psychological and emotional needs ahead of their own personal agenda (i.e. continue to materially profit from the mental health system, maintain the respect of their peers, publish their papers in major journals, etc.)

    Taking a public stand against psychiatry is not as easy when one has a loved one in the system and retaliation is a very real possibility. Many psychiatrists are not even aware that they are retaliating unconsciously when a patient or their loved one exhibits resistance to labels and standard treatment. From my perspective, clinicians seem to be some of the most out of touch people I have ever met.

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    • “Taking a public stand against psychiatry is not as easy when one has a loved one in the system and retaliation is a very real possibility.”

      And just think… we’re talking about what is supposedly a medical profession. I cant think of any other example in “medicine” where someone can be threatened with treatment, or doctors can “retaliate”, but of course we all know this is going on in psychiatry. Just think about how often the “mentally ill” are threatened with hospitalization for bad behavior. Now imagine that same scenario for someone with diabetes.

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      • “Many psychiatrists are not even aware that they are retaliating”

        That is only an assumption on your part. After years and years of trying to figure this out, I had concluded that they are perfectly well aware. They would have to be so illogical and ironically delusional otherwise, that they would be unable to function the way that they do in all other regards. They will look at a patient suffering from obvious “side effects” of drug treatment, and when the patient tosses it out after leaving the hospital and winds up back, will tell the judge with a straight face that the problem is they keep feeling so much better on the drugs that they don’t think they need them anymore and so they quit taking it.

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        • Jeffry C:

          I tend to agree with you. Yes, I acknowledge that I have heard psychiatrists make ludicrous statements with straight faces about how the medications made the patients feel so well, that they decided that they didn’t need to take them any longer..statements that are so out of touch with reality that I wanted to scream..but what I meant was that I have never personally witnessed a psychiatrist who was sadistic or got pleasure from a patient’s suffering. Anecdotally, I’ve heard of such people.

          More often than not, I witnessed a different kind of harm being delivered by psychiatrists—harm due to ignorance; not only ignorance of their patient’s authentic needs and preferences because of their sloppy work, lack of homework, and failure to establish mutual trust and respect and instill hope in their clients, but also, due to ignorance of the origins of their own prescribing patterns and ignorance of their own ineffectiveness (which in itself is a form of trauma insofar as you have devoted yourself to training rigorously for a profession which statistically speaking, is shown to produce much greater harm than good)

          When I said “retaliating unconsciously” what I meant was the harm that they could deliver by being unaware of their tendency to prescribe higher dosages, deny privileges, or be obtuse to their patient’s side effects if a patient failed to reinforce their psychiatrist’s ego. My daughter who rarely felt compelled to massage her psychiatrist’s ego (by reminding him of his superior knowledge or merit) ended up being singled out for especially harsh treatment. Maybe we are looking at the same behavior with a different lens or just calling it something different. I don’t know

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          • All I’m saying is that the psychiatrists / mental health workers who’ve given your daughter such harsh treatment may be more sadistic than you think. They certainly know what they are doing. They cant be completely blind to the harm that their actions cause.

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        • Amazing that a relative of mine who has type I diabetes and actually feels better on insulin never thought about stopping to take it several times a day, even though it is a real pain in the… well various parts of your body you have to injure everyday to take blood to measure sugar and inject the hormone.

          I wonder if that could have something to do with insulin being an actual medicine for a real illness…

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    • Madmom,
      This type of thing from Paes… ““genesis of major depression” (is) “exacerbated by psychosocial stressors and losses, and worsened by dysfunctional personality traits and poor social supports”. – this is just bullshit. It’s falsely saying that “depression is still a valid/reliable illness, but it can be influenced by environmental factors, just as with physical illnesses.”

      That statement is a lie.

      Depression is not a valid/reliable illness… there is no one “major depression” with any consistent genetic or biological etiology. Rather, many, many different experiences can cause feelings of less or more severe depression. These experiences do cause changes in brain chemistry, but that does not mean an illness called major depression caused by brain chemistry exists. Each individual’s feeling of depression is unique and related to the relationships and experiences in their life.

      Paes cannot afford to admit this fraud, because his career and status would be forfeit.

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      • Margie,
        There most certainly are times when a person’s need for comfort is the emergency — with or without a serious medical condition contributing to her/his distress. Offering comfort, empathy, support is very much a part of nursing practice, as it assists a patient in crisis to understand and cooperate with life saving medical/surgical interventions. (Sharing from experience working in ER’s and ICU’s)

        But, here’s the thing. Very little is invested by most ER staff toward comforting and supporting a person whose presentation is assessed as, a *psychiatric emergency *– Though no less in need of comfort than any other person who comes to the ER in crisis, a so-called psychiatric emergency is dealt with swiftly – employing whatever force is necessary to retain/restrain the person, whereby drugs will be injected if the person refuses them.

        When people bring their loved one to the ER, it is to request help that is needed but that the loved one cannot provide, or whose efforts to address symptoms causing distress have failed. They are also in need of comfort, reassurance and support.– General assumption– for physiological illness, injury and severe mental/emotional crisis.

        There is no difference in the human needs of person with a medical emergency and the human needs of a person experiencing severe mental/emotional anguish. To the extent that there is an emergency component in either case, there is greater urgency to address the need the *patient* has for feeling safe. Meeting the basic needs of a patient is providing comfort.

        The exception is the unconscious patient, or severely injured patient in a state of shock–. Classic examples abound in shock trauma units, where the focus is task oriented: skilled assessment, triage and emergency interventions, where the comfort aspect applies to the specialist in direct relation to his/her evaluation–. Brief experience with shock trauma years ago– There, the comfort level is achieved when a patient is stabilized.

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        • People with physical emergencies also need comfort. Another example that comes to mind is women in labour. In some places they get treated as objects resulting in both physical danger and psychological trauma. A friend of mine worked as a psychologist in ob-gyn ward and she said most of women she talked to had perfectly normal, healthy pregnancies and physiological labour, yet were completely traumatized by the way staff treated them. This is completely unacceptable and doctors of all specialties (as well as nurses) should get it through their thick skulls that they are not gods handling objects but are there to serve the needs of actual humans.

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  5. I never cease to be amazed at the hypocrisy and lies of academic psychiatry! Truly astounding!
    But I guess having been so successful in selling the biggest and most lucrative lie of all, the chemical imbalance theory, then it stands to reason that in their world it will be a piece of cake to say that they have never said such nonsense. Times have changed though and psychiatry’s delusional drivel is a slow motion bullet aimed straight at their own foot.

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  6. ” We medicated our children, and when parents objected, …” Child protective services were often called. Parents were accused of child abuse via medical neglect. All across the country, children in foster care are forced to take psychotropic psychiatric drugs at a grotesque rate, with few people willing to point out that this was why they were put in foster care to begin with.

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  7. I think, because of people like Bob Whitaker and others, we have the factual ammunition to discredit psychiatry as it is now practiced. (I don’t think its practice is going to change much either.)

    But having facts just isn’t enough. We need to create a mass movement, just like those created by many other groups in our society that have been and are abused. The people power is there. Literally tens of millions in the US have been inpatients on psych wards, and they did not like it. But for most, it was one bad but short event, and no one wants the identity of “mental patient,” any more than they want to be seen as a leper or, say, a Muslim terrorist.

    How we recruit people like that is not an easy question to answer, to say the least, but I think we are not going to get far if we don’t answer it.

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    • I’ve been feeling the same way myself, Ted, and have thought a whole lot about your question. In some of my writings, I draw parallels between the MH System and religious cults. I was actually in a very powerful brainwashing religious cult called the Moonies when I was 21 years old. Some of my writings have caught the attention of the ex-cult crowd. Some six months after my cult experience, I met a young man who was an ex-Moonie like myself. As it turned out, he has now written a bunch of books and is one of the most prominent authorities on cults writing in English. When I was 22 I did an extensive college paper on the subject. Without question, the same brainwashing techniques that were used in Guyana to convince over a hundred people to drink cyanide are also used in psychiatry, called “treatment.” These are tried and true techniques. Advertising and sales use a few of these techniques rather effectively, but they don’t use them all, thankfully.

      We can also be persuasive. Even fiction writing uses persuasive techniques, or any writing, since the writer must always keep the reader on his/her toes. We want the reader to stay glued to the page. Evoking emotion is usually desirable.

      Most likely, those that are against psychiatry in some form run on a continuum. We have the hard core believers. I’d say there aren’t that many. There are those of us here. I’d say the majority, whether they have had direct exposure to the System or not, are in some way, “questioning.” Those in state of doubt, in the middle of the continuum, are the ones we need to reach.

      We need to present ourselves as folks that they can relate to. “Me too” is powerful. If we share our stories, we need to make them both believable and accessible. So the “questioning” crowd might not relate to “Tardive Dyskinesia” since as lingo, it sounds just too far out there. But to speak of rather universal concepts of the human condition is bound to evoke more passion. Love, betrayal, devotion, grief….all these are easily understood.

      One effort I made with a friend of mine that I watched go deeper and deeper into the System was to try to appeal to her as divorcee. I tried to explain that leaving my abusive therapist was like leaving an abusive marriage. What I found, though, was the she doesn’t seem to remember! She recalls what happened, but has no recollection of the emotions she experienced. Too drugged and brainwashed, I guess. However, my attempt reached others rather effectively.

      I am not good using statistics in persuasion, but I am sure others here are. I tend to speak more of what, precisely, I recall. However, I know I must do this in a way that others see themselves in the characters I write about.

      We must remember that most likely, the opposition won’t be overturned overnight nor will it be blown to bits by the Ten Plagues. More likely, we’ll turn one mind at a time. To me, freeing one mind is freeing us all.

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  8. “To my knowledge, no professional psychiatric organization has ever publicly promoted a ‘chemical imbalance theory’ of mental illness in general.” 

    Oh really? Here’s a passage from the Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK) current leaflet on schizoaffective disorder…

    What are the causes of schizoaffective disorder?
    The exact cause is not known, but we do know that there is a chemical imbalance in people affected by schizoaffective disorder. (emphasis theirs)

    Link to leaflet:

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    • Of course depressed, delusional, scared, socially avoidant people (“schizoaffective”) have different brain chemistry in certain ways compared to people who are better functioning with stronger relationships.

      The obvious thing that psychiatry’s con men willfully ignore is that environmental experiences and relationships could be the main or only cause of these differences or brain chemistry. Psychiatrists are somehow unable or unwilling to understand the most basic issues of cause and effect when it comes to brain chemistry and the environment.

      And actually, what happens in people labeled “schizoaffective” is not an imbalance at all. Their changed brain chemistry is the “normal” neurobiology of severe emotional suffering. It’s understandable. If their brain chemistry weren’t different, now that would be weird…

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    • From (seems to be the same as WebMD). I believe this is one of the most used medical sites in the U.S.:

      “Depression is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw. It is a real and treatable medical illness.”

      “While it is not clear what specifically causes depression, a widely accepted theory is a change in brain structure and chemistry. Specifically, substances called neurotransmitters are out of balance in depressed people.”

      The article comes complete with PET scans “proving” that depression is a brain disease.

      Written by: Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

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  9. That’s funny. All you have to do is hang out in or poll the victims in the psych med withdrawal groups and ask them “how many of you were told you needed these drugs for a chemical imbalance in the brain?” and you’ll see exactly how much they use this narrative.

    I, personally, saw an “addiction medicine specialist” for benzo w/d (I wasn’t addicted to anything, just dependent but after no help at all from about 10 doctors, many of them psychs, I tried him) and he denied that benzo w/d was possible and held up a plastic brain from a model, pointed to a random spot on the brain w/ a pencil and said “your problem is a chemical imbalance in your brain…RIGHT HERE” for which he went on to tell me I needed Lexapro. My problem was benzo/polydrug toxicity and withdrawal and I knew it- just couldn’t get ANY of them to STFU and LISTEN and believe it was possible and not some “underlying disorder” re-emerging (of which I never had a disorder to begin with as I was put on meds for stress at work).

    Frauds, liars, cons … the lot of them. It’s never their fault- always BLAME THE PATIENT or deny, deny….when that fails….LIE! “We never said that” – the hell you didn’t.

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    • That would make an interesting qualitative and quantitative study. Gather up randomly selected focus groups of people who have received “medical care” for “mental health difficulties” and among the questions, ask them what messages they were given about why they were having difficulties and why they should accept drugs as a treatment. This would pretty quickly put the lie to Pies’ assertions that it’s just a few misinformed people making these representations. In my experience, it’s the most common explanation given, even to foster kids who have been massively traumatized over many years.

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  10. Simply put, Pies is doing damage control. Again. And he’s bad at it. How any psychiatrist could actually try to sell the story that Psychiatry has never pushed the chemical imbalance idea is ridiculous. And then actually blame it on the public as a generality of some urban myth! How’s that for not taking any responsibility. And as Robert W. says he continues to blame anti-psychiatry and ‘celebrity psychiatrists’. Tell you what. Why would anyone take Pies’ view over any ‘celebrity psychiatrist’s’? It’s the old tactic of rendering an opponent impotent by completely nullifying what they are basing their argument on. Chemical imbalance? What chemical imbalance? We never said any such thing? I can almost see it, years from now Psychiatry will be saying ‘We never said we understood human beings! We just drugged them and pretended we understood them!’

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  11. It is actually very good news that the inner circles are making such denials, because they are considered highly authoritative spokespeople for their field and their refutation of chemical imbalance theory will have more influence on some than we ever would all by ourselves.

    We cannot expect psychiatry to reform itself, and that leaves only one option: We need to strip psychiatry of its authority over this domain of our lives. The challenge for society is to figure out how to do that.

    An exciting and inspiring declaration considering the historical caution Mr. Whitaker has exercised in avoiding rash statements. This is indeed one of the main strategic imperatives of the re-emerging anti-psychiatry movement, and one that should be a point of unity with progressively-minded professionals and freedom-minded people in general.

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  12. Hi Bob,

    If the ‘chemical imbalance in the brain’ is the same as the ‘broken brain’ and that’s where all the Research Money goes – then psychiatry probably does support the ‘chemical imbalance in the brain’, but they’re pretending not to.

    The LINK below is from the Irish Examiner:

    “…..Hillery of the College of Psychiatrists says the college is pushing the “bio/psycho/social model” and the recovery concept, and teaches trainee psychiatrists to look beyond the medical model. “I would hope people are being told they can recover, and can eventually get off medications… some can get off them, but others will need to remain on them….”

    Probably 10% of the population (as in the UK) don’t ‘need’ to be on antidepressants. But if they try to come off them, they could end up in trouble – and get told that they need to remain on them.

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    • What does the “bio” part of the bio/psycho/social model mean? Does it mean that brain chemistry can cause mental illness? Does it mean that environmental experiences can affect brain chemistry?

      To me psychiatrists stick the bio in there to maintain the myth the biology/genes are somehow causing emotional problems, a notion which is usually false. Also, the order should be social/psycho/bio, because biology is usually the last in the chain, the least important, the element acted upon by the others… environmental, social, psychological experiences happen and then interact in a dynamic way with people’s minds and brains.

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          • Psychiatry tries to assert its legitimacy by putting real diseases under its umbrella as well as make-believe ones. For instance, various dementias, which are neuro conditions. It can be detected via testing and is measurable. This is neuro territory and psychiatry needs to butt out. My theory about eating disorders likewise, that these are nutritional issues, not psychiatric. I find that this explains why “meds and therapy” is ineffective for ED. “Recovery” rates are very low, and in fact, anorexia kills far more people than depression, schiz, or any other so-called MI. I think that’s because the prescribed and recommended treatment is to outright kill the kids, then lie and say they didn’t.

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          • The treatments prescribed for so-called mental diseases cause all sorts of physical diseases, and this is the real problem. Psychiatrists have been calling for more integrated care recently, speak of the devil, first you drug someone to the brink of disaster, and then that someone is going to need a medical doctor. Integrated care conceals the fact that the patient’s mental health care has produced a need for physical health care due to iatrogenic injury. Instead of so-called integrated care we need to hold psychiatrists accountable for their actions. Right now, they’re getting away with murder.

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  13. I understand why the concept of cognitive dissonance was applied to describe behavior of the psychiatric professional guild and why it was left at that generous assumption, but I feel like putting it more plainly here:

    Isn’t pathological lying and believing one’s own lies one of the traits of sociopaths? A lot of the other listed traits of sociopaths seems to fit too.

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    • Psychiatry is the only “medical” field where misrepresenting reality and deceiving patients is absolutely crucial to success, as defined by its practitioners’ earnings and status.

      Proportionally more psychiatrists likely have sociopathic traits than professionals in areas of real medicine, i.e. non-psychiatric medicine. Being able to smoothly lie to one’s clients, and to be so convinced of the lies that one doesn’t know they are lies, is an adaptive characteristic in this field, Therefore, just like in evolution, people who easily deceive themselves and others will gravitate toward and do well in psychiatry.

      On the other hand, I think the majority of psychiatrists are not sociopathic at all, but just ignorant – they have essentially been brainwashed by big Pharma and by psychiatrists who came before them to believe the human suffering is mental illness and medications are the treatment. They just don’t know that what they are telling people about diagnoses and medications is bullshit. Some of them, if they knew better, would behave quite differently.

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        • Many individual psychiatrists may well be dupes, but the profession as a whole behaves in every way as a sociopathic individual, by their own description. While they may not be AWARE of their sociopathic beliefs, the profession at the highest levels justifies harmful and criminal behavior as “in the best interests” of its clients, so lying or forcing treatment or causing long-term physiological illness or even death are justified, because it meets the needs of psychiatry to believe so. Maybe narcissitic is a more appropriate description, but by their own definition, the entire profession is “personality disordered.” And it is important to recall that just because a person isn’t aware of his/her evil motivations, does not make the motivations any less evil. It just means they have good defense mechanisms, including justification of evil as being “helpful” to the victim.

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          • The “key opinion leaders” or those who prostitute themselves for Big Pharma are unquestionably sociopaths. The run-of-the-mill psychiatrist strike me as mostly dumb; having no clue of what they are doing to people and what causes people to suffer. Also, let’s not overlook the professional and legal risks faced by the minority of psychiatrists who are open-minded, respectful, non-coercive and smart enough to ask the right questions. At least in the U.S., where the legal system judges doctors not on the basis of science, but based on what the majority does, the smarter and braver types are putting themselves at legal and professional risk. Independence of thought and moral courage, which is what it takes to defy the norm, has always been in short supply.

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  14. Don’t forget that Pies knows there is an army of AMA medical doctors out there telling countless people that for their chemical imbalance in their brain they require medications just like a diabetic requires insulin.
    Just 2 weeks ago I went with someone close to me, to a walk-in-clinic . She asked me to act as her advocate . She was not satisfied with the care her regular doctor provided ( constantly pushing unwanted services , being unavailable when needed and being disrespectful) she was in line applying to be accepted by a new physician and had to use the services of a walk in clinic meanwhile . This is a rural area and the closest psychiatrist is 90 miles away. She most immediately wanted to refill a prescription for a neuroleptic cocktail she was originally prescribed by a psychiatrist . The doctor said she could provide the refills until she had a new regular physician. But that federal law requires her to send a patient to see a psychiatrist and asked if she could get a ride to the 90 mile away location. After saying yes to the AMA doctor she was told point blank , ” make sure you take these medications as prescribed , you have a chemical imbalance in your brain and just like someone with diabetes that needs insulin you will need to take these medications.”
    I had to say something ” The science does not support that.” ” It’s explained in Robert Whitaker’s book “Anatomy of an Epidemic”. “Do you know of any doctor that would help her slowly titurate off these meds that uses a compounded pharmacy so there is over time a greater chance of success. ” The doctor knew what I was talking about but said she knew of no one . I asked if she could become her regular physician . She said no she just worked the walk- in -clinic a couple days a week. I got permission to write this much from the lady I tried to advocate for.

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  15. Heh, well it’s funny because this still goes on regardless of this Pies character. There’s no doubt in my mind that there’s thousands of people in the world that are still being told to take drugs because they have a medical condition, that “it’s just like insulin for diabetes” etc.

    You think these higher ups are really interested in correcting any of this ? It’s a primary method to sell, or to get people to go along willingly with regularly taking health-damaging drugs.

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    • Just to add, the one after this is the “kindling” theory. i.e if you don’t take your drugs, you’ll have more episodes, your “illness” will progress, your iq will go down etc.

      From my experience professionals are less likely to try and scare people with that one, but it’s still there and no doubt being used by “professionals” to get people to regularly take drugs.

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  16. Thank you for another powerful challenge to the dishonesty of modern psychiatry. I wonder if this is not only related to psychiatry as a field, but to the way medicine and science have come to be practiced in our capitalistic economy? As much as I agree with your summary and rebuttal of Pies claims, I see him as an example of a system that rewards dishonesty as long as it brings in research funds, status and career advancement. This must be related to our economy which rewards those who help big business bring in profits and shuts the rest of us out. Thank you again Bob!

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  17. The APA has it shock troops for defense of the profession (guild interest), and they’ve got their ongoing PR campaigns. Point is, if they had that cause, a biological cause, they’d be in a better position as far as medicine is concerned. I’m amazed at how successful psychiatry has been at this game. You get the story in Psychiatry Under The Influence. It’s a good thing MIA is here to tell the other side of the story, especially seeing as that side is mostly all deception.

    30-40 years ago criticism of psychiatry was commonplace. The media was not ‘under the influence’, and puppets of Big Pharma due to “direct to consumer advertising”, either. Not so much anyway. Today the people who know better are not the people who have the attention of the ever prestige conscious media. Hopefully this situation is subject to change.

    I would say that the situation of Big Pharma and psychiatry mirrors the situation of other professions to the corporations that are doing so much damage in the world today. A big part of it is the relationship of politicians to these corporations that they, rather than the people, now represent. We are so far from anything that resembles direct democracy given this relationship. If more and more people are becoming wise to the millionaires club that congress, actually Capitol Hill, has become, so much the better. Maybe someday we will be able to turn this situation around.

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  18. Psychiatry doesn’t need to be reformed. It needs to be abolished. Keep psychology, get rid of psychiatry. Psychiatry (specifically biological psychiatry that uses the medical/disease model) is not a science. It is a psuedoscience. It is based on fraud, bribes, lies, and marketing, not science. Psychiatry claims to be a medical profession that administers medical treatments (drugs), but it has no medical tests and has never proven any biological illness exists.

    Psychiatry and Big Pharma have pushed the chemical imbalance theory for decades, and to claim they have not is incredibly ignorant (or just public relations spin). However, there is no known chemical imbalance, except the one caused by the drugs themselves. The chemical imbalance theory was/is heavily pushed by psychiatry and big pharma because if the problem is an imbalance of chemicals then introducing chemicals in the form of a pill sounds logical, like insulin for diabetes. However, as has been pointed out numerous times before, this is not the case for so called ‘mental illness’, and is more akin to suggesting that a headache is caused by a lack of asprin. This of course is nonsense, but that’s how psychiatry rolls.

    Mental illness is not an illness. It is a natural response to a toxic environment, be it abuse, neglect, trauma, loss, or other social and/or environmental causes. However, because of the widespread lies perpetrated by psychiatry and Big Pharma (frequently using the mainstream media as a platform), many people believe that mental illness is a real illness, a brain disease or chemical imbalance. This has resulted in an increase, not decrease in stigma. If mental illness is a real disease then a person has no control over it. That’s harmful both to the one labeled and the ones seeing the label. It suggests they cannot improve without outward medical intervention. Which of course is what psychiatry and Big Pharma want.

    Psychiatry has amassed far too much political power, especially for a profession that is not backed by science. But psychiatry was never about helping people. It was about profit and social control. Look at China and Russia where political dissidents are arrested and locked up in mental institutes and forcibly drugged. And what about children in America. If a child has problems at home or school they are diagnosed as being mental ill and prescribed drugs. If a parent challenges the diagnoses, refuses to medicate their child, or seeks alternative treatments, child ‘protective’ services may be called and the child kidnapped and put into a foster home because of ‘medical neglect’ where the child has a much higher chance of being drugged, frequently with more than one drug. Psychiatry is not a helping/healing profession. It is a profession that is power hungry and power mad (or more simply, psychopathic) that seeks to exploit peoples suffering and profit from the control of people.

    Psychiatry does not need to be reformed. It needs to be exposed and abolished.

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    • Ragnarok,

      I agree with your thoughts. In the past Whitaker has made posts about reforming psychiatric practice/ideas, but these never seemed feasible to me. The damage done by lies about psychiatric diagnoses and “medications” to treat them is just so bad, and the potential for profit and ill-gotten gain so great, that it’s past the point where gradual reform could take hold.

      Sometimes a cancer takes over an organism so grievously that there can be no recovery. It reminds me of these videogames I used to play called Resident Evil, where if certain humans were infected long enough with a deadly virus they could no longer be returned to a state of normal health, becoming monsters who fed off the souls of others. In my opinion that this is the case with most mainstream psychiatrists today… they are stealers of the souls of “patients” who they give false labels and then zombify with false medications… and their “professional” identity and earning potential depending on maintaining these lies, so there’s no going back for them… although there are exceptions among a few “psychiatrists” who practice as if they were psychologists/therapists.

      This is also why when I talk to people looking for help, I never recommend to engage with psychiatrists or seek treatment of any kind within the hospital/government system. The best thing is to avoid psychiatrists, hospitals, and mental labels and seek help outside the system to the maximum degree possible.

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      • Attempting to reform psychiatry would be a band-aid solution at best. Everything about psychiatry is based on flawed information and in some cases outright lies so it’s best to just be rid of the whole thing completely.

        The DSM is flawed, as has been pointed out many times, with over half of those who helped write the DSM IV and V being on Big Pharma’s payroll. The diagnoses are flawed, lacking validity. The suggestion that ‘mental illness’ is a real biological illness, brain disease, or chemical imbalance is flawed and has been proven wrong many times. Psychiatric drugs are flawed, lacking efficacy and safety but having the potential for great harm and even death. Many/most drug trials that suggest a drug is ‘safe and effective’ are written by the company or ghost writers and often omit negative information while hyping any tiny positive. The psychiatric practice of a 10-15 minute consult to check for symptoms, apply a label, and write a prescription is flawed, as it doesn’t get to the root cause of the problem. Psychiatrists being able to legally kidnap, detain, and forcibly drug people against their will is flawed and does far more harm than good. There is a revolving door between Big Pharma and the FDA. Many psychiatrists and even GP’s are bought and paid for by Big Pharma so they do what’s best for the drug companies and not what’s best for the person.

        There is nothing good about psychiatry. It’s based on fraud, bribes, lies, and marketing, not truth or sound science. Sure there are some good psychiatrists, like Peter Breggin, but since he rarely prescribes medications and offers therapy instead he’d be better classified as a psychologist than psychiatrist.

        The best thing to do is to expose psychiatry for the massive fraud it is and then abolish it completely.

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    • Psychiatry is needed to stop people from (quickly) killing themselves.

      Lots of time and money have been spent on most people to get them where they are, most people can be productive citizens. To lose productive citizens from temporary/transient feelings of despair is not profitable.

      The continual drugging of patients to suppress symptoms has to stop. There is only so much dirt you can hide by sweeping it under the rug.

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  19. Quote from WebMD in their section “Withdrawal from Antidepressants”:

    “Antidepressants help restore the normal function of naturally occurring, mood-regulating substances in the brain, called neurotransmitters, including serotonin and norepinephrine. ”

    That is STILL on the site – where did they get this “information”? From “respected” psychiatric professionals, of course. It’s the legacy that Piers seems to eager to dismiss.

    But, I will say as someone who has had depression that while I soundly reject the single neurotransmitter imbalance theory – I do know that something PHYSICAL and probably chemical is happening in the brain to cause depressive symptoms like anhedonia, lethargy, lack of motivation, etc. But so little is understood about the brain, that it has been so grossly irresponsible for pharmaceutical companies to make drugs to treat something they don’t understand. They put the sad excuse for a cart wayyy in front of the horse they don’t understand.

    I will also say that experiencing drug withdrawal demonstrates that neurotransmitter dysfunction does significantly impact psychological wellbeing and physical functioning. If the harm from drugs targeting neurotransmitters can cause “depressive like symptoms” then surely the transmitters themselves play a role in depression.

    Again, though, don’t get me wrong. Pharmaceutical interventions are making things worse…but for research and understanding, science should continue to examine the role of neurotransmitters in brain health particularly how they adapt and respond to external stresses and changes.

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    • Yes, the brain as a intricate combination of systems is part of the whole behavioral environment. One cannot explain or understand behavior, thought and feeling by eliminating neurotransmitters from the picture. There is so much yet to be done and until there is a better understanding of this complex picture, consumers and doctors need to be very, very cautious about what they recommend and what they take. Every study and piece of research has to be scrutinized, repeated and held accountable for findings. The problem is that there is a myth that we need more medications and I have read this numerous times. We don’t need more meds we need feedback from people who are on meds, we need very careful research and we need for insurance and private equity companies to fund respites in every area. Government won’t do this for us.

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      • The idea that messing with neurotransmitters can make you feel better is hardly new – it’s existed a long as humans have existed, as long as we as a species have been able to ingest foreign substances into our bodies. My objection is not attending to neurotransmitter function, but calling the use of drugs to alter their function a medical practice. People should be free to experiment with substances to help their mood and behavior if they so wish, but of course, we all know that this generally leads to bad ends for those using this approach in the long term. Why would we be surprised that pharmaceutical drugs that mess with the brain also lead to bad ends? Again, how is this medicine? What is the difference between taking Xanax for an anxiety attack and taking a shot of Johnny Walker Red for the same purpose?

        —- Steve

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        • I trust my druggie friend better when it comes to psychoactive drugs both legal and not. He at least acknowledges that they are not medicines, that they act differently at different people and at different times and he will stay sober to be with you through the experience if you ask him for it (to stop you for doing something crazy while you’re on the drug). He’s smarter than any psychiatrist out there but he’s also a great empathetic guy and not a sociopathic hack on a power trip.

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      • ” One cannot explain or understand behavior, thought and feeling by eliminating neurotransmitters from the picture.”

        So far, there has not been a correlation established between neurotransmitter system function and behavior. However, based on what is known about specific drugs perturbing the neurotransmitter system, the effects can be horrific for some individuals, and fatal for others– behavior wise.

        I say this to point out that the use of psych drugs is an experiment; that the practice has always been backwards science and crap shoot medicine. Experimenting with illicit drugs is illegal, and the negative messages associated with prohibiting their use are essentially warnings, based on anecdotes intended to evoke fear, while evidence of people having pleasant, beneficial or even interesting experiences with illicit drugs abound. The message– “you can’t know ahead of time how you will be effected, be prepared…” — If psychopharmacology was honest, there would be the same disclaimer given to patients that a drug dealer gives to his clientele. Instead, we are told that legal, prescription only psychoactive drugs are treatment ; highly effective, generally well tolerated and safe. The same lack of scientific evidence playing out in opposite extremes.

        For years, people have shared that it is possible to experience transformations in mental, & emotional states without using any drug–; that methods are diverse with possibly one commonalty regarding re-connecting with others. Do you wonder why these success stories aren’t the basis for interventions in a clinical setting–?.

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  20. “So what should society do? As Lisa Cosgrove and I wrote in Psychiatry Under the Influence, we see only one possible solution. We cannot expect psychiatry to reform itself, and that leaves only one option: We need to strip psychiatry of its authority over this domain of our lives. The challenge for society is to figure out how to do that.”

    According to me, psychiatry is the antichrist. What that would mean is that it’s not exactly in society’s hands, it’s in God’s hands, and it will play itself out according to scripture.

    I cannot stress how incredibly, enormously complex and difficult these matters are.

    The antichrist denies spirit. Psychiatry denies spirit.

    The antichrist offers salvation but that salvation is ultimately denied.

    “Trust us, we know what we’re doing” is psychiatry’s god-like presentation of itself.

    I’ve been working on this for years.

    Psychiatry tortures people: isolation, restraints, forced drugging, sometimes forced ECT.

    That’s torture and we all know it.

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    • I do not think it is a biblical prophesy, it is merely Doctors can not admit to their limits (too big a head), or if you pay someone enough money they will come up with a treatment for a non-physical illness.
      Family of the person-in-distress/patient ask or need a Doctor to fix their loved one, the Doctor obliges them by drugging the patients brain, then can’t stop the drugs.

      The search for the correct drug for a non-physical illness can only get worse.

      He who pays the piper calls the tune
      Who is paying for the treatment? Who is supplying the answers ?(brain chemical imbalance)

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      • It’s much more convenient to think the antichrist has the face of a man, in the realm of politics and war (like another Hitler but the qualifier is the “lawless one” who aggrandizes itself and is offering salvation).

        If a country is a she, an industry is a he.

        There is no other entity on earth offering salvation (it isn’t the church because we all know Christ is the way to salvation, and the church doesn’t withhold Christ). Psychiatry is the entity offering salvation (in the form of “magic pills” and “happy pills”) but ultimately denying that salvation,

        After the rebellion of the 60’s, in which many people turned away from God, we had the rise of the antichrist with “prozac nation”, which began in the 80’s. Then, after 9/11, people began waking up and seeking God.

        Our country, and this world, has gone through GREAT tribulations in the past decade.

        Scripture tells us that is it to get much worse (we are at the beginning of sorrows now). This entire passage is currently being fulfilled,

        Matthew 24:6-8 New King James Version (NKJV)

        6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all[a] these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,[b] and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

        To substantiate that passage, we have North Korea making threats (which they’ve been doing for a while) while the world has watched as many nations have been preparing in “drills”. Russia + nuke has been in recent news:

        Kingdom against kingdom is the instance of animals attacking humans (elephants, hammerhead shark, jellyfish). The entire video is worth watching but the example of jellyfish is at 26:26

        Earthquakes have been remarkable this year, showing up in regions where there are rarely ever earthquakes. Here is one reference:

        Famine is used as a weapon of war in Syria:

        Internet “trolls” constitute a pestilence (see definition 2) and is relative to psychiatry,

        pestilence (ˈpɛstɪləns)
        1. (Pathology)
        a. any epidemic outbreak of a deadly and highly infectious disease, such as the plague
        b. such a disease
        2. an evil influence or idea

        People have been talking about the lawlessness of psychiatry for years,

        This is why I’ve said, numerous times, in the past, that psychiatry is more a branch of government than it is a branch of medicine or science. It’s because of the incredible power that *the government* gives to psychiatry.

        People need to remember: 99.9% of the world have absolutely NO IDEA who or what the antichrist is. And, it is one of the most terrifying truths, and realities, of life (almost as terrifying as the return of Christ, the terrible day of the Lord).

        People want to ignore and deny but the return of Christ is like a woman going into labor: nothing can stop it from happening.

        We are already in revelations. The time is now. It is a process and it is occurring. Those who study scripture will understand. Those who don’t, won’t.

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  21. I gotta laugh. I think this is the same Pies that is based in Lexington, Massachusetts, the town where I grew up. The street I grew up on was half unpaved. Now, Lexington’s streets are paved with gold. I’d stay away, the place must be overrun with shrinks.

    That said, as for the last question, what the heck can we do to stop them now? Are there any better ways we can organize to oust them from their power and control over society? I like bpd’s suggestions. Just don’t go to them is really #1. We aren’t, but millions of others are going to shrinks and worshiping them like they are gods. Do we focus on ourselves, making our lives better so as to show a good example, or do we focus on getting the word out?

    Some say getting the word out is healing for them. So it works both ways. Others pull away from activism after a while, saying it’s making them worse off, or that they are tired and need to focus more on rebuilding their lives.

    I think we need to provide an alternative for the general public to latch onto. Again and again, show the general public just how much better off we are without shrinkage in our lives. I think we need to demonstrate that there are as many paths to wellness as there are human beings on the planet. I am surprised (but not so surprised) that many people assume I’m talking about one specific alternative when I suggest that there might be a better answer than drugs and lockup. So some will tell me, “Vitamins aren’t strong enough. I am very sick and I need something powerful and expensive, by doctor prescription only.”

    We should present a variety of alternatives, not a one size fits all. I think to present the alternative as being an absolute, something only acquired by learning some secret, magical skills, is just playing the shrinks’ game. This includes pushing mindfulness on people or coercing them to pray or meditate. Or collecting money to teach people how.

    In that sense, we’re probably on the right track, since so often, we can’t agree on things. How awesome is that? We’re actually human!

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    • I mostly agree, just want to caution that it is not our responsibility to provide an “alternative” as a precondition for our working for an end to psychiatry or forced psychiatry. Also when we talk about “alternatives” there’s an implication that something of value exists and we just want it in a different form. People don’t generally talk about finding “alternatives” to racism, for example; it’s pretty much understood that the alternative to racism is no racism.

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      • I agree, however, common sense tells me the opposite of what I was told in psychiatry. I’d say the first lie was “Come to us for help.” I resisted that one since it was my inner nature to be independent. Well? That’s an inner nature all adults ordinarily have, but psychiatry steals our independence and common sense and replaces it with their nonsense ideology of dependence.

        That said, I knew that to ensure that psychiatry stayed off my back, I had to continuously assert my independence and human rights. This means not going to them. This means using my sense of responsibility they told me I didn’t even have. We all do! They loved to tell us we were incapable of managing our lives. If you fall for this lie, you end up dependent again.

        To me (and maybe not to anyone else) this means acting responsibly, based on common sense. Not perfect, but not the way psychiatry taught me to act, like a helpless mental patient. No matter how shitty I FEEL emotionally, I don’t go to psychiatrists. I don’t call crisis lines. I don’t go running to psych wards. I might feel helpless, but only on the inside. That helpless scared me comes ’round less and less frequently these days.

        The #1 person I rely on is ME. The number two person is my dog. Beyond that, I occasionally ask a friend for “advice” but that’s been tricky. I would rather do an internet or library search to learn how to manage my life. Asking for help almost always ends up badly.

        I have ruined friendships, god only knows why or how, simply by asking for advice. I have ruined friendships by opening up, and then, getting slammed down or wrongly judged. I don’t want one more ruined friendship. I’d rather not even have friends than have rotten ones. The last one I made quickly and lost just as quickly. Why? Due to the person jumping to her own wrong conclusions about me, and then, closing her mind and refusing further communication. It’s stupid and wrong but people are just like that.

        I did “try out” a therapist fairly recently. Why? because I know that the insomnia I have is from trauma, from being abused in a hospital. I saw two safely via skype and without revealing my exact location.This kept me safe from the various harms done to me in the past. I actually tried out three situations, but then, quickly realized my mistake. One was a scam but I got my money back (that was tricky). Another refused, with all sorts of excuses. The third charged a lot so I said, after one session, that I couldn’t afford more than once a month. He said, “Well, then, why don’t you go get a prescription for sleeping pills?” I guess he doesn’t have much faith in the effectiveness of his own methods, so I can only conclude that in reality, he’s not the miracle worker he claimed to be. I am really laughing over this. Thank goodness it was only one session and he didn’t know me for a hole in the wall. I do not plan to go back at this point and I believe going to any of them was and will be a mistake.

        I have tried all the pat answers to “fix”‘ this insomnia but nothing works. However, I would rather put up with the discomfort, which is all it really is, than go back to harmful pills or seeing a shrink. I won’t go to a “healer” either, which is just another euphemism for therapist. Guesswork is guesswork, whether the person claims to be a therapist or a psychic. I am not obligated to believe in either one of these, and I certainly won’t pay for guesswork.

        I do not threaten suicide. This will bring on the shrinks very fast. Just don’t. We were trained to speak out every time it crossed our minds. Even using the word in a sentence…just don’t do it to keep yourself from being re-captured. If a person wants to end their life I don’t mind if they talk about it, but I myself would never send them to psychiatry. nor a therapist, nor psychiatry’s right arm, the cops. You can trust very few, sorry to say.

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          • Valerian is kind of a natural benzo and can have similar effects:

            “Because of valerian’s historical use as a sedative, antiseptic, anticonvulsant, migraine treatment, and pain reliever, most basic science research has been directed at the interaction of valerian constituents with the GABA receptor.[15] Many studies remain inconclusive and all require clinical validation. The mechanism of action of valerian in general, and as a mild sedative in particular, has not been fully elucidated. However, some of the GABA-analogs, particularly valerenic acids as components of the essential oil along with other semivolatile sesquiterpenoids, generally are believed to have some affinity for the GABAA receptor, a class of receptors on which benzodiazepines are known to act.[16][17]” (from Wikipedia)

            So be careful with it.

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  22. The successfully used by survivors first do no harm free or affordable to oppressed people alternatives to solving problems in living . For the wealthy even more alternatives including the option of anonymously funding peer run respites educating yourselves and funding the spreading the news of the actual truth about why psychiatry must be stripped of it’s authority . Just some thoughts.

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  23. Ever try arguing with someone with what they call narcissistic personality disorder ?

    Blaming and lying and making up stories and excuses and nothing is my fault its everyone else… and they believe it too, that’s the hard part about arguing with them.

    I am one of those ‘antipsychiatry’ people who assiduously combs the Internet and I never seem to come across anything from the psychiatric establishment taking responsibility for harms it has done .

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  24. Oy. Pies is attempting to respond to Robert in the comments of his blog.

    What struck me most about this article is the smug, superior, jocular tone. Oops, we had a “high school crush” and millions of people were harmed. Hahaha. Only naive blogger conspiracy theorists question us. We always knew better.

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      • Saw that Oldhead.

        And this remark my Pies greatly angered me.
        “I am also not fond of the term, “psychiatric survivor”, which, in my view, is a misappropriation of a term normally applied to people who survive torture, concentration camps, or life-threatening diseases. Thus, despite the horrific side effects of cancer chemotherapy, we do not find cancer patients calling themselves “Oncology Survivors.” They are cancer survivors. Of course, there are “bad apple” doctors in all the medical specialties, alas, and I do recognize that some patients have received bad or inhumane care at the hands of some psychiatrists. But the entire profession is tarred with the same brush when people call themselves “psychiatric survivors”. If you and those you counsel are to work constructively with my colleagues and me, we need to find a vocabulary that is mutually respectful, as your note demonstrates. “”

        Uh, Dr. Pies, the treatment people have received from psychiatry in many cases does qualify as torture in spite of your denial. The comparison to people receiving treatment for cancer is absurd because those folks are doing it with fully informed consent and under a voluntary basis unlike many folks in psych hospitals who are forced to endure horrific side effects against their will.

        Furthermore, this comment is extremely insulting because when working with rape victims who are mostly women, professionals wouldn’t dare remind them that not all men are horrible. They would tread very carefully to work with their trauma and eventually get them to the point where they wouldn’t be afraid of me. But it would be done in a very sensitive manner.

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        • ““psychiatric survivor”, which, in my view, is a misappropriation of a term normally applied to people who survive torture, concentration camps, or life-threatening diseases”

          Someone should explain this guy that this is exactly the point. Psychiatry is torture, rape and locking people up in concentration camps. It’s their history and it’s their present.

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        • Actually there can be no such thing as a C/S/X “movement” and we should refuse to accept such terminology as legitimate in the first place. What sort of “movement” would incorporate those trying to recover from and oppose psychiatry and those currently “consuming” it?

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    • With articles like this one has to wonder – is he that stupid or that evil? I mean the level of infantile rationalizations and lack of responsibility for one’s actions (“hey, we did something very dumb and only caused harm to millions of people but let’s call it a high school crush, giggle about it and move on”) is astounding. I’ve given the writings of this guy to some of my friends previously and the look on their faces when you tell them he’s an esteemed psychiatrists is priceless.

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  25. Anyone who isn’t honest usually fesses up right in the way they use words. I had one shrink write to me in comments the following. I mentioned that I had had ECT and that it had done harm to me. He wrote back saying he highly doubted I had ECT for an eating disorder. Well? What was behind that? The full comment, which was taken down since so I don’t recall the precise wording, was indicative that in his opinion, since ECT isn’t given for an ED, I actually was delusional that I’d had ECT. I wrote back in commentary and said that yes I did have ECT and they gave it to me because I was depressed (I probably was, as I was locked up, after all), and timed ever so perfectly with my 190 days running out. I stated that when they saw how messed up I was after the ECT, I was given a brand new diagnosis as coverup for damages. He wrote back and said, “That would have been gross malpractice.” Yep. True confession, spelled out. At this point, all my comments were removed.

    They will often say it to your face, too. When my own psychiatrist told me in 2013 “I am giving you this drug to stop you from writing.” wasn’t she putting her foot right into her mouth?

    Twice recently, I did the same thing myself. There’s something absolutely wonderful about biting your own toe, tasting blood, and realizing that you are in fact, human, a person who is sometimes wrong and often makes mistakes. Not only that, capable of being open to learning, quite the hard way, that you screwed up bad and need to make a few changes. If I were still a patient, none of that would be possible. I need to learn from my dog, whose paws are within easy reach. (sniff, sniff)

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  26. If this ‘chemical imbalance’ was only a theory they most certainly forgot to tell me, my daughter and my granddaughter who have all been told this, and properly drugged to ‘fix’ it, with devastating results I may add. My daughter so firmly believes this I don’t know if I well ever be able to get her off her meds, or at least weened down. As for my grand daughter who was put on Zoloft at age 15, and then given an Abilify just to increase her weight threw me into a state of rage. Ever since going on Zoloft I have watched the spark from her eyes disappear along with her happy spontaneity. Because she so believes what her GP is telling her she refuses to end her addiction to Zoloft.

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    • sanderella,

      When my mother was alive, she tried to warn me in the manner that you attempted with your daughter and granddaughter. Sadly, I blew her off which is one of the biggest regrets of my life.

      But even if I had listened to her, I wasn’t up to date on tapering and WD issues and probably would have not succeeded getting off of the meds. Still I wonder.

      Anyway, my point is don’t give up because I finally saw the light and hopefully, you daughter and granddaughter will also.

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  27. Sanderella, the treatment team your 15-year-old granddaughter is seeing sure doesn’t seem too educated. Only nothing really surprises me these days. Abilify is the one antipsychotic drug that tends not to cause weight gain, but a few people who take it in fact do gain weight from it. If the docs really knew their drugs and wanted to be cruel enough to force weight onto a person in that manner, they’d use Zyprexa. Using these drugs for that isn’t even legal but I have seen this done on eating disorders wards myself. They do this deceptively and in fact, doctors admitted to me the deliberate deception. Also they do it in nursing homes to underweight elderly people, usually again Zyprexa, since the weight gain is pretty much inevitable. I’ve heard usually at least 25 pounds per year. So in eight years, 200 pounds gained. Already proven not to cure eating disorders nor helpful at all in weight management. Not that they care, they’d rather see compliance.

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  28. Yes, me too. I have now written in the book I am working on how it was my youngest brother, only a child at the time, who pointed out that MH was totally missing the boat. He posed a simple question in a family session that was a real eye opener, or should have been, in particular for me but also for my parents and the therapists. Too bad it took me decades to see the light. It’s so cool being able to look back and remember it, very clearly, the exact expressions on people’s faces and the tone in the room. So now, I can replicate that whole scene in my writing in a way that is understandable.

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      • This was in 1981-1982. I had no clue what to do about my eating problems. I didn’t know there was such thing as “eating disorders,” having never before heard that term. To give you point of reference, Karen Carpenter died in 1983. So I had no clue, nor did my family, what was the problem and that in fact, it could kill a person. Except that I instinctively knew it could. Doctors, also, didn’t realize this, and continuously insisted that I had a trivial rich girl’s problem, a Jewish American Princess problem. Antisemitism factored in big during those years, since most of my treators were antisemites.

        So having no clue where to turn, I took a term off of school and moved to the Boston area. I thought I might find some answers in a big city. A family friend had been to a day treatment program and recommended it to my family. I got there and then, after a few months, realized they didn’t know a thing about ED. What they should have done was to tell me that they didn’t have adequate knowledge nor skills to help me. Instead, they kept me there nine months until I begged to leave. I left much worse off than when I came.

        The question was posed about six months in, and I believe those present were me, my two parents, and one or two therapists. My parents discussing back and forth, my dad trying to figure out what scientific basis this all had, and my mom pointing out just how inconvenient it all was. Both complaining that I now smoked, lost interest in music, lost interest in reading, writing, or physical exercise. They got sidetracked over the smoking.

        So I was saying nothing, kinda overwhelmed and wishing they would quit the bit about the smoking. Was that really the issue? The therapists, on one hand, tried to point out that smoking wasn’t the core of the issue. Actually, the therapists couldn’t seem to find an issue.

        All the sudden, someone figured out that there were two adolescent boys in the room that might have something wise to say. My brother must have been 16 or 17. The boys are both blond, and the younger one had just grown his red beard. We’re all short. I’m 5’1″ and this particular brother is also small, 5’4″ (so he claims, but I think he’s 5;3″). Just to set the stage and bring you all into the room…..

        So there was this silence, while we all waited for my bro to speak up. To add to this drama, my bro spent a few poignant seconds stroking that beard of his before speaking.

        Then he said, “But what about Julie’s eating disorder?”

        That summed it up. I was sitting in an entire room of people and and had attended this program so diligently for months, where I spent five days a week, six hours a day, and rather quickly, they’d entirely forgotten why I was there.

        How typical. The therapists had no answer. That led to my wasting three decades of my life.

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  29. None of this “only some psychiatrists are inhumane” makes sense. In order to not be inhumane, you have to go against the entire philosophy upon which psychiatry seems to be based.

    We aren’t human.
    We have no value as people.
    Disregarding our humanity is necessary and justified to “improve” our condition.
    “Improving” means making us more profitable to them.
    Our own viewpoint or opinion has no importance, since we are by nature, inferior.
    Psychiatry is the ultimate owner and overseer of its property. Slaves are property, not people.

    There’s so much talk about modern slavery, such as the marketing of children for use as military or sex slaves. Or girls sold for breeding, arranged marriages, etc. So much talk about unequal sentencing based on race and other factors. Or the inhumane treatment of pets or livestock. I am often appalled that the same people who speak out so eloquently about these wrongs are at the same time, completely blind to what’s happening to patients, and in their ignorance, go on and on about “right to treatment.” It can’t even be spoken of as a right since it psychiatry is at its core based on coercion, and ultimately, force.

    Therefore, the term survivor seems accurate and to me, is preferable. I’m speaking from the point of view of a person who stays away from certain terminology since it’s too vague, too skewed, or too overused.

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  30. I think that the fact that psychiatric leaders like Pies and Torrey get so upset with terms like “psychiatric survivor” and “anti psychiatry” tells us that we should use these terms whenever we can. Not to bug them, but because it is clear that they recognize that when these terms become common in the larger society, opposing psychiatry becomes more acceptable in the public eye.

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    • Great point! To get “psychiatric survivor” commonly known to the layman is a great idea.
      On Wikipedia I had an argument about the validity of the term “psychiatric survivor”.

      “What official body would name them “psychiatric survivors”? a psychiatrist is going to name someone a psychiatric survivor?” I wrote.
      “no, but it is also unlikely that the NY Times or any other reputable publisher would use a term like that in its own voice. ” was the response

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    • Btw, we need whistleblowers and videos of abuse. It’s done a lot for the Black Lives MAtter when people can see what is actually going on – on the streets and in jail cells. There are no videos from psychiatric wards…

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    • I don’t really have a problem using such terms to bug them either. It makes me feel good anyway. You’re right though, they are only using such terms to silence criticism. The more such terms make their way into the vernacular as positive expressions rather than as curse words, or as taboo expressions, the less rosy life becomes for our, tongue in cheek, of course, esteemed “benevolent rulers”. They use language against us all the time. Think “diagnoses”. All the more reason to fight back with language.

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  31. But I want to make a larger point, As usual on MIA, we have here dozens of comments talking about how terrible psychiatry is. These follow yet another fine piece of writing from Bob Whitaker saying how terrible psychiatry is.

    But why is there never any discussion of what we can do about this? We all know the problems. We all have a very good idea of what is wrong.

    But we need a discussion of what we can do about it. Preaching to the choir does not change anyone’s mind. How can we reach the public? How can we recruit people, not with us now, who will be willing to go out and actually DO something to reach the public, to raise people’s consciousness about the atrocity that is psychiatry?

    It is a cliche, I know, but we need less talk and more action.

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    • At least we still have the freedom to think and complain.

      “Who dares not speak his free thoughts is a slave.” Euripides c. 480 BC–406 BC

      I think Szasz identified the problem with doctors being necessary to obtain drugs. As long as adults need a prescription from a doctor to get a drug, psychiatry will be needed by the general public.
      Besides psychiatry trumping criminal law, where the person must first be judged “sane” before going to trial . The insanity defense has to be removed from the law.

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    • Once again I would direct truly anti-psych people to make this discussion ongoing by taking it to the Organizing forum and encourage others to do so. “Action” not based on correct analysis and strategy is often useless and sometimes self-defeating. Consciousness-raising among ourselves is a form of action, as is educating others.

      Some reasons for adopting the MIA forum as the “official” venue for such discussions:

      — MIA has made itself available and is open to anti-psych discussions provided they are not presented as MIA’s editorial position.

      — There is a ready-made community of anti-psych folks here, plus others who will be once they have the opportunity to explore the issues with those of us who already are.

      — Name-calling and other ad hominem attacks would not be an issue since the forums are heavily moderated.

      — We could work towards developing a position statement which represents us as a collective rather than a plethora of personal opinions; this could be used as the basis for organizing/acting more effectively and on a higher level, and developing solidarity with other sectors of the larger movement for social/political liberation. The result could be to encourage action, rather than inhibit it.

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    • Ever use the Google search engine, or any other search engine, on issues related to psychiatry, human rights, and mental health? I think things have improved appreciably since R. Whitaker turned his site over to bloggers. The news has suddenly become a whole lot less biased in general. It used to be you’d only get one pretty narrow side of the matter. Now, more and more rich and varied opinions are beginning to show up. Wow! How about that for the power of the internet? It’s my, and other peoples, big hope that eventually this freeing up of opinion might lead somewhere. We shall see.

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      • I agree. I do a quarterly training of new volunteers advocates for foster youth and take on the DSM and the mass drugging of foster youth pretty directly. I used to get objections from people who thought I was biased against drugs or psychiatry, even though my presentation is pretty diplomatic in its approach. But the last two-three years, I mostly get strong agreement from most of my audience, and even those who have doubts are still open to questioning the dominant medical paradigm. We are definitely making progress in the larger social sphere, though such progress is, by the very nature of culture, hard to notice on a day to day basis.

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    • Ted:

      It’s time for teach-ins as with the Students Organizing Committee during the Vietnam War to teach people about the history of how humans have dealt with human distress and extreme states of the millenium. We clearly need to move in several, parallel directions: legislative change, policy change, and cultural change, the last category unfolding through a massive campaign to unbrainwash the public about the nature of ‘mental illness’ (for starters that all human suffering cannot be reduced to chemical brain imbalances) I believe that the political activists you are seeking are often involved in the other aspects such as policy change (inside agents of change such as peer providers) and are ready to attend protests and sign petitions when a platform or agenda has been formed. An agenda or national platform requires coalition building to take place before it can go forward. The legislative change is vital to prevent further erosions of civil liberties. The policy changes are necessary to transfer resources from programs and services that make people chronically ill and dependent and the last: cultural change through education and the arts is critical so that the first two get the support we need for the first two. I hear your frustration about the activism not being evident but I do feel that on the other fronts, there is a lot of progress and they are all important.

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      • I forgot to say that protests are educational too and teach ins can tie into protest events. Protests with good turnouts garner media attention which are great for getting out a message(s). What is the message? When a large coalition of psychiatric survivor and consumer groups has hashed out its differences long enough to come up with a set of national priorities, the message will be evident I think.

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  32. I wrote a comment on Ronald Pies thread that somehow came out as being from Kermit-perhaps because it car right after Kermit’s link. Here is my comment referencing your article…

    “For those of you who want a shorthand reading of that article…Whitaker outlines the numerous places the APA has promoted the “chemical imbalance theory.”

    Here are some quotes:

    “However, let’s now continue with the laying down of cards. The “Let’s Talk About Facts” brochures that the APA published in 2005 were part of an ongoing pr campaign titled “Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives,” and that same year the APA also published a brochure for the public titled, Let’s Talk Facts About Depression. This brochure, in a section titled “How is Depression Treated,” informed the public that: “Antidepressants may be prescribed to correct imbalances in the levels of chemicals in the brain.”

    There is more. That same year, 2005, the APA put out a press release celebrating the fact that, based on a survey it had conducted, “75 percent of consumers believe that mental illnesses are usually caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.” The survey results, said APA President Steven Sharfstein, was evidence of “good news for [public] understanding of mental health.” Indeed, the APA stated in its press release that a psychiatrist was “a specialist specifically trained to diagnose and treat chemical imbalances.”

    There is more in there but it really belies what you are saying here Dr. Pies- that the APA had a cursory “crush” on the chemical imbalance theory. In the last few decades the APA has helped promulgate this theory until it has become common parlance amongst the lay public.

    Though you may suggest that psychiatrists more strongly believe in a biopsychosocial model, the proof is in the pudding. 20 percent of Americans are now on some form of psychiatric drug. Ten percent of Americans take an antidepressant. That is an enormous rise in the last few decades. Though there may be a discussion of environmental social factors, the answer is generally the same- take medication. And often the reasoning has been that a person has a “chemical imbalance”.

    I’m afraid your article does not properly express the intertwining relationship psychiatry has had with the chemical imbalance theory.”

    And then this is his response. It is baffling and nonsensical as he seems to somehow try to pretend that the APA didn’t say what they said…

    “One additional point that critics tend to confuse: The statement in one APA publication–“Antidepressants may be prescribed to correct imbalances in the levels of chemicals in the brain.” –does not entail an endorsement of the claim, “Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance.” There are many drugs that are prescribed because they address some component of a pathophysiological process that may or may not be–by itself–the “cause” of the illness or disease. For example, if we say, “Statin drugs may be prescribed in order to correct an imbalance between “good” and “bad” cholesterol”–we are not necessarily claiming that the patient’s lipid disorder is caused by this imbalance. The “cause” may lie in a combination of the person’s genetic make-up; fatty diet, excess synthesis of low-density lipoproteins, etc. Thus, I stand by my point: The APA did not endorse the claim that depression is “caused by” a chemical imbalance, or, indeed, that any mental illness is so caused. And of course, most knowledgeable psychiatrists never did either! Q.E.D.

    Ronald Pies MD

    – See more at:

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  33. Pies is demanding respect and politeness from those that question him as he takes seriously his role as Big Pharma’s lap dog and one of the thought leaders of Psychiatric Torture Incorporated combined with other cooperating licensed purveyors of applied pseudo scientific “care”. They feel that posturing grandiosely , John Gotti style , is their right as grand manipulators of applied pseudo science endangering millions of people and threatening billions more. Fear of this organized crime organization has spread around the globe and with the promised threat of coming innovations in torture techniques , Pies and company feel they deserve respect for the potential to bringing shock and awe into everyones home not even speaking of the extorted profits. Furthermore considering their full knowledge of the brutality of psychiatry Pies and compadres never expected even the existence of psychiatric survivors and the growing of the sorely needed anti-psychiatry movement

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  34. Psychiatrists are licensed by individual states to practice in only the state(s) in which they hold active licensure. The way to eliminate psychiatry in the US is by successfully pressuring the respective licensing bodies to rescind and cease issuing licenses to those who present credentials (certification and psychiatric residency completion) in support of practicing psychiatry. Moreover, CMS must disenroll all psychiatrists and make them ineligible for reimbursement for any medical codes (ICD9, ICD10, DSM 5) which are psychiatric. The Joint Commission must be persuaded to establish practice standards which do not allow for the credentialing of psychiatrists, the involuntary treatment of patients (with the exceptions of people lacking capacity – dementias, medication induced alteration of consciousness, trauma and the like), and treatments which have an unacceptable harm/benefit ratio (ECT, antipsychotics, restraints, etc).

    This requires a very different care infrastructure, and it would require the de-medicalization of emotional distress interventions. However, a robust public health infrastructure which has the power and resources to positively impact the social determinants of health would go a long way into realizing this.

    As to Pies, Lieberman and the other lying liars who lie, do know that they are looked upon with disdain by physicians in general. Psychiatrists are known for their weak clinical skills, their failure to grasp diagnostic reasoning, and their passive-aggressive professional communication. They are known for their 9-5 hours, their do anything for a buck ethos and their affinity for serving as bought and paid for “expert witnesses” in the criminal justice system again preying on vulnerable patients.

    If any physician other than a psychiatrist practiced using the four pillars of psychiatry: deception, coercion, non science-based treatment and misdiagnosis, that physician would be stripped of licensure after losing a huge malpractice suit. That it continues to be TAU for psychiatry is criminal.

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  35. Hi Bob,

    Thanks for the heads up on this post by Ron Pies. Yes, I agree that we should care about the PR that refutes propaganda that continues to be propagated in the absence of public re-education by the APA. This has been my focus, that the so-called critical psychiatrists have not become activists in the public sector, with a sense of concern about the plight of parents and knowledgeable nurses, like me, who are trying to do *real* damage control. I posted the following comment this blog post:

    >>In “the most extensive layperson’s book in print on various medications used to treat children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders–” Straight Talk about Psychiatric Medications for kids” by Dr. Timothy Wilens, we have a prominent Harvard affiliated child psychiatrist talking about the “subtle chemical differences in the brains of children…” . After declaring the first statement here in the introduction, Dr. Wilens also tells us :
    :”Emerging findings suggest that the bulk of emotional, cognitive and behavioral disorders are caused by subtle chemical differences in the brains of children.”
    And then proclaims “The medications that are prescribed normalize the transmission of these chemical signals and reduce the child’s symptoms.” (pg. 14)
    “Explain to those at your child’s school and elsewhere about what you have learned about the biological causes of the child’s disorder.”
    “But in the case of bipolar disorder, behavioral interventions cannot cure the child of the biological tendency toward mood swings.” (pg. 16)
    Right below this statement is a box with this “helpful definition “of the biological process–
    “Neurotransmitters- Chemical messengers that are the main communication links between nerve cells>”
    This is the third edition of this book, written by one of the Joseph Biederman’s students in 2009. that would be a year after the Sen Grassley COI scandal–. The 4th edition is due out in April 2016– however, there has been no effort to correct the multiple errors in this book, no retractions– and surprisingly, my review of it on amazon was never published.
    With all of the spoils of authority in this field, Dr. Wilens claims( in the introduction) that the information in his book is derived from a “wealth of scientific literature, ongoing research efforts in which my colleagues and I are engaged, and my clinical experience.”
    Imagine the challenge that I, a nurse specializing in child/adolescent psychiatry for over 20 years, have when a parent asks me why I refute the “knowledge of the experts” ?
    I have written to the ACCAP, and the publisher of this book– even to Dr. Wilens. No response. Perhaps, you have some clout within the the APA that would initiate the task of re-educating both psychiatrists who do continue to preach this pseudoscientific jargon to support prescribing psych drugs to kids– and the public who believe it? Perhaps it is time to insist upon a public education effort from the APA that will correct the imbalances in the mindsets that are currently weighted heavily in support of chemical imbalances in the brain, psychiatry as a medical specialty and drugs as the best treatment to normalize these neurotransmitter maladies ?
    There are no agents/drugs that specifically target the “medical” cause of these disorders, yet right in this book, a prominent psychiatrist says otherwise. If he lacks knowledge, whose responsibility is it to educate him? and do damage control in public forum?– if not the APA? <<
    Thank you,
    Katie Tierney Higgins RN
    – See more at:

    Blog writing and engaging with the psychiatric survivor community is a good start, but it does not address the real and present danger that the pseudoscience supporting coercion and force for these treatments continues to thrive. Granted, refuting the premise does point to a conclusion that seriously undermines the credibility of the most prominent psychiatrists and their professional organization. So, it appears that Critical psychiatrists and other on-line outspoken MH professionals are not really distinguishing them selves from the status quo defenders of the old guard. As an advocate for the psychiatric survivor community, I have realized that I am just as vulnerable to attack by both the defenders of the APA and those who will not publicly denounce them.

    This has been my path to an *anti-psychiatry* position, and my claim to fame that I am called an extremist zealot, and other quite nasty names by a psychiatrist who blogs in protest of the APA, inside his ivory tower– and appears here periodically to slam the MIA commenters—. Joel Hassman banned me publicly on his site . 🙂
    Because, I would not back down from my criticism of my professional colleagues who seem to be having their cake, and eating it, too.

    There is a way forward– IF my professional colleagues can come together and defend the principles our licenses are based upon– for the sake of those for whom we are ethically, duty- bound to protect from harmful medical practices.

    I really don't see why this is viewed as an extremist attitude. Even amidst the confounding chaos and continuation of forced imprisonment and forced drugging, I have collaborated with knowledgeable, compassionate co-workers – on the front lines– speaking truth to power, appropriately educating patients and families– and eventually, losing our jobs– because the next rung up on the chain of command will not rock the boat. So the grassroots movement to *abolish* harmful , non-scientific, non-medical– sometimes *forced* treatment is mowed down before we can grow to a height that captures the attention of political leaders, etc. Sad beyond words, to note that those riding the power mowers are blogging their criticism of biomedical psychiatry.


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  36. I agree..
    “We need to strip psychiatry of its authority over this domain of our lives. The challenge for society is to figure out how to do that.”
    only I would have said “strip psychiatry of any and all authority over people’s lives.
    It is easy to do. We need to do the experiments, which mimic the foul game play that related, inhumane people do to others in their lives, in relationships. This will empower humane people to take control over their lives and not suffer any ill effects, no so-called mental disorders. Thus psychiatry and the drug companies take a huge correction. I would say like 80% of their profits go down the gurgler.
    How to do the experiments?
    I am making a series of videos on The Underlying Conditions of Disease.
    If you don’t have time to see them all then Video 6 is more or less a summary with some examples at the end.
    Experiments don’t need to use criminals to pose a concealed threat. They can use a snake in an adjacent room with a remote control on the door. The door is never opened. It only needs to create fear as I explain in the video.

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