Stigmatization of Psychiatry and Psychiatrists: Some Remedial Suggestions


On February 27, 2015, European Psychiatry published a paper titled EPA guidance on how to improve the image of psychiatry and of the psychiatrist.  The paper was authored by D. Bhugra et al.  EPA is the European Psychiatric Association.  Dr. Bhugra is a psychiatrist who works at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience, King’s College, London, and is also President of the World Psychiatric Association.  There are thirteen co-authors, most of whom are also psychiatrists.

. . .

The paper opens with the statement:

“Psychiatry, psychiatric patients and psychiatrists have always been stigmatised against. Reasons for the stigmatisation are many. Fear, prejudices and discrimination are a result of the lack of knowledge.”

This is the abiding theme of the article:  people don’t like us because they don’t know us.  If people knew what we are really like, our image would improve.  Here are some quotes:

“The image of psychiatry and psychiatrists may be affected by aspects not strictly related to stigma: the past of psychiatry includes dark centuries in which asylums and prepharmacological interventions (physical restraints, coercion, etc.) have been adopted and may still influence the image of the discipline and psychiatrists.”

Translation:  People don’t like us because we used to be scoundrels – that was in the bad old days.  We’re not like that any more.  Back then psychiatrists used physical restraints and coercion.

I thought they still use physical restraints and coercion.

. . .

“In the majority of worldwide healthcare system, mental health care is separated from physical health care, and inevitably very few medical colleagues understand the role of psychiatry, particularly so if liaison psychiatry departments are weak or non-existent, and if they have not had adequate exposure to psychiatry during their undergraduate or post-graduate training. The fact that physicians did not work routinely in contact with psychiatrists and that the only way of being in contact with psychiatry is during liaison activities or in emergency settings could contribute to the negative image of psychiatry.” [Emphasis added]

Translation:  Other physicians don’t like us because, due to lack of contact, they don’t understand our role.  If they understood our role, they would like us more.

This strikes me as extremely condescending towards other physicians.  They don’t understand the role of psychiatry!

. . .

Under the heading “General Public”:

“Psychotropic medication and ECT are seen as more negative interventions in comparison with psychotherapies and counselling.  The lack of knowledge may be responsible for negative attitudes.”

Translation:  The poor ignorant man (or woman) in the street simply doesn’t realize how helpful psychotropic drugs and high voltage electric shocks to the brain really are.

. . .

“The media and its portrayal of mental illness and how it is treated play a major role in affecting attitudes towards mental illness. The way in which stories related to mental health are covered and the emphasis placed on making fun of patients with mental illness does lead to negative attitudes. Negative images often get translated into generalised negative attitudes.”

Translation:  People don’t like us because the media make fun of psychiatry’s clients when they write their stories!  And because of this, people don’t like us.

I can’t recall ever reading a story where a journalist made fun of psychiatric clients.

. . .

“Filmmakers’ attitudes reporting large negative portrayal of psychiatry play a major role in informing and forming negative attitudes.”

Translation:  People don’t like us because movies portray us in a bad light.

Here again, this has not been my experience.  Most of the movies I’ve seen which feature psychiatrists portray them as concerned, empathetic listeners, working diligently to help clients disentangle or resolve some life crisis:  a portrayal, incidentally, which is in marked contrast to the reality of the 15-minute, drug-pushing med-check.

. . .

And then there’s this truly extraordinary quote:

“The negative portrayals of psychiatry pandering to stereotypes of the specialty even in novels written by psychiatrists continue to perpetuate the myth of psychiatry as ineffective and psychiatrists themselves as suffering from psychiatric disorders, not taking reality into account.”

It’s a complicated sentence, but let’s see if we can disentangle it:

– psychiatry is negatively portrayed in novels;
– even novels written by psychiatrists;
– these portrayals contribute to the myth of psychiatry as ineffective;
– and to the myth that psychiatrists themselves might have “psychiatric disorders”.

So, here we have a team of European psychiatrists producing a guidance document on how to counter the stigma and negative attitudes that are often directed towards psychiatry and its clients.  And one of the specific points that they make is that portraying psychiatrists as having psychiatric problems is, in itself, a stigmatizing myth!  In other words, the drafters of the guidance document on overcoming stigma are themselves stigmatizing their own clients!  Psychiatrists tell us that psychiatric disorders are illnesses, “just like diabetes”; that they can afflict anybody; that at any given time about a fifth of the population “has” one of these disorders; and that the life-time prevalence is around 50%.  Why should it be stigmatizing for novelists to portray psychiatrists as any less vulnerable to these “disabling illnesses” as anybody else?  There are approximately 46,000 psychiatrists in the US.  According to psychiatry’s own numbers, about 9,200 of these individuals should have a mental illness at any given time, and about 23,000 should have a mental illness at some time in their lives.  In depicting this “reality”, if indeed they do, aren’t novelists merely reflecting psychiatry’s own assertions?  Why is it stigmatizing to portray psychiatrists as having these illnesses?  Unless, of course, Dr. Bhugra and the EPA don’t really believe their own rhetoric.

The Guidance Committee’s Suggestions

Dr. Bhugra et al offer fourteen suggestions for improving psychiatry’s image.  Most are vague or platitudinous.  Here are the main points:

  1. “Psychiatrists as professionals must take the lead in taking pride in clinical practice, looking after the most challenging and underserved patients.”

I have long believed that in their hearts, all, or almost all, psychiatrists know that their concepts are spurious, and that their “treatments” are destructive and disempowering.  Dr. Bhugra et al’s admonition to their colleagues to “take pride in clinical practice” strikes me as self-deception.  I can’t imagine a leading surgeon or cardiologist or nephrologist broadcasting such advice to their colleagues.  Real doctors already take pride in their work.  They have no need for cheerleading or pep talks.

  1. “Evidence based research should be circulated widely.”

Indeed it should:  Particularly the negative results that pharma-psychiatry routinely suppressed for decades.

  1. “… networks of policy development, clinical intervention and research must be established”

I’m not sure what this means.  Expand the empire?

  1. “… physical and mental health services integration…”

This has been a common theme here in the US for years – a mental health worker in every GP’s office.  The eminent psychiatrist Jeffrey Lieberman, past president of the APA, pushed this notion relentlessly.  And, of course, it’s also being pushed in Europe.  So a person gets sick, goes to see his GP.  He is despondent because he’s sick.  Consequently his depression “screening” is positive, and he comes out with a prescription for an SSRI and a handful of free samples.  Tried and true marketing.

  1. “… exposure to enthusiastic and charismatic teachers in undergraduate settings should be encouraged…”

Enthusiastic and charismatic!  I’m picturing scenarios in which psychiatry lecturers are refused tenure because they are too dull, or that they lack sparkle.  Lecturers should, of course, be able to engage their students, but charisma strikes me as a consideration more pertinent to high school pep rallies than university lectures.

  1. “clinical exposure to right patients and the right number of patients must be delivered.”

I can’t even begin to imagine what Dr. Bhugra and his colleagues mean by the “right patients”.  But whoever these “right” individuals are, trainee psychiatrists need to be exposed to them – clinically.

  1. “Especially tailored placements [for psychiatry students] should be made available across different national and international settings”

So that they can learn what established psychiatrists do in faraway places.  My guess is that it’s assigning “diagnoses” and pushing drugs.

  1. “Engagement in short research projects [for psychiatry students]”

So that they can learn how to manipulate the results to show psychiatry in a good light.

  1. “Regular audit of clinical services will enable clinicians to understand what changes are needed and how to deliver services. Audits about patient satisfaction and complaints will encourage staff to provide better services”

These kinds of quality assurance audits have been an integral part of general medicine for decades.  But for audits to have any value, they must be accompanied by a generous measure of critical self-appraisal:  a willingness to subject one’s own performance and concepts to critical scrutiny.  This is not a quality for which psychiatry is noted.  Indeed, within psychiatric circles, negative outcomes are routinely blamed on the client, and complaints or protests from clients are routinely adduced as evidence of pathology.  The kind of audits I’ve come across in psychiatry are mostly empty paper exercises.

  1. “Regular courses, information leaflets and newer methods such as phone apps and web-based learning may provide relevant information so that patients, families and their carers can work to identify early signs, signs of relapse and management”

And undoubtedly, pharma will continue to provide the funding for these “learning” opportunities.  And note the inclusions of “early signs”.  Bring us your troubled children and we will diagnose them and give them drugs.

  1. “Working with patient organisations is an important aspect in spreading education as well as engaging policy makers.”

For instance, educating people that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, for which it is necessary to take antidepressants for the rest of one’s life.

  1. “Collaboration across different sectors–voluntary and statutory, primary care and secondary care and social and health care…”

Let’s get psychiatry’s tentacles into the voluntary organizations, the GP’s offices, the general hospitals, and social services.

  1. “Training the media on reporting and working with them to convey positive messages will help improve the public image.”

So psychiatrists are going to train journalists on how to report, and get them to say nice things about psychiatry.  More patronizing grandiosity.  I don’t think journalists are that gullible.

  1. “Sharing information with policy makers about accurate outcomes and therapeutic interventions…”

Like telling politicians that neuroleptic drugs cause tardive dyskinesia and akathisia?  Or that there is no scientific basis to any of the psychiatric diagnoses, except those “due to a general medical condition”?  Or that research results show that people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, who come off neuroleptics, have a better long-term outcome than those who stay on the drugs?  Or that neuroleptic drugs are being used for behavior control in foster care, in nursing homes,  and in group homes for people with disabilities?  Or that long-term use of lithium can lead to permanent kidney failure?  Yes!  That’s a great idea!  But somehow I don’t think that’s what the guidance committee had in mind by “accurate outcomes”.

Summary and Discussion

As is often the case in discussing psychiatry papers, it’s difficult to know where to start.  Perhaps the most obvious feature of the EPA document is the complete and total failure to recognize that the negative appraisals of psychiatry, that are finding voice in the past decade or two, are entirely valid and deserved.  Psychiatry is being perceived negatively, because, as a profession, it is intellectually and morally bankrupt.  Its failings are huge, and its lack of integrity glaring, yet there is no hint of this in the EPA paper.  Instead, the authors cling to the self-serving notion that the stigma attached to psychiatry derives from ignorance of its true nature, and from unwarranted negative media portrayals.

So in the interests of setting the record straight, let me state as clearly and unambiguously as I can why psychiatry is being increasingly criticized and marginalized.

  1. Psychiatry’s definition of a mental disorder/ illness, as set out in DSM III, IV, and 5, embraces virtually every significant problem of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving. Psychiatry uses this definition to fraudulently medicalize problems that are not medical in nature.
  2. Psychiatry routinely presents these so-called illnesses as the causes of the specific problems, when in fact they are merely labels: abbreviated rewordings of the presenting problems with no explanatory function or value.  These labels, which cause enormous damage to the individuals to whom they are assigned, serve only to legitimize the pushing of drugs, and to enable psychiatrists to bill for the services they provide.  Unlike real diagnoses, they provide no insight into the nature or essence of the presenting problems, but are nevertheless defended tenaciously by psychiatrists and their pharma funders.
  3. Psychiatry has routinely deceived, and continues to deceive, their clients, the public, the media, and government agencies, that these vaguely defined problems are in fact illnesses with known neural pathology. The classic example of this is the chemical imbalance theory of depression – a blatant hoax which was pushed so heavily by psychiatry that it has now become “common knowledge”.  And the most noteworthy aspect of this is that although the hoax has been exposed repeatedly – (most recently by Terry Lynch in his book Depression Delusion), psychiatry has taken no concerted steps to correct this misinformation, and indeed in many quarters is still promoting this fiction as established medical fact.
  4. Psychiatry has blatantly promoted drugs as corrective measures for these illnesses, when in fact it is well-known in pharmacological and psychiatric circles that no psychiatric drug corrects any neural pathology. In fact, the opposite is the case.  All psychiatric drugs exert their effect by distorting or suppressing normal brain functioning.  It is also well known that the adverse effects of these products are often devastating and permanent.
  5. Psychiatry has collaborated and conspired with pharma in the development of a vast body of fraudulent research, all designed to “demonstrate” that psycho-pharmaceutical products are safe and effective. The methods by which this fraud has been perpetrated include:  the routine suppression of negative results; the use of ridiculously short follow-up intervals; over-stating of marginal results; etc., etc.
  6. A great many psychiatrists have shamelessly accepted large sums of pharma money for very questionable activities. These activities include the widespread presentation of infomercials in the guise of CEUs; the ghost-writing of books and papers which were actually written by pharma employees; targeting of captive and vulnerable audiences in nursing homes, group homes, and foster-care systems for prescription of psychiatric drugs; etc., etc…   Two glaring examples of this kind of venality are:

In addition, 70% of the DSM-5 task force members had received funding from the pharmaceutical industry.

7. Psychiatry’s labels are inherently disempowering. To tell a person, who in fact has no biological pathology, that he has an incurable illness, for which he must take psychiatric drugs for life, is an intrinsically disempowering act which robs people of hope, and encourages them to settle for a life of drug-induced dependency and mediocrity.

8. Psychiatry’s “treatments”, whatever transient feelings of well-being they may induce, are always destructive and damaging in the long-term. Neuroleptic drugs cause tardive dyskinesia.  Extended use of antidepressants produces a state of chronic joylessness.  Benzodiazepines are addictive.  High-voltage electric shocks to the brain erase memories.  Psychiatry’s notion that one can solve people’s problems by tinkering irresponsibly with their brains, betrays a degree of arrogant naivety unequalled in other professional groups.

9. Psychiatry’s spurious and self-serving medicalization of every significant problem of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving, effectively undermines human resilience, and fosters a culture of powerlessness, uncertainty, and dependence. Powerful, time-honored concepts such as the need for critical self-appraisal, and personal improvement through effort, have been systematically marginalized by psychiatry’s expanding list of “illnesses”, and ever-flowing supply of drugs.  Relabeling as illnesses, problems which previous generations accepted as matters to be addressed and worked on, and harnessing billions of pharma dollars to promote this false message, is morally and professionally repugnant.

10. Psychiatry’s primary agenda over the past four or five decades has been the expansion of its list of “illnesses”, and the assignment of these illnesses to more and more people. It has now become routine practice to prescribe neuroleptic drugs to elderly nursing home residents who become “unmanageable” and to young children for temper tantrums!

. . .

Some Remedial Suggestions for Psychiatry

Here are my suggestions for any psychiatrist who is genuinely concerned about the stigmatization of his/her profession:

      • Repudiate the spurious medicalization of non-medical problems;
      • Acknowledge the destructive and disempowering nature of the “treatments”;
      • Apologize to all concerned;
      • Find honest work.

No amount of mental gymnastics or PR can address psychiatry’s fundamental flaws.

* * * * *


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


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  1. Hi Philip,

    Everytime I think you have written your best column, you keep proving me wrong. They are all great but this one really is superb.

    Anyway, I am not sure why physicians would look down on psychiatry since so many of them have adapted their practices and subscribe to their BS. For example, when I saw my PCP a few weeks ago for prescribed blood work, the nurse in a routine screening asked if I had been depressed for the past two weeks and suicidal as part of the routine questions. I was really furious at this question but kept my cool.

    After I was bought to my hospital room post operatively, the admitting nurse asked about suicidal ideation as part of the routine questioning. Obviously, I can’t repeat what I wanted to say.

    Many sleep doctors incorrectly assume that sleep issues are due to depression which also pisses me off big time.

    By the way, I do have a question. When that nurse asked me the question, I was so angry I wanted to say something protesting it being asked but I kept my mouth shut because I feared it would come out wrong. What would be an assertive response?

    I am just tired of this BS and feel that patients need to start speaking up. Maybe it is an exercise in futility but I just feel we need to try and say something.

    And just so folks know, when I was twice asked to fill out a functional assessment questionnaire before a PCP visit that I felt was very intrusive, I finally found out where it was coming from and told the person in charge of the project that I didn’t ever want to see this again in my account when I made future appointments. Of course, she acted like I was making a mountain out of molehill but I didn’t care.

    Thanks again Phil for speaking out against psychiatry. You are so great at hitting the issues precisely.


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    • I have a relative who is bipolar and I can tell you it’s a real medical illness. I’m guessing most of you on here do not have mental illness.To the person who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, I know of a case where this woman heard voices since she was a child and she wasn’t diagnosed with schizophrenia, because she wasn’t one. There are other medical illnesses that look like mental illness but are medical illnesses. Someone with a concussion who exhibits symptoms, displays similar mental illness symptoms. This relative who’s mentally ill showed memory, concentration and depression symptoms since she was about 4 years old, there was no psychological or physical abuse nor sexual abuse – there was no traumatic incident which could have warranted it. When she was an adult, she became full blown manic and deeply depressed. No psychological therapy helped her, it was the medicine which helped her.

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      • And how are you so sure that there was no trauma in her early life? People block the memories or they refuse to self-disclose, for various reasons. How do you know for sure so that you can make such sure fire statements?

        Why do you feel it so necessary to defend the concept of “mental illness”? It’s interesting that you’re so willing to speak for your relative. I wonder what she would say if she could speak for herself?

        And as far as the “medicines” doing anything to help, all the toxic drugs do is tamp down and mask what are called the “symptoms” of so-called “mental illness”. I do not say that people don’t experience emotional and psychological distress and dis-ease, but the drugs do not “cure” anything at all. All they do is mask and tamp down what is going on.

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      • It’s intriguing how resolute you are in the idea that the medication was the only answer for this woman. See, no one actually knows how the medications work, why they don’t work on everyone with the same diagnosis, and if they really do anything at all.

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      • How do you know what might or might not have helped her? Was anything else tried besides drugs? How does she function today? Have the drugs led to a recovery of normal social and occupational functioning?

        Some people do appear to do better taking psychiatric drugs, or at least report that they do. That’s not the point of the article. The point is that there is no way to determine that something is physiologically wrong with your relative based only on how she behaves. And the fact that she responds positively to a drug does not prove this point, either. For instance, I was very, very shy as a youth. When I drank alcohol, it made me less inhibited and more likely to introduce myself to a stranger or engage in a conversation with a group of people. Was I “disordered” or “ill” because I was shy? More importantly, since alcohol made me feel less anxiety, was alcohol a “treatment” for my “illness?”

        Additionally, one never knows what goes on behind closed doors in a family. Sometimes things look very “normal” on the outside but are quite tense and uncomfortable for the family members, or sometimes just for one of them. That was true of my family – both my parents were very ‘nice’ and not abusive (within the cultural context of the day – we did get hit and in a pretty terrifying way on a couple of occasions), but the environment was quite unhealthy emotionally, with everyone pretending everything was just fine until tensions built and someone blew up and we scattered. A half hour later, we’d all get back together and pretend nothing happened, never talked about it again. It was not overt abuse, but it WAS traumatic over time and unquestionably contributed to my anxiety around other people.

        So was I sick or healthy? Or was my family sick? Or do we just live in a sick society that thought beating your kids was OK at that time? How would you decide? If I had cancer, you could see it. Even something as nebulous as obesity has a measurement associated with it. There is no measurement for “bipolar disorder.” It’s someone’s opinion, nothing more. Drugs may or may not be helpful to a particular person, but telling them they have a “brain disease” based only on their behavior or emotions is a plain lie that helps no one and has the potential to do great harm.

        —- Steve

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    • AA,

      Thanks for your support. Medicare requires that all Medicare recipients be screened annually for depression. So I get asked this set of questions every year. I just say no, and quietly increase my resolve to critique this psychiatric monster with all the energy I can muster. It’s just one more tawdry example of their rapacious drug-pushing.

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      • Can you point to resources which would direct individuals suffering from depression to highly skilled professionals who will provide non-medication based treatment without regard to an individual’s resources? Specificity, would be important.

        For most in my county of one million getting anti-depressants and anti-psychotics adjunctively is relatively easy in the public mental health system. Getting treatment from a professional skilled in the treatment of depression without medication can be challenging and is too often impossible. (Even is one if able to see any therapist medication is considered to be a essential to the treatment of depression.)

        If individuals suffering from depression are to avoid the “psychiatric monster” they must be able to access existing alternatives.

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        • “f individuals suffering from depression are to avoid the “psychiatric monster” they must be able to access existing alternatives.”

          They are called friends. In my view there’s no “treatment” for depression. Depression is not an illness and it’s caused by this thing called life. Everyone has to learn to live on tehir own and hopefully find people who are compassionate, trustworthy and emphatic to share this life with. Everything else is useless loss of time.

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        • Hello Joe:

          depression is often a natural response to what life and people dish out. If you have endured grief, loss or other trauma, or have scars from childhood, and do not have friends or family to help you through this, please look into appropriate support group(s) as a source of interpersonal, psychosocial support and perhaps new friendships. You may also want to reach out to the individual authors on this site to see if they have specific recommendations for a therapist in your area. Also, if trauma is a factor in your life, Bessel van der Kalk’s book The Body Keeps the Score is great.

          But I do not believe that depression is invariably situational, or always a response to adverse life experience. There are people who suffer from depression even when their circumstances are favorable, and all kinds of physical/environmental factors or causes have been implicated in depression, including low fat diet, low cholesterol, poor gut health, nutrient deficiencies or overloads. To get a handle on those, you would need to become a researcher and a detective/sleuth. The books and blogs that I recommend are:

          (1) The Grain Brain, by David Pearlmutter, M.D.;
          (2) The Brain Maker, also by Pearlmutter,
          (3) Nutrient Power by William Walsh, PhD,
          (4) Earthing, by Stephen Sinatra, M.D. et al.;
          (5) Monica Cassani’s blog Beyond Meds, and.
          (6) Joseph Cohen’s blog, Unhacked.

          Good for you for eschewing drugs. All the best to you.

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        • Hi Joe,

          Also, look into getting your vitamin D level tested as a low level can cause depression. And in my situation, even an acceptable level clinically can do that to me because it is as the low end of the scale.

          I have also found high EPA fish oil helpful.

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    • I think the assertive way to answer those questions is something like this:

      “I appreciate why you are asking me these questions, and it’s nice to know you care, but I prefer to keep discussions of my emotional state private at this time.”

      Or: “I am choosing not to answer any questions today that aren’t directly related to the condition I’m coming in for.”

      Or, of course, you can just tell them the answer most likely to get them off your backs. They have no actual right to force you to answer any of those questions. If they are written down, just write in “N/A” as in “Not Applicable.” If they ask you why, just say that you’re a private person and you object to sharing personal information unless you believe it is necessary. You can even be humorous: “Information will be shared on a need-to-know basis” or “Do I look suicidal to you?”

      If you simply maintain a calm demeanor and politely let them know that this is not anything you think they need to ask about, most of them will stop pretty fast. I am actually even more pre-emptive with my care providers. I tell them right up front that I’m not interested in getting into any kind of “mental health” treatment and that I avoid drugs at all costs, so there is not really any point in asking me about that kind of stuff. They can then write “patient refused” and their job is done.

      Hope that helps!

      —- Steve

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  2. You have written an excellent article that expresses many of the negative feelings I have about psychiatry. The only thing I may disagree with is how gullible reporters are. I have read many articles in major newspapers on clinical studies (not just psychiatric studies). Unfortunately, the reporters frequently appear to have have little knowledge of statistics and simply parrot what the study authors misleadingly feed them. Too often these articles sound like PR for the study. Usually the articles don’t mention the study authors’ conflicts of interest.

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  3. Another excellent post, Philip. Thank you. A couple of little additions, if I may.

    The antipsychotics are still being promoted as “medicines” by the psychiatric industry, despite the 2013 confession by the UN Special Rapport that they are “torture” drugs. And these so called “mandatory” “schizophrenia” drugs are known to actually cause both the negative and positive symptoms of “schizophrenia.” The “negative” symptoms are created via neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome, which is no doubt almost always misdiagnosed as “schizophrenia,” since the psychiatrists have delusions these “torture” drugs are “wonder” drugs. And these psychiatric misdiagnoses result in the psychiatrists increasing the neuroleptics and / or adding other drugs, rather than taking the person off a drug that is making them sick. And this can cause the “positive” symptoms of “schizophrenia,” like “psychosis,” via the central symptoms of anticholinergic intoxication syndrome, aka anticholinergic toxidrome. But this is, of course, also misdiagnosed as “schizophrenia” by those who are delusional, and believe “torture” drugs are “wonder” drugs.

    And it should be noted that according to the medical evidence 2/3 of all “schizophrenics” today are not “dangerous criminals,” as the psychiatrists propagate. But instead, 2/3’s of all “schizophrenics” today are people who dealt with either child abuse or adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) being misdiagnosed as “psychosis” by doctors who did not want to listen to or deal with such matters, other than to profit off of creating the symptoms 0f “schizophrenia” in those child abuse victims with the neuroleptic drugs.

    I will add, as a person who had the symptoms of “schizophrenia,” although it was called “bipolar” in my case, created in this way to cover up both medical evidence of the abuse of my child and a “bad fix” on a broken bone, because my PCP was paranoid of a non-existent malpractice suit. I would imagine it is highly likely that a good portion of the 1/3 of “schizophrenics” who did not deal with child abuse, actually have prior easily recognized iatrogenesis as an etiology of their so called “schizophrenia” or “bipolar.” Although I am unaware of any medical research into iatrogenesis cover ups, for logical reasons.

    But an ethical pastor of mine was kind enough to confess psychiatrists covering up child abuse for the religions and easily recognized medical mistakes for the incompetent doctors is the “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.” Is an industry that behaves in this deplorable manner actually beneficial to the majority within society? I think not.

    The psychiatric industry should be seen as a relic of a much too paternalistic, and truly evil, system – and I’d just like to point out, historically, only evil governments have propagated belief in the fraudulent psychiatric “mental illnesses,” so I do so hope all governments will end their support of this iatrogenic illness creation industry. Even so called “schizophrenia” is likely an almost completely iatrogenic illness.

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  4. How ironic that some psychiatrists’ statements in this article were unintentionally correct, such as:

    “Psychotropic medication and ECT are seen as more negative interventions in comparison with psychotherapies and counselling. The lack of knowledge may be responsible for negative attitudes.”

    Indeed, psychotherapy is on average far more effective in the long term than medication and ECT. Psychiatrists’ lack of knowledge there may be responsible for why they suck so much at helping people.

    “The negative portrayal of psychiatry… (including) psychiatrists themselves as suffering from psychiatric disorders, not taking reality into account.”

    What an incredible idea, that a psychiatrist could be emotionally troubled and even exhibit symptoms of supposed depression, anxiety, or psychosis! It’s less likely, because psychiatrists are predominantly financially well-off, highly educated white men, and mental illness discriminates against poor minorities, despite my efforts to get mental illness to be equal opportunity.

    Regarding this quote, “clinical exposure to right patients” – what an incredible use of language. You’d think that seeing someone emotionally troubled was like getting exposed to the correct Ebola strain.

    Another unbelievable quote was, “Training the media on reporting and working with them to convey positive messages will help improve the public image.” What are the media, children? The honest version of this message should have been, “Training the media to lie.” Thankfully that didn’t work with Whitaker, otherwise this forum wouldn’t exist.

    Lastly, while this criticism of psychiatry is all good and in my opinion correct… again the conversation here on MIA should turn gradually toward what alternatives can be offered, and why are they not currently being offered. Criticizing psychiatry is good, and easy, but what is most needed is building something new for the oppressed:

    How will large-scale peer support groups organize and reach out to people suffering severe emotional distress? Why don’t they? How can long-term intensive psychotherapy without medication be offered for psychotic people? Why isn’t it available? How can families of acting-out children be effectively engaged without medicating the children? How can rehabilitation and housing/job programs be made the focus for small-time offenders and homeless people? Etc.

    Without a realistic viable competitive offering to the lies about diagnoses and drugs, I don’t think the situation will change.

    It would be well to keep in mind Macchiavelli’s warning about this struggle: “`It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the laws in their favor; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had the actual experience of it.””

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  5. So, basically, their concern is how to improve the illusion of psychiatry, the ‘image,’ as opposed to ‘we need to answer to these grievance, people claim we make them suffer rather than alleviating it, and we take that seriously.’ Being on the defensive, rather than humble and self-responsible, is an extremely weak position.

    What a complete waste of energy this field is. The gap between psychiatry and truth/integrity is light years wide.

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    • But it’s not surprising. Psychiatry is used to treat anyone who disagrees with them in the most benign detail as delusional and detached from reality. So they simply extend the dismissive attitude they have towards their “patients” to the rest of the world.
      Btw, one more verbal manipulation tactic that Philip didn’t mention here (though I believe he has addressed it elsewhere) – the lumping of psychiatrists and their “patients” together when it’s convenient (“you would not want to stigmatize the poor crazy people, would you? well, then you can’t say anything bad about psychiatry” – a beautiful logical fallacy right here) but distancing themselves when inconvenient (like the mentioned suggestion that psychiatrists are never afflicted by the same “mental illnesses” than the rest of us mere humans).

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      • I agree, it’s par for the course. Nothing about psychiatry is reasonable at this point.

        I do take pause when any professional complains of being ‘stigmatized.’ It’s not just psychiatrists, it’s also lawyers, politicians, artists, etc. Everyone gets stigmatized and stereotyped. I think it’s pretty much the way we operate these days.

        When we criticize psychiatry, though, I don’t see it as ‘stigma’ because it is actually based on fact. How many stories of suffering at the hands of psychiatry do we need to hear? It’s not ‘stigma’ when it is fact. Stigma, by definition, is an illusion, a negative projection.

        When people who are going through the ‘mental disability and social services systems,’ they are bound to experience profound and blatant stigma that will sabotage healing in many ways, thanks to their diagnoses plus the fact that they are on public assistance, not based on who they are but based on soooo many false conclusions about, both, ‘mental illness’ and receiving disability, two of the most stigmatized populations, leading to social and professional disenfranchisement, aka social trauma/social ills. This kind of stigma is dangerous and even lethal. People become despondent in this state, or enraged and rightfully so, because they are being evaluated by their case history and socio-economic class, not their character and individual process–in other words, getting royally screwed, and nothing they can do about because that stigma is bone deep and systemic. That has an immediate and far reaching negative impact on one’s health and life, and it is based on myths perpetuated by psychiatry.

        Psychiatrists, on the other hand, may have their egos bruised by criticism, but that’s not the same as having your life destroyed by hard core social stigma. That is brutal. No comparison.

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      • In today’s Charleston Gazette-Mail (WVa) a Parenting columnist John Rosemond called into question the medical diagnosis of ADHD. It seems that Roemond has
        been accused of taking up the cause of Scientology for questioning the use of ADHD medication. Just thought I would pass this along as evidence that the public at large is exposed to criticism of psychiatry.

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        • Perfect example of being stigmatized–as a member of a cult and all that conjures for people–for even questioning the status quo. This is how the powers that be operate, and exactly how we achieve a ‘reality’ based on pure lies and illusions. Who knows ever what is really the truth, other than what we know in our own intuitive gut?

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  6. Over the past 4-5 years I have experienced a gradual reduction in my short term memory and executive functions that happened at about the same time that I started having almost daily severe migraines. I was recently sent to a psychiatrist for a psycho-social exam and he determined that I have moderate short term memory loss and severe executive function loss. This actually seems about right to me as I can no longer hold a job or even keep my finances and schedule straight and I used to have an almost perfect memory (my long term memory is mostly intact but due to the executive function impairment it often doesn’t do me a lot of good). Anyway, I was diagnosed with severe depressive disorder (which if I was depressed these cognitive issues would probably have landed me in the nut house since its not easy to deal with), ADHD (which all the evidence says I didn’t have before but the psychiatrist doesn’t think my 3.8 GPA and the ability to multitask that has won me promotions and awards (military) means anything), and long term-PTSD (I’m not denying that one).

    I decided to keep seeing him for the PTSD since it was the only thing on the list that might have to do with memory loss and I’m getting desperate. We had several sessions and during that time the psychiatrist barely remembered my name between appointments and didn’t bother to remember anything else. Since he liked to talk about himself, however, I know that he is an obnoxious born again Christian, he is in AA (and obnoxiously spots their rhetoric), and he had a nasty divorce and some other family issues that caused most of his family to turn against him and try to get him committed (I did not ask for that information) and he hasn’t gotten over it judging by the vehement way he told me about it (even though it was information I certainly didn’t need or want). He dropped me as a patient because I am, according to him, too angry to be cured. I’m not sure how he came to this conclusion, or if he confused me with someone else, because my PTSD actually causes me to withdraw and run from conflicts (I know this because I really have to struggle to stay present when people are screaming anywhere near me or at me).

    Also, they put me on Adderall for the ADHD and its cleared up the severe migraines even though the psychiatrist says that it didn’t (based on what, I don’t know because he’s not the one having the migraines). I’m not sure its done much for the memory issues but right now I will take what I can get and getting rid of the migraines helps and may even slow the memory loss. I wouldn’t take it but if the memory loss gets worse I will end up completely able to handle my daily life and my kid may end up in foster care and I think the memory loss is tied to the migraines. It hasn’t gotten worse since I started the Adderall and the migraines stopped.

    Was that whole ordeal supposed to cause me to respect psychiatrists because it didn’t? Most of them are nutjobs and they are complicating my ability to get my condition properly diagnosed and fixed. If the psychiatrist wasn’t just denying that the Adderrall was working in unexpected ways then someone might look into why the Adderall was working as it does and that might lead to an explanation as to my condition.

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    • Ysbeth:

      I’m so sorry your are having to deal with migraine headaches as well as PTSD. That is a very heavy load to carry. It’s unfortunate that you were assigned to a terrible psychiatrist who seemed to embody every bad stereotype of the field. Even though I believe everything the author of this article says about the futility of psychiatry trying to improve its image without making any general admission of the harm they routinely mete out, let alone do anything about that harm (my daughter has been involuntarily committed and forcibly medicated so our family is very familiar with the dark side of psychiatry) I do believe that there are compassionate psychiatrists out there who are willing to give more than fifteen minute med checks. I’ll let you know when we’ve found one.

      I know from my husband’s experience that migraines are very hard to treat. My husband has been self medicating his migraines for several months. His treatment of choice: Tylenol and medical marijuana but these are only providing limited success. He also deals with tinnitus and attacks of vertigo on a regular basis from Meniere’s Disease. Today, he is having a bad day. The only way I can help is to offer to take some things off his plate and rub his neck. There is not too much you can do for someone who hears a roaring like a freight train inside his head. Unfortunately, medical science hasn’t found a cure for migraine headaches or Meniere’s disease. I can only imagine how many lives are ruined by these conditions.

      I recommend that you seek to establish a relationship with a naturopath, not a psychiatrist. Naturopaths will generally do an intake interview that lasts for about two hours, something a GP or primary care physician is generally unable or unwilling to do. Naturpaths are trained to lead you through a comprehensive diet elimination program to identify possible dietary triggers, presribe dietary supplements if warranted perform complete blood panels and give you guidance and resources to perform audits of your living/work environments. They can also give you referrals for other healing modalities such as accupuncture, bio-feedback, and meditation.

      I’ve been trying to get my husband to take this step for sometime. He seems steeped in the allopathic medical model perhaps because the magic bullet approach let’s him off the hook in terms of not having to make any major lifestyle changes. Also he generally won’t seek alternative treatments if they aren’t covered by our medical insurance. Probably a lot of people do not seek alternative healing modalities for the same reason. I think one of the primary barriers keeping ordinary people like us from seeking out alternatives that ‘first do no harm’ is financial.

      It takes an enormous amount of diligence and faith to find an effective treatment without turning to pharma drugs that cause reliance and may come with a host of secondary problems. An effective treatment has to take into account your individual history and lifestyle and many treatment providers are not willing to get to know you. I would urge you to visit the blogs of people who have been very open about their experiences of self healing. For example, Monica CAssini’s blog at may be very helpful. Although Monica’s experience of protracted withdrawal from psychiatric medications may be very different than your own experience, there are a lot of references on her site to migraines and brain zaps, two of the most common withdrawal symptoms experienced by people who are coming off psychiatric medications.

      Her insight may be helpful and inspirational because she goes to the root of healing which is to take responsibility for one’s healing as opposed to outsourcing one’s healing to a professional. Writing about your experiences as you have today or keeping a journal may be helpful and finding peer support services may also be helpful. Good luck!

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    • For the migraines you may want to visit a neurologist (some of them are actual doctors, not like psychiatrists). I don’t want to scare you or anything but chronic headaches and cognitive impairment can be a sign of something serious and suppressing the symptoms with psych drugs may not be the best way to go. Sometimes migraines are “benign”, sometimes caused by serious underlying issues. Also, you may want to check your hormone levels, they can mess up cognition and cause headaches as well.

      It’s always better to treat the underlying cause rather than medicate the symptoms, especially when you don’t know what’s causing them in the first palce.

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  7. Thank you for your wonderfully truthful and informative posts, Dr. Hickey. I’ve always been amazed at the amount of absolute nonsense, characterized as science, that goes out over the media. I’d like to say that the mass media is beyond bias, but judging from my home base of operations, that is simply not the case. Not that long ago there was a forum in town with a reporter from the local newspaper serving as the MC of this event. It was all about promoting the very lies you are exposing above. Critics of the system, and with them the truth, were very much in the minority. It was, more or less, kind of a self-congratulatory sort of thing, you know, look at the good job we are doing. Imagine the kind of a job we’d be doing with more money. Organized psychiatry for the past thirty plus years has been very effective at duping the public. Now in Europe, it would seem, these psychiatrists are trying to tweak their manipulating of public opinion a little more. One has to fear, a little bit anyway, for the future. I hope this era of lies and silence is finally coming to an end. I think there must be a kind of ‘on the record/off the record’ response that simply is not allowing the facts a place on the public record. Hopefully, with people like yourself and others speaking out here at MIA and elsewhere this reign of lies and silence may finally be coming to a fitting end.

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  8. ” There are approximately 46,000 psychiatrists in the US. According to psychiatry’s own numbers, about 9,200 of these individuals should have a mental illness at any given time, and about 23,000 should have a mental illness at some time in their lives. ” LoL

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  9. Hi Philip,

    This particular EPA paper is an anti-psychiatry straight- man’s dream come true!
    What’s funnier–?, a psychiatrist with zero insight into psychiatry’s own affliction? or a psychiatrist with no insight into the cause of the malady, proposing the remedy? Or rather, psychiatry, business as usual… And, as usual, you have patiently addressed these absurd musings with rational reframing and keen wit. Brilliant !!

    I think it is important not to forget that psychiatry does have a rather stunning track record for mutating at the precise moment it should have become instinct. The biomedical model, a totally unexpected mutation, was put on the map by two members of an endangered species. The direct route to creating a sustainable environment, T*MAP and C*MAP came with a profit sharing pipeline to a wealthy industry, who adeptly funneled most of the profits back into marketing. This mutation seems to have a contagion quality, as members of the larger medical community have already developed the traits that the map makers themselves employed– . There is already a warm fuzzy tone in the relationship between medical doctors and psychiatrists. Some have already become *partners in crime*–

    Dr. Bhurgra is either portraying modesty, ignorance or a difficult to prove willful intention to deceive when he says:

    “In the majority of worldwide healthcare system, mental health care is separated from physical health care, and inevitably very few medical colleagues understand the role of psychiatry, particularly so if liaison psychiatry departments are weak or non-existent, and if they have not had adequate exposure to psychiatry during their undergraduate or post-graduate training. The fact that physicians did not work routinely in contact with psychiatrists and that the only way of being in contact with psychiatry is during liaison activities or in emergency settings could contribute to the negative image of psychiatry.” [Emphasis added]

    An example that I have had very close exposure to and personal contact with, is the infamous psychiatric liaison network operating at Harvard affiliated, Boston Children’s Hospital. Under the guise of a consult service, young, ambitious psychiatric clinicians troll the medical units at BCH, cherry picking cases that either confound or totally frustrate pediatric medical specialists.They re-label them, “Somatic Symptoms Disorder” , thereby establishing an immediate need for psychiatric intervention. This is accomplished by virtue of their “authority” to claim that rare or, as yet undiagnosed medical conditions have an underlying, pathological, psychological component. If not for the decades of rapport building between psychiatry and medicine, the very foundation of which was laid by the “continuing education for medical practitioners”, the natural resistance to view psychiatry as everything but a credible medical specialty would surely have made the above real life, real time scenarios impossible.

    The media has covered the cases that demonstrate the frightening aspect of the extent to which psychiatry has infiltrated medical practice; that psychiatry can hijack a medical case, and employ their child welfare minions to kidnap kids and force them into psychiatric treatment — this, too, is an example of two decades of a successful team building strategy . The American Academy of Pediatrics rubber stamped the new speciality “Pediatric Child Abuse Specialist”, and the diagnosis “Medical Child Abuse” that has furthered the cause for psychiatry’s authority and power to inflict the only treatment skills they have ever had on the most vulnerable people in our society. BTW, in the extreme cases publicized by the media, which began after Justina Pelletier’s case reached international notice, the public is not privy to the *treatment* psychiatry has the power to force on these kids . We aren’t hearing that behavioral modification and psych drugs sum up the psychiatric treatment approach, and that the trauma that results from torturing medically complex kids is unfathomable.

    When I was doing research to explain the unexplainable predicament Justina and her family were in, I was struck by the PR work accomplished by co-author of “Pediatric Psychosomatic Medicine”, and chief of psychiatry at BCH, David Demaso. I found reviews of this text by leading academic medical doctors, that emphasized the benefit of partnering with child psychiatry to provide holistic care for medically complex cases. The text itself and the practice parameters for assessing psychological problems in children and adolescents with chronic, severe medical conditions is stellar PR– for a process that rarely occurs–Dr. Demaso is a lead author on this *guideline* , published by the American Journal of Child Adolescent Psychiatry. — Very exciting pioneering stuff– IF it were followed, or even IF psychiatric clinicians, (especially those under Dr .Demaso’s supervision at BCH) could be held accountable to these guidelines. I suppose there are some psychiatrists that do wade in cautiously, build rapport and offer meaningful psychological support for very sick kids and their families, BUT, the fact remains– free wheeling, trolling psychiatric consult services can and do operate with a purely predatory approach.

    I am a tough audience when it comes to anything promoted by the EPA or APA. I don’t put it past them to employ smoke and mirrors, feign innocence or helplessness to turn the tides in their favor. There is no real impediment to psychiatry’s cozy, warm fuzzy relationship with medical doctors. They’ve been sharing the wealth for quite awhile,and though medicine itself is becoming ill, our real doctors seem to have lost the knack to develop cures- even for themselves, or maybe they are still getting high on the crack pipe of RCTs. ?

    When medical doctors enter a metaphorical rehab, there is hope– that they will regain their senses, remember what they already knew about psychiatry, put it under a microscope and say;

    “Aha! Psychiatry is a virulent strain of bacteria capable of developing resistance to antibiotics via mutation!”

    “No, no, Dr. Watson, psychiatry is a malignant organism!”

    “You’re both wrong! Psychiatry is definitely a virus.”

    “Too right, Dr. Holmes. Psychiatry is a nasty little parasite that has infected our noble profession! We must act quickly, there isn’t time to develop a drug, much less a vaccine, and fight the resistance Pharma will put up for our valiant attempt to save humanity.”

    “Yes. Exactly, Dr. Watson. I propose we take a more radical approach and extricate ourselves as the host to virulent psychiatry.”

    “It’s a long shot, but worth the effort, I agree”

    ” Yes, save ourselves and weaken the virus — before we have a full blown pandemic to contend with.”

    I cling to the memories of true heroic deeds performed by medical doctors–


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  10. Great Article!

    The last thing we need to reduce negative stigma about psychiatrists is to better market bad psychiatry.
    One should, though, understand that the stigma of being a psychiatrists is entrenched in medicine. When I went in to psychiatry, a friend of mine commented “what a waste”. Throughout residency and beginning practice it was clear that most other doctors saw psychiatrists as being useless ( perhaps with reason), but if they needed us, expected miracles.
    The role for psychiatry should be to be able to have a degree of clinical training that is considerable, and which can take into account both the physiological and the emotional. Knowing medicine should expand the knowledge base of psychiatrists so we have an expertise and an ability to understand the mind body connection better than psychologists.
    It is partially the stigma that the medical profession places on psychiatrists that has caused psychiatrists to disavow humanistic principles and embraced an overly medical and biological view of psychiatry.
    We need to get back to our roots as psychotherapists and humanists. We should be good empathetic psychotherapists who also understand disease and the human body, and who have experienced in our medical training the pain of illness and suffering. We should not be this mockery of pseudo-science that we have become.

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    • It always struck me as bizarre that so many people got trained as psychiatrists when the primary understanding needed for helping emotionally distressed people is understanding of the mind, relationships, and human emotional development, not medical training. In other words, understanding that psychologists and therapists achieve without medical training. Given how very little long-term benefit (on average) results from psychiatric medications, there is no reason that psychiatrists are better informed nor more expert about how to help people with emotional problems than any other kind of therapist. Often, they are less informed.

      The main reason there are so many psychiatrists is surely that corporations and some psychiatrists sensed the opportunity to profit by medicalizing life problems and treating them with pills. The growth of psychiatry in the latter half of the 20th century had little if anything to do with what was really good for people or genuine need.

      When I read your post Norman, you come across as an empathetic human being and mainly as a therapist, not as a psychiatrist focused on diagnoses and medications as I think about them.

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    • Norman,

      I agree with your perception that psychiatry has traditionally been viewed with skepticism by medicine, but I see the roots of what you call the stigma of being a psychiatrist as a realistic conclusion made by medicine. Psychiatry was the polar opposite of medicine in the most fundamental sense. I can’t accept your citing what could only be called, rational behavior of medicine, as a partial cause for psychiatry “to disavow humanistic principles and embrace an overly medical and biological view of psychiatry”. I think that if psychiatry was actually rooted in humanistic principles, and believed in the value of those principles as fundamental to healing the suffering of its patients, then the very last thing psychiatry would do is disavow these humanistic principles for the sake of appearing to be as good as medicine.

      It seems more likely that the pseudo science path was chosen to lay claim to patients who were seeking the humanistic treatments offered by non medical mental health professionals. Psychiatrists can prescribe drugs, which they apparently perceived as their distinct advantage over their competition for patients. I don’t think you can cite a single humanistic principle behind the fabrication of the biomedical model , or in the recognition of the harm it has caused.

      I sympathize with your predicament — obviously the direct result of your idealism and your commendable dedication to becoming a humanistic psychotherapist, you are bound to be stigmatized by your colleagues, unless you disavow your humanistic principles and join them .


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      • Katie,

        Having seen this matter unfold over the past fifty years, I have come to the conclusion that a medical qualification, wonderful as it is in matters of real illness, is a formidable obstacle to providing the kind of help that’s needed in this area. Medical doctors are systematically trained to remain detached, make the diagnosis, initiate treatment, and monitor progress. This is a great paradigm when dealing with real illness, but simply doesn’t work with the age-old problems of despondency, hopelessness, painful memories, feelings of disempowerment, futility, overwhelmed, growing old, etc.

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        • Phil,

          Completion of the first year of medical training after graduation, which is commonly referred to as a medical internship , is not exactly a “medical qualification”. That’s the crux of the matter, not intended to be insulting or demeaning, it is a rational assessment based on facts. First year medical residents have neither the clout nor the motivation to assert themselves as fully qualified medical doctors. So why should a psychiatrist, who has no more medical training than a first year medical resident lay claim to a status he, too, has not earned?

          Do you know anyone who would consider consulting a psychiatrist for diagnosis and treatment any physiological symptom of illness? , or to evaluate an injury ? or seek out a psychiatrist to administer first aid? Never happens. Not because of any stigma attached to psychiatry, but because it is counter intuitive to intentionally seek out an unqualified person to attend to our medical needs.

          Are all doctors systematically trained to remain detached, or is the ability to detach developed in concert with recognition of responsibility ; of expectations that patients and others have of doctors to *fix* their maladies using superior knowledge and refined skill? Like the captain of a ship detaches from a panic driven emotional climate to bring his crew and his ship safely through a storm, a medical doctor exhibits detachment behavior on a spectrum that is linked to optimizing human performance—. Whereas, the psychiatrist navigates without a fixed rudder of superior knowledge and no particular skill, other than mastery of a baseless lexicon. The psychiatrist has been trained to exhibit behavior that falls somewhere on a spectrum of dissociative states. All authority vested in psychiatry comes down to believing the words spoken by a “medical doctor”– anyone else saying the same things would be called a pathological liar.

          The same age old problems of despondency, hopelessness, painful memories, feelings of disempowerment, futility, overwhelmed, growing old, etc. present with physical illness– and you’re right about medical doctors being ill-equipped to address these problems, though they do recognize the importance of addressing them as an adjunct to healing– which is why the doctors delegated these matters to nurses–, once upon a time.


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  11. Thanks for the great Article, Philip.

    I can understand why Psychiatry might have a bad name in medicine – it’s difficult to see the connection between Largactil and neuroscience.

    Psychiatry brings a lot of money into medicine and I think this is one of the main reasons why it is tolerated.

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  12. Btw: “Here are my suggestions for any psychiatrist who is genuinely concerned about the stigmatization of his/her profession:

    Repudiate the spurious medicalization of non-medical problems;
    Acknowledge the destructive and disempowering nature of the “treatments”;
    Apologize to all concerned;
    Find honest work.”

    It made my day, thank you :).

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  13. Great article Dr Hickey.

    Very different here in Australia. The stigmatisation here seems to be being generated by the huge amounts of money provided to psychiatry, and their failure to meet even third world standards. Lucky they can force it on people, or the shop would be empty.


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  14. It must be reassuring to have the luxury of being so cavalier about the stigma of mental illness… To be so distanced from the reality of stigma that you clearly have no concept of the weight or dehumanization associated with it.

    Stigma: Paying three hundred dollars a month out of pocket for a prescription that you stopped taking three years ago because you are terrified of the possible repercussions if your doctor finds out you stopped taking it, and even after twenty years, just that idea causes such panic that your conscious refusal to run actually causes your muscles and chest to ache.

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    • To acidpop5 9/8/15 9:21 pm

      That was a frightening account of psychiatry’s underpublicized dark side and unfortunately, it’s thoroughly believable. This is, literally, armed robbery. Instead of using a knife or a toy gun, they use the petition for court ordered “treatment”. Industries, not people should have been the targets for the tough-on-crime laws we passed in the 80’s 90’s and early 00’s. Guild privilege is the only difference between an unemployed parolee who mugs a housewife at gunpoint and a psychiatrist who threatens to AOT her unless she stays bombed on his benzodiazepines all day.

      One explanation for this criminal act of medical malpractice is that certain psychiatric clinicians feel hooked on the greedy feelings of self-satisfaction they give themselves by choosing to mooch off of a profession where they will be handsomely paid by disadvantaged people even if they fail miserably at the jobs they’re licensed by the state to perform and even if their failures cripple and kill the trusting and vulnerable people who desperately need competent care. Most of these money-nuts quacks don’t give a damn if you ingest their poison or not. They just don’t want you to throw them off of the bio-torture gravy train, so they’re often willing to overlook your non-compliance with treatment as long as you never refuse to keep their pockets lined with blood money. For most Mad people, their bodily autonomy and all of the freedoms they derive from it are well worth $300 a month.

      The less mercenary, but more life-threatening, reason for this hold-up is that many crap clinicians enter psychiatry after they’ve devoted years of their lives to rigorous and ongoing regimens of self-indoctrination into pop and formal psychiatry, through which they become proficient at colonizing Mad minds and lives. Clinicians of this sort are the truly dangerous ones. They want much more from you than money. Psychiatry is, quite possibly, the only thing these quacks believe in and they approach their “work” with a missionary zeal. Threats to sick the law on non-compliant patients and grim, but unfounded, predictions of what their futures will be if they set limits on treatment or quit it altogether are two of the most common ways that these extremist psychiatric clinicians try to scare people into following their orders. Though both of these scare tactics have been proven to worsen the “prognoses” of our so-called “illnesses”, this causal relationship between “offensive medicine” and poor health is condemned as psychiatric heresy by the fanatic clinicians who employ these tactics. Clinicians whose belief in psychiatry is saturated with a fervor that has burned out their logic hold as the indisputable truth two complementary assumptions. The first assumption is that psychiatry is incapable of creating or exacerbating any of their patient’s suffering. The second and blatantly macabre assumption is that Mad people are more valuable in death than they are in an un-psychiatrized lives. These foolish assumptions are bound by the same meta-cognition that all dogmas use to intertwine faith with action – valorization of conformity to a prescribed set of rules for living rather than the ends that are achieved by this surrender of free will. Mad people can, conceivably, exhibit as many or more “symptoms” of mental “illness” in treatment as they do out of treatment, but the “treated” Mad person is judged by their despotic clinicians as more “mature”, “grateful”, and “intelligent” than the equally “sick” non-compliant Mad person because they are “active” in their own “recovery” whereas the Mad person who eschews psychiatry is rebuked for lacking “drive” and demonized for throwing away the only path to recovery that is acknowledged by this radical sect of psychiatry.

      The social stigma that psychiatric clinicians feel so victimized by is 100% their fault. Their unwillingness to own up to that is extremely discouraging to Mad people who want to work with them in reforming psychiatry, not against them. Some Mad people might become reticent to form partnerships with psychiatric clinicians when they carefully think about the social and medical consequences that all Mad people will bear from psychiatric clinicians whose party line is that their science and ethics are on par with those of every other branch of medicine.

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  15. I wonder how much “psychiatric” disability there is in the catchment area of Dr Bhugras Hospital in London and how much genuine “psychiatric” disability there is in an equivalent area in Dr Bhugras hometown in India?

    In my opinion most “psychiatric” disability is created by psychiatry itself.

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  16. Hi alcopop5,

    I was psychiatrically disabled while I consumed maintenance doses – with extrapyramidal (neurological) side effects. I was genuinely incapable of basic functioning.

    When I cut the strong drugs and the side effects eased off, I was able to return to normal work, and independence.

    The disability the country had been paying for was caused by the psychiatric treatment.

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