Where’s the Outrage?


One of my problems with Mad In America is that not enough seem quite mad enough. I would like to encourage more outrage. I feel that if we were talking about a situation in another country, the US would be outraged. If we were talking about a common substance (like Big Macs), there would be outrage. If it were a business, citizens would be outraged and the government would intervene and shut it down. What is the “it” that I’m talking about?

A very troubling health care disparity exists among persons with serious mental illness (SMI). Even among those receiving regular psychiatric care, many individuals experience co-occurring medical conditions that go unidentified and/or untreated, significantly shortening their life spans. About 15 years ago, it was established that 60 percent of individuals with mental illness develop serious medical co-morbidities that result in a lost life span of 15 to 20 years compared to the general population.1 Recently, even more alarming evidence indicates the risk for lost years of life has accelerated to 25 years earlier than the general population.2 Gill (2008) commented:

What does it mean that the life expectancy of persons with serious mental illness in the United States is now shortening in the context of longer life expectancy among others in our society? It is evidence of the gravest form of disparity and discrimination.3

The “it” that I’m talking about is that public mental illness “treatment” is killing us. Too many have died untimely deaths. Rebecca Riley was diagnosed bipolar at age two. She died at age four from the cumulative toxic effect of psychiatric drugs.4 Pioneering advocate Howie the Harp died of a heart attack at age 42.5 Where’s the outrage?

“A series of recent studies consistently show that persons with serious mental illnesses in the public mental health system die sooner than other Americans, with an average age of death of 52.”6

“Adults with serious mental illness treated in public systems die about 25 years earlier than Americans overall, a gap that’s widened since the early ’90s when major mental disorders cut life spans by 10 to 15 years.”7

In addition to “treatment” killing us, we are being killed by “force” even before we’re civilly committed. Last November, in Ohio, a family member called 911 to report that Tanisha Anderson was acting unruly — but non-violent. Police responded, and after some discussion among everyone involved Tanisha agreed to go in for an evaluation. When she arrived at the patrol car, however, the officer went to handcuff her to put her in the back seat (policy). Tanisha, very nervous, anxious and upset, said she changed her mind. She started to walk away, but the officer used a takedown move to body-slam her to the concrete street. She was dead before he could kneel down and put his knee in the middle of her back to handcuff her.8

A family called for force (the police), as they’ve been taught to do. Force arrived. As happens far too often in the presence of force, a life was lost. Is this really what our families want for us? Imagine how different things might have been if the family had been able to call instead for a peer support team. Where’s the outrage?

In light of these facts, I would like to offer some input on HR 2646, sponsored by Congressman Tim Murphy. Murphy’s bill takes aim at those he describes as “the most seriously ill.” My first question is, what gives him or anyone the right to define who are the worst? According to his criteria, “the worst” are those with certain DSM/medical model diagnoses (schizophrenia, bipolar and major depression) that Big Pharma has a drug they claim will mitigate some of the symptoms, sometimes.

However I would define “the worst” as those who are most at risk of death. By this criterion we might include people with unresolved trauma issues9 (who commonly end up labeled as “personality disorders”), veterans (who commit suicide at twice the level of the general population)10 and others with increased risk of suicide. From that perspective, SAMHSA actually does a pretty good job of spending their relatively meager funds to help those who are the “worst.”

So, if people who receive public mental illness “services,” are in fact losing over half of their adult lives — dying, on average, over 25 years younger than the general population — where is the outrage? If congressman Murphy’s plan to extend the reach of these services, adding federally-mandated coercion to their delivery, and thereby halving a significant portion of our citizens’ adult lives by force, where is the outrage?

If the existing services were effective and attractive, wouldn’t we be unable keep people away? Instead, this legislation would force people into the same old tired and ineffective services. Instead of fixing or replacing worn-out services, he would re-tread them and put these killers back on the road, so to speak. Where is the outrage?

The act of refusing “treatment” represents both an act of natural intelligence, a solid deductive reasoning based on past evidence (psychiatry’s grotesque historical record of errors that have had devastating and often disabling and lethal results for otherwise innocent and vulnerable people), and an easy to understand and healthy sense of self preservation.11 Murphy wants to “force” the “worst” into “treatment” for refusing “help.” But, being sentenced to “treatment” (AOT) is basically a death sentence. Is this really what our families want for us? Is that really what legislators and providers want? If we’re diagnosing children as young as two, drugging them, and they’re dying by age four, again; where’s the outrage?

Instead, the Murphy folks are defining the terms and issuing a death sentence, and too many of those in opposition get lost and sidetracked inside issues such as “privacy” and whether SAMHSA is or is not doing a good job. While such issues are important, please don’t forget that too many of us are dying. Privacy and other issues are pretty irrelevant if we’re dead. Where’s the outrage?

I believe your voices will be respected, but in order to be respected they need to be heard. Please contact your legislators and help to stop this nonsense.

Please help. Please give us your outrage.

* * * * *


  1. Berren, M. R., Hill, K. R., Merikle, D., Gonzales, N., & Santiago, J. (1994). Serious mental illness and mortality rates. Hospital Community Psychiatry, 45, 604-605.
  2. Parks, J., Svendsen, D., Singer, P., Foti, M. E., & Mauer, B. (2006, October). Morbidity and mortality in people with serious mental illness [Technical Report]. Retrieved June 12, 2007 from http://www.nasmhpd.org/general_files/publications/med_directors_pubs/Technical%20Report%20o n%20Morbidity%20and%20Mortaility%20%20Final%2011-06.pdf
  3. Gill, K. J. (2008, July) Quote-of-the-Month. CMHS Consumer Affairs Newsletter. Retrieved January 11, 2009, fromhttp://egov.oregon.gov/DHS/mentalhealth/wellness/resources-reports/cmhs-consumer-affairs.pdf, p.7
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebecca_Riley. Retrieved online November 24, 2015.
  5. http://www.nytimes.com/1995/02/14/obituaries/howard-geld-42-advocate-for-mentally-ill-dies.html. Retrieved online November 24, 2015.
  6. Colton, C.W., Manderscheid, R.W. Congruencies in Increased Mortality Rates, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Causes of Death Among Public Mental Health Clients in Eight States.  Preventing Chronic Disease. April 2006; Vol. 3(2)
  7. Report from the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, in “Mentally ill die 25 years earlier, on average” in USA Today, May 3, 2007. Accessed Nov. 21, 2015
  8. http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/05/black-women-police-killing-tanisha-anderson. Retrieved online November 24, 2015.
  9. R. A. Lanius, E. Vermetten, & C. Pain, The impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease: The Hidden Epidemic (pp. 77-87). Cambridge: Cambridege University Press.
  10. Kaplan MS, Huguet N, McFarland BH, Newsom JT. Suicide among male veterans: a prospective population-based study. Journal of Epidemiological Community Health. 2007 Jul; 61(7):619-24.
  11. R. Drake Ewbank, personal correspondence, February 4, 2015


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Pat Risser
Pat Risser is an award-winning trainer, facilitator, speaker, author and consultant. He has been a human rights activist and mental health advocate for over thirty years. His lived experience includes work as an Intensive Case Manager, work as a therapist on a locked, acute inpatient unit, and over ten years as a "mental patient." He developed over 60 self-help, peer support groups, built and directed a statewide consumer network and directed a patients' rights/advocacy/self-help program. His emphasis is training on trauma issues, recovery, self-determination and on employing people with lived experience as part of the behavioral health workforce.


  1. They lock you up for outrage. They call it psychosis, if you don’t agree with them.

    Only a cold outrage is permissible.

    If you compare this to the game of chess, there is no way of stopping a bishop-priest, without being a bishop-priest yourself.

    Those who can not perform a cold outrage are caught and drugged into submission.

    Psychiatry drugging everyone for illnesses they do not have is a modification of “…you first make thieves and then punish them.” Thomas More, Utopia

    Who is making the money?

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  2. new study: Olfson M, Gerhard T, Huang C, Crystal S, Stroup TS. Premature Mortality Among Adults With Schizophrenia in the United States. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015 Oct 28:1-10. To perform their analysis, Olfson and colleagues cross-referenced national data from the Medicaid claims records of 20- to 64-year-old patients with schizophrenia with national mortality data to look at patterns of mortality between 2001 and 2007. “Most people who have schizophrenia in the United States are in the Medicaid program,” said Olfson. “While it’s not completely comprehensive, it is, in a broad sense, nationally representative.” For those in the Medicaid system, “Reinforcing earlier research, the study found that people with schizophrenia lose more than 28 years of life, particularly to cardiovascular disease” ( Schizophrenia Research Forum). If you read the many articles commenting on this Olfson study, they blame us: smoking, obesity, poor self care, and a few
    may even mention poor medical care, poverty or homelessness occasionally, but not the drugs or hopeless prognosis coming directly from psychiatry. or being killed by first responders etc. No societal or contextual analysis, only our broken brains, and bad habits.

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    • Yes, the system folks like to blame cigarette smoking without acknowledging that cigarettes offset and mitigate some of the horrible effects of the psychiatric drugs. They blame obesity without acknowledging that some of the psychiatric drugs cause almost insatiable cravings and an almost constant urge to graze. My heart was weakened due to too many years of too many psychiatric drugs. Blaming us is just another way of attempting to force compliance with killer treatment. Modern day euthanasia is upon us. But, like I said, where’s the outrage? Why isn’t every politician and family member in the country jumping up and down with outrage? Perhaps we really are considered expendable.

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  3. I believe the outrage is quite apparent, at least from reading all the testimonials from survivors over the years.

    Still, displaying it can undermine one’s credibility on the spot, especially if they have a history of diagnoses. So it really is a fierce double bind. Politics, academia, “mental health” field programming–all of them easily twist words and interpret behaviors rather cynically, and to mean something not at all intended, often quite the opposite. So basically, we’re speaking different languages, making it a true tower of Babel.

    I believe outrage is reasonable and justified here, but expressing it can result in feeding the beast. And while I’m a big proponent of truth-speaking as sound healing and effective activism (it worked well for me, in any event) it’s still hard to say how to address these issues, on the whole, without self-sabotaging.

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    • I don’t see why expressing outrage necessarily undermines credibility; it depends on the situation. Also, there are different ways and degrees of expressing vehement disagreement; firmly and self-assuredly presenting facts and data is another way that can be convincing. And we should be confident, because the facts about diagnoses and drugging being harmful are on our side; and that is why in the long-term, psychiatry is vulnerable and increasingly under siege. I think we must not be too worried whether or not those in the psychiatric system think we are credible or not. Rather, the bigger goal is to make more of the general public aware of the harms and abuses committed by psychiatric treatment. Standing up for ourselves with whatever degree of emotionality – and I think that sometimes outrage is warranted, no matter what the think – is something we should support.

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      • No argument from me, that it needn’t be the case, if these were reasonable people. To reasonable people, there would be an in somewhere.

        I’ve gone against a lot of agencies and have filed grievances far and wide while I was going through the system, as both client and employee, and I followed through on every last one as far as I possibly could, including up to the CA Office of Civil Rights, against the CA Dept of Rehabilitation, with which Disability Rights CA (then, Protection and Advocacy, Inc.) would not help me, once OCR denied my claim because I had a psychiatric file which said such and such about me, so I had no credibility. DRC/PAI, which is a legal advocacy agency for people with disabilities, gave me a crazy runaround, amounting to ‘there’s nothing we can do.’ Then, who??

        And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I hit up just about every agency along my journey with a full grievance, I went through protocol 100%, and was responded to each time, which led me to the next level.

        You are right, however, because I did get through to the employment attorney (non-profit) who did help me with my discrimination suit, and I did get through to the mediator, because I won the mediation, so there is hope there. Of course, they were very small needles in a big haystack, hearing me out completely before forming an opinion, not cutting me off after 10 seconds because they had no attention span, which is what I hear often in politics and in the mental health system—keep it short or we’ll stop listening. And it’s true, they do.

        But even after I won, this voc rehab agency kept doing business as usual, rather than making the core changes needed. I know this because I remained in contact with a few people from there for a while.

        I had proven in mediation that they ran their operation on a totally discriminating and stigmatizing philosophy, even their training manual showed this, it was amazing. They would not hear me out when I began to protest—I had just gotten this job and was about to transition from disability–and instead, they preferred to fire me and get beaten in mediation. I tried to reason, they’d use force and stigma, every single time.

        They had no reasonability about them, not one shred. They even kept postponing the legal action to a year from the time I filed it. By the time we got there, the CEO had resigned just a few days prior. Couldn’t even face me, or the truth.

        Finally, after my film came out and I sent it through the system, several years later, I heard they closed down not long after. I can’t say for certain that it was my film that was the nail in the coffin, but the timing was pretty uncanny, and it would make sense. After all, they lied through their teeth about me, and my film proved that.

        My point is, they prefer to close rather than to listen to reason—or anything!—and change their way of thinking. Getting angry only meant, “You see, I told you he’s ‘mentally ill.’” And they’ll throw in other terms, like paranoid, rageful, ‘has anger issues,’ anti-authority, yadayada. That’s really to what I’m referring in my statement above.

        I’ve got more stories about going against the system and seeing that through, and how that turned out, than I could possible write here, one agency after another, it was like I was digging my way out of the center of the system, layer by layer, which is how it turned out to be. Each time was a new adventure, and added up to the same thing. It got pretty brutal at times, I was floored by what I faced time after time.

        These f*ckers just don’t give up! They’d rather perish than change. I think if they change, they’d perish, anyway, so it’s kind of lose/lose for them at this point, at least that’s my hope.

        I’m all for standing up for ourselves, I’ve made a career out of it. It was really rough at many junctures, but overall, totally rewarding and I was able to work with it all as part of my healing. I feel good about having faced these assholes, even though at times it tattered me beyond the pale. So by all means, go get ‘em!

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        • Alex,
          It is admirable that you did all this. I think the formidable degree of ignorance of most people within the psychiatric system cannot be underestimated. They simply do not understand how wrong and harmful diagnoses and long-term drugging usually are. Your attempts to engage feel to me almost like trying to go to the Zimbabwean institute of psychiatry and argue with them in English about what they’re doing wrong when no one speaks the language. They probably experience you as an alien creature from another psychic planet.

          On the other hand, it appears that some people within the system are at least unconsciously aware that those who attack psychiatric practices might eventually pose an existential threat. I’ve had a few interactions with in-System psychiatrists around myself and my father’s treatment, and I’ve made it clear that I consider their diagnostic system and treatment recommendations to be absolutely invalid and fraudulent, and they become defensive when it becomes apparent that I know all the flimsy “science” their ideas are based on.

          There was one well-known psychiatrist I was talking about a BPD diagnosis with and I remember he suddenly ended the conversation when I repeatedly brought up how invalid and harmful such labels were. I think such people can sense my ultimate goal: if what I say were widely accepted, their professional status would evaporate and the psychiatric system would collapse. And I don’t talk to them with the respect that they are used to (neither am I rude), but not being idealized as an pseudo-expert is threatening for these people, given the flimsy nature of their diagnoses and drugging practices. When I do this I can tell it makes them oh-so-uncomfortable, and as you can probably tell that is something I covertly enjoy, to see a “professional” within the psychiatric system squirm under the unforgiving gaze of someone who knows that they are a fraud.

          I think the things we have control over are to do well ourselves and to help as many other people as we can to do well outside of or against the psychiatric system.

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          • I, too, believe in helping others in any way we can. This is a new journey to take, out of the system. We are pioneers in a new frontier.

            “They probably experience you as an alien creature from another psychic planet.”

            Lol, indeed! While I can take some pride in having earned this alienating projection by challenging them with absolute truth, I’m grateful that neither my husband, friends, and family feel this way about me! Or perhaps, I’m just part of an alien community, at which I wouldn’t necessarily scoff 🙂

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          • One last thing before I get my turkey out of the oven–

            When you go against the mainstream, they are going to make you feel like a weirdo, that’s par for the course. Being a long time activist has grown me accustomed to mind games and power plays of all kinds, it’s sop. The trick is to be comfortable enough with yourself to not fall for it, and keep your eyes on the prize.

            From Harriet Tubman:

            “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

            Happy Thanksgiving!

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      • My experience with the mental illness system is that we’re not allowed to express any emotion. We’re supposed to have all feeling blunted out of us by the drugs. The system is especially scared of the big, scary emotions like anger. Expressing those feelings warrants more drugs. The Murphy legislation is designed to control us with drugs. That’s why he keeps making the false and misleading connection between us and various mass shooters.

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        • Yes, I believe that as well–blatant stigma, no discernment among people and their individual issues. To them, anger, even the most reasonable which of course I feel it is here, is dissension, and simply tagged as a dangerously volatile powder keg. Complete disregard.

          And yet, ironically, this is *their* genocide. That’s quite a projection.

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  4. You know what, Pat? Over the weekend, I tried posting a comment on Rep. Tim Murphy’s Facebook page and within 8 hours, it got deleted. We don’t live in a democracy. We live in a psychocracy. I’ve been wracking my “diseased” (Ha!) brain trying to think of some way to break down the stone wall of censorship that has created an illusion of mass support for this inhumane piece of legislation. If anybody has any ideas for how we can do this, it’s time to roll them out.

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        • Well, my comment got deleted but you can type “Congressman Tim Murphy PA-18 Facebook” into Google to get this sanist’s Facebook page. I’m going to try again to post a comment. I’ll be going by the name “Pat Jones”, so you can watch for my comment if you’re interested in my thoughts and Rep. Murphy’s response to them. We’ll see what happens to my comment this time.

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          • Omg. There are just no limits to Rep. Murphy’s phobia of dissent from the people he supposedly cares about. It looks like I’ve been banned from Rep. Murphy’s Facebook page. Mad people are already being erased! Our most forceful opposition to this bill may not materialize unless it becomes law, but we can’t remain silent. I would suggest that people speak out against this bill on every forum that won’t silence them. A good place to start would be the Facebook page “Mental Illness Policy”.

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        • Wow, this looks like it could become a thing! The lesson of your experience I think is that if people are going to make posts on FB they should say everything they plan to in the first post as it will likely be their last. Maybe when others who already are on FB hear about this they will share the outrage and pass it on to their own Facebook networks, etc.

          In general though I totally agree with lilyc that Facebook is not something we should be using as an organizing tool, except for specific circumstances like this where it makes sense, and not a place for already vulnerable people to be posting personal information.

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    • I have periodically done things like this, posting on some establishment loser’s Facebook page about their hypocritical support of the existing mental health system.

      I would suggest that you can repeatedly post such messages on these public Facebook accounts so that people keep seeing them, even though it may not be worth it. If your IP address gets blocked, you can download the Tor Onion browser (search for it on Google), get a different email address and temporary Facebook account, and keep reposting from new identities.

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      • Could we maybe agree tactically here that, given our limited personpower right now, it would be best to focus our activities in this regard specifically on Mr. Murphy? Or at least for everyone to do Murphy as their first priority then move on to others if they have the energy, etc.? It might have a better effect to concentrate forces on the symbol of the issue. Then, if lots of people get banned from posting contrary views, this itself could be an excellent demonstration of the fascist nature of this legislation — something that even some of the “mainstream” media could use for a story.

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        • Combine oldhead’s strategy of focusing on Murphy exclusively right now with bpdtransformation’s strategy of downloading the Tor Orion browser to get a different email and temporary Facebook account and keep plying Murphys’s Facebook Page with new identities.

          Photo-document it in real time as *proof.* Banning someone from your Facebook site is not illegal, but remember, actions do not have to be illegal to peak the medias’ interest ; ) If you know what I mean…

          Send it everywhere you can. Make it satirical if you know how to use dark humor. bpdtransformation probably has good ideas where to send it.

          You may want to try posting it on Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.) facebook site as well, as Murphy has done a *lot* to him. Personally attacked his integrity.

          Representative Pallone has been the outspoken leader of the democrats who oppose the Murphy Bill in its original language.

          And, again, bpdtransformation would have better ideas than me of other great places to send something like this.

          Again, the mainstream media *may* be interested in such a story, as Big Pharma will dispose of Murphy when he is no longer useful.

          Murphy has already given them plenty of horrifying bigoted footage on CNN (and other places) Watch them yourself.

          I would suggest you watch them back-to-back if you haven’t seen them in awhile. Prepare to feel a lot of unpleasant emotions.

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          • Glad to see that focusing on Mr. Murphy resonates with you and hopefully others.

            As for the TOR stuff, computer security/tech stuff is about as far from my areas of competence as you can get. So I don’t want to venture much of an opinion on all that, other than that it feels a little unnecessarily cloak & dagger, and that the energy might be better spent mobilizing enough people that one post per person is all that would be necessary. I also don’t want to unwittingly recommend that people do anything that might get them in trouble. So the only feedback I can offer on this is, be prudent.

            The more I think about it the more it seems likely that we can utilize Murphy’s overreaction here to expose him! It would be great to hear him trying to explain why our comments are being deleted and suppressed! In keeping with this I do recommend that people keep their posts as clear and concise as possible, don’t fill them with expletives or give Murphy any “reasonable” excuses for trying to silence our opinions. And implore your survivor friends & allies to join in. (I’m thinking Murphy likely also has an interactive website which people not on FB could access.)

            Once their comments have been posted people should if possible make a direct screen shot printout or keep some kind of copy to (if they so choose) document that they did indeed make or attempt the post.

            Again I <i<do not recommend that those not on FB join for this purpose alone. Or any other for that matter.

            This discussion is no doubt being continued at the Organizing forum, when I get enough energy for organized thought I’ll likely join in…

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          • “Murphy has already given them plenty of horrifying bigoted footage on CNN (and other places) Watch them yourself.
            I would suggest you watch them back-to-back if you haven’t seen them in awhile. Prepare to feel a lot of unpleasant emotions.”

            Just wow snowyowl. I’m sure it’s my deja vu but these are the same speeches given by Goebbels after the burning of the Reichstag. (communists/mass shooters being the switch). So has anyone asked Murphy what his “Final Solution” is? Because he would appear to have one, though not as I can see stated.

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          • The Tor Browser is very easy to use… it just anonymizes everything you do online. But I was mistaken before; to have a different IP address you need to do a little bit more. Because I think the way it works is that Tor does not immediately anonymize your IP; your IP is still there, but none of your activity is visible; what shows up is simply the fact that your location/IP is using Tor, without any details as to website visited or content transacted. But with a little bit more work you can use Tor and create a dummy IP address. Here are some tutorials:

            These are the technologies that evil people like ISIS and child pornographers use to disguise their activity. But using them is not illegal in and of themselves. For example, freedom fighters under repressive governments, our own government and law enforcement, and pure privacy advocates also use these technologies. It just depends what you do with them. I don’t see that repeatedly sending a message from an anonymous identity onto a Facebook page would get you in trouble; it depends on what country you are in and how privacy/internet/Facebook laws work in your country. Anyway I’m sure they’re much less worried about a few people posting on Murphy’s page than about terrorists, gang members, etc.

            I will go and put something on Murphy’s page too.

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    • If NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), the “family member” group were to withdraw their support of the Murphy legislation, I believe it would dry up and go away. That’s why I point out that it seems so odd that families are supporting us dying. Unless, they are not and just need to be educated to the facts. Perhaps we can reach the families and win them to our side. I’d be happy to see the abolition of the “National Alliance of the Morally Inexcusable.”

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      • I’ve read comments by these type of NAMI family members on other sides. I think it’s tragic because many of them are just desperate for something to change in their family member and/or in the system (the system viewed as a proxy representing their family member’s tragic fate). The diagnosing and drugging has had so little success in allowing their family member to really live and be happy again that they desperately want something. And Murphy’s law provides the illusion of change and of being part of progress. When actually it sucks.

        I’ve tried interacting with these family members and offer them a different view on diagnosis and druging but find it’s mostly useless. Maybe it is because I am too blunt and will not pander to these lemmings and engage with them in the language of diagnosis and mental illness (and no, I don’t call them lemmings, at least not to their face. But probably my attitude that they are ignorant idiots come through and has an effect). At this point I don’t really try to interact with NAMI people except for occasional entertainment, because I find it to be a waste of time.

        It’s sad because many years ago I used to go to NAMI meetings, before I know what I know now about diagnosis and drugging. And most of them are normal, nice people. They just get indoctrinated with this idiocy about mental illness and drugs, and then it’s hard for them to realize that almost everything they were taught is bullshit. Some of the worst members are the NAMI activists you see online promoting forced drugging of “schizophrenics” and “bipolars”. I think it’s too late for some of these deluded ones; just be glad you aren’t their family member.

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      • NAMI is basically a front group for the pharmaceutical industry. They have received over 11 million dollars from drug companies. They push and promote the biological view of mental illness as well as drugs as being the best form of treatment.

        NAMI is bought and paid for by the drug industry. That’s why they support the Murphy bill because the Murphy bill will give more power and profit to psychiatry and the drug industry.

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  5. Glad to see your outrage, and glad you’re channeling it into fighting Murphy. Wish you had an analysis which discarded the notions of “mental health” and “mental illness” entirely. I look forward to participating further as this discussion develops.

    Meanwhile I’m glad to report that the “Fight Murphy” organizing thread on the Organizing for Social Change forum is starting to pick up steam. This is an “action” discussion, not for chit-chat. Please join us: http://www.madinamerica.com/forums/topic/murphy-discussion-is-this-a-war-of-rhetoric/

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    • I do an entire rant on how “mental illness” does not exist as a provable entity under the medical model. It does exist under other models of understanding human behavior. Some of the ways to understand “mental illness” includes, The Spiritual Model, Moral Character Model, The Statistical Model, The Disease/ Medical/ Biological Model (—Genetics, —Neuroimaging, —Neurobiology), Psychological Models (—Psychodynamic Model, —Behavioral Model, —Cognitive-behavioral Model, Existential/ Humanistic Model), The Social Model, Psychosocial Model (—Social Learning Model), Family Therapy Model, the Bio-psycho-social Model and the Trauma Model. There are many biological reasons why people may exhibit “unusual” behaviors (culturally defined and subjective) and if you scroll to the bottom of the page you’ll find a fairly exhaustive (albeit outdated) list of some of those. http://www.patrisser.com/updates/MedProbs.html

      As for “mental health,” I have long lamented the fact that we have never sat down and defined mental health. Other than understanding it from the negative of an absence of illness, we haven’t yet set out to define what might constitute health. What does someone who is mentally healthy look like? What might be the implications for the system if we were to shift the discussion and change the paradigm to one of health instead of illness?

      If we were to define mental health, we might do more than look at the circular reasoning of an absence of illness. We would move toward the positive and look at those things present in someone who is mentally healthy. We might start by looking at an innocent and healthy baby. One of the things that we might note is the capacity to feel joy. While joy may not always be present, that capacity might become one of the pieces of a definition of mental health. Other pieces of the definition of health might include the ability to create and maintain relationships or the ability to find and appreciate solitude (can we live with our own inner voices or perhaps can we just stand the solace of quietude). We might discuss the ability to draw upon spirituality as a strength.

      Shifting the paradigm to mental health instead of mental illness would force us to view people differently and to refine our approach to helping others. Just as those in the trauma field have moved away from, “What’s wrong with you?” to, “What happened to you?”, we must move the inquiry toward the person and away from symptoms.

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      • There are people who write about mental health, just not enough. I have a book called, “A Psychology of Human Strengths”. And I was recently reading Barry Duncan’s book, “What’s Right With You”, which takes the approach you recommend Pat.

        I think this is an important issue – shifting the focus from problems/”pathology” onto how people feel good and what gets them there. In psychodynamic language this would be variously called integration, genital character, neurotic/post-neurotic, the depressive position, etc.

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      • You don’t understand what I’m saying, or what Szasz was saying for that matter:

        I do an entire rant on how “mental illness” does not exist as a provable entity under the medical model

        Actually the aforementioned debate is trumped by the reality that “mental illness” is an impossibility under the rules of the English language, or any western language for that matter.

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        • Of course, I understand that there is no “mental” except as an artificial construct and therefore you can’t have a “mental” illness.

          My point was that psychiatry is killing us with their “treatment” of drugs, drugs and more drugs. They do so by considering themselves blessed as a medical science. However, there is no science behind their labeling.

          Other social sciences use the term “illness” to describe concepts that may have more or less meaning in communicating with others in that field. I believe there is some validity to the trauma model of understanding human behaviors. However, I still struggle with things like “self-harm.” Where is that line drawn? Multiple piercings? Tattoos? Sky-diving? Mountain climbing? Extreme running? Extreme sports? Even “normal” sports? Overeating? Undereating? Eating the “wrong” diet (even if driven by poverty)? Are these things “self-harm?” And, do we have the right to judge others?

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          • Sorry, I didn’t really mean you didn’t understand the misuse of metaphor in applying “disease” terms to the mind, more that you don’t give the implications of this misnomer as much attention as they deserve. Otherwise I agree with everything you just said.

            That said, people simply have some sort of block, encouraged by psychiatry, to recognizing that “mental illness” is a figure of speech and a literal impossibility. Sort of like picking oneself up by ones own bootstraps. So we need to discipline ourselves to refrain from parroting terminologies which include metaphorical concepts such as “symptoms,” medications,” etc. etc., as they confuse the issues.

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          • Of course, I understand that there is no “mental” except as an artificial construct and therefore you can’t have a “mental” illness.

            I do notice however that you use terms such as “SMI” without quotation marks, which suggests (however falsely) that you take the “serious mental illness” concept seriously. Again, just a note. I know remembering the quotation marks all the time can be a pain.

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  6. If we weren’t dealing with a throw away population there would be outrage. The mortality rate would be generating outrage. The prejudice and discrimination would be generating outrage. The scapegoating would be generating outrage. How do we forget we’re dealing with human beings? This sort of things goes back a long ways. Aristotle thought slaves were born to be slaves. I imagine slaves died at a pretty young age, too.

    It’s this idea that you’ve got sick people where no real sickness have been found. You treat them for the sickness they are presumed to have with poisons that ruin their health, and if they are continued for enough time will result in an early grave. Poisons associated with many physical ill health conditions. I think people should be expressing outrage that the mental health system thinks head trauma is the cure for ‘problems in living’. Damaging the brain, to my way of thinking, isn’t going to make life easier for anybody. The same goes for damaging other parts of the body.

    Great post, and very true. I think, in a sense, we are going to need to ally with people who have nothing to do with the mental health system because those that work in it understand the least about what is actually happening, and thus they are often most to blame. We’ve got absurdity after absurdity passing for mental health treatment, and the person who doesn’t realize he or she is better off without it is going to have to learn the hard way, supposing such a person to be capable of learning. What is happening? The system is crippling people, in some cases killing people, through tax payer subsidies, if only that money could be put to good use instead.

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    • Truly. What if we found that treatment for heart disease or cancer REDUCED people’s life span by decades? Would such “treatment” be tolerated? I don’t think so. It’s only because of the marginalization of the so-called “mentally ill,” which the DSM so effectively operationalized for professionals and society at large, that such outcomes could be considered anything short of outrageous and criminal.

      I have plenty of outrage – my question is, where do I direct it? There are some gigantic social forces at work to keep these outrages “hidden in plain sight.” How do we, such a small and easily marginalized movement, counteract such massively funded antagonists?

      —- Steve

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      • Steve, if more and more people start commenting and acting like we do, even if each of us only affects a few dozen people, the momentum will build and the cracks in the establishment’s veneer of control and authority will appear. The lies around diagnosing and drugging will crack given sufficient exposure.

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      • You have an organization in Portland that meets and educates people about the harms and risks of the mental health system. I have a website where I reach out to people affected by trauma labels and show them a non-medical model. Each of us only affects a few dozen or at most a few hundred people in a meaningful way directly. But imagine if every person like you and me with lived-experience or family-experience of psychiatric survivorship acted like we do. The tables would quickly turn. We must continue to set an example and expect that more and more people will follow our lead and become activists.

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      • The truly horrendous thing about psych drugs that they disable the organ they are supposed to treat. Usually it is a diabetes drug harming the heart, or a NSAID harming the liver. A diabetic can say my heart I was fine–I took these because my pancreas doesn’t work.

        When we say “I was never suicidal, manic, psychotic. I was just anxious” it’s very easy for the pharmapologists to convince the masses that anxiety is an early sign of, or cause of, suicide, mania, and psychosis. Underlying condition, etc…

        That’s on top of problems with credibility just by virtue of “needing” on a drug. If we say the drug gave us distal neuropathy, it’ll be described as possibly “psychosomatic pain,” not real pain. The only patients that are trusted are those that like the drug and ask for more.

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      • Outrage directed at the public, by survivors, relatives, and concerned professionals, over psychiatric harm and destruction, pharmaceutical company conflicts of interest, and other absurdist aspects of the “mental illness” system. Over the imminent threat to civil liberties and personal freedoms implicit in these forces as well. What we are dealing with, in point of fact, is a conspiracy of silence. Where I am, because pharmaceutical interests and mental illness system forces are so entrenched in the University, in that one place, where there should be discussion and dialogue, zilch. We need to get the discussion into the schools where it belongs. Education is one thing, mis-education (the spreading of mis and dis-information) another, but education should be able to take a shot at mis-education. I’m operating under the theory that truth stills matters somewhat more than untruth. We need to get the truth into the media, too. Sure lying drug company advertisements are everywhere, but they’re lying drug company advertisements. The other side of that coin is the truth, some of the same drugs are killers. Treating ‘life’ as a ‘disease’, in some instances, does result in ‘cure’ (i.e. death), but is that really what we want?

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      • “I have plenty of outrage – my question is, where do I direct it? There are some gigantic social forces at work to keep these outrages “hidden in plain sight.” How do we, such a small and easily marginalized movement, counteract such massively funded antagonists?”

        There are many schools of thought that begin with the premise that we create our own reality. A lot of people get angry when they hear this, because they interpret this as self-blame, which, in reality, it is self-responsibility which, in turn, is self-empowerment.

        If we, as a collective, were to recognize that we created something we hate, then of course we can have the power to destroy it by creating something better in its place. If nothing replaces the old, then the old will keep coming back to fill that void.

        It is never about who has the most money, that is pure illusion. Power is not found in money, but more so, in our ability to trust our vision and intention.

        David beat Goliath not with a sword but with a simple stone, right in the middle of his forehead–his “third eye.” The giant fell, and David beheaded him.

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        • Dude:

          Go to the article about Murphy’s ethical & legal infractions just on the homepage.

          I posted this for bpdtransformation. He & I & oldhead have been doing a *lot* on the organizing forum. But I think the FBI investigation is the topic to follow. YES, MURPHY IS BEING INVESTIGATED BY THE FBI!!!

          So Here goes, from my post on the home page:
          To: bpd
          Hey did you go onto the link that he has posted in this article?????


          GO ONTO IT, DUDE!

          It says on page 115, scroll down that:

          “The Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened an investigation into whether Rep.
          Murphy’s legislative staff members performed campaign work on government time and has
          interviewed some of his former staffers.
          Rep. Murphy’s FEC filings show that through mid July 2007, he has paid $22,205 in legal fees”


          Like I said, BIG PHARMA would just love to wash their hands from Murphy if this gets out!

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    • I agree with your analysis of how the establishment treats people with serious mental illness. I have been dealing with mental illness for about 45 years and consider myself a survivor of the system. I am now 69 and want to tell my story.

      Ever since I came across the Morbidity and Mortality study I have been trying to come to grips with the statistic that we die 25 (latest studies 28) ahead of my contemporaries. While this is a very significant fact it doesn’t tell us the scope of the problem. In other words how many people with SMI are dying each. After all if these are truly diseases shouldn’t we know how many are dying with these diseases.

      Also if we want to discuss the seriousness of these conditions we need to know The Number. The Number is the number of people in the United States that die each year. When the AID/HIV movement started to gain political momentum they used annual death statistics to track the spread and decline of the illness. When the Autism movement tracks it spread it uses statistics. If are to start to marshal the populace’s attention we must know how many people are dying every year. Is it 500,000, 750,000,1,000,000? That’s the number we need with the 25 years of lost life span that will generate The Outrage that is epidemic is due.

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      • So-called schizophrenia, bipolar, major depression, etc. are not diseases; problems of behavior, thinking and feeling are not illnesses. People don’t have or not have serious mental illnesses; these are just labels given to people with varying degrees or severities (along a spectrum) of behavioral emotional and cognitive problems.

        Sorry to hear that you got caught up in the system for a long time; I hope that you are much freer now than you once were.

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  7. Pat,
    This is a timely and needed article. Much more outrage is needed, i.e. blunt, direct words calling attention to the crimes that are committed daily by our mental health system. Most importantly the rhetoric by reformers needs to influence the broader public and legislators. No one of us can bring about a transformation, but working together and each raising our voice, we can cause cracks to grow into gaping holes in the house of cards that is the American mental health torture system. In my opinion a big step everyone can take is to loudly and immediately speak out against psychiatric diagnosing and psychiatric drugging (without adequate education about risk) whenever you see it presented as safe, valid, and the only option.

    People should not hesitate to say that giving someone a schizophrenia or bipolar diagnosis and communicating to them that they have a lifelong illness is a crime, which should be punishable by fines and imprisonment for psychiatrists who do it. It is medical malpractice, because there is no etiological, biological or genetic evidence establishing such labels as valid illnesses, but we do now have a lot of evidence about the negative psychological effects of labeling people. No other field of medicine would allow such pseudoscience, and it’s time to say enough is enough. For that reason I often encourage people who contact me through my site to reject the diagnoses given to them by mental health professionals, and to not return to visit such providers, for example people who are labeled “borderline.” The fact is most mental health professionals are not professionals, nor doctors, and need to be exposed as what they are: deluded charlatans.

    Similarly, giving someone neuroleptics without making them aware of the many studies showing dangerous long-term side effects and poorer functioning if people stay on drugs for years, this should also be a crime – yes, an actual crime punishable by fines and jail time for psychiatrists. If real doctors were allowed to prescribe heart medications without telling clients the long-term risks to mortality and functioning, there would be outrage and lawsuits. There should be lawsuits here too.

    A prominent target for those lawsuits should be psychiatrists who are running drug trials that are reported on in the media, such as the recent RAISE psychosis study. The case against them in court would be strong given all the evidence we now have from studies and metaanalyses of the harms and risks of neuroleptics. Patients from the RAISE trial would also have to be enlisted to show that adequate awareness of the risks was not communicated and that misrepresentations were made. In psychiatry’s twisted world, almost everything is a misrepresentation, but some are worse than others.

    Diagnosing and drugging therefore must be be attacked at every turn. Right now, the problem is that the public has been fooled into believing that diagnosing and drugging are valid, safe, necessary elements of mental health care. Loud voices must increasingly dispute this characterization and to demand that people be informed about the uncertainty and disputed nature of mental health diagnoses, plus the horrible side effects and long-term risks of drugs.

    Also, when NAMI or psychiatrist commenters are seen on other sites lying about the Murphy bill and supporting it based on the myths of diagnosing and drugging, commenters need to jump on them and present clear, well-written comments linking to studies and data refuting their positions. I have already been doing this on my own time.

    Pat, I agree with Oldhead that it would be good to see you speak up more about the nonvalidity of mental “illnesses”. Otherwise great article.

    To arms!

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    • I meant to add that supporting distressed friends in extricating themselves from the mental health system and/or never becoming stuck in it in the first place is another thing we can do. We can’t always stop people from being entrapped, but the more educated people are about the fraudulence of diagnosing and the harms of drugs, the more enabled they may then feel to avoid becoming a prisoner of the System.

      I have also spoken to people about how self-tapering off of psych drugs is a real possibility they may want to choose (and something I successfully achieved). One does not have to use a psychiatrist to get off drugs; one just has to be careful, patient, educated, motivated, and have other sources of support. There are forums out there dedicated entirely to self-tapering and people should be made aware of them. We can’t rely on psychiatrists to be the experts on anything, since they are anything but. The cautious advice to “never come off psych drugs without a psychiatrists’ support” is not valid, realistic, or practical for the situation many psych-drug-dependent people find themselves in. The more we can return power to the people the better off we’ll be.

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  8. Well said Mr. Risser.
    The failed experiment and loss of human life that results from psychiatry, is mass murder. The apathy and ignorance follows from the false belief and unfortunate realization that we don’t control our own lives because our thoughts, feelings and behaviors have been co-opted and commandeered by powerful and corrupt agents outside ourselves. From that warped reality, the magnitude of the catch 22 we live in is dangerously frightening and deadly silencing. Sane people cannot reason with insane institutions; they can only be consumed by them.
    ©Judy Gayton

    Jack Davis, professor of native studies from U of California said, “In our language, we have this word wetico which means cannibal. One who eats, not literally the flesh of another, but who eats the life of another. And he said that …and we quickly realized that when you people came from Europe, that you were infected by “wetico” , that it is a mental illness.’ Quote from Documentary Film, I AM

    Why Doctors Are 9,000 Times More Likely to Accidentally Kill You Than Gun Owners
    Even worse than the original article (click here) reported, and the original study was bad enough.
    Here are some other numbers to ponder:
    Number of physicians in the US = 700,000
    Accidental deaths caused by physicians per year = 120,000
    Accidental deaths per physician = 0.171
    Number of gun owners in the US = 80,000,000
    Number of accidental gun deaths per year (all age groups) = 1,500
    Accidental deaths per gun owner = 0.0000188
    Therefore, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.

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  9. Pat, I don’t know if there is outrage when people are behaving in a manner consistent with “altruistic evil”.

    We can hope to walk them through the camps and see which ones display some semblance of humanity, if the powers of this cult of the curve are ever restricted again (should have shut them down in 1945 imo). But for now it’s all shiny boots and a Flesh for Frankenstein (Murphy amendments) Act.

    Outrage is what you get when the 400 year old brandy and cigars at the yacht club are no longer being paid for by Big Pharma. Or mention the word “accountability” in a hospital staff meeting.

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        • In the locked wards. In the ghettos of NYC where our people who have been court ordered to AOT have to comply with treatment in order to stay housed. Just around the corner, where you have never bothered to notice that your neighbor’s husband or wife threatens them daily with incarceration if they do not continue to eat truckloads of shit and domestic violence every day. In abandoned buildings in dying industrial towns where our people sleep alone rather than accept the services that demean them. The list goes on. It’s not hard to find the outrage if you know what it looks like. But, you won’t find it in the spaces of elitism and academia where oppressors who pretend to be allies demand “recovery” and create new agendas of silence and marginalization. Find it in the infected cuts of the “Borderline” and the screaming skulls of the “Schizophrenic”. It’s not hard to find if you want to look.

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          • These are people who cannot fight for themselves most of the time, unfortunately. They are too terrified, confused, and delusional. Outrage from former so-called borderlines and schizophrenics, as well as professionals who have somewhat of an understanding, is also necessary. After all black slaves in the South didn’t become free just because they got mad about their condition; they needed support from formerly enslaved black men in the North and from white abolitionists.

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          • Life was a lot less tough, I imagine, after slavery than before for ex-slaves. 40 acres and a mule might have helped somewhat, however, no 40 acres and a mule occurred. I kind of think emancipation really did the trick though. Emancipation from coercive psychiatry? That’s something I’d like to see.

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          • If people are going to bemoan oppressed being too beaten-down to “fight for themselves” – well, if that’s really something they’re looking for, at the very least they better not concern-troll the people who’ve been fighting back in Minneapolis and Chicago.

            And ideally – put some resources where their voices are – legal funds for the arrested and families of the slain.

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    • I’m outraged.

      I’m outraged that I, and over a million children, were turned into “bipolar” patients, by way of DSM-IV-TR misdiagnoses of the common ADRs of the ADHD drugs or antidepressants.

      I’m outraged that the “gold standard” treatment for “bipolar” (combining the antidepressants, antipsychotics, benzos, etc) is also a recipe for how to create “psychosis,” via anticholinergic intoxication syndrome, aka anticholinergic toxidrome. And trust me, the doctors can’t tell the difference between “psychosis” iatrogenicly created by anticholinergic toxidrome and “psychosis” caused by the theorized “bipolar” or “schizophrenia.”

      I’m outraged that the most common trait of all “schizophrenics” is child abuse or other adverse childhood experiences. And that 77% of children admitted to hospitals suffering from symptoms of abuse are diagnosed as “psychotic,” when only 10% of non-abused children receive this diagnosis. Child abuse is a crime, not “psychosis,” nor a “chemical imbalance” in one’s brain requiring drugs.

      And I’m outraged that the “gold standard” treatment for “psychosis,” the neuroleptics, are known to create both the negative and positive symptoms of “schizophrenia.” The negative symptoms are created via neuroleptic induced deficit disorder and the positive symptoms are created via anticholinergic toxidrome. But the doctors have odd delusions the absolute worst adverse effect of their neuroleptics is “increased thirst.”

      I’m outraged by a psychiatric industry that is nothing more than a defamation and iatrogenic illness creation industry. Especially now that the psycho / pharmacutical industries are intentionally targeting millions of defenseless children.

      I’m outraged.

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  10. Pat,
    A few weeks ago, I emailed the Penn. psych board and asked them to conduct an ethics investigation of Murphy as a result of his false public statements of conflation of “mental illness” with violence, made on many occasions in video, audio, and print media. I laid out the details in that email, citing specific ethics codes I believe he violated. One psychiatrist told me he had a conversation with Murphy and asked him why he did that. He said, Murphy said while he knows there is even a negative correlation between mi and violence, he was promoting the false notion that there is to promote his bill because if he were not falsly claiming that, there would be little chance to pass the bill. This is a direct violation of the APA ethics which the State of Penn licensing board uses as their guidelines. I am hoping I’m not the only one to file a complaint. Any citizen can do so and reference mine. email me at [email protected] and I’ll send you a copy of the email sent to the board.

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