In Search of an Evidence-based Role for Psychiatry

A dilemma for all of us who are struggling to broaden our understanding of human distress beyond simplistic, pessimistic, bio-genetic ideology, and to improve our mental health services accordingly, is whether or not to soften our criticisms of psychiatry in the hope of reaching those psychiatrists whose minds are not totally closed. But doing so rests on the assumption that change can come from within the profession. For the last few decades examples of that are few and far between.

Therefore in the article below, published last month in the open access journal Future Science, we pull no punches. We do try, however, to demonstrate that our criticisms are evidence-based, in the traditional, research-oriented, meaning of that phrase. Two of us (Olga and Jacqui) also have another form of evidence, based on personal experience, of the urgent need for those who fund and manage mental health services to stop assuming that ‘the doctor knows best’.

We, like many other Mad in America contributors, are likely to be accused of being ‘anti-psychiatry.’ When this label is thrown at you, remember that this is the way defensive and rigidly biological psychiatrists often respond to people and ideas that frighten them: apply a negative label and pretend the label is an explanation.  Why do people hear voices? Because “they have a thing called ‘schizophrenia’ which makes them hear voices.” Why do people point out the lack of an evidence-base for psychiatry’s theories? Because “their being ‘anti-psychiatry’ makes them do it.” End of story.

We hope the article is useful to you in some way in your own role in the struggle towards more humane, helpful (and, yes, evidence-based) ways of supporting one another when we are distressed and confused, and lonely.

March 2016 ,Vol. 2, No. 1 , DOI 10.4155/fsoa-2015-0011
(doi:10.4155/fsoa-2015-0011)

First draft submitted: 19 November 2015; Accepted for publication: 11 December 2015; Published online: 22 February 2016

While psychiatrists everywhere are doing their best to help people, their profession is in crisis. Psychiatry is struggling to defend itself from multiple sources of critique, and to reassert its future role. One possibility that is taboo for any profession to consider, however, is that it has little or no useful role. That possibility must be contemplated by others. An evidence-based approach to evaluating what good psychiatry contributes to mental health services in the 21st century leads to some challenging conclusions.

Psychiatry’s crisis is evidenced in many ways. Most blatant is the international outpouring of criticism at the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [1], its latest attempt to categorize human distress into discrete psychiatric ‘disorders’. The fact that the attack on the poor science involved was led by the editor of the fourth edition [2], and the Director of the USA’s National Institute of Mental Health [3], was embarrassing.

It seems psychiatry is now held in low regard by other medical disciplines. Medical students in numerous countries are uninterested in psychiatry as a career, seeing it as unscientific and ineffective [4]. In one study only 4–7% of UK medical students identified psychiatry as a ‘probable/definite’ career choice, partly because of its poor empirical basis [4]. In a recent survey over 1000 nonpsychiatric medical faculty members, at universities in 15 countries, “did not view psychiatry as an exciting, rapidly expanding, intellectually challenging or evidence-based branch of medicine” ([5], page 24). A total of 90% believed that ‘Most psychiatrists are not good role models for medical students’. The most negative opinions were expressed by neurologists, pediatricians, radiologists and surgeons.

Even more revealing than the survey findings was psychiatry’s response to it. The researchers themselves, including a former President of the World Psychiatric Association, wondered whether their colleagues’ opinions are ‘well founded in facts’ or ‘may reflect stigmatizing views toward psychiatry and psychiatrists’. Their own answer to that question becomes abundantly clear when, instead of proposing efforts to address the problems identified by the medical community, such as having little scientific basis, they recommend only ‘enhancing the perception of psychiatrists’ so as to ‘improve the perception of psychiatry as a career’ [5].

Similarly, all six responses to the survey, in the same edition of the journal, written by 13 psychiatrists (including current and past Presidents of the European Psychiatric Association and the current President of the World Psychiatric Association) dismissed all the concerns raised by the 1057 medical experts and blamed everyone but their own profession, including their supposedly ignorant, prejudiced medical colleagues and the biased media. The titles of these responses included ‘Overcoming stigmatizing attitudes toward psychiatrists and psychiatry’ [6] and ‘Some thoughts on how to improve the image of psychiatry’ [7].

The journal editor did invite one response from outside the profession [8]. To that respondent, and to other commentators, the problem with these senior psychiatrists’ response to criticism seemed obvious:

  • “While all authors in their own different ways address what might be done to improve psychiatry’s image, significantly, not a single psychiatrist thinks to ask what by humanistic standards would appear to be the compulsory question: Insofar as any of the bad image is deserved, exactly how are the ‘patients’ being ill served and what is owed them?” [9]; and

  • “This strikes me as condescending to the point of arrogance, and, to the extent that it reflects psychiatric attitudes generally, could, in combination with psychiatry’s spurious foundations and destructive ‘treatments’, go a long way to explaining the negative perceptions of other medical professions” [10].

One of the six responses [11] did acknowledge some fault on the part of the profession, but only in the past. The 1000 or so medical colleagues are, we are told, behind the times. One wonders, however, whether things are actually getting worse not better. Numerous prominent psychiatrists have recently been exposed engaging in unethical financial dealings with the pharmaceutical industry [12–14].

A discipline claiming a central role should be contributing to three core research domains: conceptualization, causation and treatment. In terms of conceptualization, psychiatry’s primary contribution is an ever expanding list of labels [1]. Calling them ‘diagnoses’ cannot disguise the fact that many do not reach minimal scientific reliability levels and have little or no predictive validity for outcome or treatment responsiveness [2,3,15,16]. For example, ‘schizophrenia’ – the flagship of biological psychiatry – requires just two of five symptoms, meaning you can get this ‘diagnosis’ without having anything in common with another person given the same ‘diagnosis’ [15]. Such disjunctive constructs are instantly dismissed as unusable by real scientific disciplines. Even the USA’s National Institute of Mental Health, in its unceasing quest for the missing biological causes of human distress, has abandoned the diagnostic approach to classifying mental health problems and acknowledged the need to try to develop some scientifically robust ‘research domains’ [3]. This is not just academic. Labels like ‘schizophrenia’ can, like the biogenetic causal beliefs that tend to accompany them, destroy lives, through prejudice, fear and prognostic pessimism [17–19].

In terms of causation, psychiatry has focused predominantly on chemical imbalances, brain abnormalities and genetics. The failure to provide any findings of substance [15,20,21] does not seem to matter. Merely engaging in this apparently scientific activity seems sufficient to sustain the ‘medical model’. Of course genetics is important but only if we research constructs that exist, using methodology that meets basic standards [21] and only if we acknowledge the role of epigenetic processes whereby genes are activated and deactivated by the environment [22]. The brain’s primary role is to respond to the environment but many psychiatrists appear unable to grasp this. Many still do not realize that brain differences between groups can be explained by the effects of childhood trauma on the developing brain [23].

In terms of treatment, research suggests that the safety and efficacy of psychiatric drugs have been grossly exaggerated [12–15,24–30]. For example, the latest best estimates as to the percentage of people who benefit over and above placebo effects are 20% for antipsychotics and even less for antidepressants [24–26]. Furthermore, both antidepressants and antipsychotics have a range of well documented adverse effects, some of which are life threatening [12,13,15,25–27]. A survey of 1829 people on antidepressants found the following rates: sexual difficulties (62%); feeling emotionally numb (60%), withdrawal effects (55%), feeling not like myself (52%), agitation (47%); reduction in positive feelings (42%), caring less about others (39%) and suicidality (39%) [27]. Despite clear evidence that antipsychotics can cause brain degeneration [25,28,29] and shorten life span [25,29,30], we still grant psychiatry, via mental health legislation, the right to force people to take them against their will. Drugs giant Otsuka has just applied to the US FDA to be able to insert a chip in Abilify so as to monitor ‘medication compliance’ [31].

Electroconvulsive treatment, which is undergoing a renaissance in countries most strongly dominated by biogenetic ideology, such as the USA and Australia, has no lasting benefit at all compared with placebo [32]. Unsurprisingly, it can cause long lasting or permanent cognitive dysfunction, primarily in the form of anterograde and retrograde amnesia [32].

Meanwhile, perhaps the most exciting development in the field of ‘treatment’ is the hearing voices movement. While the evidence base for the efficacy of the hearing voices groups being run by voice hearers in 35 countries is in its infancy [33–35], the groups do not cause stigma, pessimism, diabetes, brain damage, suicide or shortened life span.

Despite all this, biological psychiatry is trying to expand the reach of what others consider to be an unscientific, reductionist, simplistic and pessimistic ‘medical model’. Some psychiatrists have bemoaned what they call the poor ‘mental health literacy’ (i.e., one’s willingness to agree with biological psychiatrists about the causes of human distress), not only of people in their own countries and cultures, but of people in numerous ‘developing’ countries, including India, Pakistan, Bali, Nigeria and Malawi [18]. Terms like ‘misinformation’ and ‘lack of knowledge’ are used to describe spiritual and social causal beliefs. A typical conclusion is ‘Interventions aimed at increasing the mental health literacy of traditional healers are essential’ [36]. These researchers consistently express concern that other cultures’ beliefs limit the use of psychiatric drugs.

There is even an international organization, ‘Global Mental Health’, designed to bring the supposed superiority of the Western approach to the rest of the world [37]. There seems to be no understanding that supplanting indigenous beliefs with those of a dominant culture is a cornerstone of colonization. Also conveniently ignored are the findings of WHO studies that recovery rates for ‘schizophrenia’ are significantly higher in ‘developing’ countries than in ‘developed’ countries [16,38]. Meanwhile, within the USA, researchers are alarmed that African–Americans insist on believing in ‘debunked theories of schizophrenia that focused on the family’s effect on causing schizophrenia’ [39]; and bemoan the poor ‘psychosis literacy’ of Latinos, especially their failure to make ‘illness attributions’ and their insistence that the ‘social world’ is important in understanding psychosis [40].

What role, if any, should be played by a profession whose research and thinking are so heavily influenced by drug companies [12–14] and which has produced so little of benefit to service users for 50 years? One potential role would be the traditional doctors’ function of attending to real medical illnesses. But even the official journal of the World Psychiatric Association has bemoaned the ‘suboptimal medical care’ provided by psychiatry [41], not to mention that some of service users’ most serious health conditions are caused by psychiatric drugs.

Despite their relative inefficacy and dangerousness, psychiatric medications can be helpful (as a last resort, and for a short period). Therefore, mental health teams do need access to people with prescribing rights. So there is a useful role for psychiatrists, but only if they take an evidence-based approach, which concedes that a range of more effective and safer treatments should be offered first, that adverse effects should be fully disclosed and that no medical treatment should be forced on anyone against their will. In other medical specialties forcing a patient to receive a treatment constitutes ethical misconduct and is severely punished.

Finally, we should remember that the public, in other words users of mental health services, have a strong preference for psycho-social explanations and treatments. In 24 of 25 countries where surveys have been conducted the public believes that social factors play a much greater role than genes or chemical imbalances in the etiology of mental health problems, with the only exception being the USA [42,43]. Similarly, in 14 out of 15 countries the public prefers talking therapies and social support to drugs or electroshock [42]. The evidence summarized above suggests that they may be right.

But is anyone paying attention to the public or the research? Currently, a lack of nonmedical staff – including peer support workers – especially in positions of leadership, is limiting the implementation and availability of nonpharmacological interventions. What would happen if managers, funders and politicians really took all this research evidence and public opinion into consideration when deciding what sort of services to provide and what sort of staff to employ?

Disclaimer

The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Future Science Ltd.

Financial & competing interests disclosure The authors have no relevant affiliations or financial involvement with any organization or entity with a financial interest in or financial conflict with the subject matter or materials discussed in the manuscript. This includes employment, consultancies, honoraria, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, grants or patents received or pending, or royalties.

No writing assistance was utilized in the production of this manuscript.

Open access

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Affiliations

John Read

1Clinical Psychology, University of East London, Stratford Campus, 1 Salway Road, Stratford, London E15 1NF, UK

Olga Runciman

2Hearing Voices Network, Denmark

Jacqui Dillon

3Hearing Voices Network, UK; University of East London, UK

 

 

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81 COMMENTS

  1. “Drugs giant Otsuka has just applied to the US FDA to be able to insert a chip in Abilify so as to monitor ‘medication compliance’ [31].” ….That’s a scary thought. Through selling the DRUG “Abilify”, Otsuka earns literally $BILLION$ per year. And as propublica’s “Dollars For docs” database documents show, they even paid Dr. Shawn Shea, a local “psychiatrist”, over $10,000 in 2014, for “consultancy services”. Gee, I’d be glad to “consult” for Otsuka, to supplement my Disability payments for being an iatrogenic neurolepsis sufferer. Japan is home to both Otsuka, *AND* Godzilla. Coincidence? I think not…..! lol

  2. One correction: Bali is not a country; it’s an island within a country. Perhaps you meant Indonesia.

    This is a great article… I am interested to hear if or how any psychiatrists responded to this. I imagine they did not, as acknowledging the correctness of these criticisms might be career suicide.

    I think change will only come from things like the following:
    – more of the public actively choosing not to use psychiatric treatments, including most importantly drugs, and rejecting the biological model. Starving an industry of customers is always an effective strategy for shrinking that industry. However that does not appear to be happening at all in the USA.
    – severely damaging lawsuits against individual psychiatrists and hospitals. If psychiatrists or hospital staff are imprisoned, massively fined, or disbarred as a consequence of harmful psychiatric treatment, this may change their behavior.
    – somehow, much greater publicity in the mainstream news and in leading journals about the harms and unscientific nature of psychiatric diagnoses and treatment. This has not appeared to be happening as of yet. I hope many more people will speak up as John Read has. I think most well-informed professionals, especially in America, are too scared of losing their job to be honest about what they think of biological psychiatry.

    We must remember that most psychiatrists operate as the tentacles of a criminal cartel which is operated primarily by the drug companies. The image of the little marionettes being manipulated by the “godfathers” at Big Pharma is an apt one for the mindlessness, ignorance, and harmfulness of psychiatrists who lie to their clients every day about “brain diseases” and “medications” to treat those imagined illnesses. The reaction of most psychiatrists to thist statement – i.e. denial and belittling of the messenger – would be an illustration of how unfree and ignorant they really are.

  3. Anti-psychiatry is only seen as a label where it is applied falsely to critics of standard psychiatric practice, most specifically bio-psychiatry, by psychiatry. It is not a label to those of us who would oppose psychiatry as totalitarian brute force, pseudo-science, and medical claptrap. It is not a label to those of us who identify expressly with the term, and intimately with the idea. The idea, after all, is the idea of tolerance of human difference. Some of us, after all, would not be collaborationists with the NAMI (you can consider the M an inverted Z with a broken wing) “mental illness” industry, but continue to resist it in its efforts to further medicalize all aspects of contemporary life. Folly has had a long history, it is only in more recent times, following the middle-ages, that society has taken to imprisoning fools and “stigmatizing” folly as “disease” in need of “treatment” (i.e. torture). It is, in a nutshell, neither wise, nor fruitful, to do so. As for “outcomes”, in whose image would you recast the victims of psychiatry? Stop victimizing people, and you cease to have a problem. People were less prone to the claim that they had non-existent diseases before psychiatric imprisonment and indoctrination started. “Distress” “confusion” and exclusion are literally not diseases, and the “mental illness” industry is certainly no ‘knight in shining armor’. To put it another way, continued violence is no solution to the threat of violence, and this continued violence is just what you get with an expanding “mental illness” industry. This leaves us with a big question, and the only question that matters, would your “evidence based role” expand or contract the “mental illness” industry? An expanding “mental illness” industry means more labeling and more drugging, a contracting “mental illness” industry means less labeling and less drugging. Either way, the no labeling, no drugging threshold is one you’ve still got to broach, and anti-psychiatry has already beaten you to the punch, by a long shot.

    • Thank-you very much, Frank. I like your comments, and I want to agree, support, encourage, and amplify what you’re saying here. This is how I see it – this is what I think we here on MiA need to do: First, I don’t agree that I’m “anti-psychiatry”, because that only makes the biopsychiatrists defensive, and fuels their self-justification. It just gives them more ammo. And, it serves to perpetuate the myth that biopsychiatry has some legitimacy, or at least more legitimacy than it deserves. Recently, because of my time here on MiA, I’ve begun to use “biopsychiatry” as a tool, (“weapon”!), to “divide and conquer” psychiatry. Look at all the neologisms the psychs have fabricated in their desperate attempts to hold on to their tattered and shredded reputations! “Neuropsychiatry”, “research psychiatry”, etc., etc., etc.,…. Look at what Dr. Thomas Insell said in his blog, at NIMH, as he left the FedGov for a high-paid shill job in industry! There are NO “biomarkers”! So, now the psychs are gonna continue their absurd “Holy Grail” quest by doing “genetic neuropsychiatry”! Let’s use their own words against them. Remind them that they started out over a Century ago as “alienists”. Etc.,etc.,etc.,. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, Mr. Frank Blankenship! Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead, we’ll defeat these evil bastards, yet! Let’s remember to keep our sense of humor, too, ok? / LOL /

  4. Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the 14 Dalai Lama of Tibet, has stated that he might not reincarnate and thus create the 15th Dalai Lama. There might not be another Dalai Lama. We’ll see.
    There are many psychiatric survivors here, especially including myself, who want to see no more of the pseudoscience lies of the drugs racket known as “biopsychiatry”. I’d like to see no more psychiatrists.
    So, where we’re at, as the most compassionate, humane, and caring course of action, is all psychiatrists should just retire, or die. That’s what it will take to stop the suffering and torture which psychiatry inflicts on humanity. Maybe we could get a religious person to write a book: “Prayer For the Retirement or Death of Pyschiatry”….. The best “role” I can think of for psychiatry is to help fill the scrapheap of history….

    • There will be a fifteenth Dalai Lama, he just won’t be recognized for who he is because the Communist Chinese will have their own toady who they will claim as such. It will be interesting to see if he will be found in the Tibetan population outside of Tibet or within Tibet itself. I think, if I’m not mistaken, that the Dalai Lama is the reincarnation of the Buddha of Compassion, Aveloketishvara. I think that the Dalai Lama has given this a lot of thought since he is not only the religious leader of his people but their governmental leader as well. He carries a great weight upon his shoulders. And in essence he can’t do anything at all about it really.

      I too long for the day that psychiatry is a thing of the past. I think that the world would be a lot better place without these people.

      • For some of us psychiatry already is a thing of the past.

        Non-psychiatry is still bigger than psychiatry. however the situation is growing increasingly drastic. Psychiatry is growing by leaps and bounds, and rumors of its imminent demise, more than premature, have proven completely unfounded. Rejection of psychiatry, repulsion of psychiatry, is the way to emotional stability. With psychiatry begins ill health. The obverse is equally true, with non-psychiatry begins good health. The more people not seeing psychiatrists, the better those peoples physical and “mental” well being becomes. Ill health is what psychiatry markets, and right now, the market is booming. If you desire a “sickness”, you can have one, however, if you desire the truth a psychiatrists office is certainly not the place where you are going to find it in abundance. Sense, as many people actually have ascertained, tends to be elsewhere, and off the treatment maze.

        • Most psychiatrists know little about medical or psychiatric history, so they know nothing about the pellagra story during the beginning of the 20th Century.
          Back at the beginning of the 20th Century, 10 to 30% of the nation’s mental hospital beds were occupied by sufferers from pellagra, which had many features resembling those of our schizophrenic patients, with the additional one of eventually becoming fatal, when untreated. There were specialists, known as pellagrologists. Around 1914, a doctor, Goldberger discovered that pellagra was a dietary deficiency disease, brought on by a corn diet, which was curable by adding meat to the diet. Southern politicians went ballistic and assorted medical authorities offered a variety of “explanations”. In the mid-1920’s vit.B3 was isolated and proved to be specific for the disease. During the Second World War, it was added to white flour and the pellagrins and the pellagrologists vanished from the American scene as though they never were (although there may be a vitamin dependent form the masquerades as “schizophrenia”.

        • You realize that the so-called “mental” diseases are actually shrinking in number, contrary to DSM-V, with its ever-increasing number of disorders. The shrinks have already lost general paresis and dietary pellagra, with further pieces from the schizophrenia syndrome, such as thyroid disorders, mercury and heavy metal poisoning, packing their bags for other medical quarters.

  5. Thank you for this clear and informative article and for your work!! I will share it with people in my Swedish and international network. Labels, as you say nowadyas more and more frequent called diagnosis of different kinds are far too often seen as something actually existing and therefore we have to fight for other ways to define human beings and human Life, In that sense I am proud to call myself an anti psychiatry person. Hopefully there will be more and more people who realize that being anti psychiatry is as good as to be anti rasism. All the best, and thank you!!!

  6. I suspect that my response will echo some of what Frank says above but will write mine before I read his so as to be as original as possible.

    I don’t know. I guess it depends on who this article is primarily written for. My gut reaction is not to specific points, many of which are valid as far as that goes. It’s more to the notion that we have to get psychiatry to approve of and incorporate our ideas before they can be considered legitimate.

    While human suffering on a mass scale will continue at least until (and for some time beyond) the end of capitalism, there are interim means of support being developed which recognize the effects of trauma and alienation on people’s lives. These have nothing to do with medicine or psychiatry, and in fact derive their value from this independence. Why, then, must psychiatry adopt/coopt these for them to be accepted? Why is psychiatry the standard against which all else is measured? It’s been demonstrated, proven and concluded for some time now that psychiatry is a contradictory blend of ideology and semantic double-talk, and social control in the guise of medicine. Why do we have to keep restating the same platitudinous arguments and move on to a higher level? It’s high time the industry is left to crumble under the weight of its own contradictions.

    We…are likely to be accused of being ‘anti-psychiatry.’ When this label is thrown at you, remember that this is the way defensive and rigidly biological psychiatrists often respond to people and ideas that frighten them: apply a negative label and pretend the label is an explanation.

    Unlike, say, “schizophrenia,” “anti-psychiatry” is not a label, but a description of something with definable qualities. While it is often used by defensive shrinks as an epithet for anyone who questions any aspect of their reality, most of whom are not “anti-psychiatry,” the term has a legitimate place in progressive discourse and is by no means “negative,” any more than being anti-war is negative. And as we can see it is a very powerful term which drives business-as-usual shrinks apoplectic. But this is more of the same perspective I spoke of above, with psychiatry being the standard that we need to tip-toe around on eggshells

  7. I sent the original article to my current GP’s office a couple of weeks ago after “my doctor”s physician’s assistant tried to refer me to psychiatric treatment. This was after I already told this new GP how I had felt about him referring me to psychiatric treatment based on the combination of the facts I have a psychiatric history in my medical record and was asking for a prescription for xanax. I’m not sure if anyone read it or not, but I think it’s currently by and far the greatest article to use in that situation and I’m glad it’s at least available.

    • Xanax, and all the other “benzos”, have in recent years gotten tangled up in some people’s minds, with the heroin & opiate “crisis”/”epidemic”. Many States are passing new laws specifically around benzos. Yours may be one of them. The last 3 – 4 years, getting my very low dose of clonazepam has seemed like me fighting with a bunch of 3-yr. olds! Same thing as with you – my regular Doc. & his hospital want me to go back to psychiatry, and the local “Community Mental Health Center”. The stress of their headgames is very difficult for me!
      Here’s hoping you have a better outcome in your situation

      • Yeah, it’s become a mind field that might be all for the better if not for a lack of real mental health services, in place of typical “mental health” business-as-usual. I just got back from my final appointment with this GP. He “progressed” some no longer trying to refer me to psychiatric treatment by giving me an ultimatum; that he would only continue prescribing me xanax if I agreed to take other “medication” that would “help me more.” He was right in his statements that the body adjusts to xanax very quickly and that continued “treatment” with it would result in the need for periodic dosage increases and an eventual “horrendous withdrawal syndrome”, so for his accuracy in that I’ll give him credit. It’s just too bad that some of the more “enlightened” doctors still have a generation to go before they finally have it all sorts out. For crying out loud, he recommended wellbutrin and abilify; wont even go into the experience I had on wellbutrin as a late teen and the horrific “anxiety” it induces, a neurological episode that made me thought I was having a constant seizure while somehow swallowing my own stomach every second. But to even be on 10mg of xanax a day would be astronomically “safer” than a neuroleptic like abilify. I plan on tapering off of xanax with the final RX he gave me, “the final” being his words. I see no point in trying to find a new GP since this is all in my medical reports and I’m surely been documented as a “doctor shopper by now”… I only wish that there were real help for me. I never would have went back on benzos if there were and now that I wouldn’t “need” them if I had access to real treatment.

  8. I appreciate this well researched , scholarly article on a topic that is not regarded with anywhere near the same academic curiosity and compassionate intention BY psychiatry — as evidenced by the infomercial style drug marketing articles you will find in psychiatry’s professional journals.

    Regarding this clincher:

    “We, like many other Mad in America contributors, are likely to be accused of being ‘anti-psychiatry.’ When this label is thrown at you, remember that this is the way defensive and rigidly biological psychiatrists often respond to people and ideas that frighten them: apply a negative label and pretend the label is an explanation. Why do people hear voices? Because “they have a thing called ‘schizophrenia’ which makes them hear voices.” Why do people point out the lack of an evidence-base for psychiatry’s theories? Because “their being ‘anti-psychiatry’ makes them do it.” End of story.”

    I just want to add my 2 cents to the other comments on this made by other, out -of -the -closet *anti-psychiatry* folks-.

    WHY are we seeking approval or endorsement from the professionals who represent the profession we can’t yet prove has met criteria to be recognized as a medical specialty? I think this actually discredits the results of all of our scholarly efforts and research– including the dismal report on the reformability of the Institution of Psychiatry by Bob Whitaker and Lisa Cosgrove (Psychiatry Under the Influence). Why would we want to act as though we are uncertain of certainties?

    Pandering to the leading most influential psychiatrists means we actually believe that they would consider giving up their wealth and power. Let’s look at the facts before we become completely delusional.

    Psychiatry’s wealth was gained via criminal behavior and their power was paid for (at least in America) by wealthy Puritan families and philanthropists seeking the surest means to social control, and is now supported by the wealthiest industry on the planet. What happens to Pharma profits if they lose their most prolific prescribers?

    Hmm.-Because they are frightened or threatened by terms like, ‘anti-psychiatry’, employed by educated, knowledgeable people in response to nothing but evidence for using this term, bio-psychiatrists tend to discredit the source. Wait a minute , didn’t bio-psychiatry construct its paradigm of “care” by discrediting the feedback from patients, AND discrediting the sources of the complied compelling evidence of the harm caused by their paradigm of “care”.? I think we need to kick into behavior therapist mode and stop offering bio-psychiatrists secondary gain for being blind, stupid and down right nasty, or having cold indifference, no medical knowledge and a wicked pernicious personality disorder.

    It has been argued here that; “Unlike, say, “schizophrenia,” “anti-psychiatry” is not a label, but a description of something with definable qualities.”

    and suggested that, ” we have to fight for other ways to define human beings and human Life, In that sense I am proud to call myself an anti psychiatry person. Hopefully there will be more and more people who realize that being anti psychiatry is as good as to be anti racism. ”

    and further argued that; ” It [anti-psychiatry] is not a label to those of us who would oppose psychiatry as totalitarian brute force, pseudo-science, and medical claptrap.”

    When we stop participating in the shared hallucination that psychiatrists are performing a beneficial role in our society, or that we need them to sign on to humanistic approaches that will save those of us not currently in their net and rescue the ones who are still in their net — we will be on the road to progress.

    We flat out don’t need what they have to offer and are better off without their input. Maybe it is a steep climb toward building or creating what we do need in our society– but I don’t agree that we should take a middle of the road stance on this journey. Using real, correct terms and speaking a common language is crucial. This is no time to pretend we don’t know what we know– unless anyone thinks it is okay to keep our kids and other vulnerable members of our society –in harms way, I strongly suggest practicing telling it like it is.

    • **WOW**! Hey, Katie Tierney Higgins, RN, will you marry me? OK, I’m kidding about the matrimony part, but I’m as serious as a heart attack about affirming and supporting pretty much your entire comment, and confirming that everything you say is pretty much speaking for ME, too! So let me reinforce your statements here. Let’s call “biopsychiatry” what it is – MEDICAL FASCISM. The psychs have insinuated themselves into LAW, and have usurped to themselves certain powers, like “involuntary commitment”, and FORCED DRUGGING, that would otherwise be illegal, and UN-CONSTITUTIONAL. Yes, UN-CONSTITUTIONAL. When the psychs act this way in a Court of Law, they commit grave human rights violations. We don’t have a legal system that permits forced drugging of convicted shoplifters, for example, do we? What DRUG, oops!, “medication” would be most effective against shoplifters? What “medication” will prevent kids from smashing windows in cars to steal pocketbooks, backpacks, cameras, etc.? What “medication” can be forced on an armed robber or burglar? To me, it is this pernicious encroachment on civil liberties which is one of the weaker links, one of the chinks in biopsychiatry’s armor. We can see the psychs trying to escape accountability, by escaping into faux “credibility” by enmeshing themselves into legitimate neuroscience. We see neurobiologists pretending to be “neuropsychiatrists”, and legitimate neurobiologists & neurochemists being re-branded & re-labeled as “neuropsychiatry” That’s called “neologism”. And, ironically, it was my own poetic use of neologisms which was alleged to be a symptom of my alleged “schizophrenia”. I say “alleged”, because that bogus “diagnosis” CANNOT be confirmed “beyond a reasonable doubt”, which is the standard of evidence and proof for a criminal conviction. And, it can only be *shown*, but NOT “proven”, by a “preponderance of evidence” , which is the standard for a Civil Conviction. Because the evidence CAN be challenged, and when it IS challenged, the “evidence” carries much less persuasive weight. So, in light of what I’ve written here, don’t we need FORENSIC ANTI-PSYCHIATRISTS, and “Neuropsychiatric DEFENSE attorneys”? I’m more in agreement with Dr. Jim Van Os, of the Univ. of Maastricht. So-called “schizophrenia” is a historical artifact ONLY, and represents NOTHING REAL. ALL so-called “mental illnesses” are only as real as presents from Santa Claus, treats from the Easter Bunny, or gifts from the Tooth Fairy. The Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus are ALL REAL. I can attest to that. I received MANY presents from Santa Claus, many baskets from the Easter Bunny, and after putting my baby teeth under my pillow, many quarters from the Tooth Fairy. So, with that TESTIMONIAL EVIDENCE, I have CONCLUSIVELY PROVEN the INDEPENDENT EXISTENCE of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. Haven’t I? Are you *sure* you won’t marry me, Katie Tierney Higgins, RN….????….
      (c)2016, Tom Clancy, Jr., *NON-fiction

      • Thanks you, Bradford for delving into the legal paradox, or rather the unconstitutional practices of judges who rule for civil commitments and juvenile court judges who sentence kids to be tortured by psychiatry until they reach age 18.

        These courts do not adhere in any way to rules of law. There is no due process– no formal charges filed, no proffering of evidence for a jury of one’s peers. These courts enact parens patriae doctrines imbedded when the establishment of a means for social control reached crisis level in the early 1900’s.

        Juvenile Court judges have *discretionary powers*. They defer to their advisors, child psychiatrists who were planted in this role from the beginning (1899 in the first Juvenile Court in Chicago)—. The *state* is our true parent. The *state* is psychiatry. Likewise– mental incompetent = “child like incapacity”; There is an ugly twist here because psychiatry decides who is medically incompetent, then assumes the role of our true parent. The Judges in these courts defer to the psychiatrist. period.

        Discrediting psychiatry is a necessary first step to reversing some very powerful and equally destructive *practices* that have grown into *for profit *systems operating at our peril.

        Your insights are sharp enough to pierce concrete!! I very much appreciate a need for Forensic Anti-Psychiatrists and Neuropsychiatric Defense Attorneys –, Clearly there is no formalized training needed for either of these positions . That speaks volumes regarding the institution we are trying to *dethrone*. And reassuring , too considering how many of us can qualify right now for these jobs.

        I really appreciated the compliments, too, Bradford– Am putting my husband on notice 😉

    • Exactly. Slave owners did not free their slaves when abolitionists tried to carry on intelligent dialogues with them. They had to be forced to free their captives.

      I refuse to carry on any dialogues with psychiatrists anymore because they don’t really listen to anything that we survivors have to say. They are the experts on our lives, no matter what.

      So, I too am very proud to carry the tittle of abolitionist and a person who belongs to the antipsychiatry movement.

    • When we stop participating in the shared hallucination that psychiatrists are performing a beneficial role in our society, or that we need them to sign on to humanistic approaches that will save those of us not currently in their net and rescue the ones who are still in their net — we will be on the road to progress. </I.

      Just to add another 2 cents: People should consider that even when we speak of "alternatives to psychiatry" it contains the implication that psychiatry is the standard against which all else is measured.

  9. Great article. Being anti-psychiatry isn’t a bad thing. Biological psychiatry isn’t a science. It’s marketing and propaganda/public relations. And some eugenics and torture thrown into the mix.

    Warning, essay ahead! Start reading at your own peril. And maybe get a tea or coffee. Or beer.

    Most contributors/commenters on MiA are aware that if corporations were a real person they’d best be described as a psychopath. And most would be aware of studies suggesting that psychopathy occurs considerably higher in positions of power/authority, such as police, politician, or CEO. Biological psychiatry, and those who follow it’s ideology, can best be described as delusional eugenicist psychopaths employing cognitive dissonance as a defense mechanism. I’ll explain each in turn.

    Delusional – According to wikipedia (I never use wikipedia as a reference, but the description is pretty good) says there are “three main criteria for a belief to be considered delusional [which are] certainty (held with absolute conviction), incorrigibility (not changeable by compelling counterargument or proof to the contrary), impossibility or falsity of content (implausible, bizarre or patently untrue). Furthermore, when a false belief involves a value judgment, it is only considered a delusion if it is so extreme that it cannot be, or never can be proven true.” Biological psychiatrists absolutely believe that mental illness is real and caused by a brain disease, genetic defect, or chemical imbalance, even though the research has repeatedly shown such claims to be entirely untrue. Psychiatry’s claim that mental illness is real and caused by a brain disease, genetic defect, or chemical imbalance are not and never can be proven true because ‘mental illness’ is not an illness, it is a natural response to a toxic environment (trauma, abuse, neglect, poverty, most/all ‘isms’, and society in general). ‘Mental illness’ is not an illness, it is a cluster of certain personality traits, behaviour, emotion, and/or beliefs (none of which are an illness) given a label and prescription for social control.

    Eugenicist – There are probably more than just the one, but a recent article on MiA by Jay Joseph called Comments on Jeffrey Lieberman and Ogi Ogas’ Wall Street Journal Article on the Genetics of Psychiatric Disorders critiqued an article written by a former President of the American Psychiatric Association and an associate who support the biological basis of psychiatry, which just so happens to mirror eugenicist practices and procedures. A (non-MiA) journal article called Screening for Mental Illness: The Merger of Eugenics and the Drug Industry by Vera Sharav (2005) looked into a modern eugenicist agenda by Big Pharma and psychiatry with the use of mental health screening. “Eugenics equated morality to intellect and attributed behavioural problems and social maladjustment to low intelligence, whereas psychiatry links the same problems to mental illness. Both use the mantle of science without the substance of science to further an agenda. Psychiatry’s claims and interventions resemble those of eugenics: Both are couched in pseudoscientific terminology but lack scientific validity. Neither developed objective criteria for diagnosing or defining normal and abnormal traits; neither could withstand independent critical analysis; but both have been immensely successful at promoting their objectives by popularizing unsubstantiated claims.”

    Psychopath – Some of the qualities of a psychopath include:
    Pathological lying: Like psychiatry’s constant claim that ‘mental illness’ is a real biological illness caused by a brain disease, genetic defect, or chemical imbalance, even though the evidence overwhelmingly shows such claims as being untrue, not to mention the constant claim that psychiatric drugs are ‘safe and effective’ when the evidence shows they are barely more effective than placebo yet have a great potential for harm from assorted adverse effects.
    Narcissism: This one, not as much, however psychiatrists have for decades pretended to be real doctors and sought out the prestige and profit of becoming a legalized drug dealer with the sole claim to authority over the mind and mental distress.
    Lack of empathy, guilt, and remorse: You’d have to lack empathy, guilt, and remorse to be able to forcibly restrain a fellow human against their will and administer electroshock torture and say it is to help them. Or to pressure someone into ingesting or injecting psychiatric drugs which may turn the person into a drooling zombie (like anti-psychotics do) and say they are ‘improved’.
    Deception and manipulation: How many journal articles or books put out by psychiatry or Big Pharma have been ghostwritten or had data altered or omitted to support the claims made by psychiatry or Big Pharma (though this is certainly not the only industry that employs such fraudulent practices). It’s fairly common practice to manipulate the data to give the impression that a psychiatric drug/treatment is more safe and effective than the studies data actually indicates. How often do psychiatrists tell people they have a chemical imbalance or brain disease (with zero evidence) and taking a pill for a long time or even the rest of their lives is the only effective treatment option available.

    Cognitive dissonance – Wikipedia says “Dissonance is felt when people are confronted with information that is inconsistent with their beliefs. If the dissonance is not reduced by changing one’s belief, the dissonance can result in restoring consonance through misperception, rejection or refutation of the information, seeking support from others who share the beliefs, and attempting to persuade others.” Sounds like the parts in your article where you wrote “Similarly, all six responses to the survey, in the same edition of the journal, written by 13 psychiatrists (including current and past Presidents of the European Psychiatric Association and the current President of the World Psychiatric Association) dismissed all the concerns raised by the 1057 medical experts and blamed everyone but their own profession, including their supposedly ignorant, prejudiced medical colleagues and the biased media” and “instead of proposing efforts to address the problems identified by the medical community, such as having little scientific basis, they recommend only ‘enhancing the perception of psychiatrists’ so as to ‘improve the perception of psychiatry as a career”.

    Psychiatry is not something that can be fixed. It is far to psychopathic, corrupt, greedy, and insane. The foundations of biological psychiatry are built on lies, not truths. It’s flimsier than a house made of cards. Psychiatry needs to be exposed then abolished. While I’m typically anti-psych drugs, I do understand there is a very small need for the potential of psychiatric drugs to be used as a treatment, but this would be in a much much smaller population than is currently drugged and for as short a period of time as possible. Other professions can prescribe drugs if necessary. Psychiatry itself needs to be abolished.

    “There is even an international organization, ‘Global Mental Health’, designed to bring the supposed superiority of the Western approach to the rest of the world”. This is bad. Very bad. A profession that is wholly unscientific seeks to infect the entire world with lies, labels, drugs, and torture they call ‘helpful, safe, and effective treatment’. Psychiatry is not a science. It is marketing. Psychiatry and Big Pharma are part of the system that seeks to maintain and expand the status quo of power, profit, and control. It doesn’t matter how much harm psychiatric practices and treatments inflict because it maintains psychiatric and political power, mass profits, and social control. It also fulfills the elites eugenicist agenda by neutralizing the ‘inferior’.

    Mental illness is not a real illness. It is a natural response to a toxic environment. Trauma, abuse, neglect, society, these are the causes of psychological distress, not a mythical chemical imbalance or brain disease. Psychology and psychiatry, by definition, are supposed to study the psyche (the mind), but biological psychiatry focuses on the physical brain and biology and ignores the mind. To bring down the two-headed giant of psychiatry and Big Pharma, the biological ideology needs to be exposed (which it frequently is, especially on MiA). But there also needs to be an alternative system to replace psychiatry and the medical model (and no, not the biologically based RDoC proposed by the NIMH). The truth is, people do experience psychological distress. Depression is not a brain disease or genetic defect, but people do experience depression. Same with anxiety, or mania, or schizophrenia. These are not diseases, chemical imbalances, or genetic defects, but people can and do experience them. So we need a new system that can explain what these things are that is not based on the flawed foundation of biology.

    To truly understand what ‘mental illness’ really is and how best to treat it, we need to understand how the mind works. Thankfully, the mind has already been mapped (though certainly not in minute detail). It’s described in a book I wrote called The Map of the Psyche: The Truth of Mental Illness that unifies countless psychological theories to produce a map of the mind that can be used to explain what ‘mental illness’ is as it relates to the psyche, and once you understand what it is it becomes much easier to understand how to heal it. The map of the psyche can also be used to bring down psychiatry. By showing how the mind actually works and what ‘mental illness’ really is it also exposes what mental illness is not (not a biological illness, brain disease, genetic defect, or chemical imbalance).

    Mental illness is not an illness, but it is mental. Mental meaning mind, not brain. If you want to understand mental illness, study the mind, not the brain. Use the Map of the Psyche.

    • I have reviewed portions of “Ragnarok’s” book, “Map of the Psyche”, on amazon, and as a preliminary review, I can whole-heartedly ENDORSE it, along with “Ragnarok’s” comments, above. I’m looking forward to a more careful and complete, and I’m sure REWARDING reading of the text. Thank-you, my colleague.
      (c)2016, Tom Clancy, Jr., *NON-fiction

      • Psychopath is a disease term? Like depression or anxiety or schizophrenia are disease terms? Psychopath, like depression etc etc, is a label used to describe a cluster of ‘symptoms’ (personality traits, behaviours, emotions, beliefs).

        Have you ever met a psychopath/sociopath? I have. Thankfully only 1 so far (atleast that I figured out). And I can tell you from first hand experience it is one of, if not the most damaging and destructive personality type there is. They use and abuse, spread lies, manipulate to the extreme, and have an almost (if not total) lack of empathy. The only psychopath/sociopath I have ever met claimed to be my ‘best mate’ for about 2 years. He is to this day the worst person I have ever met.

        I agree with a lot of stuff you say oldhead, we are both on the same wave-length, but this I have to disagree with you on. Psychopath is only a disease term so far as psychiatry is concerned, though even on that I’d have to disagree because psychiatry doesn’t use the terms psychopath or sociopath, they use ‘antisocial personality disorder’. But the fact remains, even though these are ‘disease terms’ they do not actually specify a disease, but they do refer to a cluster of characteristics that tend to be similar within people given the same label. For example, a person experiencing depression does not have a ‘disease’ called depression, but they will experience a similar cluster of characteristics (what psychiatry calls ‘symptoms’) such as prolonged periods of sadness or despair, anxiety, disturbed sleeping or eating patterns, lack of social support, lack of physical activity, etc.

        Saying that psychopath is a ‘disease term’ is like saying that introversion or Scorpio is a disease term. It is not a disease. They are labels used to describe similar clusters of characteristics. Perhaps the labels are flawed, because it is a label and puts people into a box, but the fact remains such terms can be useful (though not as psychiatry currently uses them). Should we discard terms such as psychopath or depression or schizophrenia? Yes and no. Such terms do not define a disease, but they are useful in conveying to others a certain type of person(ality). Should we discard terms such as extrovert and introvert, or the various star signs? We could, but those terms are useful in understanding people, even though they are not a disease.

        I think a better way of going about things is to see ‘psychopath’ or ‘depression’ like we see ‘extroversion’ or ‘introversion’. Not a disease or illness or imbalance or defect, but a useful way of describing or understanding how a person interprets and/or interacts with the world.

        • Psychopath, like depression etc etc, is a label used to describe a cluster of ‘symptoms’ (personality traits, behaviours, emotions, beliefs).

          Maybe you can handle a metaphor but most people can’t when it comes to psychiatry. Personality traits, etc. are not symptoms (even though you put it in quotes). It is not at all helpful to frame human behavior & thought in terms of symptomology.

          Your elaboration on what you mean by ‘psychopath” reveals it, in this case, to be a moral term, not medical or even sociological.

          Should we discard terms such as psychopath or depression or schizophrenia? Yes and no. Such terms do not define a disease, but they are useful in conveying to others a certain type of person(ality).

          Useful in creating a false sense of understanding. Your logic (and error in my estimation) is similar to BPDT’s in that you hold that saying “people labeled as schizophrenic” (instead of just “schizophrenics”) makes it a valid category, when people so-labeled don’t necessarily have anything truly in common but the label.

          • I’m aware that personality traits etc are not symptoms of an illness, which is why I phrased it the way I did. Sorry if that was not apparent. Also, I never phrased behaviour in terms of symptomology, psychiatry does that. I said “a label used to describe a cluster of ‘symptoms’ (personality traits, behaviours, emotions, beliefs).” So let me be clear. A (mental illness) label is used to describe a cluster of what psychiatry calls ‘symptoms’ which are in fact not ‘symptoms’ of any disease but are natural human characteristics such as personality traits, emotions, behaviours, beliefs, etc, which are not a disease or symptoms of a disease. Sorry if I didn’t spell that out. My mistake.

            “Your elaboration on what you mean by ‘psychopath” reveals it, in this case, to be a moral term, not medical or even sociological.” If it wasn’t apparent, I’m against the medical model regarding ‘mental illness’ and psychological understanding. And I wasn’t trying to micromanage what category the label would fit under (moral or sociological). It’s a term, regardless of if it’s medical, moral, or sociological, it is a term that is useful in understanding a certain type of human’s psychological state regarding their interpretation and interaction with the world (like extrovert or introvert).

            “Useful in creating a false sense of understanding.” Let me be clear. I do NOT support psychiatry, psychiatric labels, or psychiatric drugs. I’m not suggesting mental illness (which is NOT an illness) labels be used in general conversation in public without a true understanding of what such experiences are, because the current psychiatric perception is WAY off (i.e. NOT an illness or brain disease or genetic defect or chemical imbalance). Such terms are however useful within a professional capacity to convey a certain concept. If I say the word ‘table’ you know what I mean because we have a similar representation. Same thing goes for depression, anxiety, introversion, etc. It is NOT a disease, even though psychiatry says it is. But such terms can describe a cluster of characteristics including personality traits, emotions, behaviours, etc, and are useful in describing certain human characteristics (or clusters of) within a professional capacity.

            Your logic (and error in my estimation) is similar to BPDT’s in that you hold that saying “people labeled as schizophrenic” (instead of just “schizophrenics”) makes it a valid category, when people so-labeled don’t necessarily have anything truly in common but the label.” You are seriously misinterpreting what I’m saying. I’ll use the depression term rather than schizophrenia term for my example. I do NOT say nor believe that people ‘have’ a ‘disease’ called ‘depression’. It is NOT a valid disease category because it is not a disease. You may experience depression, but you don’t ‘have’ it. It’s a perception. A perspective. A different point of view. Let me frame that another way. When you are exposed to a toxic environment (trauma, abuse, neglect, etc) such experiences can have an impact and potentially leave a mark or wound on the psyche of the individual. This psychological damage can, as a result of exposure to a toxic environment, influence the psychological development/expression of the individual, potentially changing personality traits, behaviours, emotions, beliefs. Such psychological impacts can result in certain clusters of characteristics being experienced/exhibited, which has been given labels by psychiatry to categorize and medicalize every human experience and expression, but is NOT a disease.

            Again, I am NOT saying that ‘mental illness’ is a ‘real disease’. It is called that by psychiatry but I do not agree with psychiatric practices, if that were not already obviously apparent to you. I’m saying such terms can be useful to convey a concept for those within the same profession to communicate. I’m not a fan of labels and I despise psychiatry’s disease categories and do not like to be put into a box, but certain terms (or labels) can be useful. Let’s take myself for example, if I met you or anyone else in a random meeting, I might come across as rude, blunt, mentally challenged, or a number of other things. But if I were to say I identify myself as an introvert rather than an extrovert, you’d understand me a little better. If I were to say my mind functioned more like the ‘aspergers’ mind than the ‘neurotypical’ mind, you might understand me a little more. Lack of social skills, isolated, but extremely well learned on a certain topic/subject. I am not a label. I do not have a disease. But ‘introversion’ for example is a very useful term to describe a cluster of characteristics (personality, emotion, behaviour) that I express. If you were versed in astrological signs (I’m not, except a little bit about my own) then giving my star sign could, as that star sign is a label that can encompass certain characteristics, be used a single word to convey an idea or concept that incorporates or clusters around certain (though not all within every individual) characteristics. Although I do not personally identify with the term ‘psychopath’ I have met atleast one person that does, and it is a useful term to describe a cluster of characteristics, but is NOT a disease.

            Please let me know if you misinterpreted anything else I said so I can spell it out in essay format.

          • Oldhead, my responses would be similar to what Ragnarok said; I think he has made a good and clear case for how one can use these terms without presuming a disease process… terms like “depressed” or “psychotic” are to be understood as loose, tentative, uncertain working hypotheses that describe certain experiences people may have at one time or another (and may have in common with some others), not as medical labels or judgments.

          • . it is a term that is useful in understanding a certain type of human’s psychological state

            You likely think it is useful because you know what the term means to you and assume that it means the same thing to others, but this is rarely the case (even within the “professional” world).

            And here’s the next level, though you will probably disagree, at least for now:

            Again, I am NOT saying that ‘mental illness’ is a ‘real disease’. It is called that by psychiatry

            “It”? What “it”? Again, quotes or not, if “mental illness” doesn’t exist there is no “it,” so there’s no need to find a better label. There’s nothing to label. By focusing on behavior and not the source of behavior, outward similarities of expression are considered more significant than what’s actually going on with each individual, leading some to believe they are looking at categories of something other than their own projections.

          • “When is that edit feature due to arrive? (I’m using positive visualization. Alex?)”

            Sorry oldhead, can’t help you with this. I’m not exactly ‘in’ with this staff, so I have no power here. How about visualizing world peace, instead?

          • Lol, I anticipated that question. Of course they’re not contradictory. But when it comes to manifesting what we want, we choose where we put our focus and energy.

            Personally, I’ll take world peace however it comes–with or without an MIA posting edit feature, and whatever it means to our political and economic structure.

            I’m no capitalist myself, I live a simple life and do most of my work for free or at very little charge, really just what I need. So I agree with you, and I try to set an example.

        • May I suggest adhering strictly to descriptions that are easily recognized concrete terms ?
          Examples from criminal law lexicon like, fraud , assault & battery, – are what I have in mind .
          It occurs to me that psychiatric terminology and warped perceptions of pathological terms applied to the human condition are imbedded in our culture due entirely to the misplacement of trust and power granted to sham doctors. I think it is well worthwhile to scour these
          Bogus terms out of our vocabulary .
          And rather than describe the ostensible traits and activities psychiatry in provocative of evocative language , employ the legal terms that describe the crimes themselves .

          • ….I’m just here as reinforcements, and back-up, Katie…..YOU tell ’em, Katie!….. I agree with YOU, and Ragnarok…. LOL…Really, I do support you, and I’m trying to soften my words with some LOL

      • How about “criminal” – someone who commits criminal acts?

        I do think people labeled psychopaths tend to lack a conscience, and to not respect others’ personal or property rights… so they do tend to have those things in common with each other oldhead. Not all, but many.

        Psychopath is a term at least on one level based on what people observably do to others in the outside world… it doesn’t automatically presume a disease process.

          • @BPDT & @oldhead,

            You’re both right !!

            These ambiguous labels were introduced by psychiatrists around the turn of the 20th century in America. These labels were noted to be medicalized expressions of the aspects of the human condition that undermined the power and control of the wealthy ruling class. Anti-authoritarian kids, were in need of psych treatment for their *illness*. New fancy terms from MDs who self-proclaimed themselves to be the medical specialists in the field of psychiatry–. The terms were respected as legitimate diagnosis from legitimate medical doctors. Rich people aren’t nit picky when it comes to who they decide to call experts, apparently.

            Our culture is infused, maybe even driven by these medicalized terms for human conditions–. It was in vogue 100 years ago, to reframe human acting out against society’s norms(actually Puritan values as the original societal norms) now it is virtually impossible to discuss any variance of societal norms without using one of these *ambiguous* psych labels.

            Just as no two psychiatrists seem to agree on exactly what their own labels mean, there is no reason to expect that psych-speak will ever bring clarity to the discussion of serious problems we face as a society.

            David Byrne said it better in lyrics of his song, “Psycho killer”
            “They’re talking a lot,
            but they aren’t saying anything.”

            Even given the commonly understood idea of what a psychopath IS– the term is worthless when it comes to dealing with anyone so labeled. Can’t get around the unique, individual characteristics that will be key to connecting with, helping or even abating the destructive effects of one, so labels, psychopath–
            Then, too, all of the aspects of our having neglected to confront and deal with aspects of our society that are a driving force toward aberrant ways of coping, can be overlooked, as very time we focus our attention on assigning psycho babble labels,– a psychiatrist smiles.

            So– the terms can mean whatever you want them to– and still refer mainly to the greatest marketing scam of the past century.

          • So where’s the part where BPDT is right too?

            Psycho, sociopath, schizo, bi-polar etc. are all fine as epithets or passive-aggressive put-downs, so long as no one mistakes them for legitimate psychological or sociological concepts.

  10. terms like “depressed” or “psychotic” are to be understood as loose, tentative, uncertain working hypotheses that describe certain experiences people may have at one time or another

    In other words useless, meaningless and potentially destructive.

    I know you & R agree with each other, which is why I mentioned it, as I recognized a similar inconsistency in the way you both approach language in this regard.

    Again, the only consistent characteristic “people labeled as” anything share is the fact of being so-labeled.

    • The word may be “meaningless” to YOU, but if it’s so “meaningless”, then WHY are you going on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about it….????….
      I’m unlabeled, as are all unlabeled people. Therefore, all people such as myself who are unlabeled, may be correctly labeled as “unlabeled”. That’s NOT a label, that’s an UN-label, ok?….

    • oldhead, you seem to have a particular view about the type of person I am or what you think I believe, and you seem to be twisting what I’m saying to suit your narrative. This is confirmation bias. And it’s getting somewhat annoying.

      I agree with a lot of what you say oldhead, aswell as BPDTransformation, aswell as a lot of other people on MiA. Why? Because we’re all on the same forum discussing the same thing. That psychiatry is flawed and should either be completely overhauled or shouldn’t exist (that includes psychiatric diagnosis and treatments such as drugging or electroshock). So yeah, I agree with a lot of people on this website. I also disagree with a lot of stuff people say.

      Please correct me if I’m wrong, but what I interpret you saying is that such terms as depression, schizophrenia, etc are considered ‘disease terms’ by psychiatry, but they are not a disease, so they should be discarded. I agree that psychiatric terminology is flawed and that such terms do not describe a disease. Schizophrenia is a tricky term because it is considered a catch-all diagnosis where two people given the same label do not have to have any similar ‘symptoms’ (which are not ‘symptoms’ of a disease but various characteristics such as emotions, personality, etc). Sure, maybe schizophrenia as a term should be discarded, but something like depression is actually useful. Let me be clear here. Depression is not a disease that people have, it’s a label used to describe a cluster of characteristics (emotions, personality, behaviour) that people can exhibit. It’s an experience, not an illness. If we discard the term because it’s a disease term that describes something that is not a disease then how do we describe it? Should we say depression is not real because it’s not a disease? That is actually somewhat true. Depression as a disease is not real, but it does exist. I experienced depression myself for over ten years. Will you say I never experienced what I experienced because depression is not a disease therefor it doesn’t exist? Because I’d consider punching you in the face if you said that.

      You likely think it is useful because you know what the term means to you and assume that it means the same thing to others, but this is rarely the case (even within the “professional” world). This is true. People are different. We grew up in different cultures in different environments so people have different perspectives. Heck, just the word ‘house’ can mean different things. I may say a house is a small 3 bed, 2 bath, quarter acre, picket fence, with a pet cat. You might say a house is a large mansion with 10 bed, 4 bath, 5 acres, a maid, a cook, and 2 guard dogs. Or the ‘table’ I might think of a dining table that can seat 10 people while you may think of a card table designed for 4 people. Even the same word can have different meanings/interpretations, and that’s true outside of psychiatry, not just within it. So yes, DSM labels lack reliability and validity but some of them can be useful, though there should be a complete overhaul of such terms when we finally abolish psychiatry. Regardless, we do need a similar and accepted language to convey concepts and ideas to other people, especially within the same profession.

      “It”? What “it”? Again, quotes or not, if “mental illness” doesn’t exist there is no “it,” so there’s no need to find a better label. There’s nothing to label. Again I’ll use depression as my example. You’re saying that because ‘mental illness’ isn’t an illness, which means depression isn’t an illness, there’s no need to use that label or a different/better label, because it doesn’t exist, therefor there’s nothing to label. Really? You wanna tell that to the millions of people that experience depression that depression isn’t an illness therefor it isn’t real and what they’re experiencing isn’t real? That might not go down so well. I experienced depression for over ten years. Regardless of if you call it depression or boner-fart (a reference to Borderlands 2 there heh) the experience was the same even though it is not an illness. A rose by any other name.

      There are other terms that are useful in describing human qualities, such as extrovert/introvert, Scorpio/Virgo, male/female. Not every extrovert will exhibit all the exact same characteristics at the same magnitude, but does that mean we should get rid of the term because not everyone given the ‘label’ is exactly like everyone else given the label? Should we discard terms such as Virgo or Scorpio, what about male or female? Not everyone given those labels will have all of the exact same characteristics but it doesn’t mean we should discard them. Schizophrenia as a term, like I said above, should probably be trashed because, like you said “people so-labeled don’t necessarily have anything truly in common but the label.” That’s true. But something like depression is useful. Let’s look at something else, say a fear of heights. A fear of heights is not a disease, however there are certain characteristics (what may be called ‘symptoms’) that will manifest when that fear is revealed, such as vertigo, sweaty palms, heart palpitations, etc. These are a cluster of characteristics that may manifest regarding a fear of heights. Whatever the phobia name for heights is is a label used to describe a fear of heights that may include a number of characteristics. This is not a disease but it’s the same type of thing as depression, anxiety, etc. A name/term/label given to explain a cluster of characteristics that some or all may manifest in certain/all situations. Depression is not a disease, but it is still a useful term, just like introvert or extrovert.

      By focusing on behavior and not the source of behavior, outward similarities of expression are considered more significant than what’s actually going on with each individual. This is not at all what I said. This may be psychiatrys claim, but is certainly not my own and I have never said anything like this. I have repeatedly said things such as the following: “Mental illness is not a real illness. It is a natural response to a toxic environment. Trauma, abuse, neglect, society, these are the causes of psychological distress, not a mythical chemical imbalance or brain disease.” Tell me, how exactly am I focusing on the behaviour? This is totally focusing on the source of the behaviour. Heck, even in my book I say that psychiatry/psychology needs to stop looking at what behaviour is exhibited and start focusing on why that behaviour manifested. That’s focusing on the source, not the behaviour.

      You are taking psychiatrys views and putting them on to me. Please stop doing that. And you keep completely misinterpreting what I’m saying even though I’m trying to spell it out as clearly as possible, so maybe that’s my fault in not being clear enough, but I’m fairly sure I’m explaining myself as best I can.

      Also, this right here is why the world is in the state it’s in and why psychiatry is still abusing its power to kidnap and forcibly medicate millions against their will. Instead of us banding together to fight the real threat we are bickering with each other. Divide and conquer. We need to focus on taking down psychiatry, not taking each other down because of a mere difference in language or opinion.

      • what I interpret you saying is that such terms as depression, schizophrenia, etc are considered ‘disease terms’ by psychiatry, but they are not a disease, so they should be discarded.

        Not quite. Yes, the terms should be discarded, but when you say “they are not a disease” — “they” meaning depression, schizophrenia, etc. — you are implying that the “they” refers to actual “things” which are mislabeled or misunderstood, rather than illusory concepts which need no name because they represent invalid categories of thought and/or behavior, i.e. “they” don’t exist.

        • oldhead, you’re being overly pedantic regarding the use of language. How the heck exactly are we supposed to communicate anything??

          We can’t talk about mental illness because it is not an illness or disease, therefor ‘mental illness’ does not exist (technically, as an illness/disease, it doesn’t exist). We can’t talk about depression or anxiety or schizophrenia because ‘they’ are classified as mental illnesses by psychiatry and ‘they’ are not real diseases therefor do not exist. Depression is not a real disease so any sadness you think you feel is just an illusion because it’s not real. So how do we communicate regarding mental distress? We can’t according to you. ‘Mental illness’ may not be real (it’s not a real illness or disease), but mental distress is very real.

          You’re saying depression is not a real disease so it’s not real. You’re saying that 10 years of hell I went through experiencing depression (and whatever others go through) wasn’t real, that I did not experience what I experienced because it is not a real disease therefor it’s not real and doesn’t exist. This line of reasoning is just as insane as psychiatry’s line of reasoning where every human expression is a disease. You’re basically saying the opposite, that because it’s not a disease it doesn’t exist at all. This is lunacy.

          I keep saying that ‘mental illness’ is not a real biological illness, brain disease, genetic defect, or chemical imbalance, but such experiences are very real (though again, not a disease). Extroversion is real even though it’s an illusory construct that describes a cluster of characteristics that people who identify with that term will have most (but not all) characteristics in common. Same with depression. People can feel sadness, helplessness, hopelessness, etc etc, and that is very real, though again, not a disease. It doesn’t cease to exist because it is not a real disease. Yes we need to get away from labeling such human experience as a disease when it is not a disease, but we cannot throw out every single word to describe human experience or expression because it’s not a disease so it doesn’t exist.

          • No. You throw out all terms that connote, allude to and, in this case, even make analogies to disease. The you change to words which actually correspond to and describe the phenomena at hand.

            200+ years of psychiatric obfuscation and double-talk has left the language permeated with terms such as those you defend using; we need to pick through it all and discard the debris.

          • No. You throw out all terms that connote, allude to and, in this case, even make analogies to disease. The you change to words which actually correspond to and describe the phenomena at hand.

            200+ years of psychiatric obfuscation and double-talk has left the language permeated with terms such as those you defend using; we need to pick through it all and discard the debris.

            You may find this strange oldhead, but I agree with you. Sorta.

            Yes, psychiatric language is absolutely flawed and we need a new language. But this needs to happen in steps. If you and me and dozens of people on MiA came up with a new language what do you think would happen? We’d try to communicate with other people not privy to our new language and they’d wonder what the heck we were talking about because they wouldn’t understand what we were saying, plus there’s the psychiatric language to combat and overrule any new language, and even though psychiatric language is extremely flawed it’s socially accepted as being accurate. First we need to expose and abolish psychiatry (or atleast greatly diminish their appearance of power and authority). Then second we can come up with a new language/system to replace psychiatry. But until that first step is taken we need to still be able to communicate, and sadly the primary language we have available is strongly influenced by psychiatry. If we discard all such terms before we have a new language we won’t be able to communicate. Discard depression? Then how do we describe it? That thing that makes you sad lots after you lose something important? What about anxiety? The thing where your heart beats faster and you freak the hell out? It’s got a nice ring to it but it’s a bit of a mouthful. Yes we need a new language and to discard anything that alludes to ‘mental illness’ being a real disease, but we need to be able to communicate in a common language until psychiatry is exposed and abolished.

            You throw out all terms that connote, allude to and, in this case, even make analogies to disease. The you change to words which actually correspond to and describe the phenomena at hand. Agreed. What psychiatry calls ‘mental illness’ is not a real illness or disease, so anything suggesting this should be discarded. But just because psychiatry has hijacked a term and claimed it is a disease does not make it so. For example, extroversion is a term that describes a certain cluster of characteristics, such as sociability and activeness. If psychiatry claimed that extroversion was a disease, would you suggest throwing out the term extroversion completely because psychiatry says it’s a disease but it isn’t? Or would you continue to use extroversion as a term and not a disease term? Do you understand what I’m saying? I’m saying continue to use some words as terms, not disease terms. Use (some) terms such as depression like extroversion, as a term, not a disease term. You’re saying throw the lot out because psychiatry claims it’s a disease but it isn’t.

            200+ years of psychiatric obfuscation and double-talk has left the language permeated with terms such as those you defend using; we need to pick through it all and discard the debris. Agreed. Sorta. I don’t and never did defend all psychiatric terminology. I’m saying that some of it is useful, atleast for the time being, and I assume you also believe that some of it is useful when you said “we need to pick through it all and discard the debris.” Yes psychiatric language is full of double-talk and all-round total bollox and we need to pick through it and discard the debris. We both agree psychiatric language needs to go, but there are some terms we can keep while other terms (the debris) can be discarded. I’m sure we’d both agree on schizophrenia being one such debris term to be discarded. But what about the rest? Have you alone picked through the entire psychiatric language and decided what’s debris and what’s not? Or should this be more of a collective undertaking? I say depression is a useful term (not a disease term, much like extroversion is a useful term but is not a disease term), though maybe we could change it later with a new language/system, or we could go back to calling it meloncholy if you’d like. What about anxiety? I say that’s useful. People can feel anxious/anxiety. Anxiety does describe the phenomena at hand. People don’t have a disease called anxiety (or an anxiety disorder), but they certainly can feel anxious/anxiety.

            Can we stop arguing with each other and work together to bring down psychiatry? We want the same things more or less. We want to expose and abolish psychiatry. We want a new language not based on the medical/disease models. We want to help people, not harm people. But until psychiatry is exposed/abolished we need to be able to communicate and the only way we can do that is to continue using some of the current language (and use certain words as a term and not as a disease term).

          • We’re not arguing, at least I’m not, I’m just explaining my position. Actually if it wasn’t clear that we agree on many or even most of the basics it wouldn’t be worth trying to work out the specifics.

            From what my tired brain can see, our biggest difference is one of approach, so it’s not an either-or. You seem to think that we need to take little baby steps, while I prefer to jettison the whole medical perspective asap as something inherently fraudulent and corrupt, hence un-reformable.

            What you might not realize is that many people are talking about this exact thing here constantly, with some tangible progress. For example, the need to discard the medical model is now seen almost as a no-brainer at MIA; my recollection is that two years ago this was seen as a much more “radical” goal. What we have in our favor is the truth, which is not obvious to all only because of concerted campaigns to keep us confused and tame, both spiritually and intellectually. In the end however being correct goes a long way towards making our case.

          • You seem to think that we need to take little baby steps, while I prefer to jettison the whole medical perspective asap as something inherently fraudulent and corrupt, hence un-reformable.

            I do not propose we take little baby steps, I’m suggesting we take two steps in order, and I want both those steps to be as ground-breaking and earth-shaking as possible. We need to expose psychiatry first, then we can replace it with a new language/system, but we need to expose it first to reduce psychiatry’s perceived power and authority.

            I also agree we should “jettison the whole medical perspective asap as something inherently fraudulent and corrupt, hence un-reformable.” In other posts I’ve repeatedly stated that psychiatry is not something that can be fixed or repaired, it needs to be abolished. And since ‘mental illness’ is not a real biological illness or disease, the medical and disease models used by psychiatry are completely wrong and should be discarded.

            Two steps, not baby steps: expose psychiatry, replace psychiatry. Psych-ology and psych-iatry (supposedly) study the psyche, the mind, though biological psychiatry studies the brain. Since ‘mental illness’ is not a real illness or brain disease we should be studying the psyche/mind, not the body/brain (well, not so much in this profession). And that’s where my book comes in, The Map of the Psyche: The Truth of Mental Illness. It’s a map of the psyche, a map of the mind, that explains how the mind functions, and in so doing, explains what ‘mental illness’ really is (a natural response to a toxic environment that can influence/alter a number of human characteristics, including emotions, thoughts, memories, personality trains, behaviours, etc, but is not an illness/disease).

            Discard the medical/disease model, replace it with the psyche model. Simple.

          • Model of what?

            Also (to use a physical analogy) from how many different angles do we need to study people being smashed on the head with a hammer to understand that being smashed with a hammer causes extreme head wounds?

  11. Regarding the statement that many psychiatrists are unable to grasp other influences – today I was reading a news article about cat ownership being associated with mental illness (original study published in the journal ‘Schizophrenia Research’). The researchers took cases and controls (a group of people who had mental illness and a group that did not) and compared the percentages of cat ownership. But they completely ignored various confounding factors can operate in these types of situations. For example, things like socioeconomic status, location (urban, rural, etc.) and other factors can AFFECT CAT OWNERSHIP, and this can explain the results that were observed. This possibility is not even mentioned in the paper.

    • “Nancy99”:
      Despite all the ridiculous nonsense, and pointless bickering over semantics so far on here,
      this really IS a serious question: Was that article discussing a parasite known as “Toxoplasmosis” ? Or something like that? Just askin’…..

      • So true. And, as the direct result of millennia of inter-socialization with homo sapiens, as Dr. Temple Grandin, who has been diagnosed Autistic shows, through exhaustive evidence-based research and published, peer-reviewed writings, so do DOGS. They, too, are very mentally ill.

      • LOL!!! How in the hell can you connect having a cat as a companion and “mental illness”?????? People shouldn’t get money for doing such stupid studies. Research on things that actually exist and are important to people in the world should be done with money given to stupidities like this.

        • People shouldn’t get money for doing such stupid studies.

          On the other hand if they are maybe we could get some of that $$. We have lots of diagnosed people accessible who could volunteer as subjects. We could ask each other questions about dumb shit, arrange the answers to conform to some academic/scientific “research” topic and get paid; we could fund the movement that way. Or each other. Pick ourselves up by the bootstraps.

          • You make such a good point, “oldhead”, and sorry it took me almost a week to respond to it. Many, if not most so-called “mental patients” are struggling to survive on a few $100./month Social security Disability, with a smattering of other “social supports” such as housing through HUD, or EBT/Food Stamps, and Medicare/Medicaid. A LOT of money is WASTED, through gross inefficiencies in the system, and to provide employment to various other types of “mental health workers”, which also means a LOT of relatively low-wage employment doing clerical, billing, and paperwork. Let’s keep in mind, also, that the “psych drugs” themselves can often cost *somebody* $1000’s/month. The whole system is skewed, and the biggest victims – the so-called “mentally ill”, are screwed worst of all, by being labelled, drugged, stigmatised, and oppressed. More $$$, and other types of access and resources should go DIRECTLY to those most harmfully effected – most HURT – by the pseudoscience lies of the drug racket known as “biopsychiatry.” I bet you’ll agree that we need to keep hammering away at the hangnails of *PSYCHIATRY*. And they can PAY US BETTER, by giving us more better work to do! If PhRMa is gonna use us as human guinea pigs, which is what’s happening now, then they should more fairly compen$ate u$!…. You can reply if you want, “oldhead”, but c’mon, just *agree* with me, will ya’? @grin@

      • LOL! What they did was to make a connection to having had a cat in early childhood to having mental illness later as an adult (they found a slightly higher probability). They were linking the results to a possible influence of a parasite (always go for biological explanations). What they ignored is that owning a cat during childhood can be influenced by many other factors like the type of neighbourhood one grows up in, socioeconomic status, etc.
        But when news media report the study as if it is a direct link, it can incite fear and depression in people who had a cat during their childhood, and this excessive worry may itself gradually lead to ‘mental illness’!

        • Psychopath is a widely used term. It is even slang in some circles.
          Any exact meaning of the term, psychopath, has been diluted by overuse of the term, granting it a connotation that is more like using profanity than applying any scientific or medical expertise to describing behavior.

          Whatever means employed to define the term, the cultural context in which it is used, has more meaning. People tend connect the term to *evil* -which I think would indicate more of a spiritual than a mental illness.

          In any case, it is beyond the healing powers of those who share the root of the word in their professional title: Psych–iatrists.

          I think psyche refers more to the soul than the mind.

          The irony of *brain focused* doctors who were originally doctors who attended to wounded *souls*.

          • I maintain my position. People’s interpretations can’t negate the root meaning of the term. Also, I just said the same thing as you, it’s fine as an epithet, slang, etc. as long as no one thinks it really means something. Try “defining” any slur, it usually misses the point, which is to vent; not an intellectual function.

        • To ambiguity, or to amNOTbiguity, that is the question’s answer!
          (In reading various scholarly studies on “neuroscience news”, I’m seeing that both “schizophrenia”, AND “bi-polar” are used in all seriousness, as if they do, in fact, refer to actual, legitimate, “disease entities”. Hey, all I’m doing here is reporting what *THEY* are saying, and how *THEY* are using words. So, in that sense, it really doesn’t matter what *we* do, or what words *we * use – it’s the words which *THEY* use…. And yes, that is what keeps us separate, and sick. Just as the opposite of poverty is not wealth – but JUSTICE – so too is the opposite of addiction NOT sobriety, but the opposite of addiction is social connection. And, good clear communication is vital for any true social connection, and healing. The vague, arbitrary, and intellectually dishonest words of biopsychiatry almost seem contrived to create confusion, and ill-health, which of course must be “treated” with DRUGS which cause brain damage. And that iatrogenic brain damage *itself* being a source of the apparent social dysfunction and social disconnection. I have friends here in town, who have been on heavy psych drugs for decades, thanks to the local CMHC. They are now what I ironically and sadly call “drug zombies”. They are still able to walk, and talk, and barely function, but their futures are short, and sad, and bleak. And their brains are fried from the decades of psych drugs. We need to always bear in mind the most tragic, and vulnerable victims of the lies of biopsychiatry….) END OF SERMON/

          • I’m seeing that both “schizophrenia”, AND “bi-polar” are used in all seriousness, as if they do, in fact, refer to actual, legitimate, “disease entities”

            Yes, they take themselves very seriously don’t they?

      • oldhead, you’re right, in a sense. By your word logic, psych meaning psyche meaning mind, and path meaning pathology meaning disease, psychopath meaning diseased mind is an impossibility because the mind, being non physical, cannot be afflicted with a physical disease. So yes, by that logic, psychopath as a term is somewhat of an oxymoron.

        However, you keep getting caught up on disease labels. As disease labels the labels used to describe assorted so called ‘mental illnesses’ is wrong because they simply are not diseases. I however am using such terms purely as a label and not as a disease label (don’t get me started on how labeling people is bad, I know, however descriptive terms, aka labels, can be useful at times for understanding different types of people and how they interact with and interpret the world). Maybe the term ‘psychopath’ should be abolished because it is not a disease label and the word is an oxymoron. That doesn’t change the fact that there are some people with a personality type that includes narcissism, pathological lying, lack of empathy guilt or remorse. That cluster of characteristics does exist. So, if ‘psychopath’ is the wrong term to use then we need another to replace it. Unless you’re proposing removing the word with no replacement, which would mean losing the ability to identify psychopaths because we’d no longer have a word to describe it.

          • The root meaning of the term:

            syche (Psyché in French) is the Greek term for “soul” or “spirit (ψυχή).

            The problem , causing the confusion and conflict, is rooted in another tactic psychiatry employed to sell a skill they don’t have for *illnesses* they can’t identify.

            Please–gentlemen, the term does more to discredit psychiatry than it adds to any real understanding of a human potential for exhibiting the *dark side* of human nature.

          • the term does more to discredit psychiatry than it adds to any real understanding of a human potential for exhibiting the *dark side* of human nature

            Yes, bottom line. (Merriam equates psyche with “soul, mind or personality,” all abstractions.)

            Szasz talked about how people could talk about a “sick” soul, joke or economy without calling for a dr. but how all that goes out the window when the notion of a “sick mind” comes into play.

  12. Very revealing article.

    “Psychiatry is struggling to defend itself from multiple sources of critique, and to reassert its future role. One possibility that is taboo for any profession to consider, however, is that it has little or no useful role. That possibility must be contemplated by others.”

    Defending itself rather than looking at itself critically? How is that either reasonable or helpful? If it has to defend itself against “multiple sources of critique,” then, indeed, it is abundantly clear that something is amiss, and they don’t want to know it—aka denial–which indicates smoke & mirrors, so how can it be trusted?

    “Even more revealing than the survey findings was psychiatry’s response to it. The researchers themselves, including a former President of the World Psychiatric Association, wondered whether their colleagues’ opinions are ‘well founded in facts’ or ‘may reflect stigmatizing views toward psychiatry and psychiatrists.’”

    It is my experience that they will rationalize anything to fit their dualistic belief, rather than to question themselves honestly and humbly. This sounds like they are playing victim. “Stigma” is based on negative false projections. Those of us who believe psychiatry is an irreparable mess based on unethical and incompetent practices are not projecting falsely; these opinions are based on multiple testimonials from those with lived experience. These are evaluations based on true stories, and have foundation in fact. Stigma is based on fiction.

    “…instead of proposing efforts to address the problems identified by the medical community, such as having little scientific basis, they recommend only ‘enhancing the perception of psychiatrists’ so as to ‘improve the perception of psychiatry as a career.’”

    This sounds purely like propaganda. A profession should be attractive based on its merits, not self-perpetuated illusions. At what point is psychiatry going to actually be the example they should be, of facing the truth?? Until then, it is not only useless, it is only conflict-ridden, traumatizing, and therefore dangerous.

  13. Hocus Pocus Diagnosis where the focus is on the label, and Not on the facts of the individual’s experiential life, the hypnotizing, mesmerizing effect, objectifying the person to be controlled and managed by harmful synthetic chemicals, pharmaceuticals and ECT, electric current through the brain, with No Cumlative Healing Effect, making them instruments, tools of torture, used by pontificating psychiatrists for their pockets at the expense of suffering individuals. Allopathic medicine is eugenics. Then, medical records are documentation for the day of reckoning when correctly understood. Target rich environment for litigation and wise attorneys. ‘Mental illness ‘ is simply a denigrating description, a maddening metaphor, a pejorative psychiatric label for the stresses and strains of a person’s life beginning at conception such as the different timing of environmental risk factors like toxins, infectious diseases during mom’s pregnancy and / or trauma; physical, mental, emotional, sexual ( allostatic overload, Bruce McEwen, neuroscientist ) that a person Unconsciously Reacts To and is simply given a description of that person’s lived stressful experiential life, a ‘ diagnosis ‘ by an unaware, often compassionless pro. So What? ! To continue to call that person ‘ mentally ill ‘ is to be obtuse, be ignorant of the facts, the reality, the truth of that person’s lived stressful experiential life. Allostatic overload effects epigenesis. Simple, but profound, confounds most. We, those erroneously labeled ‘ mentally ill ‘ survive, thrive We Have Earned and Only Accept Respect.