Psychiatry: Worth Keeping If “Slowed Down”?

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The faults of modern psychiatry are numerous and profound, and many readers here know firsthand about its destructive force.  But are these faults so vast that there is nothing worth saving?

Bonnie Burstow has suggested that facts lead to “the inescapable conclusion that psychiatry has no foundation and should be phased out”  Elsewhere she has written about “psychiatry’s utter invalidity” and suggested that reform cannot work, as it will be inevitably coopted.

Philip Hickey has also supported an “anti” psychiatry perspective, suggesting that psychiatry is now “so rotten and flawed that anti is the only appropriate stance consistent with human decency.”

I am sympathetic to these arguments, but I am also concerned they may be too extreme to be practical in a world that could still benefit from a medical specialty focused on mental and emotional problems.

Of course, I don’t mean at all to say that mental and emotional problems are typically “medical” in nature, as I believe they more commonly are simply reactions to difficult events or environments, which can in turn be worked through with some human understanding and non-medical assistance.

But I would propose there are three legitimate roles for a medical profession specializing in issues related to the mind and behavior:

First, even for conditions with causes unrelated to anything medical, it may still be helpful to have a medical intervention at some point to cope with the difficulties.  For example, a manic episode, with severe loss of sleep, may not be due to specifically “biological” causes, but it still may be helpful to have a medical person who can recommend appropriate drugs to moderate the episode before more disasters ensue.  (It is true that a general practitioner might also propose particular drugs, but it seems reasonable that we have medical specialists who can give more expert advice around such issues.)

Second, even though most mental and emotional problems may be primarily caused by social and psychological factors, others may have a specific medical cause.  So there is a possible place for medical specialists who would be skilled at identifying these kinds of cases so people can get appropriate help.   And even when the primary cause of a problem may be non-medical, it is still possible that medical factors may be contributing to vulnerability or to making the problem worse, and so there is a possible place for medical people with expertise in identifying such factors and proposing helpful interventions.

Third, even when mental and emotional conditions have non-medical causes, those conditions can lead to medical problems, and this chain of events is a legitimate area of medical concern.  It appears for example that adverse childhood events frequently lead to mental and emotional reactions that then lead not just to “mental health” problems later in life, but also to physiological reactions that then lead to much higher rates of physical illness.  Medical specialists with understanding of these dynamics could be helpful in better addressing some of these serious health issues.

[Edit added later:  As madmom suggested in the comments, a fourth role could be to support people in efforts to wean off of psychiatric drugs.]

So, that’s three [four] arguments for continuing to have a medical specialty focused on “mental health” – but it’s really not an argument in support of modern psychiatry which actually does a very poor job of addressing these three areas of concern, due sometimes to over-reach, and sometimes to neglect.

The over-reach is most glaring.  Instead of carefully exploring individual problems, being open to the possibility of medical causes but also to psychological and social ones, and keeping in mind that many problems might best be solved without medical interventions, mainstream psychiatrists prefer to quickly assign people to categories or labels, assume based on the label that it must be a biological illness, and then rush to prescribe drugs with little attention to risks, possible long term problems, or possible alternatives.

On the neglect side, there is often a failure to carefully look for objectively identifiable physical health conditions that might truly contribute to vulnerability, or nutritional factors, or problems with intestinal bacteria that may contribute to inflammation, etc.  Physical health problems caused by mental and emotional issues, and those caused by the drugs provided for treatment, are also commonly neglected.

In fact, the problems with modern, mainstream psychiatry are so vast that one might argue we would be better off just eliminating it as a profession, and then creating an entirely new medical specialty that would do things differently.  Others might argue that simply reforming the profession would be more doable.  I won’t take a position on that:  I am just asserting both that we do need medical expertise in the field of mental health, and it needs to be very different from what we have now.

One psychiatrist who has put a lot of thought into what sort of medical approach might be truly helpful is Sandra Steingard.

She has proposed that a better psychiatry would be “slower” (kind of like the “slow food” movement.)

This “slowness” might show up in a number of ways:

  • Slower to be sure one knows what is wrong with someone, wanting to know the person as a complex individual, not just a category
  • Slower to assume that a situation is an emergency and requires any kind of force
  • Slower to propose drugs as a solution
  • Slower to be sure drugs will help, instead proposing that they will create a “drugged state” that may help or may not
    • Or that may seem to help for a bit and then make things worse
  • Slower and taking more time in explaining possible risks, and in proposing possible alternatives.

A psychiatrist practicing in this way would come across as much more humble, but also wiser.

It’s interesting that “jumping to conclusions” is a trait commonly identified as contributing to psychosis, yet is also so prominent in the practice of mainstream psychiatry.  So slowing down may be helpful, not just for the patient, but also for the physician.

Are you curious to hear more about how a “slower psychiatry” would work?  Sandra Steingard will be speaking at the next ISPS-US online meeting/webinar on Monday, 5/23/16, 4:30 PM EDT.  A small donation is requested, but there is also an option to sign up for free.  I hope some of you show up to hear about and discuss this important topic!  Here’s the link for more information and to register.

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

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171 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, I’m first. Okay, you’re basically making an argument that medical problems which may cause concomitant emotional distress should be treated by doctors. That’s pretty much what anti-psychiatry people have always said. So I don’t know if or where you disagree.

    If one relies on M.D.’s for their medical care and chooses to do so, there is no reason for a separate field of “psychiatry,” which is based on the claim that there can be “mental” diseases, which more and more people are starting to realize is impossible. No such ideology is necessary to prescribe an occasional sleeping pill, or help someone detox from drugs originally prescribed by psychiatrists, etc. And no medical degree is required for regular old counseling.

    There can no more be “mental health” than there can be “mental illness.” Psychiatry, by embracing the concept of “mental illness,” has proven itself to be illegitimate and useless to its “consumers,” and should gracefully bow out of the game.

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    • Hi Oldhead,

      I very much agree with you that the imagined “illnesses” of the DSM are no justification for a medical specialty such as psychiatry. But I’m asserting something different, which is that there might be value in a medical specialty that doesn’t imagine illnesses, but does things like become really familiar with how drugs might or might not help with mental and emotional problems, and that also has deeper knowledge of how some physical health issues might aggravate mental and emotional problems, or on the other hand how physical health issues might result from those problems. Sure one could go to a generalist MD for such issues, but just as in any other medical area, it might make more sense at times to have someone involved who has deeper expertise in a particular area.

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      • does things like become really familiar with how drugs might or might not help with mental and emotional problems, and that also has deeper knowledge of how some physical health issues might aggravate mental and emotional problems, or on the other hand how physical health issues might result from those problems.

        Once it has been determined that “mental and emotional problems” are diseases there may be a role for drugs, or medicines. Until then psych drugs should be considered to be “recreational” in the same sense as marijuana or cocaine, i.e. to adjust one’s consciousness to a particular preferred focus. (Not that that’s likely with psych drugs.) This is a more subjective, even spiritual, process than a medical one.)

        The “deeper knowledge” you speak of would be useful but unlikely to come from “doctors” who believe in imaginary diseases, and more to be expected from those who understand holistic principles and recognize mind-body unity.

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  2. Hi Ron,

    Given that ignorant and greedy people primarily control the institutions regulating psychiatry and have no motivation toward real change, my opinion is that rather than worrying about reforming the system, whenever possible people should vote with their feet by discontinuing drugs, rejecting diagnoses, not seeing psychiatrists, and exiting the system whenever possible if already involved, as well as helping others to do so. I know it is not easy to leave the system, to stop believing in diagnosis, or to taper off drugs, but people do have choices.

    And we cannot expect disease model psychiatrists to stop invalidly diagnosing and harmfully drugging, just like we cannot expect drug cartels to stop exporting heroin, lions to stop hunting antelope, or serial killers to stop murdering. It is what these people do: the financial and social-control motivation is far too strong to expect real change.

    I see this post as largely a rationalization for preserving aspects of the existing system that primarily profits psychiatrists. We need to recognize that Big Pharma companies and leading psychiatrists operate as legalized criminal cartels, as Peter Gotzsche writes about, with Big Pharma as the suppliers and psychiatrists as the distributors. Viewing it that way is not “extreme”, in my opinion; but simply objective.

    I think the first problem here is the following: “a medical specialty focused on mental and emotional problems.”

    A medical specialty focused on mental and emotional problems” is rather like a trash-removal company focused on skyscraper building, or a pet food company focused on home swimming pool refurbishment. Who would hire such a company? Why would such a company even focus on something unrelated to its expertise?

    This is a contradiction. Such a specialty would not be medical, i.e. related to processes primarily originating from or caused by physical factors, but would instead have to be relational and focused on the impact of environmental, person-to-person, setting-to-person social factors.

    Sure, some doctors could help with medical conditions related to emotional distress, but doctors already do that anyway. Why call that psychiatry?

    When you say, “even for conditions with causes unrelated to anything medical” – it is interesting you choose to use the words “even for”, as if such conditions were not so common. On the contrary, no supposed problem named in the DSM that I’m aware of has ever been proven to have a medical, biological, or genetic cause. Can anyone name one?

    Regarding, “modern psychiatry which actually does a very poor job of addressing these three areas of concern, due sometimes to over-reach, and sometimes to neglect.” I think the neglect part is correct, but the overreach part would be an understatement. This is a profession founded on ghost-like diagnoses fabricated out of nothing, which then creates drugs to treat these illusory conditions, and uses them over long time frames with no evidence of efficacy nor (often) adequate warning about the potential side effects. That is not overreach, it is fraud, and in some cases murder.

    Rather than eliminating the profession and then implanting something else, why does just eliminate it, period? There may not need to be a replacement.

    It is interesting that the 3 out of 5 points you suggest from Sandra relate to drugs. If anything, attempts to help people in crisis should have very little to do with drugs, maybe 5-10% of the effort should relate to drugs as a short-term optional palliative strategy which explicitly admits that the drugs are not given for any known medical disorder, but rather to damp down negative emotionals in general.

    The only reason drugs are being discussed continually is not because they are helpful or necessary for most troubled people (see the evidence in Whitaker’s Psychiatry Under the Influence, as well as Kirsch’s research, and Whitaker’s Timber article), but because they are profitable and without them psychiatrists and corporate leaders might lose their houses, cars, and prominent social positions. This is the real question here: To what degree should psychiatrists and drug companies lose their influence, power, and ability to profit off vulnerable people?

    My advice, which may or may not be right for any individual, but at a group level is almost certainly better than becoming involved in the system, would be: If you are not yet seeing an establishment psychiatrist, do not see one. If you have already become involved with the diagnose and drug system through such a psychiatrist, educate yourself about how to taper off safely and about resources for finding help from non-disease model therapists (or the few such psychiatrists) or support groups, and use these resources and self-education to extricate yourself from the system. For the few who do find more benefit from a psych drug than a placebo, face the truth that you are not using a medication that treats any disease, but simply dulling down your ability to feel your pain.

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    • A medical specialty focused on mental and emotional problems” is rather like a trash-removal company focused on skyscraper building, or a pet food company focused on home swimming pool refurbishment.

      Good one, BPDT.

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    • Hi BPDTransformation,

      I would certainly agree that psychiatry as it exists is largely corrupt, and as such it is often dangerous, and people often do well to get away from it if they can. What I focused on in my post though was what psychiatry might be like if it wasn’t corrupt.

      There already are psychiatrists like Sandra Steingard who can see the corruption that exists and are blazing a trail toward practices that really try to be helpful. And they can be at times: no, a “medical specialty focused on mental and emotional problems” is not like “a trash-removal company focused on skyscraper building.” People with severe mental and emotional problems often face situations where things are spiraling out of control, and medical tools, drugs, can sometimes cool things off for a bit in a very helpful way. Finding something to support sleep when a person is manic and most drugs aren’t working is a good example.

      I agree that only a very small bit of our approach to helping with mental and emotional problems should be drugs – but we would still need people wise in how to apply drugs. Ideally, medical specialists trying to be truly helpful would know a lot about how to hold off on prescribing in most situations, or until lots of other things had been tried.

      As for whether I think mental and emotional problems not caused by medical conditions are common – I did explicitly state that “I believe they more commonly are simply reactions to difficult events or environments….” But there is stuff in the DSM that is explicitly medical, such as dementia. And many other problems described in there can have biological contributions, like lead poisoning adding to attention and behavioral problems, thyroid problems contribution to depression, inflammation with its multiple causes playing a role in depression and anxiety, etc.

      Anyway those are my thoughts in response to your post…..

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        • “we would still need people wise in how to apply drugs.”

          The problem is today’s psychiatrists are NOT wise in their use, or recommended use, of the psychiatric drugs. If they were, we would not have millions of Americans misdiagnosed as “bipolar,” due to the adverse effects of the antidepressants and ADHD drugs.

          And certainly today’s “bipolar” drug cocktail recommendations should be changed since they recommend combining the antidepressants and antipsychotics. Despite the fact every doctor learned back in med school that doing such can make a person “mad as a hatter” / psychotic, via anticholinergic toxidrome.

          We need people wise in the use of the psychiatric drugs, but people who want to actually help people. Not doctors who want to make people “mad as a hatter” with drugs, for profit. Which is what today’s DSM protocols are set up to do, and what today’s psychiatrists are doing.

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          • Hi Someone else,

            I agree with you that mainstream psychiatrists are oh so far from being wise in the use of drugs! But I don’t think that’s because they want to make people more mad – rather the problem is more that they just believe what the greedy drug companies tell them, and they focus on the way that drugs seem to help people in the short term, without ever asking about what happens down the road.

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        • “Self medication” can mean a lot of things, ranging from very unwise to very reasonable uses of substances. What I’m proposing is a medical specialty that would help people use drugs only in a very cautious way, when other things weren’t working.

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          • What I’m saying is it’s no more of a medical activity than are drinking, smoking pot or snorting coke, the illusion is that there are medical “experts” who are better equipped to do this than, say, Willie Nelson. (Not that I’m suggesting he snorts coke.)

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          • I agree with this; why would such a specialty be medical? I.e. related to physical diseases of biological or genetic origin?

            To be reasonable, such “specialists” should also be able to push all sorts of mood-altering substances. One could imagine “psychiatrists” prescribing vodka, beer, coffee, marijuana, different vitamins, antipsychotics or antidepressants, etc. Without the illusion that any one of these is treating some mental disease.

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          • I agree it what I am proposing would stretch a bit the common definition of what is medical. But it is medical in that medical training would be helpful in doing things like understanding the effects of drugs and their potential toxicities etc. Certainly they should be able to suggest any substance that was likely to help with particular issues, as you say with no illusion that the substance directly treats the illness, but with the notion it creates a drugged state of some kind that may be strategically helpful in coping at least for a while.

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          • Ron, people like this already exist in the form of street drug dealers and in voodoo / witch doctors in developing nations (who prescribe herbs and other drugs that alter mood).

            Also, the potential side effects and effects on mood/behavior of the individual seem very unpredictable for psych drugs, and dependent on many factors that simply cannot be controlled or measured very accurately. It is a lot more complicated than with drugs that treat a known physical disease. This would be an argument in my book for withdrawing psych drugs from the market, as Gotszsche suggests. I think many here, perhaps even Ron, would agree with the idea that long-term outcomes of people in distress would likely get better without any drugs prescribed at all than if psych drugs remained available. Much circumstantial evidence like the WHO studies and Harrow/Wunderink supports this idea.

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          • I think the complexity of the way particular psychiatric drugs affect particular individuals is actually a good argument for having people who really study that and specialize in understanding what is possible and how to work with it – I’m not suggesting your average modern psychiatrist does anything like that, only that there is reason to have medical specialists who do try to figure all that out. Your street dealers or witch doctors (who may have their own area of expertise, not to knock them) are not going to have that expertise about psychiatric drugs.

            And yes, I do agree with Gotszsche, that we would easily be better off with no psychiatric drugs at all, than with them being used the way they are. But I’m not proposing we continue to use them as we are: I’m proposing we have some kind of medical specialty that uses them very sparingly and “slowly,” only when there is a strong need and when other things aren’t working.

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          • I agree with Oldhead – let’s certify Keith Richards or ZZ Top members to be our specialists – they have more direct knowledge and less of a conflict of interest, and are more likely to keep the best interests of their clients as their focus.

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  3. Stop labeling and drugging people! The numbers have been going up for ages because “mental illness” (and the treatment thereof) is an industry. The numbers keep going up because in order to sell “treatment”, you have to have “mental disorder”, and so selling “treatment” involves selling “disease”.

    There were never more than 21 or so people in Bedlam until the move, that coincided with the launch of the Trade in Lunacy among the well-to-do, from Bishopsgate to Moorefields around 1676 or thereabouts, and that for all of Great Britain. Now you’ve got thousands upon thousands of people who think themselves loony-tunes. Quite some switch, huh?

    Stop selling “mental disorder” and its treatment (mainly psych-drugs), and you reverse the damage. Duh! Slowing down the business? As you are not getting people out of the business, probably not such a great idea. Quit selling “mental illness” and its treatment, and then maybe you are getting somewhere. This artificial invalid business has wasted way too many lives as is. Let’s end it, and with this end, end the sheer waste.

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    • Forced psychiatry is not worth keeping. Forced psychiatry is a crime against the human species. Imprisoning, torturing, poisoning, and even killing people, and calling it “mental health” treatment, slow or fast, is not the kind of thing we need to be doing to people. When all treatment is voluntary, and not voluntary in the sense of a plea bargain, you can get back to me on this matter. I’ve done plenty of “hospital time”, and I’m thankful not to be still doing it. Imprisoning people, and calling it medicine, stop that, and then you can say whatever you want to about whatever it is you’re doing. I still don’t think “slow” psychiatry is nearly as effective as no psychiatry, but then that’s my opinion on the subject.

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      • Hi Frank,

        I didn’t much into the use of force in this article, but I think the force question goes way beyond psychiatry itself. If we decided psychiatrists shouldn’t be in charge of mental health, which I think would be a good idea, there would still be the social/legal question of what to do when people seem due to their “extreme states” that they are a danger to themselves or others.

        Regarding your assertion that we would be better off with nothing like “slow psychiatry” – I wonder what you would propose instead, to address the issues I identified that “slow psychiatry” could help with?

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        • I’ve heard it suggested that there is this law or that because “society demands”. This member of society in particular didn’t so demand in the case of people deemed of “mental ill health”.

          The force issue doesn’t really go ‘way beyond psychiatry’. Psychiatrists are enforcers of the law, the law that says if it is legal to treat people you have labeled in a way which would be illegal if you had not so labeled them. You could term psychiatry, pun intended, law and “mental disorder'”.

          There was a time, not that long ago, when it wasn’t unusual to see people locked up for life in prisons that called themselves hospitals. These psychiatric prisons were the dumping ground to which society and families would remove unwanted people to for fear of that unruliness they called “lunacy”. Tolerance is the answer. You are dealing with human beings, and no impugned “illness” should be allowed to deny them those rights we feel their species is deserving of, which we have granted to the citizenry as a whole.

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          • I agree that more tolerance of human differences would be helpful, but again that is an issue that goes way beyond psychiatry. Sure, psychiatrists have been the agents of a society that didn’t want to or know how to tolerate differences, but if that same society didn’t have psychiatrists to turn to, then they would turn to someone else to handle the “problem.” Of course, prisons are sometimes turned to now for that reason, they aren’t so great either.

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          • Ron, this is a a true comment that Oldhead made. There is no significant difference between the way most psych hospitals are run and the way prisons are run in terms of the loss of freedoms, the degradation, humiliation, massive power imbalances, and outright abuses. I have been in psych hospitals and have friends who have been in prison. I wonder if you have been in one or both…

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        • Frank, I have the highest respect for your work but I agree with Ron. Psychiatry happens to be the place where our society places all of its resources for those who are traumatized, spiritually hurt, discriminated against, bullied, etc. Take away psychiatry and we are left with a big vacuum. Our community and family support systems are as broken as the mental health system.

          I’m not arguing for the preservation of psychiatry based on the lack of alternatives but I’m a bit reminded of the neo conservative Republican’s efforts to ‘dismantle’ government such as the EPA and then we get situations like Flint water crisis, illustrating the gulf between neo conservative idealists/federalists and pragmatists who realize that even a flawed government may be better than anarchy.

          If psychiatry were to disappear tomorrow and only primary care physicians were in charge of refilling people’s toxic prescriptions, I’m not sure things would be better. They may even get worse. People who have been stuck in the system for years, if not decades cannot just stop their medications cold turkey and told simply: “Oops. We had it all wrong. You and your family have been duped; you are a victim of psychiatry all these years. You don’t have a mental illness after all.”

          There was never any reparations for former slaves. Why would we expect our society’s leaders to take the moral high ground as it concerns psychiatric survivors? Political activism doesn’t offer anything useful for someone with full-blown catatonia lying in a bed, unable to speak, care for herself, go to the bathroom, eat, etc. Even if the catatonia is partially or wholly due to psychiatric abuse, medical neglect, faulty nutrition, it is still a medical issue no matter how it became that way.

          There needs to be great reform in early psychosis interventions and and end to these ridiculous anti stigma campaigns, mental health awareness days, etc. and a complete dismantling of Pharmas biggest propaganda machine: National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) but what to do with the huge population of incarcerated/criminally insane folks, group home folks, people who cannot function without a great deal of support etc. is anybody’s guess.

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          • I don’t think anybody should be prescribing psychiatric drugs (psycho-poisons) to people, adult or juvenile. I think if there is any recovery to be made from psychiatric assault or the upsets of life, brain-disabling drugs only make matters worse, and I don’t think they should be prescribed.

            I’m also not saying that there shouldn’t be some kind of provision for people who are seen as needing assistance to get it, when a clear instance of such need can be demonstrated, and when it isn’t involuntary confinement and torture.

            Primary care doctors just need to stop treating what isn’t strictly “disease” as if it were “disease”. We don’t need the kind of dishonesty we are getting from psychiatrists in the real medical profession.

            “Full-blown catatonia” is shrink-speak, and not the sort of thing I would engage in. Psychiatrists may catalog and label as “diseased” unwanted behaviors, but I am not going to do so. Like I was saying, I could see provisions being made for people in “distress”, “need”, or whatever, so long as those people are not held prisoner, and are not treated as if they were less than fully human. I think in most cases today, mistreatment is a part of receiving a salary, and a salary that means the “provider” is often living in a world at quite some remove from his or her “clientele”.

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        • if that same society didn’t have psychiatrists to turn to, then they would turn to someone else to handle the “problem.” Of course, prisons are sometimes turned to now for that reason, they aren’t so great either.

          Psychiatry and the prison system are one and the same and have been for some time.

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          • There is almost no difference between prisons and most secure locked mental health units today. When I was in them I was shocked at how much the adult psych unit had changed from when I worked there as a professional. Other than a few teaks here and there they are virtually the same. The one difference is there are jobs and libraries available to prisoners.

            Until that environment is changed there will be ongoing and continuing trauma to those hospitalized regardless of the kindness or apparent good well of some professional folk who think they are helping not hurting.

            Our health care systems for those in altered states has DE EVOLVED into the snakepit ( see movie)

            This requires a radical and almost anacharistic change from the docs on down. The change I see is very very slow. Until the voices of the psych survivors who have been in the locked units and in the system are really heard and respected – nothing will change.
            Slow psychiatry is a good beginning gambit but until there is true dialogue between both sides all discussion is null and void.We here are talking to ourselves good though that is.
            There needs to be a commission set for dialogue paid for by the penalties and fees assigned to Big Pharma for their corrupt actions. Then and only then will change begin to happen!

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          • Except that when you are in prison, you did something wrong (usually) and also have an idea of how long you’ll be there and what you need to do to make your sentence shorter. Not so for the mental ward – you’re there as long as they want to keep you (and as long as the insurance keeps paying), and they can still exert massive control over you even after you are out of there. There is no maximum sentence for “the mentally ill.”

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          • Generally in a locked ward you are being punished for something except that you have people insisting that you’re not being punished, you’re being helped. Perceiving this as punishment constitutes a persecution complex, which can result in longer incarceration.

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  4. “Good,” psychiatrtrists tend not to drug, or use few drugs, tend not to lock people up, see diagnosis as irrelevent or only as a start of a long conversation, do not use ECT.

    Apart from the fact that a few good psychiatrists offer limited drugs for a few people there is little difference between what they do and what therapists, counsellors and other workers do.

    Even if you want to keep psychiatrists they should not dominate the care of the mentally distressed.

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      • Real doctors. The increasingly irresponsible GP’s writing prescriptions for antidepressants, sleeping pills, and a little Valium or zanax?? The drugs they prescribed causing the sickness or withdrawal that then lands them in the shrink’s office? What kind of “real” doctors??
        “Need” psychiatry? No.
        “Need”
        In addition, need, as Peter Gotszche said, to get rid of 98% of the psych drugs being prescribed….

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        • The increasingly irresponsible GP’s writing prescriptions for antidepressants, sleeping pills, and a little Valium or zanax??

          You definitely have a point there. I was making a hypothetical point anyway, mostly related to the theme of “slowing down.”

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    • Hi John, I definitely agree that psychiatrists should not dominate in treatment. I meant to make that part of my post, thanks for making that point now. Psychiatry’s claim to dominating treatment has been that the whole issue is really one of medical illness, when in fact the issues are often much broader than that, ranging from social problems to the very deepest questions about human meaning and existence.

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      • I’ve seen presentations here in the UK and from the USA online on Open Dialogue in which psychiatrists only go to the network meetings to discuss drugs. On the whole the person taking the drug makes the decision having listened to the guidance from the psychiatrist. At the rest of the network meeting the pscychiatrist may not be there and other workers take over. This maybe a viable option for psychiatry, though it is debatable and some would like to see even less role for drugs and Dr’s in the care of the mentally distressed.

        GP’s as pointed out above, do a huge ammount of prescribing of psyche drugs. That is nasty, dangerous and needs to be stopped or seriously curtailed. Any view of mental distress as being medical ties into GP pschiatric prescribing.

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      • This is why this idea of slowed down psychiatry is not going to work, most probably. For psychiatrists to take a back seat as a smaller part of a treatment focus which is more relational and person-oriented, they would lose status, prestige, and most importantly income. They wouldn’t be able to charge $250-300 per hour (or per 15 minutes) anymore, and might lose many of their case load with a reduced focus on drugs. Therefore most psychiatrists will fight this movement with everything they have. No one wants to go extinct, financially or literally.

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        • I agree it’s going to be hard for the slow psychiatry movement to get established, for the reasons you mentioned. But why do you think it will somehow be easier to just eliminate psychiatry completely? That seems even harder, the profession would fight back, and people who want some kind of medical help and their families would be their strong allies. If on the other hand we establish something like slow psychiatry, then we can use increased awareness of the problems with traditional psychiatry and the existence of an alternative to push for change, with the support of people and families who want medical help at times but in a form that is not arrogant and corrupt.

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          • It sounds like a rational idea Ron. I am supportive of either of these options as either is better than psychiatry at present.

            On the other hand, I am not really invested in reform or abolition in the same way that I am in spreading the message of escape/extrication – that psychiatric diagnosis and drugging/ECT is a fraud and there are many better ways to get help by leaving the system. I have to have a focus and it is in encouraging people to leave the system psychologically and physically and find alternatives, not reforming the system (an idea I think is doomed in the near future) or abolishing the system (something I think is also very unlikely anytime soon).

            Gradual progress toward the extinction of psychiatry can be accomplished if more and more people become aware of its weaknesses and choose not to take drugs, accept psychiatric diagnosis, and see psychiatrists. Those are the actions I want to encourage at present, and I hope others will also encourage others to do so.

            It is possible due to the vulnerability of those who are oppressed by psychiatry, and the financial and political power held by those who run it, that psychiatry will not collapse for a very long time. It may only be a global political breakdown, or a societal regression to early industrial conditions that predominated in the early 20th century, due to fossil fuel depletion, that will bring the end of institutionalized psychiatry. Most people think these things are impossible, but a careful study of past civilizations such as the Romans, Ottomans, etc., as seen in books like Jared Diamond’s Collapse and Chris Martenson’s The Crash Course, shows that this is not so; the indefinite perpetuation of psychiatry depends on fossil fuel-powered industrial production, and is thus vulnerable.

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          • I think a good “slow psychiatrist” would themselves be a great ally in helping people escape from any need for psychiatric intervention! Trying to prescribe the minimum dose, or no dose when appropriate, and guiding people in looking for alternatives first or switching to alternatives even if/when drugs are used at some point, would all be tasks taken on by someone who was truly slow and cautious about psychiatric intervention.

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          • Or they could just be someone like me Ron. Someone who is not a psychiatrist but knows enough about psych drugs from actually taking them as well as researching them to advise people on the risks and benefits. Someone doesn’t have to be a psychiatrist to give good advice on psych drugs. In fact, not having the conflict of interests that usually accompany being a psychiatrist may make such an advisor more objective than a psychiatrist, who so often minimizes the side effect risks and long term harm potentials.

            The only problem with it is the legal risk which must be managed. But legal risk based on a corrupt system which certifies nondoctors as psychiatrists says nothing about the validity of advice given.

            I have given advice myself to quite a number of people about what to do regarding psych drugs. I am currently more of an influence over my father in this regard than his own psychiatrist, who I am presently successfully undermining.

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          • It’s true that someone who isn’t medically trained can know a lot about the drugs and possibly offer helpful advice, but things do get weird in the way these drugs affect people sometimes, it still would be great to have people who had full medical training and could understand some of the complexities. Again, not that most of our current psychiatrists do, just that they should.

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  5. Ron

    Whats suggested in this article regarding drug moderation is what a lot of doctors would maintain happens – but in practice, medications can generally be used without responsibility.

    Do you think it’s possible for most people to get better without drugs?

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    • Yes Fiachra, I definitely think most people can get better without drugs. I really hate the drugs in general, I think hating them is a good basis for a careful practice! But sometimes people face really tough problems, therapists etc. don’t always help, even in Open Dialogue where they are really skeptical of the drugs they sometimes turn toward using them. All I’m suggesting is that it does make sense we have people who use care and develop some expertise with the drugs – very different than the approach of modern psychiatry.

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      • Ron

        I’ve used tranquillisers for years in very reduced doses that were okay for me. The only reason I stopped was because of heart rythm problems. Stopping the low dose was fine as well.

        But supposing I was dependent on large doses and unable to stop – then I suppose I would now be dead.

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  6. Ron, I believe that you forgot to mention a possible fourth reason to save the profession of psychiatry: to help people safely wean off harmful psychiatric medication when this is warranted.

    Psychiatrists could play an educational role by teaching people the best, most judicious use of psychiatric medication and to warn people about the side effects, while monitoring patients closely and reporting meticulously adverse events. I believe that delaying putting people on medication and having a built in ‘exit plant’ written into any treatment could also recycle some good out of the profession.

    The risks and side effects usually outweigh the advantages of staying on a psychiatric medication for life; this is what the data shows but we need to profession to become more honest on this point and retool their profession accordingly. I think medical training would be a good preparation for these roles but they would have to change the training to become ‘slow medicine’ practitioners, lower their expectation of monetary gain and change their billing practices and accept a lower status and level of authority, such as in court cases.

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    • There certainly needs to be some kind of prescriber capable of helping people taper off psychiatric drugs, but why would anyone want psychiatrists to be responsible for this? Not only are they the cause of the problem of psychiatric drug dependency, but most of them seem to be willfully oblivious to its existence.

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        • That’s true. I consider it psychiatry-by-proxy and it wouldn’t have happened if psychiatry hadn’t used its pseudo-medical theories to give these drugs a false veneer of legitimacy as “medicines.”

          I don’t think this damage can be undone unless psychiatry is thoroughly discredited in the eyes of the public and abolished as a medical specialty. Primary care doctors could atone for their part in all this by learning tapering protocols and taking responsibility for the proper care of the people they have made dependent on psych drugs. Surely that’s not too much to expect, considering all the damage they have done.

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          • “That’s true. I consider it psychiatry-by-proxy and it wouldn’t have happened if psychiatry hadn’t used its pseudo-medical theories to give these drugs a false veneer of legitimacy as “medicines”

            Yep…my primary care doc can quote DSM diagnoses to me, and once suggested I try a certain drug being trialed by one of her psychiatrist colleagues. I accepted the pack and went and researched it and was able to present the facts…it had been refused approval in the US as it caused liver failure and hadn’t be shown efficacious, and there had been reported deaths in Europe. I handed back the unopened box of pills along with the printouts of the research. Next visit I was informed that no longer were any patients at the practice taking those meds.

            Shrinkology in its current form needs to be totally and absolutely discredited as it has become so pervasive in medical practice, in law, and in broader society.

            Any gentler approach would take generations, and pharmaceutical companies would find ways to corrupt medicine and medical science – it is too lucrative a field for them to leave fallow.

            I think people LIKE to believe in easy solutions to life’s unanswerables and so will always be vulnerable to the quick fix these guys seem to offer.

            Psychiatry is far more dangerous than snake oil of the past, because it is backed by money, influence and power.

            It needs to be totally obliterated, and a completely separate field set up to deal with the misery and addiction it has foisted on innocents all over the world.

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          • Hi Kim,

            I know reforming psychiatry or replacing it with a wiser medical specialty sounds difficult, but I believe it’s probably way more practical than attempts to completely eliminate it with nothing to replace it! It’s not like we have an “Eliminate Psychiatry” button we can just push! I believe we are more likely to succeed in persuading the public and policy makers if we can show we have a better approach that covers all the bases, with one of those being the sorts of things I’ve been writing about.

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          • reforming psychiatry or replacing it with a wiser medical specialty

            Ron unless I missed it this is the first I noticed you use the qualifier “or replacing it with a wiser medical specialty.” That’s a very significant difference. I could agree with the latter for the specific purposes you mentioned depending on how it played out in practice and, of course, if it was voluntary.

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          • Hi Oldhead, in the blog post itself I said one option was completely eliminating psychiatry and replacing it with a new medical specialty, while the other option was reforming it. I didn’t take a position on which was the best approach. Like you I can see a lot of sense in just eliminating psychiatry since it has so many bad practices entrenched within it, but on the other hand it’s very difficult to just wipe out one medical specialty and replace it with another. Getting more psychiatrists to practice in better and slower ways, and then pointing out the problems with the more arrogant and corrupt ways of practicing, can lead to gradual change that we can get started in right now.

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          • You’re not getting it. Psychiatry is not a medical specialty, it is a medical fraud. You can reform something that has a valid foundation and is being misapplied; you cannot reform something that is built on false premises from the start.

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          • Hi Oldhead,

            I hear your contention that psychiatry as a whole is necessarily built on fraud: I just disagree with you.

            I would agree that mainstream psychiatrists base what they do on beliefs that are really delusional or fraudulent: the whole notion that problematic reactions to life events are “illnesses” or “brain disease” and that psychiatric drugs correct “chemical imbalances” is wrong, and harmful to believe.

            But psychiatrists like Sandra Steingard don’t subscribe to those beliefs, so there’s no need to follow such beliefs or anything fraudulent in order to be a psychiatrist.

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          • we are more likely to succeed in persuading the public and policy makers if we can show we have a better approach that covers all the bases

            We are the public. Again, you don’t need to convince anyone of anything other than to leave you alone. If you go to the government asking them to help you with your emotional problems you should expect to get burned; that’s common sense.

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          • I’m not so convinced that the government is always unhelpful. After all, Soteria was a government sponsored intervention, Open Dialogue is government sponsored in Finland, and here in Oregon where I live, the government pays for people to go see counselors who are often helpful, no drugging or belief in “mental illness” required.
            When people get in big trouble and can’t take care of themselves, the government does often get involved. I’d just like to see that happen in a good way, not that it’s easy to make that happen.

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          • I hear your contention that psychiatry as a whole is necessarily built on fraud: I just disagree with you.

            Fine, but without providing rational arguments for your disagreement it’s not much of a dialogue.

            Providing examples of individual psychiatrists who are more beneficial than most is beside the point, also known as the exception that proves the rule. The foundations of psychiatry were in place long before Dr. Steingard.

            there’s no need to follow such beliefs or anything fraudulent in order to be a psychiatrist

            Actually there is. Technically at least it is fraudulent use a legitimate medical degree to falsely represent oneself as engaging in a medical practice treating imaginary diseases.

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          • Oldhead, you seem to be stuck in believing that all psychiatrists believe or propose that they are always treating diseases, even when they have no real evidence of that. But that’s not true: some of them know they are often just offering some medical interventions into what are actually very thorny problems people experience which have social, personal, and existential or personal dimensions, and which can be disabling or overwhelming. These problems do exist and offering to help with them is not fraud. Nor is it fraudulent to notice when physical health conditions seem to be leading to mental and emotional difficulties, or vice versa, and to have ideas about what to do about that.

            Actually it just takes one exception to show that a rule is not an absolute. What would be good to do is to make what is now exceptional into something common, and to define much of what is now common as malpractice.

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          • you seem to be stuck in believing that all psychiatrists believe or propose that they are always treating diseases

            If they don’t believe they are treating diseases or medical conditions then the fraud would constitute presenting themselves as psychiatrists, i.e. doctors who purport to treat pathologies of the mind.

            The recurrent error here is: pointing to individuals who are sometimes helpful, often by virtue of disregarding the precepts and standards of their profession, does not demonstrate that it is the profession that has been helpful, but the iconoclastic individual who has bucked the profession.

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          • There was a day when most doctors delivered babies without washing their hands in between, and many fatalities resulted. One guy bucked the trend and noticed hand washing worked better (they ignored him and he ended up in an insane asylum!) But his bucking the trend didn’t mean that “real doctors” were people who failed to wash their hands in between deliveries: instead the exception became the rule as the importance of hand washing was eventually recognized.

            See http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/01/12/375663920/the-doctor-who-championed-hand-washing-and-saved-women-s-lives

            So that’s my argument for paying attention to exceptions, and then teaching others the better ways, I suspect that will be more effective than just condemning everyone, including those who are doing a good job or might do so in the future.

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          • Ron, probably on the order of 1 or 2% of psychiatrists publicly admit that DSM diagnoses are fraudulent, as well as that psych drugs do not treat actual known diseases. A larger but still small minority believes these things but would not admit it for fear of exposure, humiliation or job loss. And most psychiatrists are deluded into believing the diagnosis and drugging koolaid. From reading resaerch by John Read I believe that number is around 90% of psychiatrists; a very large majority at least, that believe in the reality of serious diagnoses like major depression or schizophrenia being biological illnesses requiring drugs. It’s gonna be hard as hell to change that given the symbiotic relationship they have with the corporations. These psychiatrists are like drug addicts in a way; they need to cling to and infuse themselves with the lies about diagnoses and drugs to keep practicing their profession as profitably and guiltlessly as they do.

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          • that will be more effective than just condemning everyone

            Isn’t this what they call a “straw man” argument around here? I didn’t “condemn” anyone much less everyone, as I am talking about systems and mentalities here, not individuals.

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    • Hi madmom,

      You make lots of good points. I do think it would help to have medical experts who really understood how to support withdrawal. Uprising is correct to point out that many current psychiatrists are more causes of the problem and know next to nothing about how to solve it, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t use people who really did understand the issues and who knew a lot more about how to support psychiatric drug withdrawal than the average GP.

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          • Fiachra,

            But since the medical industry is set up like a caste system, where the psychiatrists’ views are given much more weight than the peers views. The wisdom of those with actual experience is considered less valuable, than the opinions of people who believe in a scientifically invalid and unreliable “bible” of made up “mental illnesses.”

            It’s absurd. Wonder how long it will take for things to change. Change would occur much faster if the DSM were completely eliminated, and we embraced a totally different approach to dealing with people suffering from distress. As a mom, I found love and compassion to work well, no doubt much more effective than the psychiatric industry’s approach of force, lies, and detachment.

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        • “It strikes me those who have experience getting off the drugs, who survived, are likely the most knowledgable in such matters at this point in time.”

          Yes, that is an obvious truth that always seems to be dismissed at the 11th hour. Why? Fear of change, and fear of the unknown, is what I think. Hard for some to wrap their minds around this pole shift. Experience is the teacher. How can it be any other way?

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  7. Slower psychiatry appears to be a good compromise, as the main problems are associated with treating rather than curing as with other medical professions.

    You have to label a sad person who can’t work medically depressed in order for them to get government money.

    This is also a practical solution because there are people who have been affected by abuse or war so severely that a competent medical professional with experience has the best position to offer compassion.

    In the end the goal should be equipping the healers with the best tools to protect the sick, not do harm.

    The oath goes first do no harm, so never do a surgery unless it will save a life.

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  8. Well, I have to say, this was not an argument for maintaining a limited role for psychiatry, because in my experience, psychiatry generally does absolutely none of the things you mention. Because they believe that “mental illnesses” are biological and can be “diagnosed” by behavioral checklists, they never bother to look for any actual physiological causes that might exist, like lack of sleep, low iron, thyroid problems (low or high), side effects of other drugs, nutritional deficiencies, etc. Nor do they bother to ask about psychosocial causes in most cases. A recent study of kids in residential treatment centers showed that over 80% readily disclosed childhood abuse or trauma to the total strangers who interviewed them, but something like 20% actually had this identified in their files. This suggests that in at least 60% of the cases, they didn’t bother to ask the kids about their history, or if they did, didn’t consider childhood traumatization to be relevant enough to write in the chart!

    The profession is corrupt from top to bottom. While there are some “good psychiatrists” out there, I don’t see how the profession will ever garner the humility to admit it has misled us and choose another path. Perhaps a new specialty, starting from scratch, might be able to work OK, but we’ll have to do a ton of damage control on the huge mass of mythological misinformation the profession and its Big Pharma allies have already unleashed upon the public.

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    • Steve,
      No they are not going to change; there is no real motivation to do so. Moreover, people like Dr. Steingard who are honest and self-examining are rare in the psychiatric field. Most people in the field tend to be narcissistic, close-minded, controlling, and uncomfortable with explanations that don’t fit their preconceived way of labeling and explaining disturbing behaviors. This is a field that attracts such people, given how simplistic and coercive it is. It is, as Gotszsche charged, a field with much in common with organized crime rings: Psychiatry is in fact a legalized criminal cartel, when it comes down to it.

      Although the comparison may be upsetting to those who like to think of themselves (perhaps unrealistically) as “balanced” and “moderate”, I cannot help saying again that expecting most psychiatrists to voluntarily stop overdrugging and invalidy diagnosing is like expecting a pathological liar to stop lying, a serial con man to stop swindling, a crack dealer to stop importing coke, etc. It won’t happen without a huge input of energy in each case. These people have no other training and they are making a lot of money using these invalid diagnoses and unevidenced drugs. Why would they stop?

      Ron’s article is basically wishful thinking and needs to be exposed as such.

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    • Hi Steve,

      I agree with you about how mainstream psychiatry often does little of what I talk about (though I see psychiatrists who don’t seem that far from the mainstream do a little of it.) But my point is just to identify what should be happening, and to get people talking about it. It seems likely, that unless we have some kind of huge change in the mental health field that is hard to anticipate, most psychiatrists may continue to be corrupt for awhile – but why not help some envision a way to practice that would be truly helpful?

      You mentioned that you “don’t see how the profession will ever garner the humility to admit it has misled us and choose another path. ” One possibility might be that the better psychiatrists will create their own standards of practice, and once the public becomes aware of them, a good portion of the people will want what they have to offer and so some good things will happen, even as what is now mainstream psychiatry gradually loses credibility. I don’t know how long that will take, but even some movement in that direction will be helpful to those who get better care as a result of some medical professionals starting to practice in a more thoughtful and cautious way.

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      • I am afraid I can’t agree with you, because this is not about better practice, it’s about POWER, and people don’t give up their power without a fight. Not just psychiatry, but the entire medical profession is very much in the control of Big Pharma, and they see only drugs and surgery as options to improve any condition. Psychiatry is just the natural extension of this “thinking” to the realm of the mind, which is unfortunately much more subjective and more easily manipulated, because at least if you’re making billions in the cancer industry, you have to show by some test that a person you’re treating actually has cancer.

        Such a change will be a revolution, and will most likely start with alternative practitioners elbowing their way into the mainstream and getting some amount of insurance dollars. But just as midwifery has much better outcomes than obstetrics and yet remains an ancillary and often resented alternative in most hospitals, alternative practitioners alone won’t take over the practice by being more effective or less dangerous. It will take a POLITICAL revolt that takes the money and power away from the current promoters of the joke of the DSM and the intentionally distorted way of looking at people as bodies to be manipulated rather than beings to engage.

        Institutional change is difficult and doesn’t come from talk. It comes from elbowing the powerful out of their seats of power, or from a mass uprising of the citizenry demanding something better. I don’t see incremental change being possible with the level of corruption that exists in psychiatry and in the larger medical profession. It will require some level of a revolt.

        —- Steve

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        • Hi Steve, I think all the steps you suggest, including “revolution” of a sort makes sense – but your idea that incremental change is impossible is proven wrong by the fact that some psychiatrists are already changing their practice. That is incremental change in action. I’m not saying I think it will be enough, though, which is why I also like your other ideas.

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  9. We really don’t need psychiatry as a “medical ” specialty at this point. They are hanging on by their toenails but how to eliminate a field that is so connected to big pharma and that has such a huge lobby with legislators who get their pain meds and other meds from them? The problem is how to do this? If someone is in psychotic crisis and we don’t have available respite or place for them to begin to heal then what is to be done? Who do you go to when your insurance will only cover you if you go to a psychiatrist and accept a diagnosis? You have to have answers and resources and then psychiatry can be a field that will wither away…..

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    • For the insurance question, many outpatient therapists and even some psychiatrists will collude with a client to give them some arbitrary label that they don’t even fit the criteria for in order to get insurance coverage. For example, my therapist and psychiatrist used to label me variously “dysthymic disorder”, “adjustment disorder”, “generalized anxiety”, “panic disorder”, even if I didn’t have these particular problems at the time. We would laugh about it because we were using whatever would get the system to pay. That is what you do; just do whatever it takes to take advantage of the existing system.

      On the other hand in hospitals and for people who cannot access professionals who see through the DSM’s smoke and mirrors, these labels are a real problem, especially if there is a requirement to take drugs. There is no easy answer to that in some cases. Whenever there are family or friends who can offer support, the person should attempt to leave the system. If not, there may not be any easy answers at all.

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      • For someone in psychotic crisis, if the episode is acute, the chances are still better not sending them to a psych hospital and not getting on drugs. Otherwise the process of patientification and zombification begins and will likely turn an acute episode into a life as a “chronic schizophrenic”.

        So the answer would be for family or friends to educate themselves and try to help their loved one without going to a doctor who knows next to nothing about psychosis.

        For those without friends and family, most of them end up in prison or on the street and that is something we should be ashamed of as a nation. More money is needed to care for these people; and not only more money but more money focusing on psychosocial intervention not drugging. Without that nothing will change.

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  10. You have to label a sad person who can’t work medically depressed in order for them to get government money.

    Who do you go to when your insurance will only cover you if you go to a psychiatrist and accept a diagnosis?

    How are these considered to be arguments in favor of psychiatry?

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  11. I have bipolar I, but am finally med-free, and psychiatrist-free, thanks in part to reading this web site.

    What I would have liked to seen slowed down in my experience is the rush to medicate people in the mental hospital during a full blown manic/psychotic episode in order to minimize the cost / length of stay in the hospital. http://willhall.net/opendialogue/ — Open Dialogue in recent years, and John Weir Perry http://www.global-vision.org/papers/JWP.pdf decades ago showed that psychosis can be extinguished without prescription drugs. I would like to have tried meditation over medication when I was hospitalized two times, even if that meant a stay of four weeks rather than two.

    The amount of money on psychiatric visits and medication since I was hospitalized has probably been more than the extra cost associated with a longer hospital stay. If you are safe in a mental hospital, there would be no additional “disaster” taking place. At the very least it should be up to the patient whether to take meds in a mental hospital, or to be given an alternative longer stay without meds. I think it is unjust to present only one choice, which forces people to become hooked on psych drugs, which are difficult to quit and which your average psychiatrist will not advocate quitting, but instead staying on forever, when they are really just needed perhaps temporarily in cases like mine anyways, and as I mention in this post, most likely not needed at all.

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    • Hi jimg,

      It’s good to hear about your recovery! And I agree with you that we should have hospitals or other respite centers that know how to offer people an alternative to just taking drugs right away. Even if the drugs seem to help, they then create a dependency that can be hard to get away from – and of course it’s even harder when all the professionals are insisting one should never stop taking the drugs!

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      • Well my case may be unusual. Seeing there is an entire web site here critical of psyciatric drugs, I am guessing there are many others like my case though. All three of the full blown manic episodes I have had were triggered by participating in online discussion forums. So it is a simple matter of my avoiding such forums and I no longer get manic. I’m not sure if I have “recovered” from bipolar, but just have accepted it and mitigated it by avoiding my trigger. I probably have a small amount of depression permanently, however, the anti depressants don’t seem to do anything over the long term. I don’t have mood swings. I don’t even get hypomanic even though in the past I have a few times. So perhaps I have recovered to a certain extent. I don’t have a problem with labels, and I don’t have a problem with hospitals. The first hospital I went to was not a bad experience. The second hospital I refer to as a resort — there were only about 5 of us and I had my own room, and I played cards with the staff. I have documented my case in a blog if anyone wants to read it. I call it a short memoir now. http://broadcastingtoheaven.blogspot.com . I hope that isn’t too self promoting or off topic.

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      • “Mania” = lack of grounding. That can be remedied in so many natural ways, including with visuals as extremely effective and lifelong tools. It’s a matter of practice, then it becomes second nature.

        In Chinese Medicine, lack of grounding is often associated with an energetic kidney imbalance, which can cause the adrenal glands to misfire, which, in turn, can throw us into a state of agitation and panic. A brief series of acupuncture treatments and natural herbs which balance kidney energy can remedy this.

        Herbs are regenerative and need only be taken temporarily, because they raise the vibration of the physical body (whereas chemical drugs lower our frequency because they are unnatural). So there is no dependence, our bodies eventually mimic the herbs and generate what we need on its own. I had heard this in an herbal training I took, tried it, and it was exactly my experience. I went from psych drugs to herbs to nothing now, other than meditation and nature walks in order to stay grounded.

        There may still be personal issues to address after one finds their grounding, but that is sooo much easier to do when grounded, which automatically quiets the mind and soothes the body, including emotions. When we are grounded, we can also better manifest what we need and want with more ease, so the healing path becomes much clearer.

        Psychiatry complicates things to the point where they distort issues beyond recognition. Plus, I feel the premise of “psychology”, as a factor in our human condition, in general, is completely misguided and without practical focus, as per the education and training, which I have had, myself. I’d say the entire field is ‘ungrounded.’

        Chinese Medicine and natural healing, on the other hand, keep things streamlined, clear, and practical, which tremendously increases the effectiveness of any healing treatment.

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        • Alex, as to “‘the premise of “psychology’, as a factor in our human condition, in general, is completely misguided.” Isn’t that because the psychologists are taught to believe in the DSM as well? That was my experience with the one psychologist I dealt with, and a friend who was a psychologist, both were firm believers in the DSM.

          And regarding, “chemical drugs lower our frequency because they are unnatural.” We’ve discussed in the past that once I was weaned off the drugs, I had a “frequency,” or seeming energy, that resulted in numerous people commenting that they could literally “feel the energy,” I felt it too, and I was even having problems with my cell phone and hotel key cards. And I had a pastor during my second drug withdrawal induced mania who told me “some people can’t pray in private.” And several strangers actually spoke to me about my manic thoughts, which shocked me, since I had no idea how they could know what was going on in my mind. Is it possible that, since the brain compensates for the drugs damage, that once one is weaned off the drugs, because the brain was changed, their “frequency” would be much greater than the average person’s “frequency”?

          “Psychiatry complicates things to the point where they distort issues beyond recognition.” So true.

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          • Someone Else, re my comment about psychological framing of the human condition being misguided, what I mean by that is that whereas the mental health field centers around creating our stories as a result of our psychological make-up (“if this happened to you or if you did this or if you believe this, then you are more than likely this kind of person,” etc.–aka, stigma and false projections/conclusions), I think what that dismisses is our spiritual nature, which is inherently and universally one of high creative permission, at least that is my personal belief.

            This is who we truly are, in our process of constant change and evolution, and this does not seem to be on the radar in common psychotherapy, and certainly not in psychiatry, at least in my experience; the focus is on ’emotional symptoms’ based on a questionable psychology–that is, perspective. All that judgment and social values of a sick society applied to the detriment of a client’s spirit. To me, that leads to non-personhood, which is pure social trauma and spirit-wounding.

            My experience with psychology is that it is more about manipulation by figuring out what pushes a person’s buttons (either in a positive or negative way), and then there is this illusion of control over a person. I have found that, more often than not, our stories are heard through judgment, and our psychology is used against us, to “prove”–or attempt to prove–that something is ‘wrong’ with a person, rather than to use this information supportively, with compassion, and encouraging.

            I think that is so backasswards, and it screws people up terribly. That’s the gaslighting and double-binding about which we’ve often spoken. I think it’s common in the field to use a person’s psychology against them, rather than as a tool for healing. I believe this is abusive, extremely betraying of trust, and criminal because it is totally sabotaging to a person’s well-being.

            And yes, indeed, what you describe about change in frequency and how tapering from the drugs affect this, is pretty much my experience. We are vibration and what we ingest affects the frequency of that vibration. That is simple energy protocol.

            Chemical drugs lower our frequency because it creates blocks and resistance in our bodies, which in turn, causes our bodies to adapt to a forced and unnatural process. When we taper from the drugs, then our body is free to again find its natural rhythm, which is our natural frequency, so there is literally a ‘bouncing back’ process, which requires adjustments, including in our consciousness.

            So the higher frequency you’re describing after coming off the drugs is more akin to your natural frequency, which is suppressed on the drugs. When we feel that, which is intense, we realize that our bodies have to catch up, as they have been also compromised by the drugs, as well as many false beliefs we took on along the way.

            Change happens first, virtually, and then there is a physical process that occurs to match it, which is how we perceive the change on a physical level, which marks a passage of time.

            As all that shifts, changes, and heals, we become physically aligned with our true spirit nature, and this raises our frequency quite a bit, it can be overwhelming because is powerful, like waking up from a spiritual coma. The trick at this point is to focus on healing the body, to strengthen it in resilience so that it can follow that spirit frequency accordingly, and be in synch with it. Then, we are aligned with ourselves, mind body and spirit.

            That’s when we transform our reality and really feel our creative nature and power–that’s the intense feeling with which we suddenly become attuned when we come off the drugs. That’s exactly the path that unfolded for me, it was quite something, I could never have anticipated this amazing process.

            I’m sure some people have this feeling, simply from being raised well and encouraged and supported in their environments as they were developing, validated for who they were unto themselves, and not living for the approval of others. A good upbringing will teach kids that they have creative power and free will, otherwise we are stifling our kids. I learned it later in life, as the result of my healing.

            Really love what you bring up here, SE, thanks 🙂

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      • Mania has various degrees of intensity, and then there are complicating factors, like what kind of supports are available, the person’s willingness or ability to engage those supports, etc. I think a variety of things might work, but for all of them, sometimes they might not work. So having a “slow” cautious and informed medical person might provide another option when other things don’t seem to be working.

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        • Ron: I am not too sure if those drugs can beat placebos, especially when there are no known “mechanisms of action” at all – these are all drugs that drug companies come up with on a trial-and-error basis. I have also heard that drug companies need to present only two trials that show that a drug is effective (to get approval) – therefore, what the drug companies do is to conduct many many trials and present two trials that happened to show results in a favorable direction for that drug.

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          • Right you are. And many of the “negative” studies never even get published. That’s NOT how science really works! In fact, negative studies are MORE important than positive ones, because only a negative study can give a definitive answer to a hypothetical question. Positive results continue to support our preconceptions, but science is supposed to be about reducing subjectivity, preconceptions, and “confirmation bias.” So in truth, ALL studies should be submitted, and only the consistent presence of a positive result despite many attempts to disprove or explain the phenomenon in a different way should be accepted as evidence that something is true or helpful.

            But there aren’t as many profits that way…

            —- Steve

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  12. Ron, thanks for your thoughtful post. I do believe that there are good, empathetic psychiatrists, although this is not the popular opinion on this website. I used to think that it would be great if a regular doctor, not a psychiatrist, could see my son. I’ve since reconsidered my position. I’ll use my relative’s psychiatrist as an example to contrast her with our family doctor. She;s a psychiatrist and a psychoanalyst. They meet regularly to talk. For a long time. She used to be a heart specialist, but decided that she preferred the kind of work she does now. That’s a good sign that she’s interested in communicating with people who can be difficult to get through to. For the longest time, he needed someone to talk to outside the family. He had no friends. It’s difficult to retain old friends and make new friends when one is struggling to the extent he was. The family can only do so much. A paid “friend” is better than no friend at all. The family doctor, in contrast, has lots of other patients, and tends to see everything through the biological medical lens. He hasn’t got the time, the training, nor presumably the inclination to be a “friend” to someone who is not at all like his other patients and who needs don’t fit into a ten or twenty minute time slot. There is lots of negative things one can say about psychiatry the way it is practiced and reimbursed in mainstream medical care. I share with you the vision that there is a better way, like the “slow” movement is proposing.

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    • Hi Rossa,
      Thanks for your support! You bring up some good points about how someone who specializes in helping with mental and emotional kinds of things can be better than a GP, though only if they practice very differently from what has become mainstream.

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    • She;s a psychiatrist and a psychoanalyst

      So already this is an atypical situation and I’ll bet a dime it was the psychoanalyst part, not the psychiatrist part that was the key here. Or more likely the person herself.

      At any rate, the fact that some individual psychiatrists manage to be helpful despite the limitations put on them by their profession does not constitute glowing praise for the profession itself.

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  13. Hi Ron
    Sure I said the same thing on Dr Steingards article about slow psychiatry. The train must always be turned slowly. There seems to be some false belief in the community that psychiatrists can put a hair pin bend it the track and turn it quickly. False, a cocktail of drugs can so easily result in a train wreck. But when your making money out of train wrecks????

    I have areas I disagree significantly with Dr Steingard. But on this one, I think she is on to something.

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    • I like your train wreck analogy, boans. When I was going through my drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity mania, I was reminded of the fact that the most common cause of death on both sides of my family was train wrecks. And I felt I’d survived the railroading, and was the little engine that could. 🙂

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  14. My very strong impression is that “psychiatry,” in general, is not a human relations field. in fact, it’s quite the opposite, cold and academic. So how could it make sense that they would help people with emotional issues?

    Ethics and honesty aside, emotional imbalance and mental chaos due to trauma and patterns of chronic life stress require loving care to heal. Anyone with the capacity to hold a loving space of permission to see a process through to its completion/transition is a healer. It does not have to be from any particular field.

    But psychiatry, of all fields, is the last place I’d look, simply because, overall, it functions as controlling and forceful, rather than actually healing and personal growth-oriented. More than anything, it seems to keep people stuck in their issues and spiraling downward.

    My 2 cents.

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    • I agree, Alex, love, compassion, and actually listening is the answer. Not force, coercion, and pretending people can be understood based upon whatever scientifically invalid label they were given. Really, the entire system should be scrapped, but it won’t be, since it’s so profitable, which is really a shame. “For the love of money is the root of all evil….”

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      • “the entire system should be scrapped, but it won’t be, since it’s so profitable…”

        With so many options these days regarding good, effective healing, my hope is that people who DO perceive they have choices would learn about what *healing* really means, which, in essence, is to create positive change. When we lose the ability to create positive change–within our bodies, lives, and society–then we have cut ourselves off from our creative powers.

        Good healing guides us to improving our lot in life, from wherever we are, not getting stuck in a compromised life and health situation. Change and growth is natural, so when it is not occurring, we are doing something unnatural to block healing. My experience with psychiatry is that it blocks natural healing and keeps people dependent. Psych drugs and blatant stigma undermine our natural healing mechanisms, the first one is physically compromising and the latter is socially and professionally crippling–quite a bad combo, in fact, it’s horrific and insidiously tortuous.

        Good and true core healing can happen in so many ways, I do not see the need whatsoever for psychiatry. The failure rate is so high, and who has ever really and truly healed via psychiatry? I’ve heard people swear by their psych drugs, which is fine if they have found stability with that, but is this healing? I don’t think so. And there is so much good healing going on now, looking up healing on YouTube and google is always revealing about this. This would be a great social evolution, to integrate true healing into our social education and practices.

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        • “Psych drugs and blatant stigma undermine our natural healing mechanisms, the first one is physically compromising and the latter is socially and professionally crippling–quite a bad combo, in fact, it’s horrific and insidiously tortuous.” I couldn’t agree more.

          “Change and growth is natural, so when it is not occurring, we are doing something unnatural to block healing.” And this doesn’t just block individual healing, society as a whole needs to embrace change and grow, so we may collective evolve into a better society. Psychiatrists, in general, want to prevent this, since currently they have been given way too much power in our current society.

          And we all know, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I’d say psychiatry is at the absolutely corrupt phase. So I do agree, “I do not see the need whatsoever for psychiatry.”

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    • Also, I find that ‘psychiatry,’ overall, sorely lacks imagination and creativity, which I feel are vital in order to address these issues with any effectiveness and hopes for personal evolution.

      Although I very much like and appreciate Dr. Berezin’s work a great deal, specifically because it is creative and tells a human story, and is therefore open to support and navigate real growth, healing, and transformation, which, personally, I feel is the order of the day. This is where we find authentic and true change, at the core.

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    • Hi Alex, I agree with you it usually doesn’t make much sense, and can even be quite dangerous, to look for help from modern “psychiatry” in general. But that isn’t what I’m proposing. I’m suggesting we think about how medical people might learn to specialize in actually being helpful instead of harmful, and I’m proposing there is a role for people who want to do that, at least when other things aren’t working.

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      • It would be helpful to learn ancient healing protocol, how energy works to affect the mind and body, and about spiritual contracts. From my experience, that has everything to do with how we find our grounding and healing information. Without this information, I would not have been able to integrate my fractured consciousness, heal my heart, mind, and body so that I could create my life the way I most desire, and get on with things.

        At least integrating the kind of healing that tends to be resisted by the mainstream would be a step in the right direction. Were psychiatrists to be open to going way outside the box, forget about DSM and psych drugs, and be open to new perspectives with curiosity rather than cynicism, then sure, that would be a valuable contribution to the field. I would sincerely very much love to witness this kind of courage and insight from within the field.

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        • I agree Alex – scientists need to think “way outside the box.”
          In order to understand mental illness, we have to first try to understand what “normal” is. Scientists just assume (for no valid reason whatsoever), that being happy all the time is what is normal for people. But this is not necessarily correct.
          Also, if you talk to a typical neuroscientist, they will argue that the brain is the same as the mind! When I try to explain that it is the mind that thinks about the brain, and that the brain is just another organ in the body that is unable to talk for itself, they don’t understand. Meditation is about the mind – the mind-stream that is aware of the outside world, the inside world (including all the organs and the brain as well as the mind itself), and is capable of making itself calm. Calm mind-states also bring about healthy changes in brain structure, as studies in neuroplasticity have shown.

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          • “Calm mind-states also bring about healthy changes in brain structure, as studies in neuroplasticity have shown.”

            Yes, Nancy, I think this is such an important statement. Achieving states of calm and grounded-ness *first* will kick in all our self-healing mechanisms, neuroplasticity being one of them. When we allow healing to occur naturally by not undermining it with our own fears and doubts, desired changes occur, that is our nature.

            An effectively supportive healer will encourage the process of an individual, rather than try to redirect it unnaturally, by forcing it or applying some kind of value judgment along the way, as is unfortunately so often the case. That does not calm the mind, but more so agitates it, which is not healthful to the body.

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  15. Hi Ron, Here are a few other things that I feel should be considered regarding this issue:

    – Psychiatric drugs are only as good as placebos (so many studies point to this). It is not like psychiatrists understand the workings of the brain so precisely (the way diabetes is understood in terms of insulin deficits in the pancreas). Drug companies come up with these psychiatric drugs on a trial and error basis – so, snake oil or jellyfish juice may work equally well. The problem with all these drugs is their nasty side effects.

    – Don’t forget neuroplasticity – mind states bringing about structural changes in the brain. So, doctors may simply look at the structure of the brain and come up with medicines to treat (target) these abnormal structures. In reality these “abnormal” structures are reversible, as meditation interventions have shown – I can give references for this if needed.

    – I have observed that several psychiatrists have now gone into the field of mindfulness. Recently, I also came across a study published in the journal “neuroscience” where they investigated potential physiological markers of mindfulness meditation competence (as an objective assessment of mindfulness meditation quality – see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26850995). So perhaps, psychiatrists could also carry out these types of assessments to guide individual’s to mental health.

    – It is best not to conclude that dementia and Alzheimer’s are simply biological. Studies have shown that elevated default-mode activity of the brain is associated with amyloid plaque deposition (this is what defines Alzheimer’s). Elevated default-mode activity is also linked to rumination, worry and mental proliferation, etc. Studies have shown that mindfulness and all meditation practices significantly reduce rumination, worry, etc., thereby diminishing the activity of the default-mode network (I have listed some references that back these statements at the bottom of this post).

    Also, there are other studies that point to psychological causes of Alzheimer’s – for example, there is strong evidence that stress is linked to Alzheimer’s (see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26655068 ).

    The following references support what I wrote above (regarding the activity of the default mode network and Alzheimer’s):

    Brewer, J. A., Worhunsky, P. D., Gray, J. R., Tang, Y. Y., Weber, J., & Kober, H. (2011). Meditation experience is associated with differences in default mode network activity and connectivity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(50), 20254-20259.

    Greicius, M. D., Srivastava, G., Reiss, A. L., & Menon, V. (2004). Default-mode network activity distinguishes Alzheimer’s disease from healthy aging: evidence from functional MRI. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 101(13), 4637-4642.

    Wells, R. E., Yeh, G. Y., Kerr, C. E., Wolkin, J., Davis, R. B., Tan, Y., … & Press, D. (2013). Meditation’s impact on default mode network and hippocampus in mild cognitive impairment: a pilot study. Neuroscience letters,556, 15-19.

    Garrison, K. A., Zeffiro, T. A., Scheinost, D., Constable, R. T., & Brewer, J. A. (2015). Meditation leads to reduced default mode network activity beyond an active task. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 15(3), 712-720.

    Larouche, E., Hudon, C., & Goulet, S. (2015). Potential benefits of mindfulness-based interventions in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease: an interdisciplinary perspective. Behavioural brain research, 276, 199-212.

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    • Thanks Nancy, for sharing these thoughts. The bit about meditation, the default network, and dementia is quite interesting!

      I would disagree though on the bit about all psychiatric drugs being equal to placebo. That’s pretty true of the so called antidpressants, but neuroleptics for psychosis, or stimulants to help kids pay attention to boring tasks (in the short term) do beat placebos most of the time I believe, even if they are also destructive in many ways and unwise in the long term (and stimulants for kids should probably be illegal.)

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      • I should mention that I don’t think neuroleptics correct “psychosis” in any direct way: rather they usually induce a state of relative indifference, which then has the effect for many people of making them experience the world, and act, in a less “psychotic” way. Breggin I think is basically right in saying that all psychiatric drugs are disabling in some way: but sometimes temporarily disabling some function or other can be strategic when things are going very wrong and nothing else is working.

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        • I would suggest that neuroleptics thus represent a sort of admission of failure, i.e. that other relationships or strategies or resources are not sufficient, intensive, or effective enough at a particular time, thus a “shut down” or the brain-mind system is needed. But perhaps a psychotic breakdown itself represents this type of failure of resources around the individual who becomes psychotsis. Still, In this way “slow psychiatry” might be viewed as a sort of last resort, rather than the first line intervention that it is today, with all the baleful consequences of this improper placement in the hierarchy of potentially helpful interventions.

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          • I agree, resorting to drugs should best be seen an admission of the failure at this point of other strategies, and we should always be looking for ways to come up with better alternatives that won’t fail, so drug use can be minimized, since there is no evidence it is a good long term strategy and even using them short term creates a risk of long term dependence.

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        • Ron,

          The problem, however, is that the neuroleptics, at least when given to a non-psychotic person, can actually create “psychosis,” but the psychiatrists deny this reality. The medical proof:

          “The symptoms of an anticholinergic toxidrome include … psychosis … Substances that may cause this toxidrome include the four ‘anti’s of antihistamines, antipsychotics, antidepressants, ….”

          And I have the medical proof that psychiatrists can not tell the difference between anticholinergic toxidrome and “the classic symptoms of schizophrenia.”

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          • I think most or all of the psychiatric drugs can create “paradoxical reactions” which are the opposite of the intended effect. So it’s not as though the average non-psychotic person becomes psychotic in response to them, usually they become just more passive and tranquilized, but yet it is possible that psychosis is the result. Obviously, being aware of such possibilities and watching out for them is something we should expect from anyone prescribing such drugs, even if that is currently rare.

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        • There are no “paradoxical” reactions or “side” effects to pharmaceuticals, only reactions and effects. The fact that certain ones are less desired or even deadly doesn’t make them less of an “effect.”

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          • By “paradoxical” I simply mean that they are the opposite of the effect that is usually produced. Most drugs can do this: for example coffee usually makes people more alert, but it isn’t that uncommon for people to drink some and find it seems to make them sleepier.

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          • Ron,
            I think that what you are assuming is that psychiatric “medications” have their advertised effects with some consistency. Given the numerous instances where drug companies have misrepresented and/or hidden the facts about what their drugs ACTUALLY do and how efficacious they are, I believe that assumption is a little bold.

            It seems to be being consistently shown that the “side effects” of some medications are actually far more common than the advertised effects and therefore some, say….antidepressants…., could more accurately be marketed as drugs to decrease sexual performance/enjoyment/drive.

            However, there may be instances where the drugs are effective.

            What irks me most, though, is that psychiatrists have the power to INVOLUNTARILY detain people and FORCE these drugs on people and then up the dose when they don’t work until the patient is non-functional and having severe physical health issues known to be caused by the drugs (eg…zyprexa and metabolic disease, diabetes etc) or other emotional/behavioural problems on top of the original complaint (atypical anti-psychotics and homicide, suicide, OCD, mania, eating disorders etc).

            Take away the involuntary imprisonment and forced drugging, and perhaps there’d be room for reform, but while ever that’s in place it is impossible to achieve meaningful reform.

            It is totally paradoxical to expect that people can be threatened, drugged and tortured into regaining their emotional health!

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      • Ron, if you want to make the contention that neuroleptics are better for psychotic people than placebo, you should explain how they are better and give studies supporting your contention. Right now I don’t believe this.

        Also, are they better in nullifying “symptoms” (i.e. emotional deadening), or better at producing the results that people actually want, like functioning well in a job, making friends, feeling well and alive again, etc.?

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        • Did you see me somewhere generally recommend neuroleptics for “psychosis”? I think not, I would prefer to see something like the practice of Open Dialogue, where most people can be helped without any use of those drugs. But not every experience of psychosis or extreme states is the same, not all cases respond to even highly skilled help, and sometimes a bit of emotional deadening or drug induced indifference can help people come out of some horrible places even when nothing else is working. It would be best of course if the drugs can be used only very short term, and even better if we get improved ways of helping so we never need the drugs at all, but we aren’t there yet.

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        • Good point BPDT. For any drug, it is important to clearly understand whether they are nullifying “symptoms” to an external observer, or it is better at producing the results that people actually want (the patient’s inner experience). As I see it, any trial-and-error “treatment” would simply nullify the symptoms to satisfy an external observer.

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          • I wonder if a trial and error model might be an improvement on the current ‘denial and error’ treatment being used. Deny that the drugs are the cause of the problems and use the error to justify further treatment? lol

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  16. Hi Ron,

    Thank you for this article, My hope is that psychiatry can transform itself and live up to this vision. Yet, I doubt it can given the current, profit before people economy that we seem to worship in this country.

    Question: Speaking of alternatives, has anyone tried BCAAs as a nutritional approach for help with what gets labelled “mania?” I have seen it work wonders within 6 hours of beginning the supplement, as described in the study below. Yet, (no surprise here given the relative lack of big profit potential), little follow up research has been conducted on this very promising nutritional “treatment.”

    Here is a study of BCAAs for mania:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12611783

    Also, meditation is really effective with almost all mental health problems. We need more research on this approach as well!

    Thanks again for this article and to all for the rich discussion!

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    • I hadn’t heard of this BCAA approach before, it sounds intriguing. I agree it’s a problem that money doesn’t go into investigating stuff like this. One thing I would like to see is a tax put on the sale of Big Pharma drugs, that would then go to pay for research into stuff that can’t be patented, and that is more likely to actually lead to health.

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  17. In various organs of our body (such as the heart, liver, spleen, etc.), it is extremely rare that various problems spring up due to biological/physiological abnormalities that happen to suddenly arise from nowhere. But as soon as people display “mental illness,” a biological/physiological problem in the organ brain is presumed to cause it. Psychiatrists completely ignore neuroplasticity/epigenetics – according to which the changes seen (biological/physiological problems) are a result of mind-states (mind-states resulting from various psychological/social causes). In other words, their “causation” interpretation goes completely the other way around!
    One sentence in this article illustrates this point. The sentence: “It appears for example that adverse childhood events frequently lead to mental and emotional reactions that then lead not just to “mental health” problems later in life, but also to physiological reactions that then lead to much higher rates of physical illness.” If someone keeps proliferating/ruminating/regretting about their childhood experiences, this itself can lead to physiological/physical health changes over time. But if one learns to be open to experience (for example, through meditation/mindfulness training – which is the best way to prevent rumination, etc.- see: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272735813001207 ), then I think one could potentially prevent these resulting physiological/physical complications from arising.

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    • I agree, it’s really important to be aware of how the way we use our mind ends up affecting our brain and body – I think it goes two ways, the condition of our brain and body affects us, but also what we choose to do goes back and affects that brain and body. It’s complex, a mutual feedback system.

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      • Regarding “it goes two ways” (the brain/mind), as I stated, it is very difficult to think that all of a sudden the brain would change (as a result of some biological/physiological abnormality happening for no apparent reason at all) in relatively young healthy individuals (or even in older individuals) – especially when considering that such sudden changes are extremely rare in other organs of our body.

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  18. Frank, I respectfully disagree that catatonia is a manufactured term by psychiatry. I have seen my daughter lie helpless with catatonia. It is a real condition, whatever the cause, it could be a side effect of psychiatric drugs, or a side effect of psychiatric drug withdrawal, it could due to a spiritual crisis, a trauma, a terrified mind in turmoil, it happen with or without the influence of drugs, I think there is a lot of speculation but no proof of etiology; no drug tests, no MRI’s etc. I think there are many causes but from a medical perspective if is left untreated, it can lead to death through starvation or thirst. Sure you can defecate in your bed or not take a shower for weeks or lie in a coma, but the body organs would shut down if nourishment is not administered through an IV or feeding tube. In my daughter’s case, she couldn’t even shut her eyes for a week so her eyes became glazed and she had waxy limbs, a whereby you can ‘pose’ a person, lift their hand, leg, etc. and it would stay in that position, very odd. Some psychiatric terminology is helpful to determine categories and levels of care. Fortunately, my daughter had a stunning recovery from this condition, probably for a combination of reasons: ativan (benzo’s at 4mg every four hours through an IV dro) but also and I think this is EQUALLY IMPORTANT, because in the ICU unit of a hospital, a ‘psychiatric patient is afforded with the same dignity and rights as those with heart disease and other life threatening conditions; family and friends can drop by anytime they want, bring flowers, sit by the bedside, listen to music, bring instruments, the priest can drop by with healing oil and annoint a person, people can read outloud to their loved one, as is common for peope in coma’s, etc. They can have a private room with a phone, use aromatherapy, family members have a high degree of contact and can bathe a person in bed, comb their hair, etc. This is the EXACT OPPOSITE of how patients in distress receive care in a locked back ward of a psychiatric facility. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROOFS OF STIGMA BUT NAMI NEVER SAYS A WORD ABOUT THIS. THE REASON WE NOW CONSIDER PEOPLE IN DISTRESS TO BE DANGEROUS AND LOCK THEM UP IS BECAUSE OF THE EXPLOSION OF AKASTHESIA RELATED BEHAVIOR CAUSED BY MEDICATING PEOPLE IN DISTRESS WITH TRAUMA HISTORIES WITH DANGEROUS PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS THAT HAVE PARADOXICAL EFFECTS THAT WE KNOW NEXT TO NOTHING ABOUT AND THERE IS AN EXPLOSION OF AKASTHESIA RELATED VIOLENCE, HOSTILITY, AGRESSION, RESTLESSNESS, HOMOCIDE, AND SUICIDALITY AND WE DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT.

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    • I can’t presume to have all the answers here. One thing I will say is that people said to be “catatonic” represent a fraction of the people on any psych-ward, and that begs the question of what are all the others are doing so confined. I am against forced psychiatry. If you are going to treat anyone, don’t do it against their will and wishes.

      Psychiatry presumes “disease”. Psychiatry has always presumed “disease”. “Catatonia” is a specialist term for a phenomenon that they don’t understand very well. This doesn’t make it is a pathological condition. Walter Freeman, notorious for pushing lobotomy, early in his career did autopsies on deceased mental patients looking for abnormal brains, but he found few abnormalities. He went on to develop the lobotomy, a way of treating “mental illness” by mutilating the brain, and thus the relief for “mental illness” was seen rather than in correcting an abnormal brain, by producing an abnormal brain through surgery. Psych-drugs operate on a similar basis. Abnormality presumed, is the basis for an abnormality achieved, through trying to correct the abnormality presumed. Thomas Szasz following Rudolf Virchow defined pathology as a “lesion in an bodily organ”. Freeman couldn’t find any lesions, but given a scalpel, he could produce them.

      I’m glad you found something that worked for your daughter, and that she didn’t have to endure neglect on a psychiatric facility back ward.

      I think akathisia tends to be under reported by patients and staff. Neuroleptics always gave me a pretty severe case of akathisia. I think another reason reason “people in distress are considered to be dangerous” is because we lock them up. Locking a person up raises the level of distress, and it often meets with physical resistance. Violense, after all, in this instance, is being used against a potential suspect of future violence. People in the mental health system, unlike people elsewhere, aren’t allowed a “self-defense” defense. Of course, attempts at self-defense can be aggravated by akathisia. Akathisia makes people feel horrible, and certainly must be a contributing factor when it comes to violence.

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  19. Despite the question mark in the title, the goal of this blog seems to be to preserve psychiatry at all costs. This article mentions Hickey and Burstow in passing as if both of those authors haven’t already destroyed all the arguments put forth here to preserve psychiatry. I hope one or both of those authors have the time and inclination to respond to this farce.

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    • Uprising, if you knew me very well, I doubt you would accuse me of “trying to preserve psychiatry at all costs!” Most of my comments on psychiatric practices are extremely critical, and I have no problem saying that I believe psychiatry as it exists is doing more harm than good. But if we are to be effective as critics, we need to come across as thoughtful, not simplistic and dismissive, so that means also being willing to consider where something like psychiatry might possibly do some good.

      And as I said in my blog post, I would be fine with eliminating psychiatry, and then starting over with something new. But I do think we would need some kind of medical specialty to accomplish the objectives I outlined. General M.D.s cannot be expected to know enough to carry out those objectives well in complex cases. I think anyone, including Hickey or Burstow, who might want to argue that we don’t need such a medical specialty, to be convincing would have to show a better way of accomplishing all those objectives – something I haven’t yet seen in all the comments so far.

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      • There are many kinds of ‘medicine’ practices above and beyond anything in western medicine that far exceeds it in effectiveness. Whom we choose to turn to is an individual choice. Many of us in this discussion have talked about the importance of cultivating calm, grounding, and inner peace as a pathway to healing, by way of activating our natural self-healing mechanisms.

        Again, we are individual in how we achieve this, but natural healing is the other option to what you are talking about, this is a common practice based on research and training, just like psychiatry and other medical specialties. This is an effective option that is available to people, and that many of us have faired very well practicing this type of medicine as good healing.

        I know what for me is preferable, based on my experience with both, in depth. However, I’d never try to persuade someone that “my way is better.” It’s better for me, by far, that’s what I know. In fact, for me, western medicine, and psychiatry in particular proved to be toxic and it made me very ill and temporarily disabled, that was my experience. When I turned to natural healing, Chinese Medicine, and energy work, everything reversed, including the damage done by psychiatry, and I started healing at quantum speed. I’m fine now, creating my life. I know for a fact that had I stayed with psychiatry, I would be permanently disabled and more than likely institutionalized, I had become extremely dysfunctional under that kind of ‘care.’

        Let’s just put both options on the table, and let people choose. People can always change their minds, too, if the initial choice does not satisfy.

        Ideally, we would integrate these perspectives–western and natural medicine. But from what I know, most psychiatrists, at least, don’t trust nature and only interfere drastically with it. They do not understand energy and do not seem open to learning about it, it does not seem to fit their frame of reference. I don’t know what to do about that. Were they to listen to the many of us who found healing in ways not easily perceived by western medicine, then maybe we’d get somewhere.

        But this information is continually shunned, and even demeaned and stigmatized by some, and without any real knowledge of or experience with it. I hear snap judgments made all the time about healing outside the norm.

        Oh well, we each choose for ourselves what works, and I think that’s all that matters, isn’t it?

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        • It’s amazing. Even when a processed medication (like statins) is proved to be harmful for most of the users, people still believe in it. It’s like losing weight eating healthy and taking exercise (in moderation) is the wrong thing to do!

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      • that means also being willing to consider where something like psychiatry might possibly do some good

        OK, we’ve been considering what you said. But so far you’ve shown no reason to believe that the “good” functions which may on some occasions be performed by someone in a psychiatrist’s uniform cannot be performed as or more competently by someone else.

        Those things, to sum up are:

        — Helping with tapering and otherwise helping undo the damage already caused by psychiatry;

        — Being, as BPDT suggested, “drug brokers” to provide people with options about what mood or consciousness altering substances they might want to explore to help them deal with life, be it Xanax, SSRI’s, alcohol, cocaine, Adderall, etc. etc.;

        — Helping people with psychosomatic issues.

        In the latter case a good psychoanalyst (and psychoanalysts are not required to be MD’s) might be helpful depending on the individuals involved. But so would many other things.

        Otherwise, your clinging to this seeming need to save psychiatry from its own devices is perplexing, especially when, apparently, you don’t have an objective personal interest in defending the “mental health” industry.

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  20. I too think the transition should be a gradual process – after all, they too need some job to keep going. Also, honestly, I do not think their intention is to be purposely “evil” – it is just that they have been deeply “brainwashed” into the DSM belief system.

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  21. Ron

    I respect many things you do and write about regarding therapeutic methods of support for people in various forms of psychological and emotional crisis, however I need to be blunt in my assessment of the main point of this blog.

    You stated: “…but it’s really not an argument in support of modern psychiatry which actually does a very poor job of addressing these three areas of concern, due sometimes to over-reach, and sometimes to neglect.”

    This statement indicates to me that you are vastly understating the nature of psychiatric oppression, and this may explain why you advocate for preserving some reformed part of the institution.

    I agree with all commenters who are arguing for the elimination, or better, the “withering away” of Psychiatry.

    Ron, I believe the essence of your position is attempting to legitimize the ultimate scientific separation of “mind and body.” ALL medical doctors need to be better trained with the best that modern science can offer regarding the true nature of the mind/body connection. There is NO need for some type of specialty you advocate for.The more knowledge medical doctors have regarding these connections the better they will be able to help people engaged in some type of extreme conflict (or medical crisis) with their environment and all the physical and mental interactions that may occur.

    “Slowing down” oppression does not stop it from happening. Given the omnipotence of the Biological Psychiatry paradigm of “treatment” and the entrenched nature of the institution’s connections to Big Pharma, “slowing” things down is NOT a solution or even a reasonable alternative. The “train” needs to go in the OPPOSITE direction not merely be “slowed down.”

    As to a present role (and for the next several decades) for the more knowledgeable and well meaning psychiatrists, they DO have an important role to play in helping dependent people safely withdraw from the prolific amount of psychotropic drugs affecting millions of victims. There is plenty of important work they can perform advancing the science of withdrawal, securing prescriptions, and offering compassionate support for psychiatric victims.

    Richard

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    • Hi Richard,

      I think you are mistakenly concluding from my failure to list all the forms of psychiatric oppression, that I am unfamiliar with them. I’m pretty familiar.

      And I made no reference to simply “slowing down” oppression. Instead, the reference was to slowing down and being more cautious with things like the use of drugs, or concluding that some medical problem was/is contributing to some mental and emotional difficulties.

      Do you really think that all use of drugs for mental and emotional difficulties, at any point, is a mistake? Or that it is always a mistake to conclude that medical problems can be causing or contributing to mental and emotional problems? If these sorts of things sometimes are not mistakes, then it makes sense to slow down in the way I’m talking about.

      I don’t agree that advocating that some doctors be trained in how to work well with people in extreme mental and emotional states is the same as attempting to legitimize the ultimate scientific separation of “mind and body.” Sure it would be nice to think that all doctors could be trained to work well with these issues, but I don’t think that’s very possible or practical.

      I agree that there are so many ways the “train” of psychiatry needs to be reversed, but I’m also trying to notice the positive tasks which are medical in nature that some individuals are trying to carry out. I think these issues are worth talking about, even if I have to go against the MIA mainstream in order to assert that!

      I’ve never been very good at sticking to the mainstream……..

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      • Ron

        Since in today’s world Psychiatry does in fact equal multiple forms of oppression then “slowing down” psychiatry is still means preserving oppression.

        I have not made any statement saying that under no circumstances should some type of drug be used. We do not need Psychiatry to prescribe a drug if necessary for a short period of time.

        Given the interconnections between trauma and many different physical reactions or so-called “symptoms,” ALL doctors will constantly confront medical phenomena they do not immediately understand. This is in keeping with Van Der Kolk’s “The Body Keeps the Score” analysis of trauma’s affect on the mind/body connection. Why separate out a medical specialty when ALL doctors are challenged by these diagnostic dilemmas and appropriate assessments of their patients?

        Let’s be clear about definitions; you are still defending the “mainstream” (or an attempt to reform or preserve it) with your current analysis.

        Respectfully, Richard

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        • I think we have to get beyond overly simplified statements such as “in today’s world Psychiatry does in fact equal multiple forms of oppression then “slowing down” psychiatry is still means preserving oppression.” Actually any number of things go on under the heading “psychiatry” in today’s world, much of it quite bad and oppressive, and some of it quite helpful. Many of our movement’s heroes have been psychiatrists, and they continued to practice psychiatry as they critiqued the bad psychiatry they say going on all around them.

          In general, being against bad psychiatry makes way more sense than simply being “against psychiatry” in my opinion. I think taking a sledgehammer approach makes our whole movement look uninformed, uncritical and insensitive – really the reason I argue this point is I want to see us coming from a sounder position.

          It’s easy to say one doesn’t need a psychiatrist to prescribe drugs for a limited period of time – but to find a medical person who say can really talk to and understand someone in an extreme state, who knows not just the drugs but also a lot about the alternatives that might work, who can resist the panicked relatives and maybe the panic of the patient who wants more drugs right now enough to move with caution, while still making wise choices to prescribe when that makes sense – that isn’t going to be your run of the mill doctor.

          Sure, it makes sense for all doctors to know something about this, there’s all kinds of things doctors should know something about. But we have specialists for a reason, and its because when problems become complex and the simple stuff isn’t working, it helps to meet with someone who knows a bit more.

          I know today’s psychiatrists usually aren’t the sort of specialist I’m talking about, but some of them are, and we do have reason to have a specialty like that.

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          • Many of our movement’s heroes have been psychiatrists

            What “movement” and what “hero psychiatrists” would you be talking about? I have as much respect as anyone for Szasz and Breggin, but Szasz especially wouldn’t even consider himself part of any “movement.”

            The heroes of the movement I belong to are people like Judi Chamberlin, Howie the Harp and David Oaks. “Survivors” need to know their history!

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          • Hi oldhead, I guess it depends on what “movement” exactly one is referring to. I’m thinking of the whole movement to rethink mental health care, which includes lots of people who aren’t survivors, people like Robert Whitaker, and of course psychiatrists like Loren Mosher who did a lot to provide hope that something different was possible.

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      • “I agree that there are so many ways the “train” of psychiatry needs to be reversed, but I’m also trying to notice the positive tasks which are medical in nature that some individuals are trying to carry out.”

        Then perhaps those valuable individuals should hop on the reverse train, then we’d all be going in the same direction.

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      • You are very much in the MIA mainstream, as your persistent defense of the “mental health” status quo (maybe with a few tweaks) demonstrates. I have no idea what you mean by this, or what possible motivation you would have to bend over backwards like this to rationalize a role for psychiatry.

        Once it was demonstrated by Szasz and others that the medical model of emotional distress et al. is a literal impossibility, and that the very existence of psychiatry is a profound misuse of both language and medicine, it became a foregone conclusion that psychiatry was obsolete; it’s just a matter of society catching up.

        Also, I’m sorta wondering who this “we” is that has the power to dictate to corporate psychiatry how it should change to serve the people’s needs.

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      • I think the article needs to more clearly link admitting that the DSM/Diagnosis is fraudulent and nonexistent, the idea that psych drugs are not medications treating (illusory) illnesses, and the idea of “slower psychiatry” in which drugs are applied cautiously in a Steingardian or Moncrieffian fashion. Without admitting that they are not treating medical diseases, I don’t believe that a slower psychiatry would succeed. This would essentially require admitting that psychiatrists are not doctors, but rather are similar to herbal shamans or drug dealers. That’s one reason it’s probably not going to happen.

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      • Well, I don’t know why rethinking anything would constitute a “movement,” it makes sense to be rethinking everything all the time. At most you describe a collection of current tendencies among liberal “mental health” professionals and those who share their sphere. But thanks at least for making the distinction.

        I always assume that when people here mention “the movement” they mean the anti-psychiatry movement. You seem fairly young, so you may be unaware of the history of how the “mental patients'” liberation movement became the psychiatric inmates liberation movement and then — for a period of about 30 years — was diverted into false and system-controlled and financed sorts of activities, which is where current notions of “mental health consumerism” and “peers” originated.

        The early days of the movement were quite heady and made some serious waves; you should explore some of this history as it’s very empowering to know about.

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        • Hi Oldhead,

          I really out to get my photo for MIA updated, it is certainly misleading – still it shows me in my 50’s, and I’m 60 now, so not so young!

          My history opposing most of what we call psychiatry goes back to the 70’s. But I was inspired in that mostly by psychiatrists, especially Ronnie Laing, also Szasz to some extent, and older figures like Jung. And also my sense that standard psychiatry was the very opposite of what I needed when I was in crisis.

          I met David Oaks in the early 80’s, and we’ve collaborated on and off ever since. My only involvement in the mental health field until the later 90’s was as an activist protesting the system. But I decided to become a mental health worker so I could help develop alternatives instead of just talking about how they should exist.

          So my sense of resisting psychiatric oppression probably comes out of that history – I never saw the criticism of psychiatry offered by people like Laing as separate from the survivor movement, they were just different points of resistance against what was wrong.

          So I don’t think my perspective is naive – I’ve been doing this for a long time, I just think that positioning myself as opposed to bad and unhelpful psychiatric practice is a much stronger position than being “anti-psychiatry” in general.

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          • Without going back into the philosophical stuff — guess you’re not that young. Too bad you managed to miss the original movement though, which had it’s zenith in the late 70’s-early 80’s. Looks like you met David a couple years too late.

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  22. Ron, as a final comment on my behalf, I have very much appreciated this conversation. I think it’s perfectly fair and reasonable to put on the table what you have, and courageous and trusting how you’ve navigated this discussion to the depth that it has gone.

    I’ve made no secret of my opinion that psychiatry, in general, is not a healing field but one with dubious political agendas that do not serve clients, but more so, which harm them extensively and profoundly. Were we able to ferret out the individuals with integrity and who focus on the greater good, rather than individual personal agendas and embroiled in their egos, I’m all for seeing this come to light. In the meantime, I do know with certainty that there are so many paths to healing and wellness that require none of this, even for the most challenging cases of psychic imbalance and chronic self-sabotage.

    To whomever we turn for support, I think the bottom line is that *choice* is a matter of exercising free will and we can each take responsibility for the choices we make in life, while forced anything is oppressive and harmful. Psychiatry will take a step closer to earning my respect when they are humble to their clients, not controlling and overpowering to them (abuse of power)–which most of us have testified is the psychiatric experience. That’s just plain old nonsense, and not the slightest bit in the interest of the client or their healing. How is that in any way even remotely close to, “First, do no harm”?

    Thanks again, all good stuff to chew on I think.

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    • Hi Alex, I agree that humility would be a really key ingredient for anything like psychiatry that wanted to be truly helpful! It would be interesting to try and figure out how to train for that – maybe figure out what current training does that promote arrogance, and then try and do the opposite?

      Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed the discussion.

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      • That is a wonderful and relevant exploration, Ron, and I can’t resist taking a stab at this, given that, from my experience, this distinction feels pretty clear to me:

        Psychotherapy training taught me to always be in control, and to not give the client “too much power.” (quote from a supervisor).

        Being a client in the system forced me to surrender control, because my civil rights would not be recognized.

        For lessons in ego-busting humility, ask anyone who has been categorized and “marginalized” through acts of oppression in the name of health care.

        I think this article does a pretty good job of interpreting ‘humility.’

        http://beinspiredeveryday.com/2009/08/21/how-to-practice-humility/

        One aspect of humility which it talks about that I feel is particularly relevant here is: “be teachable.” Had I not been willing to learn and apply all things new and foreign to me at the time, way outside the box, that some may feel is nonsense, weird, or whatever–with no experience of it whatsoever (good example of lack of humility)–then I would never, ever have healed what needed to be healed and gotten on with my life. Psychiatry said that would never happen, that I had a “poor” chance of recovery, and they were incredibly wrong, most thankfully.

        That kind of pie-in-the-sky negative prognosis is pure arrogance, don’t you think? And I’m not the only one who has wrongfully received it. You can imagine the harm this does to people, to believe that they will always be limited. So perhaps that would be a good place to start in the training–“check your propensity to project stigma.” That’s where dangerous and sabotaging arrogance will be found, each and every time.

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  23. Ron- Regarding your comment that someone with training could understand the complexities of drugs: Even if they knew something, it would be a list of perplexing names of drugs, along with a complicated list of brain regions as well as a separate list of fancy names that describe DSM categories. What else would they know? I do not think anyone can understand all the complexities of the brain, with billions of neurons and trillions of synapses, let alone how this information connects and interacts with various compounds that are introduced as well as how all this information connects to a person’s actual experience and wellbeing. Also something we forget is that all these understandings about the brain and neurons, etc., happen in an individual’s mind – so, it is much better to try to understand the mind. The mind was extensively analyzed 2600 year ago – see the following article to get an idea: http://sgo.sagepub.com/content/spsgo/5/2/2158244015583860.full.pdf

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    • I agree there are more unknowns than knowns, but still a lot to know. And these drugs don’t just affect the brain, they do a lot to other parts of the body. And a big part in being expert in prescribing the drugs would be knowing how to talk to people about them, especially how to talk to people who are in various kinds of crisis or extreme states. So there’s lots that your average MD would probably not be great at.

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  24. Thanks Ron!

    My psychiatrist in San Francisco actually helped me get off psychiatric medication. I am off psychiatric medication after being on it for 14 years!! and i feel amazing and connected with my self, power, and creativity. i really do owe this to our therapeutic partnership. and to many therapists, colleagues, and friends who supported be in the past. psychiatrists in the past that i had encountered at Yale student mental health services, in community mental health, in private practice, and in the University of Pennsylvania health system were all pretty dismissive or confused or brainwashed.

    My psychiatrist has traditional biological and medical training from Stanford and Tufts, but she’s an integrative psychiatrist and has training in chinese medicine, trained with Andrew Weil, energy work, and jungian analysis. She’s amazing, and she allowed to follow my intuition with coming off psychiatric drugs while also educating me on withdrawal symptoms and dangers. We are in total partnership.

    She works in private practice and for the community mental health system.

    True she is a rare gem, but I think that psychiatrist can learn and un-learn. Medical school has taught them the wrong things. Big PHARMA has had too much influence in education, clinical research, and with bribery. But people can learn more and un-learn bad training, although it takes A LOT of effort.

    Perhaps we need to really look at what our top medical schools are teaching new budding psychiatrists. some of whom may be in for it for just the money and power and legacy, but i believe there are helpers in there too.

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      • i agree that psychiatry has invented many diseases.

        it framed homosexuality in the 70s as a disease, and homosexuality is still pathologized to this day, and it has been for a long time before the 70s.

        it wanted to create introverted personality disorder in the 90s (i think it was the 90 or 2000s- from the book ‘Shyness’)

        the psych meds psychiatry has invented have caused irreparable harm, and have caused people to commit suicide, attack other people violently, and go into psychosis and then have the label of being crazy, develop diabetes, develop chronic health conditions, and i believe had made people chronically sick, and have effectively isolated people.

        this is all true to me. AND i feel like psychiatrists can be useful in helping people get off psych drugs and with short-term prescriptions.

        i have a lot of friends who are on psychiatric medication, and feel that they need it now.

        There may not be such a thing as psychiatric illness. But there is trauma- personal, collective, and historical. And we do live with other people in a society that can be very oppressive and violent and bullying. i have a friend who is trans and she says she needs the psych drugs she’s on now. and i respect her decision. for the amount of opposition and violence she has faced, i want nothing but peace for her.

        we all numb ourselves in ways to violence and sadness we experience in life. and there are different ways to regulate it…heck some people watch Netflix all the time or surf the internet!

        i numb myself too. i eat junk food to numb myself. even though i know it’s bad for my overall health. i drink diet soda to numb myself. i do this very occasionally now, because i realized how bad it is for my physical health and mood, and how addictive it can be and is formulated to be, but i have control over it now- but i still sometimes do it…and i spend hours on facebook to numb myself.

        there is a serious housing crisis in San Francisco where i live, wars all over the world, and a human history and present of genocide against humans and other species, and destruction our of planet and ecosystem, and so many -isms and phobias and prejudices and oppressive frameworks, like racism, sexism, heteronormativity, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and more. i try to help the best that i am able. but also need to take time for self nourishment, care, and unfortunately sometimes i just can’t take it all and numb myself.

        but i hope we can reach a place in our time as humans where instead of constantly needing to numb ourselves, we can live in peace.

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    • Hi Naas,

      Thanks for sharing your experience!

      I think change is most likely to happen if we both notice good behavior, and good approaches, while we also criticize bad. One problem with just being a fundamentalist “anti-psychiatrist” is that then it’s impossible to recognize and support good psychiatric behavior (at least not without contradicting one’s anti-psychiatric principles!) As I’ve said elsewhere, I think it makes much more sense to be just opposed to bad and oppressive psychiatric practices, then there’s no contradiction in supporting good psychiatric practice.

      It’s just not true that all psychiatrists think they are treating “diseases.” Some of them are aware that much of what they see are just human reactions to life difficulty that are complex, and they see psychiatric drugs as a tool that might be useful in a sparing way to help people deal with these difficulties. And fortunately, those who practice well also learn how to help people get off the drugs when they aren’t needed anymore.

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      • Some of them are aware that much of what they see are just human reactions to life difficulty that are complex

        Some plumbers, babysitters and mathematicians are aware of this just as acutely. And they don’t suggest their friends get a little f-d up to take off the edge.

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  25. I just read Ron’s article and all the comments . Ron’s article was a good anvil to bounce numerous insightful comments off of . Overlooked is the real probability of Eugenic Substance Production ( POISONS) being passed off as some kind of medicine by the pharma cartels and definitely not limited to psychiatric drugs and extending into wherever they traffic . Those that have not actually been forced to repeatedly take poisons like thorazine and others are unlikely to understand what I’m talking about . THERE IS NO OVERSIGHT ON WHAT BIG PHARMA IS DOING BEHIND THEIR CLOSED DOORS OR ON WHAT EVEN MORE DIABOLICAL SUBSTANCES THEY WILL INVENT IN THE FUTURE .
    Ron want’s to know if there is a place for psychiatry . Yes Ron there is , IN THE DUSTBIN OF HISTORY AS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW CHEMICAL AND ELECTRIC NAZIISM CAN RUN RAMPANT IF PEOPLE DO NOT CARE ABOUT EACH OTHER .

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