Exploring Psychiatry’s “Black Hole”: The International Institute on Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal

Kermit Cole
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Anyone who has found themselves in the universe of psychiatry knows that it contains some of the “black holes” of science.  There is little reliable science on how medications are supposed to ‘work,’ less on what a psychiatric illness is, and none on how to withdraw from the medication. For many, escape from diagnosis and medication is daunting if not impossible. Those who succeed do so for the most part on their own initiative, and therefore any information is anecdotal.

So, when Carina Håkansson sent out an invitation for a symposium on “Pharmaceuticals: Risks and Alternatives,” people came from 13 countries. From experts-by-experience to some of the world’s top scientists, over 220 people gathered last month to search for alternatives to the standard of care. Researcher John Read, speaking for the panel on the stage of Folkets Hus (“The People’s House”) in Gothenburg said of their esteem for Carina, “(she) just said we should be here, so I came.”

Carina’s search started 30 years ago when, new to work with people in distress, she realized she would not be able to work in a system based on diagnosis and medication. She couldn’t see how people could recover in a system that removed them from daily life, placing them with others with whom they had nothing in common but being in a psychiatric ward. Instead she found homes in the countryside where, supported by stable families and the Family Care Foundation she created, young people in distress took part in the routine of daily life. The Family Care Foundation has become an example, internationally, of an alternative for people in crisis and Carina, who says that 30 years ago she did not have words for what she was doing, has the words today. “It is about society in a bigger framework,” she said from the stage of Folkets Hus. “What kind of society do we wish to create, and be part of?”

Carina’s starting roster of experts on psychiatric drug withdrawal and alternatives — Olga Runciman, Sami Timimi, Birgitta Alakare, Will Hall, Carina Håkansson, Jaakko Seikkula, Volkmar Aderhold, John Read, Peter Gøtzsche and Magnus Hald — met for the first time at the Extended Therapy Room Foundation, Carina’s new home, the day before the symposium to discuss what it was they intended to do. There was agreement on the need for an organization whose focus would be on what is known — and needs to be known — about withdrawal from psychiatric drugs, but some question about when to start it. “Why don’t we start now?” asked psychologist Jaakko Seikkula, and thus was born the International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal.

The following day Seikkula and psychiatrist Birgitta Alakare presented their 30-years’ work developing changing the standard of care for psychiatric crises in the Tornio catchment area of northern Finland.  The approach that resulted, the default response for all psychiatric crises — which involved systemic theory and reflective practice, rather than a focus on individual pathology — reduced western Lapland’s rate of schizophrenia diagnosis from one of Europe’s highest to its lowest, all but eliminating new incidences by resolving crises that had previously progressed to meet criteria for a diagnosis. In the process, Tornio’s medication use, hospitalization, and expenses were dramatically reduced.  Jaakko asks:

“What happened to our societies when we learned to take care of polio, tuberculosis and those kind of illnesses? And all of a sudden we can (ask) the question; What about this? There is no schizophrenia? Would that not be an interesting issue for politicians, for instance, to think about?”

Setting an example of the different sort of outcomes — and society — that the symposium aspires to, psychologist Olga Runciman told of her ten years as a diagnosed “schizophrenic.” Having reached the point at which she was drooling and nearly comatose, and believing that she could have no another life, she decided to end hers. She wrote a letter to her family informing them of the decision but decided, before sending it, to try one more thing: getting off the medications. Soon better, she made a resolution: because she had been told that someone with psychosis could not benefit from talking to a psychologist, she would give people the help she now knew she had needed. She compares her crisis to a caterpillar which changes into a liquid mass before emerging as a butterfly, saying:

“When you are in a huge crisis, you get the wrong kind of help; and psychiatry often steps in here. You are very, very vulnerable. So instead of coming out as a butterfly, as you’re supposed to be, you step out as a schizophrenic. And I think this is one of the greatest tragedies in the world, actually.”

 

Now Denmark’s first and only psychologist specializing in psychosis, she presented to rousing applause a detailed description of how she approaches her work with people in psychosis.

Therapist, scholar, and psychiatric activist Will Hall described himself as “recovering from a diagnosis of schizophrenia, because the diagnosis is something that I’m also recovering from.” He describes schizophrenia as a “cultural conflict. If I were living in a different cultural framework, my experience would have been valued and welcomed … I am not someone who has been returned to normalcy, I am someone who has embraced my difference.”

“I am offering a very special workshop,” Hall went on to say.

“It takes 96 hours and, most importantly, you cannot sleep during the 96 hours. I guarantee you everyone will hear voices who comes to that workshop because actually what we call madness, what we label as psychosis, is just a variation of human expression.

“I’m not saying that mental illness is a myth. I’m not saying that suffering is not real. Because i know that my suffering was very very real, and I did need help. I did need support. But what I needed help with, and support, was not around some disorder or some disease or some illness. What I needed help and support around was around my own isolation and powerlessness.”

Volkmar Aderhold told the story of becoming a disillusioned psychiatrist, and makes a generous offer:

“Ten years ago I (was) a normal psychiatrist in a university clinic. I started to read, truly to read studies—full-text studies, not abstracts—and I was shocked. And then I decided to confront the system with their own evidence. So in a way I present their evidence. You can get these slides and if you write an email to me you can get all the full texts you want to have for free! So read! And so if you are interested, read: read the whole thing not only the headlines. So that’s it; you can find a lot, and it started to be like a criminal story. And then I read Peter Gøtzsche’s books and I thought, “that’s about a criminal story but that came later.”

Volkmar then invited Peter Gøtzsche to join him on stage, ceding to him the last ten minutes of his allotted time. Gøtzsche — co-founder of the Cochrane Collaborative, the most respected source of information on medical standards, based on the most thorough meta-analyses of the scientific literature available — said:

“I have come to rather radical views on psychiatric drugs. (Actually), they are not at all radical. I think that they are based on all the best science I could find, but they are viewed as radical by others … In relation to Zyprexa, and Eli Lilly’s other blockbuster, Prozac, there were so many fundamental manipulations in the pivotal trials that they submitted for registration that in my view these drugs should never have seen the light of day. These are terrible drugs, both of them, but Eli Lilly made them blockbusters … Why is it that psychiatrists have a different view of their drugs than the patients and their relatives and what the science tells us? What is going on?  In antidepressant trials for example, the psychiatrists say that the drugs work, but when you ask the patients — whether children or adults — in the same trials, they say they don’t work. So whom do you believe?  I know whom to believe. We are not treating psychiatrists, we are treating patients.”

Psychiatrist Sami Timimi speaks of dispelling the illusion that prescribing medications is, in fact, a medical intervention:

“First I explain to people working with the trainees that if what you’re doing is something about trying to shift someone’s mental state, it is psychotherapy … (There is) this idea that there is a distinction between something we call psychotherapy, which is something some people do, talking to people in strange ways, helping them understand something, and then there’s something that the real doctors do, which is not psychotherapy, called pharmacotherapy, which is addressing something of the biological nature of some problems they experience.

“So I do cover some of the evidence that actually nobody’s come up with anything that shows that people are suffering from chemical imbalances. And that’s illustrated by the fact that we don’t send in tests for chemical imbalances. It’s purely an assumption. So the first thing I tell people is that whether you like it or not, when you prescribe something that you’re calling an antidepressant, with the intention that you’re hoping something will shift somebody’s mental state, it is psychotherapy. Sorry; you can’t avoid it: you do psychotherapy every day, whether you like it or not.”

Robert Whitaker presented the scientific case for why withdrawal should be a treatment option:

“There aren’t good studies on how you maximize success. In other words what should be the tapering protocols, what speed should it be done, what should be the decrease in dosage at each step … from a scientific research perspective it is a black hole. Why hasn’t the medical community addressed this question before?”

Psychiatric drug withdrawal, psychiatric survivors, critical psychiatry, negative effects of psychiatric drugs, negative effects of antidepressant, negative effect of SSRI, adverse effects of SSRI, adverse effects of psychiatric drug withdrawalJohn Read spoke of the arrogance of a medical specialization that purports to know more about people than they know of themselves, saying that in an international study 97% people with schizophrenia diagnosis did not believe they had an illness.

“These peoples’ beliefs were instantly dismissed as lack of insight, which was then interpreted as a symptom of the illness that they refuse to accept they have but the psychiatrist says they do have. I find this just a tad arrogant. And then it gets really entertaining, because they have now identified the part of the brain that causes you to disagree with your psychiatrist. You couldn’t make this up, could you?”

Aghast at the stark assessment of psychiatry found in a Cochrane review, Read went on to say:

“We have a branch of medicine that can compulsorily make people shorten their lifespan. What is going on? … My anger and frustration is directed at the profession of psychiatry who has lost sight of what a proper professional and ethical boundary is between itself and a profit-making organization.”

Criticism of psychiatry and psychology centers on the fact that both fields present themselves — or are perceived — as “knowing” things that are not substantiated by the evidence. However Read musters convincing evidence of another view of mental distress for which, though largely ignored in practice, ample evidence exists: the link between trauma and psychosis. Pushing back on those who reject data that contradict the common wisdom, Read says,

“This is cherry-picking. This is genuine cherry-picking. This is the strongest study. It’s the one I like to take to psychiatry conferences with me, because this is the study where people who had experienced five types of childhood adversity were 193 times more likely to be diagnosed with psychosis. And then I’m mean, and ask them to present in return anything from the entire biogenetic research field for the last 100 years that comes anywhere close to the strength of that kind of finding, and of course they can’t.”

However, tasked by Carina with providing a hopeful ending, Read reminded the audience that psychiatrists are a “tiny, tiny percentage of the mental health workforce,” and musters a thought from his favorite imprisoned Italian socialist who spoke of “pessimism of the intellect, and optimism of the heart.” Read summarizes:

“You can still keep looking at how bad things are, looking directly and honestly at them and naming them, and hold onto the hope that if enough people can also see that, and if we work together, we can change things.”

If Carina Håkansson has anything to do with it, we just might. Though there is little formal research on alternative approaches to psychoses, and on psychiatric drug withdrawal — after all, what moneyed interests are motivated to fund such research? — there is a generation of people, lifetimes of data, on how and why to pursue the alternatives. As Whitaker noted in his talk, we have seen that in every country that has adopted the medical standard of care, disability due to mental illness has gone up. The spirit that percolated in “The People’s House” points toward better ways. After all, as Carina asks, “what kind of society do we wish to be a part of?”

Previous articleWhen Psychiatric Medications Cause Psychiatric Symptoms
Next article“Is the FDA Too Cozy With Drug Companies?”
Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at kcole@madinamerica.com.

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33 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Kermit – Lovely Article,

    Re. : – ” …97% of people with Schizophrenia diagnosis did not believe they had an illness….”.

    “Schizophrenia” is supposed to be a longterm and Disabling disorder. But to recover Long term Functioning most people have to leave Medical Treatment and move to a non Medical approach. This would suggest that “Schizophrenia” itself doesn’t exist – and that the medical treatment is the problem.

    The Fact that people can Fully Recover outside the medical model from what’s described as “Schizophrenia” can be substantiated. Recovery can also be explained through the principles of Psychology.

  2. All the usual suspects I see. I’m just wondering when we get past the mental health professionals who caused this mess to the mental health system’s victim who endure it. Dissident professionals are great, and hopefully they can help change the system, but victims of the system have known about these matters for a long, long time, and their voices are still muffled by the lack of a slew of initials after their names. If mental illness, so-called, is only another expression for scape-goating, what then? The other problem is their under representation, that is, unless you see a knight in shining armor in academia and research science. I’m still waiting for these power disparities to be exposed, and dealt with. The scapegoats are well aware of their place, or lack thereof, within the pecking order.

    • I find your comment really interesting as I have just written a paper on power and privilege in a UK anti-capitalist climate campaign. My conclusion was that the problems in the campaign are also found in many activist movements in the UK and probably the USA too. The main problem was that the campaign was founded by upper middle class graduates and post graduates from Russel Group Universities, ie the posher ones of which Oxford and Cambridge are the most famous. The campaign is meant to work using consensus and has policies that talk about power and privilege and preventing discrimination against people of colour, disabled people and other marginalized groups yet every major decision is made by the coordinating group of upper middle class 25 – 35 year olds. Their ideas on power and privilege were seen almost entirely through their lens, thus language was policed but no creche at organising meetings was provided so parents, mainly working class women with children, could not participate in planning. The campaign managed to recreate the class structure of UK society while saying it was radical and vaguely anarchist. It’s tactics were great, it’s successes not surprisingly were limited.

      While I have the greatest respect for the professionals who are videoed here, from whom I have learnt so much, I think there is a lack of understanding of how to successfully challenge ingrained power structures. They are all growing in their international reputations and do shake psychiatry to some degree but I doubt that they alone will in anyway significantly undermine it. To have a chance of doing that all levels of the beast would need to be undermined and challenged by a large and effective movement and that can only be achieved by working alongside survivors and service users as equals.

      Here in the UK the Critical Psychiatry Network is for psychiatrists only. Other workers are directed to the hearing voices movement, which mainly deals with people who hear voices not the entirety of psychiatry and which has no groups for workers who criticise the many practices of psychiatry to come together support each other and develop strategy.

      I have great respect for all the professionals listed in this article but ultimately it is somewhat patronising for the upper middle class, which many of these people presenting are, to work on liberating an oppressed group without actually allowing them to lead the movement.

      It does not have to be like this. The Brazilian educator Paolo Friere was plainly a professional but he spent his life working alongside working class and disenfranchised communities, building up their self confidence and helping them fight for what they wanted. This slow long term strategy had great impacts in South America where over the long term dictators were ousted.

      • I’m not saying it wasn’t a good thing in some ways. I am saying that maybe there are some things about these “symposiums”, conferences, and such that are not perfect.

        Once we had a psychiatric survivor movement that was more vital than the one we’ve got today. This was before it became something of a “peer mental health worker” movement.

        The point I’m making is that now when it is a matter, more of less, of this elite versus that elite, a lot of people get lost in the shuffle. The “alternative” movement has got it’s own status quo of sorts, and this can make the situation more difficult for people who don’t have a university affiliation or a publishing company behind them.

        Essentially I’m agreeing with you. There are matters of power and privilege that have hardly been tackled, especially with those marginalized populations you speak of, and this disparity is sure to be felt more keenly where one aspect or another of the system is challenged.

          • IMO, the way to build a more vital psychiatric survivor would be to make that psychiatric survivor movement a movement to undermine psychiatry. De-legitimatize psychiatry, and you are well on your way to abolishing psychiatric oppression. I think there is something about all the people who have been de-voiced and marginalized by this academic or “expert” elite taking back their voices. We’ve known for sometime about all the damage done to people through standard psychiatric practice, we don’t need experts to tell us about it, we’ve developed our own expertise. “First do no harm” seems to be the lesson these supposed medical doctors want to learn last. When push comes to shove, I say, “push back”.

      • Hi John

        Once you move away from the barmy medical tranquilising approach – then the whole thing should open up.

        Psychology is good and has answers – but what have the psychologists been doing since 1970?

        There’s also nothing to say that a qualified doctor has any talent whatsoever at Psychotherapy.

        People with proven lived recovery are the genuine experts; and people that have gotten people better are also genuine experts.

        One thing I would object to is making very hard work out of Recovery – it can be a question of suitable drug taper and seeing what works. There’s nothing to say a person can’t then rejoin the human race at the same time. Lots of things in life are difficult!

    • ^^^^ Agreed. The solution here is not one group of professionals taking down another. Though I will be happy to see that happen. But the solution is for those who have been marginialized, denied an identity, to rise up and reclaim their place in a much altered society.

      Nomadic

  3. The government is paying the bill for the drugs in most cases.
    I am not paying to be poisoned and imprisoned without due process. Without the right to face my accuser of a crime I committed, or will commit in the future.(? a danger to self or others?AKA freedom)

    “Americans receiving SSI and SSDI due to psychiatric disability grew from 1.25 million (1 per 184) in 1987 to 3.97 million (1 in 76) in 2007. “Whitaker.

    In 2014, there were an estimated 9.8 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States with SMI. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/serious-mental-illness-smi-among-us-adults.shtml

    3.97 to 9.8 million in seven years
    If anyone knows how to put this growth into Excel or a graphics program of extrapolation, it would be cool.

    In 2021 with 20 million disabled persons.”Is the government getting what it is paying for?” (permanently disabled individuals, instead of temporary) Will have to be asked.

  4. They tell you don’t worry its “non addictive” but when you try and quit the disabling poison.

    Olanzapine Withdrawal: Sally’s Story. … I had a couple of goes coming off too quickly, and suffered horrific withdrawal symptoms; headache, agitation, anxiety, insomnia, nausea and vomiting, and feeling appallingly ill. I am vomit phobic, so the sickness drove me back on to the drug, and the symptoms went away. Olanzapine Withdrawal | RxISK

    http://rxisk.org/olanzapine-withdrawal-sallys-story/

    “Every time I raised the issue of whether I could be suffering an acute withdrawal syndrome from olanzapine it was roundly dismissed.”

    Thats what happened to me too. Those criminals did everything they could to cover up the horrific withdrawals they knew were happening to people.

    Never forget the Zyprexa crimes , The Zyprexa Papers Scandal http://psychrights.org/states/alaska/CaseXX.htm

  5. As a late comer to this community I am heartened and unsettled at the same time. Prior to graduate school I was bothered by an apparent abundance of “Job’s Comforters “. Helping professionals with an excessively anti-medicine bias, need to replace patients (one who suffers…how is that demeaning ?) frighten me a bit. During one workshop given by Dr. Peter Breggin, at a conference devoted to the life and work of R, D. Laing, I was stunned to hear Dr Bregger brag that he had never given a single patient any medicine in his entire career. Dr. Breggin wasn’t working any admissions units with mostly indigent and often dually diagnosed patients with schizophrenia, bipolar illness, profoundly depressed folks, and so on. To refuse to offer patients medicine that they actually request or beg for to ease their torment seems cruel, irresponsible, wildly arrogant, and indefensible. Some clinicians know too much about the outrageous ways anti-medicine folks can get. Unless you have had a loved one and/or personally been through some psychiatric impairment, and have logged years working on admissions units with largely unmedicated, agitated, and combative folks, it might be best to demonstrate a wee bit of humility. All the “anti ” fervor is the luxury of only the naive virulent form of utter disconnection from the real world, with loved ones who beg for medicine, when a clinical psychologist becomes so profoundly depressed that ECT and aggressive psychopharmacology are experienced as gifts. Too many non physician therapists routinely fail to refer patients to physicians for assessment of psychiatric symptoms caused by frankly medical problems. Brain tumors are missed, patients with serious thyroid dysfunction, some with stunningly low testosterone, or medical problems that present with psychiatric symptoms. It only takes a bit of education in medical psychology and humilty to refer our patients for medical work-ups. I have heard too many times about therapists who literally beg patients who want to try a medicine not to take it. WTF……Too many times I saw patients who had been in 10 years os “psychotherapy, never referred to a physician for work-up or psych meds. 10 years of suffering until they receive anxiolytcs to treat crippling panic and sustained panic, and maybe effexor (we love to hate effexor unless our lives were saved by it. Whatever the case, it is hell to taper of it for sure. But, maybe all of us could be a bit more humble-people who do every thing they can not to become “Job’s Comforters”. Yes, Big Pharma is evil, etc etc. But guess what—-thorazine and haldol were true godsends to patients chained to poles in basements of hospitals, full of urine and defecation, and just the worst conditions. These patients don’t give a damn what we preach about the evils of drugs, they beg for the treatment. The terribly inhumane and horrific warehousing of crazy folks vanished once thorazine rescued these foks real hell. Dr Breggin said with pride that he would deny a vet tormented by PTSD and panic and dread–who was begging for some relief from awful torment. In my mind that smacks of an inability to exercise compassion and common sense. Let these people have some xanax to to quell torturous anxiety and torment. Give them the medications known to help PTSD not become the brutal destoyer of a man’s soul. So when Dr. Breggin boasted that he’d deny them medication I became frightened and more than a little angry. Laing was NEVER one to deny a patient some humane relief from torture that could be lessened a great deal by some medicine. Of course, it requires very close monitoring, and lots of care when it appears a patient can taper off a medicine. Let them decide not the arrogant mental health professional who insists they need to come off all medicine pronto. Then we become exactly what we hate or detest–a Job’s Comforter. Sometimes judicious use of medicine is a truly healing experience. Anyway, I will stop. I see lots of very caring people here wanting to do right by our patients. Actually, it was Freud that said “Psychoanalysis is in essence a cure through love. Laing spoke of creating a sense of community and solidarity, allowing patients to experience communion with their doctor, and move into a transpersonal realm mostly best not talked much about. This way of attending to suffering souls works and that medicine is also used for a bit and this is okay. Lets not “other” clinicians different from our overly anti medicine blah blah, blah. It can nhever hurt to be humble and serve our patients and ourselves with the care we need to heal.

    • Call me old fashioned but I would say that a competent human rights investigation would be of more use than thorazine and haldol to patients chained to poles in basements of hospitals, full of urine and defecation, and just the worst conditions.

      Those drugs may or may not be beneficial and alternatives may or may not have been sufficient to address their problems but from what you are describing they would be irrelevant to the human rights abuses you are describing here.

      I wish that there was close monitoring when psyche drugs are prescribed, and lots of care when someone wants to taper off a drug I personally have never witnessed such a thing though I have seen the opposites happen more times than I care to remember.

      Your point that the prescription of psyche drugs should be done carefully, with full consent and lots of negotiation is one worth debating but on the whole it is an academic exercise as it is so far from what actually happens to most people.

    • To Irishrover777
      “thorazine and haldol were true godsends” Bullshit.

      Unless you personally have had the insatiable thirst that comes from receiving Thorazine (like I have), you are literally full of shit.
      The drugs are a torture, that is all.
      “If you don’t obey orders we will torture you worse.” is what the hospital workers say to you the patient.

      From your writing it seems you believe in the chemical imbalance theory to mental illness, because you call the drugs “medicine”. I disagree that the drugs are in fact medicine. You have to prove a deficit or chemical imbalance in the brain before you get to call the drugs “medicine”.
      If someone is greatly upset , uncommunicative and unreasonable, maybe a doctor can lock them up preventatively.
      The person(prisoner) has to told verbally and on paper (in a language they comprehend) what others find objectionable with the patients actions.

      You describe people looking for drugs, not medicine. You want to be a legal drug dealer, go ahead.

    • Ramble on, Irish rover…(sounds like a song, huh?)…

      Lets not “other” clinicians different from our overly anti medicine blah blah, blah.

      In other words you’re trying to compare our confronting drug pushing shrinks to “othering” via psychiatric labeling? This is equivalent to crying “reverse mentalism.”

      • Sounds like a song, does it? Indeed, it is a song.

        “The Irish Rover”

        On the fourth of July eighteen hundred and six
        We set sail from the sweet cove of Cork
        We were sailing away with a cargo of bricks
        For the grand city hall in New York
        ‘Twas a wonderful craft, she was rigged fore-and-aft
        And oh, how the wild winds drove her.
        She’d got several blasts, she’d twenty-seven masts
        And we called her the Irish Rover.

        We had one million bales of the best Sligo rags
        We had two million barrels of stones
        We had three million sides of old blind horses hides,
        We had four million barrels of bones.
        We had five million hogs, we had six million dogs,
        Seven million barrels of porter.
        We had eight million bails of old nanny goats’ tails,
        In the hold of the Irish Rover.

        There was awl Mickey Coote who played hard on his flute
        When the ladies lined up for his set
        He was tootin’ with skill for each sparkling quadrille
        Though the dancers were fluther’d and bet
        With his sparse witty talk he was cock of the walk
        As he rolled the dames under and over
        They all knew at a glance when he took up his stance
        And he sailed in the Irish Rover

        There was Barney McGee from the banks of the Lee,
        There was Hogan from County Tyrone
        There was Jimmy McGurk who was scarred stiff of work
        And a man from Westmeath called Malone
        There was Slugger O’Toole who was drunk as a rule
        And fighting Bill Tracey from Dover
        And your man Mick McCann from the banks of the Bann
        Was the skipper of the Irish Rover

        We had sailed seven years when the measles broke out
        And the ship lost it’s way in a fog.
        And that whale of the crew was reduced down to two,
        Just meself and the captain’s old dog.
        Then the ship struck a rock, oh Lord what a shock
        The bulkhead was turned right over
        Turned nine times around, and the poor dog was drowned
        I’m the last of the Irish Rover

        J.M. Crofts

  6. Hi Irishrover777,
    The EASIEST thing in the world is to get psychiatric drugs, ECT or any psychiatric treatment that biological psychiatry offers! It is NEVER EVER a problem getting psychiatric treatment! So to be honest I am rather dumbfounded that you write what you write here! For surely you are aware that it is the other way around? That the greatest problem is the human right to say NO to psychiatry, NO to psychiatric drugs, NO to ECT, No to forced incarceration and restraints NO to shortened life expectancy and iatrogenic brain damage and that having a medical system that can without a blink of an eye perform these human rights abuses by ignoring peoples NO, is whats at stake here!
    So Peter Breggin is a psychiatrist who respects that, who has chosen to look take a stand against psychiatric drugs and offer a non medical approach, he is indeed a rare breed of psychiatrists and we need many more like that. There are 19 to a dozen other psychiatrists who will be writing a prescription so quick they have to take care it does not catch fire.
    BTW many of these videos explain why people want alternatives to medical model and why Peter Breggin has turned his back on conventional psychiatry. We should be opening up spaces for genuine alternatives so that those who want a medical model approach can of course continue to choose that if they so wish, but that those who dont want it can choose something else and that forced psychiatry ceases to exist.

  7. Coming up with appropriate ways to wean people off these toxic and debilitating psychiatric drugs is a very important subject – thanks to all who took part in this conference.

    I will say my psychiatrists, two of whom did wean me off the drugs, didn’t know how to do it appropriately – the super sensitivity withdrawal effects of the psychiatric drugs were misdiagnosed as a “return of symptoms” the first time, and they were misdiagnosed as “adjustment disorder” the second time.

    I do believe garnering wisdom from of those of us who were successful in surviving the withdrawal symptoms, and healing from the drug toxicity and withdrawal symptoms on our own, may currently be your best source of information on this subject matter. Thus considering hiring some of us ‘experts by experience’ to assist in such research, might not be a bad idea.

    • Hi Someone Else,

      I always like your posts. If there’s no cure in “Psychiatry” (self acknowledged), and we’ve managed to recover – then we are the experts. With the way things are going in terms of disability and life expectancy can our advice be turned down?

  8. Mental Health system,kill up to 3 millions of people,each year.On global level.
    It’s logical that system existence benefict both pro-mental health movement
    and also anti-psychiatry movement.We talk about experts,of course.And payed
    activists from both siddes.One psychiatrist hand,won’t cut off,another psychiatrist
    hand.And same is with psychologists and psychotherapists.My crazy brethren
    have no right to say anything in so called western democracy bullshit or open
    society myth.Yes you can wrote your comments on websites and play invisible
    ghosts in society.This won’t change anything.Start with new movement:
    Occupy NIMH!!! THIS MOVEMENT WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING!!!

  9. Yes, we must educate people about how wrong psychiatric medications are, as also is the idea that people should use street drugs or alcohol for emotional coping. And we must also fight against psychotherapy, life-coaching, and recovery.

    Nomadic

  10. Sure, we need psychiatry to evole, to have a revolution. The good people featured in this article identify valuable paths of inquiry to pursue. Meantime, we live in our real world where imperfections reigns supreme. Really few folks worked in psychiatry hospitals during the time before first generation anti-psychotics. Many patients were shackled in one way or another, Their living agony was apparent to most. Hardly anyone has worked with lobotomy patients. Insulin shock and iced baths, etc. Straight-jackets seemed the least of the evils.

    Thorazine was experienced to be a godsend by most everyone. Now, it was obvious patients were unnecessarily snowed or zonked. The “side-effects” (as Laing explained the “side effects” were main effects of the medicine that we deemed unwanted) were troublesome and longer term “side effects” even more so. Truthfully, there have been very few advances in psychopharmacology since first generation of antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, antidepressants, anxiolytics, etc. That said, psychotropics have helped a tremendous number of people.

    Extremism in any form is ultimately transgressive and self destructive. R.D. Laing was never “anti-medicine” and refused the anti-psychiatry label. When a patient requested medicine to manage terrible anxiety or insomnia or psychosis he wasn’t resistant to giving a prescription. He made clear he hoped a psychiatrist would offer him medication to quell extreme symptoms of this or that. His beef was that so much of what happens in psychiatry is involuntary and/or absent informed consent.

    Dr. Peter Breggin bragged that he’d never prescribed a single medicine in his psychiatric career. When asked how he would treat a patient who’d returned from combat suffering from symptoms consistent with PTSD he boasted he wouldn’t give them medicine even if they asked or begged. When pressed he said he’d refer the patient while suggesting this rarely happened. This frightens me every bit as much as a traditional psychiatrist mindlessly ordering medication.

    We are quite fortunate to live in a time where psychotropics are available. Armchair critics have opinions though none that strike note with me. Old-timers who worked in patient psychiatry pre 1960, family doctors and psychiatrists working in settings they understand to be less than ideal, patients and their families suffering with severe problems tend to be more measured in their take on psychiatry in 2017.

    Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater.