The Right to Refuse Psychiatric Treatment

Merete Nesset
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The Norwegian Mental Health Care Act claims to be “grounded on the needs of the patient and respect for human dignity” (Chapter 1. Section 1-1). All too many patients have painfully learned that the legislative purpose of the law is not necessary fulfilled in clinical practice. All too many of us are living testimony of disrespectful and inhuman treatment, commonly referring to ourselves as “survivors” of a paternalistic psychiatric paradigm that most definitely didn’t meet our needs and still serves us more harm than good. Not everyone survives.

These unfortunate circumstances are reflected in a remarkable phenomenon: The core objective of several mental health and service user organizations is to radically change the existing practice by significantly changing the legislation or even removing the Mental Health Care Act altogether, harmonizing with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD.

To my knowledge, few or no somatic patient interest groups are similarly founded on the explicit need to revolt. This leaves a clue: There is something terribly wrong going on behind closed doors in mainstream psychiatry. If all is well, why would so many people so strongly advocate the need for change? We don’t all lack insight, you know. On the contrary.

My views are not based on research published in reputable scientific publications. My opinions are empirically founded: I have personal experience from being a psychiatric patient for 23 years. I have been harassed, treated with utter disrespect and sheer physical violence. (Please note: I have never been harmful to myself nor others.) I’ve been subject to dramatic involuntary commitment and forced medical treatment. All of which resulted in emotional and physical damage I still suffer from today. It would probably be easier to live with my horrific memories had my own experiences been unfortunate and based on unprecedented interventions which my perpetrators were punished for committing. The sad fact is that nobody apologizes. Nobody was punished.

The “treatment” I was forcefully given on several occasions is still common practice today. Witnessing fellow patients being treated just as inhumanely, as well as volunteering in the mental health activist community and having heard hundreds of similarly terrible stories from former and present patients, their families and bereaved, are the fundamentals of my social commitment to activism.

From time to time I’m accused of portraying mainstream psychiatry in an unbalanced manner. As an advocate for change I don’t see it as my job to paint the whole picture every time I open my mouth in public or post a statement on Twitter. My agenda is drawing attention to the discriminatory practice of involuntary treatment and to propose a legal amendment that secures individuals like me an airtight right to refuse psychiatric medical treatment.

Having said that, I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize that the problem I’m addressing isn’t a question of pro or con medication, as such. I fully recognize that many mental health patients see themselves as helped by psychiatric drugs and choose to take their meds, sometimes also in spite of troublesome side effects. Believe me: I am not against psychopharmaceuticals per se. I oppose the legality as well as question the professionalism of forcing psychiatric drugs on persons who, for whatever reason, do not wish to ingest such medication.

I hope I live to see the day when involuntary medical treatment will be made a criminal offence. In the meantime, I propose we open up for an individually available, indisputable legal right to refuse psychiatric treatment by formally and proactively opting out of it by enclosing psychiatric advance directives in one’s medical journal.

During the past couple of years I have asked an unknown number of psychiatrists, psychologists, lawyers, patients, students, friends and family as well as politicians and bureaucrats if they can come up with some sensible arguments against giving the right to refuse psychiatric treatment to the individual wanting to own his own right to autonomy. To this day, not a single argument has been put forward. Not one! I find this intriguing. Why do we maintain a practice that no one argues against modifying on an individual level?

In June of 2016, Norway’s Minister of Health, Bent Høie, presented a proposal to change the Mental Health Act to give individuals who are competent to consent the right to refuse treatment or to discontinue ongoing treatment. Theoretically this may seem like a step in the right direction for proponents of granting the right to refuse treatment to the individual patient. However, many of us maintain that this amendment will have small to no practical effect, given that the mental health professional deciding whether or not the patient holds the mental capacity required to be considered competent to consent (or refuse) is the very same person responsible for making administrative decisions regarding involuntary medical treatment.

The Mental Health Act states that “compulsory mental health care may only be applied when, after an overall assessment, this clearly appears to be the best solution for the person concerned”. It is reasonable to argue that a patient who opposes the “clearly best solution” will be considered as demonstrating lack of insight and thereby not having mental capacity by definition. In practice this means that only those of us who don’t oppose coercion are granted the right to refuse coercion. The moment we refuse, the right to refuse is refused. Catch-22, anyone?

In the summer months of 2016, the topic of the establishment of drug-free mental health treatment units in Norway was debated in the press. The main argument of the mental health professionals opposing the drug-free units was that drug-free treatment of psychoses is unscientific and thereby unethical. What puzzles me is that the very same professionals have failed to document that involuntary medical treatment is beneficial to the patients exposed to such extreme measures. To my knowledge, most (or all?) effect studies on antipsychotic drugs are conducted on patients voluntarily taking their medication. How, then, can anyone claim that the existing (and still legal!) involuntary treatment practice is based on science?

Not everyone benefits from taking antipsychotic drugs. NNT vary in different studies. The research is conducted top-down with focus on symptom reduction irrespective of the patients’ personal experiences and preferences. I find it scary that there are limited ways, if any, to predict who will benefit from the drugs and who won’t. And even scarier: There are limited ways to predict who will be harmed by the drugs, although we do know the drugs are potentially harmful.

There is, however, one very probable way of knowing that a certain psychiatric drug will harm an individual: If the individual in question has been harmed before by the same drug, one doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to derive that the drug will harm the patient again. The weirdest thing, though, is that there are still old-school psychiatrists in the Norwegian mental health system who insist on forcing the same kind of drugs (i.e. antipsychotics) over and over again on patients who demonstrably were harmed the first time around. How do you live with yourselves as a profession, passively allowing this kind of inhumane practice to continue? Whatever happened to the Hippocratic Oath “First, do no harm?”

All too often, when former and present mental health patients share our own horror stories with professionals, we are met by shrugging, headshaking and disbelief. I am getting tired of psychiatrists who claim that they “do not recognize the stories you are telling”, implying that this kind of malpractice does not exist anywhere. Don’t take it personally if it’s not your practice. If you’re appalled by our horror stories, won’t you rather join us in our battle to make this madness come to an end?

If I was ever to be forcefully drugged with antipsychotics again, I am not certain I would survive the magnitude of the trauma such an incident would inflict on me. I lead a relatively retired life, in constant and justifiable fear of being subjected to involuntary psychiatric treatment once again. I am not alone. I know lots of survivors of psychiatry who stay as far away from the system as possible. It’s terrible that so many people suffer in silence because they’re afraid of being subjected to traumatizing and retraumatizing coercion. It feels unfair that patients like us have no legal protection from harmful and potentially life-threatening “treatment” in the Norwegian mental health care system. If worst comes to worst, our lives are in the hands of the random health care professional who happens to be at work on a given day.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Give us back our autonomy. Don’t underestimate our abilities to make sound and well-considered decisions about our own health, treatment and wellbeing. Grant us the legal right to refuse psychiatric “treatment” through psychiatric advance directives based on our own preferences and experiences. It’s urgent. We don’t have another survivor to lose.

This article also appears in the current issue of The Nordic Psychiatrist.

Nature: my refuge, my sanctuary (photo by Merete Nesset)
Nature: my refuge, my sanctuary (photo by Merete Nesset)

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87 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, we must outlaw all forced treatment.

    But having said this, understand that most treatment of children is not really voluntary. Lots of social programs include talk sessions which are like mental health treatment, and they are not really voluntary.

    Most therapy is voluntary, and people don’t understand that they are betraying themselves by talking to any kind of a therapist.

    Nomadic

    Move from talk to action, please join:
    http://freedomtoexpress.freeforums.org/index.php

  2. Merete, great article, credit to you for speaking up.

    Regarding the idea that treating people experiencing psychotic states of mind without drugs is “unscientific” (a strange thing to say given that “schizophrenia” is a disjunctive unscientific diagnosis, and since there is no scientific support for using tranquilizers beyond one year), do they not know about William Gottdiener’s research on this issue (or the Open Dialogue results)?

    Check it out here – http://psychrights.org/Research/Digest/Effective/BGSchizophreniaMeta-Analysis.htm

    This piece, the biggest meta-analysis of psychotherapy for extreme states (covering 2,600 plus people, in 37 separate studies of therapy averaging 20 months’ duration) came to the following conclusions from Gottdiener:

    “There is a long-standing controversy about the use of conjoint medication in the psychotherapy of people with schizophrenia. For many years psychotherapists were reluctant to employ antipsychotic medication as an adjunct to psychotherapy because they thought it would disturb the therapeutic process. However, since at least the 1960s most therapists that treat people with schizophrenia have used antipsychotic medication in conjunction with psychotherapy. Most therapists think it is indispensable. However, between 40% and 75% of patients do not take their medication (Perkins, 1999) and there are many for whom medications fail to work (see above Hegarty et al., 1994). For these patients and for therapists who choose to offer treatment with little or no adjunctive medication, it would be important to know if such treatments work.

    When antipsychotic medication was used with individual psychotherapy the mean effect size was r = .31 (95% CI + .19 to .42). When antipsychotic medications were not administered with individual psychotherapy the mean effect size was also r = .31 (95% CI + .12 to .48). The corrected effect size and BESD results for psychotherapy with medication and without medication was the same. The corrected effect size was r = .36 and the BESD results showed that improvement rate increased from 35% to 66%.”

    “It is surprising that the proportion of patients that were likely to improve without conjoint medication, is similar to the proportion of patients that were likely to improve with a combination of individual psychotherapy and antipsychotic medication. This finding is contrary to most therapists’ clinical expectations. The finding that individual psychotherapy can be effective without medication is not new (see Karon & VandenBos, 1981). However, it is important because it suggests that individual psychotherapy alone might be a viable treatment option for some patients who do not improve from treatment with antipsychotic medications, for some patients who refuse to take medications, or for patients who are treated by therapists that choose to use little or no adjunctive medication.”

    You might also like to see this piece where I wrote about non-drug approaches to extreme distress –
    https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/10/rejecting-medications-for-schizophrenia-narrative-part-2/

    There are a lot of these accounts of full recovery from extreme states without drugs out there; psychiatrists just seem to be unaware of them, perhaps because non-drug focused approaches challenge their status as authorities and interrupt their Pharma funding.

    Also Merete, you might find these ideas from a comment posted on another forum useful, about how to create counter-narratives to psychiatric views:
    ——-
    There are many avenues through which laypeople with lived experience can write and speak about their ideas and get published – for example, via self-published Amazon Kindle books, using blogs self-made on WordPress, Wix or Weebly, via Mad in America, Counterpunch, Truthout, or Asylum Magazine; via creating a Youtube channel, or via Facebook groups. These can all be done essentially for free or for a few dollars/pounds a month.

    With the advent of these freely available online social media outlets, there are far fewer barriers to non-professionals spreading alternative views. So I encourage you to write about your views, as the proportion of writing about extreme states coming from people with lived experience needs to increase.

    Such actions disrupt the story promulgated by mainstream psychiatric researchers and Pharma-funded institutions of there being a biogenetically-based brain disease called schizophrenia needing drugging in every case – a false narrative that is already under assault, and which will come under increasing pressure as counter-information to the mainstream views about “schizophrenia” becomes more widely available.

    Please get more people in Norway to speak up; you are right we don’t have another survivor to lose.

    • If you really want psychiatrists to avoid you, point out that the better institutions of 150 years ago could recover around 50% of their insane (read schizophrenic) patients, while, thanks to modern pharmaceutical psychiatry, their recovery rate is a booming 10%. It might be more amusing if you brought this up during a public presentation by an authority on pharmaceutical psychiatry who was stupid enough to answer questions from the audience during his talk.

  3. I like how you pointed out that psychiatric survivors are often pressured to say something positive about psychiatry whenever we talk about how it brutalized us. Once we’re unchained from the hospital bed, we’re chained once more by the obligation to “bright-side” our psychiatric torture. When psychiatrists can no longer tell us that we’re “wrong” (forgetful, ignorant, “delusional”, fill in the speech-gag) to oppose their “work”, they try to shut down the psychiatric torture conversation by guilt-tripping us into inventing some good PR about psychiatry. But I’m done with chains of all kinds. Psychiatry is getting NO MORE OF MY TIME and NO MORE CONTROL over my perception of the realities I must live with. Ms. Nesset, you’ve reaffirmed my conviction to take MYSELF as seriously as I had once taken psychiatry. Thank you! This was an early Christmas present!

  4. The underlying theories of psychiatry and psychiatric treatments are based on materialism, which was officially condemned as a heretical belief by the Catholic Church at the First Vatican Council towards the end of the 19th century. Thus, forced psychiatric treatment is a question of religious freedoms, which are protected by law in many countries.

    http://sophiaidios.blogspot.ca/2016/12/great-martyr-anastasia-deliverer-from.html

  5. For United States citizens there is a precedent
    In 1967 the Ford Foundation established funding for First Nation folks throughout the nation for legal services and help
    The collusion between Psychiatry and the legal profession is a huge Berlin Wall obstacle
    The prejudice and stigma attorneys cohabit in terms of even talking about some one who is different is bone chilling
    We all are doa when trying to get legal help for legitimate medical malpractice much like First Nation people’s,the sufferergettes, freed slaves caught in the web of slavery
    It all stinks to high heaven
    Let’s hope the more voices that cry out for all disenfranchised will as ( the one remark I liked that President Reagan said) Tear down that wall!

  6. Great post. Merete, thank you for writing this piece.

    Obviously something is wrong when the established or official science gets much much worse results than the critical or alternative science.

    One has to ask, where’s the “disease”? Psychiatry has been looking for ages, and they still can’t pin it down. Second, the equation of “disease” with “disorder”, do they equate? Third, what if you don’t even have a “disease”? The way they’ve gotten around this matter is to define “disease” in a rather broad and untenable fashion. Now how do we return to “health”/society when “disease”/(“reason” for quarantine) is whatever they want it to be?

    Everybody should have the right to refuse or decline treatment. If they did, voluntary treatment would be truly voluntary rather than a terrorist plea bargain deal offered by the oppressive therapeutic state. Voluntary treatment should be a matter of being able to leave anytime you felt like it, and not a matter where your status would be changed to involuntary if you did try to leave, the way it often is today. We should have institutions without locked doors where patients could come and go as they pleased. We don’t have that. Instead we’ve got psychiatric prisons.

    We could use more articles in this vein at MIA. Hopefully, we will be hearing more from you in the future.

    • I must say that, as usual, your are smack dab on target with your observations here.

      Even persons who’ve signed into the “hospital” voluntarily find it very difficult to leave when they choose to do so. I’ve seen it happen just one time in seven years. And just because they’re “voluntary” doesn’t mean that they aren’t forced to take the drugs. There is all kinds of coercion both subtle and not so subtle. I’ve seen people brought in under court orders (45 day, 180 day)who are pressured to sign in as “voluntary” and remain in the “hospital” after the court order is up and they should be free to go. I’ve come to believe that there is no such thing as “voluntary” when dealing with the system. You are correct, the entire thing is much more like “terrorist plea bargaining”.

      A number of years ago the state “hospital” where I work was unlocked, except for the forensic part. People often went to the bar down the street to have a couple of beers in the afternoon. People roamed the grounds but came back at appropriate times. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t some kind of Shangrala where everything was wonderful because people still had to take the drugs. But the doors were unlocked and talk therapy was going on, despite the drugs, and people seemed to move forward back out into life.

      Then, one evening the daughter of a judge was murdered in the laundry mat down the street from the “hospital”. The murderer was a “patient”. The judge raised such a stink that the doors of the “hospital” were locked and have remained so to this day. And the talk therapy disappeared and things become more restricted with each month that passes. The one thing that didn’t disappear are the toxic drugs and in fact they are the only things that have increased in use since the day the doors were locked.

  7. I agree with the other posters, this is a good article. Is lucid. Touches important points.

    Part of the problem is at the professionals of mental health. They refuse to see and hear the complaints of the people that are forceful medicated.

    But their victims, they are to blame too.
    The victims dont complain enough.
    They have fear.
    They run away from the problem.
    They are widely, oh so widely… divided.
    So they they are poweless… and are easily silented and crushed by the system. Despite beeing many thousands… more than the doctors and nurses together.

  8. Frank, I couldn’t agree more!

    “Now how do we return to “health”/society when “disease”/(“reason” for quarantine) is whatever they want it to be?”

    Herein lies the rub…if you criticize psychiatry, they simply say it is because you “lack insight” into your “disease/illness”, and that, in itself, is a “disease” (anosognosia). Psychiatry does not and cannot provide any evidence at all that its “patients” actually have any disease or illness, and yet it is free to kidnap, imprison and drug people, and then to do it some more if they object.

    And because there are no tests or scans, there is no way to prove you do NOT have one of their “diseases”.

    I have been functioning in society without the “medications” (read psychiatrically prescribed mind altering drugs that pitched me headlong into hell when I had lived for the first 50 years of my life with no “mental illness”) for over 6 years, and yet I am still considered for “medical” purposes a psychiatric patient, so can’t refuse those same drugs that made me so ill.

    It really is very frightening to know that a “doctor” could force drugs on me which I know will plunge me back into absolute hell and there is nothing I can do about it because advance care directives can be ignored when it comes to psychiatry’s “diseases” and drugs.

    Psychiatry has left me very deeply traumatised… it is NEVER OK to imprison and forcibly drug someone, but doing it under the guise of treating a disease that cannot be shown to even exist with mind altering drugs is an absolute betrayal of both our trust in the medical profession and in human rights and justice.

    • if you criticize psychiatry, they simply say it is because you “lack insight” into your “disease/illness”, and that, in itself, is a “disease” (anosognosia).

      WE know however that “mental illness” is a MYTH, which in reality demonstrates OUR insight. So once again they’ve got it totally backwards.

      And because there are no tests or scans, there is no way to prove you do NOT have one of their “diseases”.

      Substitute “crime” for “disease” — in a court of law it is not your responsibility to prove you are innocent, it’s the prosecution’s job to prove your guilt. Again, substitute “psychiatrist” for “prosecutor” and you’ll get my drift.

      • How is mental illness a myth? Suicidality, violent thoughts, hallucinations, delusions, mania, depression, agoraphobia, anorexia, nightmares, flashbacks, hypervigilence….these things aren’t real? Oh, please. These experiences are just as real as cancer, hypertension, or diabetes.

        • All these things that you mention are absolutely real but they do not constitute an “illness” in the sense that the medical community thinks of as an illness. Psychiatry and the drug companies promote these things as having to do with an illness but this is because they stand to gain from such an idea either monetarily or by getting egos stroked.

          • What does constitute an illness, then, Stephen? I would venture to say that if someone loses touch with reality on a regular basis that they are ill. Do you disagree? Do you think that people who regularly hallucinate and are disturbed by these hallucinations are not ill?

        • They’re signs something may be amiss with the wiring, but not necessarily what the fix is. We can presume pharmacotherapy is not the fix- its poor results guarantee that. We can also presume not understanding real illnesses that cause “mental” symptoms, but also have mundane origins, is a handicap too many shrinks possess.

    • You point out something that is important here when you state that psychiatric advanced directives can be ignored.

      You can invest hours of work in filling out those directives and you can have them filed with your psychiatrist and medical doctor and with everyone’s uncles galore but they are only as good as the psychiatrist that gets your case in the “hospital” or community “mental health” clinic that you get sent to. The psychiatrist who gets your case can ignore your directive with no legal problems for her or him. Psychiatric advanced directives are not legally binding and you have no recourse at all if the psychiatrist on your case chooses to ignore everything. How many psychiatrists are going to honor this directive?

  9. Involuntary treatment makes me so angry. The right to bodily autonomy goes out the window when it’s decided that we’re ill. When it’s decided, by a group of staff members, that it’s in our best interests to be hospitalized/medicated/restrained.

    Not to mention, “voluntary” hospitalization becomes involuntary the moment you decide to leave. Ever try to leave against medical advice? I have. I didn’t get to leave. Shocking.

    • Yes, I experienced that too. Start as a voluntary patient seeking support for some transient emotional distress, get given allegedly safe and effective “medication” and when that “medication” makes you really ill you’re forced to keep taking it while they say they have unmasked underlying “disease” (for which there are no tests) and proceed to increase the “medication” that caused the reaction and add a few more for good measure.

      Because there’s no tests to show that psychiatric “diseases” exist, it is equally impossible to prove you don’t have one! They’ve got you and they won’t let you go.

      I am sure that if the general public was aware of how easily psychiatry can strip them of ALL their human and legal rights, no-one would ever consent to seeing a psychiatrist.

  10. Yes, I question why is a person able to say no to chemotherapy, but, is nearly locked up for saying to no to psychiatric drugs and the accompanying treatment. And this I don’t know I’m sick, so I must be sick is beyond idiot thinking. Who does not know their mind and body? I say most people really do, but are so afraid of all medical doctors and especially the psychiatric ones, they are afraid to say no; that will harm me, because I know my body and mind. We have been BRAINWASHED to believe the lie that we are not the ultimate authority on who we are. I am not trying to dispute anyone religious beliefs whatever they may be. Psychiatry as our “state religion” already is attempting that and for many sad souls, succeeding; thus what really did happen to “freedom of religion and freedom from religion.?” Our founding fathers are crying in their “graves.

  11. As a mental health professional in the US, I find your story and experience troubling and disturbing. Obviously, I believe that the system has failed people when they are treated like criminals who have their rights taken away due to an “illness”. I believe that client autonomy ought to be sacred; on the flip side, at one point in time does society have a moral obligation to step in and make choices for someone who is obviously ill? I worked for a homeless agency and felt that my community let many of my clients down by allowing them to suffer on the streets rather than hospitalize them until they are well enough to live safety in the community. Too often I saw that hospitals would quickly discharge these folks because they lacked the necessary beds or didn’t want to deal with their problems (often they were uninsured as well). Now in the US we lock up over 2 million Americans, often for non-violent and drug related crimes. It is estimated that 25-50% of inmates have a mental health condition. We have moved clients out of MH institutions and into jails. That is sad and immoral to me.

    I have a question. Should we allow someone to sleep outside naked in freezing conditions because it is “their choice”? At what point do the state or professionals need to step in and make decisions for a person who clearly is unable to do so (at that time). There is a balance here. Serious mental illness is real; I have seen the harm firsthand when people don’t get the treatment they clearly need. Now I agree that psychotropics can be very problematic, since each person is doing a mini experiment with drugs and most people have at least minor SEs. My clinic is now able to do genetic testing to determine what medications are likely to be best metabolized by the individual, and I think this is a step in the right direction. I get why many clients do not feel comfortable taking medications. This is an issue for both MH and physical health treatments. People simply don’t like to take daily meds.

      • What do you mean a “hopeless case?” Seems like you are dismissing what I say without even attempting to answer my legitimate question. Do you think a person with a mental health condition who cannot take care of themselves should be just left to rot? It’s a serious question. At what point is it acceptance to ensure the safety of someone who cannot take care of themselves in a safe manner?

          • Hey Frank, so what about hallucinations, delusions, catatonia, hypervigilence, anorexia, bulimia, OCD, suicidal thoughts? These symptoms are often detrimental to the human condition, causing unwanted suffering. Folks who experience it need relief, which can cme in many forms. These symptoms are just as serious as high blood pressure, obesity, and cancer.

          • What about BS? You’ve got the specialist terminology. I don’t think you have much else until you get to physical conditions, that is, tangibles.

            “These symptoms are often detrimental to the human condition, causing unwanted suffering.”

            Excuse me. Symptomatic of detriment to the human condition? I know you’re not kidding, but…a witch hunt? We know the results of your witch hunt. Forcing unwanted treatment on folks is the cause of a great deal of “unwanted suffering”. Recognizing the humanity of humanity, I guess we’ve got a great distance to cover before we get there.

        • Hey shaun f

          You might want to take a gander at some of the other information/articles on this site.

          The only ‘treatment’ available to people in distress (caused by poverty, family dysfunction/violence, the breakdown of community, recreational drug abuse) is *psych drugs*. That’s it. And maybe maybe after a few years the prescriber can get the ‘right’ combination for ya. Psych drugs don’t CURE anything. There is no proof of ‘chemical imbalances’ in distressed people’s brains. Maybe, if you’re wealthy, there could be some counseling by a ‘mental health’ professional if you’re lucky. There is NO PROOF, NO TESTS, nada, nothing, zip (not even ‘genetic testing’ or ‘brain scans’) that can accurately diagnose ‘mental illnesses’.

          Psychiatry and psychology are ultimately forms of social control.

          To help those who ‘can’t take care of themselves’ our resources would be better spent supporting families in poverty, strengthening communities, and finding ways to encourage a meaningful existence, instead of the dog eat dog rat race to the bottom disposable paradigm we got.

          Keep your ‘good/educated’ judgements and coercion off my body.

          • Well humanbeing, I am not sure where you live, but here in Colorado people can chose a wide range of treatment, such as case management and group and individual psychotherapy (thank goodness for expanding Medicaid here). I would much prefer that clients get therapy first and go from there, but the system isn’t set up that way in many cases (in my MH center, therapy is the default form of treatment; sorry to hear that isn’t the case elsewhere). I have no interest forcing meds on people. Here, that is illegal anyway unless there is a court certification, and even then clients have the right to challenge it in court. Very few people in Colorado actually are in this position. Most people in the mental health system chose to be in it here. I do agree that more resources need to be spent on housing, healthcare, vocational assistance, etc. I think our society tends to focus on treating the symptom and not the cause of problems (this is also why many clients aren’t comfortable with therapy, because it does require vulnerability and challenging oneself). Pills treat symptoms and they aren’t a cure. We haven’t found a cure for most illnesses. And I have no interest in coercing people to do anything they don’t want to. I am interested in making sure that people with a illness are safe.

          • shaun f

            The drugs that are forced on people labeled as the “mentally ill” are not meds. They do not cure any disease and many times cause the very things that they are supposed to “cure”. They destroy peoples’ lives, especially if taken over the long term. They cause metabolic syndrome, diabetes, tardive dyskinesia and akathesia (sp). They shrink the fontal lobes of the brain, the very part of the brain that makes us who we are as individuals. They keep people from being in touch with their emotions and feelings and often make it impossible to hold down a job. There are a few people who seemed to be helped by the drugs but most people don’t seem to experience this. So, why do you think people don’t want to take these drugs? Have you ever taken any of them yourself? `

  12. Please Mr. Shaun F. I don’t know how it is in Colorado, but, I can very much bet, there is coercion to take these drugs. First, you see an LCSW or maybe you are referred to such a place, and before you know it you are in for a “med review” and from probably one, but most likely two to probably six or seven or maybe more that you are supposed to take for the rest of your life; because you must be “maintained” “not have a relapse” “you’re seriously and pervasively mentally ill” etc. I have heard it all and it all lies. Yes, “wood” rots, not people. But, wood only “rots” when it is cut from a HEALTHY tree and not allowed to be and it should be. Good wood does not “rot” if it is taken care of with love and compassion. These drugs and other garbage your “clinics” across our country “rot” these people like the wood that used to be someone’s furniture or cabin or bed or even a Christmas tree. Christmas trees die because they dry out, not because they “rot” without love. Your “clinics” give no love which is what people really need. They don’t need to be “numbers” cast out to “rot and die.” That “homeless” person needs love, too. These so-called “mental illnesses” are only in the mind of the ones giving the toxic drugs, therapy, etc. And, it is not the “mental illnesses’ and their lack of treatment” that kills people and makes them sick. And, after you get that “homeless” person off the street, who you says is “rotting” and drug him and therapize him, where will he live? I doubt anyone in that agency will put him up. When, I was going to one of those “agencies” the staff and counselors did not even want to be bothered on weekends and after 6pm. It is the toxic therapy and drugs that steal the very souls, minds, and bodies of people who only want to fine their place in this world, and their way and their purpose.

    • There is little to no coersion to take medications in Colorado. Most people receive treatment on a voluntary basis. What I find more is that people are reluctant to fully engage in therapy because it requires a lot more effort and challenges the status quo (most people are uncomfortable with change). I find that many clients would rather take a pill hoping it will change their life. We live in a culture of instant gratification and therapy rarely provides this. I agree that humans need love and compassion.

      • No coercion to take the drugs in Colorado? I wonder about that. Coercion takes many forms and can be very subtle. You’re in the net and caught without even realizing it and then you can’t get out.

        I do agree with you that many Americans seem to prefer taking pills as magic cures rather than having to do the hard work of resolving and healing the issues of their lives. However, I’m not so sure that this is the case when it comes to the psychiatric drugs, although Americans swill the so-called “antidepressants” like they’re candy. I don’t know.

        I prefer to not argue about all this but do encourage you to perhaps look at all this “mental illness” stuff from a new and different perspective. A truly enlightened therapist would be of great help to people but simply trotting out the same old false paradigm about “mental illness” is not very helpful to anyone.

        • For whatever reason I was unable to the post above, so I’m doing it here.

          shaun f

          The drugs that are forced on people labeled as the “mentally ill” are not meds. They do not cure any disease and many times cause the very things that they are supposed to “cure”. They destroy peoples’ lives, especially if taken over the long term. They cause metabolic syndrome, diabetes, tardive dyskinesia and akathesia (sp). They shrink the fontal lobes of the brain, the very part of the brain that makes us who we are as individuals. They keep people from being in touch with their emotions and feelings and often make it impossible to hold down a job. There are a few people who seemed to be helped by the drugs but most people don’t seem to experience this. So, why do you think people don’t want to take these drugs? Have you ever taken any of them yourself?

          First, I have never heard a medical professional state that psychotropics “cure” mental health disorders. The medical field in general offers very few cures. Most of the time doctors only have interventions to target symptoms and hopefully put symptoms into remission. There are cures for things like broken bones, stab wounds, etc., but many human maladies have no cure and no ethical doctor or therapist would say they can cure depression, cancer, or addiction.

          I agree with you that some of the SEs from drugs are terrible, like the ones you mentioned. These drugs aren’t perfect and in some cases do more harm than good. I agree.

          Yes I have taken an antianxiety med for a period of time to help me function. It did help me to cope (I was also in counseling at that time). I did have some w/d sxs of heart palpitations because I stopped taking them abruptly and didn’t really understand how to taper myself off without developing that SE. It wasn’t pleasant and I was young and uneducated. One thing I would say is that it is also the responsibility of the patient/client to learn about what they are putting into their bodies. They can talk to pharmacists who can answer their questions. Doctors have a duty to educate people and too often fall short of that standard as well. They aren’t without blame.

          Regarding your comment about holding down employment, I have found the opposite is true. Those who aren’t medicated and have a severe and persistent mental illness are almost always unable to hold down steady employment because symptoms such as insomnia, anhedonia, fear of leaving the house, irritable moods, anxiety, hypervigilance, hallucinations, etc., get in the way of doing a job. Many of my clients do very well working and taking meds. I am sorry to hear that isn’t everyone’s experience but certainly most of my clines have been able to live a better life because of the various treatment offered to them. Objectively many of my clients feel better as a result of treatment. That is a fact.

  13. Old head, yes I do. I know the law here and the general practice of doctors. We have no need to pressure clients to take meds they don’t want to take. We aren’t living their lives and if they don’t want to take something, we don’t make them. We offer our expertise and they decide. I would argue that families of our clients make more of an effort to coerce than we do (and the legal system). We don’t require people take meds to come to our clinic. Clients can choose what level of care they want. We are probably the largest clinic in the state and people come generally on a voluntary basis.

    • I think you’re deluding yourself. Ever heard of the Murphy bill? (21st Century Cures Act) You don’t have 5150 in Colorado? Bullshit. You’re either very young, or you’re being disingenuous.

      “We offer our expertise” TAKE A LOOK AROUND, shaun. Do you really *know* about the meds they’re pushing for big pharma? Do you know how to safely discontinue the brain altering drugs? Your inexperience or hubris is dangerous to others. A little humility would serve you if you *really* just want to help people.

      • Yeah we have a version called a 27-10. We can only put someone on a hold if they are considered an imminent danger to self, others, or gravely disabled (not eating, cleaning self, etc). Most people put on a hold aren’t actually in a hospital for more than 24 hours here. Look, like I’ve said before on this website, I am not always a huge fan of the DSM or meds. In at least some instances, in my experience, medications have been the difference between life and death for some clients. Maybe you should talk to some of them about their experience before you continue to demonize medications. They do make many peoples’ lives better so they don’t need to be I think that talk therapy can be very beneficial, but it can and often does take time. Many people aren’t willing or ready to place themselves in that position. That is up to them and not me.

        • Shaun f,

          Some of your comments really worry me. Eugenics, really? The genome has been found to have at least 2000 possible factors in the strain and most scientists say that narrowing them down to eliminating any possibility of defining mental illness is essentially zero. This has been thrown out with the Nazi’s and it should remain so. This is about as accurate as the chemical imbalance that they try to market to the general public. I am concerned that Eugenics are the new marketing tool to a segment of the population that barely understands science and the statistics that must follow. You, clearly need to educate yourself in this area. Doctors have enough to learn but they have been blindsided and their nature is to claim that they know everything. Might makes right and it makes it much easier to defend against lawsuits. Take a look at lawsuits and the ever changing “Standard of Care” and you will see what I mean.

          The drugs themselves are dangerous and do not have any beneficial effect and this has been proven again and again. Please follow the money and I suggest you do some research on how these drugs are approved and how the scientific method should be followed. You will clearly see it is not followed and that the FDA has no real teeth to prevent the approval of new drugs. This is most evident in the drug Chantix where the black label is in the works of being removed that it causes violence. You will notice, f you look into some of the work Thomas Moore has done, that it has a higher incident of violence than any other antidepressant. It would be just common sense to see that the occurrence of this factor is higher because it is a “smoker cessation” drug and not considered for a so called “mentally ill” patient. The claims are taken more seriously because of the type of patient. In the so called “mentally ill” patient, it should be seen as a return to the “illness” and not seen as a side effect of the drug itself.

          As far as people returning to your clinic, I would contribute that to withdrawal effect which are substantial. It looks along the same overall effect of an alcoholic and the chance of the patient dying is also a distinct possibility. What’s even more interesting is looking at some of the side effects of the drugs they prescribe. The side effects alone, almost guarantee that you will be diagnosed because you will be “exhibiting” more behavioral oddities that are listed in the DSM and there you have your proof. Iaotragenic but proof, no less. Take a look at the side effects of Invega if you should happen to want to educate yourself and then take a look at the DSM and the definition of schizophrenia. It’s quite amusing, really.

          As far as the 27-10, I suggest you look at some of the data and the court filings on that. They, themselves are a joke and the psychiatrists have been caught in lies to “ensure” the treatment of the patient. They will administer medications. They don’t make money if they don’t. There is no way to fight these involuntary commitments and that is the point. It seems you have no experience with this.

          I suggest you read a little more and do some research on your field, especially how statistics are totally absent from any marketing tool that pharma uses. You will need to follow the money, as they say. I would suggest some books that have been written from whistle blowers from the industry. They are quite enlightening. But beware, you may be questioning everything from that point, including statins, chemotherapy drugs and any other so called, number forming recognition of “disease.

          In other words, follow the money.

          • No, we do not engage in eugenics. What I was referencing is genetic testing for enzymes of drug metabolism, which has significant potential for improving the efficacy of drug treatment and reducing adverse drug reactions. This is about improving outcomes so we stop giving people medications which make them sicker. This is progress. I would encourage you to look into it further. It is about learning more about individuals before doctors give them medications which may not be metabolized favorably.

            I continue to learn about my field and can tell you we still have a long way to go. I would love to see a day when we provided treatments with no addiction potential, no adverse side effects, and in general no potential to harm. We aren’t there yet. I would say, however, that psychotherapy has much potential and should continue to be encouraged by our system. We have many great therapists who can and do help people on a daily basis, without producing side effects or withdrawal symptoms.

            I am not a huge proponent of the drug industry. I believe doctors are pressured to prescribe when most people just want to talk to a compassionate person who will really hear what they are saying. Doctors and many other helping professionals are overworked and have little time to actually spend with patients. That has to change. I am aware that the average face-to-face time PCPs have with their patients is 6-7 minutes. No wonder we have an opioid and benzo problem in America. There is no way doctors can possibly do everything they ought to be doing in such a limited timeframe.

          • I agree with you about one thing. If doctors did not prescribe psychiatric drugs, a real problem, to the extent to which they do, we wouldn’t have such a mess (growing chronic mental patient industry) on our hands as we’ve got today. I wouldn’t lay the blame on the drug companies so much. They’re just out to make a profit. It’s the doctors that help create the demand for their products. There was a big scandal regarding the addictive qualities of benzos many years ago, there was a downturn for the industry, but instead of dropping such prescriptions, they’ve escalated since. Doctors need to stop making drugs their first, and in some cases, only treatment recourse. Yes, “medication” is not “cure”, usually it means an addiction of sorts, and addiction represents no sort of workable solution for misbehavior and malcontent in the long run.

        • Mr Shaun F. To your genetic testing, I say NO!NO!NO!NO! What we need is to guide people in kindness, humility, and gentleness to find NON-DRUG WAYS to deal with their issues or problems from pain to “emotional distress” to “grief” to “whatever.” First, at present, the mental illness industry has made a big effort to say that our uniqueness is a debilitating, disabling disease and needs more drugs and therapy et. al to make the person more disabled and debilitated, so they do actually become “REAL LIVE (DEAD INSIDE) ZOMBIES” We now do this from “cradle to the real, actual grave.” Second, we must realize THAT THERE ARE ABSOLUTELY NO DRUGS THAT ARE REALLY GOOD FOR PEOPLE OR ANIMALS. WE HAVE NOT EVEN INVESTIGATED THE COST OF THEIR DISPOSAL OR RUN-OFF WHILE MANUAFACTURING INTO THE ENVIRONMENT. Most of these drugs are synthetics and are very cheaply made. Have we studied the effects on those who must make these toxins to make a living? NO! What we really need is “intuitive common sense.?” Right, we are not losing one or two “generations” we are losing all the generations and working on the planet of all people and creatures. I hate to be blunt. Robert Frost said he did not know whether the world would end in fire or ice. It appears to me the world is ending in a abundance of toxins and especially toxic drugs. Oh, Mr Shaun F in Colorado, please listen to what you have written and please stop telling yourself lies. Read what my fellow “posters” and I have posted. We have most all “awaken just in time!”

          • Respectfully, I disagree. I have worked with hundreds of clients, most of whom say that drug treatments have helped them live more full lives. I myself have taken psychotropics for anxiety, and while I had some brief unpleasant withdrawal symptoms from it, I found it helpful at that point in my life (I was also seeing a therapist). Psychotropics aren’t evil. The way they are prescribed is often very problematic. In the short term medications can help a person tremendously, and in some cases long term medication management is necessary to keep some people safe. Have you ever talked to a person experiencing extreme mania or psychosis? They can and do very dangerous things at times (e.g., like drive across the county not remembering where they’ve been or what they did, or driving a car into other cars not realizing it was a problem). When people lose sense of reality or are feeling so hopeless that suicide seems like the only answer, these folks do need treatment.

            I do not believe medications are the only answer, as again I am a therapist who actually believes in talk therapy. I believe that the therapeutic relationship can be healing–taking a nonjudgmental stance, really listening to and validating the person’s emotions and experiences, helping them to explore what is meaningful to them, help them to fully explore their choices and how it impacts them, etc.

        • Hi
          I am putting my ten cents worth here.
          I was appalled at your like of knowledge of the history of psychotherapy and treatment.
          Please read writings of Dr Loren
          Mosher and read about Soteria
          Therapy has been done for decades and with some success especially in the priveleged status folks
          Trauma informed Therapy began with Dr Henry Kempe and the medical acknowledge ment of child abuse though we in America had Animal rights long before child rights
          Dr
          Judith
          Herman and now others have delineated the impact of trauma and we in the world have huge huge amounts of it that the powers that be would like to just cover up
          Trauma affects generations
          Read info on secondary trauma of adult children of Vietnam vets
          This is both PSTD and medical issues like Agent Orange.
          Also read Joanne Greenberg

          INever Promised You a Rose Garden” a fictionalized account and pen named account of recovering from psychosis.
          Read psych survivor stories
          Claude
          Beers and all the names my mind won’t come up with.
          Joanne Greenberg even has a wonderful book on a deaf couple and their traumas
          Did you know folk have different dialects and languages in sign and some would get locked up because of bad translation?
          Read
          Selma Fraiberg’s
          ‘Ghost in the Nursery’
          seminal article on Therapy for traumatized moms.
          Yes Therapy way back way back with No Meds!
          Read Fritz Reidel
          “When we Deal with
          Children” a book about residential treatment with you guessed it No Meds
          There is a lovely book written on homelessness by D C’s Community for Creative Nonviolence with a lovely introduction by either both or one of the Berrigan brothers.
          Read Nelly Bly’s account if her inpatient stay.
          You mentioned anxiety and issues with meds and you are here on this site –
          Do some hard research and come back and let us know your thoughts!

      • Yes, people do receive informed consent. If they do not, it is against the law. Yes, they can refuse drugs and go to court if they feel their rights have been violated.

        I will also point out that people are rarely hospitalized for long periods of time anymore in America. The system just doesn’t want to pay for the treatment. They would rather see someone live in the community and go to an outpatient clinic because it is cheaper and in theory the client will have a better quality of life.

        • It is enzyme testing that you refer to but I’m sure in your circle they refer to it as genetic testing and that is Eugenics. The testing of whether it is passed on through the genes of the next person. This does not work because it has no correlation of mental illness from one generation to the next. Scientists have already looked into this theory. They are teaching you the lingo, which I have stated earlier, worries me. Pardon me for being specific and taking apart your statements:

          “My clinic is now able to do genetic testing to determine what medications are likely to be best metabolized by the individual, and I think this is a step in the right direction. I get why many clients do not feel comfortable taking medications. This is an issue for both MH and physical health treatments. People simply don’t like to take daily meds.”

          There is no validity in the testing itself and this is the next MARKETING PLOY that has been put out into the public. Yes I do know the testing exists and I am well aware of it but until I see the testing, raw data, correlation coefficients or patient feedback then I will not consider this a science. I I have already addressed this. You are trying to medicalize a problem that has no medical basis to begin with. Remember we have blood tests, PET SCANS and MRIs for a reason.

          And I have a real problem with you saying that you were helped by Benzos. They are highly addictive. If you have taken them, and you buy into this medical model, I can only assume that you are on anti psychotics or mood stabilizers by this point because that’s what doctor’s will prescribe to alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal. If that is the case, I wish you luck because you are going to need it.

          There is no study that shows long term usage or usage at all by psychotropics that are repeatable or one offs, and that is why the FDA only needs 2 studies to approve a new drug and they only have to be 4-8 weeks. Our disability rolls prove otherwise, so does the improvement of mental stability in third world countries. Now that is really sad.

          Want to hear another story that you might find amusing. We have this new heart medication we’re putting through trials. Trouble is, is that they are having heart attacks in large percentages. The good news is that the main side effect is about 99% in all patients. They get boners that can last up to 4 hours. Wanna guess what drug that is? And yes, that’s a true story and it’s been documented.

          And yes, I have a problem with psychotropics. They cause violence and I have to send my kid to school every day hoping that one of those kids, who might shoot up the school because of a side effect, don’t. It should have been taken off the market but instead, is redacted in most court documents to cover up the liability that truly exists. The numbers of silent bombs out there are staggering.

          • Where is the data that psychotropics cause violence? In my experience people are rarely violent because of prescribed meds. It might be a convenient excuse for someone charged with a violent crime….

            I agree that the FDAs approach is often poor with regard to med approvals. I don’t think the standards are strict enough, especially considering that there are few, if any, longitudinal studies done before drugs are approved to the masses.

            You assume I was on benzos but I wasn’t. I was on an SSRI for about 6 months after my father passed away. I generally think benzos are a terrible drug to give anyone with serious anxiety or depression, as it can encourage avoidance and numbing behaviors and exacerbate the symptoms in the long run. We wouldn’t give alcohol to people with anxiety but basically benzos are alcohol in powered form. The w/d symptoms are about the same and the effect the body in similar ways.

            With the genetic testing we aren’t comparing clients with their parents or children. The point is to figure out which medications are going to be best metabolized by the client. That is all. Some people are highly sensitive to meds while others need double the typical therapeutic dose to get the intended results. I get you don’t support it, but it actually helps the clients who want to be on meds because we improve outcomes.

  14. I think some of these comments are revolving around the word, “coercion.” The man from Colorado says they have no “coercion” there and it is all “voluntary” for the “patients” to utilize the facility or take the “drugs.” I looked up the word “coercion” on the “internet” just for my clarification and the “dictionary” said “coercion” involves the use of “danger” or “threats.” To me, I think the operative word is “threat” Now, “threat” also involves the concept that something appears “dangerous” to you or your person or your family, country, etc. On “face value” you say how can they “threaten” me to take my medication or “drugs?” I say, no matter what the laws are in Colorado, and I honestly do not know all the laws in the state I reside; but, I do know “threatening” someone with “danger” needs no law for or against. Parents “threaten” their children daily’ “if you don’t eat your broccoli, you won’t get the ice cream” or something like that. In our society, our “doctors”; psychiatrists and otherwise and their “helpers” such as “social workers” etc. are seen almost in the role of “parents” They really do become the authority their parents were or never were. This is most likely of an extension of the parental role of our supervisors and managers in the workplace, but this might be more insidious, as usually the “patient” is truly treated as “no nothing” about his or her body, mind, emotions, or soul/spirit. And many times, the patient is so confused and things are happening so fast, they are unable to say, “no.” You will never convince me that anywhere at this time in the United States there is no coercion. Even, just an “implied threat ” is a “threat” and it really takes someone “seriously critical thought.” In a “crisis” of any kind from “what should I do with my life” to a “death of a loved one” or anything, this may be impossible for many. Coercion is so common in our society in many areas of our lives, how can you tell us, Shaun F. from Colorado that it does not exist in your “mental health system.” Please, as they say, here in the South, “I did not just fall off the turnip truck.”

    • Rebel, Colorado has crisis centers that people use daily. We aren’t sending everyone to an inpatient hospital who presents in a crisis. I guess you can say just about anyone could be coercive–a salesperson, lawyer, judge, cop, social worker, etc. This is a human issue. I can say that on an outpatient basis, we do not force clients to take meds.

      • I am sorry that you can not see what I see. “Voluntary” is not really a word that seems to belong anymore, anywhere in the “alleged” treatment of “alleged” mental illness. (If you continue to read the posts and blogs on this site, you will learn that many consider the “concept” of “mental illness” and its “diagnoses” questionable, at best.) Perhaps, that is where the word, “voluntary” ends. How can it be “voluntary” anywhere when at the very least, the “consumer” is broadcast and presented ads daily concerning the “drugs”, “treatment” and “diagnostic behavior” of each alleged “disease.” Not one of us denies that there is suffering. We have questions as to its origin and effect on each person. I think most of us are very aware of the present insurance industry which does include Medicare and Medicaid and other government issued insurance in many states for both adults and children that absolutely beg and force a diagnosis and a “drug fix.” After having been involved in the system. and I really don’t like saying this, even if no drugs are prescribed, any “professional” or otherwise is unfortunately in the field of “coercion.” The “threats” are seemingly vague, almost lacking in danger, and almost innocuous; but, they are there. I really think you mean well and want to do right by your idealism. But, it is time to leave the “idealism” at the door and awaken to the hard reality of a business that in the end steals the most important part of the person; their very mind and soul and takes the body along for an evil side. I am sorry to tell you this, but it is the truth not as I see it, but, as I have lived it and am now free of it and none the less, healthier and wiser.

        • You are right, I do mean well but I am not terribly idealistic as you claim. I am realistic. I do not think meds are the answer for everyone. Actually, I think we should cut down on their use by a lot. I think many people think meds are the only way they will “get better.” Many people only superficially engage in therapy because this does take more effort and is more psychologically uncomfortable than popping a pill. We are in a society of instant gratification, and therapy rarely provides this. I will also add that I believe meds aren’t the problem per se, but the way they are prescribed and often not taken consistently. Benzos, opioids, and methadone are examples of where unintended consequences occur.

          I am mad that the medical field is so money driven. The profit motive should not have any place in healthcare. I also believe that healthcare is a right and not a privilege. Many of my clients cannot get access to inpatient rehabs for addiction, for instance, because insurance companies won’t pay or will only cover 28 days. This is wrong. Most people with serious addictions need at least 3 months of rehab to have any shot of developing the coping skills necessary to cope with their cravings, urges, and stress.

          I also add that I believe in a holistic approach to those I work with; the mind, body, spirit, career, relationships, etc., all matter and should be taken serious. We do need to also offer other forms of treatment and make them readily available such as acupuncture, meditation, access to nutritionists, massage therapy, etc. Western medicine isn’t the end all, be all. There are other legitimate forms of treatment that ought to be offered to help alleviate suffering.

      • Everything that you’re claiming about what happens in Colorado seems to be too good to be true. If it’s so damned wonderful to be a “mentally ill patient” there then why aren’t we hearing more about the revolutionary way you’re “treating” people there? I was raised in Colorado, albeit a number of years ago, and it wasn’t as idyllic for those labeled as “mentally ill” then as you’re describing it to be. Granted, the state may have made huge steps forward in their “treatment” of people since then but I highly doubt it.

        • Certainly things in Colorado aren’t perfect, but luckily the state has invested money and resources into providing more supports. The way we treat homeless individuals, on the other hand, is a pure travesty.

          We do have consumer boards where the people we serve have voice. I think that needs to continue to grow because obviously the system isn’t set up with the client in mind like it ought to. We need to listen to the people we serve and really work to provide the services that they want. I have no desire to encourage medication management if that isn’t what the client wants or would find helpful. There is a reason I support such programs like Housing First, because I believe we need to meet people where they are at.

          I will say that many of my clients say that Medicaid expansion saved them because they were in no man’s land with insurance prior. Now I am able to see people who traditionally wouldn’t have access to therapy. That is a wonderful development and I believe makes a huge difference in these peoples’ quality of life.

      • i am replying here because there is no reply link to your answer to me because you asked about the violence data. You need to read Dr. Peter Breggin and his paper on “Suicidality, Violence and Mania caused by Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s)” 2003. This was distributed to each of the members of the FDA advisory committee. I would also recommend his book “Medication Madness”. Thomas Moore has also done extensive work in this area but I have not read his papers. Mania is evident in 4-6% of the population and this is greatly underestimated. Mania is where the problem starts in my estimation.

        As far as your “test” that you mention, it is classified as “genetic testing” in all the pharmaceutical information given with the test. Check and see for yourself. Again, a loophole about that test is that it is not a medication and that’s probably why there are no statistics available for it’s efficacy. Testing would probably be categorized with ECT as a process and therefore, no efficacy testing needed. Convenient for your field, wouldn’t you say.

      • This is true, way too true and if you mention a side effect you taking that drug, they “laugh”, say take it anyway for your own “good” and we have another drug we know absolutely nothing about to counteract that side effect. Other lies: “these are not addictive, but if you stop, your symptoms will return” and “long-term, why there are no long-term side effects” and the final lie, “I am sorry that you’re not happy or feeling well. We (ha!) wish you felt happier or better.”
        I believe M. Scott Peck has a book entitled, “The People of the Lie.” These are the “People of the Super-Duper, Mega-Lies that keep on coming and coming and coming. . .”

        • Rebel, when docs say drugs aren’t addictive they are talking about developing tolerance to the drug, abuse potential (can it get me high?), etc. I sure hope they aren’t telling people there are no long term side effects, because if that is the case, it is cause for malpractice. And these people do not believe in medicine if they deny the reality. I can say none of the docs I’ve worked with would say such a stupid thing.

          One part of the problem is that psychiatry got away from talk therapy and focused itself almost entirely on medication management, especially once deinstitutionalization happened in the US. Other professions like social work and therapy took over that role of providing talk therapy. Many of the psychiatrists I know see anywhere from 200-500 patients, which I think is way too much. They need more time with them. I have heard some places in the US only give 15 minute appointments for psychiatry every 2-4 months. How is this ethical? I don’t think so. I do not support such treatment. Doctors used to be able to make house visits and spend significant time with their patients. Those days came and went with managed healthcare, which is a thorn in the side of anyone trying to do good work in the field of medicine. Doctors and patients should be collaborating and building strong, trust-filled relationships. That kind of thing improves outcomes because when people feel heard and understood that goes a long way.

          Of final note, I think it is harsh and judgmental to imply that many people in the medical field are evil. Very few people in this world are truly evil. I believe some appear this way because they are burnt out and overworked. This happens all across our country. Also, there is so much paperwork that we are expected to do, which further limits our ability to be present with our clients.

          • Perhaps, “evil” is too harsh a word; but, I have been through “hell” because of these toxic drugs. I would say most of a good ten to twelve years of my life is missing, although, it took longer to get there as I was started on these toxins more than twenty years ago. Please don’t discredit me or my experiences or those of anyone posting. This is very serious and very dangerous business and you have yet to see it. I am sorry to say that.

  15. As far as these drugs causing violence. This has been well documented even since the very popular Prozac came out. Please check out the blogs and news reports on this site. Now, perhaps, you might explain this to me. I am very allergic to alcohol to the point that I could die with almost less than an 8oz glass of it. Yet, you stated “that benzos are just powdered alcohol.” So, please explain this to me, with my allergy and previous heavy alcohol consumption as a college student and “young adult” why did these so ethical doctors keep prescribing these “benzos” to me. And then there are the atypical antipsychotics that I was prescribed, affectionately known as “major tranquilizers” I am positive that is no “misnomer.” As far as the SSRIS, mood stabilizers are known I believe much of their chemical composition is kept hidden from the public; so they are probably related to the good ol’ evil booze, also. We know that Ritalin and Adderall are related to “meth.” And we know how dangerous “meth labs” can be to an otherwise quiet neighborhood. In my opinion, it seems this attitude you and others take is really “playing with fire.” I also remember that in no time when I was seeing a psychiatrist for my “legal toxins” did I ever do a “medical history” asking me of my personal past of “diseases” or “drugs” or anything nor did they ask me a familial medical history. I know you might just bypass this and say it does not happen in Colorado. But, since, one of my psychiatrists ran off to California, which is usually considered one of the more progressive states in the nation, after what he had done to so many of us, I can only doubt what you say. It is very important that we do say no to these horrible toxic drugs and teach the children to say no, too. Who are the biggest drug pushers in this country? The doctors, especially the psychiatrists, but also the pediatricians and the school system for the young ones. Why doesn’t this stop? Because in our misguided mythology, we have considered the Medical profession, including the psychiatrists, a little bit less than “God.” In order to stop this, we do need to return the authority of the person to the person. If that person relies on God, that is his or her personal decision. As it stands now, even with all your “alleged informed consent” it is impossible. I know. I have had papers like that thrown in my face to sign before and there was no option not to sign. Please spare me. I have read your posts since last night and you have ignited a “firestorm”. However, you are so sadly brainwashed, no of us can reach you, not even to give us credit for the knowledge of our personal experiences which are just as good or even better than the faulty statistics thrown at us everyday from everywhere.

    • https://www.verywell.com/do-ssri-antidepressants-cause-violence-379805 There is a an association between violence and SSRIs but there is scant evidence of causality.

      There have been and are many doctors who inappropriately prescribe benzos, opioids, etc. The NFL doctors are a good example of this nonsense with pain management where the NFL bans pot but opioids, or legal heroin, is just fine. I don’t agree with this kind of treatment because it does do harm.

      I do know that people have been harmed by the medical system, legal system, etc., and that should not be tolerated. I am sorry to hear that you think my perspective is BS but hey you are entitled to your opinion of me. I certainly still have a lot to learn about humanity and what is best for each person, but again this is why I try to defer to my clients as the experts in their lives. I do not purport to know what is best for everyone. What I have shared is my experience and what my clients tell me. I think your perspectives are valid in their own right, and you also may want to respect that other “consumers” have had much better experiences in their treatment than you have. That is a shame that anyone has been harmed by people in positions of authority and so-called knowledge. I think we see abuses in every walk of life from people in positions of trust and power–parents, police, government, doctors, lawyers, judges, etc.

      I have certainly learned a few things from reading folks’ responses to what I have to say. I have learned that many of you are angry at the system, and rightfully so for being harmed in ways you felt you didn’t consent to. I have learned that people here don’t trust that doctors have their best interests in mind due to their bad experiences in the system. I have learned that you don’t trust medications.

      I can say I do everything I can to increase my client’s sense of autonomy and choice. I do not have to live with the consequences of their choices or treatment, so it isn’t my place to tell people what to do or to force them to do something against their will. That isn’t what I learned in school.

      If there is no common ground to be found, it will be difficult to achieve real progress and evolving healthcare to better serve the individual. We need a dialogue that is fair and reasonable, but calling people “evil” isn’t going to move dialogue forward. This kind of thing shuts down conversation. The truth is that powerful interests are invested in keeping the system the way it is, and it will be up to the rest of us to challenge the status quo. If you demonize people like myself who is an ally with your general cause, there is no hope for substantive change. I empathize with your anger and frustration, and I do believe in much of what you all believe. Be well.

      • We need a dialogue that is fair and reasonable, but calling people “evil” isn’t going to move dialogue forward. This kind of thing shuts down conversation.

        No, “we” don’t need a “dialogue,” we need to make psychiatric drugging illegal until “informed consent” includes the mandatory information that these drugs are neurotoxins which have no proven medical benefit and may cause long term dependency and brain damage. Whether people can be evil or not is a point for philosophical debate, but their actions can be, and in many cases are.

        If you demonize people like myself who is an ally with your general cause, there is no hope for substantive change. I empathize with your anger and frustration

        How nice, I love empathy. What’s interesting is that people who say this kind of thing seem clueless to the fact that they are in fact making a threat.

        • Old head, many people would disagree with your assertions that psych meds have no proven benefit. I have seen it for myself, both personally and professionally. Many of my clients would vehemently disagree with you. You are so anti-meds that you ignore the fact that millions of people are appreciative they have the option to take SSRIs, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, etc.

          What kind of threat am I making? The reality is that if you cannot have a productive conversation with allies, such as myself, who is sympathetic to your POV, what is the chance you’ll be able to persuade others who may more strongly disagree with your position. Again, using words like “evil” only continue to divide us. It’s unhelpful and isn’t persuasive to the vast majority of people who don’t hold your all-or-nothing positions on psychiatry and drug treatments.

          Finally I’ll note that because of modern medicine human’s life expectancy has basically doubled in the last 100 years. To denigrate a field which has clearly improved the human condition is pretty silly considering this fact. Yes, psychiatry has it’s problems, and nobody has claimed that it is infallible, certainly not me. Modern medications have enabled people to live longer on the whole and to help them stay more independent.

          • Most people who are dependent on drugs frequently swear by them, so it’s unclear why you think this proves your point.

            Maybe you should have studied more old school psychoanalysis if you can’t see the passive-aggressive nature of your “friendly advice” that people deny their experience in order to keep people such as yourself on our side. But you don’t even know what “our side” is because you don’t recognize the primarily political nature of what you are invested in seeing as a medical discussion.

  16. moderated

    What concerns me is that one commenter can lie/be ignorant and leave it in the ‘record’ for others to find in the days and weeks and years to come.

    As if the mainstream media has ever given any of us space! And now we must muster all our forces to make points only to have that person immediately refute them with more misinformation. Sorry my brian has been damaged and I’m not at the peak of my game.

    Fed up.

    I’m not Robert Whitaker, and I only wish that people who comment on here were familiar with his work.

  17. Oldhead, you as usual are very right. First, I checked what I said about “evil” I never said that anyone in particular was evil; only what happens to you when you are on the toxic drugs is “evil.” I never said the medical profession was “evil” although there are many in the medical profession these days who might be better “used car salespeople. ” My father had a sign on his desk that applies to this situation with the man from Colorado. Perhaps, you have heard it over the years. “My mind is made up. Don’t confuse me with the facts.” He also had a saying that he told us as kids when we didn’t want to clean our room or eat our vegetables that also applies here. “Methinks you doth protest too much.” Honestly, it is sad that the man from Colorado reacted so much to the word, “evil” when I was on describing the “hell” of the toxic drugs on the mind/body and of course this goes further into the withdrawal and detox. This seems to speak to something inherently sad in our country. I do come from a different part of the country that the man from the Colorado. I am from the South and the way we use “evil” and other common words at times may be different than in other parts of the country. It would behoove anyone, anywhere to really and truly listen to the context of the sentence from the speaker before being unduly critical and acting like a scared rabbit. I mean no harm, but, I do mean to tell the truth. Someday, this man from Colorado may really see what we see and stop reading the fake news that is rampant all over the web/internet.