“Forced Treatment is not the way: Opposing View”


Psychiatrist Dan Fisher’s “opposing view” in USA Today makes the case — from a mental health perspective — against repealing the Affordable Care Act, which has made preventative rather than reactive care accessible to so many. “We need to transform our mental health system from one that tells people in acute crisis that they have a brain disorder requiring a lifetime of care without hope of recovery, to a system based on the real hope of recovery.”

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  1. This is a very inconsistent and poorly argued piece by Dan Fisher (who continues to portray himself as having “recovered” from “schizophrenia”). How can one address violence without bringing up psychiatric drugs and their role?

    To equate forced “treatment” with the elimination of Obamacare is turning things on their heads. Nothing about the ACA protects one person from the threat of forced, fraudulent psychiatric “treatment.” Also, many if not all of the Murphy provisions in the recently passed “21st Century Cures” Act depend upon ACA funding for their implementation. The only way to derail them I can see is to hope that in the ensuing chaos Murphy gets thrown under the bus. We should actively work to promote this, and to encourage lawmakers to eliminate ALL “mental health” funding by the government.

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  2. Repeal mental health law, and you wouldn’t need alternatives to forced treatment because forced treatment itself would be illegal. This is a part of the problem with a movement that had as one of its initial demands the abolition of forced treatment but, more or less, dropped that demand as it got deeper and deeper into the ‘alternative’ mental health business. The business aspects of such programs have meant more and more collusion between the ‘alternative’ treatment programs and coercive institutional psychiatry. “Peer run programs” have something to offer, but one danger of such programs is that they can also contribute to the expansion of the psychiatric treatment business, and with it, the present epidemic in diagnostic labeling that we are experiencing. When the system contracts, the numbers of “well” people grows; when the system expands, the numbers of people with psychiatric labels increases. When it comes to statements contradicted by actions, certainly ‘the road to Hell’ that such texts as this one authored by Dan Fisher represent could be said to have been ‘paved with the best of intentions’. The point I’m trying to make here is that working in the mental health business is not the same as working to end the mental health business. I realize there are people who could be said to be “in need of treatment”, however, what most of them are in for, when it comes to the system as it is, are tricks, not treats.

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    • This is a part of the problem with a movement that had as one of its initial demands the abolition of forced treatment but, more or less, dropped that demand as it got deeper and deeper into the ‘alternative’ mental health business.

      Which (for the benefit of new readers) is when it ceased to be a movement, and when most of the original activists moved on rather than be coopted. Unfortunately however this left no active opposition to the system practice of reaching into our ranks to hand pick the most opportunistic and career-minded “movement” members to shower with money and system “status” in exchange for sabotaging and perverting our basic principles and goals. This was followed by a campaign to distort history and claim that the movement started out with a bunch of crazy irresponsible radicals, then “evolved” into the clean, polite and civil “consumers’ movement,” which just wanted better “treatment,” not to bring psychiatry down altogether. So it’s nearly impossible to find a true history of the movement.

      “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” — Orwell

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  3. Link to the original article:

    1) From that article, quote:
    “My experience as a board-certified psychiatrist — and as someone who has recovered from schizophrenia — teaches me that we need to expand access to recovery-oriented mental health services and to make them more welcoming to increase engagement with people early in their distress.”

    In other words:
    a) MORE treatments;
    b) EARLY treatment;

    a)+b) seems to me a case for: … more of “the same”. More “access” of the same stuff that does not work.

    There is a old say:
    “the definition of crazy is: doing the same thing and expecting different results”.

    So… Daniel B. Fisher, that says that he himself recovered from schizophrenia… well… i have seen wiser people that… “not recovered” from schizophrenia.

    2) Quote: “As President George W. Bush’s… ”

    re: Funny, to quote George W. Bush… in a schizophrenia article. Hehe 🙂

    3) Quote: “There are better alternatives, such as expanding evidence-based services provided by people with personal experience of recovery, called peers.”

    re: “Peers”. “Peer supporters”. “Trained peer support workers”. “Peer support specialists”. “Peer counselors”. And more names.
    Will they became one day “Dr. Peer”? Not likely…

    Peers are allowed to be peers by people in the system. Peers are not allowed to compete with profissionals of health. They are supervised by them. And often… Peers work for free. And get no recognition (unless they “play the game”).

    4) Quote: “Dr. Daniel B. Fisher is a psychiatrist and adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.”

    re: likely… first a psychiatrist, and mostly a psychiatrist. I dont seen no traces of a ex-users of psychiatric services (in this article of: Daniel B. Fisher).

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    • AntiP — all 4 points in your above post are similar to my own reactions.

      Though there are some notable exceptions among independent “peer supporters” I think in general, in the pecking order of labeled persons, “peers” are the “house mental patients,” as distinct from the majority of “field mental patients” (apologies to Malcolm X).

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      • oldhead,

        Like i said, i am new to this site (i am building my understanding of the subject, and likely… that will take a long time).

        A thing that Robert Whitaker helped me to do… was pointing the truths and the lies (and how the parts worked). Still… there are points (that are not covered at his books), that i need to understand.

        My point of view is as an ex-user. And i want very much to keep away from beeing forced into psychiatric hospitals and kept there against my will. And that is not garanteed.

        Sadly… i know people with schizofrenia (taking psychiatric medication), that dont see no problem with beeing hospitalized, and taking poly-pharmacy and/or double/triple their usual dose of the psychiatric medication.
        I see very little hope for those users… I have tried to talk to them, they dont care. I dont have the time or interest to do it anymore. Let them learn with their own mistakes, let them live “easy way”.

        The psychiatrist says: “here, take this white pill, it will make you sleep”.
        And the person with schizofrenia (despite beeing warned), does not care… “and white pill down the throat”.
        Their choice.
        Are those legally drug addicts, “happy”? Do they perform at least as a average person?
        A person that had read Robert Whitaker books already know the answer. I see that at my country too.

        I dont know psychiatrist Dan Fisher, and havent read other works of him. And dont have the time to do that.
        I have seen other people that were diagnosed with schizofrenia, that were able to be: nurses, doctors, psychologists or psychiatrists.
        So what? Should they be trusted, now that they have a degree?

        The question is: “What did they done that helped real people with schizofrenia, to make them ex-users of pharma drugs, and get a FULL LIFE?”

        Robert Whitaker done that. Helped me.
        Rufus May done that? No.

        Dan Fisher cand do that? All is possible, but he writes like a typical psychiatrist. Doesnt even make sense… a person with schizofrenia… wanting to be a psychiatrist?

        About the “peers”, and “peer movements”… at my country is see no future at that.
        Yes, psychiatrists “aprove” them… because they fully control the “Peers”. Those peers are descartable puppets at their hands. “Peers” often are naif and manipulable.

        On the other hand, psychiatrists are not naif.
        I thank othe user from this site for pointing me to this link:


        Quote 1) from that link, from Lieberman:
        “[–]DrJLieberman[S] 14 points 1 year ago

        I bear many scars from battles with Scientology and their anti psychiatry collaborators who have protested at scientific meetings and particularly during the period of the fifth revision of the DSM. The only thing that I can say about scientologies antipathy against psychiatry is that

        unlike the idealogical zealots like Robert Whitaker and patients who are unwilling to acknowledge their own illness and thus blame psychiatry.”

        Quote 2) from that link, from Lieberman:
        [–]DrJLieberman[S] 12 points 1 year ago

        “Psychiatry has the dubious distinction of being the only medical specialty with an anti movement. you never hear of an anti dermotology movement or anti cardiology movement.

        Apart from scientologists the majority of these people including Robert Whitaker, have unfounded idealogical grudges against psychiatry or have had bad personal experiences. Unfortunately it’s also the case that some people with severe mental illness and don’t believe that they are ill criticize psychiatry because to do otherwise would be to acknowledge their infirmity.”

        Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman is a psychiatrist. And a very influent one.
        How can a ex-user look at that job and STILL want to be a psychiatrist?
        How can he/she look at the mirror in the morning?

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        • Psychiatry has the dubious distinction of being a medical specialty without any real basis in actual science. Where is the bacteria? Where is the virus? Where is the PHYSICAL injury? They are looking for biological markers, for clusters of genes, etc., etc., but if a propensity to break down under exceedingly stressful and extreme conditions is universal to the human species, in all likelihood, they are wrong. Genetic mutations? Sure. That’s got to be like looking for the cause of white skin and blue eyes, when the species probably began with black skin and brown eyes, thing is, we don’t call white skin and blue eyes “disease”, and then try to wipe them out. or suppress the genes responsible for them. I imagine psychiatry to be going in that direction though eventually, that is, it will develop technology to suppress the development of traits it associates with what it calls “sickness”.

          People get involved in this or that because they want to change the drug, drug, drug paradigm in psychiatry that is responsible for so much death and disability. I would say that we need more anti-psychiatry activism in order to cure mental health professionals of their calling. Which is preferable, doping or brainwashing? Social ills are not “diseases”, except in the case of epidemics, in point of fact. It is unreasonable to treat them as such.

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          • This focus on whether psychiatry is an “actual science” seems to have become a sort of pseudo-problem.

            I am far more interested in what people in the field of psychiatry do, and how their actions affect other people’s individual lives.

            I also want to see a book which consists of various individual cases from a legal point of view, and gives us an overarching view of the life of people, one individual at a time, and how psychiatry affected it.

            Once we get into the debate about whether it is a science or not, people in the pro-psychiatry camp will cite studies like this on topics. For example, the particular topic in the publication I listed (on the topic of “Cognitive Bias Modification”) reads as follows:

            “There are a number of efficacious treatments available for anxiety disorders. Pharmacologic treatments, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors/serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, alleviate anxiety symptoms in the majority of patients. However, effect sizes are small-to-medium, and approximately 40% of patients do not achieve remission with pharmacotherapy [10,11]. Psychosocial treatments, particularly cognitive–behavioral therapy (CBT), have also demonstrated efficacy. Meta-analyses suggest that CBT alleviates anxiety with medium-to-large effect sizes, depending on the disorder and study characteristics [12,13]. Although effective treatments exist, many patients with anxiety disorders do not access these treatments for a variety of reasons.”

            So, it consists of many bells and whistles. Statistics, collection of data etc.

            How are the people on which the data was collected doing? What were their individual lives like then? What are they like now? These are unknowns which such studies will not tell us.

            The word “science” has become troublesome in the context of psychiatry. It leads us to a dead end and endless debate. I would rather use the terms “truth” and “proper investigation of the truth”, “aspects of the truths”, “contexts of truths” etc. If you have better terms, tell me.

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        • Lieberman’s thought process is interesting.

          To say that people criticise psychiatry only because they are seriously mentally ill and in denial is something that delegitimises criticism and protects his image.

          He also states that SSRIs do not contribute to violent behaviour. This is an absolute lie which is dangerous. He fails to mention that SSRIs cause mania (which is not some crank theory but an incontrovertible fact) in a subset of the population to which they are prescribed which certainly can make people violent (when they are in that drug induced manic state of mind).

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  4. Hi.

    My parents had trouble in life, and didn’t want me to find success before they rebounded from their bankruptcy. I was then baker acted four times, against my will, and my doctors and nurses were told that I have bipolar disorder, have mood swings, had anger problems, so that [these last several years] they were able to manipulate my life out of law school.

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    • @Cohenbrian1

      I will assume your experiences are true and they happened as you say they did. I use the word “assume” because I cannot believe or disbelieve what someone writes here (without evidence), neither do I expect anyone to believe or disbelieve anything I write here myself (without evidence).

      The funny thing is, no one can allege you have malaria or chicken pox. Well they can allege, but they can be easily proven or disproven.

      But when someone alleges aspects of behaviour and moods etc., it’s a different ball game. It may become even harder when the people making the allegations are family members. Of course, a few of the professionals I interacted with knew of such cases of fraudulent allegations. One told me that such things happen sometimes.

      Did the mental health workers you were assigned take into consideration your version of events and your parents’ behaviour/mistreatment towards you?

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