First and foremost, I want to thank Robert Whitaker for his support of my work, and for offering me the opportunity to blog for MIA. It can be quite scary and lonely to step out and away from your field and begin to share your worries about the direction it has gone (and continues to go). To be welcomed into a community of like-minded individuals who share my concerns about the growing madness in psychiatry and the “mental health” universe, is truly a gift. I feel blessed, honored, and humbled to be able to tell you what I have seen, and learned, over the course of my clinical practice. I welcome the opportunity to share my thoughts, and to hear yours, about what we need to do to heal a field gone mad.
I think it best that I tell you a bit about myself, given that this is my first blog. I need to tell you where I have come from, and why I have chosen to leave.
I am a Board-Certified psychiatrist, with my Diplomate Certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. I have been in the field of medicine for 35 years, or for the equivalent of my entire adult life. This has been my passion and pursuit forever. I have never taken a break, or even a substantial period of time off, from clinical practice. I have seen patients for therapy, treatment, and care for 35 years.
Along the way I have also written books about integrative healing, been a radio host for a call-in radio show, a columnist for Massage Therapy Journal, a professor, the Medical Director of at least four facilities, and even a Chief Medical Officer (CMO). I have spoken at conferences and training programs all over the world, and have even been the key note speaker at conferences devoted to integrative healing. I was on faculty at the University Of Arizona School Of Medicine in the Center for Integrative Medicine when living in Arizona. And I have practiced throughout the United States, and even for a year and a half as a Senior Medical Consultant in New Zealand. So, I have seen a lot. And it has been a blessing and a curse.
Part of what I have seen, and what has shaken me to my core, is the way the role of psychiatry has changed over time. We psychiatrists are no longer healers, therapists, doctors, and partners in healing. We are now “medication managers.” We don’t treat people, we manage medicines! Today, psychiatrists are meant to see increasing numbers of patients for “assessment” and “standard medication management” sessions. Almost every job posted for a psychiatrist, nationwide, uses the language I have just put in quotations. And I get about ten requests a day to take another one of those jobs.
Let me give you some numbers to put this new world of psychiatry into perspective. I can’t quite believe what I am about to share with you. But my organization (that I will be leaving as of March 4th) keeps track of these numbers, so I am sure they are correct! Here is the data:
In just the last two and a half years, I have seen 1,131 new patients for diagnosis and treatment recommendations, and have seen my active patients for a total of 5,428 follow-up visits. The numbers are staggering to me, given that they represent 6,559 one-on-one encounters with people in pain. To walk the path I have been honored to walk with those in need of help, guidance, and support is a great honor and responsibility.But think about those numbers for a moment. How can I, or any psychiatrist, get to know a person, sort best options for them, and chart a course for healing when the medical model drives patients in and out of the office every few minutes?
Today, I am able to spend less time with a patient in their routine office visit than I used to spend talking to a potential patient on the phone before I ever met them in person for an appointment! Back then (10 or more years ago), I knew more about my patients after one visit than I have the opportunity to learn about the patients I have been seeing regularly for the last three years!
This model cannot be good for any of us. I have been trying to change it from within for a long time. And I have not been successful. I have also been learning more and more about the lies we have all been told about diagnostic validity, medication benefits, and the risks of psychotropic drugs. I am grateful to all those who have been challenging the paradigm and bringing the truth to light. It parallels what I have seen clinically for a long time. More and more, I fear we are making people ill, instead of helping them.
I am seeing more patients, on more medications, from earlier on and for many more years, than I have ever before seen in my professional career. And the people I see seem to be getting sicker and not better. Diagnostic spread and the increasing numbers of medications considered standard of care for all these diagnoses is creating an epidemic of medication seekers. People have been convinced that they need meds and more meds, so they are searching for someone to continue the treatment. The number of people clamoring to find a psychiatrist for medication management, and being unable to find one, has escalated beyond the stratosphere.
The numbers of job openings for psychiatrists have also grown exponentially since I began to practice medicine. There are not enough people to fill these positions, which all involve doing the same type of work: brief visits for initial assessment (often as short as 30 minutes), with 15 minute followup visits for medication management.
For my first 20 years in practice, roughly a third of my patients were on one medication (rarely, two) for some period of time, and the rest were on none. But now? Many patients come into a first visit already on two or three medications. You have no history with them, no idea how they got on all these pills, whether any of them are working and what else they might have tried, or even the names of the people they have seen for medication before. The patients are rarely in therapy, and your job does not allow you to do it — social workers are supposed to do that.
The whole universe of “mental health” has gone mad. So, after 35 years in medicine, and three years with the same large health care organization where I am now the Medical Director of Integrative Services, I have decided I must quit. I am not willing to be a part of any machine where I doubt in the benefit of what I am being asked to do, and fear it might even be making people sick.
I have been told by many that I need to share my experience in psychiatry. One of my colleagues and friends, Andrew Weil, MD — the founder of the Integrative Medicine Program where I once taught — was especially encouraging. He told me that what I was telling him about my experiences in psychiatry was nothing he had heard before, and he felt my perspective and story needed to be shared. As soon as he said that, I realized I had to do that, and be part of some sort of battle cry and solution. So, I decided to write another book. It concerns the toxic shift I have seen in my field over 3 ½ decades, and what we need to do to stop the train, and start the healing process instead. I was very fortunate to come to know Bob Whitaker as a result of that decision. He was kind enough to read the first few chapters of the book draft, and offer me the opportunity to blog on MIA.
So, here I am. I cannot begin to convey the gratitude I have to all the brave souls who have unearthed and shared things we all need to know, in spite of great challenge to themselves and their careers. I am glad to have colleagues similarly invested in trying to do the right thing. It is incredibly powerful to be supported in taking an unpopular position. Challenging the status quo, especially when there are huge dollars, organizations, and individuals invested in perpetuating and growing the system as it is, can be a very lonely endeavor. I am grateful to be part of this community, and look forward to working with you all to make our world a healthier, saner place.
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.
“How can I, or any psychiatrist, get to know a person, sort best options for them, and chart a course for healing when the medical model drives patients in and out of the office every few minutes?”
I did not find this to be a goal of any psychiatrist I dealt with, they all tended to only view the person as a DSM disorder, rather than as a fellow human being. Although I will admit, this was not completely obvious until after I read my medical records.
“Back then (10 or more years ago), I knew more about my patients after one visit than I have the opportunity to learn about the patients I have been seeing regularly for the last three years!”
I dealt with psychiatrists starting 15 years ago, actually today is the 15th anniversary of the day I first got “voices” in my head, due to anticholinergic toxidrome poisoning (as a result of trying to “cure” the common withdrawal symptoms of Wellbutrin, and ADRs of Ultram and Voltaren, misdiagnosed as “bipolar,” with a Risperdal and Seroquel mandate). I made the mistake of being a compliant patient for 3 1/2 years, at which point I had to leave that psychiatrist because he was so deluded about who I was that he actually declared my entire life a “credible fictional story,” literally. I have proof in his medical records.
“… the people I see seem to be getting sicker and not better.” This is likely because the ADHD drugs and antidepressants can create the “bipolar” symptoms. And the “bipolar” drug cocktail recommendations, particularly combining the antidepressants and/or antipsychotics, can create the positive symptoms of “schizophrenia” via anticholinergic toxidrome poisoning.
And the neuroleptics, all by themselves, can create the negative symptoms of “schizophrenia” via neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome.
And since these psychiatric drug induced syndrome/toxidrome are not listed in the DSM as possible causes of these DSM symptoms, they are almost always misdiagnosed as one or more of the billable DSM disorders, and mistreated, since this is the only way the “mental health professionals” can get paid. Out of sight, out of mind, right? No doubt, the psychiatrists were miseducated, however.
“The whole universe of ‘mental health’ has gone mad.” I agree, although I’m quite certain the psychiatric industry has suffered from lack of ethics issues since at least the Nazi era. And I do fear their paranoia to protect their profession, pocketbooks, and the reputation of their drugs, will and is resulting in another psychiatric holocaust.
Welcome to MiA, Eve, glad to see one more psychiatrist wake up.
Well, apparently Dr. Wood is different from the majority of psychiatrists. Glad there is a new maverick soul-doctor who can look at suffering people and see human beings like herself–not just lists of “symptoms” and arbitrary “diagnoses.” 🙂
Looking forward to hearing much more from you.
Of course agree with everything you are sharing in this article. Would like to hear about everything written above in more detail, including case examples of the people one sees in such a shortened way, and more information about how seeing someone for such short timeframes works on a month to month basis.
I appreciate your critical approach and your action of conscience by quitting this truly oppressive system. In 2015 I resigned (as an LMHC therapist) from a community “mental health” clinic after 23 years of service for many of the same reasons.
I appreciate you writing about this experience and putting the words “mental health” in quotations as part of your critical approach.
However, I must point out that you did use the word “medication” perhaps a dozen times in this blog. Here you are being inconsistent in your critical approach by perpetuating the myth that psychiatric drugs are somehow “medications.” Real medications treat scientifically proven cellular anomalies and biological disease processes. This is hardly the case with the total lack of any true biological markers or a scientific basis for the DSM V psychiatric diagnoses.
Biological Psychiatry in collusion with Big Pharma have spent billions of dollars, over four decades, promoting a false belief and narrative that mind altering psychiatric drugs are “medications” targeting “chemical imbalances” and brain “diseases.”
If we want to truly dismantle this oppressive “mental health” system we must totally stop using their unscientific and harmful language describing these mind altering drugs as “medications.” Language is an important part of any historically oppressive institutional paradigm, and it will NOT change unless WE MAKE IT CHANGE – NOW!
some agreement and some “you stupid idiot” will follow. dont take it personally.
I quit really fast. I did not do med school, but I did decide (rather “late” in a career life) to treat addictions. Within months I saw the way things worked in the economic system we have. I saw the acceptance.. I quit. Number one was flak I received for spending half an afternoon with a young man new to our facility. When he said “no one has ever asked me about that before” the flags were up! at once they were up. I guess if it took 23 years, at least it happened for you.
As for what a medicine or a “true medicine” is supposed to do… you missed a large part called “manage symptom.” which is hardly something only psychiatry is doing. Insulin as “medication” is intended to correct imbalance. It is not intended to cause the body to resume production. We have then the insulin-resistant-system that is ignored. I will not claim use of insulin “caused” the resistance. I merely note the existence of the phenomena as somethig that more insulin does not begin to address.
for over 3,000 years other forms of medicine have been practiced. Allopathy is only a few hundred years old and its beginnings are littered with destruction of “integrative” ideas. Pardon me while I rinse my mouth from the much too new age term? Were you familiar with this topic you might understand that “markers” have long been observed. Were you familiar with recent science, you would realize the advances that the scientific method has made to take us beyond the archaic allopathy that came from Heildelburg university during a dark ages we have yet to accept as a dark ages. Only generalists of the social critique kind seem interested in that thread of the story.
I can not imagine spending decades working with such issues daily! I returned to self employment, gardening, reading and poverty. My question to YOU: what took you so long? what was the allure that kept you coming back for more? Delusions? Money? The ABYSS of what else to do with your time?
You seem to miss the scientific revolution of the last 35 years. This is a revolution of tools, not yet of theory. As Max Planck pithily remarked upon reflection of his personal observations: “Science advances one funeral at a time.” That is the reality of this feudal hierarchy of the academic castles. To expect different of psychiatry is …delusional!. Don’t take this personally.
Anyway…years back some “flat earther” decided to pass about to the unscientifically sophisticates … the stupidity that AIDS was not really a disease with a physical cause because it did not leave the forensic evidence as 17th and 18th and 19th century medical science had listed , vetted and canonized as the requirements. They were not wrong in the list. they were not fully informed as we still are not. But we are more fully informed than they were then. Yet most can not make use to go from informed to wise. or do not see the challenge, do not consider it their paycheck…their job.
As the static, allopathic idea SLOWLY fades to well deserved oblivion, we have masses of evidence pointing to interplay and “balance”. We have chemicals in synapses and we have thee genes that “control” that synaptic “balance”. Just dimly do we have the mathematically overwhelming questions that will answers that AND, I feel, will mesh with older systems (and yes, the disgusting “new age” hypes…or few of them anyway…a very few). I have yet to see one brain study addressing “Dynamic Equilibrium” in the context of an obviously dynamic cycle. it is known as “bipolar disorder” It is not one thing but several, disguised as a unity merely by a billing hashtag and unthinking theoreticians and practicioners. Thank health that RDoC is recognizing that illness does not respect (our ) labels!!!!!#!!!. I suggest you spend a lot of spare time catching up on this area. You could be useful again. Again, don’t take this as a personal slight.
Yes, language matters. So does knowing how to use it and how to discriiminate where the issues are. The issues are not with trying to improve some peoples lives but with the theoris and interventions we use. One is the baby. Please don’t join those who would throw out the observation that baby x is turning blue and getting ready to die. Mental illness as well as mental discomfort exists. Learn to discriminate, Do not allow others to confound the differences in this flat-earth and anti-science Stupidity that has infested the debate.
As happens frequently, i see you as an example of a centerist who by happenstance has found a place that resonates and promises to listen. B . ut which also has other agenda you might not be aware the consequences of, and whose “advocates” partake of new age foolishness. Nor do I have reason to think you informed of the mid century political traditions that have informed the narrative. Don’t take it personally. You were deep into the system and trying to do good.
Enough for now. Digest it please. It is the result of more than 25 years of listening to what others have concluded is true. more than twice as many years.
I cannot overemphasize the importance of your decision and your story. As one who was forcibly incarcerated in a Ct. state hospital, and spent two years in a VA hospital, “diagnosed” as a paranoid schizophrenic and forcibly injected with the most miserable drugs, left without hope and hounded by those who said I was mentally defective, I know firsthand of what you write.
And then, one day, the diagnosis of Ptsd came out, and the imaginary unprovable diagnosis of schizophrenia went away, and a new round of thinking and drugs, until I walked away, sat in a Christian Rescue Mission in Oregon until I was free of the terrible drugs, and went about trying to resurrect a life.
You can help so many of us by giving strength to our complaints and out stories.
I regard traditional psychiatry the most evil of religions, asking people to rely on faith as the shrinks destroy lives with imaginary labels for very real learned dysfunctions.
Hugh Massengill, Eugene Oregon
just a few clarifications if you will. Were you locked in a V.A. hospital? were you injected regularly for that 2 years? and how can others get the same quality of services when requested but denied? the question of value received is not a welcome response. people have asked and not received. You have received and not asked. Please shed light on this roll 9o the dice. And answer the about details questions if you would.
P.S. sorry about your playing along . Sorry about the loss of personal power that this illustrates.
PTSD is not one of the 3 recognized categories of SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS. the current psychiatric system however , like some politicians, is enamooured of powerfull hammers they have been granted use of. Like all boys, they have defined the world as a place to use their hammers. don’t blame hammers.
What I request of you is to help in this quewtion being answered. How do we segregate the SMI fro the worried well? you were worried well. Yes, a Mental/Psychological issue to resolve. Not a strong genetic fatalism though, just a challenge. how do we keep the likes of you from getting “hammered?”
Psychiatry is a powerful religious cult for materialists.
They accuse us of affiliation with the Church of Scientology. This is obviously false.
Still, the Scientology cult is much less of a menace to society. They don’t lock people up and drug children.
Hi Eve, thanks for sharing your position regarding present day psychiatry. What a tragic situation for so many people, as well as for our society in general. And there seems to be no end to it, despite our best efforts to bring to light the truth of the matter, in all different voices. It has become a vicious cycle of malpractice and social abuse. And the law just doesn’t seem to factor in here, somehow. It’s pure oppression, and extremely dangerous, to my mind.
It’s rather mind-boggling, I think, that this continues on such an enormous scale, while we’re all grieving about it, and with quite a bit of clarity, I think. Talk about deaf ears and heads buried in the sand! I think the psychiatric field has taken “denial” and “avoidance” to new heights–as well as “cover-up.” Oppression is, both, supported and fueled by corruption.
I had my own horrific experience with all of this–from which I had to heal, it was extremely traumatizing–as a former client of the system and also a former clinician. I now do healing work from an entirely different perspective, which would never be accepted or acknowledged by mainstream medicine, least of all psychiatry. Yet, it is exactly what worked to heal me and set me free from this utter chaos and confusion they call “the mental health field.”
I love this line and agree with you wholeheartedly, “The whole universe of ‘mental health’ has gone mad.” You are so not kidding!
Best wishes on your mission to help bring much needed change, and perhaps bring some clarity to this “madness.”
I am curious what your current “different perspective” might be. Is it the extreme of the Mad people who deny there are actually very disabled persons within the population labeled with “psychiatric” labels? or is it a snakeoil magic bullet alt-therapy? or is it something that has long been overlooked (as I see it this is the only 3rd option and claims otherwise are ahistorically assersted) eg orthomolecular theory (still very rudimentary among western trained “docs” even the ones who “came out” of allopathy.
Healing our hearts.
Welcome to the community.
I am 48 years old and was diagnosed with serious mental illness at age 19.
Dr. Wood , you fear psychiatry is making people sick.
I know psychiatry is making people sick. I know it from the evidence of brain shrinkage from the use of antipsychotics (Andreasen and others http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110207/full/news.2011.75.html)
To suggest brain shrinkage from the medicine is a good thing , is the same as saying a lobotomy is a good thing. A good thing to who?
I know psychiatry is hurting people from my friends who stayed in psychiatry for the past 30 years and who have very low intelligence today. I wonder if their decline in intelligence is from the continual use of the psychiatric drugs/medicine.
I do not take any psychiatric drugs as I am accountable only to myself. I enjoy my freedom so look after my situation to keep my freedom. If I was taking psychiatric drugs I would be unable to take care of myself (from the effects on my brain and body).
Another problem most of my friends have that I forgot to mention is hand tremors that look like early Parkinson’s. With the shakes they have , I don’t know how they manage to pour water into a drinking glass without spilling.
lucky you to not be a swift descendingvictim, whose course is not highly determined by bad genes, lots of bad genes and in very important sytems.
I am glad for your advocafy. But please do not think that your abuse means you are qualified to speak to what is propper medical theory. Speak to the abuse and bad theory and it has power. Beyond that….not so much if not the reverse to some listeners.
Looking forward to your book and hearing more from you here on Mia. As a survivor and a user I am furious that I was duped into consuming these drugs.
I am glad you are brave enough to post here. When I read all of your experiences and travels and positions I did become envious. How to dialogue with and still acknowledge the position of power you come from and the position of not power so many of us here have experienced? I am glad you finally saw the light. There is part of me that wants to say,” What took you so long?” but you know we all have our learning curves and you are here.
People have medications because they have been told by advertisements and friends, and professionals that every problem has a medication to go with it. So many folks are unaware of the history of psychotherapy and really good Social Work ( it did happen- not well all the time for sure -not much- but it did happen) The phrase “Better Living Through Chemicals” has been tattooed on many of our foreheads. This is not a choice this is being pushed into the quicksand.Brainwashing on all levels.
Beside writing another book- What are your plans? I have always advocated a Truth and Reconciliation type of response to this problem but as many as noted this usually comes after the winning.
I worked in and then fell into – was pushed into the system. With the ongoing flashbacks of past hospitalizations that I have found no way to totally divest myself of – the violation memories – my sense of self esteem, my ability to believe myself and my perceptions, my sense of safety, my sense of pride, my sense of well being has all been violated and damaged -greatly damaged by the psychiatric system of management and hospitalization practices that are more similar to Bedlam Hospital in England than not.
It is great to have your voice painful that it is for me but I m more than willing to have you here! Welcome.
Truth and Reconciliation can not wait! one side can not “win” unless the other wins. Respect, not domination, is the path.
I love you for saying it aloud though. It is amazing how much the people share across the great divide that needs healed. So much in common, feelings, experiences, slights, frustrations…and grieving for the dead…
Richard Lewis above says he took 23 years to wash himself free of working in the system . I tried to be kind to him, as I will be with the author. I know about regretable compromises! It is good to see your words on peoples timelines and how their paths evolve.
I can’t remove the memories that I have of my time in the system either, especially as I witness the same things being done to people every day that were done to me. And here is my aggravation. I am a peer worker and I’ve heard a large number of peer workers who are high up in peer organizations state that you can’t be a proper and good peer worker unless you put all those things behind you. Can you believe that?? This sounds like an attempt to coopt peers into not doing the job that they were trained to do. Not even the peer movement is safe from the damned system.
My contention is that remembering my experiences makes me a better peer worker than I would be if I put all those things away and pretend that they never happened. I feel that this would be going along with the system rather than calling the system into question in the hopes that things will change for people for the better.
By the way, the only good therapists I’ve known are social workers who are true to their training in the way that they deal with people.
Thanks Stephen an waitinseattle for your comments. Yes I agree not accepting the memories is worse than denying them. My problem has been twofold. I live in a state that just ended their one peer organization ( not that it was great but it was there) and I don’t have a cadre of peers to work through the memories – other than this site. It would help to have sometime processing them and doing some rituals and letting them release any negative hold. I don’t do advocacy or community protest or walking or anything now after the police incident. I do better when I am away from the state and the local. And some Social Workers are great. I think the divide I have found is because I would like a more peer yes I have been there component. That is missing and that is a big loss.
It ‘s also invisible too. After the police incident which I ramped up on my own recognizance because I felt I was stuck no matter what I said and I was coming from white privlege so I shouted out some names and acted out. I know bad idea but I thought and felt I was in a corner and if there was scene I was going to make it a social justice scene.
So now I am stuck inside. A religious group had Circle the City with love march and praying and handholding and no couldn’t go – twice. A group of friends that knew as me as nonmad – no can’t go. I can’t keep up the behind the closet door anymore but there is no safe way out. Triggers everywhere. I jump every time I see a police car. I have relatives who are police. Can’t visit or go there anymore.
The bank that I was in. All. I wanted to do was talk about withdrawing some of my holdings – A t topic my family and friends knew I was thinking doing -the person that called the police. I have no words for her. My anger is hard and I am trying to forgive but it’s so hard to forgive when there is no Sorry.
Eve, think on that for a while! How will the medical profession apologize?
Good question. One day they will have to atone for all the damage they’ve done.
I am a peer worker and I’ve heard a large number of peer workers who are high up in peer organizations state that you can’t be a proper and good peer worker unless you put all those things behind you.
“High up” in a “peer organization” is a contradiction — if they are “higher up” than you how can they be “peers”? What a deceptive term. Don’t know what to tell you.
Most peer organizations that I’m familiar with through the internet have supervisors. Some of them do something called co-supervision and those are the organizations that are truly peer in the sense that you and I are discussing. But that’s not something that happens where I am.
In your practice, how many times did you help patients withdraw from one or more psychiatric drugs? This is where your field could provide some real benefits for people like my daughter: to serve as a shield for people whose withdrawal symptoms are unfairly labled as the ‘original’ disease coming back and to promote unbiased and REAL scientific research on the subject of discontinuation syndrome and push for it published in the journals and talked about at the APA conventions and recognized as a very real phenonemon that exists in relation to every category of psychatric drug including neuroleptics, mood stabilizers, benzo’s, etc. Some people in this community think that your guild is so corrupt there is no role for psychiatry in the new paradigm of mental health care. I disagree. I think psychiatrists helped get one out of six American on potentially harmful psychiatric drugs, they can and should help us get Americans off psychiatric drugs. At this level of drugging, the population of people who are victims of iatrogenic harm is too big to ignore. The only way it can be ignored is if we become a fascist state and we lose a free press, or universities and medical schools completely sell out to corporate interests. This trend can still be reversed but it takes people like you getting off the gravy train. I commend you for leaving the field voluntarily.
“The only way it can be ignored is if we become a fascist state and we lose a free press, or universities and medical schools completely sell out to corporate interests.” No offense, but this is largely where we are, and why we soon will have a President Trump.
What’s Trump have to do with it? As you say, we were already there. We have a President Trump because that’s who people voted for. It would be no different with another President Clinton. The president is not in charge of the corporations, unfortunately he/she is their servant, Trump included.
Personally I don’t put stock in ANY career politicians of either party. Aside from two libertarians, none of those creeps in Washington stood up for us. All have sold their souls for campaign contributions (aka bribes) from Big Pharma and couldn’t throw us under the bus fast enough.
Trump doesn’t care, but neither did Hillary. She had Big Plans to “Help” Us. Watch out, if you’re caught in the MI system. When an elephant or donkey comes along with Big Plans for “Helping”–run!
And keep running! Better to be robbed by a petty thug at gunpoint. At least he will take your wallet and leave you alone. No such luck if you run into some idiot who wants to “Help” you.
Your integrity is admirable. Maybe soon there will be enough people like you and Richard Lewis to start an organization for ”mental health” practitioners who have left their positions for reasons of ethics and basic morality.
Andrew Weil was unaware of all this? That’s discouraging — or was it a typo?
Doesn’t surprise me. I think Andrew Weill is particularly weak on mental illness, e.g. “schizophrenia.” He spouts the pharma approved line. Here’s an excerpt from his website:
“Knowing that medications work on the neurochemical level to treat schizophrenia, it is certain that problems with brain chemistry, including the neurotransmitters dopamine and glutamate, contribute a key role. Neuroimaging studies show differences in the brain structure and central nervous system of people with schizophrenia as compared to those who don’t have the disease. While researchers aren’t certain about the significance of these changes or the interaction with these particular neurotransmitters, it still supports the theory that schizophrenia is indeed an abnormal condition of the brain.”
Definitely disappointing, though coincidentally I was just checking his site for other reasons and noticed that he had sections on “mental health.”
While researchers aren’t certain about the significance of these changes or the interaction with these particular neurotransmitters, it still supports the theory that schizophrenia is indeed an abnormal condition of the brain.”
This sounds like the kind of thing you find in drug ads, i.e. the avoidance of definitive statements. Plus there’s no “theory” that I’m aware of, only hypotheses.
Doesn’t surprise me. I think Andrew Weill is particularly weak on mental illness, e.g. “schizophrenia.” He spouts the pharma approved line. Here’s an excerpt from his website: ‘ Knowing that medications work on the neurochemical level to treat schizophrenia, it is certain that problems with brain chemistry, including the neurotransmitters dopamine and glutamate, contribute a key role. Neuroimaging studies show differences in the brain structure and central nervous system of people with schizophrenia as compared to those who don’t have the disease. While researchers aren’t certain about the significance of these changes or the interaction with these particular neurotransmitters, it still supports the theory that schizophrenia is indeed an abnormal condition of the brain.”
I wondered if it was a typo, too. It says a great deal when Andrew Weill says he is surprised to hear what Dr. Wood has to say. I don’t know if it says a lot about him, or about the barrier between our testimony and the ears of those who could do the most good if they heard it.
I haven’t been too impressed by Weill in the past. He issued a memorably biased rejection of the possibility that consuming coconut oil leads to weight loss.
He cited a study of 20 women. Half used two tablespoons of coconut oil per day in their cooking, and half used two tablespoons of soybean oil. They all cut 200 calories per day and they all exercised 4 days a week. After three months, they’d all lost about two pounds. How weak an intervention could you design?
Then he says “In other studies, dieters who used MCT-rich oil extracted from coconut lost more weight than those who used vegetable oil, but the losses reported were modest.” I’ll take “modest” if it comes from merely switching to coconut oil, or adding it. How many pounds is “modest,” anyway?
If he’d wanted to tout coconut oil, he could have ignored the first stupid study and played up the second one. He doesn’t use citations in his articles, even when he discusses specific studies. I wrote him off. I hope Dr. Wood’s information will start him on a transformation.
I read his book The Natural Mind about “recreational” herbs & drugs ages ago and like it, but he seems to have gone corporate or something since.
I too was stunned. Dr Weil never had much beyond allopathy to guide him. He understood the need to study health and to do the diagnosis, the whole diagnosis. he was first a neurologist, second a WRITER on Psychiatric issues. So again, it is a problem not just of his, but of specialization. And I have yet to see his writtings wander into opposing theories of medicine. ayurvedic or TCM or modern meridian and its parallels to gestalt therapy which is currently being torn apart and copywrite protected by new ager$ and pseudo guru$$$
sorry, i was wandering to oliver sacks there, he is a true neurologit, and never a new ager. the comments otherwise re weil, the new age “guru” ego hound still apply.
Yes, but the last thing people who have survived abuses need is Therapy, Recovery, or Healing. Even talk about such is just more abuse, Second Rape.
If people feel distress, it is because their social and civil standing has been voided. You don’t remedy that in the doctor’s office.
You remedy that be engaging in principled conflict. Often this will be in court rooms.
Therapy, Recovery, and Healing are not the remedies for Psychiatry, they are just another layer of abuse. And so I proudly hold up my middle-finger to anyone who promotes such.
Move from pointless talk, to action. Please Join:
may you find all that you reject in what you embrace. Who can tell how it comes to them, who can untangle the words one is given without advice on the use thereof.
You open: “the last thing people who have survived abuses need is Therapy, Recovery, or Healing.” and then go on to chart a course there. I applaud your youth.
As someone suffering wounds in my soul, I welcome any form of recovery or healing–though I distrust conventional therapists.
I’m not sure why anyone is against getting better emotionally unless:
1. S/he believes they are already emotionally whole and therefore have no need for healing. In which case, good for them! Though I don’t know why they are here or against others who want and need healing.
2. Perhaps they get some kind of pay-off from a gaping psychic wound? Maybe they hope that if they keep picking at the scab, they will feel more motivated to seek out restitution. Their choice…but it may cause a spiritual infection.
So many of us have gone through something the majority does not know or acknowledge. I was told by a single prescribing psychiatrist that he couldn’t understand why I was regressing into mental illness as he changed and upped the psychiatric drugs (neuroleptics, AD, benzo, z-drugs). To watch the man’s surprise when he realized what his drugs have done to me was in itself a horrible situation but later (I got his office notes through an attorney) he wrote he still could not understand why I was no longer severely and profoundly mentally ill when I was barely on one antidepressant? I strongly doubt he learned anything from what he did to me even though he acknowledged it verbally in an office visit and later in his notes. The stigma of psychiatric diagnosis and the out-of-control polypharmacy has to be stopped. Having a severe psychiatric diagnosis in my medical records had impeded me getting needed medical help.
I want to thank you for coming to MIA to write an article on how psychiatry has become all about polypharmacy. What steps are you going to take besides writing a book to let the public and other physicians know about toxic psychiatry?
Very important point here Aria, thank you.
“HAVING A SEVERE PSYCHIATRIC DIAGNOSIS IN MY MEDICAL RECORDS HAS IMPEDED ME GETTING NEEDED MEDICAL HELP”.
Let us take a commonly misinterpreted, emergency, medical presentation which, though misdiagnosis as “mental illness”, results in the devastating abuse of an individual’s humanity.
Acute SSRI toxicity results in akathisia with toxic psychosis.
Primary care physician has not heard of akathisia.
(It was “disguised” as hyperkinesia in published clinical trials, now recognised as subject to academic malfeasance.)
P.C.P diagnoses “Severe Agitated Depression”.
(Even though original, ill-advised prescription was an attempt to deal with an otherwise happy person worrying and anxious about college exams.)
Out of depth P.C.P refers urgently to psychiatrist who does not take a history from parents, or a detailed prescription medication history prior to the akathisia which he/she fails to recognise.
Psychiatrist coerces parents to consent to voluntary admission to psychiatric “hospital”, with false promises of restoring (akathisia induced) very severe dehydration, for which they have pleaded for I-V fluids.
Psychiatrist fails to recognise the life threatening fluid and electrolyte imbalance which is aggravating the bizarre presentation.
“Hospital care team” immediately “section” on arrival, then massively increase iatrogenic brain and systemic injuries by forcibly “treating” life threatening
SSRI – ADR with “anti-psychotic” and alternative SSRI for “psychotic depression”.
(15ml plastic tablet containers of tap water given to alleviate “thirst”!)
“Expert staff’ – Can’t understand why “patient” deteriorates, or why patient and family reduced to despair.
Patient pleads that drugging caused the problem.
Very bad move – this behaviour is considered diagnostic of “psychotic illness”.
More drugs enforced, more (cumulative) brain damage inflicted.
Gross features of tardive dyskisia appear but denied: –
“It doesn’t happen on olanzapine”!
The predictable cycle of serial, serious “mental illness” diagnoses – (AKA Labels for Life’s destruction) follow
like the leaves in fall. Each accompanied by more and more crippling and injurious drugging. These are also enforced.
Now this medically wounded, abused and innocent soul is devoid of hopes, dreams, aspirations and ambitions.
Now deprived of any hope of earning a living, finding a soul mate, having children, creating a home.
Now aware of the scale of horrific injuries to mind, body and soul, yet determined enough to taper off all hideously wounding psycholeptic drugs, incredibly now supported by a courageous and competent practitioner.
Now aware of, and having experienced the brutality and cruelty inflicted upon those illegitimately incarcerated
for the “sake of their mental health”
Now this terrified and excommunicated – (previously fit, active, happy and productive) young adult has, understandably, A FULLY JUSTIFIED TERROR AND DISTRUST OF ALL DOCTORS.
Nothing, but nothing to do with paranoia, but vulnerable to be mis-labled as such.
Refuses proper medical help in medical emergency such as acute appendicitis.
The utter incompetence of one pre-conceived “diagnostic”! consultation with a psychiatrist can leave that person, and their real, conscientious and caring doctors without any access to each other, even when REAL TREATMENT is desperately needed and REAL TREATMENT is available together with care and compassion.
Doesn’t this amount to Crimes Against Humanity?
Philip Hickey’s analysis – 02/01/2017 is endorsed : –
PSYCHIATRY IS NOT MEDICINE.
“Psychiatry is irredeemably flawed and rotten.
There is truly no human problem that psychiatry does not make ten times worse.
How much longer must this carnage continue?
HOW MANY MORE LIVES WILL BE RUINED?
Where is there sense of decency?
AND WHERE IS GENERAL MEDICINE’S SENSE OF OUTRAGE?”
“Psychiatry has long since forfeited any right it might ever have had to be considered a medical speciality”.
I am indeed outraged Dr. Hickey.
TRM 123. Registered Medical Practitioner.
sounds like a slamdunk medical malpractice. and this even before we bring psychiatry into the court except to stipulate the medicines and effects on temp regulation etc. Not just bad psy, then, but incompetent med! And this is the “system” in which too many tend to pick on psy docs ? how nearsighted!
issue 2 it is always a craps game. point of fact. my non psy doc counselor knows of agitated depression. heaven save us fro the continuing education Big BOTTOM LINE has in mind.
They have no sense of outrage, as the psychiatric profession has taken on the serious role of diagnostic wastebasket, saving the GP’s from the dreaded Malpractice Suit.
In many ways it’s safer to self-medicate with street drugs from your neighborhood drug dealer. It’s illegal, there are better ways to cope, and I don’t recommend this.
Nevertheless, if you buy illegal street drugs and they make you feel rotten you are always free to quit. You know they’re not medicine and can modify them according to how they make you feel.
Furthermore, your average drug dealer lacks the (pseudo) credibility of a psychiatrist. He can’t saddle you with a stigmatizing diagnosis. If he follows you around shouting out to passers by that you are a dangerous nut who may go on a shooting spree, he’s more likely to get funny looks than you are. 🙂
It’s possible for drug dealers to get angry or see you as a threat so they have you murdered. If they do this, unlike psychiatrists, they can be charged with murder and punished if found guilty. They may have you imprisoned in some abandoned warehouse or garage and forcibly drug you–like psychiatrists do. In the end, due to limited resources and social clout, drug dealers are much easier to evade and escape.
And in the end street drugs work on the same principal as psych drugs. Seems the only thing necessary to make a drug legal is a patent. And, of course, the required bribe money to various politicians and the A.P.A.
I’m curious why your mentor, Andrew Weil, has the following on his website in reference to “schizophrenia”:
“What are the causes of schizophrenia? The cause of schizophrenia is unknown. However, scientists focus on the interrelationship between a genetic predisposition for the disease working with environmental pressures to ultimately manifest symptoms in susceptible individuals. Knowing that medications work on the neurochemical level to treat schizophrenia, it is certain that problems with brain chemistry, including the neurotransmitters dopamine and glutamate, contribute a key role. Neuroimaging studies show differences in the brain structure and central nervous system of people with schizophrenia as compared to those who don’t have the disease. While researchers aren’t certain about the significance of these changes or the interaction with these particular neurotransmitters, it still supports the theory that schizophrenia is indeed an abnormal condition of the brain.”
Is he really that ignorant, or simply intellectually lazy, or is it something else?
For one thing, it is not at all certain that dopamine plays a key role in causing, rather than correlating, with severe distress labeled “schizophrenia”. To spread this misinformation as Weil does is harmful and unethical. The “diagnosis” itself is subjective and uncertain – two people can “have” the condition who have nothing in common. But no one would ever know that from reading Weil’s site.
It’s important for people to know that contrary to Weil’s assetion that “the cause is unknown”, we know a great deal about what causes extreme states – including that trauma and isolation are often central contributors… we also know that there are no “medications” to directly treat what is a vague non-medical syndrome, and that distress labeled schizophrenia can be alternately understood as a normal reaction to abnormal circumstances. Here’s more:
John Read of ISPS speaking about “Who is Right about the Causes of Psychosis – Psychiatrists or their Patients?” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-u_CGtUUZk&t=4690s
Noel Hunter from ISEPP writing about misleading research (as presented by Weil and others) on “schizophrenia”:
My discussion of the history of “schizophrenia” and the relevance of trauma – https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/09/rejecting-the-medications-for-schizophrenia-narrative-a-survivors-response-to-pies-and-whitaker/
Really annoys me to see these untruths put out there as fact, over and over.
At least there’s a difference between an online forum like this where one can speak out freely, and a university environment or psychiatric conference, the latter being places where questioning the validity of schizophrenia would be sacrilege. Not here.
I will also contact Dr. Weil myself directly.
From looking at Weil’s website, it looks like he’s a guy who makes a major effort to promote and make money out of his name/brand. Too bad he didn’t put nearly as much effort into checking the validity of the information he puts on his website about “schizophrenia”.
Dr. Well advocates the standard position of psychiatry (albeit erroneous and harmful); it seems unfair to Dr. Wood to challenge Dr. Well directly after a personal reference.
Perhaps Eve (and Dr. Weil) are simply unaware of this issue, yes. I just wanted to raise it to their attention.
“Too bad he didn’t put nearly as much effort into checking the validity of the information he puts on his website about “schizophrenia.” – and therein is shown Weil’s ethics.
The truth is that psychiatry has always been rotten to the core. Psychiatry is not a healing profession, because it doesn’t heal, and because it isn’t a profession. It is a dangerous form of quackery. Sadly, psychiatrists don’t know this, and their victims certainly don’t either. The ignorance is so profound, and the idiocy so pervasive, that the fraudulence of Freud, the chicanery of Charcot, the mendacity of Mesmer, and the jargon of Jung spread rampantly and unabated throughout the country, and throughout the earth. The dragon of psychiatry cannot be fixed, tamed, rethought or reformed. Like all dragons, it must be slain. I am not advocating violence, but justice would be served by placing the dragon of psychiatry on its own proverbial couch, and by administering poisonous drugs through its fanged and bloody maw until it became a lifeless mass of skin and scales. When will the world begin to understand that the surest route to healing, to health, to freedom, to peace, is to slay the dragon of psychiatry? Thank you for resigning. That is a step in the right direction, both for you and for the victims of psychiatry.
Dragonslayer — Checked your email lately?
“He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself”
There is no dragon of psychiatry. People want simple answers to the problem of madness and psychiatry supplies it to/for them.
At time index 2:51 from a Fascist Dr. Joe Schwarcz http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=972519
Was that quote yours or someone else’s? It’s very similar to saying that fighting your enemy makes you one with him, but you are anyway. That’s a different level though. It doesn’t mean to not defend yourself. To me the dragon-slaying imagery is sort of captivating, very fairy tale-like. I don’t think he walks around in armor carrying a sword, if he does I take it all back.
Glad to have you with us, Eve. Brave of you to leave the system and start something new with us. Thank you and I look forward to hearing more.
Thank you for your introduction, Dr. Wood. As you explore further the themes you have announced here, I do hope you will be able to address a basic issue that many who are still working (however uncomfortably) in psychiatry must be pondering. How may a former practitioner of a failed profession earn a living?
This is not an issue for me as a retired engineer and continuing patient advocate for people in pain; but it is surely one of the real barriers to fundamental change. What are the conversion strategies for others who no longer embrace the assumptions and models of their former lives?
I wish you and others of your dispositions well.
Your courage & integrity is admirable!
Three years ago i experienced the best that the NZ emergency mental health services can offer.
Most aspects of that system made my situation worse & i feel lucky that i’m still alive despite it.
I had a psychiatrist tell me confidentially at the time, that he felt the system had caused a number of unnecessary deaths here. [And yes this was outside normal bounds of client – doctor relationship, but he was clearly as frustrated as i was]
I was a successful, young, wealthy, self-employed woman. I experienced multiple extreme events within a short period of time, that involved two of my closest family killed, losing all my assets in a corrupt big business take-over, having my reputation publicly & unfairly trashed, and having to fight illegal actions on behalf of the police. I lost my whole world & my trust in our civic system & culture in one hit.
Unsurprisingly, i was extremely traumatised & got diagnosed with chronic reactive depression & PTSD & was suicidal.
The first step in our system in that situation is diagnoses by a crisis psychiatrist. I requested my case notes down the track, & she had misunderstood my whole situation & mis-diagnosed me, even though i had been very clear about telling her what happened. They prescribed me hefty anti-depressants. The medication made me into a complete zombie. My G.P told me this is actually the strategy – that if you can’t think & you can barely move, you’re less likely to do yourself harm.
I got very frustrated with being a zombie after about a month, & insisted to my G.P i try other types of anti-depressants. They all had the same result over about 3 months. My G.P & psychiatrist [who i respect] both told me that it is standard practice to take that dose for about 3 years after extreme trauma. I hated all the side effects & they felt like they were doing more harm than good, so i stopped. My G.P firmly believes depression is a chemical imbalance & so the treatment should be chemical. Both doctors put a lot of pressure on me when i refused to take more anti-depressants
I believed my problem was grief, along with having my entire financial position & understanding of the world destroyed. Protecting my very low energy levels became the most important thing to me, as with no energy i could take no positive steps to help myself.
I also felt that talking to someone with a neutral & experienced understanding was the most helpful thing i could do. I was lucky to get 14 x one hour weekly sessions with a psychiatrist, who works a lot in the criminal system & had seen a lot of injustice from the system.
Talk therapy was much more helpful than medication. Having someone to validate what had happened to me, which was outside my known world at the time.
At the end of these sessions, my psychiatrist told me he had never had a patient heal so well, & so quickly, and that the normal diagnoses was never really to heal fully, for someone who was in the extreme state of distress that i started in. He told me he really had no idea what had worked in my case, especially given i wasn’t taking anti-depressants. He was very interested in trying to work out what had worked with me, to try to help his other patients.
I’m aware that one of the things that helped me re-build a solid foundation, was a serious study of astrology at the same time [given i had time to spare!]. Learning a system that gives profound insight into an individual, why we are here, and the timing & reason for events in the outer world, opened up a depth of understanding that changed my perspective substantially.
If my experience can be of any help to anyone else, i’m happy to share
i believe in psy-meds. I believe in them for perhaps 2 weeks in your case. three years is simple sponging by the billing party. What you really needed was a community of people “abused” by life’s inconsiderate and impersonal ways. What you needed perhaps was a good bar, with a good staff and clients. N.Z. seems short, as does even current america on this self help setting. Also a superlative short term medicine, morphene/heroin, is outlawed and docs cant give you that for a few weeks. too sad.
Let me take a chance at getting you upset. perhaps you were always emotionally labile to the point where you were having a lot of issues and were thus the wounded rabbit that predators with script privileges are always looking for
(not all the psy-docs, the true predators be they recognized or not, admitted or not)
so while you were symptomatic enough to get into the madperson trap, you did not belong there. My theory is that roughly 75% of those brought into Tx are among the “worried well” or at least well enough to send elsewhere and get on with the triage mandate of SMI care, which is sadly untreated because as I say often, the good doc prefers clean safe client who would fit well in his social club, along for a round of golf, or who might already be a familiar member of the subscribed philharmonic, opera or theatre group beloved by the good doc. the well insulated yuppie neo-lib doc who is clueless of the “real” world” outside the well defended bubble. This bubble says to the SMI “don’t be symptomatic or we will kick you out of the therapy. you must act well if you want to be able to act well.” Can you see that absurdity and the perspective that is not quite close enough to Mad peoples’ perspectives that we can easily be allies? It is marginals like yourself who present as nice patients who will stay trapped, accept the docs plan of medication, who will not go off meds to end up on the front page for their actions and who will keep the payment current. Psychiatry is way to narrow to cure that list! so is MiA.
I’m surprised your G.P. was willing to admit that about antidepressants! I have always suspected this, but was given mixed messages from the MI system’s flunkies who would threaten and complain when I failed to keep my apartment spik and span, bathe regularly, and exercise!
If you drug someone into a coma, don’t complain when they don’t get up and dance a jig with you. Duh!
The most disturbing thing I find about this article is the fact that even someone at the top of the medical hierarchy, the medical director, is powerless to change the system from the inside. Good on you for quitting Eve.
thats a good obseration, but it should not surprise anyone who looks critically in all places and observes how people get to “powerfull” placesto begin with. The dynamic here is “self selection,” where the system self selects and maintains its self as if it had intention like we mere meatsuits do. gaining “power” in this sense is giving up power.
Mental Health System is deathrow for 500 millions of people.Two millions of people die each year,
thanks to all Psychologists and Psychiatrists united in Mental Health System.United against all,who
don’t fit into false classification manuals of both professions.People you have to be anti-Mental Health
activists,not anti-psychiatry activists.Only total demolition of entire Mental Health System,will change
something on better,for all of us who are really crazy.
because the legal system will be there to pick up the splattered pieces. just fing great! send more meatwagons…unless you have a credible plan??????????????? …………………………………………………………………………………………………. ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
chirp, chirp chirp………………………………………………………………………………
Throwing Nietzsche quotes around won’t deter those who have fought the dragon and gazed into the abyss. Of course people want simple answers, but the truth is too simple to bear. The comforting lie that “mental illness” is the cause of human distress may seem simple, but psychiatry does not answer the problem of madness. Psychiatry manufactures madness. Unfortunately it is a hot commodity.
mentaly… ill-at-ease is the big elephant. Mental disease is only some 4% . but to get 50% plus on meds…ah that is the hot commodity. Meanwhile the entangled get into denying the SMI of others. Docs ignore the SMI of others, Payment systems deny the SMI and hell happens.
Thank you, Eve, for your comments and courage to speak out about the dangerous current mental health environment. Many psychiatrists I have worked with have expressed the same disappointment in their careers. I believe that the medical model mixed with the business model has left patient care and safety secondary to profit and keeping hospitals and clinics in business. This is a very unethical and dangerous place patients are in now. In the past year working on medical floors as a SW I have seen suicide attempts from prescribed psychiatric drugs as well as a serious medication side effects in a 5-year-old in ICU. Psychiatrists do not know what is going on with their patients’ lives so are just keeping them on dosages that should be tapered off and stopped. This is medical malpractice in my humble opinion. I am advocating that patients and their families file complaints with the Board of Medicine if feel that they are being neglected by their prescriber. Meeting with a patient for 5-15 minutes every 3 months without colllaborating with other providers to know what is happening with their patient is not treatment, it is fraud.
Leaving a career after 35 years is called “retiring”. Not even in the same ballpark as whistleblowing.
Nice artiucle. You camn always come back to NZ again. We could do with good clinicians.
Dr. Wood, I hope to read some material about your first hand experiences and also about possible recourses for patients who want to distance themselves from the corruption.
Thank you Eve, glad to see one psychiatrist has finally come to understand their profession, and it cannot be easy to do what you are doing.
My first contact with a psychiatrist was 16 years ago. At the time I was told they were committed to getting to know me and offer me therapy. Truth is I did see them every fortnight for an hour for many years. I was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of child abuse. At the time I was homeless, no one considered this relevant to anything. I had been placed on antidepressents by my GP (I’m Australian), 6 months prior to seeing the psychiatrist. At the end of the 90 minute assessment I had the dosage of the anti depressant doubled, to the maximum and was also given an antipsychotic (olazipine) just to make things worse). My weight more than doubled in 3 months. I was placed on disability pension, where I remain today. I was told she used medications sparingly, and only short term, while therapy was beginning. Yet 10 years later I was kicked out, as I was beginning to question the now 5 medications I was on, and why I was now only being seen for 30 minutes every 6 weeks, instead of the hour a week I had been promised and which never occured. No information on the medications I was on, was offered to my GP’s, which they were legally required to do, and I was not given any prescriptions. I was forced literally cold turkey off 5 medications, I tapered as best I could. I did have 3 months supply of the antipsychotic, which did help as it was the most painful to get off.
No one ever helped me to find long term stable safe housing, no one offered to put in place other supports to help me. At best I was referred to a person who came around to ask if I was taking my medications, which since I was voluntarily on them, was even more stupid to begin with. No one ever talked to each other they didn’t see the need, that would only occur if they thought I was not taking my medications. How anyone could think that what was occurring was therapeutic is beyond me. How do you not even make sure a person has a safe place to sleep that night. Yet our government now has teams of nurses that go and find people on the street, forcibly inject them with long acting antipsychotics to ensure they are getting their medication. People consider that progress, I shake my head in disbelief.
I am and have been medication free for 5 years, I still have side effects, have never lost the weight, and have still never worked. I never got better, I only got worse and I am yet to see anyone who gets better from the mental health system. I finally found myself stable long term safe housing 2.5 years ago. That was more therapeutic for me than anything else has ever been.
I hardly think leaving a job after 35 years is “quitting.” Your framing your leaving as a result of having become disillusioned with the field of psychiatry feels dishonest to me. I’m sure as your job got more and more unrewarding and you’d saved up enough money to retire, you decided it would be more fun to continue writing your pop psychology books and speaking at conferences than seeing patients. Of course 15-minute visits focused on med management are stupid, but it’s not just psychiatry that’s sped up in a bad way in the past 15 years, it’s medicine as a whole, thanks to managed care, electronic health records, “productivity.” No-one in the medical field enjoys this or thinks it’s good for patients. I’ve been a primary care clinician for almost as long as you’ve been a psychiatrist, but in my scheduled 15-minute visits (of course I take longer than that with patients; I officially work part-time so I have time to work overtime) I have to not only be present for my patients in a compassionate way (yesterday I had to tell *two* patients they had cancer) and address their own health concerns – including depression and anxiety, often due to trauma histories – but also do paps and std checks, treat colds and skin issues and foot problems, address kidney failure and hypertension and diabetes and alcoholism and drug abuse. Psychiatrists are at the top of the medical hierarchy in a primary care clinic; as one psychiatrist I work alongside admits, “We have a cush job – all we do is sit and talk to people.” In most cases they don’t take vitals or pay attention to labs other than prescription drug levels. I agree that psychiatric “meds” are over-prescribed and have horrible side effects which lead to more over-prescribing, but I’m with the person who asked you whether you’d made it your mission to help taper people (aside from those few who are being helped) off some of these meds. That’s where i need help from psychiatrists. You put people on all these meds for years and years; I’ve had two patients kill themselves in frustration at not being able to get off benzos, and another tell me in frustration that their psychiatrist knew nothing about interactions between their psych scripts and alcohol/meth/crack/opioids. I’d love to meet a psychiatrist who decided to put their years of experience to use in a practical way that actually helps patients. Finally – Andrew Weil? Really? Celebrity doc, self-promoter, new age “guru.” I know doctors and nurses who’ve gone through the integrative medicine program in Arizona and learned a few things, but I’d listen to almost anyone on this site before I’d listen to Weil.
My initial response was to feel defensive on behalf of Dr. Wood but, reading further, I must agree with your points regarding tapering and detoxing, though they are rightly addressed to the entire psychiatric profession, not just this lone whistleblower who dares to stick her neck out a bit.
Now THIS comment right here, is speaking loads of truth!!! Please, can you write an article and start a blog?
I hear you! Thank you for your comment…you got me fired up. I hope Dr. Wood uses some of the money she milked from the very system she is ripping to shreds (It’s a horrible vile system, I agree 100%) and really helps people, since she “knows” so much now.
Peace be with you…
I believe we have a new anti-psychiatry poster. 🙂
I’ve been receiving the newsletters for awhile but never signed up to comment until I read Dr. Wood’s article and read the above comment.
I have my own horror story and also am a clinician in the mental field.
I visited a beautiful soul of a client of mine in the psych hospital yesterday and in order to keep my position I had to tell her to “play the game” (take these powerful mind altering Meds without a struggle, attend groups, listen to her treatment team, etc) so she can get out of there; she is scared out of her mind and very drugged. Not medicated, but drugged.
I’m very awakened and saddened by all this. My worst nightmare was trying to get off Remeron a year ago, which I took for almost 6 years. I will never allow anything like that into my mouth and body again.
And now, I’m in a field where I have to encourage my clients to be “Med compliant” or I’ll lose my job.
It’s a mad house. I’m very disheartened.
Also sounds like a pretty impossible contradiction.
I got out by playing the “good patient” game, cut my hair (though they claimed that wouldn’t prove anything I did it anyway), even became titular “head” of the “patient government.” What a pathetic joke.
My heart goes out to you. Personally, I would have to quit. Immediately.
Coercing others into taking what I know to be addictive drugs–similar to stuff off the street–would be unconscionable. Selling cocaine, meth, or even weed (in my state) can get you time in prison. The only difference is the drugs the shrinks trick or force people to buy have patents. And very powerful organized crime groups to back them up. 🙁
And how do I afford living if I quit? Almost every industry is controlled.
My first reading of this piece lead me to feel encouraged, that you woke up and cannot continue in a morally bankrupt and harmful field and that you have the beginnings of understanding what is going on. Drawing from what foglight wrote, I have to agree that you can make good on your years in this horrible system by staying in it, but becoming vocal against it, trying to turn other docs/shrinks to see the light, being available for helping people taper, teaching them directly about alternatives, and helping them get away from involuntary commitment.
Unlike you, who likely made a long career earning a generous wage with a stable job, free from risk of physical harm, many of your “patients” have or will become disabled and injured from the racket of psychiatry even if you did not understand that it is a racket at the time and you did your best to limit prescribing. I know I would be homeless and suffering severe neuro injury still without family support.
I want to see more remorse and atonement for the MANY people that you’ve put on these drugs. It seems you have an honest sense of conscience about the obvious profiteering that keeps increasing, but I feel concerned that a large part of your motivation for leaving is your own discomfort rather than most centrally and foremost deep concern for the “patients” who are harmed and duped by psychiatry, given that you assigned a large number of these people labels and gave them prescriptions. You said you saw 1000+ patients in the last year. How many of those have you called up and told them you made a mistake, assuming you put them on drugs?
And yes I said drugs and not “medication”, like many other psych victims I refuse to play into the fantasy that what psychiatrists do is medical in any way. I am very grateful for you being here but I really hope your realizations here are just the beginning. You have a lot of power and opportunity to make yourself useful to people by being available to help them get off drugs, learn the truth about psychiatry, learn about alternatives. Please keep speaking out. Tell your colleagues, tell the world.
Wow! I couldn’t have said it better. Thank you for this comment!
Well, thanks a lot psychiatry! You’ve just burned out another one of your VERY FEW winners. Dr. Wood, 35 years is a long time to spend on a population that’s being brutalized and underserved by the very colleagues you’ve needed and trusted. Enjoy your ascent from the cuckoo’s nest, and THANK YOU FOR BEING ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS!
Welcome Eve Wood.
I took a quick read about your article.
Despite i am lacking time today, wanted to add my 2 cents.
Eve, took you a while to take a decision. That can be due to several things. Likely… you are still at a transition point (March 2017 is still months away, to close some doors).
So, you made your conclusions, you took some important decisons and decided to explore new grounds. You are writting a book.
As the time i post this you have: 1 post and 0 comments. It makes less than easy to know details. Likely… you wont be a very active poster… even after March 2017, here at the MIA.
Ex-psychiatrists (from the USA, is nice), if willing to take some risks… and if they are willing to help the ex-users…
Eve, hope your new career gets you more satisfaction, and you can go to sleep knowing you are fixing things from the past… and making a better future for us, too.
If that isnt ask to much, in your future book/s… help us. Real help.
Think and teach us what we need to know to defend us from the psychiatrists.
You are in the best position available for that. You been at the “other side”. You have the experience. You migth… have the will to try.
You migth not have the courage…
You can do that in a book, you can post, you can email.
So far, i believe you. Time will tell.
It may sound odd, but I understand why Eve took a while to decide. Long before I read Robert Whittaker’s books, I ran across Warning! Psychiatry Can be Hazardous to Your Mental Health by Dr. William Glassner.
Till I read this book, I had never even heard that recovery without “meds” was possible. Then, I screwed up my courage and googled Mindfreedom.org. I figured there was some trick to coming off the drugs safely–there must be some reason everybody who went off them became loonier than before they started the regimen. I suspected withdrawal. They said they were nonaddictive but they had also said they were safe and effective. From my personal experiences, observations of other “consumers,” and Dr. Glassner’s book, I decided they were probably lying about everything.
The lady was nice and sent me a DVD by Daniel Mackler. A Meeting of the Minds. Despite my own privately formed opinions–which I was afraid to share, now that I knew psychiatry was a sham and everyone was either a dupe or liar–I was somewhat surprised to see all those people. They are supposed to be severely mentally ill and were also–gasp!–non-compliant. Yet they seemed much healthier, brighter, and more with it than the consumer zombies shuffling into group with me each day. According to the people leading our “group meetings” these non-compliant consumers SHOULD have been crawling around on all fours, growling as the only means of communication, biting each other, and waiting for the moon to come out so they could howl at it! 🙂 Lol!
Still found it hard to leave. For 20 years I had been largely segregated from polite society. Despite my taking my “meds” people outside the system still treated me with fear and loathing.
After 4 more years an opportunity presented itself. My parents moved down south to retire and invited me to come too. My current situation is not ideal, but we are getting along. I am still coming off the effexor. Almost down to 75 mg–half the original dose. I am slowing the taper down to less than 2% redux a month. I hope this will make the withdrawal symptoms more bearable.
I am now feeling with it enough to try my hand at some online freelancing. I never could do something like that before! My creativity and libido have been resurrected too. Yay!
Congratulations Dr. Wood, and very well written! Stepping away from the system shows real grit and integrity. Please feel welcome to write more about your work in Integrative Psychiatry.
Years ago, I substituted my numerous psych meds for an entirely unscientific TCM treatment. But I found my psychiatrists etc to be basically ignorant, and prejudiced towards all things Chinese Medicine. Given that level of scepticism, I didn’t think an integrative approach was plausible within psychiatry at that time. So I just discharged myself, and moved on. Still healthy and doing well years later…
First, I want to thank you for your support and story sharing, and questions.
I hope to be able to help with much of what you are asking about.
It will hopefully become clear in further writings where I am coming from. I have mostly worked outside of the system in spite of what I have had the opportunity to do and see within the last 8 to 10 years. So, my many years in medicine were largely within my own practice, consulting, and trying to find ways to share what my patients were teaching me to the broader public. I even paid to self publish my first book and get it out there when I started to see how little support there was in my field for holistic approaches to healing. When it won a bunch of awards, Hay House bought it, and published my subsequent works.
In the last 8 years or so, I have had a series of jobs within the more usual realm of psychiatry, and it has been within those that I have been able to see up close how off the rails the field has become. I have tried to effect some change in it from within, and moved around from one to another place to try to accomplish that. I was not able to be successful.
While it may seem to some that I am retiring, and have milked a system, that is quite far from reality for me. I will need to come up with a way to support myself going forward, I just cannot do that within the structure of any “job”in psychiatry, in spite of the fact that I get many requests a day to take another one. And, for financial reasons, that would be the logical thing to do. Ethically, I am not able to go that route.
My practice has been predominantly in the outpatient setting, and with very little of it in settings where people were committed or treated against their will. That said, I have increasingly been concerned about the lies and misinformation provided to us as doctors, so as to influence our prescribing practices and concepts. I have come to see how much this puts us all at risk. It is, for that reason,I have chosen to stop.
I am trying my best to sort through all the data out there, and visit my own experiences with patients over many years and hours to see what I might be able to offer to help. And, I will surely have to find a way to pay bills, and manage going forward.But, I firmly believe in our capacity to heal and triumph, so I am leaping out there..with faith it will some how work out.
I do believe we are all in this pot of soup together. And, to the extent we can supportive of one another in trying to find healing ways forward, we all win.
To your health and healing,
As one who is going through horrific sleep issues thanks to being on psych meds long term and who knows alot of people in similar situations, you might want to consider setting up a practice to help folks like us who have these and other issues. I will bet there would be a huge demand for your services as long as you didn’t engage in price gouging which sadly, many alternative folks seem to do.
Kudos to you for realising psychiatry as it is currently practiced, is mostly a big time disaster. Good luck to you.
Title: “The Effortless Sleep Method: The Incredible New Cure for Insomnia and Chronic Sleep Problems”
Author: Sasha Stephens
Kindle: 3.76 United States dollars
Paperback (new): ~10.62 United States dollars.
Or, the 2012 editon (new): £11.68 at the UK.
Or, the 2012 editon: 13,74 Euros (no need for postages).
I have my book somewhere (among many), so cant see the year of my edition.
There is a “revised” book of the same author, but has a different title, and i have not read this second one: “The Effortless Sleep Companion” (by: Sasha Stephens).
That said, of the several books to sleep better i had read: after before/ during/ after me self-reducing psychiatric medication (until zero),…
“The Effortless Sleep Method” is the most pratical, and is enough on his own. I did not said: “e-a-s-y”. Is effective. And will allow you to function (after a time), with no pills.
That said… some give up, and prefer the easy way (sleep pills).
Sleep problems when reducing psychiatric medications are very common. Some people go back to psychiatric medications due to that.
(i am not the author, and do not gain anything with promoting this book, and there is no need to re-invent the wheel)
Thanks for the suggestions. Unfortunately, I have some very complex sleep issues that need professional help.
I know in Ms. Steven’s book, she criticises that line of thinking and says no one is special. But that is arrogant in my opinion when she doesn’t know the situation as I also have had difficulty with my pap therapy for my sleep apnea.
That is why I am a nut about making sure people get diagnosed correctly with sleep apnea vs. being put on psych meds as I have a suspicion (can’t prove it) that being on psych meds causes an extreme hypersensitivity that makes tolerating a pap machine extremely difficult. Unfortunately, I found tolerating a dental device even worse.
It is very judgmental to say people are taking the easy way by going back to sleeping pills. My life has been hell with sleep issues and to be honest, if I had found a med that worked, I would be on it. Unfortunately, I have had a hard time finding anything that works, whether it is prescription or a supplement.
Well, with that… you will go (at least once), to a clinic/ hospital to get a proper diagnostic.And depending of the dificulty of your case, that can be cured or not.
Anyway, Sleep apnea can be a very serious issue, and even impact in the duration of your life, work/energy issues, family life, etc.
Quote 1: “I have a suspicion (can’t prove it) that being on psych meds causes an extreme hypersensitivity that makes tolerating a pap machine extremely difficult.”
re: well, during my “haldol days”… i could not the correct breathing when swiming (and that is like ridding a bike, you never forget). Just had to breath in by the mouth. I had not idea what was going on…
After i changed to another injectable… that changed all of the sudden. I could do the correct breathing during “crawl” (breath to both sides).
Sounds silly? Yes. But is the reality. Is a bit scary.
Psychiatric drugs have weird effects. Some schizophrenics feel them. Some dont.
Some schizophrenics take haldol and dont complain at all. Other schizophrenics… hate haldol and think of it like: chemical rape. And other medications are forced into them, just to make haldol less horrible.
Quote 2: “It is very judgmental to say people are taking the easy way by going back to sleeping pills.”
re: well, is my opinion, based on enough face-to-face stories. You never seen people chose a “easy way?”. When you have time compare (at a public place), where there are 2 choices
A) The HARD WAY.
B) the easy way.
And see which way gets more use by the common person.
Quote 3: “Unfortunately, I have had a hard time finding anything that works, whether it is prescription or a supplement.”
re: I was there too. Had a very hard time to get a sleep medication that worked.
Found one. It made me sleepy 30 minutes later (not a lot, just more prone to go to bed).
But as the months went by… 30 became 60 minutes. Then 1 hour. Then 2 hours. Then 3 hours.
By the time i hit 3 hours, i knew i could not count on it, and refused to up the mg.
And even that you find a sleep medication that “works” (in your own terms). And keepd working, even at a “safe dose”… can you garantee you will get no health trouble in 10 years (due to sleep pills)?
As for supplements, likely you already know: Melatonin. Helps some people a bit, but the dosage varies widly. And at high doses, melatonin gets expensive (at the end of the month).
I already have a sleep apnea diagnosis. Unfortunately, it isn’t curable with the exception of some folks who lose weight and get rid of it. But I am already thin. Wish it were.:)
No, I can’t guarantee I won’t have health troubles in 10 years taking sleep medications. But not sleeping will also lead to them. Kind of like picking gasoline or the fire.
Unfortunately, melatonin has not worked but thanks for the suggestion.
Oh, people definitely choose the easy way. But not always. And we have to remember that we don’t always know the whole story.
No, your experience with Haldol doesn’t sound silly. I will bet psych meds cause sleep apnea although again, I admit I don’t have proof. And to be honest, in my case, I feel there were other issues that also may have led to it, including family history.
We all need to eat, drink, some cloths, house to live, pay the bills (and put some money aside for a rainy day). That is expected. I dont know if you can keep the same standard of life that you are used… Likely will be harder. You may have to worry a bit and lower your standards.
Assuming you can make money enough to get the basics, and still have time (AND THE WILL…), to help us… You can help.
When the 31 of March 2017 arrives… “some ties” you still have, will end.
When you say: “writings”… that can be several things…
Robert Whitaker made: books, posts and videos.
Eve, as a soon-to-be “changed Psychiatrist”… there are other persons (with a degree and working/ publishing at the mental industry), that along the years “changed” their ways… or got a “somehow” different way of looking at the DSM/ Pharma/ medications/ schizophrenics.
Some posters (here at MIA), may like you changed a bit, and that will be enough.
You were during many years… a Psychiatrist. The functions you did (and your training), are good enough to help. Will you do it?
Yes, there are “lies and misinformation”. We already know.
And you had… “very little of it in settings where people were committed or treated against their will”. Fair enough.
Now, my question, and a clue where you can REALLY help:
There are some schizofrenics that despite all odds and against all things… menaged to get out of the: “injection & pills” dead end (as far as the mental laws of their countries allow them).
Now… Eve… think hard…and help us:
a) to reduce the time of the committings/ sectioning;
b) how to avoid/ minimize risks at routine “check-ups” with Psychiatrists;
c) how to avoid getting committed/ sectioned again (getting a normal life like any person, as we have that rigth).
There. As clearly as i can say. What we need.
As a “insider”, Eve, find ways to get that info to us. With book(s)/ posting/ emailing (as you prefer).
But do it.
The insiders are the problem , the ones who see a patient for 30 minutes a month and describe there visits as success , yea sure it was for you , you meet an insurance code and got to get paid and go home to the 2 kids , 4 bedroom 2 and 1/2 bath house/condo . The person you helped is living in hell wondering if anybody cares at all , well do you , can you look into a mirror , prescribe a drug that doesn’t affect your mental pain for 1/10 of one percent …yea you go home to the family , you did your job , if he kills himself it isn’t your fault , your overworked and underpayed , you made it to an above 500 season , lost sure in the first round , but you made it and not even on a 15 million a year salary , you know what I thought of you aholes when I was sitting in a physch ward with 7 nuts in somebody piss , omg ..just give me my brains back , ill take the 32 inch multiplex tv and no kingsize bed or nabu food , no more tony romas , no more preve , south beach twice a year , just please please please give me my brains back and out of this hell hole they call phych ward ..no more nurse hatcher ..no more ugly fights ..no more night crew low paid lpns , no more snoring , fighting , nightmares ….sleeping in a room of 7 on an inch of foam , lights flowing in , nuts seeing spiders and snakes , being jumped by a person who has lost there mine , the crack head , the veteran with post traumatic stress who tries to strangle you ever night , the member who quietly repeats a chant then screams out in frustration ..yes a quiet night at the lockup mental ward ..could be worse you could be in Miami-dade lockup , then they would have knives , then they would be really tring to kill you , and 7 in a room would be an open ward , with 305 gang bangers , hiphop killers , skin heads to save you if you join ..a feat worse than death ..1/3 of prisons are filled with mentally disturbed people , and we throw them in with sociapaths etc , great help , kind of like blood letting was a century or so , what wonderful help for broken people , a snake pit , but those sane people treating you in the same environment and the jailors would become the convicts ..PERIOD … life would be better served by euthanasia ….the insanity surrounding the mental institution is so much worse than one flew over the cuckoos nest , we make it sterile now .peace ….
I’m sorry I missed this piece a few months ago. Thanks to the pseudoscience LIES of the drug racket known as “psychiatry”, I now have IATROGENIC NEUROLEPSIS. I’ve been 100% “shrink-proof” for over 20 years now. Psychiatry is nothing more than 21st Century Phrenology with potent neuro-toxins. The DSM is in fact a CATALOG of BILLING CODES. ALL of the bogus diagnostic allegations in it were INVENTED, not discovered. They were invented as excuses to sell drugs for PhRMA. Oh, and act as agents of social control. I see no need, personally, to condemn you for your 35 year career as a drug-pushing quack. You didn’t know better. You were born and raised into a society that was seriously screwed up a long time ago. Literally generations ago…. I think that by “confessing” your “sins” here on MiA, you will have at last begun to help heal a very, VERY SICK and BROKEN system…. Being that we are now moving into “Mental Health Awareness Month”, I’m hoping you spend some time and energy dispelling the many myths, LIES, and PROPAGANDA that is being spewed out onto the people….
(The only reason I don’t like to identify as “anti-psychiatry”, is that I believe it gives psychiatry a validity it does NOT deserve….. Psychiatry is a drug racket, a pseudoscience, and a means of social control. Repetition of the TRUTH is re-inforcement of the TRUTH….