At the risk of stating the obvious, the anti-psychiatry movement is rapidly gaining momentum. We are attracting an increasing number of supporters, and our message is being picked up increasingly by the mainstream media.
We have won the intellectual and moral battles hands down. We have demonstrated again and again that psychiatry is intellectually and morally bankrupt. We have shown that
- psychiatry is a hoax;
- that its “illnesses” are not illnesses;
- that its “diagnoses” are nothing more than vague, arbitrarily delineated, disempowering and stigmatizing labels with no explanatory value;
- that its “treatments” do more harm than good;
- that its coercive drugging and electric shocks constitute torture;
- and that its research is fraudulent.
Psychiatry has no valid or rational response to any of these criticisms. Instead, they continue to trot out the same tired and unproven assertions, marginalize their critics, lobby government agencies to defend and fund their business, and promote their own interests using the kind of PR tactics that one commonly associates with the makers of soft drinks and hair shampoo.
Psychiatry is a marketing hoax. They sell their “illnesses” and they sell their “cures.” In general, the way to neutralize a hoax is to expose it to the proper authorities. But with psychiatry this is not effective for three reasons.
1. There is an enormous credibility gap. For most people, it is simply inconceivable that a long-established medical profession could be so destructive, venal, and just plain wrong.
2. Psychiatry provides a “valuable” service to governments by promoting the false message that legitimate and appropriate responses to discriminatory and exploitative policies are symptoms of illness.
3. Psychiatry is the cornerstone of a multi-billion dollar world-wide drug cartel.
THE SILENT SKEPTICAL MAJORITY
Psychiatry’s fundamental concept — that these “sick” people need psychiatric care — has been widely accepted at all levels of society, including politicians and civil servants.
But alongside this widespread acceptance, there are very large numbers of skeptics: people who haven’t bought the lie, or who have reservations and concerns about the numbers of people being “diagnosed” and “medicated.” And most of these people have never heard of the anti-psychiatry movement. They’re puzzled; they’re skeptical; they’re concerned; but they distrust their own judgment.
And this, in my view, is the audience to which we should now direct our efforts. We need to spread the word to a much wider group. We need to connect with that silent skeptical majority, and deliver the message: your skepticism is well-founded; psychiatry is a destructive, disempowering, self-serving, drug-pushing hoax; your instincts are correct.
This is not to say that we should abandon our present directions. We still need to maintain a steady flow of essays and articles criticizing psychiatric concepts and practices. We need to identify and denounce the principal promoters of the hoax, and to expose their venal relationships with pharma as and when appropriate. We need to create and maintain an expectation in the minds of psychiatry’s so-called thought leaders, that their flawed and self-serving attempts to justify and expand their hoax will be picked up, dissected, and exposed by one or more members of the anti-psychiatry movement.
But we also need to strengthen our activities in other directions if we hope to connect with the silent skeptical majority mentioned earlier. Here are some of my thoughts on this matter.
I know from my own experience during my career, and from the large number of emails that I receive today, that a great many non-psychiatrist professionals working in mental health centers, group homes, nursing homes, etc., see through the hoax, are dismayed by the damage being done, but are apprehensive about speaking out. This apprehension often stems from a fear of losing employment. But is also often a reflection of uncertainty and misplaced deference to the authority and dogma of “the doctor.”
All the non-psychiatrist professions are represented in this group: social workers, job coaches, case managers, psychologists, counselors, behavioral trainers, nurses, etc… There is, in my view, an enormous need for websites where these individuals could communicate, voice their concerns, share ideas, and provide mutual support and encouragement.
In addition, there is a major need for associations of social workers, counselors, case managers, job coaches, etc., to formally acknowledge the anti-psychiatry movement in their literature and websites, and to schedule regular sessions in their annual conferences and other venues to discuss the lack of validity and the dangers of psychiatry’s medical model.
There have been a great many successful lawsuits brought by aggrieved psychiatric victims. But when one considers the scale and range of psychiatric destruction, it is clear that only a tiny proportion of victims ever pursue legal remedies. It is almost axiomatic that pharma will get out of this business when the cost of the lawsuits exceeds the profits. And when pharma goes, psychiatry’s drug cartel will shrivel from lack of funding.
Considering the damage that psychiatry is doing, and psychiatry’s chronic neglect of informed consent requirements, this seems fertile ground for successful litigation. There are, of course, many attorneys working in this field, but it would be nice to see more. It would also be nice to see roadside billboards saying: “Have you been harmed by psychiatry? Call us now” etc.
Ultimately, it is the survivors who will turn this thing around. These are individuals who have escaped psychiatry’s web of deception, disempowerment, and destructiveness, and who are now actively exposing the hoax in which they were once ensnared. Survivor groups constitute a powerful source of inspiration for those who are trying to escape psychiatry’s cloying tentacles, and a source of support for those taking their first tentative steps to freedom and self-reliance. It would, I think, be an enormous step forward if there were a psychiatric survivor group in every town here in the US and overseas.
JOURNALISTS AND MAINSTREAM MEDIA
One professional journalist writing in a mainstream outlet can do more for our cause than ten amateurs such as myself writing on our websites. This is not to disparage our amateurish efforts, but simply to acknowledge that there is an art to catching readers’ attention, and presenting data persuasively to a wide audience. I encourage my readers to do two things: firstly, if you come across an article in a newspaper or other outlet that challenges or criticizes psychiatry’s practices, take the time to write to the journalist or the editor, expressing your appreciation; secondly, and conversely, if you come across a piece that promotes psychiatry, consider sending a letter pointing out that there is another side to the story. The mainstream media are beginning to recognize the validity of the anti-psychiatry perspective, and have displayed a willingness to publish our positions and our concerns.
Even a dozen people carrying placards protesting peacefully outside a psychiatric facility will attract media attention, and will provide an opportunity to talk to the press about psychiatry’s spurious illnesses, and destructive “treatments.” It’s critically important to keep the protests peaceful and to have carefully-drafted written statements ready to give to the press.
CALL A SPADE A SPADE
In criticizing psychiatry, it is important not to endorse their concepts by using their terminology. Here are some common psychiatric terms with what I feel are more accurate descriptors:
mental illness: problems of thinking, feeling or behaving
mental disorder: problems of thinking, feeling or behaving
medication: mood-altering drugs; neurotoxic drugs
ECT: high voltage electric shocks to the brain
psychiatric diagnosis: psychiatric label
major depression: profound sadness
psychiatric treatment: drug pushing
anti-psychotics: major tranquilizers or neuroleptics; chemical restraints
The civil rights and anti-war protesters of the 60’s made use of slogans, songs, cartoons, etc., to carry and promote their message. I’m sure there are potential song-writers and poets in the anti-psychiatry movement who could do for our field what Bob Dylan and Joan Baez did for the protests of the 60’s.
Cartoons can also be helpful. Check out Auntie Psychiatry for examples of how a good cartoonist can express complex and profound ideas in a single picture.
I would love to see bumper stickers that said: “Psychiatry Kills,” “Depression is not an illness,” etc.
I think it would also be helpful to keep an eye on pending legislation within our respective jurisdictions. If you see a bill that promotes psychiatric concepts or “treatments,” consider writing a letter to your representatives.
We need to generate and maintain pressure on GPs with regards to their endorsement of psychiatry and their prescribing of psychiatric drugs. The appropriate response from a GP to a person complaining of depression is that this is not a medical problem, coupled with the suggestion that the individual discuss the matter with someone who can provide genuine help with the psycho-social-economic issues that led to, and sustain, the feelings of sadness. We need to point out continuously and vigorously that writing a prescription for a so-called antidepressant is nothing more or less than drug-pushing, and is a disgrace to the honor and traditions of genuine medical practice.
My purpose in writing this post is to encourage readers to take steps to promote the anti-psychiatry movement. Psychiatry is a destroyer of life, and it destroys under the guise of benevolence — a veritable wolf in sheep’s clothing. But it can only survive as long as people are kept in ignorance of its true nature, its dismal outcomes, and its trailing wake of death and destruction.
There is absolutely nothing wholesome or good in psychiatry, and as such, it is an eminently worthy target for criticism and exposure. Please, if your circumstances permit, consider taking a step, even a small step, towards exposing and ultimately eradicating this hoax. We need to deliver our message to the silent, skeptical majority.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Imagine if, twenty years from now, dictionary entries for the word “psychiatry” were along the lines:
…1. a medical specialty, now defunct, whose primary tenet was that all significant problems of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving were best conceptualized as illnesses, and best treated with mood-altering drugs and electric shocks to the brain. 2. (informal) an enormous hoax. 3. (informal) a shameful abuse of power and position.
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.
Thank you for another precise and objective analysis Dr. Hickey.
“Where do we go from here” is the crucial question in moving towards the protection of all those who are: –
NOT YET HARMED, DEVASTATED OR KILLED BY ENFORCED OR COERCED PSYCHO-PHARMACEUTICAL INJURY.
NOT YET injured, maimed and destroyed by those who are allegedly members of my own profession but whom have long abandoned the basic tenets of ethical, compassionate and caring medical practice.
We must move amongst those not-yet-captured-and-crippled in body, brain, mind and soul by the relentless marketing propaganda of psychiatry as a “scientific and evidence based medical discipline”.
Whilst I agree with utmost commitment to all of the steps you identify, there are two observations that I might make.
Sadly, that which most profoundly changes medical practice in the direction of patient safety and avoidance of iatrogenic harm is litigation or vulnerability to litigation.
In the UK psychiatry is almost invulnerable to valid and accurate patient complaint or criticism.
Vindictive and punitive responses to justified criticism range from increased drugging and dosing, further false and multiple diagnoses, to further invalid incarceration and additional terror and ridicule.
(Personal opinion from experience/observation).
Should a family – (even a family with decades of medical practice experience) – complain or challenge – for example protest the appearance of tardive dyskinisia due to enforced, unnecessary major tranquillisers; then the family are also subject to contempt, ridicule and vilification.
(Tardive dyskinesia in a never-depressed, SSRI “treated” patient with exam nerves, and severe akathisia misdiagnosed as “psychotic depression”).
It is the knowledge that absolute power absolutely negates any chance of legal redress that feeds such arrogance and such contempt for injury to patients.
This perceived immunity promotes an absolute disregard for patient wellbeing and safety.
How might psychiatrists ever be made to realise that psychotic depression is profoundly rare and akathisia is extremely common in these circumstances?
How can they ever learn from any adverse patient experience?
There is self-evidently no shortage of such learning opportunity, just a total void of critical self-awareness.
We must address such powerful denial of the basic right to enter valid malpractice litigation which is maintained by fear of punitive response.
2. “MISCELLANEOUS”. “Slogans, songs and cartoons”.
Yes indeed, immensely powerful and invaluable.
We do have an anthem of haunting beauty for those of us who have ourselves been so terribly injured by psychiatry’s misuse of drugs.
A ballad with soul-piercing words and melody that we play each year as we light candles for our own, dear souls lost to psychiatry. (All Soul’s Night: – November 3rd.)
“This is a place where Lucifer lingers.
Where many have gone and still so many remain.
Though I’m no longer here I am bound by history’s fear
And my heart is heavy and sad from memories past”.
WHERE LUCIFER LINGERS. RON LINDSAY – the American vocal, Pauline Alexander.
Available via You-Tube.
Thanks for coming in and for the ballad.
Any similarly powerful musical protest anthems please?
Entire MHS(Mental Health System),not just Psychiatry,should be *eliminated* from this world!Anti-Mental Health movement should start and there are only two places,where first protests should take place!Before NIMH and WHO!Start with Occupy NIMH and same with Occupy WHO movements.And Expose MHS infamy on public
I agree. Virtually all mental health systems embrace the psychiatric model and, at least here in the US, do more harm than good.
Great post! This is more along the lines of the kind of articles we need.
You call psychiatry a marketing hoax.
“In general, the way to neutralize a hoax is to expose it to the proper authorities.”
Psychiatry is more than mere marketing hoax. The problem we’ve got here is that law makers made this exception to the law (mental health law) pertaining to rule breakers (people given psychiatric labels). For this to happen, you need collaboration between politicians (law makers), the criminal justice system (law enforcers), and the mental health system (dept of correction for rule breakers). This agreement involves handing the rule breakers off to the medical establishment for purposes of containment. Problem: rule breaking is not a medical condition, however, mental health law (this exception to the law proper) would make it so. As psychiatrists are deemed “experts” on “mental health” in courts of law. Who is one going to report this hoax to? Politicians and law enforcement are in cahoots with the psychiatric profession while the FDA itself is buddy buddy with the pharmaceutical industry. The public? Well, sure, that’s probably a good place to start.
When you come to non-psychiatry professionals though, so long as we haven’t exited mental health or social services, we’re still in the domain of the psy-profession in general. These tend to be, in large measure, a big part of the problem because the vast majority of them are major collaborators with psychiatry. They are also fed by, and go along to feed, a growing “mental health movement”. A movement that is really not about “mental health” at all, but is rather about the provision of “mental health treatment”, and getting funds for it from the feds. Now we’re back in the midst of that marketing hoax you talk about. “Mental illness” labels are now the trend, and as this is so, the whole ridiculous system expands.
It is just as insulting to call “mental illness” or “mental disorder” “problems of thinking, feeling, or behaving” as the reverse. I’m would not be any less offended to be called a “problem” than I would to be called a “sicko”. Problem to whom? Thomas Szasz differentiated between the ‘psychotic’, whose behavior others complained about, and the ‘neurotic’, who complained about his or her own behaviors. “Mental illness” and “mental disorder” are figures of speech. Problems are usually issues between two or more people, and they are seldom, if ever, innate to the individual. Calling a spade a spade, a mental illness is a counterfeit disease, a medical fiction, and therefore, more of an illusion than a problem. You “cure” “diseases”; you “solve” “problems”. “Treating” “problems” can only exasperate them, unless those “problems” happen to be actual “diseases”. “Harming” people in the name of “treating” them neither “cures” them of any medical condition, nor “solves” any “problems” they may have.
Thanks for this. Sometimes it’s difficult to find the right words. I would never call a person a problem, but frequently we people have problems. And as you point out, these need to be solved, not treated.
Your essay is a powerful piece to a developing manifesto for a much needed anti-psychiatry movement.
You have brilliantly covered almost every necessary issue for such a manifesto, and made important suggestions for the way forward. And BTW, all of your proceeding writings on Psychiatry have made a major contribution to getting us to this current historical moment where we are on the cusp of launching a world changing anti-psychiatry movement.
One important addition that needs to be made to your essay is in the realm of politics and economics. While you correctly pointed out the following political observation:
“Psychiatry provides a “valuable” service to governments by promoting the false message that legitimate and appropriate responses to discriminatory and exploitative policies are symptoms of illness….
Psychiatry is the cornerstone of a multi-billion dollar world-wide drug cartel.”
We need to take this analysis a few steps further. Psychiatry has increasing become (over the past 4 decades) a required institution of social control for the preservation and growth of modern Capitalism. Their “genetic theories of original sin” are essential to shifting focus away from the inherent inequalities and daily traumas within a class based/profit system.
Psychiatric labels along with their anesthetizing drugs, have been increasingly directed towards some of the more volatile sections of our society who are most likely to become the future agents of radical political change.
And Big Pharma may have evolved into (with their enormous rates of profit growth) an industrial cartel TOO BIG TO FAIL, as U.S Imperialism competes with other growing Imperialist powers.
And additionally, some of the inherent flaws in the way science is conducted, and the overall corruption of most scientific endeavors (especially psychiatric drug development), is intimately connected to the guiding principles of the profit motive infiltrating and harming every facet of our existence.
Just as the key leaders within the environmental movement have linked the future of our planet to the need for more fundamental (systemic) political and economic changes in the world, the anti-psychiatry movement must also do the same.
I am NOT suggesting that an anti-capitalist position has to be a necessary point of agreement (or basis of unity) to be in anti-psychiatry movement. I am only suggesting that it is necessary (when and where possible) to draw the real world connections between modern Psychiatry and modern Capitalism. To not do so would be to hide part of the reality we face in the world today as we fight all forms of human right violations, and it would also avoid discussing necessary strategic issues about exactly what it will take to end ALL forms of psychiatric abuse and oppression in the world.
Absolutely. We need to understand that psychiatry is a fundamentally reactionary profession that blames people’s brains and genes for the harm they suffer under our social system. Call it ‘capitalism’, ‘The West’, ‘modernity’, whatever you like, but our society is deeply oppressive and we are compelled to expand our criticism of psychiatry to the broader world and its various systems of profit and control.
Antipsychiatry must be political.
Thanks for this. I agree that many, perhaps most, human problems stem from economic and political injustice, and that these issues will have to be addressed.
Two ways of moving forward:
1. The 2017 New Year’s Resolutions here:
2. The “Transformation Triangle” described in this 2007 presentation:
Just a quick comment: The three corners of the triangle are Public Attitudes, Other Choices and Strategic Litigation. One way to change public attitudes is just to write letters drawing attention to the “Unrecognised Facts” at the Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry, based in the UK: http://www.cepuk.org.
Asking those damaged by psychiatry to fight psychiatry is like asking landmine victims to walk in a march/protest against landmines.
Landmine victims march
Those that survive psychiatry often have emotional defects as well as intellectual defects that prevent them from both employment and organizing against those that damaged them.
I agree with this comment.
I am dealing with a huge wave of PAWS symptoms, at 38 1/2 months out from a year and a half taper of a tiny bit of Klonopin that I was prescribed for 10ish years. My mind has been so fogged, my energy so zapped that it’s been difficult just dealing with my daily life, never mind feeling any joy or connection. My best friend just dumped me after supporting me thru this over the past 3 years…she thinks I’m ‘not trying hard enough’. I’m not *postive* enough. (and I’m sure whispering to mutual friends about my ‘underlying condition’) HAH
Yes, I try to engage when I can. I gave out yet another copy of “Anatomy…” last week, and I make arguments about the ‘mental health’ system in the comments section of a local paper (as able). But for me to make a verbal argument, or write something coherent at this point, or to handle the *STRESS* of organizing anything, or *travelling*…operating on no sleep for weeks, well. Tell ya what…right now, for me to hang onto the fact that I’ve had periods of time (windows) when all 4 cylinders were firing–a dim memory now cuz this wave (yep, waves and windows) has pulled me under for weeks now, is about all I can do. This is no way to live. My old age spent just trying to get my brain back only to die from lack of medical care thanks to our awesome for-profit system. Shoot me now.
Sorry for whining but I cannot cannot cannot believe this is still so bad this far out.
And ya’ll want me to be politically active, too.
People must, and can only do, what they are capable of doing in this movement. There should be no quota system or unreasonable expectations.
I love your participation here at MIA and always learn something from your comments.
There is a role for every single person who yearns to be free from the oppressive yoke of Psychiatry and the overall System that sustains and requires its presence on this earth.
I’m sorry if my words seemed to imply pressure to do more than you reasonably can.
I wanted so much to sue the hell out of the one psychiatrist who drugged me to the max and took away so many possibilities. As I’ve written here before I’m one of the few people who had their psychiatrist admit to their face while he was crying uncontrollably apologizing for totally screwing up, for wrongly diagnosing and drugging me. I was in the mist of horrible withdrawal and was so physically ill from drug induced Akathisia it was all I could do to just take care of me. I regained my belief in myself as I tapered off all these drugs and reclaimed what life I have. Psychiatry destroys lives.
It does indeed.
Thanks for this reminder. I’m certainly not trying to guilt-trip anyone into doing something that they feel is beyond them, but many survivors are active in this area, and do great work. Incidentally, take a look at Mark Bertram’s and Sarah McDonald’s paper at http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/JMHTEP-06-2015-0027
There are various *methods* of sharing certain *information*,prior any critical mass needed for protest will be *gathered* and real life activists,don’t need to relay on *mercy* of digital or mainstream media,to give normal people distguist about everything,what is really *going* *on* in MHS! You can even challenge constitution and central government,without people on streets!Without single shot!And without exposing people with *emotional* or *intellectual* *defect* to *certain* situations,then…
Psychiatry: “1. a medical specialty, now defunct, whose primary tenet was that all significant problems of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving were best conceptualized as illnesses, and best treated with mood-altering drugs and electric shocks to the brain. 2. (informal) an enormous hoax. 3. (informal) a shameful abuse of power and position.”
This is sooo powerful! I’d say repost and repeat this everywhere. It is clear, direct, to the point, and, frankly and sadly, truthful. Why wait 20 years? Thank you, Dr. Hickey, really great.
I pray for that day, too, Alex. Thanks, Philip, I always appreciate your posts, and would be grateful if you’d consider writing something about this. I would also like to make a suggestion for all here who are child abuse victims, if you are comfortable doing this.
The internet, since the election of Trump, and because of the Wikileaks allegations of child abusers and child traffickers in high places in DC, has been filled with people disgusted by, researching and reporting on, the worldwide pedophilia epidemic.
I do believe an effective way to take down the psychiatric industry could be to point the psychiatrists out for who they actually are, according to their own medical evidence. The psychiatrists’ primary actual function in our society today does appear to be aiding, abetting, and empowering child molesters, by silencing child abuse victims and turning them into the seriously mentally ill with the psychiatric drugs.
I would recommend any child abuse victims, or anyone else here who wants to end psychiatry’s rein of terror, google Pizzagate or Pedogate and consider sharing your stories and research with the decent humans who are just now learning about the worldwide pedophilia problems.
It strikes me that pointing out this historic, and continuing, criminal child abuse silencing behavior of the psychiatrists, could help further destroy the psychiatric industry, since most sane people are disgusted by child abuse, and of course those who aid and abet the child molesters.
Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll take a look.
And thank you for your support.
WE NEED TO PROSECUTE
The University in my hometown in Southern Ireland also managed the Local Psychiatric Unit (where I had attended). In 1986 it’s Professor of Pharmacology was also the President of The British Association of Psychopharmacologists.
When I was a teenager in the 1970s the University was tiny and the Pharmacology Department worked out of damp prefabs – in 2017 the University stretchs several miles up the local river. It takes in about 50 Million Euros per year in Research Funding and it’s buildings are Presidential.
This University produced many supportive Research Papers on depot injection medications. But the Researchers were doctoring patients records and doctoring research. (They doctored my records – suppressing reactions, to drugs that could have gone on to kill me. I have documentary evidence to support this).
(I got better more than 30 years ago as a result of stopping the drugs they were promoting).
Psychiatry is a growth industry worldwide.
Excellent as usual, Phil.
I would add one more practical suggestion: http://www.meetup.com can be used to relatively cheaply create a group in your town or city dedicated to exposing and criticizing psychiatric concepts and supporting people in finding alternate sources of help.
For example here is the new Pittsburgh Antipsychiatry Meetup – https://www.meetup.com/Pittsburgh-Antipsychiatry-Meetup/
Thanks for the links.
Phil — A number of people are becoming interested in forming a true anti-psychiatry network which would be able to represent the beliefs and analyses of those who have gone beyond “critical psychiatry” to a more abolitionist perspective. What you put forth here provides fertile material for discussion once such a format has been established to define, for example, what constitutes an abolitionist vs. a reform perspective. Because, face it — there is no organized or representative movement at the moment, at least in the U.S., just a collection of people with somewhat similar beliefs about psychiatry but no common thread as to what our priorities should be, or how to go about achieving them.
I don’t know that your above suggestions actually constitute “new directions,” as I believe people can be found working on all the levels that you mention; the problem is that there’s no linkage between these efforts or common strategy. This needs to change. (Check your email btw.)
I have thoughts on most of these subjects. As for the “non-psychiatric” professionals being part of an anti-psychiatry movement, it depends. You mention the problem — many are too afraid of losing their jobs to do anything but water down our efforts. Those who don’t publicly identify as anti-psychiatry should have some pretty good proof that their goal is to end psychiatry — not find an “alternative” way of making careers out of assuaging people’s misery.
Will post more on this all later. Thanks for contributing to these ongoing discussions.
P.S. I encourage people reading this to also check out the article on Marxism & psychiatry (it can be found in the “most popular” box) as many of the same themes are being discussed there as well.
So, here goes:
On “survivor” leadership — I don’t know if we need a specifically “survivor” organization in every town. But I think it would be great to have an anti-psychiatry group in every town which is led by those who have been psychiatrized. If people want to have “survivor” groups in addition that’s fine too; I would like to see people avoid identifying too much as something which, after all, was imposed (“survivor”-hood), not part of our genetic makeup. Psychiatry affects ALL people, which is what we need to emphasize, and I think that’s a big part of what Phil is saying here. But those whom it has affected most, and understand its dynamics most intimately are those who have been psychiatrized; as such, conscious survivors need to take leading roles in the struggle against psychiatry (which does NOT mean dictating everything by “playing the mental patient card”).
On lawsuits — Whether a lawsuit is reformist at heart or potentially liberating depends on whether its aim is “better treatment” or breaking the legal power of psychiatry to impose extralegal and abusive practices on people in the first place. For example, commitment hearings should be treated as criminal proceedings — with the option of requesting a jury — if they involve coercive drugging or incarceration, and Miranda protections should apply to psychiatric interviews. Lawyers need to be trained in how to counter and expose psychiatric testimony as fraudulent at its core. Most important, we need lawyers who want to work for us in a non-paternalistic way that addresses our actual needs, not the system’s caricature of our needs (such as “fighting stigma”).
Also, since we’re talking about law, I believe a critical difference between reformism and anti-psychiatry is that anti-psychiatry recognizes that psychiatry is part of the law enforcement/prison apparatus, and is not a branch of medicine or the health system, even in a “rogue” way. The confusion most people have in this regard is a major impediment in formulating solutions.
You’re opening up huge issues here, and I think that’s great. I hope to do a post soon on the critical vs. anti issue, and another on the issue of coerced drugging.
We have to be more creative than the industry. Part of being creative is to have ideas that are a bit outside the box without thinking they are too crazy.
Here are some both a bit traditional and obvious and some a bit crazy.
1.Contacting the opinion leaders of the youth, you tubers with more than a million subscribers. These include gamers, make up video makers, computer geeks, makers of fail compilations, life hacks, interesting party tricks etc. some of these have over 10 million subscribers who may all be influenced by messages in the videos. Make such videos yourself and attach slogans at the end or as commercial breaks.
2. A good person to contact would be Lily Singh who actually started her YouTube channel to deal with depression and wanted to become a psychologist
3. Contacting more professional YouTube makers such as Buzz Feed or ASAP science. They often have articles or videos supporting mainstream psychiatry.
4. Edit Wikipedia articles. You may be shut down quickly, but with good references to meta analysis your text may stay for years and influence millions.
5. Produce your own YouTube videos. Many videos about personal experiences with psychiatry get over 10000 views. People who write books on psychiatry are very happy of they sell 10000 books.
6. Make your own bumper stickers
7. Put slogans on flyers and put them on cars in parking lots, on trees and light poles, just like people do for lost cats.
8. People who hold large signs at crossroads are always looked at, so if you dare, make a big sign with your slog and hold it for an hour at a rush hour slow point.
9. Make a statement such as “70% get sexual problems from antidepressant drugs such as ..” It may be a good or bad idea to mention the brand name since many are not aware they are taking an antidepressant. They may think it is a mild nerve pill for anxiety. But in some places I imagine you may be sued
10. If you have money you could place ads with slogans.
11. Place ads with slogans in free classifieds that are read by many
12. Answer to any blog/article you can find with many readers. New York Times, Huffington post, the Guardian. Lead them to Bob’s, Peter G or Peter B’s books and MIA
13. Paint slogans on roads. They are hard to remove.
14. Get graffiti artists to make antipsychiatry art, with slogans.
15. If you are good with computers, overload pro drug sites
16. Contact all lawyers who deal with personal injury if you have been hurt by drugs. They are very keen to include many people in mass tort cases. Just google on tort or mass tort and the name of the drug that hurt you. You may not get millions but you will hurt the company.
17. Become a member of Nami sites e. g. Join Nami on LinkedIn. Then you may reach and argue with 10000 believers.
18. Be creative about getting into the school system. Parents could voice their concerns about adhd drugging in PTA meetings.
19. Give free lunches or small gifts to Doctors for listening to antipsychiatry messages. Make pens and cups with antipsychiatry slogans and hand them out at conferences. The profession seems to be controlled by these simple reinforcements.
20 Send research reports to as many doctors fax machines as possible.
21 Analyze what makes a video go viral and make such small viral videos on facebook or youtube.
22. Befriend journalists in any possible way and make them write articles or make programs favorable to antipsychiatry.
23. Challenge doctors to taste their own medicine, literally. That could be a strong experience that would seriously reduce their prescribing
24. Give doctors alternatives to drug pushing by teaching them other methods of treatment such as CBT, EFT, Mindfulness, ACT. Most of them want to help, and they like procedural methods like CBT, since it is very close to e.g. surgical protocols.
25. Make as many doctor appointments as you can, get a good relationship to the doctor and provide scientific easy to read material like excerpt of Whitaker, Goetzche or Bregging’s books. Make short videos on youtube that they can watch.
26. If you live on a street with a lot of traffic, put slogans in your windows or as posters on your walls. (A bit crazy, but could be worked into something useful) Make your own billboard in your garden. If you are the technical kind, make a video billboard in your garden. Someone just has to read a message once to start a change in that person’s life. The ripple effect can be quite extreme in some instancees
Well, some a bit crazy ideas. Please add to them. We can all do something in the good fight.
Wow great ideas Kjetil
I like many of these suggestions and look forward to further dialogue.
One caution I have is that those of us who truly want to abolish and not “improve” psychiatry shouldn’t waste our time, or at least much of it, trying to convince psychiatrists to change, or to put themselves out of business. But once we have a united analysis and strategy in place (which is in the works) a number of your suggested tactics could be very effective.
Thanks for these great ideas – none of which are crazy!
How about using our creativity to make one liner slogans and putting them here as a starting point.
Links to easily distributable material for influencing doctors would also be great. Youtube videos of tardive dyskinesia can make a strong impact combined with the risk estimates of 5%pr year. Put them on your phone and show them to your doctor next time you have an appointment.
Peter Goetzche estimates that each doctor kills one patient a year with psychotropics. How about telling them this stat!
Here are a few one liners to start with:
Antidepressants are drugs that kill the sex lives for 7 of 10.
Risperdal, Zyprexa and Seroquel make people die 25 years earlier.
Risperdal, Zyprexa and Seroquel and other antipsychotics kill more than 500 000 people every year.
9/11 killed over 5000, Vietnam over 70 000, Antispsychotics kills 500 000, EACH YEAR
Antidepressants double people’s desire to kill themselves
Terrific. Let’s get them out there.
Some very interesting and creative suggestions.
An IMPORTANT EDITORIAL CORRECTION: the U.S. Imperialist war in Vietnam killed over 2 million Indochinese people, unless one does not view these people as somehow human. We do NOT want to appeal to any form of American/First World chauvinism when creating our various forms of protest.
Richard: So sorry, didn’t think of that in my creative rush…
Kjetil — Do you have a secure email or other way of contacting you directly?
Thanks for responding.
We all make these sort of errors, but not everyone is willing to correct them.
Your quick and non defensive response is very much appreciated.
Philip, I don’t know that momentum is being gained or that things are going in a good direction:
Here, typical case, mother convinced that her son has “mental illness”, and her whole identity revolves around this:
And then most of the country believes in Recovery and Therapy, meaning that the experience of injustice is a time for self-improvement instead of redress.
And then horror of horrors, the mental health and recovery system is merging with the Born Again Christian Movement:
Rick and Kay Warren of the Saddle Back Church, after their 27yo son shot himself in the head.
Remember, their is hope, don’t give up!
So the way to push this is to take actions, like lawsuits and protests. Run some psychiatrists and psychotherapists out of business.
I think this is a high water mark right here:
We should be saturating these attorneys with clients:
Send me anyone who has had any contact with the mental health system, and I will find them a suitable attorney.
And then most of the time there is child abuse underneath.
Again, lawsuits, criminal prosecutions, and protests.
I helped to get a conviction on one man who was molesting his daughter’s, with the full support of his church. Now I just wrote in support of him being tried again, in case he is able to get out on appeal.
Actions, not just talk.
Anyone may feel free to contact me on [email protected]
See my cartoons in french and in english too at: http://depsychiatriser.blogspot.fr/
These cartoons are really great! Good that they are multi lingual! Everyone should take a look. Lots of material for flyers etc. Can we copy freely?
Thank you Kjetil Mellingen. Please share freely but do not modify the cartoons. If you want anything specific, please contact me at [email protected]
Yes, they are very good.
Would love to see them made up as flyers.
Thank you for your good opinion.
Great anti-psychiatry website.
You might find this blog: https://www.madinamerica.com/2014/10/may-force-never-ever-case-abolition/
a helpful resource for your campaign against forced treatment.
Thanks Richard D. Lewis. I find your blog post very inspiring. The campaign against force treatment is CHRUSP’s. Please see: https://absoluteprohibition.org/
Thanks for the link.
I think community workers are also worth reaching out to so I add them to the list that Phil has generated as potential allies. They often have contact with distressed people and see the outcome of people taking psyche drugs or being in contact with psychiatry. The alternatives of social support are natural to them.
I think the development of alternatives (counselling, therapy, Open Dialogue type work, sancturies, drug withdrawel services and advocacy groups) under anti-psychiatry names are something I would like to see. So often these services are seen as complimentary to psychiatry but organising them and saying we are providing them because psychaitry is damaging would be powerful statement. One of the most powerful things the Black Panthers did was provide breakfast for children in schools. A breakfast club is not radical, one done under that name was. A self help group for people who are distressed is not a powerful symbol, one done under the name of Speak Out Against Psychiatry would be.
Generally speaking the average person abhors cruelty to vulnerable people the so called ‘mentally ill’ included.
The self help in the mame of antipsychiatry was a great idea. Maybe I will make self help youtube videos in that spirit.
I’d love to see them Kjetil.
Well, here is the most popular one. It was made in the spirit that everyone can help themselves with emotion control techniques, without drugs, even if I don’t mention it directly in the video.
Here is the absolutely most popular I have ever made:
Here is one of my favorite self help techniques:
And one about drugs:
If you have any ideas about similar videos, please tell me. I have almost 2000 subscribers now, but dream about having a million , especially young people, so I can influence many. Please subscribe and spread on facebook etc.
I’ve seen the first one before. It’s about our thinking influencing how we feel. I remember getting my hands on the Classic Self Help book ‘Your Erroneous Zones’ by Dr Wayne W Dyer in 1984 when I was coming off strong drugs. He expresses exactly the same thing as you.
My “dopamine” system was wrecked and I was getting terrible anxiety attacks. Robert Whitaker desscribes this as psychotropic withdrawal “High Anxiety”.
I learned to figure things out with Dr Wayne Dyers explanations. If I was able to ‘detach’ in the present and look at my problem later on I would know how to deal with it. If I didn’t have some CBT technique I would have gone mad!
But CBT works.
I remember Dr Wayne Dyer (who wrote Your Erroneous Zones) writing that he abandoned psychiatry and the smell of chloropromazine laced urine in hospital toilets – and went on the road promoting his book. One of the things I appreciate about being off medication is the fact that when I relieve myself my urine no longer smells rancid.
Aisle upon aisle of bookstore palaver has convinced me that we need an anti-self-help industry movement. Not grasping the obvious, once it has been handed to you a thousand times over, I would call an indication of unreason (AKA madness).
I think that depends on how you define self help. All those books repeat themselves endlessly and offer trite advice as if they were pearls of wisdom.
A book giving basic advice on how to withdraw from psyche drugs in a safe a manner as possible published under the name of Pschiatric Survivor Press would be something else.
Yep, or a similar book about how to avoid treatment, that is, the mental health trap, entirely, or a 101 on grass-roots political action directed against organized psychiatry (the APA et al.) and the mental health system, and published under the name of the Anti-Psychiatry Press.
I agree Frank, but I regained my sanity through self help books.
I didn’t. I imagine there is an element of narcissistic self-absorption in even going there. I didn’t buy this negative line I was getting from psychiatrists I had seen. Why should I have done so? It struck me as a form of sincere folly to do so, and I had no interest in becoming anybody’s gull. One detrimental course of direction to take is to believe the course you’re taking is detrimental because somebody told you it was so. There are people who listen to the “authorities”, and that becomes their problem. A bigger problem exists in the fact that the “authorities” only know so much. Some ignoramuses are more knowledgeable than the learned “authorities” who put so much faith in their blasted statistics. Not listening (or practicing discretion in what one hears) is an art some of us picked up on early, and, thereby, spared the world a few more suckers.
We should consider the implications of the notion of “seeking alternatives.” While it seems innocuous and reasonable enough of a goal on the surface, what does psychiatry provide that anyone would want an “alternative” version of? Do people speak of needing an “alternative” to racism or homophobia?
The claim that we need an “alternative” before we denounce and expose psychiatry is a guilt trip and a trap.
CRAZIES FIRST! OCCUPY NIMH and OCCUPY WHO! You don’t need 26 points,to *change* this world!
What works works. A lot of good advice is actually universal.
True enough. I believe the same thing could be said of bad advice, too, that is, it’s pretty universal, and given the drug, drug, drug mentality of the mental health goons, when it comes to early mortality and chronicity, the statistics seem to bear me out.
Great Blog and follow up idea’s.
Today 03/17/2017 on DemocracyNow.org Ralph Nader was interviewed and mentioned his new book “Breaking Through Power”. I haven’t got it yet but from what Nader said about it , there may be idea’s in it that can help us, for example . He said it was more important to speak face to face to governmental officials when they show up at local town meetings than to have a small demonstration . I don’t know if he’s right or not .
Lets sell anti psychiatry bumper stickers on MIA.
“Have you drugged your kids today?”
Teacher fired for refusing to remove ‘have you drugged your kids today’ bumper sticker.
Tarah Ausburn put the ‘Have you drugged your kid today?’ sticker on her Toyota Prius in protest at what she claims is the overmedication of today’s children.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1361834/Teacher-Tarah-Ausburn-sacked-drugged-kids-today-bumper-sticker.html
Great link — I’m forwarding it to Justin Karter for In The News.
I think David Healy recently complained about a type of McCarthyism in psychiatry silencing the voices of psychiatrists. Here you’ve got an example of the power of psychiatry, and the mental health mob, in league with the pharmaceutical cartel, perhaps forcing a teacher to change professions. This teacher was dropped for a bumper sticker, and as one person puts it in the article, for the progressive, he used the word “socialist”, views she expressed. Apparently high school is not ready for free speech yet either. When you think about the 1984 aspects of this matter, it gets a little scary. If the labor movement failed, as someone suggested in a comment recently, it was because it had a lot of help doing so from the federal government, a federal government now in the hands of a big business brand name. If he (President brand name) didn’t have such a tendency of putting his foot in his mouth (er, or, tweeter), I’d worry.
The Daily Mail is a brilliant newspaper for fair minded “Mental Health” representation.
This is the letter I sent to my Federal representatives and every legislator in Nevada in support of Open Dialogue: A Confluence of Circumstances
Our mental health system is a failure. It will continue to be a costly failure as long as its focus is on drugging patients and hindering rather than aiding recovery. Better ways exist, and have been in use for more than 30 years. Open Dialogue was first developed in Finland in the 80’s and is now being replicated in various countries, including at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS). In one five-year study 83% of patients had returned to their jobs or studies or were looking for a job, 77% did not have any residual symptoms, and only around 20% were still taking antipsychotic medication at 2 year follow-up. (1)
While Open Dialogue was not part of my treatment regiment, it could possibly have shortened the time I spent on Social Security Disability Insurance from about ten years to two years. Significant cost saving should result from adopting this strategy, not to mention quality of life improvements.
Most people, apparently including members of Congress and those in the bureaucracy of Health and Human Services, seem to be lost when it comes to mental health issues. Below are a few items to keep in mind when this topic is discussed:
“Mental health and ‘mental illness’ (and different types of mental ‘illness’) shade into each other and are not separate categories.” (2)
“By concentrating on smaller and smaller fragments of the body, modern medicine often loses sight of the patient as a human being, and by reducing health to mechanical functioning; it is no longer able to deal with the phenomenon of healing. This is perhaps the most serious shortcoming of the biomedical approach. Although every practicing physician knows that healing is an essential aspect of all medicine, the phenomenon is considered outside the scientific framework; the term healer is viewed with suspicion, and the concepts of health and healing are generally not discussed in medical schools.
The reason for the exclusion of the phenomenon of healing is evident. It is a phenomenon that cannot be understood in reductionist terms. This applies to the healing of wounds, and even more to the healing of illnesses, which generally involve a complex interplay among the physical, psychological, social, and environmental aspects of the human condition. To reincorporate the notion of healing into the theory and practice of medicine, medical science will have to transcend its narrow view of health and illness. This does not mean it has to be any less scientific. On the contrary, by broadening its conceptual basis it will become more consistent with recent developments in modern science.” (3)
“All three of these broad classes of possible cause of psychiatric experiences (psychological, social and biological) are important and interact with each other.” (4)
“Traditionally, psychiatry has taken a more biological tack, reflecting the medical basis of the profession. This pattern is changing, however. Some psychiatrists are rapidly becoming more focused on social issues. Many are becoming champions of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (a form of psychological therapy) and are therefore increasingly examining psychological causes of their patient’s distress. “ (5)
• There is evidence that psychotic experiences can sometimes follow major events in someone’s life, either negative (for example bereavement) or positive (for example winning the lottery).
• Many people who have psychotic experiences have experienced abuse or trauma at some point in their lives.
• The possible role of family relationships in the development of psychotic experiences has been a subject of debate over the last 40 years. For obvious reasons this has been an area of great controversy, with strong feelings on both sides.
• There is evidence that if people who have had mental health problems live in a calm and relaxed home atmosphere, their problems are less likely to return”. (6)
“In the stress-vulnerability model, it is suggested that vulnerability will result in the development of problems only when environmental stresses are present. If the vulnerability is great, relatively low levels of environmental stresses might be enough to cause problems. If the vulnerability is lower – the individual is more resilient – problems will develop only when higher levels of environmental stress are experienced.” (7)
In the United States, even a ten year recovery period is considered rare. Most seem to be under the impression that recovery is not possible, and a government bureaucrat will be needed to second guess every decision made by someone with a mental health diagnosis for the rest of their lives. No wonder many prefer to remain untreated and homeless rather than endure the stresses and abuses the mental health system considers treatment.
I had advantages most who receive a mental health diagnosis do not. I didn’t develop symptoms until I was in my 30’s, I had receive training in troubleshooting and problem solving, I had insights into what had triggered my problems, and early on I decided to look at my circumstances more as a research project than anything else.
The onset of my mental health problems began shortly after I found out that one of my brothers (a police officer) may have been involved in the deaths of the individuals accused in the shooting of our father, also a police officer. However, this was not the only circumstance which could have resulted in the development of my symptoms. As a pre-teen I had been diagnosed with epilepsy. It wasn’t until my late 20’s that tests were run that showed the seizures resulted from an injury to the right temporal lobe of my brain, which I had sustained some months prior to the onset of seizures. One of my parents also had an anger problem, which escalated to rage all too often.
During the time I had active mental health problems, I found myself getting arrested all too frequently, as well as bouts of homelessness, living in a board and care facility, as well as several admissions to psychiatric facilities. While I was young, my seizures were quite infrequent. However, in my 30’s they became more common and severe. However, I was fortunate. During my early 40’s, tests, repeated at least four times, no longer showed the scar tissue which had been the cause of my seizures. “Many mental health programs are not staffed with physicians practiced in medical diagnosis and thus are unprepared to detect a large proportion of physical diseases in their patients. As described elsewhere, California’s state mental health programs fail to detect many diseases that could be causing or exacerbating psychiatric disorders” (8)
The seizures stopped, and my mental health problems substantially decrease. In what is probably a unique event, a visit from an FBI agent, at least indirectly, helped reduce my symptoms even further. I shook in relief when he left. All too often in the then recent past, law enforcement officers had arrested me, mistaken my seizures for illegal drug use. While I didn’t understand it then, this shaking is quite similar to what David Berceli, PhD describes in his book, The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process: Transcend Your Toughest Times as well as he induces as in his trauma recovery programs. (see http://www.traumaprevention.com for more information.) The program of cognitive therapy – which is about learning better ways to deal with stress – I was in the finishing stages at the time of the FBI visit also helped rid me of the various symptoms.
While my circumstances are unique, and some will be quite skeptical of the veracity of my story, I do feel I have some responsibility to help those who have also been labelled as ‘mentally ill’.
As I understand it, Open Dialogue helps individuals address the various stressful or traumatic circumstances encountered in life. I don’t know if Open Dialogue practitioners utilize the various non drug trauma treatments available, such as Trauma & Tension Releasing exercises mentioned above, Somatic Experience http://www.healingtrauma.org , and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing http://www.emdria.org or the Cellular Memory Release (http://www.cellularmemory.org/index_english.php) process which teaches one to transform negative emotions, habits and patterns, but I believe they may be able to increase the effectiveness of their program should they decide to do so. Please keep this in mind when mental health topics are being discussed. Also, please view my website http://shakugoukaku.com/ for more information on recovery from mental illness.
– – – — – – – – – –
1. Five-year experience of first-episode nonaffective psychosis in open-dialogue approach: Treatment principles, follow-up outcomes, and two case studies, Psychotherapy Research, March 2006; 16(2): 214_/228
2. Recent Advances in Understanding mental illness and psychiatric experiences – A Report by the British Psychological Society Division of Clinical Psychiatry, June 2000, Pg. 4
3. THE TURNING POINT, by Fritjof Capra, © 1982 (pgs. 123 – 124) Simon & Schuster / Bantam edition
4. Recent Advances in Understanding mental illness and psychiatric experiences, pg. 21
5. IBID pg. 22
6. IBID pg. 28
7. IBID pg. 28
8. A Medical Algorithm for Detecting Physical Disease in Psychiatric Patients, Hospital and Community Psychiatry Vol. 40 No. 12 Dec 1989, Pg. 1270 by Harold C. Sox, Jr., M.D., Lorrin M. Koran, M.D., Carol H. Sox, M.S. , Keith I. Marton, M.D., Fred Dugger, P.A., Teruko Smith, R. N.
Thank you for sharing your ideas 🙂
This is great but some is TLDR. Can we just say: stop blaming the brain?
To quote a lyric by JahredNamaste’ of Love Eternal, “We’re going up, up, up from here.” Current psychiatric drugs and practices remain at bottom of the snake pit the psuedoscience crawled out of. It is Nutritional and Emotional support, via supplements, therapy etc that has best outcomes. This is proven by fact that countries who do not use Western psych meds have far, far, far fewer cases of people who become disabled by psychiatric conds. In those countries, where lives are not ruined by medication side-effects, people receive support-based care and most recover from even schizophrenia. Western model’s been to medicate life-situational depressions and zestful behavior of children. Result? Three times number of disabled people now in America, for mental health reasons, as there were less than 30 years ago, before the invention of first SSRI anti-depressant prozac. I wish I had known about natural product EMPowerplus from truehope.com over 20 years ago instead of taking SSRI’S for a situational depression and thus protected my brain. I pass on the info so others can protect their precious brains!