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.
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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.