Psychiatry’s War on Free Will

Lawrence Kelmenson, MD
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Since its birth around 1800, psychiatry’s main role was to forcibly negate the free will of society’s outliers. Its methods included forced removal, confinement, and electrical, surgical, and chemical lobotomy, as depicted in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.1 Then psychiatry sought to expand its war on free will. So it devised ways to lure non-outliers into willingly allowing psychiatry to negate their free will, too.

First came a flanking attack that preyed upon the more trusting members of society:

Psychiatry vastly lengthened its list of learned coping styles and maturational stages that it called mental illnesses, and declared them to be involuntary brain diseases. This tricked many people into believing that they’re defective/incapable. They thus surrendered their freedom to choose how to address their or their kids’ challenges, and voluntarily handed this responsibility over to doctors. Giving up on themselves was reinforced by rewards like victim status, euphoria-giving (but brain-impairing/addictive) drugs, and lifelong disability benefits. Giving up on their kids was rewarded with instantly docile (sedated) kids who could slide through school without doing/learning much (via accommodations). People thereby further ceded control over their lives, and were trapped into eternal submissive dependence on psychiatry. Ka-ching!

Emboldened by its success, psychiatry then conducted an all-out assault on everybody’s free will:

It began proclaiming that everyone’s free will is limited — that variations in human coping styles are due to variations in how our brains are genetically hard-wired (neurotypes), which pre-fate us to develop fixed lifestyles. To persuade us to accept this myth, psychiatric neuroscientists search for the necessarily-present brain-activity correlates of thoughts, behaviors, or feelings, and then infer that these mental processes are caused by their physiological correlates. But that’s illogical, since something can’t cause itself to occur. Yet their false conclusions have misled many people to think that their coping habits are pre-determined and restricted, rather than freely chosen.

In truth, the essence of being human is that our huge brains have trillions of interconnections that give us freedom to flexibly learn and choose from among endless diverse ways to adapt. This gave us a big survival advantage over all other animals. And I dissected a human brain, so I can tell you it is soft/squishy like jelly; there’s no hardwiring in there. Our brain processes don’t control us; they are the means by which we control ourselves. It is hard to change, but if we really want to, we can by using willpower. In effect, fooling people to believe they don’t have free will or adaptive brains gets them to lobotomize themselves before they even step into a psychiatrist’s office. That’s good for business, since when life’s struggles arise, people will think they’re powerless to resolve them and so will instead helplessly submit their will to doctors. Jackpot!

Researchers from Libet2 to Fried3 tried to prove that free will itself is an illusion, by showing that brain activity occurs well before we’re consciously aware of having decided to do something. They claimed this implies that our brains direct our actions automatically and involuntarily. But a more logical, likely explanation is that this brain activity is the biologic correlate of subconscious mental processes which voluntarily direct our actions. So these studies support Freud’s theory of unconscious feelings/thoughts often being the real drivers of our chosen actions, while conscious thoughts/feelings are just the tip of the iceberg. Although we’re unaware of our submerged mental processes, they are still a part of us, so their free will is ours. So Fried failed to refute free will — in fact, Fried’s findings furthered Freud’s fame!

This is why Freud’s theories about the unconscious mind are needed as an antidote to the genetic determinism which psychiatry poisoned our culture with. Just as people won’t relinquish faith in mental illnesses being real illnesses until realizing it’s just a concept society uses to get rid of its outliers, they won’t give up faith in chemical imbalance-ism until realizing the real reason why we often don’t know why we feel what we feel or do what we do — it’s that we push unwelcome emotions, desires, etc. below the surface, yet they are always there, impacting and impelling us. Once people learn these truths, they’ll see psychiatric treatment for what it is and always was: free will negation.

It’s ironic that the USA, which had always been the most free nation, is now the place where free will is the most stifled by psychiatry’s three-pronged crusade against it. In just 38 years, psychiatry’s lies have largely undone what millions of years of brain evolution had given us. I urge people to fight back by using their brains, instead of meekly letting psychiatrists profit by negating their free will.

Show 3 footnotes

  1.  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Kesey, K, 1962, Penguin Books, New York.
  2. “Unconscious Cerebral Initiative and the Role of Conscious Will in Voluntary Action” Libet, B, Behav Brain Sci, 1985(8)529-66.
  3.  “Internally Generated Preactivation of Single Neurons in Human Medial Frontal Cortex Predicts Volition” Fried, I, et al, Neuron, 69(3) Feb 10 2011, 404-6.

193 COMMENTS

  1. Amusing illustration. I’m reminded of an episode of The Three Stooges if anybody is interested. It’s called From Nurse To Worse (1940). Moe, Larry, and Curly have this idea for an insurance company scam. Curly will pretend to be crazy for the insurance money. When they take Curly to the psychiatrists, his act is just a little too convincing. The doctors want to perform something called a cerebrum decapitation on him. The rest of the show is about Moe and Larry’s efforts to assist Curly in escaping from this operation. The fact that lobotomies were being performed on a rather routine basis at the time must have lent some sort of weight to the message, if message there could be said to be in The Three Stooges.

    • Wouldn’t you want to lobotomize someone who does not work and must be supported by you because they are too sad?

      There are some people who are unable to earn their own freedom with a good paying job, you may not want to lobotomize them chemically, but how will you force them to have the freedom you do?

      Taking away their ability to pay rent may be a worst fate than a lobotomy.

      • Although I don’t know what this has to do with Moe, Larry, and Curly, I will take a shot at it.

        1. No.

        2. Freedom and force are antithetical. You don’t force freedom on people any more than you force freedom on animals. They are, to use an ancient movie title, born free. Some animals couldn’t live outside of a zoo, you say. Alright, I’d call that exceptional circumstances, and I definitely wouldn’t force the rest of the animal kingdom into a zoo.

        3. “Disability” payments versus employment, that is a difficult one, isn’t it? Some people are homeless now, that is, they don’t lack the ability to pay their rent, they lack the money to pay any rent. This involves two other issues, job availability and affordable housing. Building condos for the relatively well to do isn’t going to fix that. Maybe someone should start looking for some creative solutions to the social problems capital is creating for everyone.

  2. Lawrence, you are getting closer to the truth about psychiatry. The truth that you rightly acknowledge is that psychiatry wages an all out war against free will. This is absolutely correct. Psychiatry wages an all out war against free will, and its methods are cunning.

    You are also correct that many people surrender their free will to psychiatry. You have done a good job of articulating one of the most insidious aspects of psychiatry. But a few corrections and explanations are in order…

  3. While I prefer never to blame, only to deal in the most effective way possible, until I read this I did not know why I could deal with just about anything life threw at me, except for one area related to human behaviors. Truly, blinders were on, and truly, I could not deal. Now I see it. When I reached out to psychiatry oh so long ago (mid-to-late 1980s), I learned to identify the problems, yes, but I also learned to blame and to run (No Contact). I should have been taught how to stand my ground and deal along with learning to identify the true problem. Nowhere else in life did I run or blame, yet I didn’t see the one area that I did both run and blame, and thereby muffled my soul’s cries to be heard and suffered with poor health. Not. Any. More. Thank you. The lesson here is to always be wary of anyone who keeps wanting to give you fish and refuses to teach you how to fish. There is a time and place for giving, no doubt, but as an exception to the rule.

  4. I think your articles are always going to evoke an absolutely!/absolutely not! reaction in me.

    To preface, your otherwise spot-on analyses are often marred by naïve notions of “American freedom,” and worries about people collecting “disability,” which should be more appropriately the concern of system bureaucrats, if anyone. So I’d drop that whole diversionary angle, as this is an international matter anyway.

    Since as we know the mind is not the brain, it seems counterproductive to be basing conclusions on whatever happens to our thought processes when “researchers” poke around the brain with electrodes and the like; down the road apiece I’m sure people will look back and laugh at these primitive practices and the ridiculous conclusions being drawn from this stuff today. It remains a matter of conjecture as to whether the mind “exists” without the brain, but it would be cynical to insist that it is simply the product of squishy disgusting brain tissue.

    Regardless of all the above, “psychiatry” clearly functions to disempower by discouraging both the exercise of and belief in free will, even as it claims to be doing otherwise. The more relevant question to be discussed might be whether it does this as the inevitable result of its own logic, in service to a certain kind of ideology, or as a weapon in the hands of whatever power elite it represents.

  5. Lawrence

    Good blog.

    Agree with Oldhead; better without the American chauvinism and the promotion of “American Exceptionalism.”

    AND, you/we don’t need Freud to explain the underlying basis of “free will.”

    In the “five stages of change” theory, the “pre-contemplation” and “preparation” stages are a far better explanation for brain activity preceding any actual behavior change.

    Richard

    • Or, as I’ve been exploring – the HeartMath version, which is

      the Heart decides, and instructs the brain.

      If your Heart is steeped in negativity, pain, and doesn’t see a way out, that’s how it will instruct the brain.

      If, however, your Heart is open to hope and possibility, the instructions to brain are different.

      I’m oversimplifying excessively (I’m still learning this stuff) but recommend a look into HeartMath.

    • Clearly Richard, you don’t like or appreciate Freud. That’s all fine and good as everyone is entitled to their respective opinion. However, it’s also fair to state that there is “No Free Lunch” in America and psychiatrists are making society that way. I guess the real question is mental health and is it a problem or just some imaginary made up by psychiatrists? Why should mine and everyone else’s tax go to pay for people that can actually work if their not sedated 24 hours a day?

  6. Thank you, Lawrence; very thoughtful writing, as always.

    The only thing I would question is whether the U.S. was ever as free as we like to think. In certain respects, yes, but there has also been a strong inclination from the start to conquer and control (indigenous peoples, Africans, minorities and outliers of all sorts, and of course nature) and I think part of what’s happened is now that we no longer have such an open field for that, the old, blatant techniques become more subtle and we turn them inwards–within our own society and our own minds. Bruno Latour said that “the repressed returns, and with a vengeance.” I think we’ve repressed and hidden our profound aggression and violence for several hundred years (or a few millenia), the old targets are no longer available, and as the center no longer holds, it goes inward. There is, in the end, a fine and perhaps non-existent line between outward and inward aggression. Maybe? Thoughts?

  7. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/feb/19/autism-children-blood-urine-test

    “which found children with ASD had higher levels of the oxidation marker dityrosine (DT) and certain sugar-modified compounds called advanced glycation end-products (AGEs).”

    Eye cataracts, atherosclerosis, acute inflammation, and Alzheimer’s disease, hyperlipidemia (abnormally elevated levels of any or all lipids or lipoproteins in the blood) all have elevated dityrosine. So here’s a prediction… What they are going to say is autism is a metabolism issue and the solution is satin’s and maybe metformin. Do you think they are going to say change your child’s diet ?

  8. You make correct points in profiting from mental illness, but you also fail to provide compassion for those who cannot work like you do from being too sad?

    Those disability benefits are money the sad participants of society need.

    It is equally as cowardly to tie financial support to the over profiteering from ‘mental illness’ or sadness.

    • I would agree, that those who are on disability payments for mental health issues should not be tarred with the same brush as those who choose to profit massively from the mental health industry. Often the label of a mental health condition comes with some dire pronouncements about their work capacity.

      Personally I find MH professionals tend to veer towards one of two extremes about assessing a persons long term work capacity
      1) Either they believe they have no capacity
      2) Or they need to pressure the patient/client to push themselves to the limit

      I don’t think either view is useful for me. View 1 is insulting, View 2 might put me in the hospital

    • What a bunch of bull, “Too Sad” to work, really. Stop the medication, and put them to work. I have three such individual and they way above average employees. Hard to deal with at times, but socially responsible. It’s not to any of that work and pay and exborant amount of taxes because someone is too “Sad to Work.”

      • Two problems.

        1. Discrimination. Psychiatric labels lead to “social disability.” See a shrink, get an SMI label and no one will ever hire you again.

        2. Long term drug use causes real disabilities. These poisons wreak havoc on the brain, central nervous system, and every bodily organ.

        I’m working to overcome those problems by building up my health again. My digestive tract has sustained the most damage. As far as getting around the discrimination and transportation issues I see no alternative to trying to make a living with the online gig economy.

        If I succeed I plan on hiring myself out as a consultant to help others escape dependency on the MI System by freelancing too.

  9. dr k, great stuff! as always!
    we started to discuss on another thread, before it devolved into a mess…
    i so agree with you. yes, the psychotropic drugs are beyond evil.
    just as evil, though, is the planting in the heads of patients- and soon-to-be- patients, for there is potential everywhere- that they are without power and they are incapable of making good choices, as they have an illness, a chemical imbalance, and so they cannot possibly improve their situations.
    worse still is deciding for your children that they are damaged and ill and nothing is their fault, they won’t amount to much. walk through the halls of any american school today and you see so many vacant eyes, such a long line at the “med” nurse’s station, so many kids out of the classroom with “special needs”who have nothing wrong with them but a made-up diagnosis, so many children who do not eat ALL school day long because they are on stimulants and their appetites are suppressed! i agree with nearly everything you write and this free will issue is something i’ve been saying for a long time. i don’t know if you’ve seen me write about the the simple strategy we use in our house, and one i’ve shared with the many. many people i try to help. the next time you want to say you “can’t ” do something- hold down a job, finish school, attend your friend’s wedding, get out of bed- because your “therapist” says it’s true, you can’t, because you have illness a b or c- know this is false, and swap out the words “i choose not do” for “i can’t”. everything changes. everything. you now have responsibilities and duties and commitments you’d be shirking. you are capable and able, youve just been making bad choices. the power to choose is inside us all.
    keep up the awesome work!
    all the best,

    -erin

    • I agree that some sad people don’t want to be happy, because they think they can’t be happy.

      Don’t forget that many sad people want to be happy., but can’t.

      Don’t put all into one box, some don’t want to be happy because they think they can’t be happy, and some do want to be happy but cannot be happy.

      • Why is “happiness” a goal anyway? Pretty egotistical, don’t you think? In the course of pursuing whatever inspires you happiness will be one of many feelings and emotions that come into play, but as a goal in itself — especially when the lack of it is used as an excuse to be miserable — it’s overrated.

          • I wouldn’t call it a myth, but it is temporal. Also to be considered is whether happiness can be recognized or appreciated without sadness as a measure of comparison.

          • JanCarol why do you think that is a poor country to begin with?

            Why do you live in America or type on your computer if you believe happiness is in ‘moments’, and not some poor country in the dirt drawing on cave walls?

            The Pursuit of Happiness is what many brave poor Christians sacrificed for, and they were led by rich landowning founding fathers.

            We all have the right to pursue happiness whether by religion or wealth in America.

          • My comments were not based on religion or country. I’m an American/Australian dual citizen, living in Australia.

            Happiness as a permanent state is a myth, as Oldhead said, happiness is temporal.

            The poor country “drawing in dirt on cave walls” is probably happier than people in the US who are bombarded by media and public relation messages that there is “never enough” and you are “never good enough” and that if only you had this or that, you will be “happy.” The very existence in the “First World” is based upon the deficit provided by media and advertising messages. We are all deficient, and need what is being sold. This is the modern interpretation of the Founding Fathers’ “Pursuit of Happiness,” and it is an empty pursuit. It is also the basis for the “happiness pills” that got so many of us into dire distress.

            We have no idea, really, what the Founding Fathers meant by “Pursuit of Happiness.” Wealth? Ownership? Freedom from Tyranny? It’s a vague phrase, and if you read history, it is likely to have been wealth for the wealthy, and use of the resources of the poor to obtain such.

            You have the right to pursue happiness, but I tell you it is a futile pursuit. Better to pursue the appreciation of happiness, not the thing itself. Happiness is in the eye of the beholder. Easier to shift your eye and your perception, than to change your relationship to “happiness.”

          • JanCarol if everyone thought like you there would be no computer for you to type on, you wouldn’t have the luxury of dual citizenship of Australia and America to naval gaze in either country, which protects you to do that.

            It is people who pursue happiness that give us the luxuries we have, again if you find happiness on a dirt floor in a poor country you are free to leave the first world.

          • sman that is a hollow argument.

            Happiness is not ambition, nor does the pursuit of resilience preclude the desire to provide goods and services, or travel, or anything else.

            I suggest you read “The Happiness Trap” by Dr. Russ Harris to understand where I am coming from. In pursuing Happiness, it will evade you. In understanding it, you stand a better chance of achieving it, at least in moments.

            You think I am negating “happiness,” I am not – I am suggesting that the “pursuit” of it is meaningless. There are much better things to pursue in life, and it does not change my “luxury” of dual citizenship, or the prospects of goals, challenges and ambitions.

            Note: The US government wants to tax my Australian income and assets, making a double tax on them. It is one of 2 countries in the world with this policy – and it hampers my “Pursuit of happiness” as you put it. What would the Founding Fathers say?

            There is nothing in the Australian constitution about “pursuit of Happiness,” or even “freedom of speech” and yet – the Aussies seem to do okay by these two measures of freedom.

        • People who are pursuing happiness generally do not need money from others, such as the taxpayer.

          If you are employed or rich enough to exist in sadness, or whatever emotion you are inspired by at the moment, remember that not everyone is as fortunate as you.

          For Americans in particular, the founding people sacrificed for your life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

        • Instead of the pursuit of happiness perhaps the goal should be the pursuit of contentment.

          In my own life when I’ve achieved something or received something that I thought would bring me true happiness I found that I was fine for a while and then was off again trying to find something else that would make me happy. Happiness doesn’t seem to stay around that long before I’m trying to find something else.

          Striving to be content with where I find myself in life and with what I have in that life, meagre as it may be, seems to bring greater satisfaction. When I was younger I thought that this was stupid, striving for contentment in place of happiness, but have come to accept it as a truth in my life. This may not be true for others.

          • I like “satisfaction” as the goal. Of course, the Buddhists would say that “striving” for anything is what keeps us from experiencing satisfaction or contentment. Being OK with the world as it is, even if it’s not what you would ideally want, does seem to be the best way to feel OK about myself and the world.

          • I’m not at all OK with the world as it is — but I’m relatively content personally about my place in it (if the def of such allows for bouts of anxiety and muted terror along with the more pleasant emotions). This contentment includes zero acceptance of the current corporate dictatorship, and knowing that I’m doing my utmost within the limits of my ability (which are substantial) to contribute to the inevitable mass rejection of capitalism and its replacement with something based on freedom, democracy, and respect for all life.

          • I reckon I’m in pursuit of adaptability.

            Or resilience.

            Or coherence.

            I think it quite futile to pursue a mood. Much better to pursue a skill or refinement of personality – or better yet – to grow beyond personality so that it matters less.

          • How will you be contented or satisfied if you are denied the ability to pursue happiness?

            What you people advocate for is the freedom to live in sadness, and you have that right.

            Do not deny the freedom of others to pursue happiness however.

          • LOL sman – I reckon as you learn the skills of resilience and adaptability you will find that happiness is available to you a lot more than if you “pursue” it.

            You know – the tighter you hold on to a thing, the easier it slips away?

            Happiness – like enlightenment – comes in moments, in waves, and is not permanent or perpetual. To pursue happiness is an oxymoron. There’s a certain amount of letting go required in order to appreciate the happiness you have.

            In Bhutan, one of the poorest countries of the world, they measure their progress as “Gross Domestic Happiness,” rather than financially. This measure of quality of life is probably better than “pursuit of happiness” or financial gain as it is done in the USA.

      • 100% correct, an act of free will. All your life you make choices, some are tough, but by all means keep as positive as you can and drive forward. Think of the 18 year olds in WW2, think they wanted to go to war, same with all vets since. Life is not easy, not will it ever be. Work is hard, school is hard and relationships are hard. You simply make the best of what you have, evaluate where you want to be and go for it. Being “Sad” or should we say drugged is a personal choice.

        • It’s that kind of thinking that perpetuates sadness, why do you think we should have hard lives like the people before us? You belittle their sacrifices when you do that.

          World War 2 Vets, the Founding Christians who defeated England with their sacrifices, all of that was not so that we suffer like they did, but enjoy the fruits of their labors and are able to pursue happiness.

          • ‘Pursuit of happiness’ is just as much of a vague abstraction as ‘free will’ is. And of course the former was substituted by Jefferson for the word ‘property,’ which is what your “Founding Christians” were really interested in, and what they were loathe to guarantee to the masses.

  10. well I have to put my 2 cents in here…
    I have a mental illness…
    I was disabled for 4 years …
    I was on social security disability for 4 years..
    it was a life saver for me…
    I also had a psychiatrist that helped me survive..

    I am troubled by some of the comments on this blog..

    • What were you disabled from? I have to ask you, does mental illness actually exist, DR K. doesn’t think so, as do other members on this blog, or was you told this by a psychotherapist to you?

      Listen, I don’t know your situation or what disabled you, however, it actually took four years to return to somewhat of normalcy? I feel for you, but I must state again, all tax payers are paying for your “mental Illness,” Is your illness real or induced or better yet encouraged by a psychiatrist.

        • Good point. A lot of us are physically disabled due to psychiatric damage. I count myself among the “lucky ones” since I came off my Effexor unusually fast and am much better after just six months.

          More functional already than when drugged. Keep the place clean with little effort. Never could on my “cocktail” of psych drugs. Keeping my blog more regularly. I plan on looking for work soon.

          I give myself one year to get off disability.

          Btw, it is disgusting folks like me have to live at tax payer expense. But tax payers seem happy with that–as a collective–since they want us drugged and/or institutionalized. If they wanted the waste to end they’d fight psychiatry.

          Serves them right to lose money on the deal!

          • You don’t know my situation. I’m getting off SSI despite overwhelming odds and fighting psychiatry with no assistance from the morons around me. If I fight too openly I risk being locked up, drugged, and shocked.

            Everyone I talk to believes everything they see on TV about psychiatry is true. And the Cures Act is the most wonderful thing ever!

            Gonna cost those idiots. I’m one of the very few to escape. If they had their way I’d be permanently disabled and dependent.

            Glad you’re not a clueless sheeple MJMS. Most are happy with bureacrats like Tim Murphy locking up and disabling people since they think we’ll eat them otherwise.

            And no I’m not JUST feeling sorry for myself. Too angry to be depressed. Doing online activism as a writer.

    • Not everyone has had your experience. Many people have been badly damaged by the system, and want changes to happen. You appear to be a reformer yourself, so obviously some of the things that happened to you weren’t so wonderful. Is it that hard to understand why some people would be angry at a system that mistreated them so badly?

      • Lots of people buy into the system. There is lots of propaganda and social pressure to do so. We who see through it should consider ourselves fortunate and help educate those who have not come so far. I don’t see it as in any way helpful to criticize those who are just now beginning to see they’ve been had. We should instead encourage them to learn more and join the fight!

  11. Completely agree with you littleturtle. Our son has a mental illness and also started receiving disability benefits after years of struggling to hold down a job. I am troubled by the opinions expressed here as well. The psychiatric system did not come into our lives to drug our son because he was an “outlier.” The hallucinations and delusions he suffered from made it impossible for him to get along with his bosses and co-workers. He couldn’t live with anyone and ended up sleeping in his cars many nights. The doctors and psychiatrists were reluctant to forcibly drug him and it took quite a few years before we finally found the medications that helped him to slowly recover. There is a lot of mystery surrounding what mental illness is but I can assure you that it is real and not just the result of “bad choices.”

    • I hate to place blame but there are many people in the US today that can’t keep a job or have to string several jobs together and work ungodly hours to make ends meet. The really sad matter also stands that many of these individuals are highly educated and have many skills. It can be soul crushing. A lot of the jobs created nowadays are service, low paying, mostly part time and let’s not discuss the health benefits that are offered at these kinds of jobs.

      It’s not your son’s problem. It’s a problem we have with the economic system that is set up right now. It demands we spend loads of money to educate ourselves, borrow all kinds of money and then the system refuses to pay enough to survive, never mind to pay back the loans to get educated in the first place.

      It’s not like it used to be in your generation. Things have changed and they are now blaming the individual for not surviving and making money off the stress caused.

      • All depends upon what degree you pursue. Some degrees are 100% useless, others pay big money. All depends upon personal choices and what you want to do in life. There are many high paying jobs out there, but that requires work and desire. Personally, I don’t feel sorry for anyone that wastes four years of college on a useless degree.

        • I’m not talking a liberal arts degree. A lot of the displaced workers are IT, engineering, MBA, biology and degrees you wouldn’t think would be unemployed. Unfortunately some of the networking groups that I’ve attended would really make you reconsider that statement. It’s scary to hear some of the elevator speeches. A lot of the new jobs created are not necessarily for the educated.

    • madincananda it is so much more than bad choices.

      It’s the whole picture, trauma and stress, learned coping mechanisms, diet *and* choices.

      The best way out of the extreme states is through them, but our society spends a lot of time, effort and money in suppressing these states because they are scary – scary to the person, and scary to everyone around him/her.

      Instead of the word disability, how about the words, “different ability?”

      I am not as productive as most people, having only 4-6 hours a day of average active productivity. Is it enough to hold a job? No. That 4-6 hours includes feeding myself, exercising, keeping my house clean and the vital social connections that keep me well and alive. Some days that productivity might amount to 0, some days it’s better.

      I am differently abled, but not DISabled. I seem to recall that this model is used in other medical fields as well. Someone who is paralysed might be a brilliant statistician, writer, etc…

        • I don’t present as disabled, and so do not qualify for “disability.”

          In order to keep up with hubby on travels, it helps to have a wheelchair.

          I have iatrogenic “issues,” but do not consider myself disabled. I would be hard pressed to collect what is called “disability pension” here, as I appear “normal” in every way.

          I am not an 8 hour a day productive citizen, however. I would seriously struggle to survive if without my spouse’s financial and personal support.

          Since I refuse the help of psychiatrists, I’m not sure who could “certify” me as disabled. In fact, my last psychiatrist refused to certify me, until I “went out and failed” a few times. Never mind that I don’t sleep the right hours, and tire after 2-3 hours, she wanted me to get a record of being fired first.

      • It is also often forgotten that even with good parenting, the stresses of our bizarre society can lead to madness. The current system not only doesn’t acknowledge this fact, it actively goes out of its way to deflect attention away from social and environmental causes and back to blaming the person who is reacting badly to them.

    • Madincanada, it’s not always bad choices. I guess you don’t read Bruce Levine or William Glasser or even Whitaker much.

      Years of sexual harassment or bullying can bring on emotional pain leading to “mental illness.” Being shell shocked in battle or homelessness can also trigger problems.

      So can abusive family members.

    • “The hallucinations and delusions he suffered from made it impossible for him to get along with his bosses and co-workers. He couldn’t live with anyone and ended up sleeping in his cars many nights.” I feel for your son, but again, what was family like in his informative years? Was mother home?

      Clearly, as DR. K pointed out, he wasn’t fully developed. I don’t want to sound insensitive to your issue, but, questions remain open. Did you ever think that the “The hallucinations and delusions he suffered” was from the medication he was prescribed before you found the right medication? Clearly, he was not prescribe properly initially, that was prescribed by a psychiatrist who didn’t have a clue initially.

  12. Lawrence, this is a good article, but there are a few very obvious problems with your arguments. The first, and most obvious problem is that even though there are many people who willingly relinquish their liberties to doctors and psychiatrists based on naiveté, ignorance, or victim mentality, there are just as many who are lured into the system unwillingly. In fact, in a certain sense, most of the victims of psychiatry are unwilling because they really have no idea what they are getting themselves into. In other words, in order to be a truly willing “patient” of psychiatry, a person would actually have to know what psychiatry is… which hardly anyone does. If the general public understood that psychiatry is a form of slavery, they would think twice before going to see a psychiatrist or taking psychotropic drugs.

    Furthermore, psychiatry has always sought to destroy the liberties of anyone possible, and not just so-called outliers. It has become increasingly adept at CREATING outliers. But the crucial point is that those who are lured into psychiatry are not always willing. In fact, I would venture to argue that most victims of psychiatry are unwilling and unwitting because of the deception that is inherent in psychiatry. It is possible to take a very normal, good, hard-working, and decent human being and turn him or her into a raving lunatic through psychotropic drugging, involuntary incarceration, labeling with fictitious “diseases,” and so forth. Think of the millions of children, or the elderly, or even the homeless who are drugged into oblivion without having any idea what psychiatry is all about. There are even several comments in this thread that reveal how easily good people have been and are being duped because of psychiatric mendacity.

    You are correct, of course, that there are many parents who would rather think of their kids as defective and “mentally ill,” and drug them into a comatose stupor so that they are more docile and compliant to their own wishes – they would rather do this than the hard work of listening, parenting, and working through complex issues. But there are also many people who do not subscribe to any of these so-called easy solutions who have still been subjected to psychiatric torture and abuse.

    You are absolutely correct that psychiatry is based on coercion, force, and the negation of liberty. But psychiatry does this in a variety of ways, not just by convincing people that their brains are “broken” or “mentally ill” or defective in some way. Psychiatry actually BREAKS people down chemically, while claiming to heal them. Psychiatry CAUSES the very problems it purports to cure. The negation of liberty, therefore, also has to do with DECEIVING people. Another way that psychiatry negates liberty is by attempting to remove consequences for actions. Thus the infamous “insanity plea” seeks to exculpate the guilty, while the myth of mental illness seeks to inculpate the innocent. Psychotropic drugs are one of the most effective weapons in psychiatry’s arsenal because these neurotoxins may CAUSE people to act in ways that others will view as symptoms of “mental illness.” We are still waiting to learn more about the Florida killings, and Breggin has revealed the connection between psychiatry and the Las Vegas Shootings. Psychiatry robs people of their liberty, and then robs them again by confining them in the shackles of fictitious diagnoses.

    You are absolutely correct that our brain processes don’t control us, but psychiatry is designed to exert control over people’s brains. That is why psychiatry is a form of slavery that ought to be abolished. Finally, Freud’s theories are the exact opposite of the antidote to genetic determinism. Freud and genetic determinism go hand in hand in ways that have yet to be explored.

    I think that you can ignore all the anti-American nonsense while still recognizing that psychiatry negates human liberty in more ways than one. This is why Szasz’ writings are so powerful, because he endorses liberty AND responsibility in contrast to psychiatric slavery, coercion, AND deception.

    • Anti-CAPITALIST, Dragon Slayer, easy on the demagoguery; otherwise, good post. Though I’m not sure Lawrence misses the point to the degree you seem to imply.

      You do, as Richard has pointed out, tend to see psychiatry as something that just manifested out of thin air, rather than in the context of specific political/economic conditions. However that’s a different level of analysis which is not mandatory when one’s goal is to call for basic civil rights, though it can be strategically helpful to also have a macro-analysis.

      • Obviously we disagree about the anti-American, anti-capitalist stuff. The demagoguery is so thick on the anti-American, anti-capitalist side. Someone needs to stand up to it. Lawrence would do well to stand up to it too, or ignore it. I don’t see psychiatry as something manifested out of thin air. I have thought this through very carefully, and will continue to think it through carefully. I am beginning to see how psychiatry fits into the unfolding of intellectual history, and many who oppose psychiatry on the basis of supposedly limitless “rights” would be surprised to learn of their common heritage with psychiatry. Obviously we disagree about the macro-analysis, as you call it. But we agree about the essential need to abolish psychiatry. So I side with Lawrence, I suppose, on certain political matters, although he doesn’t quite seem to see how psychiatry negates freedom in a wide variety of ways, and not just by making people think that they are helpless victims.

  13. “Researchers from Libet to Fried tried to prove that free will itself is an illusion, by showing that brain activity occurs well before we’re consciously aware of having decided to do something. They claimed this implies that our brains direct our actions automatically and involuntarily. But a more logical, likely explanation is that this brain activity is the biologic correlate of subconscious mental processes which voluntarily direct our actions. So these studies support Freud’s theory of unconscious feelings/thoughts often being the real drivers of our chosen actions, while conscious thoughts/feelings are just the tip of the iceberg.”

    This is a crude misrepresentation of Libet’s and Fried’s research findings.

    No-one knows what these research findings mean. Research is nascent in this whole area. But what it appears to suggest is that the conscious mind (whatever that is) becomes aware of making a choice to perform an action, about 450 milliseconds after the brain has set upon the task of performing the action. No serious scientist, least-of-all Libet and Fried, are suggesting that this means people are predetermined zombies. Although, a great deal of people kinda do become predetermined zombies, when they stop thinking for themselves. And that includes thinking for themselves when reading a blog post by an ardent, antipsychiatrist expsychiatrist.

    In fact, you link to Libet’s seminal paper, and in that very paper, he writes this:

    “A role for “the unconscious” in modifying and controlling volitional decisions and actions was advocated long ago. This role was inferred from analyses of strong but indirect psychological evidence. The present experimental findings provide direct evidence that unconscious processes can and do initiate voluntary action and point to a definable cerebral basis for this unconscious function.”

    So Libet did not, as you claim, attempt to prove that freewill was an illusion. What he found was that freewill wasn’t as straightforward as we had imagined it to be. And Fried also does not attempt to prove that freewill is an illusion, instead postulating the role of the conscious mind as a kind of censorious moderator of unconscious processes, being more of a kind of ongoing “will I or won’t I?” filtering of the constant stream of impulses arising from the unconscious.

  14. I think its economically and socially rooted. increasing inequality, stagnant wages (assuming one can get a job), no room for growth, reflection, etc., a 0 tolerance culture that won’t show anyone but the elites compassion, but will provide a bit of pity in the form of “treatment,” that kind of thing.

    Lots of people on disability for mental problems could not possibly support themselves, not necesssarily because of an “illness,” but rather because of low wages, job insecurity, high costs of living, and…honestly…would you rather work a demeaning, low wage, unstable job, or just chill out and collect benefits for “severe mental illness” with your pill pusher’s approval?

    A lot of people who -would- have been on welfare, had Clinton not revamped it and driven so many into inescapable deep poverty, are now on some form of disability. Since “Welfare Reform” 20 years ago, inequality has gotten worse, education costs have sky rocketed, and a lot of the “good jobs” are gone, forever. Enter Mental Health, Inc…

    the new welfare case managers of America, circa 2018.

  15. “Does trusting such a field make sense?” Of course not. But the problem is that psychiatry does not present itself as it really is. It poses as a field of medicine, and its practitioners claim to be healers. People put much implicit trust in doctors and psychiatrists because they assume that medicine is about healing and health, when the opposite is the case. Medicine is about medicine, and money. We could blame people for their naiveté, or we could consider the source of the deception. Psychiatry is and always has been the science of lies. Do we want to increase freedom and responsibility? Begin by abolishing psychiatry.

  16. @ bron76 & JanCarol

    Dead salmon’s brains are also shown to be active on an MRI.

    Dementia is not an established brain disease. Neither is schizophrenia.

    To some extent not yet allowed in polite conversation, the deterioration in both is probably the outcome of excessive alcohol use, and the brain damage resultant from such necrotic poisoning.

    PS If you have something the scientists don’t (ie proof) then please share it with the world.

  17. And who will pay for the studies to prove it to you? Even the scientists are scrambling for those grant dollars – and nobody really wants to look at the drugs as causes.

    I’m sorry that all of my knowledge on this one is anecdotal (okay, let’s all make fun of JanCarol for listening to anecdotes again) –

    everyone I know that ever went on any heart medicine never got better, whether it was blood pressure, statins, blood thinners. What happens at that point, is that the person goes into “maintenance” of the condition and decline from there on out.

    I have no direct measures of dementia, other than – the trends similar to the one that Whitaker points out in MIA – that as people go on the drugs, dementia numbers seem to be rising. Correlation. There are likely other factors involved as well – the endocrine disruption of glyphosate and drugs in our water as well, for example. The increase in income disparity (and resulting decline in self-care) as well.

    But I’ve never seen someone on BP or statins get smarter, healthier and better at that point. Maybe you have? Maybe you believe they saved someone’s life? I will suggest – like I would with the psych drugs – that it’s probably still the “honeymoon period.”

    • I tend to agree with you about the statins and the blood pressure drugs. I now wish that I’d never gone on the blood pressure drugs. My blood pressure is maintained but I’m not getting any better.

      And it’s a proven fact that the statins cause all kinds of detrimental physical problems, like affecting a person’s leg muscles causing them difficulty in walking and sometimes causing them to not be able to walk on their own at all. Who needs that?????

      • I have type 2 diabetes and are on metformin. What I know is managing my blood sugars definitely helps with my mental health

        I also have obstructive sleep apnoea I know a CPAP machine helps my sleep and helps my mental health

        What I know is that when I was in hospital they offered drugs which increased blood sugars and worsened the sleep apnoea so I was doing wacky stuff such as stealing cutlery. I remember the stealing blankets blog and was wondering was the next step the dining set

        • Doesn’t make any sense at all does it, and yet this is the way that they system goes about giving us “good, evidenced based treatment” isn’t it.

          I’ve seen the very thing that you talk about here where I work in the state “hospital”. Did they force you to take the drugs or were you lucky enough to be able to refuse them?

          • I did take them a few times. But fortunately it was only a low dose and they didn’t prescribe them for post discharge and I was in there for less then 2 weeks

            I went in there after deliberate self injury and I was discharged feeling extremely suicidal. I think it was partly due to the drug exposure and partly to the bitch nurses exposure. Fortunately no prescription afterward and I had a gp who
            doesn’t believe in benzos.

            Lastly, they were considering a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder a condition for which there is no agreed on medication protocol.

            I think there are certain advantages of a bpd diagnosis. It is a stigmatised diagnosis amongst mental health professionals so they don’t want to deal with you. It is also seen as a diagnosis where hospitalisation is not recommended. (Or it is to be as short as possible) it is a condition that many cry baby mental health professionals won’t deal with

    • There are so many factors that probably contribute to dementia it’s mindblowing. It’s probably just as with schizophrenia. It may manifest in ways that are difficult to impossible to distinguish, but a small number probably do have a majorly physical cause, like a disease, and the rest are the result of some complex interaction between drugs popped, insomnia, alcohol, environmental toxins, genes, the modern foodchain, loneliness, not enough mental stimulation, abuse, too much stress and cortisol, and so on.

      It interests me that people call for the search for a physical cause to schizophrenia to be abandoned. I once characterised that search as an egregious hunt for the snark. But it strikes me as odd that the hunt for the physical cause of dementia has been going on just as long, but no-one calls that a folly. Or demand that they make an extra effort to recover, or abandon the sick role, or break the chains that bind them to psychiatry.

      I’m not cynical about modern medicine. It may not cure as often as we would prefer but it certainly lengthens life and the quality of that life, for most of the people, most of the time.

      In fact, all the people I know who take antipsychotics have a much better quality of life than they did before the drugs. They have free will, and are intelligent, and have sharp senses of humour. Some are so sharp they keep me on my toes. So I have to try and balance what I see with how I feel, because I don’t get along with most psychiatric drugs, and have been tortured with a depixol depot in the longago past. Most people haven’t had these terrible experiences and are bewlidered and at times angered by my take on it. They say they’d rather have the edge taken off the fear and horror. Many people can’t get past that dreadfulness, they can’t find a way to live with it, or through it, and so it’s quite impertinent to demand a world where they are expected to suffer. Especially, as someone recently said to me, their sacrifice is wanted so someone else can further their interests in a turf war.

      • Everybody I know on neuroleptics is a numb, stupified zombie. I have no idea what alternate universe you inhabit.

        These pills created stuff I never had before. Horrible nightmarish stuff. The nightmare of being drugged 24/7 is almost over but I’m angry and grieving and have no safe place offline to vent.

        If the drugs made folks feel so damned great no one would ever go off them! I took mine religiously for 25 years because I thought I deserved to suffer. They were nothing but an act of penance–self destruction to make my abusive “loved ones” happy! 🙁

        • It’s a bum-deal to have suffered for 25 years with free will issues that made you want to take antipsychotics.

          If you haven’t struggled with serious psychoses then you will not appreciate the potential benefits of using your free will to pop a neuroleptic.

          The world I live in is a real world full of extraordinary and not-so-extraordinary and endlessly intersting and not-so-intersting diversity. In this real world there are people that take antipsychotics that do not become zombified. In fact, they gain a better quality of life.

          By the by they are unlikely to read here and so avoid the insult.

          But it is an insult you made there, nonetheless.

          • You claim I insult folks on neuroleptics?Speaking as a no longer stupified ex-zombie I disagree strongly. Everyone I know who has come off those things has an increase in IQ. Sometimes 20 points or more.

            Almost everyone who takes psych drugs has free will issues. Either they are bullied by brute force (court ordered) or thoroughly deceived as I was. Many quit the drugs cold turkey because they’re miserable rather than having a paradigm shift. They experience withdrawal, get locked up, put on 2 or 3 times the drugs and “deteriorate.” The Myth of Decompensation is born.

            If I said people who had been beaten over the head repeatedly suffered brain damage and you swore it was fun and enjoyable for them–in addition to bolstering their cognitive skills–would I be insulting them? By criticizing physical battery I’m insulting the victims. Uh huh.

            Many folks who wind up labeled and drugged who are smart were that way to begin with. I have heard reports from NAMI about how adult kids were helped. They started out as college honor students. But thanks to the wonders of psychiatry they can now wash dishes unassisted–almost. Wow! A real improvement. According to NAMI.

        • I do know people who can function on them, but after 30 years of use, there is measurable (and verified via cognitive testing and imaging) brain damage, and the cognitive struggles are significant.

          The answer to psychosis is not to shut it down, but to go through it. There is the other side, and that’s where health and well being lie. Most “psychoses” are temporary conditions induced by a paradox of living or cognitive dissonance and can be processed through. I’m sure there are exceptions, but once they have been drugged (even just once) then the brain is sensitised to these extreme experiences, and the more the intrusions are drugged, the greater the dependence upon the drug (and sensitivity, too) to “control” them.

          Nobody dies from extreme states. The drugs are killing people all the time, in a slow and painful – and expensive – way.

          • Those drugs are Hell on Earth. Often the folks who take them fail to see their cognitive decline.

            No onlooker can fully appreciate the suffering those drugs cause. Till your brain rots thoroughly.

          • Go to http://www.survivingantidepressants.org and read the member stories of people who are suffering while trying to decrease or come off of these drugs.

            Also, there, you can learn of the horrible, cumulative side effects that are driving people to try and get off these drugs.

            Serotonin drugs (for example) affect more than just the brain, it can damage digestion, endocrine, nervous system, kidneys and liver. The longer you take them, the more the damage is done.

            These things are often “diagnosed” as “Chronic Fatigue,” “Fibromyalgia,” “IBS,” or other NOS junk diagnoses – or – “metabolic disorder,” “diabetes,” and “heart disease.” They seem to be unrelated, and the doctors tread them as such – but the drugs can cause all of these, and again, the longer you are on them, the more likely that these “side effects” will result in damaged health.

            Go to Surviving Antidepressants and read for yourself of chronic insomnia, akathisia, ibs, nausea, dystonia, ramped up rebound and interdose anxiety…the list is endless.

          • Short term, usually not. But no mainstream psychiatrist limits the time period they prescribe the stuff.

            Btw, I think sometimes neuroleptics do have benefits as emotional pain killers. But long term usage of massive quantities of morphine is a very bad idea. And claiming they cure”chemical imbalances” is a lie.

            Assume for the sake of argument, chemical imbalances in the brain cause extreme states. That still doesn’t justify using drugs as a long term fix. Why? They have no idea what they are trying to fix. For all psychiatrists know they could be making the imbalance worse rather than better. Most human brain chemicals have yet to be discovered according to Peter Breggin. Pretty presumptuous to fix something when you can’t see the crack.

            I MAY have cancer. In its early stages I wouldn’t feel discomfort. So maybe they should remove random bodily organs and subject me to weekly chemo and radiation treatments for the rest of my life. Sounds like a plan.

            And when my hair falls out and I keep puking–say “It must be the cancer. Can’t be the chemo. It’s perfectly safe and effective.”

  18. dr kelmenson——-so you do not believe that biology has anything to do with behavior..
    there are studies showing that persons lacking enzyme activity in their brain…
    have behavior problems….and it may have to do with their genome…
    the journal Science 1993 reported that in a family…how about bio/psy/soc..

    • The problem of free will versus determinism is philosophical, OldHead, and that means it covers more technical ground than a blog such as this, being aimed at the general reader, would be expected to cover. It’s an interesting and involving subject, going from determinism to libertarianism, and covering incombatablists (of freedom with determinism) and combatablists. I’ve seen, with the advent of scientism (or pseudo-scientism), the deterministic argument grow more popular. This simply goes over most peoples’ heads, and it is not something that any argument is going to resolve to everybody’s satisfaction.

    • Well in a biblical sense man was created in the image of God and in a Christian sense this is what make mankind different from the animals. This would be the Christian explanation for the origins of free will. However knowing people who inhabit mental health often have a pathological hatred of Christianity I would note that other religions also have explanations of free will

      • I was able to leave psychiatry once I realized it was incompatible with the Bible.

        Then I hear pastors give commercials for psych drugs in their sermons. Naive morons!

        Emerson said, “Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.” I say it’s the first refuge for scoundrels and selfish jerks who want to shuffle the suffering off to a corner to rot away from the Real People in the church. The snappy dressers who tithe with nice families.

        The more vocally pro-psychiatry a church is the meaner it is to the “mentally ill.” Often they do their best to freeze them out. Take your “meds” then keep away from us! See what kind, compassionate folks we are! We want them to get the help we need to keep them away from us.

        If everything we do comes from random chemicals in our heads we have no souls and should quit wasting time at their churches since religion is a hoax. Apparently Rick Warren has never bothered to think it through. Saddleback Church discourages thinking or reflection anyhow from what I hear.

  19. dr kelmenson rules out genes as being important….
    but we just now are finding out how important they are…
    gene variants may explain some about differences in behavior..
    please see the new book by Robert Sapolsky—BEHAVE
    I am not saying that psych meds are good for us..
    FREE WILL is not that simple a concept..

  20. A lot of people insist they have a mental illness. At some level do they like the idea they have no control over their actions and can’t be held accountable?

    The way our society functions now, the masses believe “normal” people have free will. “Schizos” and “bipolars” don’t. Either the random chemical reactions in the skull cause wanton mayhem and violence or the pills take over transforming evil Mr. Hyde into peaceful Dr. Jekyll. No real person–just biologically based insanity or drugs.

    The whole premise of psychiatry caused me existential angst when I believed it. I get mad at those who refuse to think and mindlessly buy whatever pop culture sells. But at least I have seen the light. Drugs or no drugs, locked up or at large–my knowledge provides a peace no shrink can steal. 🙂

  21. They simply cannot have ‘robots/slaves/consumers’ having free will, and this is WHY they have created a toxic myth of us all being machines, and animals being machines, and nature being a machine and the universe being a machine. BEcause they depend on slaves to keep a certain small percent mindbogglingly rich from all the robbed wealth they accrue.

    Freud and even so-called ‘depth’ psychologist Jung are not part of a solution, but offer false alternatives. This is what the patriarchy does. Creates different ‘alternatives’ which really just add to the sense of feeling dis-connected from our selves, bodies, others, and the natural world.

    In my experience it is women authors and speakers who mostly expose the long trajectory of patriarchal thinking, because they have mostly been its victims! So it has been in their deep interest to study and expose what has gone and continues to go on to enslave us.

    Anciently ‘the unconscious’ was a deeper dimensional part of the natural world and our being known as the ‘underworld’, or ‘otherworld’ or ‘dreamtime’ or ‘land of faerie” etc. A way of relating to nature in a way that experiences it as unimaginably alive and we are wholly interconnected because we ARE nature. THAT is what the toxic patriarchal myths try and disconnect us from, and this is why their is such irrational fear and prohibition against the ‘slaves’ having rightful freedom to take psychedelics, because they dramatically dis-solve the propaganda which intends to disconnects us from nature.

    • Thank you, Juliano, this is a very important perspective you offer, and one I agree with, including on the fear of psychedelics. I’m curious, though, why you say that about Jung–he has seemed to me not unalligned with your position, albeit too internally focused and so not attentive enough to the problem of social control.

      The only thing I’d add is that men are terribly harmed by patriarchy, also. The pressure to conform just happens earlier than for women (Carol Gilligan’s research suggests at about age 5, as opposed to early teens for girls), and so gets more thoroughly repressed. bell hooks says that “patriarchy has no gender,” which seems very true to me.

      • Glad I’m not a man. It must be tough being shamed when you cry or show vulnerability. Risking people laughing at you for writing poetry, admiring sunsets, or playing the violin. Having to play sports even if you lack the desire or natural ability.

        Hard being female too. But it’s not all “skittles and beer” for guys either.